Yes, you guessed it, another Launch Party in the Lair!! Woohoooo! Nothing like a party with the Romance Bandits.
Today, June 1, is the official Launch for Dark and Deadly, my second Romantic Suspense. Whew! A milestone, indeed. I'm now officially multi-published.
Whaddya know? How the heck did that happen?
As I wrote this, I was thinking a lot about my debut, Dark and Dangerous. It hit the stands on June 1, 2008. Same Time, Last Year.
I didn't know then what I know now.
That sounds trite, doesn't it? However, any of you who have children will be familiar with this feeling. Everyone tells you when you're pregnant that your life is about to change irrevocably. You know it too. You think you understand it. And in some ways you do understand that monumental change that's overtaking you. In every other way?
Ohhhh, you don't understand anything and you are in for the ride of your life!
Even if you don't have kids, you get this. You've been there with a job, or a life change like a marriage or a divorce, or a lay-off.
Same thing with getting that first book published. You know things are about to change. Things HAVE changed the moment you sign the contract. So, analogous to finding out you're pregnant, you get The Call and sign the contract and everything suddenly shifts into high gear. You turn the book in. You make the requested revisions. You make more revisions. You wait. You prepare - like buying for a nursery, you have to choose: what fits in the budget? How much room do you have? Book marks or magnets? Ads in RT or no ads anywhere?
It's a blur.
The book comes out, hopefully to notice if not acclaim, and you're on your way. Now you're not just writing for contests, for that hope of publication; NOW you have a deadline and someone is paying you to meet it.
There are some things I promised myself I would try to never do, when I sold. So far, I'm doing pretty well. Here are a few:
Never complain about having a deadline, since there are thousands who would love to be in your shoes.
Okay, I'm doing well with this one because I actually LIKE deadlines. They motivate me - sometimes in a positive way, sometimes with a whip and a chair - but either way, I get-er- done when I have a deadline. The other thing here is, at risk of repetition, someone is paying me to deliver a product by a certain date. Period. That, right there, is motivation enough for me.
Trust me, I'm a good old American Capitalist. I LIKE to get paid, even if it isn't that much at first, it's that much and I'm there to fulfill my contract.
Never complain about how "hard" it is to find time to write.
I'm one of the luckiest people on earth. I know this. I have a great husband who supports what I do, my sons are proud that their mom "writes books," even if they have no idea what the scope of that entails.
I have a good writing schedule.
If I don't have time to write, it's no one's fault but my own. I bow down in homage to those who get up at 5 am to write before the kids get up, or take a quick nap when their spouses come home so they can stay up after everyone's asleep to slip in some writing time. They do it on breaks at the day job, in between chemo appointments with their mom, while in the car pool lane, or on the night shift.
Trust me, I know how lucky I am, and I keep my mouth shut, even when it seems like I have so much non-writing stuff to do that I don't know how I'll find the time to write.
I'm lucky. I'll find it.
Never disparage another writer's work, or process, or genre.
You know, there are still so many who look down on Romance as a genre. Feeling the occasional sting of that, I resolved a while back that I wouldn't "return the favor" to any other genre.
Are there books I don't like. Yes.
Are there genres I don't read? Yes, again.
Are they all valuable? Oh, my, YES!
It takes a mystery, fantasy, literary, YA or horror writer just as long to write 415 manuscript pages as it does for me to do it. Even Poets have to struggle with word choice and character arcs and the dreaded sagging middle. Just because my genre seems to be especially persecuted (bodice ripper anyone?) after years of proving our worth, doesn't mean we are somehow better. Or Worse.
Now, I'll be a little proud here and remind all of YOU that Romance is the only reliably selling, powerfully deliverable product in the book world right now, according to the Washington Post and several other articles.
It's a justifiable pride I think, but I try to do it without accompanying prejudice.
And process? Oh, my.
I wrestled so hard with my early work, trying to fit the writing and me into SOME kind of process. Plotting. Nope. Outlining. Nope. I don't use the tools that others use, but if I hadn't tried them I would have missed some incredibly valuable lessons.
That said, the best lesson was that I'm NOT a plotter nor am I a chapter-by-chapter pantzer. I don't outline. I DO write a synopsis and I follow it pretty well, but otherwise? For me it's a big, fat surprise all the way from "A Dark and Stormy Night" to The End.
My process is a thing of murk and mire, rather than clean lines and an arrow shooting from a drawn bow.
I heard NYT Author PC Cast call it the Brew and Spew method of writing.
Yep. That I can understand.
So, whether you're plotter to the max - chapter one, scene one, two, three - or a Murk and Mire, Brew and Spew writer like me, I lift my glass in toast. Here's to US, writers all!
*clinkclinkclinkclink* (Wow, lots of clinking glasses! I LOIKE it!!)
Last but not least, the thing I said I would try my BEST to not do? Pontificate.
Yeah, you heard me. Despite the length of this tome of a post, have I said "you should do this!"?
Nope. Not. Gonna. Do. It.
I heard a lot of "YouShouldDoThis" when I first joined my chapter and RWA. I think in that adolescent period between being a nascent writer and a seasoned one, you find that your process is "the groove" and you want to share it with everyone as if it were the one-and-only-gospel-of-writing-amen. Then you get past it and see that some people Brew, some Plot, some fly by the seat of their Harem Pants, some slog, some sing, but all writers write to The End. No matter how we get there, we get there.
I mostly try to just accept that others do it differently.
So, the only "should" is that we should all get our bums back in our OWN chairs! Hahaha! (Anyone out there wince? No? Good for you!!)
So, now that I've broken my rule a wee bit and pontificated, what are some things you hope you remember NOT to say?
What are some things you hope you ALWAYS remember from "The Before THE CALL" time?
Imagining yourself down the road with your third book on the NYT, what would YOU tell a brand new author?
And last but not least on the questions, how would you answer the question La Nora seems to ALWAYS get asked.....drum roll please....WHERE do you get your ideas?
SNORK!!!! AND...As always, grab a glass from a passing cabana boy or Gladiator (Marcus? Lucien? You're ready over there at the bar, right?) Let's stack 'em, rack 'em and pack 'em (books that is) and celebrate Dark and Deadly hitting the shelves! Buy early and often! hahaha!