My name is Arlene Hittle, and I like to laugh. I hope my books make other people laugh, too.
The never-ending bundle of energy that is Jamie Raintree recruited me to take part in a blog hop about my writing process. I met Jamie in 2009, when I undertook the NaNoWriMo challenge for the first time. We hit it off, and she’s been reading my stories and encouraging me ever since.
Online sprints with Jamie helped me finish my still-unpublished 2010 NaNo manuscript three days early and 3,000 words over the 50K limit. And in 2011, her cheering pushed me to pull a marathon eight-hour shift at Starbucks before work on Nov. 30 to squeak to a NaNo win. (That MS is also still unpublished.)
Let’s start hopping!
1) What am I working on?
Actually, this post catches me between projects. I just turned in edits on SLIDING INTO HOME, my April 2014 Turquoise Morning Press Release. I haven’t yet begun to write a fourth book in my Love & Baseball series, nor have I decided whether to tackle Mel’s brother’s story. (Mel was the heroine in DIVA IN THE DUGOUT.)
I’ve been trying, without much success, to write the last 10K or so to finish the first draft of TROUBLE IN PARADISE, which I want to release this winter, to follow up BLIND DATE BRIDE, which I’m planning to release myself in June.
Mainly, I’ve been gearing up to promote the two books TMP is releasing this spring: BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER in March and then SLIDING INTO HOME in April.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Excellent question. All funny contemporaries depend on the author’s imagination, sense of humor and voice. The situations I put my heroes and heroines in are different from the circumstances a character in, say, a Kristan Higgins or Tracy Brogan novel would get themselves into. Give all three of us the same waitress heroine and cop hero, and we’d all come up with very different stories.
So I’d say it’s my unique perspective that makes my stories different.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Another good question. In its purest sense, the answer is that I have stories to tell, and I want to share them with the world. Characters pop into my head and won’t leave me alone until I tell their stories.
Inspiration comes from the darnedest places. For BLIND DATE BRIDE, I was driving somewhere and a radio news report sparked my interest. I wrote a one-act play, which I submitted to my then-local theater company in Logansport, Indiana. That play later became the basis for the opening scene in my novel.
Matt, the hero of BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, used his buddy Dave’s story as a justification for something he did that upset Meg. That reason became DIVA IN THE DUGOUT’s storyline. (I wrote BEAUTY first, and when it finaled in the Golden Heart in 2011, I decided I ought to have other stories to go with it. DIVA sold first, and because the action in it happened before Meg & Matt’s story anyway, that worked out fine.)
4) How does my writing process work?
I am a pantster all the way. I don’t outline and usually only have a vague idea of each character’s growth arc from Point A to Point B. I should probably do a bit more advance planning, actually. When I pre-planned my NaNo novel in 2010, I finished three days early with 3,000 extra words. A bit of extra work before I start might make the words flow that much faster.
Then again, maybe not. Since my day job at the Arizona Daily Sun involves copy editing, I do a lot of self-editing as I go along. It used to frustrate me to no end in NaNo word sprints when other folks were throwing down 1,000 words or more and I only had 400. Then again, my 400 tended to need a lot less editing than their 1K, so that’s a plus.
I do most of my writing at Starbucks. I got more done before they started offering free WiFi for everybody.
NaNo taught me I CAN buckle down and write a complete 50K story in 30 days—but I don’t like to keep up that breakneck pace every day. I’m more of a 1K-a-day girl—unless I’m suffering from writer’s block, as I am now. For some reason, Beth and Cody don’t want me to finish their story. Time to sit them down for a heart-to-heart chat so I can figure out where it went wrong and how I can get them back on track.
Jamie Raintree writes Romantic Women’s Fiction about women searching for truth in life and love. She has completed her first novel and is seeking publication. In the meantime, she posts original fiction online, as well as motivational messages for all the other dreamers out there. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two young daughters. Her website: JamieRaintree.com
Susan Haught calls the mountains of Arizona home and has lived in Payson most of her adult life. With the majestic Mogollon Rim in the background, Susie never tires of the small-town atmosphere. When she isn’t creating quaint towns with captivating characters or wrestling a busy day job, you’ll find her tackling an overgrown garden, engrossed in a movie or curled up with a good book—her dogs and a stash of Australian black licorice close at hand. Find her: SusanHaught.com.
Diana Rose is a Russian native who lives in New York. Her stories transport readers to the fantasy filled worlds where she brings royalty and magical beings to life, with colorful romantic scenes and characters that her imagination creates. She fuels her creativity while reading romantic novels. When Diana is not writing, she enjoys spending her time with her family and friends. Find Diana at The Writer’s DreamWorld.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or even Pinterest, you’ve already seen the cover for BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER—probably more than once. However, it recently occurred to me that I have not yet shared it here on the blog.
Allow me to remedy that problem, pronto, by introducing the cover for BEAUTY, my March 2013 release from Turquoise Morning Press.
When it turned up in my email inbox, I might have squealed and startled three sleeping dogs.
No, I’m not trying out for the pro wrestling circuit. (They call that the WWE these days, anyway.)
Four years ago, the fabulous Rubies decided to organize a writing festival to get us through the darkest winter months … a writing festival that, unlike NaNoWriMo, doesn’t take place in a month with a major holiday. (Surely created by a man who didn’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner …)
Also unlike NaNo, the WWF doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Your goal is to earn 50 points by the end of the festival period, Jan. 10-Feb. 28. The best part? YOU pick your own goals. If you need to focus on editing instead of writing new words, you can.
Because you say how you earn a point, it’s pretty hard NOT to “win” the WWF. And you get to hang out with/be inspired by a great group of writers. Win-win!
Here are the ways I’ve decided to earn points.
Each of the following is worth 1 point:
– Write 300 new words on any WIP (as indicated by Scrivener) OR
– Make revisions to 1 chapter of Love&Baseball3 where needed, per my TMP editor OR
– 30 minutes combing through galley proof of BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER (when I get it) OR
– Pay my RWA and NARWA dues OR
– Jump in on at least two WWF 20-minute writing sprints in one day OR
– BICHOK for 45 minutes straight (no Internet checks) OR
– Read 1 of the RITA books I’m assigned to judge OR
– Prep and schedule 5 promotional tweets or FB entries for myself and friends (1 for me, 4 for friends) OR
– Take 5-10 minutes to slow down, mediate, do a few yoga poses OR
– Write a post for my writing blog
To earn a bonus 5 points:
– Finish the first draft of TROUBLE IN PARADISE
– Complete NARWA’s chapter affiliation paperwork (with help from the treasurer)
– Sell 2 to 5 paperback copies of DIVA IN THE DUGOUT when I go to my first book signing event, the Chocolate Affaire, in Glendale on Feb. 8
I signed my first print autograph recently … and promptly spent the rest of the afternoon dancing in my seat. My coworkers probably thought I had ants in my pants.
One of my coworkers bought a copy of DIVA IN THE DUGOUT and brought it to the office for me to sign. Such a thrill!
It was the first time I’d seen the print version. I ordered copies for the RITA judges, but had them shipped directly to RWA HQ to beat the early deadline so I’d have a chance to win either an iPad or conference registration. I haven’t ordered my own print copies yet.
Soon, though. I’m headed to the Chocolate Affaire in Glendale in February, and am taking DIVA to sign.
It looks great, by the way. Can’t wait to get a copy for my keeper shelf!
Want one for your shelf? Click here.