Category: e-books

I don’t like talking about works in progress — I guess I’m afraid of counting chickens before they’re hatched — but I’ve got three projects now that are all pretty close to being ready for self-publication, so here we go …

1. The rights are reverting to me from my previous publisher of a traditional Regency novella (about 20,000 words) that I wrote for an anthology with a “June brides” theme. Hubby and I have been formatting the text and creating a cover, and I think we’ll get the book up on Kindle and Nook sometime in the next week. (Woohoo!)

2. You may have read in my bio that I’ve been working on a contemporary mystery “with strong romantic elements” that revolves around an archaeological dig near Pompeii. The manuscript is complete, and several beta readers have read it. I’ve submitted that one to a few traditional publishers, but I’m impatient and if no one bites quickly, I’ll just self-pub. Since it’s a new work, I want to do a print version as well as ebooks — hope I can pull that off. Shooting to release it before the holidays.

3. I’m also writing a novella set in ancient Sumeria that’s kind of erotic(!). I’m not even sure where the line between romance and erotica is, but the plot does revolve around sex, so … there it is. The first draft is almost complete, and I’ll want to do a good second run through it, but I’d like to put it out there within a couple months.

Weird to have two novellas on the way with one a reserved Regency and one a wild ride!

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So excited to have As You Wish featured in “More Writers You Might Like” on, along with books from several other authors in sub-genres ranging from paranormal to how-to to … mostly paranormal. : )

Much thanks to the lovely and talented Jessica Barton for her kind words and her support of small-time authors. It’s much appreciated! For Jessica’s previous post on nerdy book writers (the one that inspired me to email her), click here. Follow her on Twitter here.

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I wonder if other writers have trouble envisioning the rooms and floorplans of houses and other buildings in their work, because I do. Usually, I end up thinking about places I know in real life and move the characters around in those spaces.

Is that a ghost looking out that window in the middle?

The Victorian house in Eternally Yours plays a big role in the plot and needed to be described in detail. My brother and sister-in-law live in a Victorian twin, and I was able to draw on them for help when I got stuck. (In fact, the house on the cover of the ebook is on their street.)

While I was writing, I also attended a book-group meeting in a huge Victorian single that one of our members was house-sitting. The place was for sale — completely out of my league, but I grabbed one of the sale sheets for reference. That house inspired some of the more elaborate features in Lara Peale’s home: the dumb waiter, the pocket doors and some things I can’t mention without spoilers. (Ghosts?)

Now, I’m working on a book that involves extensive ruins near Pompeii, and the buildings are solely products of my imagination, but they seem kind of disorganized to me. Maybe by the time I tweak details and complete the book, I’ll have a clearer picture of them in my mind — but I wonder how important the minutiae are. Do most readers form a precise image of a fictional building from its description, or do they fill in their own details to form a unique mental picture?

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A couple of interview questions that a book blogger sent me got me thinking about how I write. An inspirational quote that comes to mind is something I jotted down way back in high school while reading JD Salinger’s “Seymour: An Introduction.”

In the story, Buddy Glass has expressed concerns to his brother Seymour about writer’s block. Seymour gives him this advice:

… remember before ever you sit down to write that you’ve been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would most want to read if he had his heart’s choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself.

That’s basically what I’ve done with my fiction-writing — though getting a book to the point where you’re happy with it is actually not so simple. Following Seymour’s advice may also not be the best plan marketing-wise, unless you have tastes that are dead-center down the mainstream (though, it worked — too well — for Salinger). But if your concern is staying inspired or writing from the heart, then … there it is.

“Seymour: An Introduction” is on my to-be-reread list of classic works that I can’t recall in detail but that I suspect still have a big influence on me subconsciously. (To buy the book on Amazon yourself, click Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.)

I’m also looking forward to the upcoming Shane Salerno documentary on Salinger’s life, supposedly out sometime this year.

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Why Do I Write?

On the Amazon Kindle forum, someone started a thread asking indie authors why they write, when most don’t even make minimum wage for their efforts. (Most traditionally published authors don’t either, by the way.) Every book I’ve written has taken years to finish, so I haven’t earned anywhere near minimum wage. I’ve always dreamed of making a living with my books, and if they had no distribution at all, going on might not seem worth it, but there’s more to it than that.

I think I started writing because I loved reading so much. As a kid, I mentally “narrated” my life — the way you see kids sometimes “commentate” on themselves while playing sports. I continue to write now because I love the process. It’s like daydreaming, except you spend months or years picking up where you left off on the same fantasy and expanding on it or going back and improving parts. What’s not to like about that?

Growing the original spark of an idea into something that feels as big as life is really satisfying, too. When you’re immersed in writing a story, you get inspired by all kinds of details you encounter in life: places, personality types, anecdotes, moving moments and things you wished had happened in another writer’s story that you read or watched. Every gem of a detail that you mine from life inspires you to keep writing your story.

Of course, over the course of writing a novel, there are also bad moments when it feels like the story has hit a wall. To work through those times, you really have to love the process. Maybe it’s easier if you’re making good money doing it — but I doubt it!

The forum thread is here, if anyone wants to see how other people answered.

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