Posts Tagged ‘Progress’
Well, it’s been a long while … but I’m finally back—and trying something new.
While I work on the first novel in a new five-book series, I put a story up on Kindle Vella, just to see what happens.
This is the very first story I finished when I decided I wanted to write romance, the first of my Women of Willow’s Grove books: Operation Snag
Mike Brad. It stars small-town education reporter Erin Mannering, her hottie coworker Mike James, and adorable social studies teacher Brad Kingston.
Life is what happens while education reporter Erin Mannering is making other plans. While she plans to snag smokin’-hot sportswriter Mike James, using the tips in a man-hunting book she got for her birthday, she ends up snagging sexy social studies teacher Brad Kingston instead … which would be fine with her except for one tiny problem: Brad may be involved in a grade scandal she and Mike are investigating in his school. Will she stifle the story of her career?
I broke the story up into 50-plus episodes, most of them containing one or two scenes, and plan to release one every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through mid-April.
Don’t worry. This version of Operation Snag
Mike Brad is much revised and extensively edited. I like to say it wouldn’t recognize itself if it ran into the original draft on a crowded sidewalk.
One of my favorite parts is the fact that I have scenes from both Mike’s and Brad’s POV … getting a glimpse into what makes them both tick is super-interesting. (Plus, it makes you want to know why Mike thinks he doesn’t deserve happiness with a “good girl.” That isn’t revealed until he gets his own book, Book 3 in the Women of Willow’s Grove series.)
It also gives a look into what it was like to be a journalist in a small-town newsroom in the 1990s, when I was an education reporter in Logansport, Indiana. Journalists are not an “enemy of the people.” They’re just people, who live, work and try to find love in their communities. But that’s probably a topic for a different blog post.
Best of all: No COVID-19. The story was written in—and will remain in—a world without masks and constant fear of large crowds. Erin and her friends go to football games and concerts without worrying they’ll catch a deadly respiratory disease.
Hell—cellphones barely existed when I wrote this story. I had to revise in a “new” cellphone in one of the later drafts, to make it make sense. The phone belonged to Erin’s friend and roommate Cassie, and Erin borrowed it when she drove into Chicago late in the story.
Long time no hear from me, eh? I might not be blogging very much these days, but I’m still writing, writing, writing my free time away.
All that hard work is starting to pay off, though. I have a completely revised/hopefully ready for submission version of “Operation Snag
Mike Brad” out with two beta readers, now that my CP’s done with it.
I’m also headed to the Desert Dreams conference down in Phoenix tomorrow. It’s my first one, even though I’ve lived in northern Arizona since 1999. I’m looking forward to that experience — even if I haven’t quite finished my packing yet. I’d best get on that. I just wish it didn’t involve searching my car — in the pouring rain — for my sandals. Think I’ll move the car into the garage before I start the search.
Also on this morning’s too-exciting agenda before I head into the office for an 8+-hour day? A haircut, possibly a trip to Target for new sandals, and writing time at Starbucks. Yep. Still busy as all get-out.
I set a new deadline for myself: Finish a new, improved draft on “Diva in the Dugout” in time to submit it to Avon Impulse by May 30. Hey, if they’re looking for stories featuring ballplayers (among other things), I have the perfect story for them.
That vacation week I had to burn in May is starting to look more and more fortuitous. I’ve worked at the Daily Sun so long that I have four weeks of vacation time … and nowhere to go for all but one. So we just put me on the schedule for a random week in May.
Now I know how I’ll be spending that week of vacation!
It’s too quiet around here. What are you up to these days?
It crept up on me so quickly that I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped to craft my goals — so I’m going to build on last year’s list. With a few modifications, it’ll work again.
Here’s the quick and dirty list:
- Write at least 500 words on WIP OR
- Edit at least 10 pages OR
- BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) for at least 30 minutes without Internet distractions OR
- Craft winning query letter for one of my two 2012 GH entries (so I can be ready if I final again) OR
- Read/give feedback to CP OR
- Find a contest to enter and prep entry OR
- Read one article in one of the many unread issues of RWR I have on file OR
- Write a blog post of at least 150 words for my writing blog, Love & Laughter. Posts for the weight loss blog don’t count. OR
- Read one of the GH entries I just received for judging OR
- Pay my RWA dues. They’re due by Feb. 28 at the latest OR
- Register for RWA National Conference OR
- Get a massage. (If I could afford to do this one once a week, I would — but it’ll more likely be once during the entire festival.)
They seem like simple goals, I know — but I’m setting myself up for success. If I can’t make time to do one (or more) of those things each day, I’d better give up on writing.
What is my WIP, you ask? That’s a very good question. I still seem to be suffering from the story ADD I developed last March.
Currently, I’m expanding/editing Brad & Erin’s story with an eye to a specific submission. I also have plans to add to Dave & Melinda’s story, which is right at 50K now. Eventually, I want to get back to Beth & Cody, too — I only had about 20K left to write when I got derailed. Surely Beth has some redeeming qualities (though the Golden Pen judges were doubtful). And then there’s my NaNo novel starring Van and Allyson. I finished the 50K rough draft, but it needs major help.
See? Story ADD.
Guess with no shortage of projects, I’ll always have something to do! I’m ready to get down to work and have some fun. See you at the RSS.
What do you do when one trusted friend tells you to scrap the first chapter of one of the stories you plan on entering in the 2012 GH?
If it’s a chapter you love, chock-full of hilarious lines and
you’re not ready to hear the fateful directive to “chop it,” you seek a second opinion.
And when the Starcatcher sister offering said second opinion concurs, saying that she, too, thinks the beginning makes both hero and heroine look less-than-heroic …
Well, you bite the bullet and cut your beloved first chapter, which began life as a prologue to begin with. (I should have known that no one would be fooled by my slapping it with a “Chapter 1” header.)
It wasn’t easy to cut a chapter that starts out like this: “When Melinda’s now-ex-fiancé admonished her to grow up, she doubted playing tonsil hockey with a man old enough to be her father was what he’d had in mind.”
Okay, maybe a wee bit of “ick factor” lurks in that beginning. (Thanks, Anna, for putting your finger on that one. It may be why I didn’t final in the Rubies’ first line contest this time.)
Finally, I was willing to admit to myself that the pages didn’t paint either of them in the best light — even though they you see right away that Mel was overexaggerating Dave’s age.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t as painful as I expected. I plan to work in some of the funnier bits as part of the backstory — and when this novel makes it to publication, don’t be surprised to see Dave and Melinda’s “how it all began” pop up on the blog as an online extra.
I will survive my MS’s massive surgery — without too much bleeding, I hope.
I’m glad to have friends who’ll tell me the cold, hard truth — even when I’m not quite ready to hear it.