Editing, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Writing

Oh look, I’m alive!

A friend emailed me yesterday to ask if I was still alive. Because he doesn’t follow me on social media, and I’ve done a woeful job of responding to email for the last couple of months, from his viewpoint, I did disappear.

Actually, I’ve narrowed my interaction through social media too. You may have noticed my sporadic blogging. I have to remind myself even to update my Facebook status. Apparently, I find it hard to write fiction and non-fiction simultaneously. In other words, I can’t think/write and “talk” at the same time.

Now, as you may know, I’m editing that fiction, so I’m still in my own little world. The editing is going well, but my story’s world is not always a happy place. I sink deep into my main character’s head and when she’s angry or depressed that tends to become my mood too. According to my husband, I’ve not been pleasant to live with, lately. (That’s my excuse, at least.)

Writing a sequel is harder than I expected. I had most of the characters already developed, but that’s also limiting. Several times, I’ve wished I could change something I wrote in The Brevity of Roses because it didn’t work with what I wanted to write in the sequel. If I were to write another book I believed deserved a sequel, I’d write a synopsis of the sequel while I wrote the prequel.

That said, I don’t plan to write any more sequels, and definitely not a series. (Did I just jinx myself?) I don’t know what I’ll write next. Oh, I have my first novel that I still think about revising, and I have the beginnings and notes on another novel and two novellas, but I don’t, yet, feel any of those will be next.

Are novelists supposed to have several books, outlined and synopsized, in the queue at all times? If so, I’m off-track again.

Image courtesy of agathabrown / Morguefile

Critique, Editing, Family, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Real Life, Writing

That Weird Afterglow

Two days ago, I celebrated twice. Friday was both my wedding anniversary and the day I finished the first draft of my untitled sequel to The Brevity of Roses. We celebrated the first occasion with a movie (not good) and a dinner (excellent). I celebrated the second with a huge sigh of relief because I took so dagnabit long to write that draft.

Yesterday morning, I went to my computer to check email, blogs, Facebook, etc., and then that weird afterglow hit me. Yay, I finished the book! Darn, I have nothing to write today.

Instead, I did laundry and made liquid hand soap. Then I started clearing the clutter I’d let collect around me for months. Today, I’ll continue working around the house to keep my mind off the lost feeling that comes from not writing. All the while, I’ll try to avoid conscious thought about the book.

In a few days, I’ll sit back down and open that file again.  I’ll start at the beginning, reading one chapter at a time. This will be a light edit—first I’ll deal with the comments I left myself during writing. Then, I’ll fix typos and punctuation errors, clarify meaning, and correct any inconsistencies that no doubt occurred because I worked on this a full year, and it’s risky to rely on my memory.

The next step will be to send it to my alpha reader, who is an excellent writer and strong in the areas I’m not. After I get my alpha’s notes, I’ll revise and follow that with a deeper edit. Then, I’ll put my little baby in the hands of a few beta readers. (If you volunteered, please remind me.)

I’ll have much more work to do in the coming weeks, but I’m trying hard not to get stressed about that. I’ve done all this before, so I know I’m capable.  I’d like to work on the cover in my breaks from editing, but I need a title first. I might already have one. Might. Just in case not—I’m still listening, Muse.

Well, that’s the state of my writing affairs. May whatever state you’re in be a great one.

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Excerpt, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Writing

Something old, something new, and a meme that’s blue!

It seems that every time I look up, another month has passed. We’re closing in on mid-August now and I’m trying to ignore that my goal was to have the first draft of my next novel finished by mid-July. But since I added 30,000 words in the last month, I don’t feel too bad. The poor thing’s still nameless, though.

I shared some excerpts with you a few weeks ago, but I cheated a little. I revised to remove any character names because I wasn’t ready to reveal exactly who they were, but I’m tired of all the intrigue. *lol* So, heads up. If you haven’t read The Brevity of Roses yet, you’ll want to do that before the end of the year because my next novel is the sequel.

This time, Renee is the main character. When I began writing Brevity, Renee did not exist. Then, the story took an unexpected turn and a spoiled, rich, young woman entered the picture. She didn’t last long because Renee showed up and told her to take a hike. I loved Meredith. I fell in love with Jalal. Renee captured my heart.

I knew the ending of Brevity long before I wrote it, but in my imagination the story continued. Even as I was writing that novel, I would daydream about what might happen after the last page. My friend Michelle Davidson Argyle said about her first novella Cinders, “Happily-ever-after isn’t as long as you thought.” I mean, really, did you think finding her prince would solve Renee’s problems overnight? I write contemporary fiction, not fantasy.

Speaking of Michelle, she tagged me for the Lucky 7 meme. Jessica Luton also tagged me for a 7-line meme a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve linked to both their posts (click to see what they’re working on). Turning to page 7 landed me right in a passage of suggestive dialogue, which I’ll share, but since I was tagged twice I’ll share a second passage of narrative from another page.


“We can do something about that.” He cups my breast, brushing his thumb against my nipple, and I respond, low and deep.

“How … um …” I still his hand, so I can think. “How do you feel about living there again?”

“I feel good. It feels right. It is just a house, not a monument.” He nuzzles my hair further aside and kisses the back of my neck. “What I said tonight was not spontaneous. I have thought about moving for a while.” Kiss. “You strengthen me, sweet love. You make me whole.”

I turn to face him. “Oh, yes. I feel that … again.”

“Why, Mrs. Vaziri, you have a dirty mind. I said whole, not hard.” He rolls to his back, pulling me on top of him. “But now that you mention it …”

And this:

Jalal drops to his knees, lifts Adam’s shirt, and gently brushes his chin across his son’s belly. This tickle, a secret message of love between father and son, began when an accidental brush of Jalal’s beard rewarded him with Adam’s first real laugh. Too sleepy to laugh now, Adam only smiles and closes his eyes again. Jalal tucks a blanket around him and rises, towering over his son and standing a foot taller than me.

I study him while he studies his son. Jalal was clean-shaven when we met, had always been, as far as I know, but he started growing a beard and mustache on the day Adam was born. He keeps both fashionably shaped and closely trimmed, a fine black etching. A symbol. I’m a father now, it says, a real man.

Now, of course, I’m supposed to pass this meme to seven other writers, but I know some of you have done these memes numerous times this year. So, how about I make this very easy for you to accept again? If your name is on my list, you have the option of writing a post about the Lucky 7 meme OR you can share your seven sentences right here in a comment.

The rules say to go to page 7 of your WIP (or not yet published work), count down 7 lines and then select the next 7 lines. Use your discretion. I’m tagging:

  1. Jennifer Neri
  2. Christa Polkinhorn
  3. Darlene Foster
  4. James Garcia, Jr.
  5. Suzanne Conboy-Hill
  6. Anne Gallagher
  7. Dana Mason
  8. Cathryn Grant
  9. T.A. Olivia
  10. J.C. Hart
  11. Kathryn Magendie
  12. Christi Craig
  13. E. Victoria Flynn
  14. Heather Simone
  15. Natasha Alexander
  16. Laura Best
  17. Cristina Trapani-Scott
  18. Kimberly Packard
  19. Alannah Murphy

Yes, that’s nineteen, but I was tagged twice, plus I added a few more just because. AND if I didn’t tag you, but you’d also like to share your seven in the comments—go for it!