Daydreams and First Drafts

Today, I’m over at the 7 Scribes where I make the case that daydreaming is required – Do Not Disturb – Daydreaming in Progress.

On the Mystic Storm front – I’ve read through the printed first draft and yikes! I still have some work to do to smooth it out. So I will be diving back into the writer’s cave to clean it up.


There’s a Gremlin in my Book!

Happy Friday everyone! Be sure to check out my post over at the Scribes – Stagnant Brain Syndrome.

This week, I’ve been furiously re-reading my manuscript – The Undead Space Initiative so I can hand it in for final line edits.

And man, let me tell you, I swear there is a little gremlin sitting in my computer deleting words (that no one seems to notice are missing). The gremlin also likes to play with formatting and add extra spaces or delete space that should be there.

I know that all manuscripts have typos and missing words. It comes with the territory. Very frustrating, especially when you have a perfectionist personality like I do.

One way to combat the gremlin (besides the obvious thing – using spell checker liberally and often) is time away from the book. I haven’t read USI since last year. I’ve had time to forget what I wrote and see it with fresh eyes.

The other helpful tip: read in short, focused bursts. That way you won’t get sucked into the story and forget to check for those pesky errors. Any time I caught myself actually “reading”, I stopped and did something else.

Another suggestion: scatter the order of the pages. But, I converted the document to the publisher’s format and removed the page numbers. I had printed the entire book when I realized what I had done. Oops. Maybe next time!

Of course, time away has a downside – the urge to change everything. I nipped that in the bud when I realized I was letting The Doubt Monster mess with my head again. My editor at Pink Petal Books enjoyed the story and asked for minimal changes, so Doubty can go torment someone else.

You’ll have to forgive me today, if I answer comments later than normal. I’m having fun with my family and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Tell me about your gremlins. Perhaps you have one that eats the socks in your dryer or likes to steal your favorite pen off the table. Or maybe something more interesting?

Hits and Misses

Happy Black Friday everyone! Please be sure to stop by the Scribes and check out – You’ve Got a Friend in Me.

I mentioned a few weeks back that I’m participating in NaNo. I hit the 50,000 word goal on Day 20. I plan on finishing the novel by 11/30. That will make two completed novels in 2011 – The Undead Space Initiative and Redemption (book 2 of my Aethera series).

Sadly, I did not get to finish plotting The Devil’s Advocate or Mystic Storm (sequel to Mystic Ink). But, hey, there are so many hours in a day. And I’ve learned a lot about my writer self this year.

  • I’m not Nora Roberts or Dean Wesley Smith, capable of pumping out high volume, superior quality manuscripts nearly out of the gate. Plotting and characterization takes time (for me anyway). I have to be totally on-board with the characters and plot, otherwise, I can’t finish the book.
  • I can write a novel in a month. I did it twice. See above – I have to know what is going to happen in my books. I don’t need to know the how or even the why. Those details can come out when I write. I don’t have my million words in yet. But I’m working on it.
  • If there is a zombie apocalypse, I won’t survive long-term. I like modern conveniences way too much.
  • I love Twitter. A lot.  See my post here – Twitterpated.
  • Oh, and the big one, I can sell a book!

    A new day is dawning

I won’t be kicking back anytime soon.  I have a busy 2012 coming up, including promo at other blogs, working on edits for Redemption, writing other books, and I’ll be CT RWA’s new Media Director.  Busy, busy.

How’s your 2011 going? What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Into The Groove

Happy Friday everyone! Please remember to join me at the Scribes today. Today’s topic – Let’s Hear it for the Doubt Monster. Yup, you read that right. I might just have something nice to say about the pest this time.

It’s taken all week, but I’ve finally gotten back into the groove.

Now that I’m convinced the power is staying on, I’ve been able to work on my NaNo novel (I hate it, the book is crap, but I’ll get over it). I’ve also been critiquing several of my fellow writers books (keep those pages coming, ladies). And I’m finally making edits to The Undead Space Initative.

One fringe benefit to no power last week, I actually read an entire book – Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth (highly recommend it – who could not love the President’s Vampire?). After I devoured that book, I read Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins (another home run – a great read – fantastic job Kristan!).

Overall, it’s been a fairly productive week. My only regret – I haven’t worked on plotting the sequel to Mystic Ink. So much to do, so little time…

So tell me, how was your week? Share please! I’d love to hear how you’re all doing.

Now the Fun Begins!

Happy Friday everyone.  Don’t forget to visit me at the Scribes today and say “hi” to our special guest – Frankie Robertson. She’s discussing her move to indie publishing and her new, traditionally published book – Veiled Mirror.

After a few weeks of waiting, I’ve received critique for The Undead Space Initiative. The overall reception has been positive. The book isn’t perfect (nothing ever is) and I have a bunch of questions, comments and “things that may need more explaining” to sift through.

To my beta readers and critique partners – thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read and comment on my book. The book will only be better because of you.

How should a writer deal with feedback? Gracefully is always a good place to start. Try not to stress about it or take it personally.

But, practically, you also can’t please everyone. Nor can you re-make the book is someone else’s image. Balance is necessary. Take what works for you and discard the rest. But don’t toss it completely away (more on this at the end of the post).

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is what should be changed or not changed based on critique. Monday’s Scribe – Jamie Pope- has done a great blog post on critique and I urge you to read it!

The two questions I always ask myself – Do I agree? Will the change make the book better?

Notice, I didn’t ask, “Do I like it?” It doesn’t matter if I like the feedback or not. It doesn’t matter whether I want to hear that I might need to change something.  If I agree, I suck it up, start evaluating, and make the changes.

Also, notice I said,  “If I agree.”

And I always try to apply the unused, technique-related feedback to my next novel. That way I can grow and improve as a writer.

Besides, I’m still the Author Goddess. And what I say goes.

Evil Plotting

Yay! Another Friday. Don’t forget to check out my post over at the Scribes – I’m late, I’m late…for what exactly? and meet the Naggy Bunny.

Another week has come and gone. And I’m sad to say, not much plotting has happened for Devil’s Advocate.

I spent most of the week helping my fellow writers. I’ve been honored to read their works in progress and provide my feedback. I’ve read some sci-fi, paranormal romance, middle grade adventure and contemporary. I have such talented friends!!

I’ve received feedback on The Undead Space Initiative. So far, no one has told me the story is bad. I’ve gotten mostly high marks, which is always nice. Still, I’m not resting on my laurels. There will be edits. I’m not sure what form they will take yet.

I’ve been mostly reflective this week. Thinking about my new characters. What do they want? How will they achieve their goals?What happens next (my favorite question to answer).  Not all that different from talking to my sons (what do you want to do with your life?).

Just thinking about the word “plotting” brings to mind a different word – scheming. When you think about it, as a writer, you really are contriving an entire story out of thin air – creating a whole new world that didn’t previously exist. Totally cool and frightening at the same time. And once the story is published, then that world is shared with your readers. They bring their own expectations and realities. Your world isn’t only in your head anymore.

It’s a big responsibility, which is why I spend more time on plotting, character creation, etc. than I do writing. I’ve learned the hard way that planning ahead works best for me. In a few weeks NaNo WriMo will begin and I plan to be prepared (like a good Boy Scout mother).

It’s hard to believe Fall is almost here. I’ll leave you with a photograph I took last October at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. If you live in the area and you’ve never been – plan a trip. Right now.

Here comes Autumn

And Now I Wait.

Happy Friday everyone. Please visit the 7 Scribes and read my Friday post – To Sequel or not to Sequel.

As reported last week, the book is gone. Off in the hands of my critique partners and beta readers.

Gone. . .

So now what?

Do I sit around twiddling my thumbs? No way. In the down time between feedback and the next round of revisions, I’m plotting my next book- Devil’s Advocate.  Another attempt at writing an actual Urban Fantasy. Lately, with the last two books,  both plots twisted into paranormal romance. We’ll see how the next book plots out.

How about having some fun? I recently crocheted a candy dot scarf for a friend. And I read Julia Rachel Barrett’s Incorporeal (excellent ghost story!).

But, I’m not even close to being done with The Undead Space Initiative. I still have to revise the first draft synopsis into something market ready.  So in the meantime, a tease.

The opening paragraphs of The Undead Space Initiative.


Life sucks then you die. It’s a universal truth. But here’s what’s scarier. Even in death, life can still suck.

Case in point … wait for it…

 “Cherry! Get your skinny ass up on stage!” Jonathan barked through my dressing room door.  How do I describe him? Pain in my rump. Benefactor. Reason for my current situation. None of them seem adequate enough. His main occupation? Yelling at me to perform and to make him money. And he’s always interrupting. Never lets a girl even have a moment to think.

“I’m on my way. Geez Louise.” I flung open the door, narrowly missing Jonathan’s long Roman nose. The tops of his fangs peeked out from his full lips as he smiled at me. This was a game we liked to play. I would try to smack him with the door whenever possible.

Okay, it was a game I liked to play. I’ve never managed to nail him in the face. My vampire Sire is too damn fast.

Jonathan tsked and crooked his finger. A slow smile curled his lips. “Cherry, I don’t know why I put up with you.”

“Of course you do. I’m you’re number one performer.” I flashed fang. My pearly whites are nowhere near as long as his, but they can still do the job. Due to feed soon, I tried not to stare at Jonathan’s jugular. I hated needing my Sire’s blood to stay strong and avoid overpowering hunger. The kind, if left untended long enough, made vamps go feral. I buried my nose in a bouquet of fragrant red roses, a gift from one of my many fans.

Jonathan smirked. Damn. I hated when he caught me eyeing him like a roast. Another game we liked to play – I pretended I didn’t need him. And he pretended not to notice. We both knew otherwise.

I needed him.

Crap on toast.

I Set The Book Free!

Happy Friday! Please don’t forget to check out my Friday post at the Scribes’ Blog – Can this Wreck be Saved?

Last week I reported my goal to complete my edits of The Undead Space Initiative by Sunday night. I’m happy to say goal accomplished! And, even better, the book is now in the hands of  my two, trusted Beta Readers.

Notice I said readers. Not writers. I always ask readers to review the early draft first.


Because the reader is who I’m ultimately writing the book for. They read the book as an experience with an eye towards story. Does the book entertain them? Do they keep turning pages? What questions didn’t I answer?

If they tell me a story isn’t working, it’s full stop and either back to the drawing board or the story is shelved. Luckily,  the only stories I’ve hidden away are my first attempts from years ago.

Once I get the green light, I then submit my story to my amazing critique partners. More to come on that, in a few weeks.

If you’re a writer, it’s crucial to share your work with first readers who can be honest and provide informative feedback.

If you’re a reader and the friend of a writer – be honest, brutally honest if need be. Our feelings won’t be hurt – promise!

I Did It My Way

Happy Friday everyone. Please remember to check out my Friday post over at the 7 Scribes. Today’s topic – Casting Call – If my book was turned into a movie.

Last week I was in a bit of a tizzy about the beginning of my WIP – The Undead Space Initiative. I’m happy to report that I have moved past it. I’m more that halfway through the editing process right now. And I’m so excited to share this book with my trusted first readers for their reaction.

I have set an aggressive goal: complete revisions by the end of this weekend!! Can I do it? Time will tell.

Tune in next week to find out!