Wednesday, November 7, 2018

You Need To Talk More (An IWSG Post)

Hello, all!

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

By now, I assume that anyone coming here is already well-versed in this group, but if you happen to be new (and welcome, if you are...), or would just like more information or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month's co-hosts are: Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman.

This month's (optional) question asks, "How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?"

But I'm going to skip that question in order to ramble on about something else. And it may not be anything more than a ramble because I am seven days into NaNoWriMo, meaning that I am now approximately 85% Dr. Pepper, 10% Pop Tarts, and 5% water, which may make me 100% more incomprehensible than normal.



So, okay. If you follow me on social media, then you may already be aware that last weekend, I took part in a local book fair, meaning I had my books (y'all, I have more than one book now!) on a table and I engaged (if you use the term loosely) with the general public (or, those who wandered by, anyway) in an effort to sell said books.


The woman at the table next to me had many more books to her name that had gone through multiple printings, as well as an agent and a publisher who wanted her to write more. (Interesting side note: she told me that writing was never something she had actually wanted to do. It was just something she ended up doing, unlike me, who has been writing ever since I learned how.) We were at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as what we wrote, why we wrote, how we wrote, and how we sold what we wrote.

She went for what I would consider to be the hard sell. She approached anyone who came close enough to tell them who she was and what she wrote before asking what they liked to read and then handing them whatever book best fit their preferences. And it seemed to work for her because though I wasn't tracking her sales, she said repeatedly that she was selling more than she had anticipated.

Which, seriously, good for her.

I, on the other hand, took a more...laid back approach. In the interest of full disclosure, I honestly feel if I so much as say, "Hey, I wrote a book" then I am going for the hard sell, which is not a feeling I enjoy. Therefore, I very seldom utter that sentence. Or anything else even remotely close to that sentence. Instead, I followed my retail rules, meaning I greeted anyone who came into my zone so they would know that I knew they existed, asked how they were doing, then left them alone to browse as they desired, keeping an eye out for obvious signs of needing help. Or actually answering any actually asked questions (say that five times fast...).

This is an approach with which I am at least faintly comfortable. So much of the marketing/self-promotion side of writing just makes me feel awful—physically awful—that I truly struggle with it. For me, these events are really more an opportunity for me to put myself out there just a little bit, in the hopes that one day it may get easier and I'll get better at it.

But my efforts prompted my neighbor to declare, "You're too shy. You need to talk more."

Which prompted me to want to do this:



Because I do not want to talk more. The idea of doing so fills me terror on the same level as me taking a walk outside in the Florida woods (which is to say, pretty damn terrifying...).

I feel like I talk all the freaking time and sound like a complete idiot while doing it, and I literally feel awful—again, physically awful—for days following social interactions.

But I thought I did all right last Saturday. I had some good conversations with people at that event, and I actually sold a few books (as in more than one). I ultimately came away thinking that it had been a pretty successful experience overall. I didn't sell nearly as many books as my neighbor did—something of which she did make note—but I feel like that comes back to what I have said in previous posts (or at least one post).

That the only person who gets to define success in these situations is you. Me. However that works. (Have I mentioned the NaNo-induced sleep deprivation?)

Which prompts me to end yet another post with my favorite words to live by (that may or may not have anything to do with whatever the hell I was talking about):


DO YOUR THING AND DON'T CARE IF THEY LIKE IT.



That's going to do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by. And if you're participating in NaNoWriMo
this month, I hope it's going well!


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

November Goals

Happy Halloween, everyone!



As you perhaps gathered from the title of today's post, I'm talking goals. First up is a brief-ish recap of how I made out with last month's goals:

1. Release Second Nature's ebook

This actually happened. It turns out that much of my frustration was due to the fact that I kept sending the wrong version of the book to my e-reader, so none of the changes I had made were showing up. Oops. Once I realized the mistake (really, I'm smart in other ways. Probably.), things went a lot smoother. So yeah. Second Nature is officially available in paperback and on Kindle, which means for the first time in years, I have no Second Nature goals on my To-Do list. I'm not actually sure how I feel about that. I hope eating my weight in peanut butter cups will help me figure it out.



2. Finish first draft of the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Bad Romance novel

As of the writing of this post, I have two scenes left to write. Of the four scenes I mentioned in my last post, I deleted the one on which I was undecided and finished the dreaded sex scene. Sure, the sex scene is about as sophisticated as a Dick and Jane story, but it's good enough for the first draft. This leaves me with the last two scenes in the book: the lead-up to the happy ending, and the happy ending itself. I absolutely have no idea how to actually end this book, but here's hoping I figure out something before midnight. Or before my peanut-butter-cup-induced coma kicks in. Which ever comes first.

3. Finish the first draft of Retail Rhapsody

Didn't quite get there. I was swamped with other projects this month, and this one fell by the wayside. But it is definitely taking shape. Shape-ish. It'll get there. Eventually. Ish.

4. Log at least three miles per day

Done, and done. I think I'm still slightly behind my year-long goal, but I have two months to try and make up the difference. Or at least some of the difference.


Here are my goals for November:

1. Win NaNoWriMo

I haven't participated in the November edition of NaNoWriMo since 2015, where I ended up with 35,000 words and a loss. I hope to do better this time around. My intended project is Book Three of my fantasy series (aka Full Circle). I will need way more than 50,000 words to complete this project, but I aim to get a nice jump on things. We'll see how it goes. I've been chomping at the bit to work on this book for months now, but I'm worried that I was only so eager to work on it because I had other things I had to do instead. But now that I have an entire month set aside to do nothing but work on this book? I'll probably just end up doing my very best Cave Slayer impression.


2. Don't hide/embarrass myself during this month's book events any more than absolutely necessary

This month, I am scheduled to attend two local author book fairs (details in the sidebar), which is making me feel a great deal of anxiety—this on top of the regular amount of anxiety I feel about everything everyday anyway. I may have to make eye contact with people. They may ask what my books are about. I may have to do the whole putting-words-into-sentence-doing thing, and I am really terrible at that. And everything else I mentioned. So the goal is to pretty much act as normal-ish as possible as much as possible.

3. Log at least three miles every day

I need to make sure I don't become part of my desk chair this coming month.



That's it for me today. Are you NaNo-ing this November? Doing something else exciting?

Tune in next time when I may or may not remember to post something at some point in November!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Four Scenes and Three Days

Before I get to the actual post part of this post, please allow me one small indulgence...


THE RED SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES, Y'ALL!!






Okay. I'm done.

(Narrator: MJ was not done.)

Anyway...at the beginning of the month, one of my goals was to finish the first draft of the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Bad Romance novel.

Now it's the end of the month, and I am four scenes away from accomplishing this goal.

(This sounds, perhaps, less impressive (provided it sounds impressive at all) if you know that at the beginning of the month, I was eight scenes away from the end. It's possible I didn't have a ton of time for writing this month...and not just because I was watching baseball.)

Of those four scenes, two are partially written. They just need to be finished. The other two have yet to be started. Of those two, one may be cut entirely because I'm not convinced it actually needs to be there. (And the more desperate I am to finish this book, the more convinced of this I become...)

But the thing is, I only have three more days to write those four scenes.

I mean, sure. If I don't get it done, it's not like the manuscript will self-destruct or anything, but it will put a serious cramp in my writing plans not only for the rest of this year, but the start of next year as well. I'd really like to avoid that if I can. I get so far behind so easily that I'd really like to not get behind in 2019 until 2019.

Dare to dream, right?

So, the bottom line is I really want to finish writing this book in the next three days. For a couple of reasons.

First, I'm planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, and that starts on Thursday. If you've ever done NaNoWriMo, you know what a time suck it can be. It's supposed to be my reward for finishing other projects (*coughcough* Second Nature *coughcough*), but I feel weird about doing it when one of those other projects isn't actually finished.

The other reason is I just really want to be done with this book. I honestly never thought I would finish this project in my lifetime, so to be so close to doing so now is making me anxious. More anxious, I should say. I'm pretty anxious about everything every day anyway.

But that's another blog post for another day.

Which brings me back to the main focus of the post—THE RED SOX WINNING THE WORLD SERIES!!



No, wait. Sorry.

(Narrator: MJ was not sorry. She was super freaking excited.)

I mean, writing four scenes in three days.

Which maybe wouldn't be such a big deal except that two of those scenes pose my greatest writing challenges: the dreaded sex scene (I seriously hate writing sex scenes) and the happy ending.

I mean, in my other stories, the characters have done well if, by the end of the book, they're not dead, dying, or bleeding from the head, so it's not like I've set the happy bar super high. Still, in a romance novel (even a terrible, horrible, no-good, bad one) it's probably best if I aim a little higher.

But that's totally do-able, right? I can just treat it like a little mini NaNoWriMo or something.

Just as soon as I come down from my World Series high. Which I'm sure will be happening any minute now.

(Narrator: It would not be happening any minute now.)




Tune in Wednesday to see if I can score a mini NaNoWriMo win before I take on the main event...

(Also, congrats on a terrific season, Boston!)



Monday, October 1, 2018

Hooray For Partial Credit

Hello, all!

It's the first of October, so you are in for an action-packed post. Today, I shall be reviewing how I did with the goals I set for myself last month (and based on the title of this post, I'm guessing you have some idea of how things went) and setting some new goals for the current month.

Like I said, action packed.

First up, last month's goals...

1. Publish Second Nature

This is where that whole partial credit thing comes in because I (deep breath......another deep breath........and one more for safety.......) half did this.

And now I am seriously freaking out because I admitted it. (So many issues. So little time.)

True to MJ fashion, the paperback is now available. The e-book, however, is not. This happened with the last book, too. Apparently, it's just going to be a thing with me. But yeah. The paperback has been released into the wild. Here's proof:



I'm trying to get the e-book out into the world, but I seem to be struggling with the formatting. There are a few lingering issues I haven't yet ironed out. I think I've fixed everything, but then it turns out that not only did I not fix things, I managed to break a few things more. And so on and so forth.

Sigh.

I'm working on it.

But, yeah. That happened.


2. Finish the first draft of Vinnie & Ellie

Nope. Didn't achieve this goal. I am getting closer to the end, but I didn't make enough progress to even award myself with partial credit here. My brother and I did, however, brainstorm a potential legitimate title for this project. So, that's exciting. Ish. But regardless of what it's called in the end, it will always be the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Bad Romance Novel to me.

3. Finish the first draft of Retail Rhapsody

Didn't quite achieve this goal, either. The poems are somewhat organized now, and I have a clearer idea of what this project should maybe look like, so I feel okay awarding myself with some partial credit here. Here's what the layout storyboard looks like for this project. It looks a little different now, but you'll get the general idea.



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

At long last! A goal I actually completed! I don't know why I add 'run' or 'bike' to that list because I don't do either these days, but walking—yeah, I did that. In my house, with my air conditioner running, to protect me from...you know, Florida.

Some days, I even walked more than three miles.

Because that's how I roll.

On an unrelated side note, is anyone else super psyched
for next year's Veronica Mars revival on Hulu?


All right...October Goals.

1. Release Second Nature's e-book editions

Place your bets now to see how long this will take!

2. Finish the first draft of Vinnie & Ellie

Wait a minute...that sounds familiar.

3. Finish the first draft of Retail Rhapsody

So does this. Hmmm.

4. Log at least three miles per day

Ha! That one's different. No more running or biking for me! Woo Hoo!


And on that possibly very sad note, I am outta here. Those e-books won't format themselves. (I know because I've been unsuccessfully waiting for that to happen...)

Did you make any goals for October?


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: