Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Unlearning those school writing lessons…part #1

 

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I’ve got a very weird job, I’ll admit it. Oh not the teaching gig (I teach third grade) though that can be nutty at times too. Recently I went to school dressed as an emoticon, but that’s a whole other blog post.) I meant the fiction writing thing. It’s funny to me how much of my writing time is spent flagrantly “unlearning” the lessons I took in as a child during writing lessons. Though I’d never admit it to my eight year olds, I’ve been putting my mind recently to a couple of those lessons I had to “unlearn” about writing and life.

Rule #1: “Don’t daydream.”
Awww man! I heard that one all the time as a kid. Short attention span. Way too much time lost in books. Head in the clouds, thinking frivolous  thoughts. I totally understand why the teachers over the years tried to squelch that habit. One shouldn’t be drifting to imaginary places when being given a lecture on crucial topics like long division. Now, however, I get paid to daydream. “Give us something new and fresh,” my editors say. I spend quite a number of waking hours lost in la la land. While walking the dog, I’m wrestling with a way to save my characters from a flash flood. Sitting through a boring movie? Hmmm. I wonder what would happen if the hero was suddenly visited by a child he didn’t know he had? I had the best time brainstorming a life or death escape from a burning shed in my newest book, Treacherous Trails. You see? I’m a professional daydreamer. My former teachers would cringe!

Do you ever daydream during important moments? Feel brave enough to share?

Info about Dana’s newest book, Treacherous Trails.

Seriously…I have the BEST idea to change the face of books forever!

 

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Okay editors of Earth. I know you, like me, absolutely adore words. Oh sure you have to insist on pesky word counts and such in order not to produce a volume too heavy for the average sized human to heft. I gotcha. And I know I probably aggravated the beejeebers out of you by submitting that last manuscript with a couple thousand words too many, but listen! I have the BEST idea! I mean this is gonna shake up the writing world more than the invention of the ebook. Ready? Take a peek at the video. You can thank me at your leisure. I’ll wait right here by the phone.

Click. You’ll love it. Promise.

 

What’s your dog’s personality…..a quiz for dog lovers!

 

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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?

http://barkpost.com/dog-personality-type-quiz/

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http://www.amazon.com/Sit-Stay-Love-Unleashed/dp/0736966072/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1461189471&sr=8-2&keywords=Sit%2C+stay%2C+love

 

My Writing Life…Through Papa Bear’s eyes

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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. 

 

Deadlines…the good, the bad and the ugly.

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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.

A big writing announcement…

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I’ve got news. Big news, at least for me it is! I’m excited to report that I’ve just signed a three book contract with Harvest House for a series of lighthearted, dog themed romances. This is both exhilerating and frightening. The exhileration comes from the fact that, I am by nature, a nut. I love to laugh, and the peeps that know me will tell you I have a wacky sense of humor. Humor is very natural to me, so to be asked to write a lightearted romance with plenty of laughter included, is an honor. And the dog theme? Oh man. I have written dozens of dog characters in my day because I believe there is no greater example of unconditional love than a dog’s affection for its human.

So why is this also a frightening adventure? Because I’m branded already as a romantic suspense author. I will continue to write those, too. The question is, how restrictive is my brand? Will people say, “Oh, that Mentink is a pretty decent writer, I’ll give her lighthearted romances a try.” Or perhaps they’ll say, “Mentink is a romantic suspense author, and that’s what I want to read from her.” You see the dilemma?

So what do you think? If you like an author, are you willing to try them out in a new genre, or do you prefer your authors to stick with what they’re known for? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Giving away a Starbuck’s card and signed book this month. 

Throwback Thursday…the hazards of marrying an arson investigator

 

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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! 🙂