Tag Archive | Historical Romance

Busy, Busy, Busy

Have you ever found that when your calendar is full, you accomplish more? Not just because you have a lot to do, but because you have to squeeze a bunch of stuff into a small amount of time.

I find that when I have nothing on my list of to-do’s, I fritter time away and put things off that could be done right at the moment. It’s too easy to tell myself that I have plenty of time to accomplish something because my plate is empty.

But, I don’t like an empty plate. I prefer to have it overflowing with a multitude of things to do. Things that will move me one step closer to accomplishing my long-term goals.

I had someone say to me today, “I thought you could do things spur of the moment because you aren’t working right now.” No, I don’t have a regular job, but boy am I working right now! And I’m loving it!

I’ve been blessed with a husband who is encouraging me to pursue my dream of being a full-time writer. In a very short time I’ll have my first published novel available on Amazon, and I still have high hopes of catching the eye of an agent who will fall in love with my work and help me move my career forward. I see the benefits of both self-publishing and traditional publishing and am happy that the industry allows these great options for writers.

So, though I’m not working a traditional nine-to-five job right now, I am by no means ‘not working.’ And the closer I get to publication, the busier I am. Getting a book in print is just the beginning. I’m studying up on marketing, and learning all I can about how to get the word out. This is a process, just like any job. But I have to say that I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now. I’m ready to take the challenge and run with it!

I would love to hear from all of you other authors out there. Tell me about your journey.

And most importantly…

WRITE ON!!

Marked

River Romance, Book 1

Cora Craighead wants more than anything to leave Plum Point, Arkansas, aboard one of the fantastic steamboats that pass by her run-down home on the Mississippi River. She’s certain there’s more to life out there…somewhere. Besides, anything has to better than living with her pa who spends his days and nights drinking and gambling.

Douglas Denton grew up on one of the wealthiest estates in Memphis, Tennessee. Life filled with parties, expensive clothing, and proper English never suited him. He longs for simplicity and a woman with a pure heart—not one who craves his money. Cora is that and more, but she belongs to someone else.

Cora finally gets her wish, only to be taken down a road of strife, uncertainty, and mysterious prophecies. When she’s finally discovered again by Douglas, she’s a widow, fearing for her life and that of her newborn child and blind companion.

Full of emotions, family secrets, and the search for true love, you’ll find it’s not just the cards that are marked. 

"Marked" by Jeanne Hardt

What to Write

So you’re looking at a blank page, and you ask yourself, “what do I put on it?”

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my first book was inspired by a dream. It felt like something I had to write. To transfer all of my thoughts (and dreams) onto paper. And as I’ve moved forward, I find that I continue to enjoy writing historical romance, but I’ve also branched out into a few other categories. One book is medieval fantasy, and the newest one is contemporary with a paranormal twist. That one was really fun to write.

Granted, I enjoy writing, period. But what should I be writing?

At a recent retreat, our guest speaker gave a workshop on finding what inspires us and discovering what we’re suited to write. She had us compile a list of things we truly love, (detailed), and then also had us make lists of favorite movies, and books that we read when we were young. Once the list was compiled she was able to pinpoint our interests. Some of the writers in our group were very family oriented, and the things they loved centered around them. Those kind of writers are excellent candidates for writing small town stories that have strong family ties. Makes sense.

On the other hand, writers who liked quirky science fiction, or perhaps spent their youth pinning dead bugs to boards and framing them, or taking apart appliances and figuring out how they work, might be inclined to write sci-fi or steampunk.

For me, family is important, but when it came to my movie and book list I was definitely into fantasy and time travel. The importance of family and the time travel element is probably why I like writing historical.  When I started writing my medieval fantasy I thought I was going far away from my ‘norm.’  But since I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, and some of my other favorite reading when I was in high school was Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Legend books, then it made sense to me. I fell in love with Merlin through her writing. Honestly, that was probably the first ‘romance’ I ever read. Not typical romance by any means, but it had a lasting effect.

So, my suggestion to you if you’re having a hard time figuring out what to write, is– Make a list.

But most importantly, write. Write what moves you, but if you truly love the things you’re writing about, you’ll write a much better book.

WRITE ON!!

 

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I Just Have to Write!

For those who hate writing in any form, it’s hard to explain why I “have to” write. Sometimes I don’t understand it myself. It’s like an itch that must be scratched.

While brainstorming with a fellow writer last week, I asked her what I should do. Start a sequel to a book that I completed or write the story that has been haunting me and won’t leave my head?

She strongly suggested the head-haunting story. Since the sequel I’m considering is bare bones, and the other story has meat on it, what she told me made sense. She said that she learned a long time ago to jump on a story while it’s present in your mind and you’re passionate about it. Otherwise, it might trickle away and you’ll forget what it was that fired you up.

So, my sequel will wait and I intend to start the new manuscript today. It will be something very different from my other books. This one will be a contemporary love story written solely from my heroine’s point of view. And it will have a very unexpected twist. That’s all I’m saying. 🙂

For me, sitting down to write is like opening a gift at Christmas. I don’t know what’s inside, but I’m confident it will be something I like. And even though the wrapping paper is pretty, I don’t hesitate tearing into it. It’s not a drudgery. It’s an exciting gift!

I hope I never lose this passion. And I also hope that I can inspire other writers to follow their dreams and put their thoughts and feelings on paper–or laptop these days.

So, here I go…

WRITE ON!!

Never know what's inside the package...

Never know what’s inside the package…

 

My Writing Process — the Blog Tour

Being a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as my local chapter, Music City Romance Writers, brings unique opportunities my way. And today I am acting upon one of those opportunities!

Fellow member, Jody Wallace, is part of an ongoing blog tour that highlights each writer’s writing process. Please check out her blog at: http://meankittybox.blogspot.com. You will find her writing process blog on the March 10th posting. Jody is an author of paranormal, science fiction/fantasy, and contemporary romance, as well as a few other goodies as the mood strikes her. She is especially fond of cats and when she engaged me to participate in this tour and helped me tweak my blog page, she hinted that I may now see cats pop up in my posts unexpectedly. Hmm… Good thing I like cats!

So now it’s my turn to answer four simple questions about my writing process. I know that I have a number of other authors who follow my blog, so if you’d like to hop on board, send me a message.

Question 1: What am I working on?

I decided several months ago to take an enormous step into the world of self-publishing, and will be releasing “Marked” in late April. So, I am working on some deep revisions, and have already hired a cover artist and editor so that my book is the best it can be. Terrifying? Yes. Exciting? Most definitely! Please check out my “books” tab after you read this post and you can read my prologue.  🙂

Question 2: How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I initially thought I was writing ‘romance,’ and though my book is a love story it goes beyond the typical romantic elements needed to make it fall specifically into the romance genre. It has a happy ending, but the angst the characters go through makes it fall into the line of ‘women’s fiction.’ Also, I don’t know of anyone else right now who is writing a book that takes place on an 1850’s Mississippi River steamboat.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do?

I love history, research, and happy endings. I also love stories that have depth and plenty of emotion. I want my readers to feel something that will touch their hearts. And most of all, I love to step back in time and imagine what things could have been like. Books should take us on a journey, so that’s what I always try to accomplish with my writing.

Question 4: How does my writing process work?

Strange as it may seem…most of my ideas have come from dreams. Somehow ideas just pop into my head and I run with them. I always jot down my basic plot and know how the story will start and end, but the middle is always a mystery. My characters take on lives of their own and often lead me down new unexpected paths. That’s the fun part!

Next Monday, March 24th, another fellow writer will be posting her blog, so please check out her page.

Deanndra Hall is a working author living in far western Kentucky with her lovable partner of 32+ years and three weird little dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in the gym, kayaking at a local national recreation area, or lunching with friends. She writes erotic romance and erotica, which embarrasses her two grown kids to no end, and has two ongoing series and two independent novels to her credit, with another series in the works. You can see what she’s up to on her blog at http://www.deanndrahall.blogspot.com.

WRITE ON!!

A cat...for Jody. :)

A cat…for Jody. 🙂

What Inspires You?

From the time we’re old enough to realize that we have opinions, likes and dislikes, and a voice of our own, we find that we are motivated and inspired by different things.

When I was little, my parents inspired me. I knew that if I behaved, my days would have a positive outcome. On the other hand, if I was a brat, (which I’m told I frequently was), I was often sent to my room. I believe I used to get spankings, but don’t remember them. Though I do recall a time that Dad simply threatened one, and I immediately shaped up. For the most part–brat though I may have been–my childhood was wonderful. I have many happy memories and still retain a number of my childhood friends.

My mother encouraged my creativity, and my father tried to keep me grounded. “Every artist needs a real job.” I don’t know how many times I heard that. I believe there can be a happy balance between the two. I worked hard to get where I am today and am grateful that I can pursue my dreams.

So what inspires me now? Memories. Every experience, every sound, smell, and  taste. Every broken heart and first kiss. Every gentle touch, and every slap of the hand. Pain and pleasure both. They are all a part of me and me alone. And with every character I write, a part of me comes through. There are things I’ve experienced that I wish I never had but that make a story more intriguing. Had I not gone through them, I doubt I could have written them with such emotion.

Each day starts a new inspiration. Pay attention to it. See with fresh eyes every detail of the world surrounding you. Listen to the sounds you take for granted. Hear their depth. Feel with not only your fingers, but also with your heart. And savor every taste and smell–even the bad ones.  I thank God for this beautiful world we live in and for all my life’s experiences. I hope that my writing will pass it on to others.

WRITE ON!!

No...not a brat...

No…not a brat…

Good Health

I never thought I’d blog about ‘health’ but I want to put in my two cents on the subject.

First, I want to say right up front, that I’ve never really cared for exercise, and I have an incredible infatuation with sugar and bread. When I was younger I was blessed with a fantastic metabolism that allowed me to eat whatever I wanted and remain looking like a long stick. But when I reached my later years, all of that changed.

I’d been forewarned by many of my mother’s friends who would say, “Just wait ’til you’re older,” and I would laugh to myself thinking…’not me.’ Ah…how wrong I was! Now who’s laughing?

These days I have to think twice before indulging in my favorite chocolates or pastries. (Cream filled are the best!) But, I don’t deprive myself completely. As the saying goes, “everything in moderation.”

I have embraced my newly-found curves, but find that if I let my cravings get out of hand, I grow to an uncomfortable level. When I reach that point, I feel sluggish, and unproductive. Basically…unhealthy. I have little motivation, and want to sleep more than my usual 8 hours.

So now, I make a point to get on my elliptical for 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. I’m also lifting weights. I learned a routine from someone on TV, and since I don’t want to get up at 5:30 to exercise with her, I do it myself.

After I do my routine, I’m invigorated! It helps my writing, too. In fact, I’ve been keeping tabs on my writing time and word count. On the average I write 1,000 words/ hour. I spend my time on the elliptical plotting the next scene of my book. It makes the twenty minutes fly by!

This winter has been a bad one for illness, and as I posted before, I was sick for almost 5 weeks. I no longer desire to be as thin as a stick, but I want to be healthy. I want to live to a ripe old age so that I can see my grandchildren and even great-grandchildren grow up. I try my best to make healthy choices in selecting food, but still allow myself treats. And since my job requires me to sit and type, I make certain I get up and move, too!

So, here’s to health! If you have any helpful health secrets, please share them.

WRITE ON!!!

(And yes…that’s me in the red pantsuit. I loved it back then. Oh how times and fashion change!)

Those were the days...

Those were the days…

To Capitalize, or not to capitalize?

Rules, rules, and more rules…

Why can’t we just write and not worry about them?

Well, in today’s market, with so much competition, I highly suggest that you polish your manuscript to a shine before submitting it to an agent or publisher. So, that being said, it’s important to understand grammatical rules.

I will say right now, that I’m still learning them. This goes right along with everything else I keep learning. You think you know it all, them BAM!, you find out you’re still doing something wrong.

So, today, I’d like to talk about capitalization. I’ve mastered the “mom, dad, father, mother” rule. That one is pretty easy. Here are some examples: “I love my mom.” (not capitalized). On the other hand, “Hey, Mom, I love you!” (capitalized). The difference is that in the second sentence I’m using “Mom” as her name or identity. Here is another example. “Have you seen your dad lately?” (general, not capitalized). “Have you seen Dad lately?” (by removing ‘your’ and making the sentence more specific, the word now needs to be capitalized).

It gets a little more complicated when you start writing stories about kings and queens. I’ve recently discovered this and had to do some research. But again it goes back to the “in general” or “specific” rule. It’s easy when you put king or queen with a name following. Such as “I’m off to see King Richard.” If you simply write, “I’m off to see the king,” the capital letter goes away.

I’m certain that I’ll still make mistakes, and all I can say to that is: “Thank God for editors!” It’s their job to find all those little nit-picky things that your readers will be happy to point out when they review your book. You’ve probably read books with typos that jump out at you, and halt your reading. They happen, but you should always try to keep them to a minimum. And if you self-publish, this is more crucial than ever. Before sending your work for publication, hire a reputable editor. It will be worth the money, and save you from embarrassment.

So now, I’m off to write about Prince Sebastian!

WRITE ON!!!

And they lived happily ever after...

And they lived happily ever after…

Happy New Year!

December is a blur. Unfortunately, I spent a good part of the month in bed, sick. And it carried over into January. This has been a bad winter for flu bugs, and all kinds of “icky” illness. But, just in time for my birthday, I recovered and am more appreciative of good health than I’ve ever been!

The frustrating part of feeling poorly was that I was at home, with plenty of time on my hands, but I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. And, my imagination seemed to dry up, unlike my sinuses. I think I may have improved the Kleenex stock. So, if you have shares…”You’re welcome!”

And now, a year older and feeling spunky again, I’ve begun my newest writing venture. Still with a romantic theme, I’ve veered from Southern Historical and am writing a fairy tale entitled, “An Island in the Forest.”  It’s actually a book I first wrote about twenty-five years ago as a children’s story. I submitted it for publication and got some real nice feedback from a publishing house, but they passed on the book and I never pursued it further. And then, about ten years ago, I scripted the story as a musical production complete with twelve songs. The music is still being scored, (something I’m unable to do myself), and sooner or later I’ll get it up on stage somewhere. But now that I’ve started writing novels, the same story haunts me. I’ve dug in and am bringing the story to new heights. My characters are more complex, and I’m able to get further into their feelings and emotions. It’s becoming a real love story rather than a fluffy fairy tale. I would still give it a PG rating, but it’s definitely no longer a children’s book.

I’m excited for this new year and what lies ahead. I pray that this will be my year to achieve publication. It’s a long process, but one that I’m willing to keep plugging away at until it happens.

I hope that you have exciting plans for 2014. Reach for the stars, follow your dreams, and…

WRITE ON!!!

Feeling Great! Happy New Year!

Feeling Great! Happy New Year!

A Writer’s Acronym

Now that my most recent work in progress, “From the Ashes of Atlanta,” is complete, it seems that my mind is searching for new twists on creative thoughts.

Normally, while falling asleep at night, I think of my next scene, or perhaps my characters discover their dialog in the depths of my brain. Scary, huh?

Well, last night, my mind took a different direction. And yes, my husband thinks I’m slightly bonkers.

I’ve always loved acronyms, and some can be quite clever. So, here are my thoughts on what it means to WRITE:

What Readers Itch To Experience

Whatever Really Ignites The Editor

Watch Repetitive Ideas That Explode

Women’s Reactions Inadvertently Tell Everything

I had fun with this! If you come up with some of your own, please share them. And, thank goodness I’ve got them written down now. Maybe I’ll sleep tonight. 🙂

I’m still on that long, winding road to publication and the adventure couldn’t be more exciting. Well, that’s not exactly true. When I get my publishing deal, you will witness excitement like no other. I hope that you will continue to follow my blog and share your experiences with me.

Most importantly…

WRITE ON!

Civil War

 

Need a Tissue?

Yesterday was a two tissue day.

Some days I’ve gone through an entire box.

No, I don’t have a cold, or allergies, I’m an emotional writer. Is it good to cry over your own manuscript? And I’m not saying that I’m crying because it’s so bad that I want to burn it…I’m crying because I’m so caught up in the emotions of my characters that I’m feeling their pain.

So, I want to know, do any of you cry while you write?

How many of you remember the great scene from “Romancing the Stone” where Joan Wilder is hunting through her house for a tissue? She has just finished her manuscript, and is sobbing over the typewriter. I’ve always loved that movie, and now that I’m a writer, I appreciate it even more.

I’ve often been asked how it is that I can feel for fictitious characters. I think it’s because they become very real to me. They become a part of my days as I plan out their lives. It’s like molding clay into a new piece of art, or brushing color onto a canvas. We breathe life into our characters, so in many ways, they’re very real.

The good thing is that the more real they are to me, the more they’ll come to life on the page for my readers.

So, to all of you emotional readers and writers, keep a box of tissues handy, and go on and cry. It’s good for the soul.

WRITE ON!!

 

Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.

Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.