Celebrating Five Years in May

It’s been almost five years since I first published Friends of Choice. What a journey! I never once expected myself to write romances. Back then, the only thing I wanted to do was just to write.

So be it! Five books later, after five years, I’ve had a grand time thanks to you all.

Thank you for your ongoing support. It has been not only a great learning experience, but also a pleasure to entertain you.

To mark off this anniversary, I have finally found my perfect covers for the books that started my journey off. Let me present to you the newly revised covers for the Wings From Ashes trilogy.

Thank you again for your ongoing Support!

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Wednesday – Wicked #ROW80 Check-In

It’s Wednesday – Wicked.

Some would say Hump Day.

I’m so tired of that phrase.

For the past month, I have been struggling with my wip to the extent that I was threatening to bury it out back. Good thing the ground is still frozen.

So after visiting a bunch of fellow ROWers today I was able to inspire myself to write 400 words on that crappy file.

This is a feat. First off, my Mom decides that it is time to chat. She always knows when I’m getting ready to write or am writing. I swear she watches for me to reach for the keyboard and takes this as a signal to strike up that conversation that never happens any other time. It’s just one of the dangers of working in the living room during the week.

I could go off to my office, but if I do that then she gets all pouty cause there is no one else who will sit with her while she watches TV. She’s going on 74 this year, and I don’t know how many years she has left to share with me, so I try and make the best of it, even when I’m trying to write.

Shhh – please let me finish this post – There we go again.

Well after attacking the file tonight I figured I would come up with a check in post. I like adding pictures to my posts many times, and I was trying to think of what it would be for today when it dawned on me, I don’t know what Treea looks like. She is my main character so I had to go and find a suitable model of her and here it is.

It might even help me by knowing what she looks like. I already know what her counterpart looks like. He’s my cover art.

Do you know what your characters look like?

Have you searched for a model of them?

I’d love to hear about your latest work in progress. Tell me a little bit about your main character, your welcome to share in the comments below.

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Deliberate Persistence – My ROW80 Goals

I am entering my third year of Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge. It is hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for this long, when it seems as though I started keeping a blog only yesterday. This challenge has helped me write Witch Book, Road Salt, and Along Came Neil. That is a total of three novels.

Kait announced that this round we should use Deliberate Writing as our topic of discussion. That is such a terrific idea.

I’m an indie author. The writing life for an indie author is not easy, nor is all the hard work that goes into being this type of writer. Someday, I am sure it will all pay off.

How does deliberate writing fit into the indie world?

It is the biggest part of an Indies world. We have to write with Deliberate Persistence or we will never get anywhere with all the self-promoting and self-publishing we need to do.

Deliberate Persistence is the power of inertia that keeps the stories coming. If we didn’t practice deliberate writing, many of us would have given up long ago. We just can’t give up.

It is practice, practice, practice… That is how our stories come about.

This past year has brought me a lot of growth with my joining RWA – Romance Writers of America. I took part in month after month of online workshops given by several of the Chapters of RWA. One in particular was YARWA – Young Adults Romance Writers of America. I think I got a lot out of them too. It sure made the steep cost of their membership well worth paying.

This year I will be focusing on writing fantasy and honing those skills.

Over the past year, I gave a lot of thought to when I was young I used to play a game of make believe with a good friend. We used to say to each other before we came up with our daily skit – let’s make believe that this happened, or that happened, and we are so and so. I remember those days well. It was when I was five and six years old. I don’t know if she remembers them at all. I apply what I learned from playing these games to my writing. Now instead of having the make believe being about me, it is about my characters. So I came to know, after all those years gone by, I had been practicing fiction long before I knew what I was doing. It was just some childish game. The game became a writing tool in the end.

Enough of my ongoing Deliberate practice…

I am to state what my Deliberate practice will be for this round.

  1. Orgarlan Saga needs a new plot outline for the next book in the series. I’m subconsciously cooking it at this time. I did finish up the time line for the first two books. Now I just need to decide who wants what and why, then the plot will come together like a puzzle.
  2. Blog more deliberately. I have been lax in this area in the past. I must make every check-in, even if I have nothing new to report.
  3. Maybe take a look at one of my slush pile unfinished works to see if anything can be done to resurrect the story line.
  4. Continue to take part in more of the online workshops offered by the RWA Chapters.
  5. Learn to put together a Self-Publishing workshop to be given locally in my area. ß—– Just thinking about this gives me the jitters. A good friend of mine keeps telling me I need to do this.

Check out the goals of other ROWers by following the Linky List link…

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Marching your Manuscript Onward

 Now that we are three weeks into September I have noticed how I have not been posting as much as of late. I have decided to try and actively change this. And, thanks to Kait and her ROW80 Challenge, I believe I’m ready to get my butt into gear and stick with her posting schedule. My focus this year will be on writing discipline.

So, now that I have you all here I have to tell you about a newbie writer who recently attended their first critique session. I heard how she was not fully prepared for what she was about to walk into. Supposedly this session turned out to be a horrific experience for her. What a shame, critique sessions are meant to be a writer’s tool. The feedback one gets from such a group is priceless.

Maybe some people think that just because they are college graduates the first book they write will be perfect.

I don’t know about that unless you are some kind of genius who has the imagination of a schizophrenic. The writing process just does not happen that way.

We all think our stories are great when they are coming straight out of the box. Pride can get in our way in the beginning. The best writers have replaced their pride with a deeper understanding as to how great stories are created.

You may call it collaboration when a critique group is used, but when you bounce a story idea off someone else’s mind and they tell you what they understand your story to say is two different things.

I saw this with Along Came Neil. This book took part in my first critique session. One chapter, mind you, can change the whole course of your story. Just one chapter is all it takes to rid yourself of anything that comes across as back story, or that unnecessary prologue. – who reads prologues anymore anyway?

So to that newbie writer – my heart plays that sad, sad song for you  😦 , but what are you going to do about your manuscript? Do you give up that easily? Why did what they say hurt so much? Could they possibly be onto something?

If I were you, I wouldn’t give up. Listen to what they said. Critique groups are there to try and give you a view of your story from a reader’s angle. Use it as for what it is, your very first review. If you reacted to the critique group that way, how will you take your first one star rating? Believe me, we all get them at one time or another.

Which leads us to another topic for a future date: Revisions and editing…

ROW80 Check-In:

Revisions – for the past two months I have been working on Revisions of all my previously published works. I’m kind of on a roll with only one book left to go.

Since Along Came Neil came out during the beginning of July I decided to revise the whole series, which does have its benefits, like fixing proofing errors, and story gaps. This is a good thing. By starting at the beginning of the series, this helped me make sure that the story remained on track, right to the end. Along Came Neil brought a lot of closure to the story. I can either continue the series or let it end. I feel confident that I did achieve a decent ending. Now all I can do is wait for my readers to tell me what they think about the story.

In the meantime, I moved on to my fantasy series. I actually had no choice but to go over the story once again if I’m to start working on the next book in this series. I don’t keep a time line. (I should – shouldn’t I?)

So by doing a revision of the fantasy series I am not only raising the quality of the story but I am regaining where I was at with the story.

I have about thirteen chapters left to go. Maybe I will be done by this weekend so I can start coming up with my next plot.

So while I regroup my fantasy series I hope, even if you have had a terrible critique group experience you will keep your Manuscript Marching Onward. The parade only stops if you stop marching.

Stop by and cheer on the progress of other ROW 80 writers by following the Linky Link, or better yet, come join us!

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House of Skeletons

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.

Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

House of Skeletons by Linda Nelson – © June 12, 2013

Tara loved the house she grew up in, she hadn’t been back home in over twenty years. How time flies and things change.

She pulled up to the curb and put the car in park. Tara could see the property from her car. A rickety For-Sale sign hung on a wooden post. She wondered how long the property had been for sale. How could the home that she had loved so much fallen into such disrepair?

“There it is,” she said to her best friend Maddy. “That’s where I grew up.”

“That is the house you are going to buy?” Maddy asked. “Your kidding me. You can’t fix that unless you plan on bulldozing it down.”

Tara got out of the car and walked briskly toward the rundown home, Maddy followed close behind. “I’m not going to plow this house into the earth. I can fix it, I know I can.” She poked her head in the doorway where the door was off it’s hinges and leaning up against the wall. Dirt billowed in the front door, spilling across the floor.

Tara stepped over the threshold to look about the building. The Real Estate agent would be there any minute.

The back part of the house was missing where the kitchen and the dining room used to be. All that remained of it was the broken caved in bricks. She had helped her mom bake many a cake and cookie in that kitchen. Her mom passed away while she was in her second year of college.

She could still picture her dad sitting in his recliner in the living room. The chair was no longer there, but her memory was, there he sat watching many a ball game on Saturday afternoons. None of the furniture remained, just the memory of it in her mind. A single tear streaked down her cheek.

Tara’s dad passed away six months ago from a heart attack. Being an only child now meant being alone. But she had Maddy, her best friend and the closest she had to family. Maddy was like a sister to her.

“Hello,” A voice called from outside the house.

“The Agent is here Tara.”

“Okay, can you tell her I will be right out?”

Tara waited for Maddy to step outside the doorway before she crossed what was left of the living room and stooped before the dusty fireplace hearth. There she found the loose brick and underneath it the ring she had hid when she was five. How her mom had gotten into so much trouble for reporting her engagement ring missing. Her dad was rip shit. Tara never told anyone that she had taken the ring. Today she couldn’t remember why she had taken it and not given it back. It was just water under the dam, and all she had left of a memory from a time long ago.

She left the home and stepped outside to greet the Real Estate Agent whom Maddy was now questioning about the price of the property.

“I’m sorry to say. I can’t sell it to you. The property is taken. It was sold last night.”

“Can’t we counter the bid?” Asked Maddy. She looked toward Tara out of concern.

“I’m sorry to say, the owner has already accepted the sale. The property has been paid for in cash up front.”

Tara’s eyes welled with tears. She was too late. She clutched the ring in the palm of her hand that was thrust deep inside her pocket. At least she had that. “It’s all right Maddy.”

“Can I show you another property?” the agent asked.

“No never mind. I only wanted this one because it was where I had been born and raised,” answered Tara. “Thank you for coming out to meet us.”

“Are you sure, I have other properties like this one.”

“No this was the only one I wanted. But can you tell me who bought it?” Tara asked.

“Oh yes, a very nice elderly man. I think he said his name was Barry Cooper.”

Tara felt the blood leave her face. She had no idea her uncle Barry was alive. Her folks told her that he had died when she was five and was never allowed to ask about him ever again. That was until she had entered college and had done a little bit of investigating that turned up a hidden secret. Apparently her Uncle Barry was her real father. No one knew except her dead parents and her. So the skeleton was about to return home and look in the closets and Tara would pay him a visit when he did.

The Official Release Day of Road Salt

Today marks the official release day of Road Salt and once again I am giving away the free eBook edition of Road Salt on Smashwords. I’m not doing this just in hopes of attracting reviews for the book. What I really want is to help create awareness of this dangerous substance that is still being sold on our streets, not just in the United States but all around the world. It was the main reason why I wrote this book to begin with.

Over the past year I have met many people that have never heard of the substance let alone know how dangerous it is, this goes for service workers as well. When I first set out to write this story I had to scour the internet in search of facts about the substance. I was hard pressed to find anything worthwhile. That was over a year ago. Then I got thinking and had an a-ha moment, which led to my next lead on the topic.

When I was in high school I did basic research but nothing to this degree. This time there was no information to be found in encyclopedias or libraries. Instead I had to find a new type of source.

Who would I know that might have some idea what this substance was like?

At first I figured my informant would be a drug rehab counselor. I was wrong. They knew even less about the substance than I did. All they knew was that it existed and it was very bad stuff.

I thought well maybe I should ask a doctor, but then I said no. They are too busy to be bothered with such a thing.

Finally after searching and searching my brain went ding. I once worked with this guy who was an EMT. He is one of my friends on Facebook and still is an EMT. He even teaches the EMT course. So I said, what the heck, why not ask.

He was so excited to hear I was looking to write such a book that he gave me exactly what I was looking for. He too wanted to help bring about awareness of the substance since he saw the dangerous effects first hand when he responded to such a call. He has been to many a call involving the use of Bath Salts and he said it is not pretty.

 

So here it is for all to see and read: Road Salt

    Free on Smashwords in many different eBook formats all DRM free… https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/258513

Finding Writing Motivation – #ROW80

Linda Attends her First Ever RWA Meeting

Yesterday I attended my very first Romance Writers Meeting in Bow, NH. I had a great time.

My friend Linda Kepner whom is also a member of the Monadnock Writers’ Group invited me to this meeting as a guest. She has been a member since last year and wanted to share the experience with me.

I think I got a lot more out of this meeting than was apparent to me yesterday. It has helped spark some enthusiasm in me just by being around these fun loving girls.

Can you imagine being at a meeting in a library where you have been taught over the ages to be quiet and to find that this meeting is so loud with laughter that it can be heard in the main part of the library behind closed doors.

I had such a good time that I began to check out the National site to see how much the membership costs. What I say made me say ouch. If it wasn’t for having to have a root canal taken care of over the next few weeks I think I would have had the money to join. It is kind of steep when you are living pay check to pay check.

Oh well, it will just have to wait a few months.

In the mean time I began to poke around and discovered that the RWA also has a subchapter that is right up my alley. The Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Special Interest Chapter of RWA.

If this doesn’t motivate me to join, I don’t know what will. When I saw this I said, “Wait a minute. I guess I really do need to find a way to join.”

But still it is going to have to wait. I can’t pull money out of a hat unless it is in a story line. Unfortunately reality does not work that way.

So coming back to reality…

My ROW80 Check – In:

At the beginning of the week I had only added 1k words to Road Salt. Working on this story has been like pulling teeth. Sometimes I have found it to be almost as painful. It is not meant to be an entertaining read and I have to destroy the lives of my characters. I’m not really having fun doing this. Even the humor is lacking making this to be a dark sort of fiction, or so it seems to me.

But I do have to write this story. I promised to write it and by golly I will write it and finish it. Then I will be able to reward myself by writing the next installment of the Orgarlan Saga.

Today I am happy to report on my current additional word count of Road Salt. In the past 2 hours I was able to add another 2k words.

That makes 3k words for the week. Yes!

Now I will go back and fight off the temptation to put Road Salt away for the rest of the day. World of Warcraft is calling me. Hopefully I will be able to resist the temptation and keep on writing.

Have you written any stories where you felt like you were pulling teeth?

Stop by and check out and meet some of the other ROW’ers with our Linkey List.