Updates Before Kick-off

It’s been a very long month. I know it’s only the 15th but I’m telling y’all, it has been a very long, hell of a month.

I have done multiple rounds of edits on both Malachi’s Word and Double Up. I’ve written half of the holiday book for Loose Id, More Than This. I have several more days to write the second half. I also have 2 other stories I’m working on. One is being written, the other is a chapter by chapter edit and revision with the help of a reader/blogger/friend who recently sent me an email about the characters in my books and how she relates to them. It was inspiring to say the least…

I’ve been up late, way outside of my usual routine. I’m to the point of exhaustion and…wait for it…even coffee isn’t helping. I know. I know. But it’ll get better and coffee will be working its magic again soon.

In the meantime, y’all will notice over the next couple months that this here blog will have a lot more activity though not all from me. Brandy, with a little help from me, has scheduled guests to come visit. And while she’s been doing that, she’s also scheduled be to go forth and blog elsewhere in several small blog tours. One in October to celebrate the release of Double Up and one in November to celebrate the print release of Twisted Up.

For now, that’s all I’ve got. I need to get to work… Several thousand words to add to the WIP before kick-off at noon of my Florida State Seminoles.

Y’all have a good one.

~lissa

Working Through The Fog

The other day I made a comment about finally being able to write. Maybe.

I’d gone a day and a half with no scene in my head. Nothing. Not for any book I’ve been working on. See, I’m so focused on the one I’m trying to finish, the one that’s closest to being finished that I can’t clear enough headspace for the others. That’s what its like for me when the ending is near. I want to solely focus, give my individual writing attention to finishing. But every so often, though the end is right there, I can’t see it clearly enough. I can’t hear dialogue. I can’t see surroundings. And the harder I try, the foggier it gets. The more I try to force it, the farther away and harder it becomes.

I don’t want to write useless words that I’ll just have to cut later. And yes, I know the experts say write everyday. No matter if it sucks, write anyway. Well, I don’t always fall into that camp. I don’t want to spend hours on something only to have to scrap just to say, I wrote today. No, I want the right words, even if it means waiting a few days until the vision, the voices, the kick in the ass comes.

I play games with my son, I pin on Pinterest, I cook or bake or reorganize something, I clean and the whole time, I’m thinking, I’m pondering, I’m working inside my head, rearranging thoughts and ideas and then it hits…

This is what happened the other morning while I was reorganizing my cookbook shelves. The scene began to take shape and the longer I worked at the cookbooks, arranging and rearranging, the closer I came to the end of the book.

Finally, it was time to write…

If you’re a writer, how do you get through the fog?

~lissa

Author Friday

Rejection sucks. No matter the reason, it sucks. Professional rejection? Personal rejection? It all sucks.

But, it’s all in what you do with the rejection that teaches you. We’re all allowed pity parties, tantrums, crying fits, wine, chocolate, the biggest most unhealthy bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries we can handle and… Oh, is that just me? Oops… Anyway, we’re allowed to deal with it in whatever way works best for us, even if it is to go around saying ‘I suck’ for the day. In the end though, in order to move on, to prove the rejector wrong, or to prove yourself wrong, you have to get up and charge forward.

I’ve suffered through several rejections of a professional nature recently and one personal one last year. Total suckage. You see everyone around you doing awesome, getting contracts, getting requests for full manuscripts, turning in book after book, and where are you? On the sidelines reading another form rejection. Dear Awesome Author, Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately… And it’s there you stop reading. And you don’t even read it as Awesome Author, you read it as 100% UNawesome Author.

So, once you’re in your little cave and have vowed never to crawl out again, what do you? That’s where the big decision comes in. That’s where the good, the bad, and the ugly are separated.

Me, with my latest rejection, I have congratulated my good friend who wasn’t rejected, and I repeated ‘Lissa you so suck’ in my head, but have been hard at work revising, plotting, planning from my little pity corner in my cave. I haven’t made chocolate cake. Yet. I haven’t made that burger with cheese and bacon. Yet. I haven’t opened the wine. Yet. No, I’ve kept on working. I’ve been plugging along and working and moving forward.

That’s the only way I’ll get out of this corner. Working. Writing. Moving.

How do YOU deal with rejection?

“It can be depressing when no one takes interest, and a lack of response makes the writer question why they’re writing at all. To have one’s writing rejected is like you, yourself, are being rejected. ”
? Lizz Clements, Apollo Weeps

“Rejection is a challenge.”
? Veronica Purcell

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.”
? Billy Joel

“Sometimes it’s helpful to remember that every writer sits down to a blank page and struggles with their writing. And even the best writers have suffered their share of rejection.”
? Jade Tyler

~lissa

Favorites – Writing Life Blogs

I follow a lot of blogs. Probably not as many as some and probably more than others. I follow 83 blogs. Not every one has a post every day which is good cause I wouldn’t be able to keep up if they did. Some are review blogs, but not many, and not for the reviews but mainly for the book recommendations or discussions for/about readers. There are a few author blogs too, but again, not many. And a couple of BDSM blogs, as well.

My preferences are craft blogs and blogs about the industry, social media, branding, even blogging. These teach me something, give me things to put into effect, things to try. I like that.

With today’s Favorites post, I thought I’d share with you a few of the blogs I enjoy the most…

1. Justine Musk/because you’re a creative badass

2. Warrior Writers, Kristen Lamb’s Blog

3. Writer Unboxed

4. Write It Forward, Bob Mayer’s Blog

5. Julie’s Journal

6. Social Mouths

I learn something everyday when I read them. I learn things about myself, about writing, about the business, about social media. Like I said, I love to learn, to try and improve the way I think, the was I approach my career as an author.

I also follow well over 100 food/organizational/home blogs… But that’s another story all together. LOL…

Do you have favorite blogs? They don’t have to be writing craft blogs, they can be about anything, but I’d like to know at least one blog that you, dear reader, follow and would recommend.

~lissa

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
coffee
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 (evernote.com)
Dropbox (dropbox.com)

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!

~lissa