Blog Hop and Writing Updates for the Curious (Hint: I talk about The Special Delivery Thing)
This week’s blog hop is here at Blaine Arden’s place. We’re getting close to the end, and someone is about to win $200 worth of book shopping. It could be you if you go to all the stops and leave comments….
About once a month (sometimes more) someone finds me somewhere in social media and gives me a version of the following: Are you going to write more of the Special Delivery series? The answer is yes. One more book for sure, two probably. The follow up question of “when?” however is a lot more complicated.
There are a lot of issues, the simplest of which is time. I frequently get compliments on the length of my novels and the complexities of my plots and characters: the downside of this is that those sorts of things take more time. Believe me, I’ve often longed to whip out some quick novellas, but as a reader, I don’t like them, and in my experience the shorter my work, the less it seems to satisfy anyone, starting with me. Unfortunately story ideas come way too fast and furious for me, and part of seeing what will work and what won’t is writing them down and seeing if they take off. If something gets to 30k, I’ll finish it eventually for sure. I have a huge folder of 10-20k starts that cannot all possibly see the light of day before I die, especially if others keep leaping in front of me as I go.
Part of my process is also that things have to sit and gel. I ran into real trouble this past year when I agreed to a contract where I’d write book three of a complex series within a year, and it killed my muse so hard I’m still trying to coax it back into play. Hurrying does not help me at all. Right now I’m working on a book that if I told you about it, you’d probably start squeezing, but I’m not because right now it’s hard enough to sit down and crank out a thousand words for the day. I can’t even promise they’re good words right now. The victory is that I’m writing at all.
The bigger issue is also that my books often want to cure like wickedly good cheese or wine. I’ll be rolling and then all of a sudden STOP, slam, and they won’t talk to me possibly for years. A Model Man is doing that to me now. It took me forward like a roller coaster, and now it’s so mum I just let it sit on the side. The one I’m working on right now is in the snarly middle part where I really have no idea what it’s doing anymore and am starting to suspect it might be utter crap. Except I also know that this is very much what the middle is like for me, so I’m less upset than I’ve been in the past. Plus, see the above about just trying to get words on the page.
But there is a particular problem with Special Delivery 3, and it’s that you all like those books way too much.
When I wrote Special Delivery, I was unpublished. It took me three years, and in the end I basically wrote it because my husband wouldn’t stop bothering me. I tossed in our California trip because I didn’t know what else to do. The more I wrote the more confused and tangled I felt, but I just kept writing because Dan was unmoved by my wailing that it was a horrible hot mess and please just let me quit. Once I got done I felt somewhat better about it, and I was in love with Randy and in that nervous stage before my first book was out (Hero) so I wrote Double Blind for NaNoWriMo. I was doing the edits for it while Special Delivery was just beginning to get attention.
This is to say, I wrote them both happy and ignorant in the dark. I of course had the usual dreams that they’d do well, but no real plans that they would and no practical experience of what that would do to my muses.
Add to this that it’s during that summer that my health took a hard slide into Not Good, and the idea of writing more of Everyone’s Favorite became so heavy I could barely lift it. I tried to do recreate the NaNo magic, but all I got was a snarly hot mess.I have something like 100k of material, but it’s disjointed and plotless and more importantly endless, and every time I’ve tried to fix it I’ve been dragged away by other things. Part of the problem is that.
But the largest issue is that everyone is watching, or at least it feels like it, and it’s very distracting. It’s hard to get Zen enough to not care, to push that out and just work, especially as I’m schlocking other books, taking myself back into sales and marketing mindset. Add to this all the other stuff plus my insane insistence that I keep developing already paired characters, that it’s not just a new romance with recurring roles, and the urge to smoke and drink my way into a coma becomes acute. This book has taken three years because it’s hard.
Every time a psychic gets a hold of me they fell compelled to tell me how vital it is that I meditate, that allegedly there is some great message from beyond waiting for me if I do so. Usually I am only annoyed by this, but lately I’ve been thinking more pragmatically. I’m thinking of meditating but coming with a clipboard. I’ll hear the great cosmic message, but only if part of it is or along with it comes mental clarity so I can get all the writing done I want to do, plus still hang with my husband and kid. I’m not sure it’s kosher to negotiate with one’s Spiritual Guides, but I plan on doing it anyway. I don’t really care what the universe has in store for me. I want to write a lot of stories, as many as possible. Since I’m the one ambulating and putting up with the sugar nonsense, I think this earns me enough voting shares to control the meeting.
I’ll let you know how this goes. Or, you know, if I just crank up the iTunes and muddle on.