Time Flies Fast!

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 3.21.55 PMHoly cannoli, where has the time gone?

In November, I typed my fingers raw getting about 50,000 words of Josie’s story down. I took a break for the holidays–I needed some distance from the story to assess how it was going and what needed to be changed. Plus, after pushing so quickly through the story,  I had quite a bit of content that needed A LOT of work.

*Blink*

And now it’s MAY! I’ve worked on the manuscript here and there, of course, but it should have been finished already.

I think the biggest problem is the enormous pile of stinking poo it was after NaNoWriMo. It felt overwhelming, and I had no idea how to tackle it. You have to understand, I’m the kind of writer who writes a chapter, revises it in a couple passes, then moves to the next chapter. As I progress through the story, the chapters I leave behind are, for the most part, done. Once the entire book is finished, I go through it two more times before I send it to the editor–once to amplify the emotions and squeeze everything into it I can (I think of this as “plumping it up”),  and then I make sure every sentence is exactly the way I want it. However, all the substance of the story is there after the first go-around.

Rather than try to pick up the poo and shape it into something useful, I decided to start over. As I progress through the story, I pull quite a bit from what I’ve already written, but I’m doing it in small batches. I try not to think about all those words I still need to incorporate (or worse, send to the trash) because it makes my heart pound and I feel nauseous. Baby steps are better, focus on the present, deep breaths, and all that.

In the meantime, I have lots of ideas for the fourth book in the Legal Affairs Series, and even a good handle on a spin-off series. I’ll get it all done eventually, but it takes one step at a time. Stay tuned!

By the way, if you’re curious about the picture, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!  🙂

NaNoWriMo and Josie

img_9524What does National Novel Writing Month have to do with my next book? It’s simple, I’m writing like a fiend to get it done by the end of November. This book is Josie’s story and she’s a complex gal. There’s so much going on in this book, I’m excited to finally be getting it all down on paper, so to speak.

Now, don’t get too excited. Once the book is written, I guarantee there will be tons of edits and those take time. I don’t expect this book to be on sale until sometime next Spring. However, if you can’t wait that long, I’ve posted a quick blurb for the book on the NaNoWriMo website and I’ll share it with you here. It’s rough, but it’ll give you an idea of where this book is going. I hope you enjoy it!

PS The new working name of this book is Diamond in the Rough. Not sure I’ll keep it, but we’ll see.

Josie McFarland has sworn off all men—they don’t bring out the best in her. All her past relationships have left her heart bruised and battered. She’s content to focus on her legal career and work on her many social projects, including lobbying for legislation that will significantly curb human trafficking in Las Vegas. That resolve becomes personal when a battered teen-aged girl escapes her captors and stumbles into Josie’s life. Josie will do anything to keep her safe.

Nick Noble is suave, confident, a powerful attorney, and rumor has it he’s a fabulous lover. He also ties Josie in knots. When he challenges the legality of the new sex trafficking statute, Josie sets her emotions aside and prepares for war. Sparks fly when these two tangle.

Things get complicated when Nick discovers he has a daughter, causing him to question everything about his life, including this work. Has he been on the wrong side all along? Nick will have to find a way to work with Josie to save the daughter he’s come to love. When that means risking losing his heart to Josie, will he take the leap of faith, or will he fall back on his playboy ways and lose it all?

Starting the Next Book

file000349823764Writing a book isn’t something you just sit down one day and do. Well, maybe some authors did that, but not me. There was a huge learning curve. First, I had to learn the elements of a good story and how to manipulate them. Then there was character development. It’s unbelievable what goes into that; it’s a lot more than name and eye color. Each character has to have a wound, and motivation, plus a thousand other things. They’re supposed to feel real to the reader, so they have to be well-rounded and, well, real.

Once you have some characters, what do they do? How do they interact? What happens? I really hate this part. For me, figuring out what happens is like pulling teeth. But once it’s done, then you have to have the skill and knowledge translate it all into the written word. Words can be powerful. They can convey enormous emotion and drive compelling stories that you can’t put down. They can also be so incredibly boring that you’d rather go  wash your baseboards.

A writer has to juggle all these things, plus a million more. She sifts them all together, then arranges them so they’re believable and authentic to the story and the characters, and most importantly, so they tell a great story. Nothing about the process is easy, but it can be incredibly satisfying when it all comes together.

My first book, Reading the Signs, took about three years to write. As an attorney, I spent years writing for a living, so I thought I knew what I was doing. I was wrong. The learning curve for writing fiction was enormous so I wrote, and re-wrote, then re-wrote again. I can’t tell you how many versions of RTS I wrote.

My second book, Fool Me Once, took only eighteen months. That’s half the time. However, it was a much more complex book. I had another steep learning curve to figure out how to juggle so many moving parts. Charts, timelines, mind nodes, calendars, and notecards stuck on cork boards are just a few of the things I used to keep it all straight.

I started writing my third book a couple weeks ago. The working title is Diamonds in the Rough, but that will probably change. It’s Josie’s story and while I’ve only written about 30 pages, I can tell it’s going to be a monster. There’s so much going on and some of the issues my characters deal with are big, gnarly, and intense. Even though I’m writing fiction, I feel an enormous responsibility to accurately represent what I write about. I’m always mindful that there are people in the real world dealing with the same issues as my characters. For them, I have to get it right— not only their suffering and struggles, but also the solutions and resources available to help them.

All of this boils down to the point of this post. Writing is very hard work and for me, writing the first draft is overwhelming. And that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m working on the first draft of Diamond on the Rough and I hope to have it done sometime in the next few months. Then I’ll start the process of revising, and that’s the part of writing that I love best. With any luck, I’ll cut the time it takes to write a book in half again, and I’ll get this one out in about nine months. Fingers crossed. Only time will tell.  🙂