A Writer’s World: As Seen By Her Husband

character convo

It was date night. My husband and I were seated at an, ahem, romantic table for two, crowded against the staircase leading to a full banquet room and in front of the men’s bathroom.

Finally alone (but yet not at all alone), we did our best to avoid conversing about all things child-related.

“So I saw your Facebook post,” my husband said to me.

“Which one?” I post on Facebook a lot.

“The one where you said your hero told you he was a soldier in Afghanistan.”

“Oh. Right. And?”

He frowned at me. “I thought you said you had the book plotted out.”

“I do. Mostly.”

Now he looked confused. “Then how can your characters surprise you?”

I shrugged. “They just do. It happens when you write a really long story like that.”

He frowned again. “Don’t let them. Just stick to the plot.” (He knows how badly I want to get this book in the hands of my editor and under contract with Harlequin).

I sighed. “it doesn’t work like that.”

We changed the subject then. Probably back to something about The Kid, or the dog’s upcoming bout of mud butt, or (let’s be honest) The Kid.

But I’ve been mulling it over ever since.

Is an author’s brain really that different? I guess it must be. You see, my characters stopped being “characters” in my head a long time ago.

They’re real people, with complex backgrounds—and they haven’t told me everything about themselves yet.

We’re only 12,000 words in. We’re still getting comfortable with each other. They’ll tell me more as we go along, and when they do, I’ll have to change the way I’m thinking about their story.

And that’s a beautiful thing. It’s how I know this book will be a good one (or at least it will be if I don’t screw it up).

If I try to tell them they’re wrong, or that I can’t tell my story that way, then we’ll come to an impasse. They’ll shrug their shoulders and say, “fine, have it your way.” And I’ll write something that’s a total suckfest.

No one wants that. Least of all my husband (I get extraordinarily cranky when the writing isn’t going well).

It’s a crazy way to live, I guess. After all, don’t we usually lock people up when they say they have voices in their heads? I have an entire extended family squatting in mine right now. And when they eventually leave, some new bunch of weirdos will move in.

And if my brain stays vacant for more than a week or two? Then I will panic, and become convinced I will never write anything ever again.

Such is the life of a writer. And the life of the husband of a writer.

*shrugs*

I can’t imagine living any other way.

 

New for 2016: Read as I Write

Just-a-Taste-small

Normally, I write my books on the privacy of my own computer. No one but my writer’s group is subjected to the work in progress—which, let’s face it, is sometimes (often) a giant mess.

But this time I’m doing it differently. This time, I’m writing my first draft in public.

Every Saturday (or Sunday), I’m posting new parts of my latest work in progress to Wattpad.

What the heck is Wattpad?

Basically, it’s a social media site, where writers post their stuff, for free, and people who like to read stuff, read it. For free. And they comment and converse and have a good time doing it (I think).

You can follow people, and put their stories in your library, and read them from wherever you happen to be, on whatever device you happen to be on. Did I mention it’s free? I do hope you’ll come find me there.

And what are you writing on, errr, Wattpad?

It’s called Just a Taste, or at least that’s what the working title is. Here’s a quick synopsis:

When YouTube star Lily Sands returns to Dolphin Island for some much needed R&R, she runs smack into her old flame and first love. She has no time for love these days…but a vacation fling? That could be just what the doctor ordered.

Dan McGowan has no business getting involved with Lily again-he still has the scars from the last time he had to let her go. She can’t have his heart again. But his body? That’s another story.

After they’ve had a taste, the real question becomes…can they walk away when their time is done?

It will be a little bit silly, a little spicy, and hopefully, a lot of fun. Won’t you join me?

Read Just a Taste now

So You Think You Can Write? Then Enter!

The only thing you have to lose by entering is your doubts

Once upon a time, on a couch very much like this one (in fact, it was this one), I sat and stared at my keyboard, my mouse hovering over the “submit” button.

I had just uploaded the first chapter of my manuscript to enter it into the 2013 So You Think You Can Write contest and I. Was. Terrified.

What if everyone hated it? What if they threw rotten tomatoes or large rocks at my computer screen? Worse, what if they simply ignored my entry and I never got the feedback I so desperately craved?

I wasn’t sure I would survive.

Nevertheless, I took a deep breath, gulped down some wine, and clicked.

And you know what? It was one of the best things I ever did.

Over the next few weeks, I got to know quite a few wonderful women. We all wanted to win, of course. But we were also enjoying the company of a bunch of other writers who understood exactly what we were going through.

We gnashed our teeth together. Chewed our fingernails down to the quick together. And when the time came, we cheered the finalists on, not begrudging them their success in the least (although we were all still hoping to hear from an intrigued editor).

I was one of the lucky ones. I didn’t final-final (mine got cut at the semi-finals) but I did get an editor interested. And I sold my manuscript (scoring a two-book deal in the process).

But equally importantly, I made lasting friendships.

While at the RWA conference a few weeks ago, I attended the open house for SYTYCW alumni and interested writers. And I got to hug the smiling faces of a whole bunch of women I’d never “met” before, but was already proud to call friend.

Two of those women (Tanya Wright and Jennifer Christie) are now my critique partners, and together, we’re going to take the writing world by storm.

All three of us have advice to give you in this video the Harlequin crew shot.

 

The next step of our careers is “To Be Decided,” but wherever we go, it’s going to be great.

And it all started with a little thing called the So You Think You Can Write contest.

So if you’re thinking about entering, stop thinking and just do it.

You’ll be glad you did.

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