My 2014 RT panel schedule

…as Stephanie Tyler, Sydney Croft & SE Jakes….and sometimes, all of me!  Hope to see many of you in New Orleans 🙂

Wednesday, May 14th

– 1:15 − 2:15 – Panel: LGBTQ: Beyond the Pronouns: Why LGBTQ Romance May Be Your New Favorite Genre

Join some of the genre’s favorite authors to explore the many types of romance that fall under the LGBTQ umbrella—from sexuality (m/m, lesbian, ménage) to gender (trans, queer, questioning) to tropes (Gay For You, coming out, historical concerns)—and how they’re popping up in the most unexpected places.

Moderator: Sarah Frantz (Riptide Publishing, Senior Editor)
Panelist(s): Suzanne Brockmann / Heidi Belleau/ SE Jakes/ K.A. Mitchell/ Marie Sexton
Location: 4th Floor
Room: Regent

– 2:30-3:30 PM- Panel: Double Trouble: Writing With a Partner

We all have the image of the lonely writer, typing away on their computer in some dark, isolated room. But what if you prefer to share the experience? There are unique rewards and challenges for writers who collaborate. How do you team up without wanting to choke your partner? How do you share two ideas and mold them into one? How do you surrender some of yourself? And more importantly, is it worth it? We think so, and we’ll teach you the tricks of writing with a partner because we’ve all done it. Some of us are even married to our partners. But even if you’re not interested in writing with someone, it is essential that all writers learn to collaborate. All of us have to deal with readers, editors, proofreaders, etc. And even beyond that, successful collaboration skills are a major key to success in life. Join us and learn our secrets!

Panelist(s): Ilona Andrews (aka Ilona and Gordon Andrews) Susan & Clay Griffith/ Larissa Ione/ Alexandra Ivy /Stephanie Tyler/ Laura Wright
Location: 4th Floor
Room: Balcony K

Friday, May 16th

– 11:15 − 12:15 – Panel:  Digital DIY: The Pros & Cons of Digital Self-Publishing

Today anyone can self-publish digital books. But who can best utilize this mode of publishing? What are the benefits and pitfalls? What are the contractual issues to consider when e-publishing works that have been previously published? These questions and others will be addressed in this comprehensive, unbiased Q&A.

Moderator: Sylvia Day (aka S.J. Day)
Panelist(s): Mark Coker (Smashwords, Founder) Lindsey Faber (Samhain, Publisher) Kristen Proby / Karin Tabke (aka Karin Harlow) / Stephanie Tyler (aka SE Jakes)
Location: 2nd Floor
Room: Studio 7 – (Preservation Hall)

– 1:55 − 2:25PM Riptide Publishing Publisher’s Spotlight  (Location: Fourth Floor, Balcony 1)

SEAL of My Dreams site up & running!

There are several upcoming projects I’m really excited about, but none means more than being part of the SEAL OF MY   DREAMS anthology.  All proceeds go to Veterans Medical Research and I’m so grateful to have a chance to give back to these   heroes!  I’m buying zillions of copies and everyone’s getting them for Christmas – everyone!  The authors I’m side by side with are amazing and I can’t wait until release day – November 11th – Veteran’s Day!  And yes, it will be available in both print and eBook format, thanks to Belle Books!

My short story is connected to the HOLD series – you’ll see Jake and Chris and Jamie and Nick and the rest of the gang.  We were only supposed to write 5K and mine is close to 8K, so I cheated a little.  But there was so much more I wanted to write!  I’m definitely not done with this series and I’ve got plans, plans I tell you.

Anyway, as always, it’s been busy here, but Fall is always my favorite season.  I think it has something to do with school starting and having taught, but I always view September as the beginning for me.  I tend to get a huge bulk of writing done during this time too – I also plan for new projects as well.

I’m often asked how I write, how I stay focused, etc. In fact, Sarah just asked me on Twitter last night!  If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while, you’ve heard this before, but I like to talk about my process in case there are new writers out there who think there’s only one way to do things.

There’s not.  And when I first started out, I didn’t know that.  I couldn’t finish a book to save my life and couldn’t figure out why.  Somehow, I’d gotten it into my head that a book needed to be written in order.

The big secret?  It doesn’t.  You can write out of order!  You can write the end first, the middle first, you can jump all around.  At some point, of course, you have to pull the whole thing together, but until then, get it written any way you can.  I typically see the big moments first, and I tend to write those first.  I write down anything and everything that comes to mind.  But the key is, I’m always writing – because I have to for my contracts, but more so because I love writing.  I can’t not write.

I also write several books at once.  I don’t plot much, so this definitely helps my productivity.  I’m always moving forward on something.  Obviously, the contracted work that’s due next is the priority, but I usually have a couple of things with close due dates, plus copy edits, etc.  And somehow, the big mishmash all works for me.  I’m a really organized person, and writing in a disorganized way works because I can see the bigger picture – I keep my eye on it the entire time and I know I can pull together the puzzle in the end.  Is it the easiest way to write?  I don’t know, but it’s the only way I can, and I’ve tried others.  But I’ve written somewhere in the vicinity of 20 books or more and at this point, it’s my process and I’m sticking with it.

As we approach NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in November) I’ll try to talk more about process and publishing and the like.  If you’ve got anything specific you’d like me to talk about, feel free to put it in comments or drop me an email via my contact page!

 

 

 

NaNo check-in

If you read nothing else today, do yourself a favor and go read PBW’s post.  I always love her blog, but sometimes she just hits the nail right on the head at just the right time – for me, that was this morning.

A long time ago, I unsubscribed from lots of different loops and groups.  I’m an RWA member but didn’t join any of theirs, either.  I was a member of some other group for published writers, too and after I year I never renewed.

The thing is, in my opinion, those loops and groups can be toxic.  They were for me.  And this is no one’s fault but my own.  People on the loops were doing nothing wrong at all – they were talking about the business – complaining / celebrating / disseminating information – just what the loop is there for.

For me, it’s too much information I don’t want or need.  I don’t want to be ignorant about the business side of things, but there’s a whole chicken little the sky is falling tendency in the writing community that can make even the most stoic of authors slump in defeat.

Dude, this job can be hard enough without the outside influences whispering in my ear, telling me that this market is slumping or I can’t write this or that because two editors declared it dead.

It’s why I don’t go on Twitter all that often – mainly, I just follow friends and readers, but inevitably, other stuff seeps in there (as it’s supposed to) that I just don’t want to know.

The internet can be a really bad place for your head to be in when you’re trying to write.  Too many opinions, way too much snark which, IMHO, is the easy way out, and just too much can sap all your creativity and make it impossible for you to get all that shit out of your head.

I was really good for a while and then I started looking around a little more.  I shouldn’t have – I feel it, and not in a good way.  So PBW’s post was a really timely reminder for me to stay the hell off the internet unless it’s my own space – here, FB, etc.  Otherwise, I gotta tune out for a while –  “walk away from the wolves and the sheep, and use your non-writing time to accomplish something personal that has meaning to you.”

Here’s something to chew on, when you listen to the, this can’t be done / can’t sell / will never make it people- when I started writing SEALs, I was told that I couldn’t / shouldn’t write them.  Because Brockmann wrote them and no editor would ever want them.  Even my agent at the time said, well, SEALs will be a tough sell, but she believed in my books, so that didn’t stop her.

The editor who bought my SEAL trilogy?  Brockmann’s editor.  So yeah, who would’ve thought, right?  Because I’m not writing her SEALs – I’m writing my own – my own take, my own voice, my own stories.  And I believed in my books enough not to listen to people who told me, you can’t.

I’ve always hated those words.

So (and this goes for writing and for real life as well) stop listening to everyone and pay attention to your gut – it’s what saves the men in my books – it’s what will steer you in the right direction every single time.

random editing discoveries

I can’t spell the word adrenaline correctly without spellcheck.  And i use the word a lot.  And yes, wordpress has spellcheck.

In Mace’s book, everyone’s expression was hardening.  His face hardened. A lot.

In Kell’s book, everyone is intoning.  A lot.  Not sure why I’m having a love affair with that word right now.

Editors invariably replace the word like with, as if.  Except in Mace’s book, she replaced two as ifs with like.  It was almost like a personal victory.  It was almost as if it was a personal victory.  What?  You can choose which one you like better.

I finally remembered that it’s talk to, not talk with.  I think.

Mace’s book is my second longest, clocking in at 97K.  Promises in the Dark is my longest, clocking in at 102K.  All the rest are between 89K and 93K.  Lie with Me was my shortest at 89K.

There is a sticky spot in the middle of my trackpad that’s driving me nuts.

The Black Saints friended me on Twitter and I checked them out on iTunes and bought some of their songs.  The power of Twitter. Except I’m not loving Twitter lately.

I know the last two things have nothing to do with editing. Neither will the rest of the post.

I don’t remember getting a subscription to INKED magazine.  Consequently, I don’t remember letting my Rolling Stone subscription run out, right when the True Blood naked cover issue was out.

Speaking of remembering, Linda H reminded me that I forgot to pick a winner for the good karma contest – so thanks to random.org, the winner is #13 – Alina D!  Alina, please email me via my contact page with the email addy you’d like me to send the Amazon gift card to!

In the next week, I’m going to be giving away another Amazon gift-card – to be eligible to win this one, you need to be on Facebook – and all you need to do is Like me.  (aka, join my reader page) And that’s it.  You don’t have to comment or anything.  I’ll be picking the winner from the list of friends on that page.  And yes, I have another Facebook page that I started first and you might end up being on both. Eventually, I’ll only be on one. For now, totally confusing.

Nano, Day 2

I’ve already lost track of the dates and actually had to check a calendar.

So, I’m about 3/4 of the way through Mace’s 2nd round of revisions – mainly just wording issues and a few semi-bigger things to fix, but those all seem to be in the last 30 pages.  Which is why I stopped there, because it was around 2AM and my brain had stopped functioning.  I didn’t want to have to do the work twice.

And  then Baby Boy decided to get up at 3AM to eat.  He hasn’t done that for a while and I was so tired it actually hurt.

I also missed the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  Tragedy.  And I forgot to DVR it.

As for new stuff, I wrote about nineteen pages longhand yesterday, spanning 2 different books, so I’m typing it in now.  I pretty much get one typed page for each one written, so it wasn’t a bad day.  Would’ve been better if the revisions weren’t so time consuming – they’re not hard – it’s just a matter of going through the ms page by page and inserting / deleting.  It’s like the edits before the copy edits.  Like the shirt before the shirt – and if you understand this, then I’ve caught you watching the Jersey Shore.

Really, you can admit it – we don’t judge here.

If you’re doing Nano, how’re you doing?  Are you looking ahead and taking into consideration any days in the coming week where you know you won’t get much writing done?  You have to bank your words then, write a little more each day heading up to that in order to make up for it.

My other tip of the day is, if you’re stuck, change modalities – if you’re writing on a desktop, can you move to a laptop / alpha smart – can you change locations?  Go into your bedroom, your living room, outside.  Try writing longhand for a while – I always do that when I’m stuck – longhand writing just frees me.  Plus, you get to use fun pens – it’s like the first day of school with fun office supplies all over again!

Don’t judge.

Happy Halloween & NaNo starts tomorrow

Okay, well, I’m hopped up on way too much candy (YUM!) and plan to take the leftovers and hide it in my office because chocolate is the nectar of writers.  No really, it is.

So, do you have everything you need for tomorrow to start your book?  For me, that would include a new pen (my favorite kind to write longhand with is pilot precise grip – fine point black) and a Claire Fontaine notebook (I don’t use a new one at the start of each book or a new one for each book – I go through about 1 every 2 months so I always have a supply on hand)…also, my quote that I start each book with and at least the start of a soundtrack that I create on my iTunes.

Do you have a way to back-up your work?  The simplest (lazy) way is to attach and send it to an email address or 2 (web based – not Outlook.)  I also use a Western Digital Passport and save my entire computer with Mac’s Time Machine once a month. You can use the Western Digital for PCs too.  I’m just a Mac girl now.

You can also think about using a writing program – I loved WriteWayPro when I used a PC – now I used Scrivener for Mac, which I also love.  They allow you to color code scenes and actually see them in a list.  You will still need Microsoft Word, no matter what, because you will need to send to editors / agents / crit partners in this format.  Both programs are easy to convert to Word.

Now, you can have all the notebooks, pens and writing programs in the world, but what’s going to separate you from the pack is that you listen to advice, take what works for you (do you feel it?  Can you get out of your own way long enough to listen to what’s being said or are you still in defensive-mode? and I’ll discuss this more in weeks to come) and then (wait for it)…write the book.

I know – it amazes me that I have to say it but I can’t tell you the amount of people who talk to me about wanting to write a book and then they never actually write anything down.  You cannot call yourself a writer if you don’t actually write.  So just start – ANYWHERE.  Even if it’s just lists about the character’s wants / needs / desires.  Is there a line from a song that describes him / her?  Write it down.  Work with PBW’s three questions:  Who are you? / What do you want? / What’s the worst thing I can do to you?

I know – they’re great questions.  Picture the scenes in your head and let them play out like they’re a movie.  Put the music up loud and just get something down that resembles a story, a scene…something.

I’m going to dig into my IN THE AIR TONIGHT final revisions and prepare so I can write a bit on Kell’s book either tonight or in the morning.  So I’m right there with you, writing away.