Sometimes perfect is what you least expect.
Brigid Marino lives and works in Edgewater, a neighborhood that’s seen better days. But now that things are looking up, she’s not happy about it. It was bad enough when newcomers started renovating homes, but now a developer is buying up the business properties. Fearing urban renewal will ruin Edgewater and threaten her family’s business, Brigid’s determined to stop him. But handsome newcomer Alex Connor is a major distraction from her crusade.
Though Alex’s sapphire eyes and smoky laugh are doing things to Brigid she can’t ignore, he not only symbolizes the Edgewater changes she wants to stop, he’s urging her to risk some major changes to her life—a life she feels is perfect. Now Brigid must decide whether to trust the charming, but evasive, Alex who’s challenging her to rethink her idea of perfection and open her eyes to new possibilities.
Last year, my life hit a high and a low. I hope never to repeat the low, but I hope to repeat the high often. The high came from seeing High Tea & Flip-Flops be bought or borrowed by almost 4,000 readers in only four months! That may be nothing to some of you writers, but it was HUGE to me. That the high came from a most unlikely book, for me, only adds to my surprised delight.
So what’s in store for my career this year? I’m perpetually dizzy from all the ideas spinning around in my head. I do know one thing for sure—I have a new publishing contract with Kindle Press for my supernatural suspense novel Forever. YAY! My initial excitement about that resulted in a crushing headache, but it was worth it. This will be another new book genre for me, so I’ll need to find out how to connect with readers of that genre. Of course, Amazon already knows how—and boy do they do it!
I’ll have some final work to do concerning Forever in the next few weeks, but I still hope to complete the first draft of my next novel by the end of March. That one (shown as Fish in the bar graph in the side bar) is a beautiful story of love and heartbreak and second chances. I’ll be editing and revising that manuscript through spring and summer. It will definitely be published, but I don’t know how or when. I’m excited to get back to work on it because I believe it’s going to be my best book yet.
Also, I’m thinking about changing all the book covers on my first three novels. I want to develop distinctive “brands” to visually differentiate the genres of my books. And I have several stories in those genres that I need to do something with. Maybe I’ll submit them to journals, maybe I’ll publish them as singles or in a collection, maybe gift some to my devoted fans.
Speaking of devoted fans, watch this place for an announcement about something new I’m going to start—a Facebook group for those who enjoy my books and want to show their support. I’m on Facebook every day. It’s the only place I regularly “speak.” I have a Facebook author page, but unless I pay to boost my posts, which I can’t afford to do, most of those who follow that page never see what I say there. But every member should see whatever I post or comment on in my fan group—whether serious or silly.
Okay. Ready, set, go!
I did not intend to blog only once last month. September just disappeared while I was busy writing. If you’re a self-publisher trying to do it all yourself, like me, maybe you’ll relate to my current predicament. Actually, even if you have a team who decides on the title, cover, and back cover copy for your books, you might sympathize—and feel fortunate.
Even though I planned for my romantic comedy to be a shorter novel than my serious women’s fiction, the first draft missed the goal by a good bit. No surprise really. I write lean, so my first drafts always fall short of the word count goal. Still, I worried I wouldn’t be able to add enough in revision. Now, I’m no longer concerned.
A successful and busy writer friend graciously offered her time to read my first draft and make some excellent suggestions. Those comments inspired me to add over 5,000 words so far. By the time I finish the first revision, I expect the word count to grow a bit more. So, that’s all good.
Unfortunately, I still don’t have a title. The scary thing is, when I think about titles, my mind goes blank. At this stage of writing my first two novels, I’d started compiling a list of possible titles, most of them terrible, still I had something. This time I have nothing except the working title, and even though this is a rom-com, I think the working title is too cutesy.
I’m getting impatient because I want to start working on the cover, and the title is an important factor in the design. Other than knowing the cover needs to announce the book as a fun read, I have no image visualized. I fall asleep every night hoping my subconscious will allow me to see the perfect cover in a dream—and let me retain it when I wake.
Also, I need to start work on the back cover blurb. Oh, joy! I suck at writing those. I’m still not satisfied with the blurbs for my first two novels. You’d think that since I wrote the books, describing them would be a cinch. Not so, for me. It doesn’t help knowing I’ll have to do this all for two more books in the next few months.
Dang. Where’s a good title, cover, and blurb fairy when you need one?
In certain genres, some successful authors appear to write to a formula. Certain, some, appear … could that sentence be any vaguer? But it also contains the word successful, though success can also be interpreted in many ways. In this case, I mean those authors sell a lot of books.
Part of our goal as authors is to create fans of our work, readers who anticipate and buy our next books. So I imagine those successful authors who write to a formula are not selling each of their books to a new and separate set of readers. No, they have fans who buy all of their books and happily read them.
I’ve heard it said that some of these books are so formulaic that little more than the character names and the locations are changed. I expect that’s exaggeration, but I’m not going to waste my time searching for such books to find out. That’s not the kind of formula I’m seeking for my own writing, anyway.
The basic structure that most novels adhere to is a sort of formula. That structure is intuitive to many writers. Not to me. Knowing that I’m going to have to push, pull, squeeze, or stretch the story I’m writing into that 3-act (or whatever) structure haunts me during the first draft.
I probably shouldn’t be thinking about structure during first drafting, but I can’t help it. I haven’t even settled on an estimated word count for the WIP I’m currently working on. Will it be a novella or novel? That’s one of the reasons I love writing in Scrivener. I go ahead and write the disconnected scenes when they come to me and keep them in a designated folder. When I reach the point where they fit in, I’ll drag them into place.
But I write soooo slowly. I follow a few indie publishing blogs and forums and most of the authors hoping to establish their name (build a fan base), talk about releasing new books every six months—or less. I’ve been working steadily on this WIP for four months and have only 35,000 words written. At that rate, figuring in the writing, editing, revising time, I’ll be lucky to have this book completed in ten months. Add to that a couple of months to prepare for publishing and my start to finish schedule is one year.
I have no ‘day job’ or children under my care, so I can’t complain that I don’t have enough time to write. I do have a health problem that sets me back, but usually only for a day or three at a time. So why am I not more productive?
That’s why I’m wondering about formulas. But I think confidence in my storytelling ability is the formula I’m seeking. If I had that, I’d spend less time stuttering and stammering along in getting that first draft done. And I guess that confidence only comes with time and experience. Which means, I should get back to work. Now.
I wish for all you writers a river of words this week. For you non-writers, I wish for you a week full of whatever you need most.
I’m big on memories. Sometimes I wonder if that’s a product of my age, but then at our family gatherings of three generations, sooner or later, the reminiscing begins. Memory is our personal history book, skewed of course, but still. I’ve spent some time looking back this week.
Not too long ago, I mentioned that I was re-watching the X-Files series. Last week, I watched an episode about reincarnation. It stirred up a longing to work on my family history again, but subconsciously it stirred up more.
Two days later, just as I woke from a nap, I thought of the first novel I wrote. I finished the first draft fourteen years ago. I revised it, even modified the genre, but I never finished polishing it. Then, after we moved back to California and my life entered a new era, I set it aside.
I didn’t think about that novel much during the next eight years. Then I wrote another novel. And after that one was published, I thought about revising my first novel. I made a half-hearted attempt to convert it to women’s fiction. But ideas for other novels distracted me.
But last week that X-Files episode reminded me that I’d written a dark novel about two reincarnated lovers who find each other again. I opened the file of Forever (working title) and scrolled through, stopping to read several passages.
As I told a friend, the newbie errors made me laugh and some purple prose embarrassed me, but mostly the quality of the writing pleasantly surprised me. So even though I vowed to lighten up this year, I’m now entertaining this dark tale. If I’m happy writing, the result will be the same.
Sometimes looking back leads you forward.