A Year of Gratitude

I haven’t posted on this site in a while. There have been many changes in my writing direction. During the twenty plus years I’ve been writing, I always thought my stories were romantic suspense. However, as I work on books two and three of my series I realize there is no sex scenes.

The romantic suspense genre does have these scenes. My first book, Heiress: Lost Found, had one such scene but it was more inferred than shown. These newer stories are more faith-based romance with suspense. This is more comfortable for me to write and I’m getting more written.

Providence works in mysterious ways. I’ll be going to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference in Disney World next week. Today I googled my roommate and discovered she is an inspirational romance writer.  Imagine my delight to find I’ll not only meet a new friend, but will have someone to talk with and guide me along this new direction.

God has shown me more blessings in the past six months, than I’ve ever known possible. He is good.

Gratitude

Why does it seem I’m always started a new path to be comfortable in my own skin? This week is another of those attempts.

At the local farm market, I bought a lot of Roma tomatoes to can sauce. Of course, I couldn’t find a canning kit anywhere and had to order one. But, not wanting to lose the tomatoes, I improvised with what I had on hand. To my surprise, I successfully canned four pints of sauce. It was a simple sauce, using fresh basil, garlic and a splash of maple syrup to cut the acidity.

To add to my success, I cooked up some marinated chicken breasts and plain pork chops. For my lunch, I had a chicken breast, cooked fresh summer squash with shallots and baby onions and a salad with ribboned beet and radishes. I’m full and satisfied.

The change in my mindset is like night and day. I’m feeling positive about every aspect of my life. It feels like I’m taking a turn for the better.

I’m grateful to have a roof over my head.

I’m grateful to have reliable transportation.

I’m grateful to have food to eat.

I’m grateful I’m alive.

Skye Jordan Author Giveaway

What an amazing giveaway!  She’s giving away a Kindle Fire 7 with 72 books loaded on it.

Giveaways

Jumpstarting My Career

As I take this small vacation with my daughter, I’m trying to get a handle on being more proficient with my writing. So far, my writing discipline is lacking. There are too many distractions, interruptions and non-real reasons to not write.

I’ve been sitting in the motel for two days now and am getting more done than I’ve done all year. Planning my day out first thing is a big help. I write down in my planner what I want to accomplish for the day. It’s freeing to check each item off the list.

I try to keep away from Facebook and emails until I’ve gotten most of the other work done. This hasn’t really worked well. At least I have cut down the amount of time I do these things. My goal is to continue this and work harder to stay to task.

Part of my difficulties have been my living situation. I’m researching other avenues that will not only help my writing but my personal life as well.

The Art of Romantic Suspense by Chloe French

This article in the April issue of RWR caught my attention. Since romantic suspense is the genre I write, I was intrigued by this article. I learned many good tips.

French based much of her article on an interview with Kendra Elliot. Ms. Elliot is prolific in romantic suspense. She states romantic suspense is an art form. The blend is different for every author. I agree with this as the many romantic suspense authors I read have such varied story lines.

I loved the guidelines Elliot gave in the article: setting, villain and hero/heroine. Using the setting to increase the suspense is a great tip. In my own writing, I have used the villain’s POV to ratchet up the suspense too.

The best point I learned in this article was this: “I believe you have one paragraph to hook a reader. Don’t waste it with introspection or description.” – Kendra Elliot

To learn more, I strongly urge you to read this article. It is a great resource.

First, Do No Harm by Holly Jacobs

This article in the June issue of RWR (Romance Writers Report) caught my eye as I leafed through the magazine.  What an insightful look at what can happen at conferences. This story was perfectly timed for preparation for the RWA16 conference in San Diego in a few weeks. 

Several points I liked in the article were about pitching. The editors want to know what your story is about, they don’t really care how you pitch as long as you can answer their questions.

The section titled “There Are No Absolutes” was very helpful. I’ve found myself as a attendee having to remember that what I’m hearing may not work for me. I  need to take everything with a grain of salt and decide if and how what I’m learning will help my craft.

Taking Holly’s lead, I’ve learned to get out of my shell and not rely solely on hooking up with people I know. This connected me with a new best friend at the RWA15 in New York City. Mingling is important in growing. The more people you meet with similar interests, the broader your resources.

Holly’s best advice? Smile. Be it on a plane, train, bus, cab, remember to smile and engage. Sometimes it can help the other person too.

Finding My Equilibrium

Enjoyed two wonderful workshops with Joanne Rock, editor and author with Harlequin. Her morning workshop dealt with the emotional and physical health of writing. She gave us many tips on how to break up our work day and keep stress at bay.

One of the tips was to break up your writing time. I typically feel overwhelmed if I feel I need to really crank out the words. This leads to no words. Not how a writer should be.

So my plan for this first day of my career improvement is to breakdown what I want to achieve. Having my planner at my side as my guide is helping. I’ve already read an article in the RWR I put aside to read and spent less than half an hour going through emails and answering the important ones.

I’ve also put down I want to write at least one review on a book on Lilac Falls Book Reviews, and blog. Another point is to write 30 minutes on my current WIP. After I’ve done all these things, I can go on Facebook and try some work on a media kit and self promotion.

Already I feel I’m being productive and the stress is not present. And this after I woke up after noon. Don’t get me wrong, I did get up at 7:30 and have breakfast in the hotel lobby. The nap after was to recover from the long day yesterday, driving my daughter to see a friend who has been undergoing Proton radiation. It took a while to get to sleep after a late dinner.

No more excuses. I’ve written my blog for today and I’m off to review a book.

Epiphany

I had an epiphany regarding book two while getting my hair cut and colored (blue/gray). Pictures will follow. Back to my brainstorm. The main POV needs to change from the heroine’s to the hero’s. I realized this with my first book and that’s what got it picked up by the editor.

So, it’s back to the drawing board with this change in mind. For some odd reason, I can write the plot and story in the male’s perspective. You’d think I’d be able to focus more on the female aspect, but nope. Not me.

The answer is to carry a pad and pen with me wherever I go and just write. Once I get into the rhythm of writing in the hero’s perspective, I expect the story to flow like a creek after a spring thaw. Fast and furious. As the story progresses, I’m sure the title will change too.

 

Accountibility

I haven’t been blogging as much as I said I was going to. Having life interfere is too easy an excuse. I should probably just admit I’m a master at procrastination.

However, procrastinating will not help me advance my career as a published author. Neither will not actively producing work on the computer. Even though I’m doing other activities such as editing for an author friend and judging a chapter contest, I should also be putting in time on my own work.

So, my goal as of today is to be accountable to my writing community. Today, I only put in a couple of hours on editing. Tomorrow is another day. One I’ll achieve what I set out to do, despite life interference.

No more going back to sleep once I wake up and get out of bed for morning libations. It’s computer time. I’ll put in an hour on my WIP, and then edit and judge one entry before I have to meet my friend, Doreen.

Crazy Week

I participated in my first author event as one of the featured authors. Kudos to Vicki Rose for a well attended and fun party. It was hard to keep up with all the questions and activity generated by the readers and other authors.

The questions were insightful and thought-provoking. I truly enjoyed answering as many as I could. The posts were coming in so fast it was hard to keep up.

For new authors who are trying to learn how to use social media to their advantage, I highly recommend finding and friending people on Facebook who do this working on a regular basis. Likes, shares and possibly some sales can come out of it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I can’t wait to see the results of this one. If it turns out as well as I hope, I’ll try another one in a few months.