As we say here in Minnesota, uff-da!! (But being the stoic Scandinavians and Germans, probably not with that much emphasis).
Life has been good. Good and crazy. Our youngest is sleeping more and screaming less. (Bedtime has gotten to be-dare I say?- peaceful).
And I'm back in the swing of things. Mostly in the swing of things looking like this:
And I fiiiiiiiiiiinally finished edits on my historical. Thanks to the help of my agent, we're taking it in a slightly different marketing direction and I'm crazy excited to see what happens. (That's all the teaser I'm giving out for now).
But, that means I get to start a new manuscript. And it's one that's been simmering in my brain for quite awhile. We're talking years. So we'll see how close it actually ends up being to the one I've been imagining.
Everyone else in the family is doing well. Life is good. I'm enjoying the season we're in. And I'm so happy to be done editing! Ha!
Sounds pretty similar to a certain company slogan, doesn't it?
But here's the thing: as simplistic as Nike's slogan is, it's genius.
As I've been muddling my way back into a writing routine (sleep deprivation, colicky baby, and more sleep deprivation being my hurdles), I've found that I need to 'just do it'. Even if I can't block out enough time to edit eight chapters in one sitting, I need to sit down and edit for the ten minutes I do have.
When I'm so tired and don't want to write a blog post, I need to tell myself it's OK to not write an entire blog post. But then tell myself I need to at least sit down and write two sentences to start a draft of a blog post.
And guess what? Once I'm over that hurdle of starting the task- of just doing it- I find myself four paragraphs in with the Nike logo prominently displayed.
It works for running- lace up your shoes and tell yourself you just need to walk around the block. Once you're moving it's easy to keep going and before you kno...
Literally. It is so hot right now. And as I spent a good chunk of the afternoon with the fan trained directly on me, I started envisioning life before fans. And then I melted a little more.
Brought to you by 90% humidity and a true Minnesotan who does not do well in extreme heat, I give you...
Ladies at the beach
Looks so refreshing to be at the beach in layers of flannel, doesn't it?
Regency ladies weren't in the water, but they were on the beach in the early 1800s. Swimwear started as beachwear. Special walking dresses were designed for ladies to wear while strolling on the beach. With a loose silhouette and lighter fabrics, it was similar to a very long tunic worn over loose pants. (But don't call them pants!)
By the middle of the century, there were legitimate bathing costumes for women. Although, I have my doubts that they were an improvement over the walking dresses since they were made of heavy flannel. (Is anyone else envisioning proper Victorian ladies being dragged un...
This little fellow decided to make an appearance four weeks early. Which meant my plan to have some blog posts ready and scheduled for my "maternity leave" was replaced with little things like giving birth and not sleeping. No complaints, though! Hanoch Finley is a doll and our whole family is enthralled with him.
But, it's been two months and we're settling into a routine (have I mentioned it's a sleepless routine? So. Tired.) And part of that routine is making time for writing/blogging/Facebooking again. I have some really fun things planned for my readers and followers this summer and fall. It all ties in with growing my Facebook page and website and I'm so excited to share it with you!
I'll back with the Writing Essentials series, announcements, giveaways, and fun things for you every week this summer! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you'd like to see. Or let me know over on my Facebook page.
I'm a romance writer, so today I'm going to talk romance and love stories...
There's an awkward moment about 99% of the time when someone asks what you write, and you tell them "romance." (Christian Historical Fiction sounds so much classier). Yes, maybe it's Inspirational Contemporary Fiction or something equally lofty sounding, but at its root, whatever I've written has been a romance novel.
And here's where people get it wrong. Romance isn't just the "bodice-rippers" and erotica. I would even go so far as to say, a true love story isn't either of those. At least, not solely that. My absolute favorite stories happen in the everyday. No grandiose gestures of love from a billionaire hero. No celebrity lifestyle that leads to an epic proposal. Just people falling in love during the ordinary days of their life. But it's that love that makes the days so much more than ordinary.
There's a quote I love:
" Life isn’t a love in, it’s the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and ......
Your genre may decide it for you. I write "inspirational romance". Which is a fancy way of saying Christian love stories that feature God. And that is the most important part of my writing. If I cut out the faith message, or the faith journey of my characters, I'm sure I wouldn't be writing anything. I would lose my passion for it.
Since I see my writing as a way of communicating (and sometimes processing through) the ways God works in our lives, that is the root of why I write. And knowing that makes it easier for me to get my rear in the seat and write each day. I want to share God's love with people. I want people to be able to read a book and have God speak to their heart through it. I want them to read about someone else's struggle and know they're not the only person who has grieved, who has fought, who has loved.
Or I may ask myself why do I want to do it as a career and not a hobby? Do I want people to read what I've written? Do I want fame? (I'll just answer that as a pretty bi...
(This is the third in a series of Writing Essentials- the nitty, gritty details of how-to write a book).
Say it with me, "I am a writer."
Did you just whisper it? Did you look around to make sure no one would hear you say it?
If you did, I get it. I really, really get it. When I set up my author Facebook page it felt absurdly pretentious to present myself as a writer- let alone an author- to the world. Because everyone knows to be a writer means you have a book published.
It's the people reading your book and cheering for you that makes you a writer.
That's like saying you're a runner only if someone puts a medal around your neck after you cross the marathon finish line. It's putting one foot in front of the other and actually running that makes you a runner.
Or you're only a builder if someone moves into the house you've designed and nailed together. Nope. It's sawing each piece of wood, hammering each nail in, that makes you a builder.
Last fall I got knocked flat on the couch for three months by morning sickness. I pretty much closed my eyes and waited for the first trimester to pass. Pass it did, and I was able to dip my toes back into somewhat normal life with the second trimester. Which meant getting upright and starting a new manuscript.
I set the goal to have a new manuscript done before the new baby comes (because that's how writers nest, I guess?), and I sat down to start something new.
And I sat.
And I sat.
And I sat some more before typing the most boring first pages ever.
And then deleted the most boring first pages ever.
I had muscled through writing my last two manuscripts even on days when I didn't feel "inspired". But I've never sat down to write something without that spark compelling me to get it started.
So I turned to Seekerville for help. They have a great index of topics on their sidebar. One click on brainstorming and I had a great exercise to use.
Every manuscript I've written, has ended up with a theme song rolling through my head by the time I'm done with it. Sometimes it comes to me as I'm writing and halfway done. I'll hear a song and it just hits me how perfectly that song fits the main character or her journey. Like this one:
Or maybe I can hear the hero's exact thoughts about the heroine in the song. (Dreamy eyed sigh...)
And sometimes I'll hear a song and there's one verse, or one lyric, or just an emotion that will catch my ear and I can suddenly see the entire scene, complete with characters I've never met before. (And this would be where I cross the line into crazy ar-tiste territory.) :)
Now for the details on the giveaway (because I know that's what you're really here for. It's ok, no hard feelings. I would be...
..so I guess that means I'm not a beggar after all.
When sending out query letters to agents, I like to do so with my usual sunny optimism. I put together the best letter I can, showcasing my work and myself, and then obsessively check my email for the rejection I'm expecting. But I like to up the odds even more, add in a little more heart-pounding drama for myself. So I start with the agents who seem like a long shot. The agents who represent my favorite writers, who it would be the stuff dreams are made of to be represented by. It's more exciting to be shot down by a top level agent than by someone you've never heard of.
I started by sending the query letter off to four agencies that would make me pass out if they decided to represent me (that seems like a good litmus test for an agent you should be working with, right?). I figured I'd get the pipe dreams out of the way first, so I could move on with no regrets.
And then I got the request for my full manuscript. And then another re...