Blog Tour

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Thanks to my good friend, Terry Tyler, for inviting me to take part in this tour. I met Terry on Twitter; she was one of the first reach out & help me as a writer on Twitter. Because there’s a special way to interact as a writer on social media, and there are rules of etiquette, as well as accepted marketing practices, just like in any other social or business situation. Right. The questions:

What am I working on now?

I’m currently working on three books, all at differing levels:

♥ I’m doing tasks like filling out the art fact sheet and writing blurbs for my next Wild Rose Press release, Luke’s #1 Rule. Awaiting edits that should land on my desk any day now. I expect Luke out sometime this summer.

♥ I am also revising my indie paranormal, Sweet Melissa after receiving comments from beta-readers. Sweet Melissa will released on or before June 1 of this year.

♥ Finally, I am writing the first draft of Fast Eddie, my third book in the Blue Lake series with Wild Rose Press. Eddie and his bar and grill have made cameos in both previous Blue Lake books. I’m finding out some very interesting things about this mystery man. The secondary plot fills in Bob and Lily’s love story from Blue Heaven, cut short then by college and Lily’s issues. That deadline is October, so my plan is to write fresh material every day and have a great opening chapter for my critique group May 9.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I have two genres: contemporary romance and paranormal. One is e-published with POD and the other is indie and e-book only. I think that’s different right there. But my romances are different in that TWRP has let me grow beyond the normal boundaries of romance. I have subplots. I have other POVs. I am closer to women’s fiction than romance, but they’re just labels. My paranormals are different in that there are no vampires. I’ve created a unique world, at least one I’ve not seen done in fiction before. My world is a  mix of science (super string theory) and fantasy (flying and a talking moon mother).

Having said what’s different, I prefer paranormals that take place in an almost recognizable world. So my people do visit their other world and it helps them catch bad guys, but most of the story is set in our contemporary American world.

Why do I write what I do?

I love to read everything: blogs, magazines, poetry, short stories, novels, memoirs, physics, metaphysics, self-help, biography and the Sunday New York Times, mostly for book reviews.

And that might be why I have written in so many different categories. My first book, and only full length non-fiction work, Your Words, Your Story, is part writing memoir, part writing manual. I wrote it for a specific audience, my creative writing students, who would come to class all wanting to write different things. So I covered all the stuff I’d written and published to that point (2007), a wide spectrum from journalism and criticism to poetry and short stories to creative non-fiction. Even a screenplay treatment. And of course my blog, here since 2002.

After YWYS came out, I focused on getting my many novels published. Again, I didn’t stick to one kind of novel, but Luke’s #1 Rule is the book of my heart, the book I always wanted to write but also feared writing. That’s when I know I should write something. If it scares me, pushes my boundaries, it’s good.

How does my writing process work?

It’s a bit chaotic, as I also teach and tweet. Plus I’m on a quest for better health via food and exercise. So I try to write first thing. Often, I have to check for email from my publisher before “first thing” 🙂 Many days I end up tweeting for an hour or blogging for two before I manage to get those new pages written, but that is the plan right now. New pages for next novel every day. Start on them early.

So far, I’ve been writing longhand. I bought a new pen and notebook, a ritual for each new book. I researched some background on Eddie and his first love (they meet again at their 20th high school reunion) and wrote a bit from each of the four POVs. After I fill the notebook, it’s time to write a draft in Word docx.

I’ve tagged Edith Andersen, and Sylvia Hubbard, and Gretchen Riley, three wonderful — and wildly different — writers.

Plans & What Happens

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Had entire plan mapped out for the three books  am currently working on: my print release-in edits now-my indie release-just back from beta-readers- and my current WIP-still in notebook stage. All balls in air, juggling smooth as a circus performer. Ha!

I love this Sweet Melissa cover art by Bodicia.

Sweet Melissa was supposed to be third in my “Traveling Girl” series, after Natalia. But Melissa, like many a secondary character before her, took the book over from Natalia, who never had a chance. Natalia is a strong secondary character and the book wouldn’t be what it is without her extraordinary powers to travel worlds and keep Melissa safe.

But Melissa and her friend are the traveling girls in Book Two. Add to that the awesome fact that Melissa and David are the hot couple in love, and then top it with this fabulous cover art, and even I finally saw the light. With the help of Marla, who said “This is Melissa’s story” and Bodicia, who painted something that drew me in so deeply that I began to write Melissa’s parts with much more power.

Sorry, Natalia. You are too busy in Book Two dealing with the spirit worlds and your new-found powers to even think about love. You’ll get your story some day soon, when you’re just a little older. And it will be worthy of you. And readers, Sweet Melissa, drops June 1.

Coming Soon

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Today I finished the final draft of Natalia.  Do you recognize her? That’s her mom, Gypsy, to the right. Natalia’s having a rest over the holiday weekend before one final read-through, copy-edit, and beta-read by Marla.

Natalia is different: my first published novella. She will be indie, but I’m unsure how to market her. Natalia’s all grown up, well, 15 anyway, and coming into her Paradise Powers full-on and fast, saving 17-year-old Melissa from a Dark Initiate who may or may not be part of the local Rom community.

So there is YA. There is NA. There is paranormal. There is mystery. How the heck do I market that? I am thinking NA because Melissa falls in love with Dave and there’s a full-on love scene. All suggestions on how to present this one welcome.

More Lives

YOLO. I see it all the time and it is just not true. More religions and people in the world believe in reincarnation than not. We are here in our tight little world of Judo-Christianity or our dark sky of atheism and it’s all we see, but there is more. To a lot of people there is more. I can’t say I’ve reincarnated from another time or place, since I have not done a past life regression, but it’s possible. And that’s not the ‘much more than one life’ I’m talking about.

According to recent science, there’s the life you wake up to every day and the life you wake up FROM every day. And there are the lives you live if you are a writer. Ray Bradbury said our brains don’t know the difference between writing a novel or living those words.

Actors inhabit their characters to the point where they are that guy they’re playing. Then there are people who pass into other lives in other worlds. Like Gypsy. If you don’t believe in science: superstring theory and cosmologist’s recent findings of multiverses, they sound like magic. I never knew until I read about the science and became a character in a magical novel who experienced it.

The brain can’t tell between dreams and day life, and it can’t tell between a deeply imagined fictional life and one that looks like a person sitting at a desk or standing on a stage. So, how many books can you write? That’s how many lives you can lead.

Or maybe you don’t write or act but you have a rich fantasy life, maybe you enter into the you who you want to be and you meet the one you want to be with, who is not the guy snoring next to you. You’re lying on your bed, but you’re not.

Or you enter into the novel you’re reading so completely that you wake from it like a dream when your 21st century oven timer goes off in your dystopian adventure.

I’ve been playing make believe all my life. Most kids do. Adults do it too but we call it reading, or writing, role-playing. It’s real, baby. It’s all real. At least to your brain, and, you know, if the brain is dead, the person whose head it’s in is dead, too. Or maybe they’re just on to their next reincarnation.

The Mysterious Series

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There’s been quite a bit of activity on the part of my unconscious self, and I’m thinking today is the day I am reining in all that ‘intuitive’ business. I have tasks needed done now, rather than spending my days chasing down just exactly what I am doing with this paranormal series called “Traveling Girls.”

Everything I do with these books is out of sequence, disorderly, not my usual MO while writing a novel. First, I started putting up scenes from Gypsy, the mother of the series, on my blog. Then for Christmas, I put the entire book on my website for free. Happy Holidays! Next, I  once again interrupted the book of my heart, just days from its being finished, to indie publish Gypsy I haven’t done a lot of promo, but expected I’d give Gypsy some free days on Kindle at some point.

Then a chance meeting with my Gypsy cover artist the other day resulted in me telling him about what I’d heard regarding New Adult series. (If Gypsy is the mother book, the traveling girls are her NA offspring.) One of the things I heard about NA series is that readers like the covers the same, not exactly, but similar enough to be recognizable. James* said “I have the perfect cover for you.”

I didn’t even have a name for the second book yet, although I had pulled the manuscript out of the deep file it was buried in. So James and I did a bit of brainstorming and between us figured out how to fit “Traveling Girls” into the cover. I found my perfect title. The image is stunning, but really, a cover before a properly edited story? I just didn’t want him to sell it to anyone else. Once he sells a cover, he takes it off his “buy” shelf.

So I decided it would be fun to put the cover up as a blog post. Ha! I have this thing, I don’t know why, but many, many of my photos get cut off when I transfer them from my pictures to Word Press. I tried so many fixes, and my lovely friend Bodicia offered to help as hours were going by and I was not getting the image right.

I tried a few more things and presto! I had my blog entry. Just the new cover shot with the new book title, but I loved it. The title was at the bottom instead of the top, but that’s fine. Then I noticed my sidebar was blank. Oh dear. I went ahead and tried to correct it but when all came to nothing, took Bodicia up on her offer to help. She restored my book images and links as well as some other stuff.

I do have plans for this series that mysteriously inserted itself into my conscious mind, front and center, at a not-so-great time. Maybe it’s good cosmic timing. You will be hearing more about this paranormal series soon, but for now, I’m keeping it under wraps until I can wind up that book of my heart that I finally finished.

*If you’d like to inquire further about James and his work: aepbookcovers@gmail.com