A Writer’s New Year’s Resolution


Happy New Year!How has this year gone by already?  As I get older, they really seem to move much more quickly than when I was young.

I think the end of the year, and the beginning of a new one, are a great time to look back at missed opportunities and decide how the new year should change things.  Sometimes this is on a personal level, and sometimes on a professional level.  Because I’m a Gemini, and there are multiple facets to me, setting resolutions and goals can be problematic.  Which facet needs the most work?  Or do they all need it?  And how do you balance that all out?

In the past, I would set resolutions like, I need to read four books a month.  I have way less time to read than I’d like, and making a resolution forced me to make choices and choose reading instead of something else.  Other years, it was health-related.  Eat healthier, get rid of convenience foods, give up fast foods, work out more.  Sometimes, it was even more personal.  “Be nicer to people.”

Were they successful? To a degree, like anything else.  It’s what you put into it.  I don’t regret any, and there were some I did better than others.  This year, I’m shifting a bit.  I’m looking at it from a goal perspective.  What is the one thing I want to accomplish this year, above all the other things?  What one thing is it that will keep me driven, on track, and moving forward?  And what about all the goals that aren’t quite as pressing?  Do I include them too?

As a writer, I know to take it down to its base, it’s simplest form.  And that’s what I have done.  I have one goal.  Just one.  And I’m talking about it here to help keep my honest and focused on that goal.

I will finish my current WIP and get it submitted to my publisher in hopes of getting a contract.  Before the end of the year.  It has been over a year since I signed the contract for Fairest of the Faire.  I had hoped I’d get book number two finished and submitted by the same time this year (September).  It didn’t happen.  Then I thought I would at least get through the first rough draft by the end of NaNoWriMo (November).  It didn’t happen. I  still have a beginning, and an end.  I have no middle.  None.  I have piddled around hoping that inspiration would strike, that a middle would present itself.  It hasn’t.  And waiting for it is not going to help.

I have several tools at my ready disposal, including a book on conflict, goals, and motivation, a screen writing book that purports to help with saggy middles, a Deal a Story card deck that is supposed to help nail down plot fillers, and a big white board to plot on.  I need to do this thing.  I need to buckle down, use the tools, and get this thing written.  It’s a great story.  Or, it will be if I ever get it done!

To that end, I pledge to write every single day in 2016.  Blog posts and Twitter jabs do not count.  Neither do emails, or the writing I do with my day J.O.B.  I can only write on my novel.  I have the tools.  I have the time.  Inspiration or not, I need to do this thing.

What are your resolutions for the new year?  What are your words of wisdom and encouragement as I head into 2016?  Tell me in the comments!

 

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Why Do I Write an Alpha Male Hero?


picture of a man's face, with blue eyesI unashamedly use alpha male characters in my novels.  In some circles, it might be considered a type of trope, although I’m not sure I’d classify it that way.  But my heroes are always alpha, and my heroines not so much so.  Not that they are totally incapable, because I hate nothing more than a whiny, incapable woman.  I just like the idea of an alpha male. There is an intensity there, a drive, a need for accomplishment, that appeals to me.  And there’s a reason for that, as you will see below.

An alpha male is a decision-maker.  He knows what he wants, and he knows how to get there.  An alpha male can be a Type-A personality, and often times is.  He is also a protector.  His woman, when he finally realizes she is his woman, will want for nothing, and will not come to any harm.  If she does come to harm, the alpha male’s guilt will be almost tangible.

Many times, an alpha male will be in charge of the relationship and the progression of the relationship.  He will be the one pushing for physical intimacy, the one hovering and not being able to stay away.  It can appear that the heroine is simply pushed/pulled into the relationship, overwhelmed by the power of the alpha male.  She cannot resist.  He is the guy who will save her, who will make everything right, who will fulfill all her dreams.

And nothing could be further from the truth.  Part of the arc of an alpha-male story line is the hero realizing that their Type-A tendencies are easily moderated and softened by the heroine, who ultimately has complete control over the relationship.  Her acquiescence is a control she exerts, in a conscious or unconscious way, to bring the hero to where she wants him to be.  Put simply, she saves his life by easing the burden of the Type-A behavior, and bringing him to a realization that their relationship is more equal than he ever imagined.  In the end, the heroine becomes the dominant, while the flummoxed and discomfited hero learns to adjust.

How do I know all of this?  I am a Type-A.  I scored a solid ESTJ on the Myers-Briggs even when I was in college, and confirmed in several re-takings over the years.  Another personality assessment I recently took as part of my work, called a DiSC, confirmed the same thing.  I am not particularly ambitious, but I’m a control freak in so many things that I sometimes find it difficult to relax.  It is my way or the highway, and I can blow up pretty easily in the right situations.  I spend much of my work day (at the day J.O.B.) alternately pushing projects forward, even if I have to do it myself (I do delegate, but certain things are never delegated, because, “only I can do them the way they need to be done”), or fretting over something I perceive as a missed deadline or project failure.  This is the stress and reality of a Type-A.

When I create an alpha male hero, he is me.  He is me in so many ways, and I know how to crack him open and lay him vulnerable, split from stem to stern.  I know, because I know what it would take to make me vulnerable.  Writing the alpha male is easy for me.  Writing the heroine who is his counter is much harder.  I don’t like a weak woman, so I have to balance the desire the alpha male has for the non-dominant woman, and then help them both switch places throughout the course of the book.

It is, for me, a win-win.  Every time.

Are your heroes alpha males?  Or do you go for a different type?  Let me know in the comments!

Because I Don’t Give a &%*#


Baby covering its ears and cryingOkay, bear with me here.  It’s not what you think. Really.

Has anyone besides me noticed the ramped up use of the F-word in everything from Facebook memes to the titles of books to television shows?  I think I first noticed it a couple of years ago, but it has seemed to have gotten extreme.  There are now popular books out there with this word in the title, lots of memes floating around, and it just has gotten to the point where I can’t go more than a few minutes online without seeing it.  That being said, I still don’t think I’ve been desensitized to the word, and it bothers me almost every time I see it.

Not that I haven’t used that word in appropriate conversations.  I think many of us have.  And I am by no means a prude.  I write erotic romance, for goodness’ sake.  I have described things in my books that would make people blush.  So that isn’t what bothers me about it.  I think it started out being “edgy” to use the word.  A lot of young bloggers did it, and it sort of caught on.  But it’s not just the young ones doing it now, and it is definitely not “edgy” when everyone is doing it.

I’m a writer.  I make judicious and effective use of words to get my ideas across.  As a writer, the use of the f-word may show that I am uncreative, unimaginative, or lacking in vocabulary.  There may be very specific instances when the f-word is the right word to use, but that should be so rare that the word, when heard, should have a very specific purpose, and create a specific type of feeling or reaction in my reader.  When everything uses the f-word, it loses any effect it might have had in expressing emotions.  Are we really saying what we need to say when the only word we can find to use is the f-word?

I suppose some people have been normalized to it, so it doesn’t bother them the way it does me.  For me, I have not been normalized to it.  It is a specific word to use in very specific situations, but not blanket-used.

So, how do you feel about the use of the word?  I know I have friends who completely disagree with me, but I also can’t justify using the word extensively when I have so many other words to use, which say things with much more detail than one four-letter word.  What do you think?

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!


National Novel Writing Month Winner 2015Another National Novel Writing Month has come and gone. I wait all year for this event, and poof, suddenly it’s December.  But that’s okay.  If I had to keep up this level of writing and excitement all year long, I’d probably have a stroke!

I will say that I struggled.  I have struggled before to make it, but this seemed worse, some how.  I had high hopes. Such high hopes.  I need to get a second novel done and submitted to my publisher.  But I’m not anywhere near that goal.

The first part of the month, I piddled along, spending more time on my Municipal Liaison duties for my region, and by the end of the third week, I had only 20,000 words written.  I had 8 days to write 30,000 words.  A daunting goal, I know.

But I knuckled down, wrote more than 3,000 words a day, and made my 50K.  I freely admit that 95% of those words are drack, and will be deleted shortly.  Actually, I might not do anything at all with all those words, just pluck out a few decent scenes and set them aside for later use.  Or, what is more likely, I’ll start with the manuscript I had from earlier this year, and build on that.

Fortunately, National Novel Writing Month isn’t about quality.  It’s about proving you can write a lot in one month.  And for the thirteenth year, I proved that I could write a lot in one month.  And that, in itself, is quite an accomplishment.

Now I’m on to December, when a new sort of busy starts to happen.  I keep thinking I’ll finally get to rest, since it is winter.  But so far, that hasn’t been the case.  This weekend, I’m doing a regular Ms. Claus gig with my husband, Santa.  There will likely be other gigs throughout the month, but this is the first of them.  Five hours in wig and big red dress with sharp white apron, smiling at babies and being ignored because I’m not The Big Guy. 🙂  It’s all good.  But it means I’m busy.  Not much writing happens when I’m this busy.  And that makes me sad.

If you did NaNoWriMo in November, how did you do?  Did you get your 50K?  If it was your first time, what was your experience with it?  Tell me in the comments.

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)