Tag Archives: writing

Back on the Wagon

I have been writing a good bit these days. It’s mostly 500 words on one project then – ooh look! Squirrel! – but I’m getting things done in small bits.

Awhile back I gave a story to a friend to read over for a possible project. She kept it for awhile, read over it, edited it, and sent it back to me bleeding. It was the first romance-type thing I’d finished in over a year, and it was short. And in terrible shape.

I knew it was in bad shape when I gave it to her, but I did it anyway. Mainly because I was too close to it. I couldn’t see the problems because I’d been living in that world for weeks. Ultimately what it boiled down to was that the characters didn’t have time to build the relationship and I kinda fell off on some of the important details.

I’m fixing it. And in between fixing it (and fighting the crippling bouts of fear that I suck as a writer) and playing mom to TWO kids (yes, there are two of the little hellions now), I’m starting to put pen to paper on other projects. If I ever make it to the end of the 25 things I’m writing at once, I’ll have enough to keep me in new stories for at least two years.

But I’m taking it one step at a time.

Can't DecideRight now on my plate I have a romantic fantasy novel, a paranormal romance novella, a paranormal romance novel, a holiday… something… (novel, novella, I don’t know yet), a Cowboy romance (a sequel!), and a contemporary novel and contemporary short story. All of these things are in varying stages of completion, which means I have lots of things to divide my time. Which also means I have too many options and can’t focus on any one thing for an extended period of time. Lexxx and Lucy are both going to tell me to put all of it away and only pick one thing, which I’ve tried to do…desperately. It just doesn’t work with me. I’m way too hyperactive for that.

I’m also the type of person… I love the rush of beginning a new project. I’m not talking about the plotting and planning stage. I mean that very first moment you put pen to paper. There’s nothing at all like it and it’s a better high than any drug.

Or so I’m told…I’ve never done drugs.

Then 10,000 words in, I hit that slump. By 15k, I’m telling myself I hate the book. If I make it to 25k before I dump it and walk away, that feeling usually goes away. There’s a lot of anxiety that goes with writing a successful story.

Part of my trouble, I think, has been that I’ve not really had time to read lately. This two kids thing really eats into my free time. In the past few weeks I’ve started listening to audiobooks, which has greatly increased my productivity. Right now I’m listening to 12 Years a Slave on Spotify. It just went up this morning and I’m already on Chapter 3. The book is breaking my heart, but it’s also showing me a side of history the movie couldn’t even touch. I’m learning something while I trudge on in the mindless activities of my day job.

So it’s not the wild leaps and bounds of progress I’ve been hoping for, but it’s there. I’m trying. I’m getting better.

Baby steps, kids. Baby steps.

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Guest Post: Sherri Hayes

Good evening, my lovelies! With me tonight is Romance Author Sherri Hayes, talking about the writing process and the English language.

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"Slave" by Sherri HayesI was doing a radio interview about a year ago and the host asked if I’d always wanted to be a writer. The simple answer to that is a resounding no. Becoming a writer was never a consideration for me growing up.

Why? First of all, I suck at English. Some of you are probably laughing right about now, but it’s true. Even today, when my editor tries to explain grammar rules to me, my eyes glaze over. English is not one of my strengths.

As a child, I had stories in my head. I just never wrote any of them downNeed_Hi-Res_Cover_6x9. As an adult, I gravitated toward customer service jobs—ones where good communication was essential. I think these two things, combined with my love of reading romances, have helped to make me a better writer. I understand how to break things down and explain them to someone who may not normally understand the situation. That’s a great skill to have as an author, and one I’m forever grateful to have.

Although I may never understand all the technical aspects of writing, I try to concentrate on my strengths. We all have them. We all have weakness too. It’s part of life and what makes us unique.

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102850e48d225bc566963bcb34cf89b6Biography:  Sherri is the author of four novels: Hidden Threat,Slave (Finding Anna Book 1), Need (Finding Anna Book 2), Behind Closed Doors (A Daniels Brothers’ Novel), and a short story, A Christmas Proposal. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and three cats. Her mother fostered her love for books by reading to Sherri when she was a child. Stories have been floating around in her head for as long as she can remember, but she didn’t start writing them down until five years ago. It has become a creative outlet that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found helping her husband in his woodworking shop.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Look, Ma… I’m Not Slack Anymore!

So I FINALLY got around to updating all the pages on my blog. All of my pretty new shinies are up for everyone to ooh and aah over. My buy links are all in place. I’m sort of starting to look like a professional again!

You guys all know I’ve had a lot on my plate this past year. Well, some of that is finally starting to melt away – the grief is receding, the infant is now a toddler and becoming more self-sufficient by the day, and the stress of losing two contracts is gone thanks to the beautifully divine Purple Sword Publications. Yes, the pieces are falling into place.

What’s more, I’m finishing up another novel, and starting the outlining phase of Books 3 and 4 for the Something in the Air series. While I greatly wish I was able to kick out fiction left and write right like some of my peers, I can simply say that I’ll be more than happy if I finish the two in-progress novels and the two upcoming novellas in 2013.  The concept of writing four books this year is a bit daunting considering all of my other engagements, both real-life and literary.

Just remember, kids… I write other stuff under another name, too. I’ve submitted a proposal for a five-book urban fantasy series under that name and I still have a few shorts to kick out.

Needless to say, I’m looking at a minimum of four novels, two novellas and a dozen short stories between now and the next New Year’s Day.

Next on my plate is finishing up Wes and Anna’s story. Wes’ baby brother, Cam is growing restless, too. I just have to keep him locked up tight enough that he can’t get out until some of these obligations are met. We’ll deal with him later.

When I left our sexy little cowboy, he was trying to figure out just what went wrong. Anna has gone back to Raleigh in a hurry. Things are still missing around the ranch. And the worst part? Wes is hopelessly in love with the girl that walked away.

Let’s see if we can’t give him a happy ending, okay?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things For Which I Give Thanks:

♥ My health
♥ My family
♥ My writing
♥ My job
♥ My home
♥ My daughters
♥ My husband

What are you thankful for? Tell me what things you appreciate most in your life. Today is a day for sharing and giving. And right now, I need all the positivity we can muster, guys.

So hit me with it. Tell me why you’re giving thanks today.

The Next Big Thing

Welcome to The Next Big Thing, in which authors get to talk about their favorite thing: their work, and what their current Work in Progress is. I was invited to participate by the fabulous Kharisma Rhayne. Remind me to punch her later. [Insert cheeky grin here.]

The Next Big Thing
What is your working title of your book?
Picture Perfect (Georgia Heat Series)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, I’m not entirely certain. I think part of it was general stir-craziness. I was stuck in my house earlier this year after having a baby. Somehow I got to watching the Lifetime Movie Network and that combined with the stack of trash novels on my coffee table set me on this track. I’m generally not a fan of contemporary cowboy romance, but hey… it’s fun to write.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Romance. In particular, Cowboy Romance.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I never really thought about it… Wes, the main cowboy, would almost definitely have to be someone along the lines of Chris Hemsworth. Anna I picture to look a bit like a short-haired Olivia Wilde. I’ll have to get back to you on the rest of the cast.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A photographer is handed a less-than-exciting job in a small town that results in a one-night-stand with a stranger, which leads her into a different world and a whirlwind relationship on a Georgia cattle ranch.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My goal is to go through a publisher with this one. Which one, I haven’t quite decided yet.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Uh…well, I started writing in in February and was up to almost 30,000 words when the flash drive it lived on disappeared, taking with it almost 18,000 words of story. Luckily I had most of it hand-written in a notebook, but I still anticipated a gap of about 5K. I was so disgusted with the story and with myself for losing it that I couldn’t work on it for months, but when I finally got off my duff and started retyping last week, I realized I’d lost less than 800 words total.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Uh… don’t know. Like I said, I don’t read much contemporary cowboy romance. However, it sort of puts me in mind of the Harlequin Blaze line.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Boredom, honestly. It was something lighthearted and fun to write at the time. Now it has turned to a labor of love.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s sexy, but there’s also a bit of mystery and intrigue. Things aren’t always as they seem on the Homegrown Ranch, and not everybody likes to play fair…
***
And Now, for those I have tagged:

Alexandra Christian
Charlie Kenmore
S.H. Roddey
Ken Charles
Zillah Anderson

Please tune into these blogs the week of October 26-30
*****
Message for the tagged authors and interested others:
Rules of the Next Big Thing
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

Be sure to line up your five people in advance.

The Case of the Missing Flash Drive

Three weeks ago my flash drive went missing.  You know, that little blue one my husband gave me for Christmas that has been attached to my person nonstop since?

Yeah, that one.

I immediately flew into a blind panic and tore apart everything in my house, at work, and in my car. I checked friends’ houses (I was dog-sitting at the time) and even put messages up at work begging people to bring it back if they had it.

NOTHING.

Crap. Okay. So that was the point when I started assessing the damage.  Finished stories… pulled all of those out of my email that I didn’t already have because I’d submitted all of them. Not a problem.

In Progress stories… All but one were backed up on my laptop. One wasn’t. but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Pictures… the ones of Alice, okay. The ones of my Dad… Gone.

That immediately set me off into a crying fit… those pictures are all I have left of him. That and a .45 muzzle loader that I’ll never fire. Once that was done, I broke down and installed Dropbox on my work computer.

Then I went to my mother’s house and got new copies of the pictures that weren’t already up on Facebook. I’m covered there.

So back to that story…

You know that story I’ve been writing about the cowboy?  That’s the one that wasn’t backed up because it’s the one that I’ve been feverishly writing for the last month. Inspiration struck and I started going and going and going and… you get the point.

The story WAS up to almost 29,000 words, or the half-way mark. I’d just introduced the massive conflict. I was on the downward slope… and then I checked the backed-up version.

16,790 words. Shit. (There was a lot more to that screaming fit than one word, but I’ll spare you the details.)

I immediately went to my notebook and started looking over what was hand-written, and of the 12,500 or so words that were missing, I was thinking I had about 6,000 of them. Okay, so I sat down and started rereading the end of the typed file. And immediately became discouraged. VERY discouraged.

I’ve already written this. It was fine the first time. I don’t want to do it again.

So for the last month I’ve been opening and closing the document, willing myself to get back to work on it, but no such luck. The steam, she is gone. Completely.

Until Sunday… I opened my notebook for something unrelated and happened to flip through the first few pages.  That was the point when I realized that I hadn’t lost over 6,000 words. I had the vast majority of the story still in the notebook. Granted it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 pages of hand-written mess, but it’s there. Best guess now tells me I’m only missing about 4,000 words. I know it’s about that much because there’s a sex scene in the middle of the mess that topped out around 2,500.  If that’s the majority of what I’m missing, then I’m good.

Now I just have to get off my butt (or sit on my butt depending on how you look at it) and get it all typed up again. At the rate I was going on it, I could easily have it finished by the end of August.

Even if I don’t, I know the words aren’t going anywhere… it’s just the longer I sit without doing it, the harder it is to get motivated again.

I really do have other things to worry about besides this. I need to keep moving forward and I really hate backtracking. Yes, it would only take me two hours or so to get everything typed back up, but I have to recreate segues and various other tidbits, so I’m looking at a two day setback.

Wish me luck, guys.

Well That Sucked…

As you can see I’ve been MIA for awhile. I swear there’s a good reason for it.

Of all things for some fool to attack, my WordPress account got hacked. Nothing disappeared. Nothing was moved or taken, and nothing majorly bad happened. Unless, of course, you consider my complete inability to access my account and either of my blogs since right after Fandom Fest. I’ve spent countless hours going in circles with customer service. I’ve searched message board after message board, and even got hold of a telephone number that did me absolutely no good.

The ultimate solution to my blog lockdown?

Resetting my password.

Whatever bright star decided to tell me about the hacking didn’t tell me that the ONLY way to get back into my account was to go into the “Lost Password” thing and do it that way.

That calls for a pretty hefty facepalm, I think.

But enough of that… let’s move forward, shall we?

In the last month I’ve been surprisingly productive – I sold a very short contemporary I/R story to Mocha Memoirs Press for the 31 Days of Steamy Mocha, and I’ve been told it has done well so far.

Here’s the cover:

Click on the picture and go buy it. It’s only $1 and it has a 4-star rating at Barnes & Noble. I promise you won’t be sorry.

More on the writing front… I’ve finished and submitted two horror stories through my alter ego and I’m now about 30,000 words into a new contemporary romance (what is wrong with me???) that I would like to shop around to some of the bigger houses – yeah, I tried it before and it didn’t work, but I know why. This one will be different.

I won’t give away too much on it yet because I don’t want to jinx myself. Let’s just say that so far it’s moving along nicely.  I should probably also get off my duff and finish self-editing Loki’s Game while I’m at it, huh? That would give me two novels right off the bat.

Note to self: STOP PROCRASTINATING, SIOBHAN!

Personally things have been pretty even – Miss Alice is now six months old. My con schedule for the year is done. My niece had her baby last week, bringing the fifth living generation into our family. I lost a coworker under very suspicious circumstances a month ago – not just a coworker, but a good friend. We don’t know what really happened yet, but suffice it to say the story on his “suicide” keeps changing depending on how drunk his widow is and who she’s talking to. The situation has given me a good idea for a story though… Maybe once I get the novel finished I can write that.  Plus, I’m still trying to find a way to deal with my father’s death. He’s been gone three months now and it isn’t easy.

So that’s my dad, two friends and a friend’s grandmother in three months. I’m ready for this to stop.

There’s a lot of stress in my life and it seems writing is the best catharsis. Whatever I’m feeling I can trap on paper. From what I’ve been told by one of my beta readers, it makes my writing a lot stronger.  I’m going to take her word for it.

So the big question now… where do I go from here?

I think I’m ready to take a step up – to move from small to medium presses.  Yes, I’ll still work with the presses I have now – I wouldn’t be where I am without them and I appreciate every one of them for that. But I also have to think about what’s best for me – what’s going to put me where I want to be.  I need to keep higher expectations of myself, and most of all I need to remember that yes, I can do this.

That’s the hard part. For someone who has never had much self-confidence, some days it’s a real struggle to believe that I can keep going. But I will, because I’m stubborn and I refuse to give up on my dreams.

If I give up on those, what do I have left?