Tag Archives: Updates

Dmitri’s Heart is available!

It is always so satisfying to see a book of mine on an ebook vendor’s website. A lot of work goes into every story. From the germ of an idea to the cover, the writing, research, editing, and telling readers about the book, I keep busy. The new American West series with its shorter, faster, and more convenient escapes do mean less writing for each book. However, oh my gosh the pace. My plan is to release a book every two months in this series. Two months sounds like a lot of time to write a 100-150 page book, but it’s not.

What’s fun is even the overall American West has four subseries. Dmitri’s Heart is in the Coastal Treasures subseries. I have four more Coastal books planned and the next story is top secret. The book and its series is a terrific surprise I know readers will love. I promise to blog about whatever I can as soon as I’m allowed to do so.

But, back to the book. I grew up in the middle of the United States where there’s very little water. Most of the lakes in my home state are man-made. Even so, I did happen to take a boating safety class while training for my Water Safety Instructor’s certification. And….that’s it. So writing about a ship’s captain who sails from Russia to the continental US and beyond meant a lot of research. So many different types of ships, so much cargo, so many ports of call. Whew! I also feel like Dmitri’s crew, Gleb, Theodor, and Serge, and Grigory are new friends. They didn’t get as much center stage as Dmitri, of course, because heroes need the spotlight. Still, I’d love to see what other adventures might be out there for them.

For now, you’ll have to read Dmitri’s Heart for yourself. Anyone who’s read Unexpected, an Oregon Trail Series short story will recognize the first three chapters. I’d always wanted to follow Anne and Dmitri’s love story. Finally, several years later, I get to do so! Poor Sam. If we didn’t know he’d meet Marie in Undesirable, we could be heartbroken for him losing Anne.

Back to the words since I have the secret project to write this month. Comment below if you’ve read anything from the Oregon Trail or American West series and what you think of them. Also, click the links to go to the books themselves or their series pages.

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.

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.)

Now is NOT a Good Time. #MondayBlogs

Laura Stapleton's BlogSo when IS a good time for love and romance? Like everything else in the world, the answer depends on what you need and what stage of your life you’re in.

For example, and he’s going to LOVE this, my husband made up his mind on how exactly he was going to fall in love, with what type of woman, and approximately where he’d meet her. And? He did. The guy had a template in his mind and while he might have dated around, he didn’t deviate from his internal list.

Side note: If you’re in for a quick lesson on how to create your own perfect partner template, check this out. I plan on having a longer post later on how perfect is a moving target when it comes to people so click the follow button wherever it is at the moment.

Me? I’d been building my internal list all of my life by dating men who were almost but not quite right. One had the master’s degree and physical appearance but not the sexual preference. Another had the solid family background but not the appearance or ambition I wanted. Still others didn’t have the financial knowledge, something I lacked and wanted my life partner to have, but did have mechanical knowledge.

Another side notes: Turns out, my perfect partner doesn’t have mechanical knowledge after all, but knows how to hire people who do. Thus, a good example of how perfection is a sliding scale at times.

And that’s the bottom line. My perfect is not only NOT your perfect, sometimes, I have no perfect and that’s okay. No one is 100% every minute. The secret is to find the person who compliments you without needing to complete you.

I know this is another short and sweet, but in author news, I’m researching the Pony Express like a fiend, planning for the Vancouver Author Event and week researching the Pacific coast’s history, and marketing our latest release with my anthology partners. In personal news, I’m helping a friend by being a quilting guinea pig, studying for my ice skating test (yes, it’s a thing), and resuming the five to six miles a day trail walking.

Whew! I need a nap. 😉 Comment below with what you have going on this spring. It’s my favorite time of the year and I love how everyone celebrates the new season.

#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. 🙂

Where’s The Love? An #amwriting post.

Okay, so I didn’t come up with anything romantic for yesterday because there was a little too much romance in my own life. Lunch date with my husband, grocery shopping together, a nap because it felt like -10F outside and 10F is my limit on coldness when it comes to walking in the park.

So, what now? Writing! The MLK holiday is over, and the house is quiet. I’m smashing everything I should have done yesterday into today’s schedule. Laundry, dishes, writing 6,000 words, which seems a little much. Fair warning, I might not get to my word count goal.

What am I working on? A historical romance set in Liberty, Missouri during the 1870’s. Alice, a lovely young woman from New York City, is bringing three young children to their new parents, Jack and Ellie Dryden. Only, they arrive at the Liberty depot to learn Ellie has gone back home to Boston. Does the adoption go through, or does Alice turn them over based on Jack’s promise to be a good single parent? ::cue dramatic music::

I love this story. My only problem with it is there’s not enough about the orphan situation overall. The romance needs to be front and center, and there’s nothing romantic about children selling newspapers by day and sleeping in the streets at night. In an era where birth control wasn’t as easy to find as it is today, the amount of abused, neglected, or abandoned children was incredible.  There’s no definitive number, but it’s estimated that 250,000 children and babies were sent west to new homes.

In this book, like all the other historicals I write, I’m researching to the nth degree. I have plans to photograph the depot where the kids arrive, to not use the word “kids” no matter how tempting it is, and to research 1880 farms near Jack’s fictional place.

There are three more books planned for this Pioneer Romance series. Next up is the Pony Express based story, the Santa Fe Trail story, and the Northwest Shipping story. They’re all plotted. I just need to park my butt and write them.

African lion

This guy? He’s a hint for an anthology story I’m also writing at the moment.

Meanwhile, if there’s a romantic topic you want to be researched between now and Sunday, comment below! I personally LOVE researching stuff, especially romance.