Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Hop

Hello, Blog. My, my, my, I've missed you. Time rushes by in the blink of an eye, but luckily I have good friends who give me a nudge now and then to post something. Today's post is prompted by my pal Yvonne Montgomery. *waves at Yvonne*
I had the most wonderful weekend last weekend in Colorado with all my Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers friends at the annual Colorado Gold conference. It was inspiring to be around so much intense creative energy. I came away with a few ideas and some career decisions, so I feel energized going forward.
The mission of this Blog Hop is to answer four basic questions about my writing. So here goes:

What am I working on?

Now that's a loaded question. I actually have a few projects in the hopper at the moment, and no contracts, which is a bit disheartening, but that's how it goes in this business. I can't imagine myself not working on a book, contract or no contract. I have to write. 
I currently have two completed novels, one of which I used to talk about on this blog quite often and even posted some excerpts. That one was called Mystic Taxi and I recently retitled it Demon Fare. It's the first in a planned series. My agent submitted the manuscript to a number of publishers, but there were no takers. It's been a while since it made the rounds, but no matter because I've decided to publish it myself.
I was hoping to have it out by last fall, but I got back into it, rewrote quite a bit, got involved in another project, and then I decided to work on a better plan than my last self-publishing attempt (which was a re-release of a perviously published book). This one will be very different. For one thing, it's an urban fantasy and not a romance. You'll be hearing more about Demon Fare in the weeks to come. It's currently being copy edited before I make advance reader copies. But at least I can share my cover with you:

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot to mention that I'll be using a pen name for my self-published books. I'll post the synopsis for Demon Fare at a future date. Really. I promise I will.
I've also finished a fantasy romance called Mirror Reader that's the first in a series. The fate of this one is uncertain, but my goal is to have it traditionally published. Last week I had sample pages from the manuscript critiqued by Peter Senftleben, editor with Kensington Books, in a critique workshop at the Colorado Gold conference. Peter is a great guy, lots of fun. He said he enjoyed reading my pages, was impressed by my unique concept, gave me some great comments and wonderful compliments, but he apparently didn't like it enough to ask for more. I was bummed, but you know, life goes on. Avon expressed interest when I won second place in a contest a year ago, so there's still that opportunity waiting for when my agent decides to send it to them.
Here's a very short blurb for Mirror Reader
Alice Dodgson, a descendant of Alice from Wonderland, possesses a psychic ability to read the past in mirrors. She faces a painful past when a dangerous god abducts her little girl out of revenge for a crime Alice didn't commit. She is forced to ask for help from the man who broke her heart eight years ago… the man who fathered her child and doesn't know he has a daughter.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write weird stuff. I can't explain it much better than that, but my stories are... different. It's a blessing and a curse because even though publishers ask for something new and different, they don't always want to take a risk on something too new and different. That was the fate of poor Mystic Taxi/Demon Fare. It's a unique concept that blends urban fantasy, alternate history and steampunk with a dash of dystopian. Which brings me to...

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I like to read. I often struggle to find well-written books that hold my interest. So writing what interests me and gets me excited seems to fill my need for good storytelling. I still read a lot, I just don't always finish reading the books I start. 

How does my writing process work?

Sometimes I start with an idea, sometimes a character. I never know which it will be. For Mirror Reader, the idea came to me in a dream. I can't remember how I got the idea for Demon Fare, but the sequel starts with a character. 
Once I have a general idea, I "storydream" for a few weeks before I set pen to paper or finger to keyboard. My storydreaming usually happens when I get up in the morning, when I'm drifting in and out of sleep. It's kind of a hypnotic state and it's when ideas flesh themselves out in my mind. Sometimes it happens at night as I drift off to sleep.
Next I draft out a synopsis with my inciting incident, three to four turning points, black moment, climax and resolution. These may change, and probably will, as the story unfolds. I don't really plot, though it wouldn't hurt if I spent more time on plotting, but that's the joyous part of writing for me. The "aha!" moments of creativity. Yet I also need structure, which is why I draft a synopsis before I begin. And I also complete character sketches of the main characters, protagonist and antagonist, and a few ancillary characters as they come up. 
I'm not a fast writer, but a methodical one. My first draft is usually pretty clean, but it's very thin. It always needs bulking up and layering in of various story elements. That's the "pre-writing" part that comes before the fun part, when I can dip my hands in up to my elbows and really work the story out. That's like heaven to me.
Thank you for reading!


Diana McCollum said...

I really like your cover for "Demon Fare." You are a talented author. Both of the stories you mentioned sound really interesting. Glad to see you are blogging again!

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