Category Archives: The Writing Process

Writer Road Trip: Research

Unfortunately I’m not going to hit my NaNo goal this year, and even though that’s kind of a bummer, I’m still not overly upset about it. Not only did manage to more than double what I started with on my DarkHarte first draft, but I was also able to connect most of the dots, in terms of getting from the beginning to the end. There’s still a lot more to do, but I have a much better idea of what that entails, so overall I’m pretty pleased even if I’m not quite where I wanted to be.

Though I had to go out of town last minute (hence not hitting my writing goals), I did manage to make a cool writing related stop along the way. I realized, as I was driving that I’d be going through Richmond, VA and that it wouldn’t be out of my way to stop at the site of the Chimborazo Hospital. Though none of the original buildings exist, the site does have a museum with info about the original hospital, as well as some of the other Civil War hospitals in the area.


By this point, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with anything. Fair enough question, to be sure. XD But the truth is that I’m considering a sequel to In Plain Sight. It’s only in the very early planning stages – as in I have a couple thoughts swimming around in my brain and that’s about it – but whenever I do get around to putting some words on paper, Chimborazo will feature prominently in at least part of it.

What was cool about stopping and, really, I’m so glad I did, is that I not only got to see the site, but I also got to talk to the gentleman on staff there and was able to run some of my thoughts by him. It’s one thing to think, well… I’m going to do this in my book and since it’s far enough removed from the actual time period, no one will ever know if it could really have happened that way or not. But in talking it out with him today, he confirmed that what I was thinking about was totally a possible scenario. YAY!!

He also pointed me to A Southern Woman’s Story by Phoebe Yates Pember, who was one of the chief matrons at the hospital. I’m looking forward to reading it, as it will also provide additional context for some of the things I have planned.

If by now you are also wondering exactly which character from IPS is sequel worthy… I’m not telling. At least not yet!! But you are welcome to guess.

Anyway… here’s some other pictures from my research trip. It was informative and a lot of fun.


PS… I’m still waiting word for when the audio version of In Plain Sight will be released. I’ll let you know as soon as I get the details, but it should be out just in time for last minute gift giving!!


An Editor’s Work Is Never Done

Take notice… this is why we always order a proof copy first!!


I really thought I was done editing, but as I was reading through, I found a lot more issues than I was expecting. Thankfully, most of it was minor stuff – spacing, a few random typos, duplicated words in short proximity, etc… I mean, it was probably fine as it was, but if I noticed them, I’m sure someone else would have too.

I expect that there are still things I’ve missed (and once it’s released, if you find something please let me know), but at this point I really think I’ve done just about as much as I can to it. Of course, I thought that before too.

What? I’m a perfectionist. I can’t help it. XD


Cover Art Revealed…

Despite earlier predictions, I’ve been a busy little bee these last couple months. Not only was I able to complete the editing of In Plain Sight, but after considering all my various options, I have decided to go ahead and publish it myself, rather than continue to attempt a more traditional route. While there are benefits to traditional publishing, as an author, you still end up doing a lot of the same things (in terms of marketing) and so, if I have to do most of the work anyways, I’d rather not share the rewards with anyone else. While I’m getting everything ready to go – and I will announce the release date very soon – I thought I’d give you a little teaser and reveal the awesome new cover art for the book.

I am so thrilled with this. I don’t even have the words to express myself properly. I was so worried, because I knew what I wanted (in my head), but had no idea how it would translate to the finished look and the artist – it’s like they could read my mind. It’s perfect, and I hope you all love it as much as I do.

So, without further ado…

In Plain Sight

Read an excerpt.

Hoppity… Hop… Hop… Hop

I was invited by M.L. Ortega, author of Turn Key Condition,  to join a little blog hopping discussion on “The Writing Process”, then to pass the baton on to a couple of other authors who will join in as well.  Let’s jump right in…

1) What am I working on?

I am currently about 20K words into a fantasy novel tentatively titled DarkHarte. It started, ironically, as a paragraph or so on a game a friend and I were playing on Storiumthe online storytelling game, and just sort of took off from there.

I’m supposed to be working on it as a part of the July Camp NaNo session, but between the kids being on summer vacation, and my work schedule being all out of whack, I don’t think I’m going to get it finished in 30 days this go around. Which is fine, really. There is a lot I want to do with this, and some of it is going to take a bit of time to set up. Exciting though, to be sure!

There is a rough (and I do mean ugly as sin) draft of DarkHarte on Book Country if anyone is interested in giving some feedback. It’s always appreciated!!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Guess I’m supposed to say something like, “IT’S AWESOME!!!” and “INCREDIBLE!!!”, but in truth, it probably doesn’t really. I don’t know. XD

My first novel, In Plain Sight, which is still being submitted to publishers, is historical fiction. It will likely be published as historical romance, and while the romance is a large component of the book – girl meets boy, they fall in love, etc… there is also a strong focus on the historical aspects of the story, and the family relationships as well – not only blood family, but those whom we may choose along the way as well. I think the extra details are important, in creating a world that someone can lose themselves in, at least for a time.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I used to write a lot as a child and into my teens, and though I took a long hiatus into my adult years, I continued to have plots and characters, and all the bits and pieces swirling around in my brain. I have all sorts of scraps of paper, and files with sentences and ideas. And after several years of half-assing it, I finally put some effort into doing something with those fragments.

Genres – I don’t (at least as of yet) have a particular one that I stick to. As I mentioned my first was historical romantic fiction, and my current one is fantasy. My last project, which will likely remain unfinished at least for the foreseeable future, would probably fit more as suspense. So, it’s clear to see that I’m a bit all over the place.

4) How does my writing process work?

Admittedly it’s still a struggle for me. Time management is not my forte, and between raising a severely autistic child, and work – quiet time is not something that I get frequently, and when I do I’ve usually already been sitting at my computer so long that I just want to fall into bed. So finding time to write is sometimes hard. But at the same time I have all these ideas, so while it might take me a bit longer to get to it (though not nearly as long as George R. R. Martin thankfully), I fully intend to do a lot more writing in the future.

In terms of actual process – it’s sort of fly by the seat of my pants. I keep notebooks by my bed, and am forever thankful that my cell phone has a voice recorder. I do some planning, outlines, character descriptions, etc… for which I tend to use Google Docs almost exclusively. I’ve tried fancy writing programs, and they just annoy me to no end. Too much extra clicking and hassle, I’d rather just scroll down the page. Guess it’s a case of knowing my own organized chaos, is easier than figuring out a new system. XD

Anyways, that’s about it for me. Next week on our lovely tour…

I would invite you to check out Dave Evans, author of The Mistress of Dimmiga Berg. I’ve spoken a bit about him previously, and really can’t say enough good things about him.

Writing Is Hard


I’ll admit that I’m struggling just a bit. I didn’t go into this fully prepared, didn’t have any sort of outline, or even a fully fleshed out plot to work with. While I’ve managed to throw something together, still getting from point A to Z (and all stops in between) is proving to be a lot harder than it should be. I know more or less where I’m going, and what needs to happen to get there, but OMG… there just are no words. Nothing… Nada…

Part of it, I think still has to do with my issues over point of view, and the related issue of past tense vs present, which others in my Camp NaNo cabin brought up today as well, so at least it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one. The other part (as I mentioned to a friend the other night), is that my MC has been more or less out of it for the last 10 years – it’s not like she’s just going to jump out of that raring to go. It’s going to be somewhat slow going, which unfortunately, at least up to this point is boring as hell.

Currently the whole thing reads like an overly detailed diary, and I figure if it’s got me reaching for the snooze button, I can’t really expect anything better from anyone who might be unfortunate enough to read it. So at some point there will clearly be massive amounts of editing going on, otherwise this whole project will just end up a footnote in the history of epicly fail-tastic story telling. For now though, I’m going to keep muddling through, and fighting the good fight.

But srsly gaiz… writing is hard!! XD

Bonus points: what sort of things do you do when you feel like what you are writing is total shit, but you don’t necessarily want to abandon it completely?


Point of View

I’m currently working on my newest project – potentially titled “Is This The Real Life”, as part of Camp Nano, and though I should be typing away at my 1000+ words a day goal, I sit here pondering point of view instead.

I was/am seriously considering writing this one from a first person point of view, really wanted to, since a lot of it, especially in the beginning is all just the main character sort of nattering on about her life, but I know too that once the other characters come into play, it’s going to be harder for me to stick to that. First person is not a comfortable writing style for me at all – guess that’s why I always had a hard time keeping a diary as a child. XD


  • What point of view styles work best for you all? Or does it vary depending on what you are writing?
  • What ways do you find it best (when writing in first person) to convey the thoughts of others, or to convey actions/events that may have happened outside the narrator’s presence, but that are somewhat central to moving the plot along?
  • Should I just abandon first person and go with third person, or just keep at this and see how it goes for a bit?

Inquiring  minds want to know!!



The Devil Is In The Details

It’s a topic that has come up in a couple places recently, which made it sort of obvious that maybe it was something that needed to be addressed on a larger scale.

  • How much detail is TOO much?

The first instinct is to say that there can never be too many details – the better picture we paint with our words, the better our readers can understand our characters and immerse themselves in the world we have created. On the other hand there are authors like George R.R. Martin, who while being perfectly marvelous at their craft – sometimes just don’t know when enough is enough. Yes George, we’ve already been down the road to King’s Landing (more than once even), you don’t need to tell me about it AGAIN. Or as a friend likes to ask – Does he ever shut up about the food?

In any case there is clearly a time when less is more, or at least a point where the reader doesn’t need to be shown every single rock and pebble, or condensation drip on the rim of a glass, unless it’s absolutely central to moving the plot along.

  • As a reader – would you rather read a book that was too detailed, or one that was maybe a bit more on the sparse side? 

Personally I’d prefer too little (if I had to choose one over the other), BUT I’m also a very visual person, so it doesn’t always take much for me to envision something based on very little description.  For others, having a perfectly crafted setting – down to the last floor tile, might  be something that works better. It’s often hard to find a good mid-point. 

Which begs the question… at what point does the line between the perfect amount of detail and oh dear gods please stop, start to blur? Or is it something that we each have to judge for ourselves, and hope for the best?

Seriously asking, so please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!