And now back to The Next Big Thing...

Whoops, sorta got swept away in various blog hops & parties and the business of my non-e life and haven't answered a Next Big Thing question in a while. But I'm back at it and will continue to answer at least one a week until I've finally stuck a fork in this thing. As a refresher, I'm answering these questions in relation to my upcoming novel, Divine Temptation, scheduled for release in early 2013.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

6 months.  This story had been playing in my head for years, since well before Three Daves was ever published, but as you can gather from the opening paragraph of this post, I'm easily distracted, and so it took me a year and a half to recover from my squirreliness with the first novel and get serious about writing the second one.

When I decided it was time, I wrote a rough outline of the sequence of events and set a goal of writing out one chapter every weekend. The deal I made with myself was to just pound it out and move on to the next chapter the following weekend, no looking back (other than to check for consistency). I couldn't allow myself to start editing at this stage or I'd have never gotten the whole thing written.

Aha, but my secret weapon during this time was my trusted and talented friend who read each rough chapter as I wrote it and offered critiques and suggestions, which I filed away for the second draft. After letting the first draft cool for a few months, I was able to move through the second and third drafts fairly quickly---and I was relieved to discover that the story was a place in which I easily and happily re-immersed.

How closely does this resemble your writing process?  


Jousting...on the Internet!

I just love it when authors get creative with their release parties, and that's exactly what M. Pax has done with her latest release, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. She's celebrating with a jousting tournament and contest at www.mpaxauthor.com. Cheer for the knights to help them win the grand prize, and you’ll be put in a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Five will be given away. Huzzah!

Let the Jousting begin!

A New Adult Urban Fantasy, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear is the first book in a new series. And it’s now out! The main character, Hetty, is a twenty-two-year-old, stumbling about in an effort to become a full-fledged adult. She struggles with self-esteem, weight, relationships, and making the transition between college and the real world.

Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way.

To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation.

New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist. Mature content.

Available as an ebook at Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes / Kobo
Visit www.mpaxauthor.com for more links.


IWSG: Feeling Squirrely

Thank you Alex, for this monthly opportunity to share our woes and garner much encouragement.  Hey!  I haven't told you yet, Big Al, but I mentioned you and IWSG in my interview in Insatiable Magazine. :)

My post this month builds off something I read in an earlier IWSG post by Allison over at Geek Banter: Why I Like Scrivener. I'd not heard of Scrivener before and was intrigued by Allison's account of how the writing software eased organization and navigation through manuscripts and manuscript-related documents. I've downloaded the program and am finding it to be a delightful way to get organized for my impending book release.

With my first novel, I had no idea what I was doing marketing-wise. When it was released to the world I was like...I was going to say a deer in the headlights, but that's not quite right.  I was more like a squirrel who jumps impetuously into the middle of the road and upon realizing he's in over his head, darts back and forth trying to do everything at once while meanwhile accomplishing nothing. I've been feeling good that at least with this second book, I'll be more experienced and therefore better prepared for the scary world of marketing, but on Monday my publisher gave me a tentative release date for Divine Temptation...and I'm starting to feel squirrely again. Too many ideas hitting me all at once, threatening to send me into a fluffy-tailed scurry of anti-productivity.  Enter Scrivener...

There's something very soothing about the folders and files that I can not only jump easily between, jotting down ideas in the proper place as they hit me---I can assign each document a little post-it note thingy so that I can view an entire board of related ideas at once.  And I can move them around as need be. I can't wait to use this software for writing and reworking my next novel! If you're interested in checking it out, Scrivener offers a free trial of thirty days of actual use.

Scrivener has helped me organize my thoughts well enough to have come up with a plan for involving my blog friends in the book release. :)  I know time is our most precious commodity and we get hit left and right with various blog activities, so my plan is simple and flexible so you can tailor your involvement to whatever works best for you & your blog or other social networks. Please visit this page for a brief explanation and to give me your e-mail and first born (teasing, teasing). Thanks!



I'm Thankful for My Readers Hop

Today Tara Tyler and Vikki are giving us an opportunity to thank our especially special readers in this lovely pre-Thanksgiving hop. 

The best thing anyone can do for a writer is to read what they've written; therefore, I'm grateful to anyone who's ever read anything I've ever written. And I'm especially grateful to those readers who take the time to let me know what they think, whether in person, through a private e-mail or in a public review at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, a blog, or all of the above. 

Life is busy, and sometimes the simplest things are the first ones to get brushed aside (don't I know it) so whether someone puts together a multi-paragraphed, thorough review or types out a couple sentences highlighting their overall thoughts on the story, I appreciate it so very much. 

One particular person I need to thank is someone who's real name I don't even know.  I only know her as ILoveNeville over at harrypotterfanfiction.net.  She was my very first reviewer---and for several chapters my only reviewer---on the first story I ever put out for public consumption, and despite my profuse thank yous after each review, I'm afraid she'll never know how truly much her enthusiasm meant to me.  At the time I didn't share my writing with anyone I knew real life, so her words gave me the validation I needed to know that I didn't suck and the encouragement to continue doing this thing I love so much. 

Speaking of little things that get brushed aside, this blog hop inspired me to finally tackle a certain pesky task as a teensy way to show my appreciation to readers.  I signed up at Authorgraph, so I can now provide free personalized e-signatures! The service is intended for e-readers, but it comes to your e-mail as a separate pdf, so even if you have paper copies of my books, you can print the Authorgraph & tuck it inside the book. All you have to do is visit my Authorgraph page and click the request button.   

Right then, time to read more heartwarming tales of writer/reader love at this Linky


Look! Winners!

First up, congratulations to these 5 winners of a Three Daves eBook from the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! Thank you,thank you to everyone who played along.

Next up, I've been tagged by Jennifer Lane in U Got the Look (tell me you're not singing THIS in your head right now). This is how it works: take your current manuscript, search for the word “look,” and post the surrounding paragraphs. Lastly, tag 5 blogging authors.  Ready?  Here's my first instance of "look" in my upcoming novel, Divine Temptation

Maggie researched private schools in the area and presented the list to Carl. Although she and her ex--husband had attended Sunday Mass often enough to look respectable and dutifully fostered their children through the sacraments, Carl seemed surprised to see mostly Catholic schools on the list. “You do realize that divorced parents are going to be more a rarity at a parochial school than a public one, don’t you?” he cautioned.
“I can deal with the judgment of strangers” Maggie answered. “What I can’t take any more of is people who acted like my friends last year eyeballing me now like I’m a juicy piece of meat they can’t wait to tear into the second my back is turned.”
“You mean the way you looked at that mom after her, er, previous profession was exposed?”

She narrowed her eyes. “Fine. Maybe I deserve this. But…I just, I get such a strong feeling that this is the right thing to do.”
“Okay, as long as you don’t think switching schools is the ticket to a magical fairyland where all your troubles disappear.”
Maggie nodded and frowned, knowing he was right.
This time I'm not going to flake out on the tagging.  I hereby tag the following 5 bloggers with U Got the Look: