Category Archives: Undeniable

Summer Vacation, Part 1 for #MondayBlogs

This year, I’m having three summer vacations. Yep, three. Am I lucky? Heck yeah! I’m also paying for it and working hard to earn them.

The first one and subject of this post was in Dallas for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention last May. I’d toyed with not going because money. The ROI (return on investment) isn’t there. I ended up giving away more books than selling, which I expected. I want readers who enjoy my work and if that means give to get, I’m ok with that a hundred percent.

Gosh, the workshops? Wonderful. Pushing myself to ignore the shy and meet authors I’d admired? Fantastic. Ava Branson deserves all the credit for me saying hi to so many people this year.

What was even better was I learned so much about being a better writer and getting my work out there. No one can follow exactly in an indie author’s footsteps but I can go in the same direction and find my own way. Isn’t that really true of everything in life?

Icing on the cake of work-I-love vacation? Seeing a beloved aunt and uncle, seeing the Red River full (too full!) of water, getting to decorate my parents graves (they’re nine hours south of my home), birthday cake ice cream from Braum’s (none near my home), mini champagne bottles at the events, new friends, and giving out swag like a big shot.

Not so fun things I missed? Being too self-conscious to ask my cousins to interrupt their weekdays or Saturday for a visit just from me. Their kids and grandkids are super active and I didn’t want to intrude. A champagne event that I was on time for but missed because of a meeting. Business first, champy and choccies later.

Pluses bigger than the minuses, right? I had an awesome time and am already looking forward to RT16 in Vegas. Even more friends will be there and we’ll get to be a gang! I really can’t wait.

Bonus for readers?

People who went to RT15 and saw my swag table already know this, but you don’t! I have Smashwords 50% off coupon codes for the Manly Series and for the current Oregon Trail novel, Undeniable.

The Very Best Man’s code is AP26W and The Very Worst Man’s code is NJ54V.

For Undeniable and Undesirable? Undeniable is free from today until June 20, 2015 everywhere, while Undesirable is $0.99 at the same time and places. It makes Undesirable’s 50% off coupon code of La32N redundant until June 21, 2015.

Coupon codes expire May 31, 2016, feel free to share.

A Lost Week

From last Monday to this, I’ve been way under the weather. It’s been a long week of cough, edit, try to sleep, stuck on repeat. I am not a person who gets sick at all and thus, am a lousy patient.

So what have I accomplished? Spiffing up previously released, soon to be released, and released for preorder works. The Oregon Trail series is very close to being done. Depending on how my “Men” go over with the romance crowd, I’ll either call them done at the Best and Worst, or add in The Very Rich Man and Very Poor Man books as well.

I think I’m due for another shot of Nyquil, so I’ll close with this.

Fall in love with the Very Worst Man. Preorder now, release date 2/28/15.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TQJ290K

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-very-worst-man/id969863602?mt=11

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.

#MondayBlogs Post and You Want Me To What??

Howdy #Mondayblogs fans!

 

My book, Undesirable, hit Amazon on the 14th.  Since then no less than four people have asked me what’s next.  Sure, I know what’s next on my plate, but it might be a while.

Secretly?  I like the impatience and curiosity of my friends and family.  It means they like what I do well enough to want more.  That’s never a bad thing and I’m thrilled.  So while I’m writing a prequel to my Oregon Trail series, get started reading Undesirable or maybe Undeniable first if you’ve not read it yet. Out of order is fine, too, and you won’t be lost, it’s just not what I’d prefer.  Meanwhile, I’ll be planning arguments, fights, and love at first sight.  When that’s done and I get to type the last line, my next task is to paint another cover for Unavoidable, the Oregon Trail series prequel.

After that, there’s a lot more down the road. The last book in the series, The Very Worst Man, three more American West novels, some paranormal romances, and some science fiction.  There’s be mysteries, romance, and all sorts of plot twists in these.  I’m so excited at the projects hovering on my horizon and hope my readers are, too!

Two thirds of Undesirable done and a #MondayBlogs post!

Cue the balloons!  Woo!

Yes, I’m exceedingly happy to call chapter 8 finished.  How finished is it?  So much that there’s not the tiniest bit of highlighted “put stuff here” notes to myself.

Remembering to do the Monday Blogs post on an actual Monday?  Bonus!

So anyway, let’s see what I can write that will add some sort of value to your day.  In the writing/reviewing world, there’s not a lot new to add that I haven’t already covered in prior writerly musings.  Passives still run rampant and stories being told to me instead of showing me.  There is something new in writing and I’ll have to link of to another’s website.  She deserves a thousand percent of the credit for her work.  Last month, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a writing craft class that was truly a class.  Taught by Robin Perini, her site is here and is worth all the time it takes to read and learn.  Her before and after examples really rocked.  I really can not say enough good things.

Next up is how lovely my covers are.  A few months ago, I’d consulted with a graphic artist who has experience designing book covers. Which means I handed over my business card with a cover on the back and cringed in fear, waiting for her to laugh at my feeble attempt at being professional.  She surprised me by saying all I needed was my name larger and to make certain I have the copyright to the image.  I’d not thought of copyright because I painted the image myself, so I was all, “Whaaa!?”  When at home and over the shock of the hint of not having rights to my art, I made the name bigger.  Covers like these are what happens when a person has had four years of art classes and is too picky for Shutterstock.

Should I do a cover reveal for Undesirable and Uncivilized?  They’re both painted, ready for publication, and even on my business cards so here goes.  Why are they not even along the top? I have no idea.


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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.

You Are Here!

Who doesn’t love a clear label? And who doesn’t love a map that says “You are here?” Especially when you’re lost and all.

This is a great picture showing where exactly I’m herding my pioneers in Undesirable. Between South Pass and Lombard Ferry, there’s a whole lot of nothing. Well, sagebrush and gravel, but no water. Even if they take one of the green routes to the Green River, there are two small rivers that might have water for the people and animals. Heavy on the might, because even in July, the spring thaw had just begun in the higher elevations. Snowfall was a real possibility in the high desert. Days there are hot and the nights freezing cold.

The average distance traveled per day for people so far had been anywhere from 15 to 20 miles a day. To get through this stretch of dry, people went as far as 30 to 45 miles in a day. By the time they reached South Pass, their shoes and clothes would be worn to nearly nothing.

There’s tons more information at Greater South Pass Historic Landscape alliance, the site where I found this picture. Click on the photo to go visit them and learn more about their work. For more information on my work, try one of the menu items above, particularly the Oregon Trail tab.