Gish-eve

Tomorrow is Gishwhes. What is Gishwhes? Go to http://www.gishwhes.com for more information, but briefly put, Gishwhes is a big crazy scavenger hunt. It’s an international shindig, and our team spans from Argentina to Alaska, with stops in Virginia, Deleware, and New York. 

Last year, items ranged from the silly (take video of yourself getting people to sign a petition to save the endangered unicorns), to the artistic (create a dress out of construction paper), to the kind (sell hugs, donate the money), to the impossible  (get gishwhes in space). 

My team of 15 is called GishteenCandles and we will be meeting tomorrow to strategize and plan, and then carry out our tasks. It will be a long, exhausting, grueling week of madness and mayhem. 

Gishwhes is great fun and I look forward to it every year. I can’t wait to share with you guys the craziness. I can’t share tasks until after the hunt, but soon you’ll see. 

How I Pants-Draft my Stories

I can’t remember if I’ve discussed pantsing vs. plotting here, but I’m gong to touch on it today. I wanted to discuss a little about how I draft stories because I’m working on a first draft right now and drafting has been on my mind. 

The first thing I do is look for inspiration and ideas. Sometimes that’s in the form of writing prompts I find online. Sometimes I have a character in mind first. Sometimes, it’s a song or lyric that just begs to be tuned into a story. I’ve admitted here before that coming up with ideas is not my strong suit. I can do a lot with a prompt, but I don’t often get struck by an origin without some sort of help. I find ideas much easier to come by when I’m working on flash fiction, but when I’m working on a bigger piece, I often take inspiration where I can get it. 

Once I have the idea in mind, I decide how old my characters are and search for character names. The social security name registry is extremely helpful for this. I tend to latch on to a name and accidentally reuse it, so to ensure that in using a new name, I’ve started keeping a running list of names that have been used up. Sometime during this process, character appearance comes to me. It’s also no secret that I love hipsters, so you’ll likely find one or reference to them in a story  (easter eggs!). Physical description and personality fall in line here. They all sort of happen at once. 

Once that happens, I have two choices. I can write on paper or type. If I type, I have to come up with a file name for Scrivener, my writing software. I usually go this route becaude my ideas flow much easier on a keyboard. I can type faster than I can write. Besides, this makes revisions easier. The story I’m working on now is being handwritten, for no reason other than portability. I can’t take my laptop everywhere, but a small notebook is portable and discreet. I can write on my lunch break. 

From there, all I have to do is write. I typically pants a story – fly by the seat of my pants. I know the ending, and I have some general idea of what’s going to happen, but I don’t often plot out my story. I find that the ideas flow much better this way. Another day, I’ll discuss my plotting method, when I do plot. 

Once the draft is written, I usually let it simmer for a while – a few days, maybe even a few weeks. A second draft comes by editing my own work. I make several passes, and I stop counting drafts at that point. I’ve lost my beta reader (Pet was my faithful beta, but since we’ve broken up, he doesn’t read for me anymore, understandably), so I don’t often send my work to anyone to read before I email it to my editor at MLR. Once it’s in her hands, it’s in her hands to decide what happens to it. And the rest is history, as it were. Several more rounds of editing follow, of course, but editing is a topic for another day. 

Come Sail Away release day!

You can find it on the MLR site here: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=RLCSAILA

And the blurb: After a bad breakup, Ryan heads to St. Thomas to clear his mind and forget about his ex. He originally plans to spend his days relaxing in the sun and working on his book, but a chance meeting changes all that. While on the island, Ryan meets sexy boat captain Eric, who takes his thoughts off of things. Eric and Ryan spend a passionate week together, getting to know each other. When it’s time to depart, Ryan is devastated to leave Eric behind, but they make promises to write and call. When that tapers off, Ryan’s sure he’s lost Eric forever, but Eric has other plans.

I hope you enjoy!

“You write beautiful dialogue”

A dear friend said this to me once and I’ll never forget it. She’s read Falling Apart, in early drafts anyway, and much of the dialogue remains intact from the very earliest of times. I was fretting about my writing ability and my weaknesses, when she laid this line on me. Now, I know friends often tell ego-boosting white lies, but this woman (one of the Awesomely Awesome) does not. And furthermore, she asked me to write a stage play with her, because she believes in my dialogue abilities. Coming from her, that’s an incredible compliment. And considering how much I struggle with and agonize over every word, every syllable of dialogue, I don’t think I’ll ever forget this high praise coming from one of my most trusted friends on an area I’m insecure about. It’s given me great confidence in writing, as a matter of fact. I still shy away from some of my dialogue – it comes out so naturally and then I worry and fret that my readers will have issue with this word or that phrase, and I dial it back. Suffice it to say thay my characters want to drop the f-bomb more often, and at least one guy has lovingly called his partner a slut (in the sex positive, pro slut way, of course). Those don’t make the final cuts, not because my editor makes me change them (she never has), but because I chicken out when push comes to shove. I’m getting off track. My point is, though I love to write it, I often worry about my dialogue, and my greatest writer compliment ever was affirming my love for writing good dialogue. 

Briefly, I want to mention that the other third of the Awesomely Awesome is in the hospital. She’s probably going to be just fine, but there are some issues with her heart and the doctors are just a little baffled right now. Please keep her in your thoughts. 

And lastly, don’t forget that Come Sail Away hits stores tomorrow! It is typically up on MLR Books on release day, and them hits virtual shelves elsewhere within the next week. I’d love to hear what you think! 

Thankful

I have been reflecting on things I’m thankful for lately, and here are some of them, in no particular order:

1. Husband. He’s my rock, as it were. He’s always there for me, patient to a fault, and gives me the leeway I need to discover who I am. Whether that person is someone who quits her day job with no prospects, someone who writes erotica, or someone who comes home with a blue mohawk (true!), he respects and supports me. I’m grateful to call him mine. 

2. You. Dear readers, you’re sticking with me through feast and famine, through drought and downpour, and for that, I’m grateful. Writing isn’t easy, and for my slightly-more-than-slightly ill mind, writing comes and goes. I’m grateful to have a readership at all, under these circumstances, and I see the statistics – you’re here even when I’m not. Thank you. 

3. Little Man. Kids are a strange breed, friends. My baby factory is closed for good, so there shall be no more babies, but children are just wild. They’re a rollercoaster ride. Little Man is also patient with me, takes my bad days in stride (which he shouldn’t have to do, but he does), and loves me as unconditionally as I love him. I can hardly wait to see what kind of adult he becomes. I just hope he’s as cool as Christopher Rice.

4. My job. This is probably an odd one, considering I’m not out at my job (as bisexual or in a semi open marriage or as a writer), but I do love my day job. It pays the bills, I’m happy and valued, and I feel I do important work. It’s a remarkable change from my previous job (which is tragicomic if you know what I did at my previous job).

5. Writing. I’m so so thankful for a brain that works (intermittently) the way mine does. Would I prefer to write the next Great American Novel? Maybe. If that novel could be about gay men loving each other. But that will never be so, and I’m fine with that. I love what I write, I love making people happy, and I love the boys in my stories. 

6. My ancient dog. She really is very old (past her life expectancy by 1-3 years), but still kicking. 

7. The Awesomely Awesome. I dedicated a book to them. These women are my best friends, and love me unconditionally. They get to see the ugliest parts of me, and don’t mind at all. 

8. My WriMo group. These friends I made during NaNoWriMo meetups for my area, and I adore them. They worked with me to find a publisher, and push me to be the best writer I can be.

9. Eye. Her nickname is slightly odd, but no matter. She read Nurse’s Orders and asked for more. She practically forced me to submit Falling Apart to MLR, and did a happy dance for me when they asked for revisions, rather than rejecting outright. She convinced me that writing IS something I’m good at, and she pushes me to keep writing, even when I’m down.

10. Technology. It’s a cheap shot, but without technology, I’d be nowhere. 

Thank you for reading. Goodnight. 

Coming Friday

Boy, time gets by you really quickly, doesn’t it? I thoughy I’d maybe missed a few weeks since I last posted, but WordPress tells me it’s been 2 months. Good lord, I’m sorry. And this after I vow to be a regular blogger again.

Well, I’m happy to tell you I’ve got a few blogs in the works. So there will be new content soon. 

That said, Come Sail Away, which I mentioned last time I posted, will be launching on Friday, July 22nd. I hope you take a moment and check it out. I especially hope you patronize AllRomance.com because they keep a bestseller list, which Nurse’s Orders made it on to. I’m not saying I expect the same from Come Sail Away, by any means. But it would be nice, if you’re choosing to purchase, if you bought from ARe. It gives CSA a fighting chance, at least. Regardless, I’m grateful for your readership, and I feel lucky to have you. 

Goodnight.

It’s been a while

I want to apologize for my long absence. I’ve always known I’m not so great at keeping up with a blog but I did a good job of it for a while. Then I switched jobs, participated in NaNoWriMo, and fell off the map. And I’m sorry.

In the meantime, I also took a creative writing class. It was just okay but I did get a story out of it, which MLR Books was happy to contract. This book, Come Sail Away, follows a man on his vacation to St. Thomas, where he meets someone who steals his heart. Unfortunately, the week ends and they’re separated. What will they do? Well, you’ll have to read to find out. I expect it out in July. I’m attaching the cover photo as a thank you for sticking with me.

image

I’m currently working on another story, about a couple of guys in a garage band and their exploration of their conflicting feelings for each other. I’m not sure if it’ll go anywhere but I’m hopeful.

I hope you’re having a good Memorial Day if you’re here in the states. I realize that’s akin to saying “have a good funeral” but I’m not sure what else to say, so I’ll leave it at that. If you’ve lost a servicemember, thank you for their (and your) sacrifice, and my thoughts are with you on this day.

Thank you, readers,  for your patience and understanding. I can’t promise I’ll never miss another post, but I will certainly try to blog with some regularity again.