Sunday, February 07, 2016

Living the Life

The Subject of Bucket List came up today. My mother never got her trip to Florida and always mourned not going when she could. Taking an example from a really wonderful mom,  I am determined to do the things I wish to do/learn/experience.

In review of my short life (ha,ha,ha :)) I have done what I wanted to do, needed to do for fulfillment.

In review, this period of my life may be the most fulfilling. I'm learning a tremendous amount, all coming at me at once. Life stuff is moving along, the house renovating, choosing colors, fixing this/that and getting out for those long contemplative drives. I just took one yesterday, down to Eureka Springs, AR, which is a 1900 city built on steep hills and usually filled with tourists. The drive to Eureka Springs was perfect on a sunlit day. Lots of curves, gorgeous rolling hills and plenty of scenery. My new car hasn't had this drive, so quite the experience navigating narrow, curved hilly brick-lined streets with tourists walking everywhere. :)

During the drive, I settled plot points. Love open road for thinking about my books, and am planning a summer/fall trip now.

I have 2 Bucket Lists and they conflict. 1.) I'm a painter, or was until writing heavily, and take a lot of pictures to paint whenever. I'm stocked up and want to paint more. 2). I'm writing heavily and loving it. It seems all possibilities are open now.

As a writer, (Label me Hybrid as I have Traditionally published books and Indie published now) I'm deep into learning more about Indie publishing and in an intensive learning period. Right now, I'm using Scrivener more (a major piece of plotting/writing software). Scrivener helps with keeping details of series straight. But does a lot more. Then, I've just hand formatted The Basket Maker's Wife in paper for CreateSpace, trade size. Quite the learning experience, using different fonts and styles. Very happy with that project; turned out gorgeous with glyphs, etc.  Then just got into Vellum, an ebook formatting software, also gorgeous and available in Mac. I changed from PC a couple years ago and the pain of shifting was well worth it.

I love learning. That's me, the learner. :)

NOTE: Microsoft Word does an excellent job of formatting and is easy to use. The Smashwords guide for formatting is excellent. Once down, easy. There is no reason for an Indie writer to pay for this service and sometimes it is way overpriced.

Currently, I'm learning a lot from The Creative Penn's podcasts. Terrific amount of stuff to learn there, life and writing. Podcasts are super, aren't they? Easy listening while driving or doing whatever.


Finally: This "Hybrid" is thoroughly enjoying the ride. How about you?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Caseys

NOW .99
THE CASEYS BOXED SET NOW .99

ON SALE NOW, my very first book, Lady on the Line. Set in Missouri where I now live.


Meet the Caseys and two 40-plus, macho hunks with old fashioned thinking about man/woman roles:

Lady on the Line: K.C., an electric company’s “lineman” didn’t know the guy on the make and dancing with her on Saturyday night was her Monday Morning hunky, but macho boss, Barrett. Now he’s in serious pursuit of the lady and wants her safe, on the ground instead of high electric poles,  and in his arms. But K.C. has to hold her own.

A Lady’s Desire: A developer’s front man, Dan tangles with born and bred Missourian, Rainey, will fight to protect her beloved Ozarks. Sparks fly when Dan discovers this Car Show mechanic is no boy. The father of young men, Dan isn’t expecting love and desire hot enough to melt him. Both burned by old loves, Dan and Rainey are in deep water, shocked by new love.

Both heroes are over 40, seasoned in love, but not prepared for what they find in the Caseys. I hope you enjoy  THE CASEYS BOXED SET NOW .99

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Writing Fast or Slow or What?

Maybe No, Maybe Yes
Now in Re-Release:
Maybe No, Maybe Yes 

How do you write? Fast? Edit as you go along? Plotting? Plunging? Find out below.... but first a word from our "sponsors", that would be me.

~~~~

Melanie Inganforde, a petite beauty, is determined to climb the womanless ranks of a Kansas City investment firm. Tight underwear and shapeless business suits disguise her curves. Her irritating nemesis, the firm's "star player" and Romeo, Sloan Raventhrall enjoys rattling her while he scoops up the choice clients.

When Sloan is "off his game" with the flu and his visiting niece, "Mel" seizes her chance. In return for her help, Sloan trades his best client, Itty Bitty. Then, with a raging fever, Sloan discovers a sweet sexy nymph in his apartment and falls in old-fashioned love. As the nymph, Melanie discovers a sweet, disarming and romantic Sloan.

Recovered, back in his game, Sloan unwraps Mel's “bratwurst-body” disguise and finds his sexy nymph. He’s angry and determined to make Mel pay--and marry her. A Today Woman, a competitive list-maker to Sloan's free-wheeling style, Melanie has other plans and terms of her own, like equal footing in their fast-moving romance.

The love game is on: Melanie and Sloan, each playing for keeps in Maybe No, Maybe Yes.
~~~

Writing Fast or Slow or What?

Writers all write at different speeds. I'm a fairly fast, regimented writer. I believe it is important to keep that story warm and flowing; however much writing/words it takes daily. But I have no daily goal. It pretty much averages out.

However, some advise writing as fast as you can. Pushing yourself and your story, producing as many works as you can within any given time. Here's how some writers work, because we all create and work differently.
  • The Plotter: This person take time to develop an outline or a synopsis, taking care of the midpoint, the 3-act play, etc. Answering all questions in the beginning--or not, if it is a series with an ARC. That's not Advanced Reading Copy. :) Mystery writers probably do this more, I don't know. There are tons of ways to plot, no one way is right as we are all different players. Plotters. nudge and develop, before starting the work. AND THEN; They write fast; they know the path they are to follow. In Maybe No, Maybe Yes, heroine Melanie Inganforde would probably be a Plotter.
  • The Plunger: If good, and/or an experienced writer with scars :), Plungers have a pretty sturdy idea of where they are going and take right off. I see this as the Inner Organized Writer as the Plotter is the Outer Organized Writer. In Maybe No, Maybe Yes, hero Sloan Raventhrall would probably leap on instincts.
  • The Plotter/Plunger Hybrid: That would be me. Since beginnings are difficult for me, I usually have an idea where I'm going and take off. After I get the "feel" of the characters--I write character driven stories--I'll back up, clean out, and dig into plotting. If you haven't yet, read some of my articles on plotting, listed in the sidebar. (I intend to use these in a How to Write Book one day.) In the Plunger stage, I pretty much try to lay down a lot of copy that I know will take editing, i.e. Chapter 2 is where the story really begins and I can filter in the rest.
  • The Regimented Writer: That would be me, also. I'm pretty much at the keyboard putting in my creative story time, trying to lock into the pulse of the story that will carry me through.
  •  The Editing as You Go Writer: That would be half-me. Sometimes I can't resist.
  •  The Don't Edit As You Go Writer: This is part of a Write-Fast Movement. Just let that story flow out of you. You can write really fast that way, and you can write really easily in the wrong direction, costing time. I was just sick when I wrote really fast--natural to me--but I went off course for 30 pages and just into another story line, which didn't fit the WIP.
  • The Perfectionist Writer: As writers we don't want to cut the WIP's umbilical cord; we don't want to let go of our baby. Snip. You have to do it sometime. If you are a Perfectionist, you are not likely to be a Write As Fast As You Can writer, but probably a pretty thoughtful one. 
But if we're true writers, we're going to get there somehow....

 What is your writing style? Tortoise, Hare or You?  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Writer's Story Basket

A SMALL MISSOURI TOWN
THE BASKET MAKER'S WIFE
I'm often asked: "How do you get your novel ideas?"

I've never used story prompts, that's just me. I never needed them, the stories just keep coming. Many of our stories reside within in, from our experiences. Here's my brief life bio, and yes, it's all about me:
  • A small town girl, I grew up in north central Washington State, just across the Columbia River from the Colville Reservation. This is where Chief Joseph "retired" and they named a major dam after him. Lots of rodeos--real ones, Native American influences. North central WA State is basically orchards, fruit, sand and sage. That sand and sage is important, because when I read a western setting, if that scent and color isn't there, phooey. I've dug arrowheads from the sand along the river and my friends and I rode our bicycles everywhere.
  • I've always been a heavy reader, starting pretty early I hear. Dad was a storyteller, loved to read pulp westerns to me and maybe I got some of that. No nice little fairy tales for this little kid.
  • I'm of German descent, both parents and 2 older siblings speaking a language I could never manage. French seemed easier and I've lost both. The Schwartzes own Mill Haven's (The Basket Maker's Wife's town) Quilt Shop.
  • Mom was a great cook and canned as most did living in the rural area. And like others, we had a huge garden. She played the organ and there was lots of dancing. I still love to dance, especially tangos/rumbas/waltzes and rock & roll. With my own bow and arrows, I wasn't up to Hunger Games, but enjoyed it and bowling/athletics.
  • Mom is like a bank of stories. She was an artist with a crochet hook. I've just learned a little--enough to use in a story.
  • Mountains play a huge part, some of my relatives mountain hunters, fishermen in the area. Great resources when writing about those topics.
  • To my memory, the only Baskets in our home were plastic laundry baskets. The Basket Maker's Wife would have been shocked. I love handcrafted baskets of this Ozarks area where I live now. I'll never make one, but I appreciate them.
  • Moving on, I went to college, a small town girl in an overwhelming large student base. Not a clue.
  • Got married, had children, continued my love of painting and took up a new love--writing. By that time, I'd canned, baked, etc. too. And raised calves, herded a bull back into a pasture, and worked in the small orchard. So, a farm wife who sewed all my daughters' and my clothing, doll clothes, husband shirts, etc. Lots of sewing. In The Basket Maker's Wife, Lynn learns how to sew and patch to start her own business and to help Nora.
  • To add to income, I worked in offices.
  • Marriage and raising my own children added to my child-characters believability. Writers want believability. I began to write heavily and wrote for major publishers: Berkley, Dell, HarperCollins and Harlequin. Most of the time, it was for 2 publishers at the same time--that and a family is not easy. Call it prioritizing and cutting Fat-Time.
  • Children grown, I started another love, driving cross county to research my novel sites. Very important that. Went to buffalo runs, forts, fur traders and gold miner trails, threw tomahawks at rendezvous. Photography came with that. Lots of stories in pictures. (I wish I'd taken a picture of that old wooden windmill in Kansas. Lots of stories in that one.)
Right there, in the above, are a whole bunch of stories. If you've read my novels, you'll find that the range is from romantic suspense, to emotional resolve, to humor and more. "Author Branding" is successful--that is: stick with the same old. I haven't be able to stick with any one subgenre, though it's usually romance. I believe in romance, so there's another element. :)


Basket Maker’s Wife
NOW 4.99
>>“Couldn’t put it down.” In the small Ozarks town of Mill Haven, 42 year-old Nora is suddenly pregnant and hit with unwanted insights. Shadowed by her dark past, Nora feels undeserving and is unprepared for the sweetness of love and the man who wants to marry her. She has two grown sons and an older one, the baby she gave away. Where is he?<<




You might want to list your background to mine for stories--but I'm pretty sure they'll stream right out of you. Everyone has at least one story in them and most writers have a basket full. :)

The Egg Basket (2) is coming soon--I hope. I'm writing the 3rd of the series now. 

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Creative Mix Writer


I’ve just gotten this basket from a thrift shop. I’m enjoying it. It’s very different from the handcrafted ones I’m writing about in my Basket Series. (I’m writing the third in the series now.)

 When I get a basket, I usually have its purpose in mind, just like Jessie Holbrook, the intuitive owner of The Basket Shop featured in The Basket Maker's Wife (Book 1).  Of course, Jessie chooses a special basket for one unique person which will affect their lives—all in a good way.

This basket is quite large and light, crafted from reeds, I believe. I found that it’s sturdy, portable and perfect for my crochet stuff. That’s the scarf I just crocheted because I wanted a red one in that shade.

 But over the holidays, I promised I would finish the rabbit painting that has been interrupted so many times. He’s been haunting me. I haven’t painted in years, and need to relearn quite a bit, but he’ll do for a starter. Enthused, I bought more canvases. There they sit, waiting…. 

I’ve never had art or writing lessons. There’s a freedom in that, whether good or bad. A friend found that unusual. I don’t. You just do what’s inside you to do. What do you think?

I’ve found that it’s really difficult to separate the artistic creative mind from the writer’s mind. It seems other writer/artists do, too. Somehow, that mix, back-to-back does not work for me. I can only do one or the other. But that squirrel is done, destined for a daughter’s wall. Sleepless in Montana (romantic suspense) is a special book to me--they're all special in one way or another. Hero Hogan Kodiak is an artist and I identified with his creative mind.

I've set up a Pinterest Page dedicated to Baskets. Please visit? Who knew there would be a chestnut gathering basket??

Here’s just a few of the things I do and enjoy, which I’m certain others do, too.
·      Writing. I’m a storyteller at heart, but a written one. I appreciate those who can verbally tell a good story. My Dad was excellent, making the story live through spoken words. I enjoy the character mixes, like Jessie Holbrook, Nora and Lynn in The Basket Maker’s Wife. A good character mix, reacting/reflecting off each other is essential.
·      Driving open roads, traveling, etc. I’ve driven those Northwest historical trails in my westerns, visited the forts, pow-wows, etc. Soaked up every historical marker on the Oregon Trail.
·      Photography. I hope to paint some of my shots one day. I take a lot of pictures which help me remember the setting of my books. I’ve been to the settings of all my books, but have fictionalized towns, etc. But I also take flower closeups, etc.
·      Baking bread. And people like to eat it. (I just got a new bread basket.) My family and friends preference is a potato roll; the dough can be refrigerated. The historical recipe originated with the Pikes Peak miners.
·      Cooking. Asian/Italian/some German, etc. (a chopstick is the handiest cooking utensil). I put on a good movie and make those potstickers to freeze for soup.
·      Growing and using herbs.
·      Making my own laundry soap—just did that this a.m.—and am learning other DIYs including shower gels, etc.
·      Tunisian crocheting. That’s the red scarf in the basket. My mother was a true artist with a hook. I’m not, but enjoy simple stitches. I do a lot of it, though nothing fancy. In an upcoming short story, a Tunisian crochet hook becomes deadly. My stories contain the things I do. Been there, done that.

And oddly, learning new computer software is like a game to me. I don't know why. Strange, huh?

There’s more and will be more. What I enjoy and do are incorporated in my stories. Chickens are featured in an upcoming book, and yes I’ve “conflicted” with them, too. And calves, and canning, gardening and farm housewifery. Yes, I’ve hiked paths in the Cascade Mountains. In discussions with other writers, I’ve found that most of them are a creative mix and quite accomplished.

There’s a truism in writer-dom: “You have to get out from behind the desk to add depth to your story.” I believe it.



Subscribe to my enewsletter and follow whatever I'm doing, wherever I am. You'll want to follow this Basket series, book 1 The Basket Maker's Wife now in ebook and soon in paper and see how much of me--what I do--within the fictional pages.
 “Couldn’t put it down.”
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