I don’t post every time I put up a chapter, so you might have missed a couple, but chapter 5’s up. Hope you enjoy it!
Yesterday, my husband and I joined my friend and her husband to walk through the high school that Cheryl and I had attended. The school system shut down the building in 2010 (I think). It’s sat empty ever since. And now, a business has bought it, and they’re going to tear it down.
It was sad enough when Fort Wayne closed Elmhurst. It was a good school. The building was just old. But it was depressing when the newspaper reported that it’s going to be demolished soon. The company that bought it kindly led guided tours through it one last time before the building is destroyed. The four of us went, but the tour mostly covered the new section of the building that Cheryl and I had never been in. The only rooms we really remembered were the cafeteria, gym, and the offices.
I was never very active in school, wasn’t a joiner. I was more of a brainiac geek who loved my classes and did a lot of homework. But that school shaped me. I had one of the hardest and most wonderful English teachers in the world. If she assigned a five page paper, you were allowed five grammatical mistakes–one for each number of pages. If she hit a sixth error, she circled it and quit reading your paper. You got an F. I learned to pay attention to grammar. I took Latin for four years. My Latin teacher made a dead language and its myths come to life. I still love myths to this day. They showed up in my EMPTY ALTARS urban fantasy series and some of my urban fantasy bundles.
Lots and lots of people stood in line to take one last tour of Elmhurst. I know time moves on and things change, but it’s going to hurt the first time I drive past that corner, and the building’s gone. Some things have more impact than others. Elmhurst is a memory that made me happy. I’ll still have that memory…, but that’s all.
I signed up for another blog tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. (They’re SO easy to work with!) It started on Oct. 30th and it will end Nov. 10. For the first tour, I did questions and answers at each stop. This time, I chose to put up a different excerpt each time. I don’t know if the tour will help me sell more books. If it does, that’s wonderful. If it gives me a few more reviews, even better! But there are no guarantees.
What I love about the tours, though, are visitors’ comments. Even just a “sounds like a good book” makes me happy. “I like the excerpt” makes my day. In SPECIAL DELIVERY, Karli is a travelling nurse. My daughter is a travelling nurse, and adding that into the romance’s story line made it more fun to write. One visitor commented that her sister was a travelling nurse, and it gave us something we could both relate to.
Once this book goes up on Nov. 7th, I’ll have a year before my mystery’s available, so I decided to write a romance, chapter by chapter, to post on my webpage in the meantime. I have to admit, I had three brothers and an idea that just kept surfacing in my head, over and over again, that just didn’t want to go away. I kept telling it to. “No more romances for me,” I told it. “Only think of new mysteries.” But my brain doesn’t pay any more attention to me than my chihuahua does. So I sat down and wrote the first chapter, and I really liked it. I posted it, then sat down and wrote the second chapter. I liked that, too.
I can “pants” it for one or two more chapters, and then every pore of me will crave some kind of assurance that I’ll have enough ideas and head in the right direction, so I’ll have to sit down and write plot points. I have so many friends who are pantsers and write beautiful novels, but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried. (Don’t ask). I’m already jotting down ideas for what can go wrong in this story. And since I’m really posting a first draft–since I can’t give it to my critique partners to clean up first–I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
I’ve shared that I like to divide my novels into fourths when I plot. But I recently saw K.M. Welland’s Nano outline to keep your story on track. I’ve been writing a long time, but it still boggled my mind. I’m thinking of giving it a try, even though I might skip a few steps along the way, so that I don’t scare my brain into a serious retreat. I’m not sure if it will work for me to be this organized, but I’ll find out. If it overwhelms me, I’ll go back to what I usually do. And that’s the thing about writing. There is no right or wrong way, and you can always regroup and rewrite. Anyway, in case you like nailing every trigger point in your story, here’s her link: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/novel-writing-checklist/
If you’re trying to pound out 50,000 words this month for Nano, good luck! If you’re like me, and Nano is the stuff of hiding under the bed, happy writing anyway. Have a great November!
author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
I just put up the second chapter of LUCAS, (BROTHERS’ LOVE series). Hope you enjoy it!
How can one person have so much history rambling about in her head? I’ve raved about Julia Donner’s Regency romances before. I love them–every single one of them. But now she’s written a historical Western romance? With a hero who’s so strong, so thoughtful, so sweet….well, I loved this book, too! It came out today. I got to read it before it became official, and I got to see Chicago in its beginning days–rough around the edges and rowdy. All of the characters are great in this story, but Jake? Jake will live with me for a long time.
I’m not sure what happened this year, and especially these last few months, but one event has juxtaposed itself against another, and life’s been busy. I thought it would slow down at the beginning of October. I thought wrong. Now, I think it will relax back to normal after the first week of November. I’m not complaining. Every single thing was fun. My hub’s brother came to stay with us for almost a week. He left on Tuesday. We only get to see him once a year, and we always look forward to his visit. My daughter’s coming for three days next week. We haven’t seen her in a while either, so I’m excited. But my writing . . .
I’m a creature of habit. I like waking up in the morning, pouring a cup of coffee, and stumbling back to my writing room. That hasn’t happened lately. Writing has been hit and miss, worked around other schedules. And some days, there’s no writing at all. Maybe it was time. Maybe I needed a jolt out of my routine, because my writing feels fresher again. I’m more excited about it. And I can’t wait to glue fanny to chair and write like crazy.
My editor sent me pages to rewrite for my first mystery. Nothing too daunting. Note to self: no cuss words–I usually don’t get too bad–but not even a “damn” is allowed in cozy Kensington mysteries. And no hot scenes. Everything stops at the bedroom door. And I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to write decent sex scenes. I almost needed a tutorial. Now I’ll lose all my skills:) But hopefully, I’ll write mysteries for a long time.
My second mystery (the first draft) is finished to the last fourth, only 20,000 words to go. So what does my brain do? It yearns to write another romance. I should have known. When I had to give up urban fantasy to write my Mill Pond romances, my brain kept sending me ideas for Babet and Prosper, Enoch and Voronika. It let me know it needed closure before we moved on. So why wouldn’t it have another romance tucked in its sneaky, gray folds before we could call me a mystery writer?
I’m ahead enough on my deadlines, I can sneak in a romance. So I’m going to. And maybe then my brain will be happy with no regrets. Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see. So I’ll be juggling plots until I finish mystery #2, and then I’ll concentrate on the romance and finish that. And then? That’s too far away. I’ll worry about that when it comes.
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I put a chapter up on my webpage. Not sure if romance is your thing, though, so I’m just testing it out. Hope you like it.
Okay, I didn’t mean to post this so soon, but my hub’s brother is coming to stay with us for five days or more on Wednesday. He lives in Oakland, so we don’t see him that often. I doubt that I’ll do any writing when he’s here. If I get lucky, I’ll get to peek at my e-mails, etc. But that’s iffy, too. So I thought I’d post the last chapter before I disappear for a while. Maybe you’ll have forgiven me (if this bothered you) before I come back:)
I usually write happier stuff. This isn’t happy. It’s on the dark side. My hubs crossed his fingers to ward against evil when he gave me back the last chapter. Of all the things he doesn’t read, he chose this one to try. Who knew? But once in a while, I NEED to write something out of my comfort zone. Every once in a while, I need to read a PRINCE OF THORNS instead of a cozy mystery or romance.
I didn’t make this completely miserable, but it comes close:)
You know how, when you don’t see someone’s kids, it comes as a shock when you hear how old they are? In your mind, you picture them as four or five and then you find out they’re nine or ten. At least, that happens to me. My mind hangs on to the last time I saw them and doesn’t add nearly enough of the years that have passed. For some reason, it must work the opposite for writing. Friends always think I should be further along than I am. Words don’t accumulate as fast as they should. I plot and I plod.
I admit I’m lucky. At least my friends ask about my writing. They encourage it. They often ask, “How’s the writing going?” And they always expect me to have made great progress. I expect it, too, but tortoises don’t impress.
I’m up to 50,000 words in my mystery. I need at least 20,000 more. And this is the time–in every manuscript–when I panic. I look at my last remaining plot points, and I just KNOW that I don’t have enough ideas to meet my word count. The worry and sense of foreboding almost always makes me go to bed, sure I’m doomed, and wake up the next morning with new ideas for scenes. It happened three nights ago. I fell asleep thinking about places to add another twist, a new turn, and woke up with a new character and clue. (And yes, my husband’s used to my living with characters walking around in my head. He takes it in stride.)
The new clue made me even happier than usual. In my plot points–(which I need to give myself enough material to keep a book moving–and see what happened?–I’m still worried I have enough)–I was supposed to kill off Peyton–my cute, young pizza delivery guy. (Hope you could follow that). Except, I’ve gotten really attached to him. I like him way more than I thought I would. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t kill him. I thought readers might hate me. I’d hate me. So, you guessed it, the new character has to die. Thankfully, we don’t really get to know her, so we aren’t too attached to her, but I needed a nice, sympathic victim. And yes, I know that if I kill someone we all care about, the murder will have more impact. But this time, I just couldn’t do it.
Anyway, I’ve added a few scenes to the last fourth of the book, and hopefully, they’ll push me over 70,000 words–the length my editor wants. If not, I’ll panic again, and I’ll have to come up with more ideas. But the thing is, this happens to me EVERY book. You’d think I’d learn, but not so much. And you know how every kid you have is different? So what works for one doesn’t work for the next? Well, so is every book. One flows, one doesn’t; one loves wordy descriptions, one begs to be tighter, punchier. Books have their own ideas of what they want. And just like raising a kid, you as the author might have certain rules, but the books do their best to bend them.
What I have learned, though, is to trust myself and the process. There’s a certain amount of faith in starting a book, a belief that when you reach a big, giant hole with only blank pages in front of you, you’ll be able to think of something to fill it. And you will. Trust yourself. So, hope you have a good week. And happy writing!