Can I make a confession? I came to the NaNoWriMo party somewhat late. For the uninitiated, NaNo is the (some say crazy) push to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, from Nov. 1-30.
I joined the push for the first time in 2009, with the intent of writing about 40K to finish BLIND DATE BRIDE.
By the end of November, I’d only managed about 25K. I did, however, develop enough of a habit that I finished the first draft of BRIDE by the end of the year. Considering I’d started it back in 1999 or 2000, that was a major victory.
I decided to try NaNo again in 2010. That year, I started a brand-new novel—but I’d done some (okay, a lot of) pre-planning. I ended up writing 53K in 27 days. Yep. With a map of my story, I finished three days early.
In 2011, I joined the good fight with a vague idea for BREAKING ALL THE RULES (which will be a TMP release next spring). There were some rough patches and I thought about giving up. In the end, I spent eight hours in a chair at Starbucks Nov. 30, barely breaking 50K before it was time to go to work and put in another eight-plus hours.
In 2012, I had two wins under my belt, giving me the false impression that NaNo would be a piece of cake. I planned to get a good start on a single title story—50K of about 90K total.
Uh…yeah. Didn’t happen. My excuse: I’d just finished the draft of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and couldn’t muster up enough oomph to write at breakneck speed for 3o more days.
In 2013, I didn’t even bother to sign up. I spent the six or so weeks prior to Nov. 1 writing the first draft of SLIDING INTO HOME, and knew from past experience that I’d be too drained to keep up the pace.
This year, I’m giving it another go, with the same single-title story I couldn’t get going in 2012. It’s a romantic comedy, of course. That’s what I write, after all. This time, though, there are paranormal elements.
Okay, the book’s only paranormal element is its ghost. The ghost is not a love interest, though. He merely meddles in the heroine’s life, having decided his mission is to help her get the happy ending that eluded him and his lady love so many generations ago.
I got the spark of an idea from Concrete Blonde’s song, “Ghost of a Texas Ladies’ Man.” I was walking through my neighborhood (back when I did that more regularly than I do now) and it came up on my iPhone.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to write a story about the ghost of a Texas ladies’ man?” I asked no one in particular.
And a story started to take shape in my mind. I thought I’d have no trouble writing it, because I pounded out a 3,000-word backstory for the ghost in an evening. The heroine was easy, too. Unfortunately, I could not come up with a good hero.
That problem has been resolved (I hope), and I’m excited to kick off NaNo on Saturday. Who’s with me?
If you’re joining in the fun, you might be interested in this blog post from Nathan Bransford. It promises “everything you need” for NaNoWriMo.
I recently had the opportunity to join Romance at Random‘s “Book Boyfriend” quiz. I had fun answering questions about the Condors’ Dave, Matt and Greg, as well as Damien from Blind Date Bride.
Now, the quiz is live. You can click on the link or the photo to find it.
Check it out—it’s a lot of fun.
Even more fun? Soon after it went live, I got this tweet:
As book boyfriends go, Damien is pretty solid. You can’t go wrong with his playfulness and caring.
Of course, Dave, Matt and Greg make excellent book boyfriends, too. Take the quiz and see if one of them is your perfect match.
If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
My book baby has been out there for 12 months. 365 days.
Wow. It’s been a crazy year.
In its 365 days “in the wild,” it’s gotten some attention. Among the notice: six reviews on Amazon (nothing below a 3-star) and 24 ratings on Goodreads (3.79 average). A 3.79 average might not seem that impressive, but then I remind myself that some of my favorite authors’ books have similar scores.
No matter how beloved they are, no author can please everyone. DIVA garnered my first one-star review. I know, I know. I’m not supposed to read the reviews. Confession: I did it anyway. It was thoughtful and I can respect the opinions it expressed.
Back to DIVA’s wild year. It hovered on various Amazon bestseller lists for months. I learned to love that “Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Sports” designation. “Kindle ebooks > Romance > Sports” is also pretty sweet.
DIVA also garnered attention from my publisher. When Turquoise Morning Press celebrated its 2013 Best of TMP this summer, I was recognized three times.
It received a nod in the 2013 TMP Readers’ Choice awards, too. Ultimately, it didn’t win—but like all the movie stars say, it was an honor just to be nominated. A nomination meant that enough readers enjoyed DIVA so much that they thought it deserved to be included on the list.
And when I decided to enter the RITA competition, it became a print book. It’s definitely selling better in its ebook form, but it was a thrill to hold my book baby in my hands.
(No, it didn’t receive a RITA nomination. Too bad. You only get one shot at “best first book.”)
My debut isn’t perfect. I know that. For example, I didn’t resolve Dave’s issues with his father. I realized it on one of my read-throughs and figured my editor would call me on it. When she didn’t, I let it slide. That turned out to be a mistake. More than one reader has pointed out the omission.
Another confession: I set the story in Texas because I wanted to sell to Harlequin American and so many of their stories are set there. I picked a part of Texas I’d driven through on my move from Indiana to Arizona, but still…I should stick with writing a place I know. That’s why most of my stories are set in either Arizona (like BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, SLIDING INTO HOME and the upcoming BREAKING ALL THE RULES) or the Midwest (HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS and BLIND DATE BRIDE). I lived the first 28 years of my life in northern Indiana and have been in northern Arizona for the last 15.
Still, DIVA is an entertaining read. I fell in love with Dave and Mel, and their daughter Tara. I hope you will, too.