It’s always great when you finally get the author copies you ordered. It’s never as quick as I want it to be. Strange as it may sound, I like to hold one in my hand and settle in to read it. I’ve read the book a couple dozen times as I’ve worked my way through it, but it always seems different in paperback. I quit worrying about mistakes and just participate as a reader. I am forever grateful to the people who help me get a story completed and ready for print.
Who Have You Called Lately
There are days when I feel like all the communication is one way. That all I do is dial the phone, or type the email, or make the posts. It’s me constantly reaching out and seeking the contact. It’s me that makes the effort. Like everyone is either too busy or too locked into their own misery to make the effort to see if we’re okay. There are days when I feel like that old bitchy broad who looks at the entire world and whines, “You never call.”
That’s not how it is, but there are times that this is precisely how it feels. The one way communication is not the truth—this is an emotional response to a change in my circumstances. This is me feeling like everyone else is managing better than me and the people that aren’t, may not be people that I want to deal with. Odds are that they don’t want to deal with me either when I’m not coping. Aren’t we all just tired of hearing how unhappy everyone is? Doesn’t it freak you out when someone is actually happy now? This is so not where I want to be.
I’m actually annoyed that everyone can’t read my damn mind and know that they should call me on one of those off kilter days. It’s that whiny crybaby talking—the one who just needs to know that someone out there is interested in whether I’m upright and mobile or crippled in the corner. The cranky woman who wants to remind you that just because I’m the one who usually reaches out, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the effort in return.
The truth is that my true friends DO call. My true friends DO message me. My true friends DO make an effort. My true friends DO understand that relationships are a two-way street and both sides have to make an effort. Those efforts are not always equal or fair—that’s life. We catch up when and how we can.
I’ve put a few people on my call list as I thought this over. I’ve taken a few people off. Maybe if they call me then they can go back on. Mostly, I’m just trying to find my place in the world all over again. Life has changed and we all have to quit lamenting the passing and get on with the life we now have. If you don’t hear from me… maybe you should give me a call. You may just be the person I’ve been hoping to hear from.
Recently, I saw a meme that stated,
“Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing at the airport waiting for a train.”
That is a well stated fact. Although, I’m not really sure what is meant by inspiration on any given day.
My handy dictionary states that inspiration means:
- the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
- the drawing in of breath; inhalation.
I’ve stared at this for quite some time. #1 makes perfect sense as that is what I’ve always taken inspiration to mean.
But what the hell is #2 all about? I’ve not really thought about breathing as inspiration. My thought process is too literal for this. Is the inspiration in the act or a result of the act? Is inspiration an idea for a story or the whole flipping story? This may be too deep for me today. I’m going to get some coffee and pet the dog.
Put The Damn Boots On
Life to me seems very much like this boulder field right now. I’m sitting in the center of this, sort of stuck and uncomfortable, while out there on the fringe is all the good stuff. The cool green, the water, the trees, the birds, and the whole great busy forest of life. But here I sit.
For almost six months I have struggled to finish a book. The story is done and some of the beta readers have seen it, but I feel it’s missing something. Some elemental part of the story that I’ve missed. The betas have been great about suggestions for additions and deletions and I’ve grabbed quite a few of them. But the issue with the story remained. It’s just not exciting me.
Yesterday, it dawned on me that the problem is not the story. The problem is me. I’m not excited about much of anything. Without the contact and enthusiasm of the people around me, I’ve just been feeling a little hollow. I didn’t have much of an “out and about” life before, but I have a hell of a lot less of that life now. I can’t remember the last time I met a friend for lunch to talk about an idea for a book. I’m struggling to close out another story because I can’t figure out how we close the story we’re living through.
I’ve probably mentioned at some point that I do not like crowds. Never have. Never will. Anything more than 8-10 people is too many for me. I’ll find a corner and watch. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like people. I love people. I like to talk to people and hear their stories. They inspire me and make me think. They lead to crazy paths that I can then venture down in my mind and often while venturing, I bump into a story. There has been no travel, no wandering, no visiting with old and new friends, and no personal contact.
What I’ve not had is the opportunity to make the trips that I like to make every year or so. The one to sit on the patio at my friend LeiMomi’s and have a morning cup of coffee while we laugh at some obnoxious little thing. To sit across the table from Michael and Mary Ann and talk about the world as they see it. To walk on the beach in Oregon as the rain beats on the hood of my rain jacket or to walk on the sand of the Gulf Coast and stare at the aquamarine water. To sit in the Family History Library and dig through a stack of books in hopes of finding that one item that will break down my brick wall. To hug my oldest and dearest friends and suffer the free-wheeling abuse that only these people seem to be able to take as easily as they dish out.
The feeling of being adrift in a boat doesn’t apply to me. I can see the horizon. I can feel the breeze and smell that forest. But, I’m just sitting on the rocks wondering when I can get up the enthusiasm to go back. It feels like I’ve been in mourning—and I have been. Mourning the boring little life that I had before this mess.
What I need to figure out is how to toss off the mourning clothes and get back in the swing of things. I don’t want to be a cranky old broad. The world has enough Grumpy Gretas. I’m tired of hearing everyone complain—me included—when I have so little to complain about. So, I’m going to pull it together and get back to work and sort these two books out.
Time to dump my flip-flops and put my boots back on and get this show back on the road. I’ve got a good damn book, now I just need to clean it up and figure out a stinkin’ title. It’ll be great!
Going to Audible
It took us some time to come to Audible. I say us because I rely on my friend and publisher as well as Mr. Scott to help me with this type of decision. I like to write—I don’t much care about the business end of crap. When we looked at doing audio books several years ago, the upfront costs, back end royalties, and some questions about book rights and long term exclusivity left us with too many questions. Since then, Audible and Amazon have made enough changes on the business end that audio is now doable.
Once that decision was made, I needed to find a narrator. I considered reading them myself, but I’d rather write and watch football than commit to the hours needed to accomplish the task. Most of the women narrators that I sampled just didn’t do it for me, so I went with a male and chose D.C. Newman as the narrator. I liked his tone and balance.
There is nothing stranger than to hear your character speak in a voice that is different than the one that you have heard in your head for the last seven years. I wrote the first draft of Saving Emily in November 2011 during National Novel Writing Month. After much work and editing, the book was finally published 4 September 2012. Saving Emily is without a doubt one of my favorite stories.
The truth is that people move into my head and camp there while they share they lives. They show up out of the blue and they depart the same way. Sometimes their story pours out quickly as Janice Bracken’s did, and sometime they have to be coaxed along and it may take a year to get to the end. However long it takes, they share their story in their voice.
Saving Emily was the first book that I assigned an actual voice and personality to. I’ve said before that I always felt Janice Bracken to be a lot like the character played by Rene Russo in Lethal Weapon 3 and 4. So for the last seven years, I’ve heard Rene Russo’s classy, sultry voice in my head telling her part of the story.
As good as D.C. Newman is and as much as I like his work, he sounds nothing like Rene Russo, so when he spoke her words, it was jarring. Not surprising, I wasn’t the least bit bothered to hear him speaking Mac’s words, even though I’d been hearing Gary Sinese in my head all this time. The strangeness stuck with me through the first couple of chapters, but then one day, I just got into the sound of his voice and let it go. For the first time, it was simply about letting another side of the story in.
The process itself is made super simple by D.C. Newman. He does the reading a chapter at a time. When he’s satisfied he has it right, he loads the chapter through the service, and sends me a message. I open the book and the audio file, reading and listening at the same time. I make sure that he’s read it correctly and that it sounds the way I want it to sound. If there’s something not right, I note the location on a sheet and send it back. He’ll make corrections and move on. Working with him has been incredibly smooth and easy. The completed project goes up on audible and it’s on to the next.
He’s recently started work on Blood Link and the first two chapters are in the can. He’s a busy guy who’s doing the narration on several books at a time and he has a waiting list of authors, but he’s got me scheduled so we’ll just keep moving forward.
If you’d like to hear a sample of Saving Emily, just hit the link below.
To NANO or not to NANO
I’ve been doing the National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO or NANO for short) challenge for a fair number of years. I enjoy the focus it requires and I’ve used it to kick start a novel each time. The odds of that happening this year are pretty slim for a variety of reasons.
Limited time this year – sure there are still 30 days in the month, but I’ll be busy for a full week. I’m really excited about being busy since I’m having company and they are people that I adore. However, that will limit the writing time for that week. Still, I could probably push really hard and set the alarm for an hour earlier in the morning and maybe get some writing time in. Without that week I’d have to adjust the goals for the remaining days and those numbers would be really tough.
The biggest hurdle – Once again, I don’t have a solid idea for a book.
That didn’t really stop me last year as I only found my story on the 19th of October when I went in to take a nap. Based on that experience, I guess I have plenty of time to take more naps and hopefully come up with something decent. There are a few people that would like me to just go ahead and write Blood Link IX, but that book isn’t fully mapped out yet. As a series book, I have to take the time to work out the long story and then build in the book specific story. I have about half of each done.
If it sounds like I’m hemming and hawing a bit, I am. I wish I had a real grasp on the big story idea for the next standalone. What I have right now is about half an idea and, as usual, it concerns a subject and agency that I don’t know a damn thing about. I’ve made a few phone calls and talked to a couple people – I truly have the best friends in the world that always seem to know someone who has a clue about what I need to know and are willing to help get me in touch with those folks. With only a basic concept of the heroine, hero, and plot at this point, I’m not ready to go there. This would be a book that required a lot of research and maybe a vacation to the location. That vacay will have to wait for next summer. I need a fresh idea for something I can base here in Tucson. You know… a good idea that I don’t currently have.
Still – I’m incredibly competitive and I don’t like to lose. NANO is some kind of weird dragon that I always feel the need to slay, so now I’m looking at the numbers and shaking my head even as I try to figure out if I could maybe make it happen.
All I really need is some more coffee, an hour less sleep, and the will to write that quickly. And a good story… yeah… I really need some characters and a plot.