Advice, Life, Writing

How can anyone write like that?

deskroseTime for another confession. I posted this photo on Facebook last week, and Judith Baxter commented that, now, she could picture me at my writing desk. Well, yes and no. The vase is sitting on my desk, but the photo is carefully staged. Even so, it shows a bit of the mess on my printer stand. I’m a messy writer … not in my actual writing, but in my surroundings as I work.

I’ve read that this is a bad way to work, that a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind. Well, yeah. That’s my mind, ten things going on at once. To be honest, I can’t explain how I’ve managed to write and edit four full novels. Probably my messy ways explain why I have four partly written novels.  But even those I know will be finished at some point.

A lot of writers blog and even write whole books about their work habits. Some of them speak as if theirs is the only way to write bestsellers. They could be right about the bestseller part; I haven’t accomplished that—yet. But I wholeheartedly believe there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to writing methods. You can force yourself to work in a way that’s not natural for you. But why should you?

Writing is hard enough without stifling your “muse” with some other writer’s rules. I know. I’ve tried. My brain rebels at rigid systems of outlining, work scheduling, or fast and furious, non-edited first drafts. I don’t dress up like I’m going to an office. I don’t meditate before I begin work. I don’t create music playlists for accompaniment. I don’t use dictated writing prompts. I don’t set daily word count targets.

I write in comfortable clothes, generally without makeup or hair styled—to be honest, sometimes I never change out of my pajamas. I write while I should be doing the laundry or the gardening or a thousand other things. I write because there are stories in my head. And I love stories. And I delight in figuring out how to transform those stories into words.

Today, I sat at my desk surrounded by drawings and trinkets made by my grandchildren. I sat amid scattered papers and sticky notes, and tea mugs, and cookie crumbs. I sat beside the open window that enhanced my workspace with bird song and rose perfume. I closed my eyes and saw. I stopped my ears and heard. I rested my fingers on the keyboard, and the pure unadulterated magic of imagination directed them to create.

That’s the way I write.

Your mileage may vary. And that’s totally cool.

Okay, are you ready? Don’t judge. This is what the rest of my desk usually looks like.

cldesk

Linda

 

Fiction, Goals, My Books, Novel, Writing

Looking Forward … and Upward!

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.

Forever_postSo 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!

Linda

Goals, Real Life, Writing

Chill, Lady, Chill

When we make resolutions at the start of a new year, it seems most of us focus on the negative, punishing ourselves for the mistakes and faults of the previous year. Kristan Higgins, a fave author whose blog I follow, recently posted more realistic and generous resolves for herself. I like that idea.

Victorian tea setAs much as I try to fight it, I tend toward negative thinking, so my overarching resolution is to have a more positive outlook. This year I want to celebrate every stage writing/publishing progress instead of berating myself for not doing more and doing it faster. This is going to be a busy year for me. I’ll have to chill or suffer the consequences.

I want to treat myself to a long, hot bath more often. Since I often view showers as a sacrifice of too much time, a relaxing soak will be a big change for me. Freak-out: as I wrote that last sentence, two notifications pinged on my phone. One was from Google about resolutions and the other from Facebook about bubble baths! Isn’t life in the digital age a trip?

Treating my inner body better is another goal. I’m not only a lazy cook most of the time, but I love junk food. So I’m accepting the challenge of cooking more from scratch and with more organically-grown ingredients. I figure if I fill up on those foods, there will be less room for junk. Learning to eat healthier is hard for someone raised to plan every meal around meat—especially when I can’t remember a green salad ever being served by my Norwegian/German mother until years after I moved out.

Pictured above is the beautiful tea set for one that a sister-in-law sent me during my recovery from surgery last year. This year, I want to make it a habit to sit quietly once a day and sip delicious tea from that cup as I daydream amazing stories to write.

How will you treat yourself this year?

Linda

My Books, Promotion, Publish, Writing

Here We Go Again!

If it wasn’t already evident that I believe in writing whatever story comes to me, it will be now. My next novel is not women’s fiction. It’s not romantic comedy. It’s suspense … supernatural suspense with an evil spirit, whose lust for revenge is not bound by time. Here’s the book description:

Forever_front_lgAfter twenty-three years, Tom and Julie Cogan are still in love. But they’ve started keeping secrets from each other. Secrets that will jeopardize more than their marriage. When young and beautiful Annie is thrust into Tom’s life in a bizarre experience, he decides not to tell Julie. Now, his silence has put them all in danger. Unknown to them, they’ve all become pawns in a demented and deadly game staged by an Entity who’s waited nearly two centuries to exact revenge.

So, yeah, storytelling in a genre I haven’t shared with you before—but it’s still character-driven, with the examination of relationships all-important. This story, in essence, has been with me for seventeen years. I’m glad it’s finally written, though how it will be published is not yet determined.

You may remember that my novel High Tea & Flip-Flops received a publishing contract from Amazon’s Kindle Press after winning a Scout campaign. Now, I’d like to do the same with Forever. I’m excited to announce that Forever has been accepted for a Kindle Scout campaign. Yay! That means I need your help.

If you click the link below, you’ll get to read the first twenty pages. Then, if you think Forever deserves publication, please click the blue “nominate me” button. Nominations show Kindle Press that readers are interested. Don’t forget—if Forever is awarded a contract, you’ll receive a free copy of the ebook from Amazon!

(No Kindle? No worries. Amazon has a free Kindle reader app for your computer, smartphone, or tablet.)

My Forever campaign will last through the month of December. Please spread the word to friends and family, so they can click that blue button too. I think the guys will like this one, so don’t forget them. And I’ll be thrilled to see you share and retweet my campaign posts on social media throughout December.

Go forth and nominate!  https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/OSOW3M6MU09A

Thank you. 🙂

Linda

My Books, Writing

What Should I Write and Publish?

As an indie writer, decision making is both a blessing and a curse—I get to make them all and I have to make them all. Making decisions at any time does not come easy for me. My current one concerns what I should publish next. And beyond that I’m trying to decide what I should be writing now and in the future.

questionpandaBefore Amazon’s Kindle Press published High Tea & Flip-Flops, I self-published two novels of women’s fiction. The Brevity of Roses once hit #3 in the Kindle contemporary fiction category on Amazon, but that was only because it was FREE during a promo. But I had no hope that it or An Illusion of Trust would ever rank in a Top 100 Paid category.

Though it thrilled me to know people were reading my work, in the world of publishing my books were invisible.  As such, I didn’t feel the need to brand myself as writing a particular genre. I felt free to write whatever I wanted. I figured a few hundred readers would find my books, mainly during free or discount promos, and some of them would eventually get around to reading and maybe even reviewing them.

Those expectations changed with High Tea & Flip-Flops because Amazon has the means to make sure many more than a few people know about that book. Kindle Press published it on 28 July and by the end of August 916 people had bought or borrowed it. I won’t see the actual numbers for a few more days, but I expect that total doubled by the end of September. And because Amazon selected it for their October Kindle Monthly Deal promotion, I predict the number of sales and borrows for the third month will equal the first two months combined.

As I write this, High Tea & Flip-Flops sits at #26 on the Top 100 Paid list in the Kindle Store’s Women’s Fiction > Humor category—not a nothing category. It’s also on the Top 100 Paid in Contemporary Fiction > Romance (#69) and just shy of the Top 100 Paid in Women’s Fiction > Romance (#115) both major categories. Plus, borrows and sales have picked up on my other novels. Yes, I’m still far from being a known author, but I’m no longer a completely invisible one either.

If I’d been thinking like a career-oriented writer, I would have had another romantic comedy written or at least started before I submitted High Tea & Flip-Flops to the Kindle Scout program. But I’d surprised myself by writing one romantic comedy and certainly never intended to make a career writing them. HT & FF was a gift of sorts. One I definitely needed, considering the health problem I faced this summer.

But the truth is I didn’t really expect Kindle Press to select High Tea & Flip-Flops. I figured I’d self-publish it and write whatever I wanted next. So now I find myself conflicted.

To capitalize on the success of HT & FF, I feel I should publish another romantic comedy next—or at least a romance.  As it is, I haven’t even written the first draft of a romance or women’s fiction novel. What I have in the final stages is psychological suspense with romantic and supernatural elements. That’s what I wanted to write.

Would it be smarter to publish another book soon, even if it’s a different genre, or not publish anything for several months while I write and polish another romance, humorous or otherwise?

Do you have an opinion on this to share with me?

Linda