It Doesn’t Take Much to Ruin Your Schedule

HH isn’t much of a sports fan. We don’t spend hours watching sports on TV, but he loves the Kentucky Derby and an occasional golf tournament, always the Indy 500, but he loves the NBA playoffs. We’ve been watching The Golden State Warriors battling the Lakers every other night, and the games go LATE here. It’s usually one a.m. or later when we go to bed.

When I was young, I could do late nights. I’m not young, and my brain feels like sludge when I get up at my regular time after I go to bed late. In the mornings, I usually read my e-mails and a few blogs to wake up before I start writing. Now, I sit on the couch and drink an extra cup of coffee. Our cat loves it. Coffee time is lap time for him. HIs purrs fill the living room.

HH doesn’t mind starting his day late. He’s retired and considers the Playoffs as a perk he didn’t have when he worked. Me? I’m a lot more flexible since we’ve retired, but I still try to write every weekday I can. During the Playoffs, I just write less. But they’ll be over soon, and life will be normal again until my daughter and her husband come to stay with us for a while. Some things are more important than writing. Their visit ranks high on my list. ANY kid’s visit ranks high.

Today, I lost afternoon writing time because we went to the garden store and bought two new rose bushes and flowers for my flower boxes. I LOVE FLOWERS. I was sitting on my front porch one afternoon and two little girls walked past our house. “This is where the flower lady lives,” the one girl said, and it made me happy!

Tomorrow, I hope to get back in gear and be the WRITING lady again. But who knows? We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Writing: One More Week of Fun

I’m still waiting on one more critique on the romance I wrote. It’s summer. Everyone I know has busier schedules, so I know that when I give them my manuscript to read, it might take them a while. I fill the gap with writing short stories, and I’ve started to make character charts and plot points for my next novel. For the first time, my mind skipped to the FOURTH romance that was noodling in my head instead of the THIRD. Unusual for me. I’m a linear type of writer. This happens, then this, etc. Some of my friends write scenes and then figure out where to put them in the story. Impossible for me. Others let plot revolve out of their characters and their journey. My plots are built on cause and effect, scene and sequel. I write lean and rewrite as I go, and then when I do my final draft, I have to add more description and detail, more internal dialogue and emotion. And my mind doesn’t usually skip from one plot point to one far off in the distance. So I was puzzled. Until I realized that I didn’t know my characters well enough. I thought I did. I’d used them in two other stories, but they were walk-on characters, pretty minor. I could hear them and see them, but I didn’t know what really made them tick, what pushed their buttons. So back to the good, old character wheel for me, and then the story blossomed.

The first romances I wrote–to see if I could do them–were novellas, only forty pages each, and I made them into a bundle–The Emerald Hills series. I peopled the entire town with characters who owned little shops and then made each character bump into someone who’d eventually win her heart. My daughter still bugs me to write something new for Sheriff Guthrie and the Orange Tabby, but he found his soul mate, with the help of the stray cat. His story’s over (for a romance). So is the cat’s. Guthrie adopted him. I tried to give each novella a different flavor, a different type of protagonist, but a review I got made me rethink how I did the series. (If you look at the bundle, its says that I have no reviews, but each novella had them, before I lost them when I combined them into one book. *sadness*). The reviewer had read all of them, though, and said that the rhythm and tone of each story were too similar. And she had a point. I don’t want to make that same mistake with my romance novels. I want each one to have a different feel. Let’s hope that’s a good idea. I’ll have to wait and see.

Oops, I took off on a tangent. The point is, I’ve been blithely jotting notes and ideas for the third book, and I’m finishing a new Babet and Prosper. I’ve even let myself try a little writing experiment that I have to admit has been SO much fun! (It’s on my webpage). But after this week is over, it’s time to hit the rewrites and get back to serious work time. I might not write as many hours in the summer, but I still have books to finish.

Hope you’re having a great summer, too, and happy writing!

My webpage:

Writing: How did March get here already?

Last year, I set big goals for myself for my writing. I was going to write the third novel in my Fallen Angel series. Cross that off. I was going to write a new Babet and Prosper novella. Done. I was going to start putting short-short stories on my webpage. Check. And I was going to finish a third novel for Wolf’s Bane and maybe Empty Altars. I’ve just finished the first draft of the Wolf’s Bane novel–admittedly late, but hey!–somewhere in there, my agent asked me to try to write a romance. First, I don’t read romance. I don’t know the rhythms and intricacies of the genre. So that’s what I did first. I really believe you can’t write something you don’t read. And I discovered that I love Catherine Bybee. I read her, and ideas started to perk. I wrote the book, sent it off, my agent–Lauren Abramo at Dystel & Goderich–loved it, and we’re still doing the rewrite dance.

This year, I didn’t set goals for myself, because I don’t know what to expect. My agent might ask for another romance. I hate being rushed, so I’m going to start a second one soon. Once my trusted critique partners go through Magicks Unleashed (the 3rd Wolf’s Bane), I’ll polish that and put it online. And then? I’m not sure. But for a writer with no agenda, I still feel behind. How can that happen? I’ve decided it just goes with the territory. I’m very aware that I haven’t written a third Empty Altars novel and don’t know when I will. I used to think that if I got to three books in a series, I could pat myself on the back for being a good girl. But then trilogies stretched to longer series, and some writers hit their stride on their fourth or fifth book. Yikes! That means that three books is just cutting your teeth. Anyway, I have lots of writing to go. This year, I just don’t have a plan. And for right now, that’s okay.

BTW, since I’m going to start rewrites soon, Sue Bahr did a great blog post on it. I found it really helpful.

Also, since I’m starting to miss Tyr and Diana in Empty Altars, I decided to treat myself by writing a short story about them for my webpage. I’m going to post one part every week for the month of March.

And if you’re ever interested in catching my author’s facebook page, it’s:

If you have goals this year, hope you meet them. If you don’t, happy writing anyway!