romance author

Almost midnight, the night before the inauguration.

I’m sitting here at my computer, supposedly writing, but I’m doing anything but that. Why? What’s in my head? In a word, upheaval. The inauguration is usually an interesting affair, regardless of who you voted for. The pomp and circumstance of the whole thing is usually quite spectacular. But this year, 2021, it’s been a very different kind of election and many of us are just praying that there will be a peaceful transition of power.

Many of my moderate Republican friends are hoping that we can get back to whatever passes for normal (post Corona virus outbreak). They were not fans of our outgoing president because of his divisive rhetoric.

We are stronger together than we are apart. I’m not sure who said that, but it couldn’t be more true or appropriate.

So, I’m going to spend tomorrow praying and watching, and wait up, it’s officially inauguration day already, so that would be today.

I’m not giving myself a writing word count for today. If I write, I write, if not, it’s OK too.

MLK Jr. had so many wise words in his lifetime and I wonder what he would have to say today if he were here. It would be something inspiring. It would be something brutally honest about the state of affairs in this country. It would be poetic. His words would resonate with voters from both sides. His words would encourage a coming together of both political parties in order to attain the higher goal of uniting this nation.

But MLK Jr. is not here to say any of those things and it is left up to us, the citizens of this great nation, to rise up once and for all and say we are all Americans and we all deserve to be treated equally. Let’s welcome those huddled masses again and forge a path for people in this country to find a legal way to citizenship. Let’s stand up to racial injustice and not back down from this ages old fight until every man, woman and child can feel safe in the knowledge that they won’t be treated any differently because of the color of their skin. Let’s stop hiding behind words and stand up for what is right because it is the right thing to do.

Equality for all means equality for every, single person living in this great nation of ours and I have a responsibility, as a middle class white person, to stand up with all people of color and say we must change, we must do better, we must evolve into a society that embodies all the differences of its people.

From now on, I will celebrate the differences I see and speak out when I see injustice.

If we don’t do it now, when are we ever going to?

My one hope for today is that peace will reign supreme in our Capitol.

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It’s October and I finished my second novel!

Wow, my previous post was about being a pantser or a plotter and which one works best. Well, I have my answer obviously, since I started this new novel at the beginning of July, and despite a few issues (non-writing related), I finished it in 3 months and it’s being edited as we speak and the cover designer is working on the first mock up of the cover.

My last novel took so long that I really have no idea exactly HOW long it took. It was definitely years, maybe 2-3. I did it on a hit and miss schedule, with bits here and there. It was so choppily written that when I went back to edit it I realized I had made tons of mistakes and plot errors and I had to fix all of that before getting it edited properly.

Now, it’s October and I have used writing as a way to block out all the crap that is happening in reality because let me tell you anyone reading this years from now, 2020 has been the most insane year of occurrences. It started out fine for most people, not me as I was really sick, then I got good news – my nephew and his wife were expecting a baby. I got to bask in the joy of that for about 4 days before all hell broke loose, shut downs happened, school ended for my daughter and went online, everything came to a grinding halt and at that point I hadn’t even plotted my second book and I just set it aside because it was all too much.

No camps, no activities, no friends coming over, no traveling, no vacations and a trip to the grocery store became a kind of frenzied attempt to interact with NO ONE AT ALL!

By the end of June, we were all a bit calmer and I started to plot my second book, began writing it at the beginning of July and then just kept going for the most part, trying to stick to a schedule of writing each day. I didn’t always achieve what I planned, but I kept going, following my plotline, which was a 20 page outline (some of which never made it into the book at all).

Today, I just received the revised size proof of book one, just one small glitch in the title size on the spine. I’m editing book two, I’m plotting for book three and I already voted for President because we started early voting way back in September.

I have to say, in order to be a creative thinker and writer, I am avoiding as much politics as possible because I don’t believe there are really any undecided voters out there anymore. If you haven’t switched teams by now, you’re not going to at this late stage.

I just hope this election helps to reunite this country because if it doesn’t, I’m not sure that I want to remain here, and I have options that I can consider because I can be a writer anywhere.

So, peace out people and try to remember we are ALL Americans, no matter what our beliefs are, and after the election has been decided, we ALL have to live together in harmony. Don’t burn any bridges with people you love over politics, it’s just not worth it – agree to disagree!

Happy October!

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Pantser or plotter, that is the question!

So, it’s July already and I’m behind schedule for the new book and I am fairly and squarely placing the blame on coronavirus. No, I haven’t had the virus, I just could not find any creative juices to write with, it’s as simple as that.

But, while my creative muse had ditched me for a while, I had plenty to do with renovating my new home, helping my daughter navigate a hastily cobbled together school online and my husband working from home too. Time passed at a surprisingly fast rate once the initial shock of quarantine wore off, until all the days blended into one and sometimes I realized it actually was Tuesday when I thought it was Tuesday, but most times I had no clue what day it was, and still don’t.

I started thinking about my writing as a business during this time and decided I had to get myself a really good plot worked out for the new book.

I was a pantser on the first one. Being a pantser basically just means you fly by the seat of your pants, you just write with no real idea where the plot is going and it really does work. It’s not efficient though. It took me a long time to write the last book, a really long time.

Being a pantser or a plotter is a choice. So I thought I would choose to be a plotter for this next book and see how that went. Well, I started writing less than two weeks ago from my clear outline of the book and I’m over 20,000 words already. I’d say that proved my point very effectively.

I’m not sure I’ll be a 100% plotter all the time, but if I want to be successful and get my “product” out there faster, then the pantser method just won’t cut it.

Another issue with the go with the flow style stream of consciousness, no planning style of writing is that you forget things. I changed a character’s last name for a good reason last time, but I forgot to change it everywhere. I wrote a character into a scene after he was meant to be somewhere else. I forgot the order things happened.

Now, I have a spreadsheet with details on it – I know when something happened now and I log new events here so I can keep track.

I don’t plot every single little detail, I just set the scene for major things happening and occasionally have mini-scenes or lines of dialogue I like that I put into the plot.

I think it took me at least 6 months to reach 20,000 words for the first book, but I’m hoping to be at 30,000 by next week and finished some time in August and then onto the editing stage and the fun part where I work with a cover designer to come up with a cool design I like.

So, tell me, are you a pantser or a plotter, and how is that working for you?

Peace out from D.C. (where it’s never anything but too hot lately).

 

 

romance author

I have no words.

Does anyone feel like the world has been turned upside down in just a matter of a few weeks?

This virus, which we now all know isn’t just like the flu, is spreading rapidly across the globe. I have family members in the hardest hit parts of Europe and I’m scared for them every day and praying for the numbers to start dropping where they live.

I have family members in the hardest hit part of America too, and the stress and anxiety over their well-being has simply sucked every bit of joy and creativity out of me. The words to an upbeat romance just will not flow right now and my creative muse has taken a hike.

Every day I get up, I do what I’m supposed to do and I hope by the end of the day that something will have changed, but it hasn’t yet.

I hope, if you’re reading this, you are staying safe at home but I know so many of you are essential workers, like my husband, and I pray that God or the universe will watch over you as you take yourselves out into harms way each day.

We will get through this together the way humanity has gotten through things before, but this time I think we may come out of this a little bit more evolved and I hope a lot less selfish.

It’s time for humanity to rise up as one family and stand together to help each other fight this virus and its overwhelming consequences.

Right now, I’m working on the submission I want to send to Harlequin in a few weeks, I’m aiming for the beginning of May 2020. At least I can send it online!

Remember: if you have extra food because you bought way too much, the food banks can desperately use it.

Peace out and stay safe everyone!

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Do you ever feel the world is spinning too fast and you might fall off?

My life at the moment is going at full pelt and there are so many things going on right now, that have nothing to do with writing, that I’m just not mentally capable of creating anything.

My house is about to go up for sale – finally – so it’s all hands on deck to make sure everything is ready for the photographer to come in and take photos that will help sell my home.

I just finished painting, carpeting, cleaning, etc, etc, and it’s basically the end of the prep work and then onto the maintenance while we sell. It will be official this weekend and I have no idea how long it will take to sell, although it is a very nice, large home. It’s too large for my little family and perfect for someone with a much larger family, so I hope it won’t take too long.

We didn’t find another house yet anyway, but we will be actively looking from this weekend on and I just cannot wait to be in my new home because then I will be able to think again and the world will start spinning at its regular rate again.

Does anyone else find it hard to be creative when there is just so much other stuff going on? It’s like all this mundane stuff just sucks the creative right out of me, leaving me with my ideas and my planning but no juice in the tank to do anything about it.

And what is going through my mind right now? I am using my creativity to imagine my life about 6-8 weeks into the future where I’m sitting in the kitchen of my new home, eating breakfast in the nook, looking out at the yard. That’s not too outlandish a leap, is it?

So, whatever you’re doing in your life, however hectic it is, let’s rejoice in the fact that we are all here, living our best lives, creating stories for others to read, and just trying to share positivity with as many people as we can.

Life is good, (crazy busy, but good)!

NOTE: It turned out to be about 10-11 weeks later that I moved into my new house after 6 weeks living in a hotel with 2 dogs and the three of us!