Balance for 2015

Balancing multiple projects at once has always been a problem for me.  I tend to become OCD with a project, especially once it’s over the hump and flowing in the Zone.  I don’t want to leave the Zone – I just want to finish.  Even if that means 5K, or even 8K, 10K days.  That means no sleep, stressed out, aching fingers and wrists, sore muscles in my back.  It’s stupid, really.

Though I have to admit I love careening down those deadly curves at breakneck speed.

I have multiple series and publishers to balance in 2015.  At least I do have contracts in hand to help me figure out which ones need to be worked on first, but overlap is inevitable.  Ideally, I’d like to have one in brainstorm mode while another’s in drafting mode, but that doesn’t always happen.

e.g. this month, I’m brainstorming and plotting two completely different books.  One has a higher priority and will be my drafting book by January, but if I get good ideas on the other book, I want to capture them at the same time.  I need the second book to be ready to go in the wings as soon as I finish the first.

Then add in promo, edits on other projects in various stages….

Yeah, it’s going to be fun!

I intend to use my timer more to help me focus.  Small bursts of time back and forth on projects as needed.  I’m also working on getting my bullet journal going again.  I slacked off right around the time we moved.

I’m also re-evaluating my three and five year goals.  I have a pie in the sky crazy dream I’d really like to make happen, but honestly, I don’t see how I can possibly make it.  Still, I’m going to put it on my dream big list and see what happens.

Do you have any tricks for switching back and forth between projects?

Sold!

I’m thrilled to announce that Charlie (the novel I finished for NaNoWriMo) and his brother, Vincent, are both going to have a home at Carina Press!

It’s ironic, because I started Charlie’s story for one of their Christmas anthologies last year or maybe even the year before (time flies).  But he had other ideas.  (The story of my life.)  His book clocked in at 91,500, one of the longest books I’ve written since the very beginning.

The reason I’m not saying titles is because we’re looking at new ones, both for the book and the series.  The original inspiration for the book was an interview I did for RT in Chicago:

Burkhart responded that an interesting mix would be romance and horor. Perhaps, even, some kind of serial killer romance. If she wrote one, the author revealed the title would probably be “Killer Of My Heart.”

So “Killer of My Heart” will be changing, but I don’t know what it’ll be yet.  The Gregar is strong with this one.  Very strong.  Yes, he’s an assassin/serial killer.  So is his brother. Very dark, bloody, and violent.  And erotic.  Mustn’t forget that.  *winks*

I’ll update the Coming Soon page once I have dates!

Guest Post: Sherri Goodman

prince-charmingPlease welcome Sherri Goodman to my blog today!

As a lover of the erotic literature and the romance genre, you’ve probably spent many moments fantasizing about the characters and steamy scenarios you encounter in your reading. In these fantasies, you may have deviated from the script a bit and implored the help of your own imagination. Why not take all that creativity and enthusiasm for romance to the next level and create your own erotic piece? While it may seem daunting, the process of writing an erotic or romance novel is no different from the methods used to produce a work of fiction or a biography and the benefits can be just as rewarding.

Although the basic writing procedures provided by PBS are the same for most types of literature, there are a few slight differences when it comes to romance—the original narratives and themes, for example—that make the process of creating erotic literature unique. Even with the number of writers and novels in the genre, there is still some uncharted romantic territory that has yet to be explored. So whether you want to write something with a supernatural theme or prefer to develop your own sensual motif, you can easily concoct an authentic erotic work.

Much like any other type of writing, the practices used to produce romantic literature takes time, research, and the development of ideas. Because this genre has such a tight-knit, discriminating group of readers and fans, there are certain expectations that you must meet in order for your book to be a success with enthusiasts of erotica. Essentials like creating a sympathetic protagonist and a strong, charming, and attractive love interest; building emotional and romantic tension; and crafting an intriguing, yet realistic plot and suitable conclusion.

When it comes to your characters, ideally you want all your readers to believe that they could fall in love with one of them. Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone. As Adam and Eve explained in a blog post, everyone has different characteristics that make up their “Prince Charming Fantasy.” The Prince Charming Fantasy includes being swept off your feet by the person who’s perfect for you in each and every way imaginable. Granted, it’s impossible to create someone everyone loves, but there are some classic characteristics they mention for males that will certainly give your characters a boost. Among them, of course, is the classic look of tall, dark, and handsome. In addition, they mention other highly desirable male characteristics including strength and financial stability.

While these are great ways to appeal to a mass audience, what’s even more important is that you make the characters a perfect match for one another (if that’s the direction you choose to take). One man certainly isn’t going to be considered flawless by every woman in the world, but you can definitely make him seem so for the character that you create.

Once you properly nail down your characters and plot lines, you can move on to other significant writing techniques, including effective pacing, adequately seizing the right emotions and actions of the characters, and applying conflict and a proper resolution—all of which are crucial to crafting a romance novel, according to Writer’s Digest’s tips on writing about conflict. By paying careful attention to how your story unfolds and how your characters develop, your work is more likely to get noticed by editors, publishers, agents, publicists, and, most importantly, readers.

If your end goal is to be published, it’s wise (and worth the investment) to hire professionals to edit, proofread, and fact check your work. If you can’t afford to hire people, brush up on your own editing skills or acquire the necessary editing capabilities and edit your novel yourself. In addition, be mindful of certain stylistic elements such as margins, fonts, and spacing. Not much can be done in terms of the book’s layout and formatting, which is usually dealt with during the production stage; however, you must make sure your work is stylistically symbiotic prior to disseminating your book to potential publishers, per this advice from Harlequin.

Official NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

I made it official today by adding some backstory notes I’ve been working on for Charlie’s brother.  My Word file says 50,030 but NaNo counted only 50,009.  Either way, that’s above the word count goal for the month!

Plus, I’ve completed all the edits that were due this month on TWO other books.  Yes, it’s been a busy month.

So my plans for December are:

  • Brainstorm and take notes on Vincent’s story
  • Billionaire #3 proposal
  • Second round edits, FLEs on Billionaire #2
  • Promo plan for Mama C.

Update

I’ve already completed the second (my read thru) and third (Beloved Sister’s feedback) drafts of Charlie’s story.  He’ll be ready to submit soon, though he’s not due until 1/31.

Then I worked on first-round edits for Billionaire #2 and finished them up yesterday.

Last night I worked on Mama C’s Never Let You Down and sent back final line edits.

As you can see, my 2015 schedule is going to be INSANE!!

I’m planning to write 3-4 more books next year.  I already have releases scheduled in Jan and April.  Planning on another in Nov (but I have to write the book yet) and another release that’s not scheduled yet.  It’s going to be a fast and furious year!

If you’re a reviewer and don’t want me to forget to contact you when I have ARCs available, I created an ARC contact list (privacy statement).

Today, my plan will be the initial brain storming on Charlie’s brother’s book (Vincent) while I begin Thanksgiving prep.  I plan to hash out some details with Molly on Thanksgiving Day.  But the next book I’ll actually be writing is going to be Billionaire #3.  If it’s going to make my targeted Nov 2015 release, then I need to have it submitted by March at the latest.  It’ll be a holiday-themed book, so it’s the perfect time to write it!

NaNoWriMo 2014 – The End Edition

I knew I was close.  But the closer I got, the further away the end was.

The last scene went on.  And on.  And on.  Someone decided it’d be a great idea to add a small sex scene too.  I mean, it is a reunion scene, right?  They ought to be pretty happy.  But this tired, plus writing in the car for most of the evening with That Man’s crazy driving… Yeah, it was hard.

But I finally made it.

New personal record:  8,454 words today.

NaNoWriMo total:  48,573 words

Total book:  91,318 words, not including the last 30K of chapter breaks.

I have some [notes] to fix.  A read-thru is in order.  Then I’ll be shooting it off to my Beloved Sis.  If any other sweet souls would like to beta read this new book, drop me a note.

I was going to say I’m too tired for a snippet, but there’s one bit in particular that I wrote tonight that made me laugh.

If anyone but Charlie had brought me to this deserted location, I’d swear they were going to leave me out here to die.

P.S. There are howler monkeys in Belize.  I had to look it up for that scene.

P.S.S. I’ll be busting my ass the rest of the week to turn around edits on Bilionaire #2, FLEs on Never Let you Down, and an important first step for this book I just finished.  I have news coming soon!

NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 18

I set a new personal record today.  I don’t think I’ve ever written so many words in a single day.  8300+ bringing my NaNoWriMo cound to 40,119.

Even better….  I’m in the climax of the book.  A few more scenes, and this baby is done.

*muppet flails*

I don’t know what happened.  Everything just clicked and it was time to go.  I struggled with the set up for the final scene and I thought about it off and on throughout the day.  When it was finally time to work on it tonight, I was ready.  I knew what needed to happen.

So now I’ve got Ranay fighting for her life.  She’s more active than I originally planned in my synopsis, which is a very good thing.  She was too passive.  This is working much better.  I can’t WAIT to grind through these last few scenes!

Middle has an away basketball game tomorrow night 1.5 hour one way, so maybe I can get more serious wordage in the car.  I could feasibly finish the book tomorrow.

We’ll see.

No snippet right now – my laptop is down to 6% battery.  I’ll try to post a little tomorrow!

NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 17

As usual with weekends, I don’t have a ton of wordage to show, but I did keep up with at least 1K a day and I’m still slightly ahead.  Even better, I got over the typical hump between end of Act 2 and beginning of Act 3.  The story is overall nearly at 75K, one of the longest books I’ve written in quite some time.

Even better:  I only have 10-20K left to write and this book is DONE.  GRINS HAPPY DANCE YAY!

NaNoWriMo total as of last night: 31,818

He fisted his hand in my hair and forced my gaze away, up to his face.  “This isn’t about what you want, Ranay.  This is about what I want.  I want you to stop me.  I want you to have a limit that you don’t allow me to cross.  I need to be able to trust you in this or we can’t be together.  I’m too dangerous otherwise.  I need you to be able to stop me.”

 

Never Let You Down Cover

Mama, aka Virginia Connagher, coming January 6 from Samhain Publishing!

NeverLetYouDown72lgA breath of a second chance can bring a slow-burning flame roaring back to life.

The Connaghers, Book 4

Virginia, Matriarch of the Texas Connaghers, has been alone twelve years since the great love of her life passed away. Tyrell loved her sadist’s heavy hand and the hard inner core she’s dared not show anyone since.

She lives in the past, clinging to all those memories except one. The one she’s determinedly blocked out of her heart and mind for nearly forty years. The one time she was almost unfaithful to her then-fiancé with her best friend, Jebadiah Garrett.

That was a long time ago. They both married and moved on. She has three adult children settling down with their own families. Besides, it was just a kiss. One kiss.

One unforgettable kiss that brought Jebadiah to his knees at her feet.

Now he’s back in town and determined to finally, once and for all, tell her how much he’s loved her all these years. Or, even better, show her by going to his knees once more. If she’ll only give him the chance.

Product Warnings

Friends to lovers, older characters with a second chance at love, and a hard-as-nails matriarch who finally succumbs to a forty-year-old unrequited love.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 12

No D&E this morning as expected.  Middle had a late basketball game last night so I didn’t even try for early today.  I did manage a couple of hundred words in the car after dimming my laptop screen so it didn’t affect That Man’s driving too much.

Story wise I’m on the very edge of the first shocking reveal.  Ranay is going to hear some very disturbing things.  Is it really Charlie’s work?  Or someone else?  But why would the FBI think it’s him…?  She’s on her own and heading into the darkest point of the story.

Yesterday’s final NaNo count: 24,634

Snippet:

His pants hung open enough to reveal the dark cotton of his briefs and the bulge hidden beneath.  He tugged the black T-shirt over his head, bare skin drawing my gaze up.  He was as lean as I suspected, chiseled muscle that made my mouth water.  More chest hair than I’d seen on a man before but not so much that I thought of a burly backwoodsman.  Both his left shoulder and pec bore ink.  From the eagle, flag, and skulls, I guessed some kind of hardcore military background, but I couldn’t concentrate on the design.

A silver ring was planted in his left nipple.

I could almost feel that metal between my teeth.

He stood silent and unassuming, not threatening or large.  His arms were loose at his sides, his shoulders down and relaxed.  Nothing screamed domination and control in his stance.

Until I dragged my gaze back up his body to his eyes.

I trembled.  I couldn’t help it.  The fire blazing in his dark eyes seared my brain to ash.  It took all my concentration to force out one word.  “Master.”

His eyes.  Always his eyes.  It was why I’d worked so hard at never really seeing him, or at least never meeting his gaze fully.  Once he saw what I really was, I knew I’d never be able to escape.  He needed no cuffs or chains or collars to bind me to him.  All he needed was that dark all-consuming need that swallowed me whole and left me crying for more.