I’m still getting to know our rescued pup, Junie. This means I am still staring at her frequently asking, “Why did THAT seem like a good idea?” Glad to know from this quiz that Junie is “the life of the party.”
What’s your dog’s personality? Does the quiz do your dog justice?
I could tell you all sorts of riveting info about my writing process which would be sure to bore the socks off you. Yes, I’ve had 30 books published. Yes, I’ve won awards. I could recite chapter and verse about the nuts and bolts of my process, but I figured it would be much more interesting to see it through the eyes of the guy who watches me do all this business…the hubster, Papa Bear. He not only watches, but he helps with research, reads through countless pages for me, and holds my hand when the going gets rough. Here’s what I think Papa Bear might say about his wife, the writer. (We’ll have him weigh in later in the comments and see how I did. )
1. She gets completely mesmerized by an idea and that’s going to wind up in a book somewhere, somehow. It’s beyond a passing interest. She talked about halibut for three days after she learned their eyes migrated to one side of their bodies! There’s gonna be a halibut in a novel at some point.
2. She alternates between self assured and insecure. At some point she will throw the manuscript on the floor and say, “I’m not sure if this is genius or a pile of you-know-what.”
3. She is not terribly organized. There are piles and post its and notepads everywhere and now there are even notes on the bathroom mirror. Oy!
So hubs. Did I get it right?
What would your husband/children say about your work habits or hobbies? Giving away an iTunes gift card, a signed book and a Fall surprise this month! I would SO love to hear your comments.
Folks ask me constantly. “How do you make yourself sit down and write all those books?” I say, in all honesty, “Three words. Legally binding contracts.” Yep, right in the middle of all that legal mumbo jumbo in the contract is a deadline. The term “deadline” as a matter of fact, is thought to have originated in Civil War prison camps where real or imaginary lines were drawn. Cross them, and it was lights out.
Deadlines are good because they keep the endless procrastination at bay. The problem I have found is that to be successful in this business, you need to have multiple deadlines (both self imposed and contractual ones) working at one time. If you write one book at a time, finish it, then start on the proposal for the next one, there will be too much of a time lag between projects. It’s just not feasible. For example, I have a full manuscript due to my publisher on Feb. 15th. I also have a self assigned deadline to have the next proposal (three chapters and a synopsis) more or less done at that same time so I can have that ready to submit while that full manuscript goes through the editing pipeline. Now multiply that by three different publishers (at the moment, I’m writing for Love Inspired, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House) and you see why DEADline is an apt description. I try to think of it this way. Each book is a blessing, and an opportunity, even if it sometimes doesn’t feel that way.
So what about you? Everyone has deadlines of some sort or another. Are yours imposed by a boss or yourself? How do you motivate yourself to meet your deadlines? Giving away a VISA gift card, a signed book and a February surprise this month.
Cast your mind back to 2008. Do you remember it? Yep, it’s foggy for me, too. It was my second book for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and I was a rookie, for sure. I tackled a book with a theme familiar in the Mentink world…firefighting. Here’s the blurb below.
Why is a kind-hearted savant setting fire to an ordinary book? Recuperating firefighter Ivy Beria is determined to find out. But then the young man, Moe, goes missing–and his only friend turns up dead. Ivy is sure the double mystery is linked to the string of numbers Moe chanted before he vanished. She asks her best friend, computer expert Tim Carnelli, to uncover a pattern. They make two shocking discoveries: they have unexpected romantic feelings for one another and Moe is in serious danger. They’d better find him fast. Or the truth–and their dreams–will go up in smoke.
Since Papa Bear worked for the fire service for more than 30 years, I figured writing those blazing inferno scenes would be easy peasy. Wrong! Papa Bear has the annoying tendency to want to edit my glorious fire scenes for scientific correctness. No, there really wouldn’t be an explosion. Actually, the smoke would be so thick they wouldn’t be able to see that villain lurking under the stairs. No, you can’t really start an arson fire that way. Maddening! In spite of (and largely thanks to) Papa Bear’s comments, I managed to finish the book. If any technical errors slipped through, they are mine, not his.
Do you have an expert in your life to offers advice? What are they an expert on? Do share! 🙂
Readers have a universal love the creative twist, the one of a kind character, the sparklingly original plot. There are also some universally aggravating qualities that can crop up in romance novels sure to infuriate the reader. Here are my top three.
1. The “too stupid to live” heroine. I’m not sure why it is that this phenomenon usually applies to a female, but modern readers don’t tolerate stupidity in their heroines. No walking into the dark basement where the killer lurks without so much as a cell phone in her pocket. No way. Women are smart, and having them behave as if they aren’t is sure to insult readers.
2. The heroine that’s tougher than the hero. Yes, we want our heroines to be smart, strong, and resilient, but we don’t want them to overshadow the hero. They can be partners, help each other and take turns being the problem solver, but we don’t want a Rambo-esque heroine.
3. The missing “HEA.” For those in the biz, HEA is short for “happily ever after.” It’s mandatory in a romance novel. If we’re going to sit through an entire novel, there better be a happy resolution by the end. It doesn’t have to end in a proposal (though those are nice) but we sure have to have the expectation that we’ve got that wonderful, love match. No happy ending? No happy readers!
What drives you crazy in a romance novel? Giving away a signed book, an Amazon gift card and a fall surprise!
Let’s face it. The hero of a romantic suspense novel is just not going to be named Eggbert. Even the most skilled writer cannot morph that name into something macho (please forgive me, all the Eggberts out there.) Yes, names are important, they reflect the tone and feel of the book.
In my lighthearted romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, I can have an Aunt Bitsy and a misfit dog named Baggy. In my suspense novels? Er, not so much. In Jungle Fire, the german shepherd’s name is Axel, so the “name rules” apply to the animal kingdom too. Conversely though, it’s nice sometimes to juxtapose a very plain name on a fantastically complex hero. Case in point? Harry. Harry Potter. Can you get a name plainer than Harry Potter? Can you find a more complex character? Love that juxtaposition.
In romance, however, your hero is going to need a strong name (Dan, Cliff, Ryder, etc.) and your women need something that makes them relatable that fits the story. Is Buffy a great name? You bet, but not for a romantic suspense. And Bubbles, while perfect for that romantic comedy, is just not going to cut it in suspense. You see what I mean?
So how do you feel about the name your parents gave you? I am told Dana means “man from Denmark” but I always liked my name because it works for both genders and you don’t meet a million Danas around town. What about you? Love your name? Hate it? Would your name be great for a character in a romance novel?
Giving away a Target gift card, a signed book and a fall surprise in our October drawing.