Changing horses in midstream

I know nothing about horses. They are large and have big teeth. People ride them. And it is apparently not the best idea to change horses in midstream, thus we have the saying. Google says we owe the saying to Abraham Lincoln. And it’s on the Internet so it must be true.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

I’m pretty sure I’m a pantser at heart. I always have been. When the assignment required an outline, I wrote the paper first and then the outline. I think this is because I have so many words and it’s hard for me to know what they’re going to do without spreading them out and rearranging them.

But I want to be a plotter. There are good reasons to plot first and then write. Being able to tell an editor what you’re going to do without writing the whole dang book would be a very good reason. Also, being able to follow an outline should mean you know what to put down every single day.

I got closer with the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel because I thought out a series. So, now that I’m at the last one, everything should be easy. I’ve set up the place. I know the secondary characters very well. But I’m going to tell you, the hero and heroine of this one are giving me heartburn. Part of that’s because my editor and I made a change in the first book that impacts this one. And it’s so cool that I can’t even believe how things work out. But now I’m having trouble figuring out who this guy is and what kind of girl he needs. Have you ever been there? No? Just me? Fine.

I mean, his backstory is set. We’ve been reading it already. What is the deal?

It doesn’t help that my day job has hammered every single bit of imagination into pulp lately. Or that the clock is ticking. But…today, I think I nailed the Jell-O to the wall. This is who he is (until my editor says differently) and this is who she is. And I’m starting over. This will be version three of Chapter 1. Third time’s the charm.

Anybody know where that saying comes from? If it’s Abraham Lincoln again, I’ll know it’s all meant to be. Just in case it isn’t, I’m not going to look it up. Here’s my new, impossibly ambitious plan. I still have the day job. I still have edits on Can’t Help Falling In Love. But I need this story done. So it’s crunch time, yo.

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Dreams and thinking bigger

photoIf you somehow missed my shocked tweets about the Barnes and Noble Top 100 Nook Books, let me tell you now…I’ve enjoyed it greatly. When my editor sent me an email saying “just a heads up” this was not the news I was expecting. I get a lot of messages in the same vein…just a heads up, I forgot to pay the phone bill. Just a heads up, I’ll be late with the project that’s already a week late. Stuff like that. This was like…WHOOP WHOOP GOOD NEWS INCOMING!

So I took a souvenir screen shot to show I made it to #99 on that list. As you do when you’re a beginner who has been focused on the writing and the selling and the praying that someday rejections turn into revise and resubmit and then acceptance letters. You’re pretty sure #99 is the tip top so you better enjoy it while you can. This shot is the pinnacle of my success (so far) at #39. Rubbing shoulders with some greats, y’all.

I wanted to write for Avon. I am.

I wanted a book I can be proud of. I have one (and a novella in a cute anthology and the next book is going to be darn good too).

I wanted a cover that makes me smile. Got it.

But I’m so not done.

I’m excited to see what’s next.

I have loved watching the Nook book list. For a brief shining moment, I was in Amazon’s Top 100 HUMOR books(?). Otherwise, I peaked in the 5,000 range over there. I knew new book Tuesday would shake things up and Stuck On You has slipped a bit, but it’s hanging in there. And I’m hoping readers are giving me a try. I hope they’re as happily pleased by my story as I am that they are reading it. This is what I want to do. Someday if I’m lucky this will be old hat, but I don’t ever want to forget the happy surprise and gratitude.

It Happened On Valentine’s Day

ImageThere have been a few things I was unprepared for in this journey to my first on-sale date. Seeing the first rating up on Goodreads was one of them. First I flipped, then I tried to imagine how it was possible as the book’s not out yet, then I told myself to just calm the hell down. This is a marathon, not a sprint after all. People with writing careers need to learn to pace themselves. And that’s the goal: a career.

And then, when I should have been writing or working on the day job, I was watching television and googling. I made sure my Google alerts were set. Yep. Then I went over to Amazon to see if anything was happening.

Searched my name and the first result on the list was something I’ve never seen before. It was from Avon. But the first name on it was Eloisa James. So somebody made a mistake. But I was curious because it was Valentine’s Day related, just like Kiss Me. I read the list of names under it and there was Cheryl Harper. Since I didn’t know anything about it, I was still pretty sure it was a mistake somehow. Then I embiggened the cover and Cheryl Harper is on it. Right next to Rachel Gibson. I gasped. Audibly. I think I scared the dog. Then I fired off an email to editor Chelsey that went something like “Wha?” And also “Wha?” And then maybe a “squeeOMGthatcan’tbemecanit”.

And it is. This is a free sampler, a collection of excerpts from some of your favorites. And me. Oh holy night. February 22, you can get it for free. I’m hoping you’ll already have Kiss Me, have laughed heartily and rated it all 5 stars in every rating location you can find. But if not, maybe you’ll try this.

I will be cowering under by bed by the time this one’s out so somebody call me to tell me how it goes, okay?