Tag Archives: writing tips

I’m a word banker…#MFRWauthors

I retired from my long time job in 2015 when I got my first book contract. So many people asked me at that time, “What are you gonna do with yourself now that you don’t have to go to work every day?”
Hello!!! After informing them that I was trading my hated job for a life long dream job and explained that I would now be writing full time, they still said things like, “But surely you can’t write all day?” and “But what else are you going to do to fill your days?”

I remember thinking at the time that people, for lack of a better word, can be really stupid. But that’s another blog… This one concerns word counts and I told you the story above as a precursor.

I approach word counts like I approach a job: all in. What that means for me is that I have a minimum goal I have to reach every single day that I write ( and I write every single day) before I can do anything else. You wouldn’t just leave a job in the middle of the day to go grocery shopping, or to have lunch with friends. You’re working. You have a job to do and you get paid for it.  That’s my approach to word counts.

Every day I write 2000 words minimum in whatever book I am currently working on, my WIP ( Work in progress). After that 2000 is done, I then decide if I want to keep going, or do the stuff I need to do to, you know… adult. Like, grocery shop, laundry, ironing, clean the house, do banking, pay bills. Even take a shower!

The fact that I’m blessed with chronic insomnia (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that was a blessing!) helps. I can get so much written between the hours of 3 and 6 am every day, that’s it ridiculous. My entire first book SKATER’S WALTZ was written during these times.

Word counts are, to many writers, a bane. A necessary evil. If they set a goal and then don’t make it, they feel many things: unworthy, like a failure, inept.

To them and all writers, I say STOP! Word counts are simply ways of tracking what you have written.  Only during the month of November if you participate in  NANOWRIMO should you worry about how much is “good enough” to write every day. Creativity can not be forced. And it shouldn’t be. If you write 6 words or 6ooo in a day, so be it. Those 6 words are probably the best you’ll wring from yourself, so good. Yay. 6 is better than none, right?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “but she said she writes 2000 every day before she does anything else, and yet she’s telling us not to worry about how much we write?” Correct. I am. But that’s what I need to do. Every writer, like every book and every story, is different. I know a contemporary romance writer who sets as her goal 100,000 words per month. If you take a month at 30 days, that means she has to write 3,333 words every single day no matter what. She has an assistant, so she doesn’t need to do the mundane things like social media updates, laundry, and grocery shopping. Lucky her. Most of us don’t have assistants, though. So again, whether you write 6, or 6ooo words a day; 10000 or 100000 per month, word counts are individualistic.

And necessary. Oh, so necessary. Don’t try to compare yourself with others when it comes to word counts. Like I said, everyone is different. As long as you write – and what you write is good – then, so be it.

Because this is a writer blog hop, click on some of the other authors here to see how they approach their writing word counts…or even if they have them!!

Advertisements

13 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books

The things I do for #Writing #research

Last week I divulged that I am a dyed in the wool nosey parker. Really. I’m also a world class eavesdropper. The reason I’m telling you this is because I attended the NECRWA conference in Burlington, Ma, this past weekend and I got there early – Thursday night ( conference started on Friday) and spent the better part of the early evening hanging out in two places: the concierge lounge on my floor and the hotel lobby.

Talk about opportunities to eavesdrop! Holy Moly!

In the lobby was ( wait for it…) a lounge, aka a bar, and my little eavesdropping heart just went pitter patter with glee at all the fun, tips-i-ly things that were said by the patrons. Can I just tell you how much fun I had!!! I know it’s probably a horrible thing to admit, but I really get a kick out of watching people drink and then flirt/talk/flirt some more and keep drinking.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t drink alcohol… and this is one of the reasons why I don’t. I never want to be on the talking end of a conversation that people make fun of. I mean, let’s be honest here. I say enough stupid things when I’m stone cold sober. I can’t even imagine what the heck would come out of my mouth if I was…inebriated.

Anyway, back to my lobby eavesdropping. Here’s one little snippet I “overheard.”

30 something on her way, way passed being tipsy: “Hey, this hot guy I saw the other night had these cool shots . They looked good. I think they had cimmanon. I wanna try one.”

The other 30 something she was with, not as tipsy: “You mean, cinnamon, right?”

Drunken reply; “That’s what I said. They were called fire crotch, cause they were hot. So was they guy. Hot, I mean.” A twitter of hiccuppy laughs followed this.

Not so drunken reply: “Fireballs.”

Drunken Reply: “What?

Not so drunken reply, only louder this time, as if that would help her understand: “He had fireballs.”

Drunken reply through wide eyes and opened mouth: “Really? How do you know that? Did you, like, do him in the bathroom to find that out?” 

See? As far as research goes, this is pure gold, people. Pure gold.

When I’m not eavesdropping you can find me here relating what I’ve eavesdropped: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

1 Comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Conference comedown #NECRWA2017 #romancewriter

This past weekend I attended the NECRWA 2017 conference in Burlington, MA. Historically, this is a fabulous conference for romance writers to network with professionals, learn about craft, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. This year was no exception. Ii fact, this was a banner year for the conference and for me.

Let me ‘esplain….

For the conference itself, the committee tried several new “things” conference-wise that just worked. A bigger and expanded book fair; an exceptional cocktail hour and meal service; a large and varied collection of conference topics, and two break-out sessions after the conference was completed. I don’t think I ‘ve ever heard so many participant comments in the past that were so glowing of all aspects of the conference, so Kudos to the conference committee. You should all pat yourselves several times on the back!

As for me, well, this was the first time I’ve ever given a professional writing speech. Okay, speech isn’t the correct word. It was a workshop on writing romance stories for people over the age of 40. I’d given this presentation to my local NHRWA chapter last month and it was warmly received. I even wrote a blog about my nerves concerning it.  But they’re all my friends. I didn’t think they’d be mean and they weren’t ( of course they weren’t!!!) This time, the presentation was for a room full of people I didn’t know. At all. Now, some of my chapter mates attended to support me ( gotta lovelovelove that, right!!) And I knew the moderator from previous conferences. But the majority of that room was alien to me and boy-oh-boy was I nervous.

Turns out, I didn’t have to be. They all laughed in the right places, asked en-pointe questions related to the topic and I never once saw people yawning, checking Apple watches, or fidgeting.

Nirvana for a speaker!!!!

The best part? A few hours later I met one of the attendees in another workshop and she stopped me and told me how much I had inspired her and that she’d had an immediate story plot jump into her head. When she told me about it I started to well-up because I could see – really SEE – how the talk had inspired her. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so emotionally invested in a stranger before! Sniff…sniff…

So, now I’m home, getting back to the editing and writing grind today. Although, it really isn’t a grind. It’s an absolute delight in every way, especially, now that I know my words and thoughts actually helped another writer.

Le sigh…..I’ve got a great life.

When I’m not attending conferences you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

4 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Why #writers need to #recharge.

I’ve been going at 120 miles per hour the past 3 months – ever since the New Year. I’ve got two books in final edits and galleys, I’ve got three more I’m working on for release at the end of this year and hopefully the beginning of 2018. I’ve committed to blogging more and am going to the gym 5-6 times per week. I’m doing a presentation at a conference next week, in addition to traveling 4 major times this year  ( airplanes, people!) to other conferences. I’ve got a brand new book out  TODAY and am doing promo for it as well.

This is all in addition to my normal life stuff. You know: cooking, cleaning wife-ing

Oh, and I’ve got Dancing With The Stars in 15 friggin’ days, so practice, practice, practice!

It’s only the beginning of April, but I feel like I’m burnt out already. Or I did, that is, until this past Saturday. Saturday night I did something I haven’t done in a long, looooooooooong time: I went out with friends.

Thank God and all that’s Holy for friends.

These friends don’t write.

These friends are all my age ( give or take a few months).

These friends all have children the same age as I do.

I have a history with these friends that doesn’t include plot lines, story arcs, or Capezio dance shoes!

And these friends keep me grounded while at the same time recharging my soul.

It was so wonderful to spend a few hours just talking about nothing and everything. I didn’t think once about how terrified I am of giving my presentation to a (hopefully, fingers crossed) large audience next weekend. I didn’t for one second agonize over a line of dialogue that I just couldn’t get right. I didn’t think about my feet, sore, and huddled in Merrel’s because they were so swollen from dance practice.

I didn’t do anything other than simply be, have fun, and laugh.

My hermetic existence is a given. I accept that I need to spend long stretches of time alone just so I can get my stories on the page.  I know I let world changing events float by me without so much as even a comment or a consideration just so I can finish a chapter. I get that sometimes I’m grouchy and pale and my eyes look like they’re bleeding because I spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. I accept all this and I go with it.

But it felt so blessed GOOD to not think about anything other than the conversation drifting around me.

God gave the world so many wonderful things. Free-will; faith; chocolate; wine. But the best thing he gave us was each other. People. Friends.

If you haven’t talked to or seen a friend in a while, call them TODAY! Not email, not a text, Actually put your mouth to the phone and speak to them. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

When I’m not wallowing you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

And as an added reminder, TODAY is the day COOKING WITH KANDY is released. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet ( and that begs the question “why not?”) here are the links:

Amazon //B&N // Kensington // Kobo // Apple // Google 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Author, Author Branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Project Graduation, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

badge-blog-challenge-updated

I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

blog-button200

1 Comment

Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, First Impressions, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#NoraRoberts, #WritingAdvice, and #MondayMorningQuarterbacking…

advice3

First, a disclaimer: this is not a post about football. I would be the last person on the planet to ever post about a game I know nothing about. I can’t even bulls**t my way through a discussion on it, so there.

Now. I was listening to a podcast recently about advice. How to give it, how to take it, when and why you should offer it. For the record, I don’t like to give advice routinely simply because I don’t like getting unsolicited advice. There’s always THAT person who thinks they know everything that will make your situation better and easier, and believe me, they are usually wrong. Having said that, there are two pieces of advice that I’ve heard throughout my writing career that I’d like to offer. One, I listened to.

First, the good piece of advice. I heard this at my very first RWA conference in San Antonio in 2014 from a chat with mega-wonderful Nora Roberts. Her advice to the following question,  “How can I find the time to be a prolific writer like you?” was simply the best thing I ever heard anyone say. It was:

advicenora2

 

See how good it is – someone made a Pinterest board for it!

Added to that advice was this little gem which I remind myself of daily:

advicenora

Words for a writer to live by.

advicelucy

Now to the worst writing advice I’ve ever received. Here’s the backstory: I entered a contest and this was part of one judge’s critique. “If you change the name of the heroine, make her younger and give her a tragic background, you MAY ( and yes, she put may in capitals!) have the beginning of a decent story here.  Otherwise, I don’t see this book ever getting published. I also feel your hero is dumb.”

And I paid to enter that contest. Last one I ever entered, that’s for sure!

Well, the laugh is on her,  because I took none of her advice and that book, COOKING WITH KANDY, is coming out in April from Kensington/Lyrical Shine and I didn’t change a thing about the book/characters/backstory.

So here’s the Monday morning quarterbacking mentioned in the title to this blog in the form of my own writing advice- completely unsolicited.

                                                 Write for yourself, first.

I don’t have a Pinterest block to put up on that one, so I just bolded it in the hope that it makes a statement. YOU are your first reader.  If you don’t write something for you, that you love, that sings to you, it won’t do so for anyone else. Remember that. I do. Everyday.advice4

‘Nuff said.

When I’m not giving out unsolicited advice, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

A #NewYear, a time for new #blogideas

2016 has exited the building – thank you, Jesus!  Now it’s time to figure out what I’m going to say here, in this forum, for the next 365 days.

No pressure….not!

I started this blog because I wanted to talk about writing with people who enjoyed writing as well. Over the past 2 years, it’s morphed into something more. More substantial; more funny; at times, more an internal reflection of my feelings and emotions about…stuff. I’ve been able to introduce you to new authors who are fab and promote their work. I’ve had some serious discussions about life, writing life, family stuff, and current events. I’ve veered away from anything controversial and/or political/ and negative. I’ve wanted this to be a fun place to spend a few minutes getting to know new writers, and to challenge you with ideas. I hope I’ve done my job…

So, 2017. What the heck am I gonna talk about??

Well, I do have some new author interviews lined up already and I can’t wait for you to meet these talented writers.

I’ve also got at least 2 books of my own coming out this year ( maybe 3!) and I know I’ll be going gungho with promoting them.

The publishing world seems to be changing daily, so we’ll talk about that.

I’ve got at least 4 writing trips coming up this year, so you know I’ll be showing you pictures of your favorite romance authors whom I’ll be meeting and fawning over, plus writing about my traveling experiences.

And I guess I’ll be divulging some more personal stuff – only the funny stuff, though!!!

2017 promises to be a life-changing one for me – I’ve got lots going on!!! All good and all exciting.

So, stay tuned and we’ll discuss……lots of stuff!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press