Tag Archives: the road to publication

I love to read, but…

Yesterday, my writing friend, author Holland Rae, wrote a blog post titled  Why I DNF. I highly recommend you click on that link and read it.

Now, for those of you who don’t now what DNF means, it stands for DID NOT FINISH. Anyone who has judged the RITA awards has seen these 3 letters mentioned over and over again the past year in the judging instructions and online. To the regular world, the letters are for readers who have failed to finish a book. Not because of time constraints, but for reasons that run the gamut from not being on board with the subject matter, to hating the mealy mouthed, weak heroine. I’ve picked up books after reading the back blurb, thinking I was getting one story, and when I started reading, was given an entirely different one. This kind of publishing bait and switch isn’t common, but does happen. I think I’m getting a romantic comedy about a run away heiress and the private eye sent after her to bring her back, and once I get into the story it’s really about a spoiled bitch who doesn’t deserve to live, or the hero is a misogynistic bore.

I stop reading. Really, I’ll never get that hour I wasted back now and don’t feel I want to invest any more of the little time I have left to finish the dopey story.

I picked up a book recently by an author that I’ve read before and enjoyed and that was touted as romantic suspense and there was – literally – nothing suspenseful or romantic about the plot. The story  crammed as much sex into the pages as the author could while the h/h were being followed by a stalker. Sex in a tiny car, in a public bathroom ( yuk! Just…yuk), under a desk, in a closet. If the book had been marketed properly and not labeled a romantic suspense, I might have passed on it at the get-go. I have a large list of one-click authors, though, and she was among them, so I never really delved into the blurb.

I’ve stopped reading books and tossed them into the recycling pile, not even the donate to the public library pile because I didn’t think anyone deserved to waste their time on  poorly written, boring stories.

Judgmental, thy name is Peggy, I know.

In Holland’s well written article, she states,

  • “I…will finish problematic or frustrating reads because it teaches me how to avoid making the same mistakes. As an author, I think it’s important to read books that aren’t perfect so we can perform more effectively in our own stories.”

That is such a valid point, and I agree with it 100%…in principle. When I was first starting out in my fiction writing career, I did commit to finishing all the books I read, even though some of them were awful. Learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do, and this was my validation. Nowadays, though, I simply don’t have the time to devote more to a book that just hasn’t captured me in the first 3 or four chapters.

The deal breakers for me about whether to DNF a book or carry on til the end to see if it gets any better ( and really, haven’t we all done that?) are as follows:

The characters curse a lot.

I know this is kind of dumb, but I hate watching a movie where every other word is the f-bomb. Use our beautiful language to paint a picture, writers, and not depend on expletives to do it for you!!

The sex is all Insert A into Slot B, lather, rinse, repeat. 

I was a Registered Nurse in my before-writing life. I know how sex works. I don’t need an anatomy or a causal lesson in how to do it. What I do need – what I crave – is reading about the emotions the people involved in the act are going through while they are…acting.

Cruelty as a plot point. We’ve all read the redeemed hero. I happen to love a redeemed hero. What I don’t love – and what no one should – is a hero who starts out sadistic, mean, verbally or physically abusive, caustic, or nasty and then magically  – through the love of the heroine, someone who comes along to show him how to love for the very first time – changes into a sloppy puppy without ever finding out why he is the way he is. Dumb, just…dumb and lazy writing. I’m tossing that one down in chapter one.

Vapid, walk on secondary characters. 

 

(Holland and I agree on this one.)My real-life friends are fully formed human beings with working minds, opinions, and thoughts. They have jobs, families, hobbies, things they love and  things they hate. They were not put on this earth to walk into my life, act as a sounding board for my choices, and then walk out again. Another toss in the recycle pile if I find this in a book.

Voice.

(this is another point I have in common with Holland). I like to read books written in all points of view. First, third, revolving, omniscient. If the story is solid and the characters are well formed, the voice (or  POV) the story is told in shouldn’t be a negative factor. I know someone who says he/she never reads anything that is written in first person. Suffice it to say she isn’t reading anything of mine, then. But back to my point. If a writer has decided on telling his/her story in first person, that characters’s voice better be the best one for the job. I don’t want to read an historical romance in first person where the heroine states, Lord Suchanass was a total tool last night at Lady Fatass’s shindig. Um…no. Just…no. That’s a DNF straight into the garbage, never mind recycling. Having said that, if an author is going to use revolving first or third person, she/he better make sure the person speaking is immediately identifiable and doesn’t sound like every other person in the book. I’ve truthfully had to start a chapter over because I thought I was in the heroine’s POV when I was actually in the hero’s. There was no distinction between the two voices. That’s just poor writing at its core, peeps.

I need to own up to this: my DNF pile has grown exponentially as I’ve had more of my own books published. As stated, I simply don’t have the time to waste on a book if it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do on page one or in the first chapter: capture the reader’s ( ME!) attention. I hope I’ve learned to write that way. I’d hate to be on anyone’s DNF list/pile.

If I have been on yours…have pity on my fragile ego and don’t ever tell me! I’m better off not knowing.

~Peg

When I’m not reading you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

 

 

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When did this become my life?

There’s an old expression: If you want something done fast, give it to a busy person?

Story of my current life. Let me ‘esplain.

When I retired to write full time I thought, “Yippie! Now I get to spend all my time during my days writing down the stories that have been swirling in my head.”

That jubilation lasted about a year. With the advent of more books published, I had to start doing other things than write to ensure that my writing got seen by people so they could, you know…buy the books. ( It’s all about sales, peeps).

First came a website, then social media accounts that needed postings, then book signings, author appearances, conference presentations, media appearances, all to get my name and my work “out there.”

 

Soon, it wasn’t so much about the writing as it was about the selling, and my desire to write all day long the stories that had been swirling around inside me started to become secondary.

This is an example of what I’ve been working on the for the past week when I should have been concentrating on finishing a book with a July 1 deadline – a deadline that can’t be moved or added to. (And let’s remember, I’m traditionally published. If I had to do the self publishing of my work I’d probably quit because I’d have no time. Make that definitely quit because I had not time.)

  1. Listen to auditions for a new book going to audio.
  2. Listen to a completed book on audio for mistakes, changes, etc. and edit.
  3. Galley edits on a Christmas 2018 release.
  4. second round of edits for the first book in my new small town bridal series.
  5. work on writing the second book in my new small town bridal series.
  6. outline 3rd book in the new small town bridal series.
  7. promote ( via sm)my current book release
  8. promote ( via sm) my current audio relase
  9. finish first draft of book due COMPLETED july 1.
  10. blogs posts for the week for the website.
  11. MFRWauthor blog post for next friday.
  12. create sale posters for books to promote on sm
  13. a face book party
  14. read and write reviews for 3 friends’ new book releases.
  15. query letters to agents and editors
  16. sm posts to keep my name in the public eye, daily.

All of that in addition to the normal every day stuff like bathing, eating, laundry and trying to slip in a gym workout everyday. Plus, some very real and personal issues that have cropped up during the past few weeks and that are extremely time consuming, time sensitive, and soul sucking.

I don’t know how I would handle all this if I didn’t have chronic insomnia.

I’m not telling you this so you’ll feel sorry for me ( Well, maybe a smidge ***holds index finger and thumb up, almost touching!**) I’m simply lamenting that my desire to just write the stories that have been swirling around in me ( 3rd mention!! heehee)have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Another old saying? Be careful what you wish for; you just may get it.

Now you tell me!

In addition to everything else, you can usually find me hanging out here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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#GoodessFishBlogtour…..El Fine!

Good Lord! What a month. And it ends today with a post at Long and Short Reviews. Stop by for a final chance at an Amazon GC and for a little more about my journey to publication at the age of 55!

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, research, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, Strong Women, The Laine Women