Monday Mayhem – Pantser life

Yo-ho! Yo-ho! The pantser life for me!

Hey, gang! I’m back again this week, with a new/old trick. I’m reverting to my old pantser ways.

Reader say, “Wha?”

You see, the writing world is generally comprised of two types – plotters and pantsers. Plotters work out every detail of the book before they even open page one. Pantsers have an idea and run with it.

In other words, a pantser writes a story by the seat of their pants.

Most writers naturally gravitate to one style or the other. I started out as a pantser and continued that way for a number of books. But as my career progressed, I started selling books to publishers on proposal. Therefore, I needed to submit a detailed synopsis of each book I intended to write.

This is how I evolved into sort of a plantser – someone with a pretty sketched out outline of the book, but still winging it on a chapter by chapter basis.

But I am not currently under contract. I have no series to complete. I am, at the moment, free as a bird.

So what did I do?

I started writing a book I hadn’t even thought about until I opened my mouth Tuesday morning and a story started coming out.

One that hadn’t been hopping around in the plot bunny file. One I haven’t plotted, or even barely thought about. An idea popped into my head Monday night, and Tuesday, I started writing it.

This should be fun, huh?

In other news

Double Play is coming in October! Digital pre-order is available at all e-book retailers. The audio production is in progress, and should be ready for October 25, 2018 release.

Paperbacks will be available, They look fabulous, but I have to tell you, they are a little pricier than the usual mass market paperback. I wanted to produce them in the 4×7″ size to match the other two books, but there’s limited production availability for that trim size in print on demand.

ANNNND – I have declared 2019 the year of the backlist. As part of the celebration, I’ll be resurrecting some out of print friends – like Tracy & Sean from Contentment, Maggie & Tom from Commitment, and Lynne & Bram from Spring Chickens!

Whew! That’s what I have going on. What’s new with you?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Back to Reality

Summer fun vintage car

Back to life, back to reality

As of last week, I am back to reality-working full time.

Some writers would shudder as they read this sentence, but I am more than a little relieved. Turns out, I’m one of those people who needs stability and structure in her life in order to be creative.

It seems counterintuitive, I’m sure. Most writers dream of being unfettered. I know I did. But having unlimited time to write does not mean you’ll have unlimited creativity to back it up.

The truth about writers

Being a writer is not at ALL like you see on TV. Sorry to bust that myth, but that’s the truth of it.

Authors do not sell a book and become automatically rich. Some never make much money at all.

The reality is, few authors can survive solely on the income from advances and royalties. Most have other streams of income-teaching, content creation, graphic art creation, or another side hustles.

We also don’t hear about the people who may be underpinning this marker of perceived career success. Behind many a good author is a partner with a steady income and employer-based health insurance. But their names are not on the cover so…

The misconception that being able to ditch the 9 to 5 grind is a sign of authorial success endures.

This wasn’t my situation. My unemployment was never meant to be long-term. I didn’t toss a match as I walked away from the corporate world and expect to become the next Nora Roberts. I was downsized, and because I carried our employer-based health insurance, I needed another job as soon as possible.

Still, I thought I might be able to take better advantage of the situation. I was wrong. These months of uncertainty have been hard. I’ve written 40 books whilst employed full-time. I wrote exactly 3 chapters while unemployed.

Lessons learned:

  • I need structure and time constraints. I work well under pressure. Left to my own devices, I spend too much time communing with Netflix.
  • It’s difficult to write happy ever afters when worried about bills and health insurance.
  • I can make enough money to pay the bills, but not to pay my bills and maintain our coverage long-term. Having two self-employed persons in the household can get pretty spendy. Welcome to America 2018, where too much entrepreneurship is highly discouraged.

Summer fun vintage car

I don’t regret my summer of fun.

I relaxed as much as I could. Sally and I suntanned and napped.

Fodder got used to having lunch, because I am accustomed to eating on schedule.

But the reality is, I was ready to get back to work. Happy for life to settle into a pattern again. I like a good rut.

Soon, I’ll be ramping up for my 10th NaNoWriMo, and psyching myself up for crunch time.

How about you? Are you a creature of habit, or a go with the flow kind of person?

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Monday Mayhem – Dumpster diving beats dumpster fires

Dumpster Diving

The news has been nothing but a dumpster fire all week, so Fodder and I decided to go dumpster diving.

Now, I am not a flea market or yard sale type person. Fodder is. The man lives for the hunt. I like to tell Fodder that I don’t want most of the junk that’s cluttering my house already, so why would I go buy someone else’s cast offs?

Yeah…He doesn’t follow the logic. Not when there’s treasure to be had.

One person’s trash is another woman’s treasure

He took me to the donation center of a large national charity under the pretense of offloading some of the stuff he no longer wanted cluttering up the barn. While he made the drop, it was suggested that I wait inside because the pickup has no A/C, and it’s August in Arkansas.

Mm hmm.

I have to tell you, I found it to be a very sad place. This is where memories go to die. They are tossed into a large plastic gondolas on wheels and rolled out into a huge warehouse space, where they are pawed through by strangers. I didn’t like it.

Fodder tried to cheer me up by telling me that these things were getting new life and a new home, but still. I couldn’t wait to leave. There’s were too many items in there that reminded me of thing my parents had around the house when I was growing up.

Then, I turned the corner and spotted this little lady in need of a loving home:

Underwood Typewriter

Her keys seemed to be in working order, her carriage proud. She’s lacking a ribbon, but I’m not above providing such fripperies. I checked the sign above the bin. All items weighing more than 5 pounds cost only $4.

Sold!

Fodder spent the evening polishing her up, and look how she shines.

Cleaned up

Maybe all we need to take us from a sad place to a happy one is someone to notice us. A second chance. Some love, affection, and a touch of Old Gold polish.

Now my Underwood (Claire or Carrie? Her true ambitions are yet to be revealed.) is parked next to my super sleek Karmann Ghia.

typewriters

Looks like this is the start of a colorful collection.

How about you? Do you collect anything? Did you start the collection yourself, or was it something that just happened?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Mumble mumble

I don’t have much to say this week, so I’m just gonna mumble.

A RING FOR ROSIE came out last week. Thanks to all who bought it, tweeted or shared posts, and generally helped shout (not mumble) it to the world. I’m not good at tooting my own horn, and I am eternally grateful to have you as my horn section.

Finger puppet couple

I’m over the pinkeye and mostly over the technicolor bruising from my slip and fall down the steps. Frankly, I’m over feeling puny in general. I’m hoping that this week I can return to what passed for normal prior to my trip to Denver.

I did watch the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie on Netflix and enjoyed it very much. No, it’s not as detailed as the book, but I think they did a nice  job with it. A couple of the scenes had me grinning at the screen like the hopeful romantic I am.

Revisions on SUPERSTAR are coming along slowly. I added a bunch of additions to my plate, then in doing so, realized it was overkill. Now I am free-writing those parts and will pare them down to round out the story.

DOUBLE PLAY is set for release on October 25, 2018 and it looks like we are a go for simultaneous digital and audio release. Yay! I’m working on making a mass market sized print-on-demand version available for anyone who wants to special order it, but I have to tell you, being my own publisher is proving to have a steep learning curve.

And so, here I am, mumbling through. How are things going with you?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Whatcha doin’?

Whatcha doin’?

I can tell you, I haven’t been doin’ much. I’ve been having an odd sort of summer. Still unemployed. Still not heartbroken over said unemployment. I’ve been enjoying my summer off. It’s the first summer off from work or school I’ve had since 1984, so I’m not feeling too guilty about it.

Okay, I am, but that’s only because I am a Catholic semi-workaholic whose identity is tied pretty closely to external indicators of success.

Yeah.

So, anyhoo, I’m trying to enjoy the time off. Lots of time with Fodder and Sally. I have been working out each day, and continuing my yoga and meditation practices.

But I have to admit, I haven’t been writing much.

Like, hardly at all. I have no excuse, because I certainly have the time. The only thing I can think is that my lack of productivity is tied to the identity issue mentioned above.

I have been spending a lot of time with #Rover, as those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know.

As a matter of fact, my little friend will be attending the Romance Writers of America conference with me, only in a 2D version. #FlatRover

I am working on edits and revisions for DOUBLE PLAY (Love Games #3) and have set a release date of November 1, 2018. I figure loosing Avery and Dom’s story on the world will be a good way to kick off my birthday month.

And, in my quest for a little inspiration, I’ve been toying with a chapter of Gilmore Girls fanfic. It’s been slow going, though. Hard to believe I used to crank out one of these every day or two.

So, that’s what I’ve been doin’. What about you? Whatcha doin’ this summer?

 

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – I’m a pod person!

I’m a pod person now!

Okay, I’m not really a pod person, but I was a guest on Sarah William’s Write with Love podcast. If you want to hear me ramble or watch me wriggle and roll my eyes at myself here: http://www.sarahwilliamsauthor.com/maggie-wells/

I’ll be over in the corner cringing, if you need me.

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Monday Mayhem – Figuring it all out

Newsflash:

I’m almost 50, and I’m still figuring it all out. Where did we ever get the idea that people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond should have their lives completely under control?

woman trying to keep track of it all

Did you read the the headline? We don’t.

Who started this rumor? Whoever it was, has obviously never spent any time wrestling mid-life into submission, that’s for sure.

The only thing I’ve figured out about life, is that I will never have it all figured out. And, I’m not sure I want to. How boring would that be?

Here’s my take on it:

Life loves to throw curveballs, and no one is prepared for them – no matter how many candles they blew out on their last birthday cake.

I write a lot of romance featuring characters 40+, which is a little out of the main for commercial romance. Inevitably, someone (usually and acquiring editor, an online reviewer, or maybe a reader who is email inclined) will ask whether the heroine/heroine should have had a better grip on what they wanted, needed, or even their physical desires.

My answer is no. The fictional characters I create are supposed to be human, just like you and me.

We are supposed to be continually figuring it all out.

Our relationships blossom, fail, or float along until the next storm brews.

I’ve been over a decade into a job, only to discover the career ladder I thought I was climbing was actually a rope ladder, and someone was taking a blowtorch to the rungs below.

Our bodies will betray us. That’s an inevitability.

At times, our minds play nasty tricks on us.

People we love will disappoint us.

We will disappoint ourselves.

Love is a shape-shifter. Our ability to love and allow ourselves to be loved is constantly evolving.

Mistakes will be made.

Failure is not fatal.

This is all I have figured out so far. How about you? Any wisdom to add?

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Too much time on my hands

Okay, I admit it, I am not good at living a life without structure. Given too much time on my hands, I tend to do…nothing.

Shocking, I know.

It seems counter-intuitive. I always thought that if only I didn’t have to work that full-time job, I could crank out a book a week. Okay, maybe not a book a week, but you know what I mean. I thought I didn’t have enough time to work on my writing because that pesky job kept getting in the way.

Turns out, I had all time I needed.

I’ve had exactly the right amount of time (for me) all along. I have a limit to how much creativity my brain can export in a day. It’s about a 2-3 hours. Huh. Who knew? Yes, I can spend additional hours doing writing-related tasks such as editing, creating promo materials, etc., but actual words on the page? Yeah, I’ve only got a couple hours in me.

I know I can (and have done) more than that on occasion, but I’m talking about writing as a daily habit.  Lesson learned.

I started a part-time consulting gig this week. Not only am I making a little money, but it turns out, it’s been a boon to my productivity as a writer. I’ve produced more words this week than in the previous five weeks. It also allows me flexible scheduling, and a late start, so I can maintain my morning workout/wellness program. Bonus!

With this new focus in place, I’ve managed to complete the first round of revisions (with the help of my fab crit partner, Julie Evelyn Joyce) on DOUBLE PLAY (Love Games #3), and have submitted the complete manuscript to my editor, Gilly, for review. I’ve also have some preliminary cover art. Want a peek?

Double Play Cover

LOVE GAME is still on sale at Amazon, so be sure to tell all of your friends!

I’m off to work now…after Sally and I have a little snuggle, that is. Happy Monday, my friends!

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Monday Mayhem – Goals! Almost…Maybe… Okay, not even close.

I didn’t make my goals for the week. Not almost. Not maybe. I didn’t even come close.

The sad part is, I have no excuses. I had the time, just not the motivation. But I resolve to keep trying to pull my feet from the muck. So, here is my update.

Last Week’s Goals:

1)  First of all, I will finish first pass edits on chapters 7-18 of DOUBLE PLAY so they are ready for Jewels. This also includes actually writing scenes for the spots where I wrote {Big fight scene here} because I was feeling non-confrontational that day.

2) Add at least 7500 more words to THE FIX UP (current WIP). This is going to be a fun series. Sort of a Fixer Upper meets It’s Complicated thing. I hope it plays out well.

3) Read through and take notes on major revision points on SUPERSTAR. This one is more of a Nashville meets A Star is Born thing with a juicy family dynamic and intergenerational storylines.

Results:

1)  I edited chapters 7 – 12. Like most writers, I tend to seriously underestimate the time it takes to edit and polish words already written. But still, this goal was doable. The remaining chapters (with additions) will go on this week. I swear! *Shakes fist at Amazon Prime Video*

2) Fell short here, too. But as I am typing this, I realize I didn’t count any net words added to the Double Play chapters edited. Who knew there’d be so much math involved in being a novelist?

3) Yeah, this is the not even close one.

Fail Stamp

What did I do, you ask? Well, with the help of my ever-diligent critter, I did pull the proposal for the Love Renovation series (Fixer Upper meets It’s Complicated) and send it off to my agent. So check that off the list…for now.

I also watched about 3 seasons of Sex And the City. I’m finally up to the Baryshnikov episodes.

This week’s Goals:

1) Finish editing Double Play chapters so they are ready for critique. Priority one.

2) Superstar read-through. I have ideas for revision, and notes must be inserted before I lose the thread.

3) Create new words. I won’t even put a number on them because the math is so intimidating.

In other news:

Tonight, I’m recording my first podcast guest spot tonight for Write With Love with Sarah Williams, and I found out the Skype chat will also be video recorded for YouTube. Hence, I’ll have to dig out some makeup. Eep!

I’m getting psyched to attend RWA national conference in Denver this July. Jewels convinced me to sign up to a murder mystery thing. Rumor has it there’s a dessert bar. If you’re in the Denver area, I’m signing LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS at the big Literacy Signing on July 21st!

So, yeah…I’m trying again this week. Because writers are nothing if not resilient. Therefore, I’m shaking off this week’s fail and starting fresh.

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