The life of an author ain’t easy. When I’m not actually writing new words, I’m revising or editing already-written words. But that’s only half the job. The other half is trying to get my books into the hands of readers.
The mother of uphill battles.
The good news is that I’m not alone in my travails. The community of romance writers is the nicest group of people ever. Always willing to share advice, experience, ideas, or just a kind word.
I’m so lucky to have wonderful critique partners to provide feedback, bounce ideas off of, and hold the occasional bitch session.
I’m also lucky to have close friends who are also fellow authors. The fact that they live in a different country in a different time zone matters not. We chat online daily. But it’s not just idle chit-chat. We chat with a purpose, which is to be successful as authors, self-published and with traditional publishers.
To that end we took advantage of the new year – with that whole resolution malarkey – and we set goals. Not wishes, not dreams (become the next Nora Roberts AND land a movie deal), but sensible, achievable goals. (I won’t turn down that movie deal should it arise.)
The key to sticking with goals, for me, is to break them down into manageable chunks. Saying I want to have the first draft of a new book written by April 30 does me no good. But with a little math and a little cogitating, I can set the goal of writing two thousand words a day, Monday to Friday. That will get me to my goal of a first draft by the end of April even if I have a sick day, or I take a day off to choose paint colours for all the white walls in this house. I know I can write 2K words in a day because I’ve done it many times.
Another thing about goals, they work better if you’re publicly accountable. Which is where my author friends come in. We “meet” online every Sunday at 8:00 pm AST to report on our progress for the week. Some weeks we applaud and cheer everyone’s success. Some weeks we discuss what went wrong and brainstorm ways to make the coming week better. We are not alone.
This past week I read a fellow writer’s blog (my apologies for not remembering who that was) in which she recommended including a word count widget on one's blog to keep track of writing progress. Another way to be publicly accountable. So I’m going to dig around on this blog thingie and try to come up with a suitable widget. (Heavens, the newfangled words we use nowadays!)
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Book launch day! Love and Turmoil is available for purchase! At The Wild Rose Press, Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
Is any day more fabulous than this? Aside from giving birth, of course. And getting married. That was a fabulous day. Also when our kids graduated from high school and university. More fabulous days. But after all that, seeing my book out in the real world is pretty darn special. Knowing that other people are going to meet the characters and hopefully enjoy their antics is thrilling. But also a little nerve-wracking. Like sending your kid off on the first day of school and hoping they make friends. The characters in my books are very real to me and hold a special place in my heart and I want other people to like them as much as I do. Or hate them as much as I do if the character in question is a bad guy/gal. I still think about the characters in my previous books and wonder how they’re doing.
I can’t wait for you to meet Arabella and Sam and discover how they met, why they’re attracted to each other, and witness the troubles they face. Boy oh boy, they face some tough times. <insert maniacal laugh>
I’m guest blogging at Night Owl Reviews today and sharing an old family recipe for the most delicious cookies. Stop by to grab the recipe and whip up a batch. Your friends and family will think you’re more brilliant than usual!
Here’s the last excerpt I’ll be sharing for Love and Turmoil (NOW RELEASED!!!)
“Please stay a bit longer. This will take but a minute, and then we will find somewhere to be alone.” He touched her cheek.
“You haven’t eaten your supper.”
He rested his hand on her waist and pulled her close. “I could survive feasting on you.” He kissed her neck, his warm breath heating her entire body. She leaned into him, turned her head, and captured his lips. He was indeed hungry, and she gave him all she could, teasing his lips with her tongue, biting his lower lip before sucking it into her mouth. She grasped his shoulders and pressed closer, wanting to absorb him into her skin.
He trailed his kiss along her jaw and nipped her earlobe. “Yes?”
She nodded before resting her head on his chest. She’d been seconds away from pushing him to the ground and mounting him like a horse.
Here’s the story premise, aka the blurb, aka the back-cover copy:
Six months after burying her wastrel husband, Lady Arabella Woodbridge has resigned herself to a lonely life in the countryside with only her two adopted nieces for company. Being a young, respectable widow is – frustrating. Then the charming and wickedly handsome Samuel Payn takes up residence in the neighboring manor house.
Retired explorer and occasional pirate Samuel Payn is on a two-fold mission – retrieve buried loot, and locate the father who abandoned his mother to a life of poverty. But a gang of murderous villains is also after the buried treasure. And someone is threatening to tear apart the lovely widow’s family.
Will Sam’s single-minded determination to uncover his true identity threaten Arabella’s happiness - and his life?
Yup, empty brain. And I didn’t do much of anything over the weekend.
Except write 8600 words!
The pressure is on, people, with the end of the month four days away. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) <link> in which one writes fifty-thousand words in November. That’s enough words to make a short novel if one ended there. But most people I know who do NaNo use it as a starting point, getting the first half or two-thirds of a story on the page. They’ll then finish the story on their own time.
Let me tell you, getting the beginning of the story sorted and on paper (or screen) and doing so quickly (only one month – most books take several months if not years), is huge. Even if one ends up chucking half the words, the basic story is written.
Some have complained about NaNo being held in November, alongside US Thanksgiving, Black Friday madness, and the start of holiday preparations. It certainly tests one's dedication to one's craft. If you do the math, 50,000 divided by 30 equals 1667 words per day. If I’m in the zone and know where I’m heading, I can whip that off in a couple hours. If one misses a day of writing, one's daily goal increases to make up for the shortfall. Miss a few days and, well, you get the idea.
I missed a few days last week when we were taking care of house stuff and other business. Hence the weekend of mad typing. I haven’t caught up but I’m close enough to make it, by midnight on the 30th. Eep, I’d better get to it.
Do you work well under pressure? Or does your task seem so daunting and impossible that you seek refuge in the land of Pinterest and YouTube?
To all my fellow NaNo-ers, happy writing!!
To non-writers, Happy November!
Will be launched into the world on December 15, 2017!!!
I’m so excited to get this book out into the world. I had heaps of fun writing Arabella and Sam’s story, getting to know them, and breaking their hearts (mwa ha ha) before allowing them to become whole-hearted.
Writing fiction is like being master of the universe for 300 pages at a time. I get to create people! For the most part they’re nice people you’ll enjoy getting to know, but I also make baaaad people. Oh boy, the villain in this story – I really wanted to slap her, LOL. And when she—well, you’ll see. I'll let you know when Love & Turmoil is available for pre-order.
In other news, who else has eaten entirely too much leftover Hallowe’en candy?
*This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.
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