I love my publisher.

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I do.

Genuinely.

I’ve worked with Hot Tree Publishing (and now Tangled Tree Publishing) for several years. I adore them. They’ve taken good care of me.

And then some days, I want to drop kick them across the ocean.

Kidding, mostly.

We announced my upcoming release a week or so ago.  Primrose Poison. The first in a new cosy mystery series–The Motts Cold Case Mystery Series.

As we were discussing the ongoing series, we realized the first book stood out amongst the titles. While I haven’t written anything but the first, I know what the titles will be. And they were a bit jarring when you lined up the titles with cover ideas.

So we had two options, first, change all the other books.  That would seem to be the better option. Except it wasn’t.

The other option was to change Primrose Poison to Poisoned Primrose.

Have you ever debated something so much you completely lose interest in the subject?

That was me.

The good news is…I still love my publisher. I love the cover (I can’t wait for everyone to see it.) And the titles are all aesthetically pleasing when side by side.

Crisis averted.

(Love you, Becky.)

 

 

Writer Problems.

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Author Problems — and how not to solve them.

Problem:  Your spouse/partner comes into the room to talk about absolute nothing for ten minutes during your writing sprints

Solution: Since smothering them is frowned on–try for a ‘don’t talk to me for an hour’ rule while you’re writing.

It never works for me. But it might for you.

~

Problem: Getting distracted by the internet.

Solution: Let me know if  you find one.

~

Problem: Seeing other people’s daily word counts.

Solution: Remind yourself everyone writes at a different speed–and you’ll get there. If it really bugs you, try muting them on social media until you hit your goal.

~

Problem: OMG. I got a bad review.

Solution: Step away from your computer. Do not respond. Do not engage. Remind yourself that every single author out there has gotten a bad review. You’re in good company.

And eat a bowl of ice cream.

 

Why I now use an outline.

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Sort of.

I hate outlining. Always have. I hated it when I was in school. Still hate it. It, to my autistic mind, is unnecessary and illogical. I don’t like the pattern of standard outlines. They irritate me.

And I am a proud pantser.

Except.

I’m not–not entirely a pantser anymore.

I now use a bastardized version of the beat sheet.  Plus, a cozy mystery outline I found online that is basically just a series of questions to allow an author to keep track of the details of the victim, the killer, and the main suspects.

These are new additions to what I usually keep in my book bible.

As I’m now working on what will hopefully be two lengthy book series, keeping outlines and additional information will save me from losing my mind when I write book 2.

I hope.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a full planner. I doubt I’ll work with a traditional outline. They annoy me too much.

But, a little bit of planning has definitely kept my last two WIPs from going off the rails.

Fear is the mind killer.

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Fear can talk you out of doing just about anything. Fear is a lying bastard. It plays on any insecurity and anxiety that you might have.

I distinctly remember publishing my very first novel, Ivy. I also remember getting a copy for myself because I was suddenly hit with the fear no one would buy it. And I wanted at least one sale.

Fear almost kept me from putting it out. Ivy was my first NaNoWriMo success several years ago. I didn’t think I could finish a novel. But I kept telling myself to stop doubting. I could do it.

Fear does that. It paralyzes you into not trying. If I don’t try, I can’t fail.

And it’s all a mental game.

I think in so many aspects of my life. Combating fear has often been the hardest part. I have definitely talked myself out of even attempting things.

It’s something I want to do better at in 2020.

How about you?

NaNoWriMo 2019

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Post National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I’m often drained and exhausted. And while, I found myself tire and definitely in need of a break in December. It wasn’t the same.

I didn’t feel defeated or emotionally wrung out like I did in 2017 or 2018.

This NaNo, I reveled in writing for the first time in over twelve months.

Between November 2018 and November 2019, only two things  changed. I wrote a story I’d wanted to write for over a year and a half. But more importantly, I had more of an outline than I’d ever used before.

I read (well, skimmed) Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. I used a bastardized version of the beat sheet to time my chapters out. And I found it helped a great deal with pacing and not writing too quickly (one of my greatest sins as an author.)

I also outlined the who, what, where, why and when. I didn’t actually have an outline so much as putting down the details for the victim, several suspects, and the killer. It helped keep track of them all, which is important in a cosy mystery.

What I also enjoyed was writing an autistic, asexual main character who happened to have an asexual love interest. I’m going to enjoy exploring their connection more as the series continues.

I had the most enjoyable experience with NaNo ever.

And I definitely believe it showed on the page.

Did you take part in NaNo?

Writing is Hard.

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The alternate title to this post would be: Five ways Here Comes The Son surprised me while writing it.

‘Writing is hard’ is accurate as fuck, though.

1. Level of Difficulty.

Of all the novels I’ve written, Here Comes The Son, is at the top of the list for being the most difficult. I struggled. My publisher had to push my editing deadline multiple times. I hit writer’s block for the first time, really, in my writing career. I loved the story, the characters, the city…everything, but I still had to fight for each word.

2. Side Characters.

I hadn’t actually intended the cast of characters in the story to become so large and varied.

3. The Bad Peeps.

*spoilers*

4. Research.

I’ve done a lot of varied and interest researching for my books. Here Comes The Son probably stretched my googling skills to the max.

5. The Ending.

This actually coincides with the first on this list. The ending changed a bit over the course of writing the novel. In fact, at one point, I almost gave up on trying to put it together.

I’m glad I didn’t.

I adore Iggy and Lalo.

And their story.

 

 

 

 

 

Fear is the mind killer.

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I don’t know about other authors, but I tend to give my characters traits and background stories that never make it into the novel. A prime example would be the fact most of my characters have phobias.

And of all my main characters, I think only one or two of them had their phobias actually show up on the page.

BC from The Wanderer with his fear of spiders, for example. Or, Bishan who hates cotton wool and would happily set all of it on fire.

And has.

I am a pantser of sorts. While I rarely fully plot out a story and I never have an outline, I do attempt to flesh out my characters fully. I want to know who they are since it helps me write.

How can you tell someone’s story if you don’t know who they are?

So, I keep book bibles on all my stories. At the moment, I use slender A5 individual notebooks from Muji. They’re the perfect size for keeping track of everything related to a story.

The first thing I do is to begin a sort of profile of my two main characters.

What do they look like?

Do they have tattoos?

Who are their friends, family, enemies?

What are their dreams, hopes, fears, etc?

Now, a lot of the time, most of the information will never make an appearance in the pages of their story. But, it makes them real to me. I’m not a visual person–I can’t conjure up their face in my mind’s eye, yet all the written details make them more real than if I had a photo of them.

I believe phobias tell you a lot about a person.

Maybe not a lot, but a little. Some fears are rational–some not so much. Cotton wool, for example.

Toshiro from One Last Heist has two great phobias that are connected–the Ocean…and drowning in it. His beloved Mack is afraid of darkness.

How about you? What are you afraid? I have quite a few phobias–heights, spiders, bugs in general. lol