They say the second novel is the hardest, and that was certainly true for me. The success of my first Franco mystery surprised me and I felt a lot of pressure to make the sequel even better. While it’s a good read, it has flaws. Notable among them was my reliance on gang lingo and police slang, and boy, did my reviewers let me know! Lesson learned. Since then, when I use slang for flavor, I make it clear in the following sentence or two what I’m referring to. That was a great lesson I wouldn’t have learned if I ignored my reviewers. Therese Walsh at Writer Unboxed explains how a less than enthusiastic review can help the writer who takes her craft seriously.
For those faithful following me, you know I’m an infrequent blogger at best. I’m terribly private so my diseases, heartaches, and daily dramas/triumphs never get recorded. And aren’t you glad for that! What I would like to start doing more of though, is posting other bloggers. I read at least half a dozen blogs a day, and many, such as this one by Chuck Sambuchino are worthy of reposts. So for all of you that love me, and other authors, here are a few easy, cheap, and painless things you can do to help us all get to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List! Feeling the love already.
“The Mission of the Women’s Literary Festival Santa Barbara is to present the work of contemporary female authors from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences at a yearly conference. The Festival celebrates diversity, literacy and social justice.”
Lieutenant L.A. Franco glanced at her Timex. Eight fifteen and already ninety in the shade. She watched her rookie detective prowl the scene. The kid’s first homicide, and wouldn’t it have to be a dead man sitting naked in an ’88 Caddy with a headless chicken in his lap.
Thanks for the vote of confidence and I hope to see lots of peeps at the conference in June.
1. What am I working on?
(Casey, Kelly, close your eyes. Skip to next question.) The answer is, not a damn thing. See last question for clarification.
2. How does my work differ from others in the same genre?
Great question. My work doesn’t fit snuggly into the lesfic genre because I don’t write romance. There may be a love interest in my novels, but that’s never the theme. I like to write characters that bring lesbians into the mainstream – they’re out, they don’t have angst about their lesbianism or relationships, but they have problems, life problems like everyone has, and like everyone, hopefully, at some point my characters will move past them.
Also, I write dark novels – not funny, not frothy, not sweet. If they were coffee drinks, my novels would be as a triple espresso is to a caramel mocha frappucino, with extra whipped creme. And a cherry. I want to slap you awake and encourage you to get on with your life, not put you into a sugar coma.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I think we are as limited as the things that scare us. I hate being scared or living in fear, and always want to push beyond what holds me back or keeps me from ‘daring greatly’, to borrow Brene Brown’s phrase. I don’t want to be on my death bed and realize I was to afraid to ____ (fill in the blank). It helps that I have characters I can push out ahead of me, to see how they conquer their fears and demons. They are usually my heroes, and I try to follow in their footsteps.
4. How does my writing process work?
Funny you should ask. Lately it doesn’t work at all. RG Emanuelle at Women and Words wrote a great article about when a writer burns out, and while I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m burned out, it’s fair to say I’ve been on an extended break from any new projects. I’ve written nine books in 16 years, and while that’s not prodigious, it takes it’s toll when a full-time job, wife, grandkids, friends, and the rest of life are added to the mix. I’m okay with not writing right now. I could sit down and force the follow-up to #7 in the Franco series, but I think if it’s written from force that’s the way it will read. I’ve never not written this long, so it’s a little frightening, but I trust I am exactly where I need to be in my writing career. I also have faith that someday some idea, or plot line, will utterly consume me, and I will be off and writing again.
When that happens, I will write all day Tuesdays and Fridays, after swimming and walking the dogs, and I will try and take as many remote mountain cabin vacations as my wife and boss will allow. I can’t write in fragments throughout the day. I need long, extended blocks of time in which to lose myself to the writing. I just write scenes as they come up – completely disorganized, but often they lead to the next sequence hence end up creating order out of chaos. When I have feel I have enough scenes to make up at least two-thirds to three-quarters of the novel, then I start outlining and seeing how they all fit. It’s like a great big literary puzzle, fitting this scene here, moving that one there, oops, throwing that one out because it doesn’t even belong in this puzzle. Then I fill in what’s missing and add segues that bring it all together. (The glue on the finished puzzle!)
Thanks for your interest. I like this tour as it’s a great chance to get to know our favorite writer’s a little better. And the next writer up is the talented, speed-defying, brilliantly shod Sandra Moran – also a beloved Bedazzled Ink sister- and her latest release, Nudge.
At least not for this author. In 2011 I self-published my novel The River Within. It was torturous. From the “simple” uploading onto Smashwords, to the “easy” publication at CreateSpace, the tears and cursing continued through promotion, accounting, blogging – blah, blah, blah – I loathed it all. The only thing I liked about self-publishing was being able to give away as many books as I wanted.
I LOVE being traditionally published. I want to think about characters and motivation, scenes and words – not pixels and links, or spread sheets and brands web. I am a writer. I’m not a publisher. The extra money I might make isn’t worth it when it takes that much time away from writing.
So let me express my gratitude to Barrett for introducing me to to Casey at Bedazzled Ink. Without Barrett, I would probably still be crying and cursing in my own private indie-publishing hell. Thanks to Barrett, I can say, “Go to my publisher and buy this book!”
Me, I’m going to be writing.
Interesting article by Andy Weir on researching your novels. http://bit.ly/1qFWIzi
I had the great good fortune to meet Beth Burnett last fall at the first evah Left Coast Lesfic Conference. Her spirit and soul sing to me, and I suspect to almost everyone she meets. Read her post about joy and see if you don’t fall in love, too. http://bethsnewlife.com/2014/03/03/living-in-joy/
I’ve come down from the mountains and so miss walking their forests of pine and fir and cedar. To at least be near trees, I went for a walk this morning along a trail that runs beside a creek and beneath an evergreen bower of oak and bay. There’s a small clearing between creek and trail where someone, weeks ago, built a simple stone labyrinth. When I walked by today I saw the round, water-softened cobbles had been strewn and scattered all about the clearing. At first I was hurt – who would want to destroy a labyrinth? Then I was angry and set about rebuilding the maze, swearing at the various kinds of assholes that might have done this – they were all men, surely, for as a rule men tend to destruction and women to creation. It might have been a devout member of one of the dominant religions who was threatened by the relic symbol; maybe it was a kid who’d had a fight with his girlfriend and threw away his hurt and anger on the rocks; maybe a man who’d lost his job and eased his frustration in hurling the stones about….who knew?
The clearing was small so of necessity the labyrinth was too, but before I was half finished I realized how much fun it was hefting, hauling and placing the stones. I was glad the original circle had been destroyed. If it hadn’t of been, I wouldn’t have had the chance to create it anew, to re-create it, and isn’t that all life is, creation, destruction, and re-creation? The one is as essential to the other as dirt to a tree, as the ocean to rain. I hoped that the person who deconstructed the labyrinth found relief in the activity, maybe even peace. As I curled the last rock into the center of the gyre, I knew that some of the hikers passing by would pause to stroll the spiral, maybe even add to it, and that eventually it would again be destroyed. That made me smile. I walked on, hoping whoever takes the the labyrinth apart next will have as much fun as I will in remaking and recreating it, over and over again.