Archive for November, 2007

YUP, IT HAPPENED

So, I’m at the tail end of Chapter 3 of the secret story. I’ve already got 7k and the initial set-up of the story isn’t close to being over. I know what needs to happen, but not sure of the right words to get it down. I’m racking my brain. Then like a left jab out of no where the thought hits me…

I Said Never doesn’t have true conflict. Don’t ask me why ISN popped into my head. Really I was ready to put that story on the back burner. I have two submissions out on it and trust me with those publishers it may take months to hear back from them. If they even respond to little ol’ agent-less me. I’ve got time to make this story better.

Anyway, lightening bolt hits–and then I’m thinking of the first three chapters, what am I setting up (externally) that will keep these two apart?

Did I let the reader know? Or did I assume they’d figure it out by reading the book?

Are both their goals concrete? Or one of those wispy feeling ones?

When do the goals change?

When does the internal struggle start?

How best can I show the hero’s struggle in first POV? Does the definition of women’s fiction make how he feels mute? Hell, is this book even a true contemporary romance?

To make a long story short…there isn’t any conflict. The heroine has a negative goal. Not to fall in love. When it should be (externally) find the money and get the hell off the mountain and back to her real life. The hero’s goal at the moment is pointing out she doesn’t really want to go back to her old life. But he doesn’t even know this chick so why does he care?

*Groan*

Needless to say I’ve had a DUH moment.

I’m still going to write every day on secret story. But now I’m back at the drawing board. Since my camera is back in full use I’m probably going to make a series of how I fix my writing f&*k-ups. It should be entertaining. Stay tuned.

For the writers out there, when do you usually get these blinding moments of clarity? Shower? Driving? Writing another book? Let me know I’m not the only person.

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November 29, 2007 at 5:48 pm 10 comments

OH, I FORGOT WHAT THIS FELT LIKE

Both for Overworked and Underlaid, and I Said Never, I’ve gone through the stories. I don’t know what I can add to make the romance fuller. It’ll come to me. I’m not going to push it. Both heroines aren’t done living in my head. I’ll let them stay there for a while and stew. So you know what that means?

You’ve guessed it right. I’ve started another story. But you know what? I’m taking it slow. I’m not going to put myself under the pressure of a daily word count. I’m going to write until I hit a wall for the day and quit and come back the next day. I haven’t done that in while. I kind of like it. I don’t think I even want to tell you guys about the plot or what’s going on so far. This story is going to be my little secret. So all I’m giving you is…In Time as the working title. It’s a romanctic suspense. Ha. I like this feeling, I forgot what it felt like.

So on to other things. The interview gig has been going good. I’ve gotten back three so far. I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails of interest. But I don’t have Unpubs. I need Unpubs. Your journey is just as important. Your story needs to be told. Your unpub status doesn’t lessen what you know. There is a saying, every published author was unpublished at some point. So…e-mail me dammit. I’m not saying any names. 🙂 Also since I’m technically still unpubbed I’m going to answer the questions myself to show you how unscary the process is.

Author Questions:

When did you start writing?

September 13, 2004

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start writing a book?

My first book, 18 pages long illustrations included, was in the 3rd grade. We had to read the story out loud. I can’t say for sure, but I think my teacher eyes glazed over by page 10. It was about a ghost town. I have fond memories of that story. But what made me sit down and write was watching a show on Oprah. It was the beginning season of her dream series. She was making dreams come true. I could make my dream come true if I just sat down at my typewriter. I think I cried writing that whole first page. Then I re-wrote it ten million times. I haven’t stopped writing since.

What made you take yourself seriously?

Going from the mindset I wanted to be published to wanting to write a damn good book. I embraced my voice realizing it was mine, no one could take it, and I was going to hone it. That was around the same time my first partial was requested. Go figure.

What have you learned about writing that shocked you the most?

That it is damn hard work. It’s much more than sitting down at a computer(typewritter) and getting words down. It’s about bleeding on the page, going back and killing your darlings. It’s about the story. It’s not about how good one line is.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

I love romantic suspense. I love tradional romance. Women’s fiction. All of it must have humor, the rest is white noise. I’ve been hopping around since my first book and depending on the mood I’m likely to write in all three genres. Hey, I have a short attention span, must be why.

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

I’M A GREAT WRITER!! I live by that. There is no point for me to keep sitting down at a computer if I don’t think in the back of my mind that I’m damn good. If I don’t believe what I’m writing is worth someone’s hard earned money then I need to step my ass away from the computer and not look back.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

Find your voice. The craft and everything will fall into place, because to me you can learn craft, you can learn grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting. You can learn how to discpline yourself to write every day, you can learn all that if you have the passion to. But you can’t fake voice. It’s the thing that is going to make an editor love you, hate you, buy you, ask you nicely to never send a ms to them, make readers buy your next book, have them throw it against the wall. Voice makes or break you. Learn it, love it, use it to your advantage.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

My first book I sat down and wrote, and wrote, and wrote until my eyeballs were dry and I couldn’t type another word. Actually I didn’t for months. Then I figured I would plot. That didn’t work out so well. Then I chucked it and found a good balance. I wrote by the seat of my pants and only plotted the turning points of the story. It seems to work for me. I’m not going to mess with it until it stops working for me.

What keeps you writing?

I haven’t gotten bored with it yet. I find something new to learn that I didn’t know before. I want to try this writing thing out to see how it goes. I want to see if I can write a damn good story. And characters keep popping up in my head demanding to be written. When that stops then I’ll stop.

Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

THE CHERRIES are my support. So are all the women in Sub Care. I go to Wine Country Romance Writer’s every month (or try to) they are also a good group of women. Joan (shout out!!) did an incredible job of getting us together. It’s a writing group in the valley/wine country, hence the name, and it’s the first one to be founded in our area. We’re trying to get an RWA approval. Anyway, all these groups I get something different (cherries=craft, Sub Care=undeniable support with submissions, sales, rejections, Wine Country=a day out of the house to be a writer.) These women keep me sane and I’ve learned that I’m not insane for wanting to write.

Define success for yourself?

Writing a book a reader can love. Writing a book that makes the NYT bestseller list, being able to quit my day. If I can get one out of the three than I’ve succeeded.

What’s your comfort reads?

Nora Robert’s Carnal Innocence. And Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation. And Lani Diane Rich’s Crazy in Love.

Who are you reading right now?

About five books all at the same time. I can’t begin to tell you their names.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

When I read Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me I wanted to give up writing all together. There was no way in hell I could write something that good. Up to that point I’d never sobbed when reading a book (Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney not withstanding) There is this one scene that hits me, the emotions rang true, and I said, “I’m not writing anymore.” Then I read a book by Erica Spindler then decided I was going to give writing another chance, because if she can be published then I can. Yes, I did just out someone as a bad writter.

Plug away…you can find me here of course and at http://www.melissablue.net. I’ve got a book coming out How Much YOu Want to Bet? Boy meets girl, Girl chanllenges boy to pool game, Girl loses and has to go on a date with boy. Boy preens, charms, gets on girl’s last nerve, hires Girl’s boss to make his house. Girl wishes for him to fall off the nearest clift. But of course Boy and Girl fall in love and Live HEA…if only Girl can forget her past….

Now that should have either intrigued you or annoyed you. Either way I’m still unpublished, but watch out for the release date. I’ve got the first chapter up at http://www.melissablue.net. You can find it under the excerpts page.

See that wasn’t so bad now was it?

November 27, 2007 at 4:30 pm 7 comments

TOP TEN SIGNS YOU LOVE YOUR KIDS

I realized I didn’t do a post about Thanksgiving. Heh. Anyway, my belief to forsake the holidays were solidified when I went shopping on Black Friday. Every year I’d usually wait until the last minute to shop. My money is always funny so I at least try to get my Mom and kids something. BF were the kids only, especially after going to Toys-R-Us. *shudder* I digress: Top Ten Signs You Love Your Kids

1. You go shopping on Black Friday.

2. You step foot in Toy-R-Us knowing it’ll be just as bad as Wally-Word on the first.


3. The moment you walk into the store you only say, “Holy Shit!!” and not turn around and run (for your life) in the other direction back to your car.

4. You actually head straight for the Hannah Montana stuff.

5. When you’ve placed the Hannah Montana stuff in your basket you don’t sob, you only whimper a little, because you know what’s going to happen.

6. You try to keep your hand from going back into the basket and throwing the HM stuff out of it, because you know for the next six months of your life, 180 days, you’ll be hearing The Best of Both Worlds on repeat.

7. You only consider opening the gift and getting rid of the blond wig, because you know there will be a fight to the death on who will get to wear it in your household. You can already hear, “MOM! He took it from me!!!”

8. You don’t buckle, you keep shopping and elbow you’re way through mountains of toys, and parents with psychotic expressions on their face when you get the LAST ______ toy. You know the new thing that creates utter chaos.

9. You actually smile when you see a toy the same size of you’re son knowing that if he doesn’t collapse in spasms when he sees,a cardiac arrest. Men are so easy to please.

10. You take your goods home and spend 2 hours wrapping it all, you break out the glass of wine because you need fortitude, you open your storage room only to be attacked by 4 spiders. You decide to just stuff the damn gifts in the cabinet, and you don’t even get mad when your crafty son opens one gift. You let him play with it, because you know on Christmas day there will be tears of joy, screams of ecstasy, wetting of pants from the pure excitement. Those 30 seconds are so worth everything else on this list.

November 25, 2007 at 6:54 pm 4 comments

DO WRITER’S REALLY TAKE A BREAK?

I do and I don’t think they do. I know when I step back from writing it can probably take weeks before I write again. But the stories are always there. I think it’s a huge difference between thinking about writing and sitting down putting words to paper.

Right now I’m trying to edit two stories. I SAID NEVER and OVERWORKED AND UNDERLAID. For O&O I’ve done the intial read through and hated it. Yesterday I sat down to read it only making marks where words were missing and if I needed to move a sentence. I no longer hate it. I love the energy of the book. I love the fact the hero is trying his best not look too hard at the heroine. I love the fact Megan calls her mother Joan when she’s really irritated with her. (Her mother’s real name is Nicole) I love the use of movie references with horrible mother’s. (Mommie Dearest and Carrie)And for some reason “Home is where the heart is” and “There is no place like home” and “Just click your heels. You’ve always had the power to go back home.” Seems to be the running theme of the story. I want to know the significance of this. So I can use the The Wizard of Oz, Mommie Dearest, as motifs in the story. Oh, and of course I had to make a Princess Bride reference, “Loooove, TWWWUUUE, LOOOOVE!” The other obstabcle is finding out the laws of using song lyrics in literature. Do I have to get permission? Do I have to pay some type of fee? I have no idea. If I have to I’ll gut those lines out, but the story wouldn’t be the same. Anyway, I really like this book and as soon as I have the chance I’m sending it to my editor.

And I SAID NEVER…I don’t think I can be truly objective with that story. It’s first person, so out of my element, but Phoenix is something else. She doesn’t believe in anything and how well do I show that she now does by the end of the book. My main goal is to catch all the mistakes then go back and get rid of all the sentences starting with “I” that doesn’t need to be there. The Princess Bride reference is “As you wish.” If you’ve seen the movie then you know what it means when Phoenix is being bossy and she’s telling Adam to do something and his answer, “As you wish.” If not a cue to Phoenix it’s one to the reader this man is in love with her. I’m not sure what this story is missing. I’ve made sure her fourth turning point is significant. I’ve made sure she doesn’t say or think “my mother” until after the first turning point. In my opinion the sex scenes have purpose. Once I finish reading it maybe. Not sure what the motif is in this story(and that may be the problem). Not sure how to take it one step deeper into character without adding another POV. It’s all Phoenix, all the time. If nothing else I’ve discipline myself in POV, very different from my first book where I head hopped every five sentences. By the end of this weekend I’ll be able to put my finger on how to make this story better. I’m defintely going to send this book to a critique partner.

Which leads me to the moral of today’s post writer’s don’t really take a vacation.

Oh, and I want to do author interviews. Published, unpublished, don’t care I want to talk to writers. I want to know about you. So e-mail at melissablue84@yahoo.com if you are interested. Depending on the amount of takers I’ll start posting them mid-december, early January. Let me know.

November 23, 2007 at 3:52 pm 16 comments

THIS IS THE STORY THAT NEVER ENDS….

I’m talking about HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BET? I thought I made it over 40k. Turns out it was only 37,800 words when finally counted. My lovely editor knowing I wanted it to be over 40k gave me the option to add more to the story. 10k to be exact. Once I picked my jaw off the floor I considered what that meant.

Did I have more 10k words in me for HMYWTB?
If I did how would that change the story?
More importantly was I adding just to be adding?

The truth is adding 10k would be stretching the story a bit. I did have at least 4k words left to add to the story. It was between the original 3rd and 4th chapter. The relationship needed more depth. The friendship between two characters needed to be seen on the page and the hero needed to look at his actions and at least start to wonder about his attraction to the heroine. After that I had nothing. Since I first wrote THE END on HMYWTB I’ve added close to 15k. Deleted a good 10k and rewrote those scenes adding another 5k. I looked at the book and realize at this time I couldn’t add anymore without ruining a damn good story. I’ve changed so much since 2005 that I can’t write in the same voice I once did. Nor could I tap into the same energy the book has. There is no more story in me. I let my editor know if my last try didn’t succeed to go ahead and send it to the galleys. *sigh* At least I didn’t go down without a fight.

So for listening to me whine I’m going to give you a sneak peek. This isn’t the final go through. Trust me there are many “that” I have to delete, which will further throw my word count below 40k. (As a side note I had her send me what the story looked like “clean”. I cried after reading the dedication page. I’m going to have a book published. It’s finally hit me.)This scene is from the second chapter on the date Gib won after beating Neil in pool. She’s trying to figure out how he won.It’s copywritten.I have the publication page to prove it….
_________________________________________________________________________________

Gib had taken her to a swanky restaurant, where the dinner napkins looked pressed and every few seconds the sudden urge to take her elbows off the table nearly overwhelmed her. Despite that, and Neil couldn’t believe it, she was enjoying herself. She dipped her finger in the remnant of chocolate mousse cake on the plate in front of her.

“So tell me, Gib, I’m still trying to grasp how you beat me at pool.”
His gaze followed her finger to her mouth. Her face heated as she licked off the chocolate. He hadn’t broken the no-touching rule, so why did she feel naked, sitting there with her finger in her mouth and him looking very jealous of it?

“My uncle taught me. It became a hobby, and when I was in college I won a few tournaments. How’s the cake?”

She cleared her throat. “Good.” She leaned forward at the easy way he had slipped in tournaments. “What kind of tournaments?”

His brown eyes roved over her face. “This is supposed to be a date, right? Let’s get to know each other.”

“You’re going to make this hard for me, aren’t you?”

“I’m an Aquarius. In my down time I like long walks on the beach. What do you do in your spare time?”

“I….” Paint is what she wanted to say, but caught herself. “I win pool games at The Tavern. Since we are back on the subject, what kind of tournaments?”

“I like to travel, and read, and there isn’t a bet that I can’t win.”

“Oh, please. You’re hedging,” Neil quipped, but the corner of her mouth quirked. “Travels, hmm? Any related to the tournaments you entered, oh, yeah, in your free time?”

Gib chuckled. Neil hated to admit she liked the relaxed, sensual sound of it. She sat up straighter in her chair. “So, what tournaments?”

“I lift weights, read poetry, and devote my time to those in need.”

“This is my alter ego and I’m really a superhero,” she challenged.

“You don’t believe me.”

The charm he exuded was effortless, she noticed. If she didn’t watch herself, Neil would be in big trouble. “It’s not because you can probably use money as Kleenex. It’s who you are. You come off as a carefree, no-attachments kind of guy.” She narrowed her eyes as his lips pulled into a smile. “Not withstanding, you can probably talk a nun into leaving a convent.”

“My mother always taught me you can do anything you put your mind to.”

The word trouble blared in her mind’s eye in big red letters. “You want to talk about yourself. Let’s talk about the tournaments you’ve won.”

Gib suddenly checked his watch. “Whew, look at the time. I have to get up early tomorrow.” He reached for his wallet.

She held up her hand, knowing he was still hedging. “You won, and I told you I’d pay for dinner.”

He signaled for the waiter. Before she could reach for the check, Gib handed the man a few bills.

“Excuse me, waiter, but hand the man back that money and give me the bill.” Her words were sharp. The warm feeling she’d harbored since the beginning of the dinner vanished. The young man stepped slowly to the table.

“You can just tack that onto the $200 you owe me.” Gib waved the man away. The gesture had the waiter scrambling from the table.

Neil didn’t want to be indebted to him. Some debts could never be repaid. “Sullivans keep their word, and I said I’d pay for dinner.” Other patrons turned toward her raised voice. She didn’t bother to lower it.

“You can pay me when I drop you off.” Neil would have argued her point, but his words were practical. It was a point of pride for her, something she needed to get control of. Plus, what bothered her more was how he kept brushing off her question about tournements. If her father had taught her nothing else, he’d taught her when to choose and pick battles. She’d let him stew, think she’d forgotten, and then she’d pounce.

Her opportunity came on their way back to town. The chatter on the ride was amicable enough. He seemed back to his relaxed state, fooled by her complacency. Hah. “You never answered me.”

“About what?”

Neil turned completely in her seat to face him. His face held no guile. Probably took years of practice, she thought. “What tournaments did you win in pool?”

He shrugged. “Nothing too big. You know the kind of games that really don’t matter at the end of the day. Kind of like what you’ve been winning down at The Tavern.”

“The Tavern is full of drunken men with bad eyesight. Nothing I would call a tournament.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. “The Eight-Ball Nationals.”

“A tournament, my foot. That’s like calling the Super Bowl backyard football.” Gib winced, and Neil realized she was almost screeching. She took a deep breath. “What was your rank?”

He coughed something unintelligible, then said, “Look we’re almost at your place.”

Neil glanced out the window. They were at the end of her block. She could see the hedges of her yard, but Neil wasn’t getting out of the car until she had answers. She’d been swindled. “That’s nice. I didn’t hear your rank in the competition.”

“It’s not important.”

“The hell it isn’t. You made me think you were the average pool player.”

“You challenged me to a game, as I do recall.” He leaned over, and jerked the door open. Hmm, so he’s finally losing his cool. Temper settles well on him, she thought. His usually nonchalant attitude faded under it and his calm brown eyes flashed with heat. Neil shook herself from the observation and stepped out of the car.

As she turned to round on him once more, she reassessed the situation. Maybe being pleasant would get the answers she wanted. “You’re right. I did challenge you to a game. I’ll get my other purse and pay you the money you’ve earned. The game was very close.” She shrugged. “I would like to know where you ranked.”

“You’re a good player. You almost had me there a few times.”

Maybe her head swelled some more, because the compliment made her feel warm. “Thank you. Your rank?”

He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his the navy trousers. “I won the tournament three years in a row. The fourth year, I decided to retire.”

Neil hadn’t expected to hear that, and it took a moment to get her breath back. “Good night, Gib.”

He angled himself between her and the door. “Can I just say one thing before you storm into the house mad?”

He was close enough for her to smell him now. The smell made her feel nervy and hot, because the scent smelled good enough to bottle and drink. She’d agree with anything if he’d just move—closer. No, no, no, stay on point. “What is it, Gib?”

His gaze slid down to her mouth. “I want you to know that I believe you’d have won if I hadn’t kissed you.”
__________________________________________________________________________________

What she said next cannot be read in polite company. You’ve got to buy the book to find out. (See how smooth I moved into that.) Have a Happy Thanksgiving folks.

November 21, 2007 at 3:52 pm 4 comments

MORAL OF THE STORY IS

1. I’ll never do that again. If the book isn’t ready I’m going to act like I haven’t written ANYTHING.

2. Writing CAN BE PAINFUL.

3. Coffee is not a meal.

4. Chain smoking is bad for you.

5. Sleep should not be optional.

6. Cleaning the house IS optional.

7. CUT, CUT, CUT, CUT, CUT, CUT….

8. CUT, CUT…is there an echo in here?

Anyway, I’m done. I’ve hit send. I’m going to try to block this weekend out. It won’t be hard to do. I’ve gotten about 8 hours of sleep since Friday. CUT, CUT, CUT…There definitely is an echo in here.

Since I’m a glutton I’ve went to istock(really I couldn’t take the story anymore and needed a break) Anyway, I’ve found some pics for OVERWORKED AND UNDERLAID


This is the Red Demon. Aiden’s car. They had a lot of sex in this car. He still drives it to this day. He just painted it green.

This depicts the fourth turning point. Her friend makes her wear a wedding dress.

This looks like the Jukebox where Aiden plays Donny Hathaway’s For all we know for the first time in the story. Such a beautifl song. It fits who Aiden is pefectly. If you’ve never heard the song. Go find it and listen to it.

November 19, 2007 at 3:53 am 8 comments

I GUESS I HAVE STATUS NOW

So…last night I sent a query and synopsis to my publisher for PROTECTING DELLA. Figuring I had until the end of the month. Surprise, Surprise, I had an e-mail waiting for me saying to go ahead and send my full to one of the editors in the line.

What!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That was less than 24 freaking hours. This response may have broken some sort of record. Shh! Don’t tell anyone the submission is not ready. I knew this would happen to me. This is why I’m always prepared. Did I ever tell you I used to be a Brownie (a girl scout) This is why.

You may not here from me until after Thanksgiving. I’ve got some revising to do, but don’t tell anyone.

Quietly, wish me, luck!

November 16, 2007 at 11:28 pm 12 comments

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