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I Need A Bad Guy

Whoa, can the title of this post be totally misconstrued! I see eyebrows of readers arching all around the world.

I don’t mean that I need a bad guy in real life. I’m particularly partial to the good guy that I’m married to.

I mean, I need a bad guy in my novels. As in, an actual person that has a point of view, or voice. I’ve had such bad guys (or, in one case, a woman) in most of my novels. However, when I began writing the “Pine Mountain Estates” series, I was toying with the idea of writing books along the lines of Jan Karon or Ginny Ytrupp’s first few novels. Basically, straight women’s fiction. Stories of nice people whose “bad guys” are metaphorical, consisting mainly of the struggles they encounter.

The first book in my “Pine Mountain Estates” series has a bad guy, but he’s in the background. I don’t want to say anymore, lest I give out spoilers.

It wasn’t the most fun book I’ve ever written.

Similarly, the first book in my “Rock Star Husbands” series (which is currently unpublished because I’m going to totally rewrite it) sort of has a “bad guy”, but not the kind that’s truly threatening.

The book became a struggle to write halfway through, and ended up being kind of boring.

On the other hand, the second book (also unpublished at the moment) does have an active bad guy. It was easier for me to write through the middle, and is a lot more fun to read.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to read well-written (and clean) straight women’s fiction. And if you’ve never read any of Jan Karon’s or Ginny Ytrupp’s books, I suggest you give those authors a try.

I even enjoy upmarket fiction, which is more realistic than genre fiction (thrillers, romance, mysteries, etc.) and thus doesn’t tend to have an active bad guy.

But what I figured out about halfway through my latest novel, the third book in the “Pine Mountain Estates” series, is that if I’m going to have fun writing a story, I need a bad guy. An actual person, who is messing with the protagonists.

And I don’t want to write a book that’s not fun for me to write.

Live and learn. Or, in my case, write and learn.

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“Pine Mountain Dreams,” FINISHED!!

I’m so excited! I finished the third book in my “Pine Mountain Estates” series, Pine Mountain Dreams!

YIPPEE!

Now comes the fun part: revising and proofreading. I’m actually going to start that process on the second novel in the series after I take a break for a couple of days. While I do that, I’m going to create a rough outline of the fourth (and final, unless readers beg for more) book in the series.

I always set aside a newly-completed novel for three weeks before I go back and do the first revision. That way, I can look at it much more objectively and make a lot better decisions about whether any big changes need to be made.

But for now, I’m going to relax for a few days. Play with Amazon Advertising and see if I can sell my vegetable gardening book that way (because it’s the right time of year).

And I need to finish the cover for the first novel in the Pine Mountain series. It’s been a struggle, because it’s also the right time of year for our wireless Internet to go all glitchy.

It doesn’t like spring as much as we do.

I’m having a hot flash now, so excuse me while I go cool off.

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In The Flow

Today, I wrote not quite my typical 2400-word goal. But it doesn’t matter.

After three days of writing the “next scene” wrong, I got it right today! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I figured out that an idea on where to take the book – which deviated from my outline – was the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, finally, I went with it. And the words just flowed.

Today was an easy writing day.

And the rest of the novel, three or four more chapters, should flow as easily.

Because I’m nearing the end, and I know exactly how to get there.

Hallelujah!


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It’s Been A Week.

It’s been a week. A week of frustration. A week of decisions. A week of perimenopause.

In other words, a typical week for me these past few years.

Seriously, I haven’t blogged for the past couple of weeks because I’ve been trying to sort out what to do with my blogs now that I’ve made the decision to be a career novelist. Especially since I’ve been frustrated with the novel that I’m writing.

SO…let’s start with the decisions first.

Decisions made this past week

#1. I’m laying down my blog at liveyourdreamswithemily.com. If I try to keep it updated and write novels, I’m going to go insane.

#2. This blog is going to become…wait for it, wait for it…a blog. My author blog. In other words, I’m usually not going share family stories. Not because I don’t want to, but because I simply don’t have time if I’m going to work on novels.

I need to prioritize.

If not every day, then several days a week I’m going to try to publish a short post summarizing my day as a writer.

#3. I’m going to write 2400 words a day on my novel. Provided I don’t have a frustrating day or three – like the ones you will hear about shortly. This is not the most I’ve ever written every day, but it will be the most I’ve written daily in four or five years.

#4: I’m going to write mostly short-ish novels, between fifty and sixty thousand words. Much longer, and I start to hate them. Like the one I’m working on now.

#5. I’m going to start writing more feel-good, lighter, humorous stories. Because I’m perimenopausal and I need all the levity I can get.

Frustrations

#1. This blog wouldn’t work for two days.

#2. My novel wouldn’t work for three or four days. I got to a certain point, and wrote three different scenes to continue after that point.

Ended up chucking them all.

Know why? Because I was trying to stick to my outline, while my muse (okay, we’re mostly Christians here, so I’ll say, the Holy Spirit) was leading me to go in a different direction.

I know where to go from here, so I’m finally looking forward to writing the rest of it, for the first time in days.

#3. I did a particular promo with My Book Cave that requires me to keep The Envelope priced at free until August 1. I’d been planning to price it at $2.99 and see how sales went with it, because its ranking is pretty good right now.

Perimenopause

TMI coming for you men in my audience.

Looks like I’m skipping a period again. Hopefully, I’ll skip several like I did last July through September.

But because of that, my estrogen levels are whacking out, and hot flashes are back, brain blips are back, moodiness, digestive issues…*SIGH.*

The moodiness has done nothing to help me feel good about the novel I’m writing.

The good news

Last month, I scheduled a promo for The Envelope with, as I mentioned, My Book Cave. I got more downloads with it than I did the first time I promoted through them. Then, for some reason (God?), FreeBooksy decided that since I’ve been a past customer they’d do a pro-bono promo for me. It was just one day, but I noticed the boost.

Finally, I did a featured promo with Robin Reads this past Sunday.

Because of the momentum I’d received from the other two promos, the RR promo brought me into first place in three categories! Not for more than a day or two, but still!!

I continue to get a crazy number of downloads for the novel every day, and have sold more of my other novels and boxed sets than I usually have by this time of the month.

I am thrilled. And planning to either do more book promos, more often, or to start advertising on Amazon.

Because I’m finally getting serious about making serious sales.

Stay tuned for the upcoming reveal of the cover for the first novel in my “Pine Mountain Estates” series.

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Grace For The Weather

Looks like March is, indeed, coming in like a lion this year. A fifty percent chance of snow at the beginning of that month is not normal for southern Oklahoma. Neither are highs in the mid-thirties.

Just writing the words makes me shiver.

And this, after a couple of sunny days (which have been few and far between this winter), with temperatures approaching seventy. I have a YouTube subscriber in Florida who wishes for snow. Well, I’ll trade her our upcoming weather forecast for hers.

This persistently cold winter, not unlike the ones we endured when B was three to seven years old, have really forced me to walk my talk.

In books, videos, and blog posts I have challenged people to persevere through obstacles, to be strong and committed in order to reach their goals. This past winter, I have experienced many days when I wanted to sleep in, and then when I got up, to watch videos or listen to books all day.

In other words, to do nothing productive.

Some days, the root has been hormonal fatigue. But most? The barometric pressure weighing on me like the anchor of a freight ship. I am one of those blessed people who feel every little movement of the atmospheric pressure, more blessed to live in an area where said pressure seems to change at least every other day.

According to Bible scholars, the thorn in the apostle Paul’s side was an eye or vision problem. Weather is the thorn in my side.

Like Paul, I have discovered that God’s grace is sufficient. I may not always have the energy to whip out 300 words every fifteen minutes, and my brain might not pull out the perfect words and plot twists as quickly on those nasty, cloudy days when the north wind is blowing in precipitation.

But if I persist, I have the grace to meet my 2100 words-a-day quota. And write interesting scenes as I do. Even to find time to blog once in a while.

Writing feels like work when I’m sleepy. It feels like work when I’m irritable. But even when the weather’s dragging me down and I don’t feel like doing anything, if I just press through and make myself work, by the end of the day I can revel in the satisfaction of having made significant progress toward my goal.

I feel fulfilled, if not jazzed.

I’m more than halfway through my latest novel, Pine Mountain Dreams. And I’m glad for having learned the lesson that it’s God’s grace that helps me through, not perfect circumstances.

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