Author Friday and New Cover Reveal!

Howdy y’all! Miss me? Grins…

A reader/reviewer/friend sent me a message asking me if I’d consider doing a post on my process for a book from beginning to end. I was thrilled to be asked, honored even… I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks and it’s been a hard to figure out, honestly.

(Beware, this is going to be a long post, so please sit back, grab a glass of something good, and settle in to read…)

I don’t write my books in quite the same way each time. I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but it’s evident that I don’t go about the different books the same.

When a story flows for me, I can sit down and write for hours on end. When it’s not flowing, it’s like pulling teeth. I love what I do, but the reality is that sometimes it’s the biggest bitch.

One thing I’ve always done and needed to do, is work on multiple projects at one time. When one isn’t working in one moment, another one is. I can sometimes and do sometimes, work on two or three projects in the same day. I take breaks in between, but it actually is easier to keep them all going than it is just working on one at a time. And part of this thinking is because I have ideas, lots and lots of ideas. Most writers do. We talk about plot bunnies and they often hop up on the desk as we’re in the middle of trying to be dedicated to one project, dedicated to getting it done.

Some are able to put the new ideas aside in their head, others need to take a few notes to get it out and keep their mind from being cluttered, and still there are others who have to plot and start working on it before they can go back to what they were originally working on. This is me.

Of late though, my processes are slightly changing. I’ve started working on synopses long before I start writing now. I write with a timer, always. I have little rituals… Coffee. (Y’all are shocked, I know) Sometimes music, sometimes Law and Order playing in the background (white noise which I love). Baking or cooking. If I’m lucky, the phones won’t ring either. I have to write before I do most anything else. If I have errands to run or appointments, writing won’t get done at all. I cannot, no matter how many times I try, write in the afternoons or at night, if I haven’t started my day off writing. It’s the weirdest thing, but it is what works.

Book ideas come easy to me. Book writing, does not. Even when the words are flowing, it doesn’t mean it’s any kind of easy. I get stuck and I have to back off, work on something else. But I’m always thinking of the books I’m writing. I change them as I’m writing them, too, or if it’s something small that I don’t think will bug me, I’ll make a note and go back to it later.

I’m also learning to write rough drafts and fill in on the read through. This has helped me a lot. I don’t outline, but as I said, I do write synopses first most of the time now and if it’s a book I’ll be writing at a later time, the synopsis will likely be changed a bit here and there to accommodate how the thoughts have changed with time.

My process is changing, evolving and that’s one thing with writing and with almost anything…you have to be open to changing the way you do something. I don’t like change. It scares me. But, in my writing, it’s been a slow enough process that I don’t even realize it until I start thinking about it. And another thing… I said I write with a timer all the time. I do. 20 minutes. I’ve talked about this before. For some 30 minutes works, and for some an hour at a time works. For me, 20 minutes. Usually two 20 minute sessions in an hour yields close to 1100-1300 words for me. It could produce more, but when I write, the majority of words don’t get tossed out. I don’t cut large sections. I try to make the words I write the first time be the best words they can be. However, I do often ADD a lot during revisions and edits.

I used to want to write 10000 words a day like other authors I know, but it’s not something I can do. Most I can write in a day is 7000-8000 words a day and that’s if there’s nothing else going on at all. So most days, it’s 2500-4000 words a day. I’m very happy with that. It gets the job done and in the end, that’s what needs to happen.

There is no right way or wrong way to do this job. We each have our own craziness we go through to write our books. We each have ideas and we try to work through them as best we can. Some authors are uber organized, some are always in the midst of chaos. I am a little of both. I write from beginning to end. I revise from beginning to end and proof from end to beginning. I catch a lot this way.

The things I need when going through the book writing process:

an idea
my paper calendar
white noise (shows/movies I know by heart or music)
a synopsis
my white board with it’s 4 columns… Bright, Shiny New Ideas, Works in Progress, Completed Works, Self-Publish
specific pencils (I’m strange… mechanical pencils, color coordinated with something in the story)
a timer for accountability
a lot of books to read (fiction, not craft books)
time to bake or cook because those thing fuel my creativity (for you, it might and likely will be something different)
my gray, threadbare #18 Kyle Busch hoodie
Evernote (
Dropbox (

When a book is done, I take a break for a day or so before starting something new but I keep working on other projects I had been working on. Everyone’s process is different and I think that’s what makes writing so fun and so interesting. We all write these books that people love and we all go about it so differently. We need different things when we write. We seek out different atmospheres when we write.

I also write from time to time with several other authors…writing sprints in the mornings online. It helps me get into the groove of writing and gets me into the chair at a specific time most days.

I’m always happy to answer questions, to help out when other authors or readers have questions. I don’t always write on what my readers want me to write on when they want me to write on it. I have to wait until the characters start talking to me. I can’t force them. I’ve tried. And even then, it’s not always the story the readers were looking for. But I can only write the way the characters want their story told. They have as much control over my stories as I do, often times, more control than I do.

I appreciate Crystal wanting to know and allowing me to think about this.

Now, about the cover I promised you… Melting Jane. You knew the book previously as Sugar Rush. It is being re-released by me, hopefully in May. I’ve been revising it and adding new scenes, and overall am loving these characters all over again. I hope you will too…

Melting Jane:

Graham Hall is a twenty-six year old Texan with the job of his dreams: being a freelance travel writer for a national publication. He’s just finished his latest article about small winter resort destinations in Colorado and has earned some personal down time. With the six month lease not yet up on the small cabin he rented, Graham decides to stick around the area for a while and in the process, finds himself agreeing to a blind date with a feisty, down on her luck in the love department, candy maker named Jane.

After all, what could it hurt?

Jane, completely oblivious to the set up, arrives at Graham’s isolated little valley cabin to deliver a box of her handmade Chocolate Kick truffles. From the moment Graham opens the door, Jane is tongue tied and ticked off. Edward, her business partner and most certainly former best friend, set her up. When she regains her ability to put two coherent words together, plus size, mid-thirties Jane apologizes for intruding and assures Graham that she will take care of the mistake.

What ensues is a series of encounters and confrontations between Jane and Edward, Jane and Graham, and Edward and Graham. At the heart of it all, is Jane’s happiness. Edward wants this for her more than anything. Graham finds himself caught up in her tart tongue and curvy body and isn’t about to call his all too real pursuit a failure, no matter how many times she says no.

With her inability to continue denying herself the man she affectionately refers to as Cowboy Surfer in her head, she gives in and is rewarded with scorching hot sex and a lot of follow-up phone calls after she learns the truth of Graham’s attraction. His persistence leads Jane to believe that life doesn’t have to revolve around chocolate truffles, but rather should revolve around a delicious, well traveled and well built younger man.

Have a good evening, y’all!


Winners, Writing, etc…

I am so behind on everything it’s almost comical. I have several plates spinning in the air right now and it’s laughable at how I’m trying to keep them all from crashing down around me.

Last week, DH was home for most of it. It’s hard to work sometimes with him around. Not that he bothers me or interrupts really. I can’t tell you why it is hard for me to write when he’s home, but it is. I am very conscious that he’s around. I am very aware that because of his diabetes that he needs to eat a different times and eat differently than I do or my son does. Maybe that’s all it is… I’m very aware and being that way, is a distraction unto itself. It’s a distraction to my concentration and to the general flow of my everyday life.

However, don’t get me wrong. We get along fabulously. We have very interesting discussions and debates on politics (we’re on opposite ends of it), sports (we always talk sports), religion (again, opposite sides, but not as far apart as we used to be), issues in our respective families, home improvements, my desire for a Dremel even though I don’t really have a use for it yet, and my NEED for a new cordless drill (I love power tools)… We don’t lack for conversation. Ever.

It’s just…distracting. And in being so, I’ve gotten behind on several things. Writing being one. Picking a winner from the St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hop. I will be doing that right now, so hold on…

And the winner is… Kym! I will be in touch Kym!

Now, as for writing and being behind there. I value and appreciate my readers. The new ones and especially the ones who have been with me from the beginning. The writing world is ever changing. I spent all of 2009 hunkered down at my computer writing. All the damn time. Writing. Early mornings. Late nights. I was stressed. Most of the time ignoring my family. Feeling guilty when I wasn’t writing. Feeling even more guilty when I was. It sucked.

I don’t want my kids to say ‘yeah, mom loved us, but she was always working’. That’s just not gonna fly for me. That’s not why I became a mom. It took me all of last year to recover from that and from a loss that sent me into a tailspin. I am writing. I am writing slower in some cases, in others, words just flow. I am spending more down time with my family and doing things I enjoy because life is short, I’m not getting any younger, and neither are my kids. I want them to have good memories of us doing things as a family. I don’t want to buy their happiness or their complacency. It’s why taking my son to NASCAR races and doing things like concerts and spending hours dying my daughter’s hair and spending an entire night watching movies with her are so important to me.

I’ve noticed when I do this, I lose followers on Twitter, people on Facebook stop talking about me, emails dwindle… And while that bothers me and I feel guilty, if I somehow lost my kids along the way, that would make everything else meaningless. Some people are better at balancing all of it than I am. I do my best and no one can ask more. So, I am writing. Not as fast as some would like and not as fast as the ever changing world of publishing needs. There’s always another author to take my place, to fill in the gaps. Hopefully I’ll still have readers in the end…grins.

Today, it’s off to the post office, sending some emails, writing, making s’mores granola bars for my son, and taking my son to baseball practice, making dinner (slow cooker here I come), exercise, a couple loads of laundry, and texting with my sister, brother, and mom.

Have a great Tuesday, y’all!


Author Friday – A Little Thing We’re Not Supposed To Talk About…

Actually, there are a lot of things we’re not supposed to talk about. Bad reviews. Negativity. Failure. Money. Sales. Contracts. Publishers. Each other.

We also live in a society that believes in not speaking the truth to spare everyone’s feelings, being politically correct whether it’s right or not whether we agree or not, and where we don’t have to accept personal responsibility, especially for stupidity. We like to sue and we like to lay blame. We also teach our kids that there isn’t a winner or a loser because they’re all winners. Well, no they aren’t. There’s a winning team and a losing team. Just look at the scoreboard.

So what does this have to do with writing? Everything. Because most people will tell you that the most valuable lessons they’ve learned are from either losing, failing at something, hearing the bad along with the good, or being broken and having to pick themselves back up. I can’t disagree. If all you hear is praise, how do you handle the rejection when it comes, the loss when it happens, because I’m sorry, life isn’t all roses and eventually you’re going to experience some form of disappointment. It doesn’t always do it gently either. Most of the time, it kicks you in the ass or pulls a Gibbs and smacks you upside the head…

We all have expectations in this business, whether the writer, the editor, the publisher, the blogger, the reviewer, or the reader. And you know what? No one person can please all those different people. The pressure is daunting. We all make mistakes. We all have our own opinions. We all have our ideals and thoughts of how things should go, but they don’t often go the way we dreamed.

So, how does an author pick themselves up and dust themselves off when readers are vocal about disappointment, when reviewers say they like this book a little less than the last one, when editors send out that rejection, when publishers give you more WTF moments than you know what to do with, when everyone around you is succeeding and you seem to be floundering, or when you’re having a bad day because your characters won’t fucking get to the point and do what you want them to do?

I don’t know. I don’t know how others do it. The all-knowing ‘They’ say you’re supposed to have or develop a thick skin but if we shrug everything off, what have we learned? Nothing. At least I haven’t. And if there’s something I love, whether it’s painful or not, I love to learn. I can learn from my missteps and those unkind, hurtful words. I can learn from being heartbroken and cast aside. I can learn from tears. And I can change. Is it a change to please others? No. It’s a change to a different way of thought, a little more conscious effort. I can learn to get out of my own way. And that’s not a bad thing. Growth and change and learning. Sure, I’d like praise all the time, but I’m not going to get it. I’ve learned that lesson. But I keep trying. I keep trying and doing something different and learning and growing as an author. I may lose people along the way, but I may gain others. And those I lose, are probably not who I was aiming for in the first place. (this is something I am sort of learning in the book I’m currently reading ‘The Power of Unpopular‘)

Emotions are messy. Life is messy. I don’t write fluff and I don’t want to. I write wishy-washy characters because damn, that’s life and at some point we’re all going to be scared to take that chance. I write odd and aloof characters because damn, they exist. I have several friends who are odd and aloof and I adore them for it. I don’t want to write easy. I want to write what’s pulled from my gut and what’s painful. There will be people who don’t want to read that. That’s fine. It’s part of doing what we do. We can’t please everyone. It’s how we handle it that tells our strength, or so a friend of mine told me during a recent conversation about loss.(Thank you, Fallon.)

So maybe a thick, let it roll off the back skin works for most. It doesn’t work for me. It pisses me off, it hurts, it makes me growl and grump, and it makes me really think about what I’ve done and if I’d change it knowing what I know after… If I say no, I wouldn’t change it, then I know I’ve done something right, even if others don’t agree with me.

I read craft books. I read self-help books. I read happy books and books that come from people’s deepest, darkest souls. I learn and I grow and I change. I fix what I consider mistakes and I keep going on. I read blogs about how other authors deal with these same issues. I sometimes pour over them for hours. And in the end, we all have the same opinion. We’re all different and we’re all entitled to how we think, how we feel, how we deal… Will it make us better or make us worse?

At the same time, I’m also a reader. There are authors who write the same book day in and day out and only change the names of the characters, but are given the highest praise time and again. As a reader, that bores me and I have stopped reading some of my favorite authors because of that. Then, I have loved authors who left the initial genre they started in and I didn’t like the change in either voice or genre and stopped reading them (the new stuff at least. I always give it a try, though). Authors have had medical conditions which changed them and their writing was no longer the same and it saddened me that I could no longer read the books I loved from them because they weren’t going to be writing them anymore. It happens. Not only in writing but in acting. A favorite actor will no longer do drama or comedy or act at all. It happens in music and a favorite musician will go more country or more rock or go inspirational or just stop altogether.  Change happens and it’s not always what we as readers or watchers or listeners want.

I want books that make me feel something other than ‘that was a good book, but nothing I haven’t already read from her or him or them’.

Some things force change, force learning, force growth, and force us out of our comfort zones. Maybe most don’t think about this. Maybe most don’t want to because it’s sticky and messy…and not in the fun way. I do and eventually, I think it’ll make me a better writer. It’s part of how I do what I do…


Author Friday – Lissa Matthews

Today starts the new blog series I told y’all about a while ago. Authors talking about how they do what they do. We’re calling it Author Friday and for the first few Fridays, you’ll be stuck with me while Brandy and I fill up the calendar with more authors.

As for how I do what I do?

My answer? Structure. That’s what I’ve learned about myself. I started this year off trying new techniques of organization between writing, the business work of writing, and family life. These different techniques have each gone through revision after revision after revision. I start off thinking one way and then everything goes to Hell in a handbasket when life interrupts and I get off course and off track and end up froding. (froding = off the beaten path or when the Garmin can’t find the road you know you’re on).

My current plan is writing Monday thru Friday and handling business on Saturday and  Sunday. Business meaning revisions, edits, blog posts, website updates, contacting winners from contests, catching up on emails that require something more than just a yes or no response. I also use this time to try and connect with Brandy to plan out the work I need from her throughout the next week and how things went the week before.

This way of doing things seems to be working better for me than anything else I’ve tried. It’s easy for me to get caught up in all that needs to be done and not getting to any of it because I don’t know where to start. I’m a big believer in routine. I need it. I crave it. I need to know what is expected of me and when. I need to know what’s going on and when so I can plan around it. But, just because I need and crave it, doesn’t mean I get it. Life isn’t structured like that on a normal basis, no matter how hard I try. I am finding though that I need to try harder.

If I get done with writing by four, I can exercise and get dinner going, depending on the menu item for the night otherwise, dinner is usually started in the slow cooker. Yeah, I’ve been doing that lately, too. Menus. It helps, not only with grocery shopping but with that whole structure thing. Cookbooks, magazines, food blogs. All for different dinner ideas and they help me keep on course with this whole not eating out challenge we do in our house from time to time.

Family life takes place after dinner. Or during dinner. We’ll talk, watch a show or a movie. My son is about to start baseball for the spring and my husband will be playing softball so life will need to once again be adjusted for those things, but…they also mean I need to be done with work beforehand because I’ve found that after about 8pm at night, I’m done for and don’t want to work anymore. I get up at 6am and am going from the time I get out of bed to the time I go back to bed. I’m exhausted. We all have our different thresholds for how much we can take and I’m trying to make sure I don’t stress mine too much. I’m not getting any younger and I know I need to take better care of myself if I hope to keep going for years to come.

As for writing, many of you have heard me say it time and again, but for me it’s writing sprints or timed writing, however you want to put it. I set the timer for 20 minutes and I write, usually between 2500 and 3000 words a day. If I don’t use a timer, I flounder and I flit and I don’t get half of what I need written done. I can and have written more, like 6000-8000 a day, but those are times where afterward, I’m brain dead. I read about authors who write 10000 words a day everyday, but then end up cutting almost half of what they’ve written. I don’t understand that. I rarely ever cut more than a few hundred words and am usually adding more to what’s been written. But, that works for them. And see, that’s the whole idea behind the Author Friday series. We all work differently. We all work at a different pace. We all write books of varying length and content. What works for one isn’t going to work for someone else, but we might be able to learn something and it’s always fun to see how others do what we do or how they do what we love.

I hope you as readers enjoy the series and I hope authors will enjoy it as well. If you have an author you’d like to learn about regarding their process, leave a comment and I’ll contact them to see if they’d like to participate. It can’t hurt to ask…

For now, have a great weekend.


Debra Moore – The Business of Writing

Hey y’all… I received a letter from a dear friend of mine, Debra Moore. I’ve known her online for a few years now. She was one of the first people I met when I started out at Cobblestone Press. We’ve spent some Saturdays, early in the morning, writing and just chatting and she’s always been such a wonderful and level-headed writer/friend, so when she sent this to to me, I wanted to be sure and share it with any of my blog followers who may also be authors or aspiring authors…

Hey, girl! Guess what I’ve been up to?

I had several conversations with a group of writers a while back about finances. We all agreed there are no books out there geared to what we, as writers, need to know about business. They suggested that I write that book, so I took their advice to heart. I wrote the book that needs to exist! My new book, The Business of Writing, went live on Amazon last week! Unlike other finance and business books out there, this one is specifically for writers and the challenges we face.

I’ve been doing bookkeeping and creative writing for over twenty-five years, and I was finally able to combine the numbers side and creative side of my brain to produce a book every writer will find useful.

My book will show how to save time and money all year long as well as during tax season. This way, writers can focus on writing instead of stressing over the financial side of the business.

In the book, I’ve included information on managing the daily bill and receipt piles with a tool called the Money Journal. There are tips and tricks on tracking all financial matters along the way quickly and easily—and in a way that will save them time and money at tax time. The book covers how the structure of our businesses is so important and can make a huge difference come tax time. Also, the book has an exhaustive list of expenses specific to writers—some that writers are probably already tracking, and many they may not be.

There is a lot more information in the book, and I included loads of links to forms I designed, spreadsheets writers would find helpful, and IRS publications every writer should know about.

I know you get financial questions all the time. Here’s the link to the Amazon page. There’s more information about everything the book contains there. I priced it economically so every writer could get one.

Debra Moore

Moore Bookkeeping—because you went into business to make money, not count it.

I highly recommend getting a copy of Deb’s book. I know for myself, the more information I have, the better and I know I always have financial questions with regards to this business.

Have a great Wednesday!


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