Category Archives: Uncivilized

Uncivilized is finished!

At least the first draft is. And what a draft it is! 133,600 words when I was aiming for 100,000. So I have my work cut out for me in the cutting out department.

While I’m working on the edits and sending documents off to my wonderful editor, I’ll be plotting the next series of books. What will they be about? I don’t know.

Really, I don’t know. Yes, I have so many ideas, but don’t know where to start.

The American West series of historical romances?

The Love’s Travels series of historical romances?

Or the Needing a Title set of murder mysteries?

Maybe the several stand alone story ideas, aka free range books?

They all sound appealing, right? That’s my problem. Where to start? This is like a chocolate buffet and I want everything right this minute.

If you’re reading this, what do you think? Tell me! What setting do you think is woefully missing from the literary world. I can’t guarantee I’ll write about it, but will consider it!

There should be a #WackyWednesday!

First of all, I have to admit I’ve been living in a ‘Quil haze this past week.  My usual solid steel immune system has let me down. While my blog has been neglected, nothing else has been. The Very Worst Man is up for preorder with a release date of February 28th. Unfortunate, Daggart’s fate, is at the editor’s, as is Undeniable, getting its makeover in round two of edits. The Very Best Man is getting another polish, too. When writing advice says “Sleep on it,” believe them. You’ll find mistakes from way out in left field.  Also, weigh a good editor, on a scale, and give them that much in gold because they’re worth it. Mine is, and if I earned it, she’d be paid double.

You did catch that The Very Worst Man is up for preorder, right? In case you’re not convinced you NEED this book, here’s a little teaser. Available now at Amazon, everywhere else by the 28th, maybe before then.

TVWM Teaser 2

Notice how I’ve not mentioned Uncivilized? Shhhhhh. I’m finishing it in a marathon session as soon as I can quit snorting Benadryl. Kidding about the snorting, but wish I wasn’t. Mass quantities of meds at this point can only help. I’ll look back on this post and think TMI. Or not. I tend to look forward.

Something in the fun and procrastination department is I’ve started a personal Learning from the Masters series where I take a billion selling book and give it my own what if. Like, what if Christian Grey was a dollaraire instead of a billionaire?

Thus, I present, 50 Shades of Gremlin

He rolled up in the Gremlin and my breath caught. Was it his cold steel eyes or the exhaust fumes choking me? I couldn’t tell. All I knew was my heart raced, seeing him get out of his car. Most of the paint still clung to life on the vehicle, discolored to a light grey from what I assumed had been navy blue.

“Miss Steele,” he said, holding open the door. “You’ll have to slide in from the driver’s side, my passenger’s side is broken.
The sexy growl in his voice convinced me as much as his muscles as they flexed under the tattered flannel shirt he wore when he continued, “I’m good at driving backwards through the drive through, since your window rolls down better than mine.”

#MondayBlogs for the Readers

I’ve had a lot of feedback from readers in the past week and thankfully, it’s all been great.  It’s super hard for me to take compliments and I find praise both wanted and difficult.  Whenever someone is gushy over my work, I have to take a deep breath and say thank you.  Then nothing else.  No deflecting or saying I’m not worthy because doing such will dilute the compliment and who wants that?

That’s my thoughts on the past week.  Back to you, the reader.  In that ‘Fine’ voice you get from your mother when she’s been worn down by your pestering, I say, “Fine.”  There’s been enough ‘eh’ reviews about The Very Best Man’s ending that I’ve decided to add another chapter.  This last bit of the book is inspired by Kung Fu Fighting.

I think most of the readers who didn’t like the current ending are those born after 1985.  They’re too young to remember the non-endings of movies made in the early and mid seventies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Did they die?  Or did they survive and live out their lives in Bolivia?  We can only guess because that movie’s end didn’t tell us, just hinted.

I’m currently mired in the thing that is National Novel Written in a Month.  The word count is good and I’m using the month to write The Very Worst Man.

In progress!

In progress!

It’s wonderful so far.  I’m having the best time ever writing it.  The dialogue is a blast.  Plus, there’s already a secondary character trying to take over and I’m having to back off from letting her do so.  Can I just drop her and go on?  Of course not!  She’s my heroine for The Very Poor Man.

Most of my readers will probably be wondering whose blog they’re reading.  Like, am I not the author of that whole Oregon Trail series?  Yes!  I am and Uncivilized is in progress.  When I hit the word count goal on The Very Worst Man, I go back to the 1850’s and hang out there.  I thought when starting the contemporary Worst Man that intense research could take a break.  Nope!  Thanks to writing Hayden and Alexandra’s love story, I know a lot more about Wyoming law, prisons, and prosecuting attorneys than I had planned.  Something else that’s been a surprise?  How much of the villain’s crime I need to know.  So much for my idea of writing a few sex scenes and calling it good.  The best thing is how all my research makes it a better book for you, the reader.

THE Secret to Hitting 50K Words for NaNoWriMo. #MondayBlogs

If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve heard of the National Novel Writing Month.  Every November, writers of all kinds begin typing or scribbling the Great American Novel.  Only this is worldwide and not necessarily American.  No matter, many will begin and many will finish the 50,000 words.  You’ve won when you have 50K verifiable words.  There are no rules about which words are used in a winning document, that’s up to you.

Enough of that.  What exactly is the secret to winning?  Having won NaNoWriMo three times, the secret is Planning.

That’s it.  Planning.  Plan what?  I have the answer to that, too.

1. Plan on this being a team effort. Let the people who live with you in on this endeavor.  If you live in a supportive environment, this may be all you need to do.  If they’re the sabotage type, maybe don’t tell them.  Plan on it being an anti-team effort.  Letting others know what is going on will help explain it when things slide due to you working on your word count for the day.

2.Plan ahead on errands and appointments. You’re going to have things in November that will take you away from writing.  This will be true if you have 8 minutes a day or 8 hours a day to write.  Be aware of days where you can’t get in enough words to goal so you’re prepared and not pressured.

3.  Plan your daily word count.  With 50K divided by 30, you’ll need to write 1,666 words a day minimum.  If you’ve done step two, you’ll know what days will need 1,666 and which will need double that.  In my three times of winning, I didn’t have a laptop.  Plus, every Thanksgiving meant at least 35 hours of driving in that four day weekend.  I wrote longhand what I could in the first year.  The next two?  I adjusted my word count so I was done with NaNoWriMo by Thanksgiving weekend.

4. Plan your Plot.  Start now.  Don’t wait until November 1st to think about your story.  No, you can’t write a word until that day, but you can research, invent, and plot out the novel.  Are you a die-hard pantser?  You can still plot and pants.  Just know your beginning, know your end and have some idea of the middle.  Then pants to your heart’s content.  Have an extensive backstory and world to create?  Do it now.  When November arrives, you’ll be ready to write, not research or wonder what genre to pick.

5.  Plan to ignore your prior day’s work.  I’d read the last page of my work, maybe let myself edit it, and used that page to get into the flow for writing the next page or hopefully several.  When you’re done writing, you’re done.  No going back over to edit.  If you have the time to edit, you have the time to write. If you have the time to write, then write and get ahead of your goal. Why?  Because no matter how well you plan ahead, things will happen. You’ll get behind or be close to doing so.  Edit to your heart’s content when the clock strikes 12:00am December 1st.  Write until then.

Fun fact?  All three of my Oregon Trail novels were NaNoWriMo winners.  I started Undeniable in 2008 and when the hero’s brother kept taking over, I ‘promised’ the next NaNo book to him.  Undesirable in 2009 is his story and wouldn’t you know?  Another secondary character wouldn’t stay secondary, so I promised him his own story in 2011.  I’m still writing on it, Uncivilized.  These all started life as a 50K novel and needed another 50K each for the story.  Want to know more about them?  Click the above tab “The Oregon Trail Series” to see.

This is not the MondayBlog you are looking for.

Yes, I had plans for this post.  Maybe.  Sort of.

Ok, I’ll ‘fess up.  I’ve been so focused on Undesirable, wanting to finish the last chapter and a half already.  Some authors experience grief when typing ‘The End’ to their books.  Not me.  When this is done, I’m moving on to Uncivilized, which has its bare bones typed in already.  Even after that, there’s the Santa Fe Trail, Orphan Trains, and either the Pony Express or the Mormon Trail.

Then too, I may take it in a totally different direction and go all science fiction on everyone.  I know, logically, that I’ll be more likely to see superstar success if I stick to and build up one genre of my work.  Emotionally and as a reader, I never read just one genre.  How can I write only one?

So my question is, if anyone chooses to answer, are you a laser focused reader or writer?  Or are you more of a shotgun, reading or writing everything and anything?  Answer in the comments and don’t be shy!

Being Accurate is Exhausting!

My biggest fear in writing anything historical is someone coming up to me and saying, “That was wrong.” Checking and rechecking everything takes a lot of time. Enough that, at the moment, I’d like to write anything that’s in the present day and familiar. Not the future, because that would take tons of research, too, into today’s technology extrapolated by X number of years.

Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE research. It’s my favorite part of writing. But sometimes? I just want the words to flow and damned the facts. Instead, I’m on Google Earth, inching my way along the Oregon Trail from overhead, and typing out each tiny little paragraph at the same time.