Wednesday, September 5, 2018

When Plotters Pants (An IWSG Post)

Hey, everyone!

It's the first Wednesday of the month (at least I think it is. I didn't miss it again, did I?), which means that it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I am assuming that anyone who stops by today is already well-versed with the IWSG, but if you happen to be new and have no idea what I'm talking about, please click on the above link for more information and/or a complete list of participants.

This month's co-hosts are: Toi Thomas, T. Powell Colton, Tara Tyler, and some weirdo who calls herself M.J. Fifield.


In other IWSG news, the judges for the latest anthology contest will be announced on the site today, so stop by there for the big reveal...

All right. This month's (optional) question asks, "What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?"

But as I feel as though I have waxed poetical on this subject many times before, I'm going to skip it this time around. Let me just say that whatever path you decide to take/decided to take, you are awesome and I applaud you!



So, instead, I thought I might ramble about this problem that I'm having with a current WIP. The WIP in question is this terrible, horrible, no-good, bad romance novel that goes by the working title Vinnie & Ellie because I can't think of anything else to call it besides the terrible, horrible, no-good bad romance novel. (M.J. Fifield: marketing genius...)

This WIP has been mentioned on My Pet Blog from time to time, most recently this past Monday when I listed it among my goals for September. I'm going to finish the first draft this month, I claimed, but there's just one slight problem...

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

I am a plotter. I plot. A not-insignificant amount of wall space (interesting side note: auto-correct keeps correcting 'wall space' to 'allspice', which is funny because I have no idea what one would do with allspice except to, you know, spice something.) in my office is devoted to big, semi-elaborate storyboards on which I plot out whatever WIP I'm currently writing before I start writing it and/or while I'm writing it. I'm sure you've seen many photos of said storyboards because the only thing I apparently like to do more than create storyboards on any wall that will hold still long enough is to take pictures of those boards and post them all over social media.

But Vinnie and Ellie are refusing to go along with the program. Probably because I created them and pretty much any character I create is stubborn, sarcastic, and has serious problems with authority (I wonder why that is...).

And because they're refusing to go along with the program, I'm left to write this novel by the seat of my pants, and I don't know how to do that. I need a plot, a plan, a story map—something! I have no idea how I'm supposed to just make it up as I go along.

I swear, every other line in this novel is my narrator lamenting that she has no idea what's going on, and that's really me lamenting that I have no idea what's going on.

But I'm so close to the end.

At least I think I am. It's not like I have any big, semi-elaborate storyboards on which to keep track of such things.

*glares menacingly at stubborn characters who flip her off in return*

So, all you pantsers (haha—auto-correct keeps making you into panthers. It's possible I'm too easily amused.) out there—hit me with your tips. How do you do it? What's your secret? Mellow jazz, bongo drums, huge bag of weed? (Name! That! Reference!)

Help a plotter out?




That's gonna do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Back In The Saddle Again

Hey, everyone!

The summer is officially over, so I am back to work. Not that I'm ever not working on some aspect of a writing project, but August is traditionally my least productive month (which is quite the statement when you consider how unproductive I am at any given point in time...). Usually, that's because my family invades my house during this month and I am relegated to only doing whatever I can work on while sitting on a beach (rough life, I know). This time around, however, my family did not visit, so The Man and I were left to our own devices. (Fear that.) He had taken time off from his job in anticipation of our company, so we had a staycation experience, which included day trips to St. Augustine, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge to see the manatees, and a visit to Harry Potter World in Orlando. I love Harry Potter World. I love it so much, I'm even willing to deal with the crowds...and y'all know how I feel about people.



Anyway, the point is August was not my most productive month ever, so I'm going to be paying for it this month as I set out to accomplish some very big things.

And today, I'm going to tell you what those things are.

Here, without any further ado, are my goals for September...

1. Publish Second Nature

This book has been sitting around, gathering dust, as I'm apparently seeking to break some weird world record for longest time a finished book has been sitting around just waiting to be published. I don't know what's wrong with me (besides, you know, everything...), but maybe this month will be the month I finally get over that last hurdle.



2. Finish the first draft of Vinnie & Ellie

If you're not familiar with this WIP, Vinnie & Ellie is this terrible, horrible, no-good, bad romance novel I started writing a million years ago (all right, fine, nine years ago) and only last year decided to pull out of the Unfinished Projects file in an attempt to, you know, finish it. Well, it took nine years, but I finally feel as though the ending might actually be in sight now, and I am making a big push to finish this book this month. I'm a little worried, though, because this book poses my great writing challenge yet...a happy ending.



3. Finish first draft of Retail Rhapsody

Retail Rhapsody, if you're unfamiliar with this WIP, is a compilation of all those sarcastic haikus I composed about my retail experience. You may have seen some of them posted here on this blog, or on various other social media sites. Well, I am putting them all into a book. Or, at least that's the plan. I don't know how it'll turn out. The illustrations are going to be amazing—I'll tell you that much, but the whole thing is an experiment. Anyway, the goal here it to get all the poems in one place and organized in some kind of order that makes sense. Not that anything that comes out of my head makes sense, but I'll see what I can do.



4. Walk, run, or bike at least 3 miles per day

I have utterly failed at this goal this year, and I feel as though my inactivity is taking its toll. So this month, I shall attempt to be more active. Given how much sitting-at-my-desk time I have scheduled, I'll certainly need it.



All right, so that's my September. And now that I see it all laid out before me, I have absolutely no idea how I'll pull it all off. I can't, however, wait to find out...

What's on your agenda this month?


Monday, July 23, 2018

Character Truth or Dare (A Tempting Friendship Post)

Hello, everyone!

Today, we're turning My Pet Blog over to author extraordinaire, Patricia Lynne, who has a brand-new book (Tempting Friendship) coming out TOMORROW.


She's here today to introduce the main characters and engage them in a little Truth or Dare fun...

Take it away, Patricia!

***

I thought it’d be fun to torment Quinn and Keane (mostly Quinn, probably) with a game of truth of dare. I figured it might be safer if I asked the questions instead of letting them and risking them bickering like an old married couple.

Okay, Quinn, Keane, are you ready for a little fun?
Quinn eyes Keane: I’m not sure.
Keane pokes Quinn: Come on, you know this will be fun.
Maybe with someone else, Quinn replies. I’m not sure I trust you to tell you my secrets.
Enough stalling. On to the game. Keane, truth or dare?
Keane: Dare.
Quinn ponders a moment. Put peanut butter on your nose and try to lick it off.
Keane. Done! Grabs some peanut butter and smears it on his nose. He squints as he tries to reach it. Almost. He tries again. I tasted some. He gives up and looks at Quinn. I think you’re going to have to lick it off for me.
Or you can use a napkin. Now, Quinn, truth of dare.
Quin: Truth.
Keane grins.
If Keane could do whatever you wanted to do, what would it be?
Quinn cocks her head. I’d have Keane get rid of all the headphones he has. Seriously, how many do you need?
Keane: They all sound different and some are better for music than others and a few are good for online gaming.
Quinn: Then keep those ones and get rid of the rest. You have, like, twenty. That’s not an exaggeration. I counted one day.
My hubby is the same. He has a few different pairs. Back to Keane, since you did dare, this time you have to do a truth. As an incubus, have you ever had bad sex?
Keane: You’ll be surprised, but yes. It wasn’t for a feeding though. It’s hard to screw that up. But when I was first forced here after the collapse and I had my first physical sexual encounter, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with my legs and I accidentally kneed Geralt in the balls so hard we had to stop so he could recover.
Quinn fights not to laugh.
Keane: You’re laughing now, but you’re forgetting, you have to do a dare.
Quinn goes silent.
All right Quinn, here’s your dare. Whisper something in Keane’s ear that will turn him on.
Quinn blushes. Give me a minute to think.
Keane rolls his eyes. Come on. I’m not that difficult, am I?
Quinn: I got it. She leans close to Keane and begins whispering.
Keane listens with a smirk, then his eyebrows raise, and his mouth drops open. When she finishes, he leans back to look at her. You are naughty.
Quinn shrugs. I may not be sexually active, but I know what it takes to get a guy going.
I don’t think I should ask what Quinn said. It sounds like it wasn’t PG at all. Thanks for behaving and playing. Keane, I think I have a gold star for you somewhere.
Keane: Bonus!

***

At first, Quinn isn’t impressed by Keane. He’s cocky and has sex on the brain. The polar opposite of her. Despite their differences, something blossoms between the two. 

Never one to take things seriously, Keane is an incubus coasting through life without a care. When he meets Quinn, her lack of reaction to him piques his interest. No human has ever been able to resist him. 

As Keane and Quinn struggle to understand what is going on between them, something sinister rocks their world. Young incubi are vanishing, and Keane's friends go missing. Someone is after his kind. When Quinn is kidnapped, Keane must uncover who is behind the abductions and get to her before it's too late.


Available From the Following Retailers:



About The Author

Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing.

She writes New Adult under the name Patricia Josephine and Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.
Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Find her online:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Halfway Point

Wait...what's this? A second post in the same month? Why, that's just crazy.

But let's do it anyway.

So, when the calendar gets to about the halfway point of the year, I like to take a look back at the goals I set in January to see how it's going. (Hint: usually not well.) Often I'm early with this post, but this year I'm running behind. Which is kind of the theme of 2018.

But, at the very least, I have made some sort of measurable progress on everything.




The Writing Goals

The biggest goal in this category is to publish Second Nature. That obviously hasn't happened yet, but as you may have seen on social media, progress has been made. Look! Proof copies!


The only thing standing in the way of publication is the completion of the ebook formatting, and the only thing standing in the way of that is simply me procrastinating on getting it finished. Or, you know, started. But I'm working on it. Kind of. I mean, I haven't been working on it at all. But I will. Soon. Probably...I'm hoping to get my act together and get this book out in the world by the end of the month. Or, if failing that, the end of the summer. Or the year. Or next year...

The other three writing projects on my radar this year are still in the works, but they are in the works, and I'm super excited by them. I've been strangely productive lately (on those projects, anyway. Maybe not so much with the ebook formatting...). Who knows how long it'll last, but I hope to take full advantage of it while it's around.


The Reading Goal

I intend to read 52 books this year. I was doing well for a while there, but that's kind of come to a grinding halt. But hey, I just checked in with Goodreads, and apparently, I'm on track. Which is a nice surprise. I seriously thought I'd be way behind. Good for me!



The Fitness Goal

The goal is to log an average of 4.10 miles per day. As of yesterday, I have logged 623 miles, which only sounds impressive until you realize I was supposed to have logged 787 miles by now. So, yeah. I'm a little behind. But I could be behind by a whole heck of a lot more.


What Else Is Going On

—I volunteered to give a presentation to a local writers group this Saturday. That's right. I was, like, "Hey, I'll totally talk in front of people! I love talking in front of people!" Could someone please check to see if there have been reports of pod people in Florida?

—While The Man was watching The NeverEnding Story last night, I was reading that there's a film studio-type place in Germany (where they filmed the movie, perhaps?) where you can actually ride Falcor. I don't know if this is true, but if it is, I so want to do that.



—Also, thirty-four years later, I still can't watch the Swamp of Sadness scene in that damn movie. It's just too damn sad. Says the author who gleefully giggles every time she devises a new way to torture her characters.

—Speaking of torturing characters, this weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the conception of the Shiny Potentially Devastating-to-Readers (all five of them...) Storyline for Book Three in my fantasy series. I tip my hat to my brother for all his help in devising it. I'm really looking forward to one day finishing the book so I can test that storyline with the betas.



And on that note, I'm going to call it quits for the day. Thanks for stopping by, and maybe I'll see you next week. Or next month. We'll see how it goes.





Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Do Your Thing (An IWSG Post)

Hey, everyone! It's the first Tuesday of the month, and tomorrow's an American holiday, so that means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group!

(For more information or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link...)

I totally spaced on last month's installment. This blog has really become a ghost town filled with nothing but dust and tumbleweed. Oops. I shall henceforth attempt to do better...but will probably end up disappearing after this post until next month. Which is never the intention, but just kind of the way things have been going this year.

Anyway...This month's awesome co-hosts are: Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne.

This month's (optional) question asks, "What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?"

Which I found to be an interesting question, so I am going to ramble at length about it now. Let's see where we end up, shall we?

So, okay. I think, when my writing first started to transition from hobby to career, I was very concerned with what an author was supposed to do. There were certain hoops that I thought an aspiring author-type person was supposed to jump through that would lead to becoming an actual author-type person, rather than an aspiring one.

(Aside: though I am using it here, I am not a huge fan of qualifying 'author' or 'writer' with adjectives such as 'aspiring'. If you write, you are a writer. If you write, you are an author. You may not be published, or have a book on a best sellers list somewhere, but you can and should still call yourself an author. End aside.)

And this is not me saying that there isn't merit to following such a path and jumping through those hoops or whatever. There are a great many authors who have found success in that traditional way, and I salute them. I firmly believe that everyone should choose the path that is right for them. What I am saying is that at any point in time in my life when I attempt to do what I am supposed to do, it more often than not leads to me really struggling to do that thing.



Take college, for example. I went to college right after high school because that's what I was supposed to do. I attempted to major in music and English because that's what I was supposed to do, and it took me six years to earn a four-year degree because I didn't have a clue who I was or what I wanted to do. I was trying to cram myself into a mold in which I just didn't fit. For that reason, my first three years of college were, quite simply, a disaster. I would have been better served had I taken some time off after high school to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my life and what exactly I wanted to get out of my college education.

Now, back to writing.

So yeah. When I started, I feel like I was too focused on what I thought I was supposed to do. And that's changed. These days, I'm more about doing what won't make me miserable. I want to write stories that make me happy (or as happy as I ever am with anything I ever write...). I want to please myself. If other people happen to like my books, then that's okay. If they hate my books, that's okay, too.

To each their own.

Last year (or possibly two years ago), I gave a talk at a public library. One of the questions I received afterward was about my level of success—was I successful?—and I had to consider it for a moment. In terms of number of books sold, I am not successful. I will likely never be able to support myself on my writing alone. In terms of number of readers, I am not successful. You can count my readers on two hands. Possibly even one. I am not on any best sellers lists. I am not on any lists anywhere. I am not anything that would traditionally be counted as successful.

But is that how I view success?

Truth is, it's not.



Authors are all different. We have different goals; we have different measures of success—and that's fantastic. If your goal is to sell 1,000,000 copies of your novel, that's awesome. If your goal is to sell the rights to your novel to a major movie studio, that's awesome. If your goal is to simply write your memoir to pass down to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren, that's awesome. I applaud you.

Yes, my career would be better served if I was more invested in sales rankings and marketing and all of that. But I'm not. That has never really been my goal—and probably never will be my goal—because it makes me miserable, and as has been previously stated, I strive to make myself as not miserable as possible as much as possible.

My goal with Effigy was to make one person (preferably someone not related to me) stay up all night to read my story because that's what I love most about reading. That moment when a book grabs me and renders me incapable of doing anything else? I freaking love that feeling, and I wanted to affect a reader the way that some books, some authors, have affected me.

And not to be braggy or anything, but I achieved that goal. Twice, actually. Twice, readers (neither of which were related to me in any way, shape, or form) contacted me to tell me that they had stayed up all night to read my story because they just couldn't bring themselves to put it down.

Which felt great. Well, in the moment it was utterly terrifying because interacting with humans is something at which I do not excel, but afterward, in the privacy of my own home, it felt great. I achieved what I set out to do.

Everything else is gravy.

So I guess the point is that we should never allow anyone to define success for us. We can only do that for ourselves. As my good friend, Tina Fey, says, "Do your thing and don't care if they like it."



I feel as though I've gotten away from the original question and point of this post (or as much as of a point as any of my posts ever have...) which I know never, ever happens on this blog. I probably could have just said that I want to write the books I want to write, and left it at that.

Once a rambler, always a rambler, I guess. 

Anyway, that's my opinion. We welcome yours.

Thanks for stopping by today. If you're celebrating tomorrow, please do so responsibly. It's all fun and games until someone loses a finger in a fireworks accident.



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Awkward (An IWSG Post)

Hey, all!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group!

Please click on the above link for more information about the group and/or for a complete list of participants.

This month's co-hosts are: E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C. Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant.

This month's (optional) question asks, "It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?"

The short answer to this question is no.

There's a longer answer, but I don't really feel like getting into it. Instead, I thought I might ramble a little about how damn socially awkward I am. I don't think this post has much of a point, but I guess we'll see where the rambling takes us...




(Note: I don't know what the above gif has to do with anything, but I kind of liked it so I decided to use it.)

Okay. So, here's the thing—and this certainly won't be a shocking revelation by any means—I am seriously socially awkward. I have very little ability to interact with the human race without coming across as some kind of giant awkward goofball. And after I do interact with the human race, I feel anxious about the encounter for days, if not weeks.

For example, yesterday I was able to make a quick trip back to New Hampshire to visit my old writers group. It was really great to see some old friends, meet a few new faces, and hey—the library still has my book Effigy on the shelves. I don't think anyone has checked it out in a while, so it's really even nicer that they keep it around.



And because the group asked nicely and made sad puppy dog eyes at me (Note to self: become less of a sucker for sad puppy dog eyes), I shared with them an excerpt from my in-theory-will-someday-be-published-but-who-knows novel Second Nature. The excerpt was very well received. Like, really well received—and this is not a group of people in the habit of heaping false praise on people. Which, naturally, made me want to crawl under a table or disappear into a hedge Homer Simpson style...



It got worse when one of those people decided to pull up Effigy reviews online and read them out loud to the rest of the group. 

I don't think I've ever run from a room so fast in my entire life.



(First Aside: Yes, I really did leave the room, with my fingers in my ears. I did not, however, actually run. I was wearing flip-flops and figured that falling and breaking my neck would do me few favors.)

(Second Aside: I really can't bring myself to read reviews. I tried it once, and though it was a lovely five-star review for which any author would probably kill, I felt horrible for weeks afterward. (More on that in a moment...) Because I have issues. Anyway, that said, I really do appreciate anyone who not only takes the time to read my book but who then takes the time to write a review for it. You are rock stars and I salute you!)

Now it's the next day, and I feel anxious and sick—physically sick—that I shared something I wrote with five whole people, and they liked it. (And that whole reading-reviews-out-loud thing, but that may be a different post altogether). I will continue to feel this way for days. It'll probably be a little worse because I'm writing about it in this blog, and I always feel the same way about anything I post on IWSG day (and every other day, too, truth be told.).

It's possible that I have issues.

But I suppose there's no way to know for sure.

Why did I share anything? Why couldn't I just sit there quietly? Damn you, puppy dog eyes!

I really need to look into become one of those reclusive writers who lives all alone in some cabin deep in the woods.

Just so long as the cabin has Internet. And chocolate. And Chris Hemsworth in a letterman jacket. (Waits to see if anyone gets the reference...)



All right, that seems to be as good a place as any to end this ramble. Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, April 2, 2018

Goal Post

All right, so this is going to be a long post, so I'm just going to jump right into things. If you celebrate Easter, I hope it was a good one.

Here's a quick-ish recap of the goals I set for myself last month:

1. Send Second Nature to the printer.

Okay, so, technically, I did this. I sent the manuscript to the printer, and I am now in possession of a proof copy. This may seem like progress, but there were some formatting errors, and a few really stupid typos that I am now in the process of rectifying. I'm not sure how long this process will take—except it will almost certainly take longer than I think because it always does—but I guess I can still say that I achieved my goal.

2. Prepare for and don't vomit during upcoming presentation at local writers group.

I did this. And I didn't even vomit. I am also told it went reasonably well. (Which may not be the phrase they used, but it's one with which I am almost comfortable.) Not only did I do this, but I also received an invitation to give said presentation at another local writers group—and I said yes. That presentation isn't until May, so I have plenty of time to worry about it.

3. Walk or run at least three miles a day.

I just missed this goal. By one mile on one day. The Man and I, however, have managed to stick with our running program, though. I'm not sure whether to put that in the good or bad category, but we're still running three days a week.

4. Complete one fifteen-minute yoga workout each week.

Yeah. I didn't do this. I did one fifteen-minute yoga workout the entire month. It may be time to give up this goal. At least for a little while.

5. Read at least four books.

I only read three. I probably would have made this goal had a certain flawed proof copy not arrived. Oh well. Better luck next month...

Speaking of April, here's what I'm hoping to tackle this month:

1. Complete review of Second Nature proof copy, make all necessary changes to the manuscript, and order a new proof copy.

2. Walk or run at least three miles a day.

3. Don't sob too uncontrollably when I go see Avengers: Infinity War

4. Don't beat myself up too badly when the entire month goes to hell (as it inevitably will because...karma, apparently) and I accomplish nothing on this list.

I have a lot going on this month, so really, my major goal in April is to just get through it. Sure, I'd like to wrap up Second Nature once and for all, but it's taking a back seat this month (Can't be helped. Other things are more important.).

I aim to do my best (and also to misbehave...) and also to forgive myself if I fall short.

What's on your to-do list this month? Are you A to Z-ing? Camp NaNo-ing? Both? If you are, best of luck to you. I'm rooting for you!