London Bridge Is… (or, Minding the Gap)

This isn’t London Bridge, btw. It’s Tower Bridge. But I think it’s the bridge most people think of when they hear “London Bridge” or even just think of London and its many bridges.

You’ll see I have Kylo Ren and Jim Moriarty there. I’ve often thought I should start a little blog or Tumblr or vlog of their adventures: “Kylo & Jim.” It may yet happen.

I also have Bast on the left and Nike on the right. And a model of Stonehenge my oldest son made when he was five or six years old. (He’s 11 now.)

There’s a card from the artist who did the cover to Manifesting Destiny, and tiny model of Venice’s Piazza San Marco, too.

I do big LEGO projects when I’m stuck in my writing. Or sometimes I do puzzles. Anything, really, to change my focus so my writing brain can just run in the background and sort things out. If I try to do it consciously, it never works. I just overheat and feel more stuck and more frustrated. But if I go do something else that uses a different part of my brain, in a few days I’ll be writing again.

Tower Bridge saw me through tough parts of Manifesting Destiny. Now that I’m working on the sequel, I have another project queued up:

You’ll notice the box isn’t open yet. I’ve been tempted, I’ve been close, and I expect I’ll be building Westminster soon as The Great Divide has me entrenched in a slog at the moment.

These projects are my bridges when I’m stuck, blocked. Isn’t that what bridges are for, after all? To cross places we otherwise could not?

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Posted as part of the WEP challenge for June.

Quarterly Check-In

The first quarter of 2017 is just about over. The writing goals I set for the year are below. Accomplished goals are in green.

  1. Publish Brynnde
  2. Finish and submit Changers: The Great Divide
  3. Finish Hamlette
  4. Write another Sherlock Holmes story

I published Brynnde on February 9, and it’s been doing pretty well. Big blog tour coming up for it starting April 17, too.

As for the other goals . . . Sigh. I do keep trying to get back on track with The Great Divide (Changers 2). I’m about halfway done with it, but life keeps throwing stuff at me and halting my progress. Perhaps this is my challenge, my lesson for the year: perseverance.

I brought the first chapter of Hamlette to my critique group a couple weeks ago, and they really liked it. That’s something at least.

And the finished recording for my Sherlock Holmes audiobook should be ready any day now, too. So maybe I won’t have a new story out just yet, but there will be an audio version of the existing ones!

Small steps.

I’ve also started work on another Regency novel titled Faebourne. Not sure yet which of these projects is going to take precedence if/when I get the time to really sit down and focus and write. I feel an obligation to finish Changers 2, but it’s like dragging a mule through deep mud at the moment. In other words, not fun and fairly exhausting. And while writing is my job, I also do best at it when I’m enjoying it. I think you can tell the difference between something written by an author who was feeling the work and one who wasn’t, and I don’t want my books to fall into the latter category.

So we’ll see. I’m really hoping to get Changers 2 done by the end of April, May at the latest. It’s taking me far too long to finish. But my heart may yet carry me in a different direction. And part of being a writer is to follow where the heart leads.

WIP Wednesday

A little more from The Great Divide (Changers 2):

“I have faith in the people I know,” Arlon said.

“And distrust for the people you don’t,” Annice finished. “By that logic, I have no reason to trust you.”

Arlon looked at her again, this time startled. “You know me.”

“Not really,” said Annice. “I know Mrs. Montague a bit because she is—was—our neighbor, but you were ahead of me in school and I’m not friends with Marcus or Cee, so… Tell me again why I should trust you?”

“Because I helped you!”

“You knocked me out of a window and made me a fugitive. Some help.”

WIP Wednesday

The Great Divide (Changers 2) is under way as I type this. (Well, not as I type this because I’m typing this rather than working on Changers 2, but . . . Yeah. Let’s just say I’ve been working on it.) Here’s a taste:

Guin felt as though a net were closing around her. One she couldn’t see or fight. She stood there, opening and closing her fists while her mind reeled. Go back to the Vulpes? No, couldn’t put them in danger again. Go after Marcus and Cee? Maybe…

Warm hands closed around Guin’s own and drew them gently together, startling her out of her racing thoughts. She lifted her head to meet Rand’s dark, compassionate gaze.

“It’s going to be okay,” he said.

“You don’t know that,” Guin said. The words felt too big for her throat, but she managed to squeeze them out. “You can’t promise that.”

IWSG: Blocked!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Read and support writers by clicking here, and if you’re a writer you can also join!

Writer’s block is what has me insecure this month. I simply can’t seem to make headway with the Changers sequel, and that’s causing a certain amount of anxiety in me. I’ve got a little over 20k words written, and now I’m well and truly stuck. I’ve tried just writing through it, but no. I’ve outlined, so I know where I need to go, I just feel like a wagon with its wheels in the mud. I’ve considered skipping the chapter I’m on and writing the rest, but I can’t work that way—I’m a linear writer. I’ve dabbled with other projects on the side, but I know this book needs to get finished, and that’s probably making things that much worse. *headdesk* Anyone else want to write this book for me?

Question of the Month: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Uh, I’ve pulled out some old stuff now and then and looked at it. I’ve even thought, I should do something with this. And then I never do. I don’t know why. In particular, I would like to rework my Master’s thesis, which was a middle grade historical fantasy. It’s on my list of project, but I don’t know if or when I’ll ever actually be ready to tackle it.

Swing

The winter break is over and my kids went back to school today. I’d say things are getting back to normal, but they aren’t, really—just before the holidays, my youngest broke his leg. So he has a full-leg cast and is in a wheelchair, has to be carried up and down the stairs and to and from the bathroom (well, he can use his wheelchair in the downstairs bathroom). I’m definitely getting my weightlifting in.

Still, I’ve managed to make progress with my work over the break, partly because we were more housebound than planned. We couldn’t do all the outings we’d originally thought to do, what with one of us in a wheelchair, and then the rain set in and kept us mostly indoors as well. This allowed me to finish rewrites on Brynnde and send ARCs to my brave volunteers. If you’d like to be an advance reader for my books, be sure to sign up for my newsletter there on the sidebar; I offer ARCs when I have new releases.

Now it’s back to The Great Divide (aka Changers 2). Time to get back into the swing . . . I hope you’ve had a productive start to your year as well!

Manifesting Destiny: What Lies Beneath

If you haven’t read Manifesting Destiny yet, well, I won’t tell you again that you should. But . . . you should.

The story is of a teen girl named Cee who discovers she has a dragon inside her. The dragon is named Livian, and he’s snarky and he sometimes convinces Cee to do or say things she wouldn’t otherwise do.

I like to think we all have a dragon. We all have . . . Let’s call it “attitude.” And the struggle in life is knowing how and when to use it.

Cee’s problem is deciding whether to keep her dragon. She’s not sure she can control him or tame him or learn to work with him. He’s kind of scary, and Cee worries he might actually start to control her instead.

That’s adolescence for you. All those scary feelings rise to the surface and sometimes it’s like they’ll overwhelm you if you can’t learn to tamp them down.

But here’s the thing. Cee’s friends want her to get rid of Livian. They frame it as concern for Cee, but it’s probably just as much that they’re uncomfortable with the way Cee is behaving, with this new side of her personality.

And that’s what happens, too, sometimes. People want you to conform. They want you to behave in ways that keep them comfortable, even if it means not being true to yourself. And sometimes they’re right. Like, your dragon shouldn’t eat anyone. That’s fair. But just because he says something you don’t like?

In Manifesting Destiny, Cee comes into her own and begins to bond with Livian. Should she get rid of him just to please everyone else? Should she try to be someone she’s not or learn to be more of who she really is—only better?

My goal with Manifesting Destiny was to create an empowering story about how it’s okay to be you. Sometimes it’s not easy and others won’t understand, but your true friends will accept you and help you, not demand that you change.

You contribute to this world by being who you are, not by trying to be the same as anyone else.

Purchase Manifesting Destiny on Amazon. Also available at other major online retailers, or ask your local bookstore.