Friday, September 21, 2012

Menage A WIPs?

This isn't a surprise to some of you, but I'm cheating on my current work-in-progress with another book. Err, make that two other books. I know. I'm insatiable. 

Here's the thing: I can't work on just one thing at a time. My brain isn't wired to be creatively faithful. 

Yesterday I was asked, "How do you manage all those characters?" Its not easy, but to satisfy my madness, it is absolutely necessary. 

Here's a break down of what I'm working on now:

Edits on my debut, coming out tentatively in the spring 2013

35,000+ finished on work-in-progress #1, Paint River (Paint River Cowboys, book 1). 1st draft will be done my October 15th (I promised my CPs!)

30,000+ words in on Constant Craving, work-in-progress #2. ON HOLD

Synopsis and complete outline, plus first two chapters on book #2 for my debut, nearly completed. 

My thought process won't let me stop thinking, doing, writing, creating and building worlds. It just won't, so I must keep a constant stream of writing flowing out of me lest I combust from the force of it.

Here's how I do it:

  • I break 8 hours up into chunks and dedicate 2 hours per project, 3 days a week. The other 2 days a week I dedicate to only one project, though I may make a lot of random notes about other things. On the weekend, I either schedule or panster my way through, if I have the time.

  • My job as an EMT allows time to write in between ambulance runs (most of the time). I hit one project hard and heavy whenever I'm on call.

  • I get up early or stay up ridiculously late.

  • My girls are in dance class once a week, that takes 2 hours. I use this time to outline, sketch a scene, etc..
  • Music is my friend, my creative partner, my escape. 

  • Coffee. My coffee intravenous line is wonderful. (just kidding...)

It gets a little hairy sometimes, but it is paying off:

I already have interest from 2 publishers in the Paint River series, and it isn't even done yet! SCORE!

My debut revision will be done on time, dammit!

Constant Craving is simmering nicely, waiting for its chance to come back to life. And it will. Oh yes. (I simply can't deprive the world of Beckett much longer).

If I keep a similar pace, I'll meet my 2013 goals which are:

Have my debut OUT!

Have Paint River on submission with book #2 completed

Have the second book in the series for my debut completed

Have Constant Craving ready for submission by Jan 2014.  

Oh, and still have a shred or two of sanity!

A friend called me prolific. I take that as a compliment, but what will touch me more is being prolific AND good. There's no sense in writing a ton if it's all shit, right? 

Time will tell. For sure.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

All the Pretty Girls (or not)

All the Pretty Girls

I was thinking last night about how my daughters will likely read my books when they are old enough to enjoy adult romance. And that made me suddenly very happy that the heroines I write about are often flawed and imperfect.


For that fact, so are the heroes. Why?


Let's put it this way. I've never been a beauty queen. Passably plain is about as close as I can come to describing myself. Now, this isn't self flagellation, it is simply the truth. Yes, I've always been one of those girls who looks in the mirror and pokes and prods my face with a big 'ole frown, wondering why my nose has to be so big, my face so broad, my eyes too small. And why the HELL do I have such a big crease right between my eyes? Why? 


I digress...


I just turned 39 and this self-realization still bothers me. Probably because I've spent almost half of my life wearing either a medic uniform, or jeans and a T-shirt. If further fashion besides black, moisture-impermeable pants with a gazillion pockets, a blue button-down shirt and heavy black duty boots exists, I'm oblivious to it. 



Aren't those boots sexy? Yeah. I thought not. I'm just not a girly-girl, even though a large part of me wishes I was. 


What does this have to do with imperfect characters? Because, though my daughters are both gorgeous, its good for them, and others, to know that people can be beautiful even with imperfections. No one is really perfect and though I always give my character men a totally rocking exterior, they always have a major flaw somewhere.


The leading ladies, too. They may be curvy or have scars or a physical handicap or an illness or something that makes them loveable, yet so very, very human. 


When young women read my work, I want them to see and relate to characters who are awesome brain-candy, yet so very real. You can be scared, plain, scared of something, maybe even a little ditzy and still come out ahead. 


Now if someone can tell me how to get rid of this crack between my eyes, I'd be all set. 



Monday, September 10, 2012

What's it Like Working with a Small Press?

I had two pretty significant questions thrown in my lap this week. I wanted to address them because, well, apparently people are thinking about this stuff and if I can help someone else making a tough writing decision, great!

  1. Why didn't you hold out for an agent?
  2. What's it like working with a small press (Etopia Press)? Are the real or just an indie/vanity thing?
 Here are my thoughts:

#1: We all know the importance in making the publishing choice that's best for us and our book at the time. Be it an agent, self-publishing or working with a small pub, choosing takes research. 

I started research two years ago, looking into small presses as a way to get my foot in the door, so to speak. It started with Ellora's Cave and Samhain Press. They'd put out calls for submissions frequently and I thought, "I can do that! I can write something for a press like this!" I was already elbows deep into my novel and future submission to a small press was always in the plan. 

When I received two offers from different small presses, I immediately asked authors whom I admire, who are published by small presses, about their experiences. I heard only GOOD THINGS. Two of the authors are now NYT Bestsellers via their respective small presses! You simply can't skip the value found in the opinions and experiences of authors already walking in the shoes you want for yourself.

My CPs encouraged me to query agents too and boy am I glad they did! Not only did I get an incredible amount of interest in the book, I also received good feedback, two offers for revise and resubmit and really valuable querying experience. 

Ultimately, because I have two other book series already in the works, I was ready to let Heat Rising run it's course and move into the 'published' vs. 'waiting' world. A small press offered me that chance and it felt right.

#2:  First, Etopia Press is not a vanity press (PLUS, have you seen their book covers? Wowza!). They are a legit publisher of both online and print fiction. I'd say the same is true of the top six small publishers whom you see frequent releases from. 

 Now that I have my foot in the door (both feet, I suppose), here's how the process has gone so far:

  • I received the first editorial letter yesterday. My editor made suggestions that are spot on, for adding to and clarifying the storyline. I'm lucky  in that my letter was slightly less than two pages (I've heard of 10-page editorial letters and that scared the shit out of me!) We expect my book to go through 3 rounds of edits before it is ready for publication.

  • I have about a month to complete this first round of edits.

  • We're considering a title name change. This is also something I expected.

I don't have a release date or any other information quite yet. I have a direct line of communication with my editor, who is not only professional but friendly and incredibly personable, too. It's nice that we can crack a dirty joke on Twitter and then get back to edits. 

Was I afraid of stuffy, completely serious editors? YES I WAS! Having nothing to compare this process to, I had no idea what to expect. 

Was I afraid it would take days/weeks/months to get the editing process started? Hell yes, I was. I'm still amazed that it only took days to get the ball rolling. 

All-in-all, I'm very satisfied with how things are going so far. Now it is up to me to hold up my end of the bargain and knock these revisions out of the park!

Hand me a couple bottles of wine and I'll be all set. :)

Do you know someone considering working with a small press? I'm happy to help anyway I can. I'll be sure to post more about my small-press experience as I go. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Big News!

It is pretty amazing what can happen in two months' time. I started sending queries to agents and publishers on July 1st, 2012 and I'm happy to say, as of September 3rd, I've signed Heat Rising to Etopia Press

I feel like my head was spinning constantly these past two months. The manuscript attracted much more attention than I EVER thought possible, considering this is my first completed work and, to be honest, the completed manuscript could still use some work. While I received my fair share of rejections, Heat Rising also generated  two offers and two 'revise & resubmit' from agents who were on my 'Top 10' list. That alone was pretty damn exciting! Not to mention five requests for full manuscripts and a handful of partial requests, all within the first month of querying! 

Trust me. I felt like I'd won some major award with all those requests. Let's not talk about how every rejection brought me down, OK? Ok. 

So, Etopia Press found ME and came knocking on my email door. Because I'm nosy, I did quite a bit of digging around and talking to some of their authors, etc. I'm happy to say that nothing but good things popped up (obviously, or I wouldn't have signed, right?) So, I had a decision to make.

  • Take offer #1
  • Take offer #2
  • Complete and submit 'revise and resubmit' requests.

After much contemplation, I liked knowing that someone loved Heat Rising enough right now, to grab it in it's current form and work on it after it had been signed. And after researching both offer options, Etopia Press was the more comfortable choice. 

Plus, I'm already ears-deep in my next novel and am ready to move Heat Rising along so I can open the doors for new things. So, a huge thank you to Etopia Press for taking a chance on me and I can't wait to share more great news! 

Launch dates and all that coming up soon. 

Of course, I have to plug my support group for getting me this far. Heat Rising sat in a drawer for almost 7 years before I was introduced to a group of amazing writers, who kept on me until I finished that first draft. And they've been there the entire time. I can't wait until they are all agented and published because, clearly, they ALL DESERVE IT! 

Thank you WrAHM-ers and The Amazing CP Group!!