Category Archives: Writerly Musings

Pew, Mind Blown, a #MondayBlogs

What happened to me blogging every Monday? Where’s the love? Where’s the romance?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Deadlines. Deadlines are what happened. It’s tough to publish a book every two months even if those books are more novella than a novel. What hasn’t been a book signing, a family reunion of some sort, or a ball game (I brake for the Toronto Blue Jays,) has been me with my butt in the chair and writing. It’s rather grueling to write historical romance and goes something like this:

Patrick gave his horse to the stable hand at Fort Leaven…..wait. What did they do with horses at Leavenworth in 1866? Google, horses at fort leavenworth1866. Nothing. Okay, assume there are stables… Fort Leavenworth. Grabbing his saddlebags…no, would he have saddlebags? Google, army officer saddlebags? Crap. Army officer saddlebags 1866. Eh, no. Again, we punt and assume there are saddlebags. Where was I? Oh, right, Grabbing his saddlebags, he went to the…..crap. They’re not BLQ (bachelor living quarters) or were they? Google, history of army blq. Okay, not an answer.

See? Okay, so this is the hard way. The easy way would be to read all the research first, then write. Maybe. I’ve been to Fort Leavenworth, Fort Larned, and Fort Dodge many times but there’s only so much that’s been carried forward from history. The land has been cultivated and modified into something the early trail riders wouldn’t recognize.

So yeah, when you add the historical accuracy to the spelling and grammar, writing well and engaging the reader, making an ongoing hook to keep the story flowing and interesting, and managing interruptions of all kinds that pull you out of the world you’re writing? It takes time.

I do have two other topics in this makeup post. Romance: My husband has been a darling this past week. We were out getting out the votes for the midterms when I tripped on a dodgy sidewalk. I’m an expert at stumbling and catching myself but when the second foot comes forward to hit the same thing my first foot caught? Boom. I literally landed on my face. My husband ran and brought our vehicle to me, brought every bandage from the drugstore along with ointments, aspirins, and wine when needed. I’m fine, and the injury looks far worse than it hurts. I suppose if I had to be housebound with a black eye, a deadline week was the best time to happen.

Second topic? A writing tip. Okay, when I hit submit to Santa Fe Woman on Friday, I was free at last. Free to play computer games, go shopping (my eye and face looked a lot better by then), and even better? Read! I had a new story in a genre I LOVE but don’t write in to read. Yay!

I already have an author who I worship in that particular genre and made grabby hands for the new author in the same genre. They are worship author equals author A, and new author equals author B. Okay, B was good. I read her first book in the series and loved the world, the couple, thought the sex happened a little too soon after traumatic events, but I’ve been married 24 almost 25 years. My perspective is different. Author A tends to wait longer for her naughty stuff even if the attraction is instant between the couple.

Still, I did love author B and will, of course, read more. But it got me thinking about something. Why will I read the grocery list of A as soon as she writes or types it and I don’t mind waiting when B does the same? Why the hero worship of one and not the other when most things about their work are the same with the same elements?

I was laying in bed thinking about this before going to sleep when it hit me. Emotional events and the point of view. Boom. I’m going to make up the events, so they’re fiction, but here goes. Let’s say, and I’m going to use situations NOT in these authors’ genres, that a train’s boiler explodes when our hero is nearby and hurt. The heroine comes up on the scene and begins to help him with his near-fatal wounds.

Author A would have the hero’s point of view during the explosion. We would feel his fear, surprise, and pain during the event. Then, when the heroine arrives, we’d switch to her point of view to feel her fear, surprise, and empathy for the hero’s injuries. All the feels.

Author B happened to do the opposite, and I bet I’ve done this in my books, too. She wrote the explosion in the heroine’s point of view when she arrived. Then, in a bit of a tell, not show, we got the hero’s point of view during the heroine is caring for him scene. So we missed out on the initial shock from him of the explosion, and we missed the fear for the hero’s life from the heroine. We do feel, but superficially.

I’ve always known point of view matters. The same story told by different characters ends up being vastly different. I use this in the last half of Undesirable and the first third of Uncivilized. Undesirable is through Sam and Marie’s point of view. Uncivilized is the exact same events, conversations, everything, but through Del and Ellen’s eyes. Words in the conversations are identical, but the feelings surrounding them are vastly different. Making sure the dialogue perfectly matched was tough but I had a blast with writing those books because of the point of view shift.

So there you have it! Part of what I did on my summer vacation! By the time you’re reading this, I’m getting ready to or on my way to Florida for a conference. I plan on learning more and meeting people I’m in awe of while there. The husband and I are crossing off Cape Canaveral from our bucket list. Should be fun!

Comment below with any concern, questions, or even random thoughts.

My newest book!

It’s always fun to press “Publish” on a finished manuscript. There’s so much coordination after typing The End. I’ll get a germ of an idea, research the heck out of it, consider how I might link the concept to my currently published books. I’ll plot, write, edit twice, send to the editor, fix per the editor’s instructions, re-edit, format for ebook and print, and give the book a final read through.

Is that all I do? Ha! No. There’s more. I’ll upload to Amazon and CreateSpace, and have my digital guy/husband upload everywhere else. Plus, while I have waiting time for editors or if I can’t write for some reason or another, there’s plenty else to keep me busy. I’ll search out stock art for my cover artist and personal/virtual assistant to create covers and advertising. You’ve seen both artists’ work but here’s some of the latest.

36367197_10155639511697338_7084545853217570816_n

This will be good for July 1, 2019, when book #5 is freshly published. I’m still working on Surplus, so…. yeah.

Undesirable

It’s on sale for .99 everywhere ebooks are sold!

I’ll also write the back cover blurb, write blog posts like this one, and yes, it’s a little late since the book came out today. My newsletter is also delayed, going out this week instead of today. I also look at my social media to see if anyone needs a question answered, or if I can learn something new. I love my readers, and I hope they know it because while I write for me, I publish for them.

I’m in the middle of writing book two in the American West series. Because I’m not familiar with the terrain between Sacramento, CA and Fort Bridger, WY, I’m taking more time than usual on researching. I don’t know that I have a favorite part in writing and publishing, but if I did, it’d be the research. I love learning new things and following informational rabbit holes. That’s probably why writing history is one of my favorite things to do.

Considering how many more books I have planned, I’m not sad that one book is done because the next is already started. In fact, I not only have nearly a chapter done of book two in my American West series, but I also have it and the next two books’ covers ready to go. It is so tough to not share them, either. I’m the gal who needs to shop last minute for presents because I can’t keep my own secrets. I can keep your secrets to my grave, but never my own.

I hope you all had a great time learning more about my publishing process. Comments, questions? Tell me about it!

This started on a Monday… #MondayBlogs Interrupted

If you’ve been following along on my Monday Blogs, you’ve seen the helps and hints on romance and living a more love-filled life.

I have serious plans for future posts about love and romance…not advice per se, but certainly information and actionable items.

This week, however, I haven’t had a chance to plan my blog plan. In fact, you could say I didn’t plan to plan the plan very well. Ha ha!

It doesn’t take much to amuse me, obvs.

So this week, the blog post is going to be quick and not so much dirty. What am I doing that I couldn’t focus on the blog? Traveling! I’m going to the Vancouver Author Event on May 26th. We’re spending extra time on the Northwest coast for me to research at least one book coming out soon and two new series I have set for 2019.

I have a loose schedule and it’s fixed in place only by the hotels we’ve booked. I’ll get to see where Aaron was pushed down the cliff by his brother in my book Betrayal. Even better, I’ll be able to meet some of my favorite readers and Facebook friends. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the photos in real time. I’ll write blog posts and create videos for my Youtube channel, too.

Laura Stapleton's Newsletter

This should probably link to my newsletter signups, but it’s nearly 2am.

I had a major interruption this evening, so this post needs to be short because sleep, shower, you know the drill. Follow me on any or all of my social media to see my trip events. (It’s late, and my brain is done.)

Who Do You Want To Be? A #MondayBlogs Post.

I’d spent the weekend hibernating which means I’m playing catch up today.

I had this lovely blog post typed up with so many words to say in relationships, don’t look to others to fix you. Don’t look to others to complete you. Don’t look to others to improve you.

Or to put everything in a positive light:

Fix your broken parts first. Take care of your heart, mind, body instead of putting the responsibility on someone else. Unless…they happen to have letters after their name like MD, Ph.D and you’re not dating them. In that case, let them fix you because it’s their job.

Be an entire person for yourself. “You complete me,” is a lovely quote but in real life? No one should be another person’s missing half. Stronger Together is always better than Need Each Other To Survive. Another unless…unless you’re in a frozen wasteland like my backyard in the above photo and have only the two of you to rely on for survival. Then yes. No rules.

Self-improvement is best done by yourself. Not someone else’s self. My final unless? Unless you’re paying fees to a trainer, nutritionist, life coach, or doing another sort of expertise swap, your significant other isn’t your guru. In a perfect world, each person is improving and sharing the improvement instead of dragging each other along.

Bottom line? We aren’t puzzle pieces but whole human beings. Situations and people knock chunks out of our well-being and it’s up to each one of us to Spackle our own wounds. When you’re looking for a new relationship or trying to keep a marriage strong, go in as a complete person.

 

Thoughts or questions? Comment below!

#MondayBlogs and Leaving My Comfort Zone

This is going to be one of those short and sweet posts because I have words to write. Lots and lots of them.

pexels-photo-235922.jpegWhich leads me chatting about comfort zones and why they need to be crashed through sometimes. I’d read in Canadian Runner about how embracing the discomfort makes a better runner. Speed goes up, the mental outlook improves, and crossing finish lines are easier when someone accepts and ignores the desire to stop.

Tamed by Laura StapletonWhen I sit down to write on my latest story in progress, the article came to mind because Tamed, a paranormal shifter romance, is way way outside of my comfort zone. Not that writing had become easy. I don’t know if telling stories and fretting about my Shatneresc use of commas ever will be. What I’m sure about is researching a new genre to make sure readers’ expectations are met is not my usual work.

The best part about this project is interacting with the other authors in the anthology. I’m an extrovert (ENTP if you’re curious) and love people most of the time. Another enjoyable aspect is “having” to read paranormal romances by the other authors. My job is the best.

So now, while I’m here trying to figure out where the guy’s clothes go when he changes from man to lion and back again, I have a challenge for you. What is a comfort zone for you and how can you break out of the rut? Or add to the activity and make it tougher than usual? Comment below and tell me about your comfort zone.

FAQs

I know this is supposed to be a MondayBlogs post, but honestly? It’s after 8pm here, and I’d rather have a great post out that’s necessary instead of something thrown together. Besides, my husband/business partner has been on me to write these up so why not?

pexels-photo-221164.jpegFavorite author, book, writing place? There are so many authors I read, 99% of them indie, and they’re all wonderful. Likewise with books. How can anyone choose just one? My favorite writing place is a lot easier. My sofa. I’ve tried writing on the beach, too stressful due to the sand. In a coffee shop or Panera’s, bathroom visits mean packing up everything every time. So, sofa it is! 😀

Writing music, location, drink? Music is fun. I have specific music for writing, running, and sleeping. The writing music needs to be in a language I don’t know, and Bollywood worked for a while. Then, I looked up the word “dil,” and my learning Hindi began. Now I have to listen to Korean pop and happily, I can’t seem to learn Korean at all. It just won’t stay. Location is my sofa, and drink? Coffee in the am until tea in the pm, and more tea or maybe wine in the evening.

Best place for ideas? Shower, walking trails, and road trips. Really anywhere I’m in a distracted but busy headspace.

What does my office look like? Like a huge mess because I’m storing and not officing in there.

What’s my daily schedule? I wake up at 6am, meditate, exercise, drink lemon water, shower, and begin writing at 7am. I keep going until 2pm and start marketing until 6pm. That’s when my husband is home, and it’s quality family time until 11pm when he goes to bed, and I clean house until 3am. I catch a few hours of sleep and am up at 6am again. My goal is to wake up every morning before I go to bed.

No, really. What’s my daily schedule? Okay, you’re on to me. I’ll wake up around 8am, closer to 9. Coffee and PC games until I wake up. Glass of lemon water and playing on the Wii Fit games, shower, and settle in to work by 10:30am. Write to the daily word count goal, lunch, more writing, and then clean house until 6pm’s husband time. We go to bed at 11pm. I’ll turn on my background noise on my iPod. If something happens and my writing is taken over by appointments or my husband’s day off, I’ll push the writing time to the evening or weekend.

What hobbies do I have? Oh gosh, I haven’t factored in hobby time, but when I’m in an enforced waiting time like on road trips, I’ll knit or read. I’d like to sew more and scrapbook, but there’s too much to do around here for me to indulge.

How long have I been writing? For forever. I should be better than I am, considering I started writing for publication in 1991. There was a long hiatus between 1995 and 2013 while working and raising our kid.

When did I know I wanted to be a writer? When I started writing my first daydreamed story and people liked it back in 1990.

How many books have I written and why is this so tough to answer? Thirteen to fourteen and it’s tough because I’m always writing something and not everything is a book. I’ve published eight short stories, eleven books, and have just finished writing a rough draft. I’ve started another short story and am plotting another book, so there’s never downtime for long.

Have I written anything you’ve ever heard of? Probably not. I’m indie published which is DIY. I don’t have a way to get my paperbacks on those supermarket racks, so I have to hustle to get the news out about what I do. It’s fun and perfect for control freaks like me.

What is my favorite food? Yes. I love everything, but my comfort food is Indian. I grew up and love meat and potatoes, still, but Indian is a special occasion food. I like just about everything else.

Who would I want to co-write with? Good question and one of those I can’t answer. I really do have so many awesome writer friends that my answer would be yes. I’d love to write with all of them.

Do you have any other questions I’ve not answered? Ask in the comment section below and be sure to follow this blog to see the answer. 🙂

A #MondayBlogs About Smug Marrieds.

Single people and the theory of relativity. How are they related?

Very simple. There’s a reason the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side,” exists. Earlier in the week, I’d read something about married people being condescending toward singles. As if being married is the ultimate goal in life and you’re not a real person unless hitched to someone else. Add in the recent political remarks about some countries being much better than others, or some people weighing less or more than others, and the Theory of Relativity covers everything. No matter where you are, how low or how high, someone either wants to be where you are or would do anything to keep from being in the same place.

In my point of view, I think there’s a lot of jealous people out there trying to upsell being chained to one person. Seriously. No marriage is 100% wine and roses, and if someone says theirs is? They’re lying, delusional, giving in to their spouse, or all of the above. Married people see a single person and remember back when everything in life wasn’t a committee decision. They could eat what they wanted or not at all. Sleep the hours they prefer or not, and not be hassled about it. When you start counting everything else needing a “discussion” with a partner? You know what I mean.

man putting wedding ring on woman hand

With this ring, I chain thee to me forever. Get me a beer.

Meanwhile, singles are looking at marrieds, envying the whole partner setup. As a married, it IS nice having a best friend and business partner. There is a shared income, shared responsibilities, and a “In case of emergency” contact. I could add in the terrific sex part, but my husband would become flustered and turn nine shades of red. Let me leave it at he’s adorable and admirable.

Like everything in life, both sides have their pros and cons. I think the main thing anyone should do is embrace where they are right now. Things always can and do change, often when you don’t want them to.

Side note: All this assumes you are satisfied with your current situation. If there’s abuse, depression, or serious issues, get help and don’t delay. Life is short, and there’s no reason to tolerate the intolerable.

Next Monday: Answering Frequently Asked Questions.