Jul 052017
 

Working on the edits of my first full-length book Honorable Intentions with editor extraordinaire Kathy Cottrell was for me an eye opening and, most times, enjoyable experience.

The hero, Chase, meets the heroine, Samantha, in a coffee shop one morning. Acting on a dare from a spurned co-worker who’s told her she needs to loosen up and learn to flirt, Samantha comes on to the first man she comes across, Chase, like a steamy seductress. Her efforts are rewarded, if that’s the right word, in a heart stopping kiss from the handsome stranger she now can’t seem to forget.

Fast forward to later that day. Come to find out, said stranger is a single father embroiled in a custody battle for his only child. And, a good friend of her new boss who has just assigned Samantha to chaperone the impressionable, teenaged young lady on an upcoming Alaska cruise. Not exactly the no-nonsense matron in proper attire and sensible shoes Chase had hoped for. Not wanting to offend his buddy, Chase has no choice but to find a way to go with them.

Taking these characters through a series of experiences which bring them closer together and circumstances which cause them problems large enough to drive them apart, I completed the requisite Big Black Moment and moved them blissfully on to their Happily Ever After.

At which point, I sent the manuscript in.

Which brings me to the edits mentioned at the beginning of this piece. The initial revision letter came back taking note of a couple of story arcs I’d neglected to complete. One, my heroine’s rocky relationship with an overbearing father, described in detail toward the book’s beginning, was touched on in a later scene but that was it. In the rewrite, their relationship was acceptably resolved. Second, my hero’s daughter, who is the victim of the unwelcome attentions from an older man, is sent off shortly after the incident to watch a movie with someone more her own age. No, Kathy said, show how this young woman is affected by the inappropriate actions of someone else, and how she is assured by the adults in her life that she is not at fault for what happened.

Oh yeah. Given the number of woman’s lib genes I inherited, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even think of that. In the rewrite, both issues are presented in a way that would, I hope, make my mother and grandmother proud.

My point is, the book I wrote – the one I wrapped my life around and put my heart into – had some merits, but wasn’t good enough to justify its publication. Yet. And thank goodness the experienced eyes of someone else helped me make it so eventually.

These early changes I was asked to make in the book were Of course, why didn’t I think of that? moments for me and, therefore, easy for me to fix.

Our next round of edits weren’t quite as simple.

[Coming up: She was iffy on the Big Black Moment and absolutely detested the ending.]

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the July 5th posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt,  Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan

Jun 072017
 

Ever wonder what the world would be like if you were never born? In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey got to see the impact he had on the lives of others. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to calculate our own worth.

As authors, never been ties right in with those what if questions that drive our stories.

Where would the romance genre be without the secret baby trope?

In my first book, Honorable Intentions, I got a lot of mileage out of the teenaged daughter of a single dad hero. She was the product of a one night stand, and I built an entire book—heroine and all—around his desire to take care of her. Keep her safe and in his life.

In another, One Fateful Friday part of the Saturday in Serendipity anthology, the hero is sterile yet he and the heroine come together to adopt two orphaned children. In that same book, a secondary character and her husband who can’t conceive live their lives as foster parents.

It might be I come by these storyline ideas naturally. My own mother was an unplanned pregnancy BEFORE my grandparents were married. *Gasp* Back then, in the early 1900s, such a thing was frowned upon and then some. Though she and my grandfather eventually married and had another child, my grandmother was actually disowned by her family for having and raising the child conceived out of wedlock.

Scads of historical romances have been, well, born, with that particular circumstance as the inciting moment that drives the protagonist into action and on to what we term the heroine’s journey.

But think about it in a real sense. If my mother hadn’t been born, I wouldn’t be here, nor would my children or their children or…well, you get the idea.

My how times have changed though.

Married with two soon to be teenaged children, moving steadily upward in my career, with money in the bank and an empty nest on the horizon, I had my own unplanned pregnancy. For me, inconvenience wasn’t a sufficient reason to not have and raise the resulting twins. Long story short, my life has been better for the choice I made.

Here’s another true life occurrence that has me thinking fiction. My husband’s maternal grandmother left two children in the old country, never to see them again, while she sailed to the new world and a new life. And where she subsequently bore and raised three more children. That’s a book I’d love to write someday.

To each his or her own, but you can see what I mean about how some events in life shape the events in our stories.

What would the world be like if you had never been born? Certainly something to ponder now and then, isn’t it?

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the June 7th posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner

May 032017
 

Ask that question of any writer and you’ll get a variation of; Because I can’t not write. My reason for writing is much the same and I also write romance because of the happily ever after.

Everyone has a list of life’s challenges, experiences and adversities they’ve faced and, hopefully, overcome. In addition to being slightly older, the characters in my stories are much the same. Not only do they tend to have been around the block a time or two, they are definitely mature and, in some cases, entering the second phase of successful careers and moderately happy lives. They’re everyday people slowing down, pausing to smell the roses, if you will. Who understand, at long last, what’s important in life. Many have been dealt challenges and granted second chances.

In many of my short stories, the heroines especially face and manage to triumph over their own adversities. In Forgotten Alliance, Sarah Novak was forced to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity. All On Her Own dealt with a well-intentioned, yet meddling – read matchmaking – older sister of heroine Nancy Carter.

In my first full length book, Honorable Intentions, hero Chase Canfield was rebuilding a life for himself and his teenaged daughter.

On The Surface, the first of four in my Brothers in Blue series to be released this summer, has hero Brad Collins, a bounty hunter about to embark on a quest that will affect his life like none other. And he has no idea what’s in store for him.

As is a sign of today’s times, many of my characters end up forming non-traditional families. And, it almost goes without saying the heroines are strong, intelligent and self-sufficient. The heroes are individuals who can acknowledge they may not be perfect or have all the answers.

While, in my opinion, there’s a special beauty in the happily ever after guarantee of romance fiction, also in my opinion, there’s another bonus, the payoff, if you will as we all experience the ups and downs in real life.

In a romance, the hero and heroine find love and acceptance on their own terms and to fit their own lifestyles. Something readers can identify with, maybe even find inspiration in.

They can do it. I can do it. We’re all going to be okay.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the May 3rd posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone

Apr 052017
 

A good book isn’t written, it’s re-written ~ Phyllis A. Whitney

As an insecure writer extraordinaire, here’s one of many stories about my own writing journey.

Saturday In Serendipity is a compilation of three novellas which revolve around a twentieth high school reunion at Serendipity High School. Serendipity is a mid-sized town located on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont.

Three Strikes Thursday, leaves Barry Carlson, professional baseball’s former golden boy, with some serious making up to do. A love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude of his youth has finally caught up with him and his future. Amanda Marsh is the one he foolishly pushed away. He has his work cut out for him if he hopes to ever win her back.

Two On Tuesday, has Serendipity High School graduate Blane Weston viewing her upcoming class reunion  as a chance to renew a former, but not forgotten, love. Enter Matt Durand, someone she’s recently considered, and quickly rejected as a potential business partner. Turns out he won’t take no for an answer and has other ideas for her time and activities at the reunion.

One Fateful Friday, is the story of forever friends Jake and Bethany, two soul mates through high school who went their separate ways after graduation. Brought together twenty years later, both involved with careers in healthcare, they assume they’ll re-establish their relationship with flawless compatibility. Except, they now hold different philosophies that might jeopardize their chance at a happy future.

Now for the truth.

The three stories in Saturday In Serendipity were originally published and released separately a few years ago. As many authors are doing these days, I reclaimed my rights to the works and published them myself in a single volume.

An interviewer once asked me an interesting question. “What advice do you have for aspiring writers who are full time workers?”

This is my heartfelt answer. Been there, done that. I admit to totally giving up on my fiction writing for a few years because of work pressures, lack of time, and it’s one of my greatest regrets. It’s hard, very hard to carve out time for yourself, let alone your writing, especially when the monetary rewards might not be enough to warrant any expenditure of time. All that being said, my advice would be to always take yourself and your writing seriously, even if no one else does. Make time for yourself and your writing. No. Matter. What. Believe in what you are doing. From a practical standpoint, nothing’s perfect. As the song lyrics go – life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Don’t expect the sun to rise and unlimited writing time to arrive just because you want it to.  That’s not how it works. Carry some type of writing device with you at all times, whether you prefer paper and pen, iPhone slash Pad, internet applications, a tape recorder. Whatever works best for you. Capture your ideas, descriptions and dialogue as soon as they come to mind because, believe me, those things won’t stick around for long. Certainly not until you have the chance to sit down quietly and actually write, uninterrupted, the way you want to. A fellow writer talks of how she ‘sneak writes’ at work. My rebellious side can identify with that.

I guess you could say my advice really is non-advice. Whenever you can and in any way you can – write.

Phyllis A. Whitney is a favorite author of mine, not only for her writing (over one hundred short stories, more than eighty novels for both adults and pre-adults) but for her attitude about the writing itself. The preparation, the dedication, the hard grueling work that goes into creating fiction. Most of what she’s written, and a lot of what she’s said about writing, inspire me to keep working at my writing, no matter what.

I’d like to share a couple of other quotes from the great Phyllis A. Whitney.

You must want to bad enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement…

There’s only one good reason to be a writer—we can’t help it! We’d all like to be rich, famous and successful, but if those are our goals, we’re off on a wrong foot…

In other words, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’d like to think I’m living proof of that.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the April 5th posting of the IWSG will be Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey

Mar 022016
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

This blog post first appeared on February 11, 2016 at The Rose of Prose. For me, it’s message remains relevant today.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans – John Lennon

It was summertime and I was going great guns on my latest WIP. Bound By Duty, book two in my Brothers In Blue series. For about 30,000 words, I cruised along according to plan. My heroine’s problems were set and she was working through them.

Then she hit a snag.

Enter the hero to the rescue—sort of. You see, he has a mission of his own that is in direct conflict with her agenda. The hero wants to help, but has to compromise his principles to do so. What’s more important? His reputation or the woman he’s falling in love with?

One third done, only 60,000 words to go. I got this. Yeah, right. Then life began to intervene. Other writing projects, those on deadlines, took precedence. Family issues too numerous to mention cropped up. Then there was the part-time paycheck job offer I couldn’t say no to. None of the ‘life events’ were particularly earth shattering, but my writing time began to shrink. My word production waned.

Time to set a completion date goal and calculate the necessary words per day count needed to accomplish it.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

So far I’ve set, and missed, two self-imposed completion dates. I won’t bore you with the gory details. Let’s just say a third completion date failure looms ahead and life has yet to cut me and my writing plans a break.

Granted, I may be down, but I’m certainly not out. Through it all, I’ve been slogging along. All the way to a good solid 62,000 words and counting. Less than 30,000 more to go now. Definitely doable. On the up side (my new favorite term) I did manage to complete a solid 3,000 word, chapter by chapter outline. I know who does what to whom. Even where, when, why and how they do so. I even slipped in a few red herring characters along with their particular who, what, where, when, why and hows, and it’s off I go again.

Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.

Okay, this is too – you can’t make this stuff upish – not to share. My beloved sister-in-law, literally flying in to the rescue with some of the family pressures I’ve been under. She gets off the plane, my son meets her at the airport, they collect her luggage and are about to head our way.

Through no fault of her own, she takes a header off the escalator. A trip to the hospital, seven hours and fifty stitches around her ear later, she’s here, a little sore, but doing fine. I’m more than happy to take care of her.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Don’t worry though. I WILL arrive at the necessary 90,000 words in Bound by Duty and complete three and four in the series as well.

It’s just, I’ve learned my lesson. No more planning for me, writing wise. No more deadlines, for now.

Experience has taught me, life just simply doesn’t work that way.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the March 2nd posting of the IWSG will be Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard! 

Feb 032016
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Ask that first question of any writer and you’ll get a variation of; Because I can’t not write. My reason for writing is much the same. For the second question I also write romance for those who want the promise of a happily ever after.

Everyone has a list of life’s challenges, experiences and adversities they’ve faced and, hopefully, overcome. The characters in my stories for the Last Rose of Summer line of The Wild Rose Press are much the same. Not only do they tend to have been around the block a time or two, they are definitely mature and, in some cases, entering the second phase of successful careers and moderately happy lives. They’re everyday people slowing down, pausing to smell the roses, if you will. Who understand, at long last, what’s important in life. Many have been dealt challenges and granted second chances.

In many of my short stories, the heroines especially face and manage to triumph over their own adversities. In Forgotten Alliance, Sarah Novak is forced to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity. All On Her Own deals with a heroine who overcomes the well-intentioned, yet meddling – read matchmaking – older sister of heroine Nancy Carter. This story also happens to be my best seller to day. Wonder why.

In my first full length novel, Honorable Intentions, single father hero Chase Canfield rebuilds a life for himself and his teenaged daughter. With a heroine’s help, of course.

The first book in my current work in progress series – Brothers In Blue has hero Brad Collins, a cop turned bounty hunter about to embark on a quest that will affect his life like nothing before. And he has no idea what’s in store for him.

As a sign of today’s times, many of my characters end up forming non-traditional families. It almost goes without saying the heroines are strong, intelligent and self-sufficient. The heroes are individuals who can acknowledge their own imperfections and also admit they may not always have all the answers. You think?

While, in my opinion, there’s a special beauty in the happily ever after guarantee of romance fiction; also in my opinion, there’s another bonus, the payoff, if you will for all who experience the ups and downs in real life.

In a romance, the hero and heroine find love and acceptance on their own terms and to fit their own lifestyles. Something readers can identify with, maybe even find inspiration in.

They can do it. I can do it. We’re all going to be okay.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the February 3rd posting of the IWSG will be Allison Gammons,Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend! 

Dec 022015
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Last month for my Insecure Writers Support Group contribution, I talked about the ABCs of writing a story. From my perspective at least. A for Action, B for Background, C for Characters … In that essay, I went all the way to H for Hang in there. You will make a sale.

Many of my writer friends, supportive as they are read and commented on that post. A couple of those friends – one claimed an OCD’s mind the other is just plain pushy – wondered where the other letters were. In other words…what about the rest of the story—er—alphabet? Continue reading »

Nov 042015
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

The Insecure Writers Support Group meets the first Wednesday of the month online so member writes can share and encourage each other.  So here goes with my November contribution.

Everbody run!

What a way to start a story, right? Engage your reader from the get go. Make them care about what’s happening. Intrigue them, so they will have no choice but to … turn the page.

If you think about it, though, completing a story, be it short, novella length or epic really is as easy as A, B, C … Continue reading »

Sep 022015
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

A colleague of mine, a fellow writer, recently shared how she’s taken a year off from publishing. Not writing, she was quick to add, just the publishing side of things.

I have to say, that concept really resonated with me.

Especially being deeply embroiled doing the necessary promotion of what I already have published, fulfilling obligations for blog posts, sharing for others and such.

In addition, I’m in the hunt for a home for my WIP romantic suspense series, Brothers In Blue. You know the drill, I’m stressing over whether to insert a comma or not. Re-reading, self-editing, proofing and the like until I can hardly see straight. In short, the process is becoming work, I’m sorry to say. I need to revisit the joy of writing for the sake of writing in all its unencumbered and freeing glory.

Right now, one of four books in the Brothers In Blue series is completed and ready to go, with the second nearly halfway done. Continue reading »

Aug 052015
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

There’s no rhyme or reason to the way I write. I’ll admit to it. Not always proudly.

I have writer friends who compose their books in a linear fashion. They, rather the characters they create, travel from Point A to Point B to Points C, D and E. All the way from Once Upon A Time straight through to Happily Ever After.  With no side-trips, no deviation.

Man, I wish I could write like that. But I can’t. My stories come to mind in the form of complete scenes and characterizations, rushes of dialogue. Sometimes this is all related to what has come before, often times not. Through no fault of mine, my characters will react in ways I hadn’t expected. Many times I have no idea why a character will say what they say, or think what they think. Until a few chapters down the road, when everything makes perfect sense. Continue reading »

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