Why write?

7C6E77F7-When the words aren’t flowing and the manuscript gets rejected and your back hurts from too many hours at the computer, writing sucks. After fifteen completed novels, it doesn’t get any easier. The ideas have to be unique, the characters need arcs, the pace needs to move, and words somehow have to find their way from head to fingers.

This is the point non-writers ask why I would waste my time. They’d remind me that I’m not banking the amount of cash that Higgins, Grisham, and King are. I’m probably not even making the interest on their royalty checks.

Writers, however, understand. I have so many stories in my head I could sit and type for the rest of my life and never run out of plots and new characters. Creating conflicts, describing a scene, polishing up my first drafts. It’s all a labor of love. The worlds become so vivid I ignore my own family to stay with the interesting people populating my head.

Even with the pull of the words, I remain functional. I practice law, hang with my kids, chill with my husband, cook, sort of clean, and I even attempt gardening, but the words hum inside when I’m not writing and if I try to put it off, they shriek until they have my attention.

Today, I’m editing a book I love. The more I tinker with it, the better it gets. I can see the world moving from black and white to high definition color. I could take the day to work on the pile of files on my desk, go for a walk, clean my basement, or phone a friend, but despite the aching back and the need for far too much coffee than is good for me, I prefer writing.

 

Fifty Resolutions Before I’m Fifty: Pacing

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 11.14.32 AMMy newest resolution? Working at a solid, steady pace, not rushing myself into an unworkable frenzy.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been finishing a book. It’s done. In the process, I fell away from some important rituals that kept me sane. Meditation, diet, normal bedtime, exercise. I was all over the place in terms of pacing. Huge amounts of words in a crazy all-nighter, then nothing the next day as I survived on coffee to function. It did not benefit my writing.

I’m starting a new project today, but I made a promise to myself to pace myself. I have a set schedule and, God willing, should move a quick, but not insane pace. I’ll keep everyone updated on it. In the meantime, I have a ten minute appointment with Headspace.

Resolution: Keeping Sane When Everything Falls Apart.

New Orleans in 2005 and 2015

New Orleans in 2005 and 2015

So everything fell to sh*t last week. I made a stupid assumption that if I worked hard, I could control the outcomes in my legal practice, my writing career, my family life. NOT TRUE.

I’m not God. I’m pretty much on this rollercoaster called life and am unable to stop the worst of life from destroying people I truly care about, the work I give my heart to complete, the relationships I think I have a grasp on. As I struggled with one disaster, another bit me in the ass. At one point, on a plane to New Orleans where I was supposed to enjoy a carefree weekend, I scrambled to make something work out, to fix one of the tragedies that was beating me down. I couldn’t bring anyone back from the dead, but I could resurrect my story, and I could tighten the bonds with the one person who matters more to me than anything. The plane hit the tarmac as I tried to pull a brilliant idea from my exhausted and emotionally void brain. I fell asleep in a hotel and woke with no motivation, not ambition.

Instead, I roamed the streets of the city alone for two days. Drinking coffee, watching the city that had been completed devastated resonating with life. Tourists walked through the French Quarter headed for beignets and coffee as though nothing had ever interrupted life here. Yet this city had gone through a hardship of biblical proportions. Hard work and faith brought the city back from complete destruction (only 15% of the city was inhabitable at the end of the Katrina). Time had also healed many of its wounds.

Did I have time? Had I already used up too much of it chasing the wrong dreams? Had my priorities become so twisted that what really mattered in life had fallen from my radar screen? Suffice to say, I was unsure whether to head back to bed and hide under the covers or dive into a mountain of work to fix whatever was wrong in my life.

What pulled me out of my funk? Hours on the phone with my girlfriends from every corner of the country and a few hours at a coffee shop with one of the dearest of writer friends.

Now that I’ve had time to think about all that life has thrown at me, I’m ready to accept my limited role in things that happen and move on. I can’t change the past, but I can learn from it.

I’m headed back to work this work with thicker skin, a refusal to back down from challenges, and the love of an army of friends who have my back and my heart.

I care about the braided life I’ve created with law, writing, and family, and I do make a difference in the world. I just can’t guarantee all HEAs in life, although maybe I can in my stories.

Romance Writers Weekly: Writer’s Space

This week’s topic was chosen by S. C. Mitchell – Describe your perfect writing retreat.

If you came from the amazing Sarah Hegger’s site, welcome!

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Today is the release day for my romantic thriller “Untrue Colors.” The hideaway in my house is where I wrote most of “Untrue Colors.”UNTRUE COLORS 1600x2400

 

In a nutshell, I took over the sunroom in our house, and I refuse to give it back. Large windows on three sides provide perfect views of huge trees, squirrels, deer, and a few neighbors.

I started writing with a snack table and a large leather chair. It worked for a while. McDreamy, my husband, however changed everything by buying a small desk on wheels. I could keep a printed manuscript, a laptop, and a cup of coffee on it.

There was only one drawback to my setting, poor posture. Agonizing.

The solution? A lime green ball chair. I can sit on that for hours and not feel the muscle strain in my back I did when in the way too soft leather chair.

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Sometimes, I head to the kitchen and stand at the island to finish some tasks. I’m also closer to the coffee. I love the retreat. I’ve trained myself over the years to focus on work in the office, soI tend to be more productive here than anywhere else. My slice of Heaven on Earth.

Betty Bolte is the next stop on this trip around the web. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll catch sight of one of her many pets. Dogs, cats, horses.

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Release Day secrets from “Flirting on Ice” (Shhh don’t tell Susan I’m talking about her!!)

The release of a new novella by Susan Scott Shelley and me is today! OMG. What started out as a lark, turned into a pretty cool novella. IMG_2631 Susan and I spent hours in my kitchen and hers plotting and revising “Flirting on Ice.” We’re damn proud of the result.

After all that time together, I’ve discovered a few things about Susan you may be interested to know.

Susan takes sports seriously. She’s crazy smart about players, stats, and rankings in both football and hockey. I can’t tell you the number of times she rewrote a few plays I created for our fictional hockey team the Atlantic City Hustlers. Thank God she did or the team would have been playing four quarters and skating over the end zone.

In addition to her sports expertise, she can make a heroine likeable, probably because she is likeable herself. While this may not seem like a feat to some people (and yes I’m talking to all you “nice” people out there), I tend to make my heroines unlikeable to the extreme (and no, I don’t think there is a parallel with me and unlikeable heroines. Do you?) Working with Susan, we created a heroine who is truly a person I’d want to hang out with.

The villain in the story is not evil to the core, but he is selfish and greedy. Just enough evil to make you root for the hero. I would have had him kill a few people and kick a puppy or two, but Susan was opposed to random violence in a romance. That’s not to say there’s no tension in the book, just less blood than I’d like.

 

In celebration of the release, we’re doing a Release Day Power Play. Whoever gets the most likes or tweets from their hockey social media posts will make a donation to Hockey Fights Cancer,and we encourage all of you to donate too. It’s a great cause.

http://www.nhl.com/hockeyfightscancer/donate-now.html

 

And we may publicly humiliate the loser too, although I hate being publically humiliated, so that part is optional!