Happy Three Year Writing Anniversary to me!

I started on this crazy writing journey three years ago today…or this week, or next, or whatever. Anyhow, the day is close. I remember that by Thanksgiving in 2008, I’d already had a few chapters down the chute and my fingers were buzzing.

With each anniversary comes reflection and hopefully a little appreciation of how far you’ve come as a couple.

Me and my writing journey…we’ve come a long way.

I started writing with an idea: A girl who has visions of death before they happen. I thought I’d like to read a book like that. That’s it. Nothing earth-shattering. I tossed around the idea for a couple weeks, but not once did I sit down at the keyboard to spit out a novel. The reason is simple: I wasn’t spectacular at creative writing in college. I found myself so bogged down by the “rules” of the writing project (whatever it may have been at the time), that I never allowed myself the freedom I needed. (This is the reflection, part.) Write a poem using the five senses? Great. I’ll do it. Write a short story using these very specific, and very random, fifty words. No problem. The writing was grammatically correct, structurally sound, and the stories flowed…but there was no meat to them, and the teachers could tell. (It wasn’t until I tossed the rules that I *got* it.)

One day, Husband said, “Why don’t you try writing a book?”

My response was something like, “I don’t know if I can.” (I was thinking something like holy hell, 400 pages would take FOREVER to write!)

“Well, why don’t you sit down at the computer, no pressure, and see how far you get?” he said, like it was nothin’.

And it was nothing. I mean, writing a novel is SOMETHING. It’s hard and tedious and strapping. But I had absolutely nothing to lose.

That story, set in Joliet, Illinois, about a marine who goes to war and a girl who finds herself through life (and death), was written in three months. I wrote late at night when the Husband and munchkins were sleeping. I wrote furiously. No holds barred.

It wasn’t great. But it was a start. The writing bug got under my skin. I took the next step. How do I learn to write great books? Learn from the best! That’s when I found RWA National and went to my first RWA conference (2009 Washington D.C), where I soaked up what the best of the best had to offer an enthusiastic newbie like me. I traveled by myself. I didn’t know a single person there. I was focused on, not a writing career, but writing a single book that people loved to read.

That’s where the journey really began…

Because I like lists, I’m gonna break down the timeline from there on out.

2008

-First story written

2009

-first story rejected by 100 agents
-Dark Tide Rising written
-half of Intervamption written
-Dark Tide Rising rejected by same 100 agents

2010

-Dark Tide Rising given two offers of publication from e-publishers
-Intervamption finished
-Dark Tide rising sold to The Wild Rose Press
-Offer of representation from agent for Intervamption query
-lost representation (agency closure)
-New offer of representation from agent (Hellooo Nalini!)
-half of Vamped Up written

2011

-Intervamption and Vamped Up sold to Avon Impulse
-Dark Tide Rising published in February
-Vamped Up finished
-Intervamption published in July
-Claimed by Desire written
-Claimed by Desire and 2nd novella sold to Harlequin
*Vamped Up published in December
*Feralon novella 2 written

2012

*Book 3 in Vampires of Crimson Bay series written
*Claimed by Desire published in Summer
*2nd novella published in Fall or Winter

(*’s are things to come, pending the stars aligning “just so” and the current path continuing as is.)

Quite a relationship we’ve had the past three years, isn’t it? What that list doesn’t include are the amount of wonderful writers I’ve become friends with. The critique partners who’ve helped shape my work. And how my becoming President of SFARWA this year has impacted my career. Since my first conference in D.C., I haven’t missed a one. I still hope that people (or even one person) loves my work, but now I’ve got the bigger picture–this is my career.

And I can do this. (At least that’s what I tell myself when I sit at the computer, staring at the blank screen!)

I only hope the next three years are as eventful as the last!

Dorian Gray and The Cost of Writing


I watched the film Dorian Gray last night, having been curious about the character for a while. I’d watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen when it first came out and was intrigued by the idea of an immortal man bound to an old and rotten depiction of himself. I’d heard of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and knew the basic premise was about a guy who whimsically sells his soul to the devil after a picture of himself was painted. In this deal, he could live life as he wished, giving in to the pleasures of the flesh, while the picture showed each effect on his soul and he remained vibrant and young.

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but dwell on the price his deal cost. At first he could care less about his acts (sex, drugs and rock and roll, right?), but as the picture began to decay and transform into a demon, trapped in the picture, a demon he would become when it was time to pony up his soul, I could see the weight bearing on him.

He began to question whether the cost was worth the gain. And, in his case, finally realized it didn’t.

But in everything we do whole-heartedly there is a cost, right? Olympians have to live and breathe their sport, often times giving up their loved ones to live in different states or countries. (Husband and I know this first hand and made the right choice for us–cue children running and screaming and giggling!) Lawyers and doctors sometimes give up dreams of an early marriage or family in order to focus on their careers first. (I’m speaking for a few friends, not everyone of course.)

I see the same thing in my writing. I get asked a lot how I find time to write. I’ll tell you. My house isn’t perfect. My laundry baskets are never empty. My dishes are usually piled into the evening. And if you wanted something specific from my pantry, you’d probably be disappointed. I have only the staples. But my kids and husband are happy. Taken care of. They’re put first, with writing coming in second and housework a very distant third.

That’s the cost for me. If I want to write a book in three months, spending hours in front of my word doc, editing my heart out as I go, then I have to choose something to let slack. It won’t be my family. Can’t be. There goes the impeccable housecleaning.

Nora Roberts once said “Life is a juggling act. You’re going to drop some balls. The struggle is knowing which ones are rubber and which are glass.”

So true.

Which aspect of your life falters a little when you write?

Meet an Author Monday!

Good morning!

Before we dive into the Monday blog hop, I have to tell you…I learned something yesterday.

I cannot write while reading others’ work. Period.

Stephen King, in his wildly popular writing handbook titled, On Writing says “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things about all others: read a lot and write a lot,” writes King. “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in.”

I think he’s right. Of course he’s right. He’s The King. You must love to read. You must take in as many books in your genre as you can.

But my goal as a writer is to turn out 2-3 full-length paranormals a year. Each one takes me 4-5 months…which leaves a few months in between to plot and outline and synopsi the next. Where in there, is there time for reading?

You’d think I could read instead of watch TV. Or read while waiting to pick my kids up from school. I thought so too…

Until yesterday.

I’m reading Monica McCarty’s The Ranger. It’s a Scottish Historical and IT’S FANTASTIC. I’m in her world. I’m there. But when I tried to write the epilogue for my second full-length paranormal in the Crimson Bay Series, I ended up writing in Historical style–flouncy and beautiful and artistic–when I really needed to be rough and gritty and dark. I actually love the scene. I think it’s some of the best stuff I’ve written. But, sadly, it has to go.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Can you read while writing? Does the style of the book you’re currently reading rub off on your own writing? I’d love to hear from other writers in the hop.

Here’s how it works:

READERS:

Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many “new to you” authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We’d love to chat with you!

AUTHORS:

Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don’t create a post for the hop, your readers won’t have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
The purpose of the hop is to meet “new to you” authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
If you’d like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.