On October 7th I Finished The Damn Book. That's an inside joke I share with a wonderful group of writers I critique with on the Kiss of Death Chapter of RWA. I've belonged to the Lethal Ladies critique group almost as long as I've been a member of KOD. And the ladies and a few gents, come and go, but there are always eager writers on the loop who critique my chapters. And in exchange I do the same for them. These ladies are invaluable to me. They act as a sounding board for my chapters and if something doesn't follow my character arch, plot line, or is wasting space in my story, they'll let me know. Every line has to ring true, or they'll tell me straight up. And I really appreciate it.
When I posted my last chapter, it was both a relief, because I had finished my 9th full length novel, though only the 6th who will find its way into print, and a moment of pride, because I had accomplished something extraordinary for the 9th time.
I had a busy year. I re-edited and re-released two full length Historical Romances, HIGHLAND MOONLIGHT and CAPTIVE HEARTS.
I published two short stories To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Beginning( a short-short) and An Automated Death (a 14000 word Steampunk Paranormal). BOTH ARE FREE.
And I published a Novella: To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Courtship, a spinoff of Highland Moonlight and the second installment from the trilogy of shorts I'd planned under that TCAHH brand. The next story, To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Wedding Night will be out early next year.
Being a multi-genre author is tough. You always have ideas for other stories going through your head, even while you're writing on the current one, consuming you. And I have to say I love my SEALs the most, but as a writer I'm also driven to put down on paper the other stories circling through my brain. Thus the purpose of the others I've written this year. I could no more not write them than I could not write the SEAL book I just finished. I'm driven by the characters who are as real to me as the people I live with. I cry for them, struggle with them, and dream of them. They whisper their troubles, hopes and dreams to me as I lay in bed at night. And it's my job to put all of THEM, their essences, their beings, their lives, or at least a small part of their lives down on paper.
And the bane of my existence is that I'm S-L-O-W. Every word has to be chosen before I type it. Every sentence has to be exactly what I want to say. Every verb has to be the one I want to use.
I'd really-really love to be one of those stream of consciousness writers who sits down at the keyboard and the words flow and they don't worry about grammar, continuity of plot line, or full sentences for their dialogue---until later of course.
But I'm not.
And thus BREAKING AWAY the SEAL book I started in January with just a couple of chapters, got put on hold while I dealt with all the other writing I had to accomplish the beginning of the year. Then in June--when I'd really wanted the book to be released--I sat down and wrote and wrote, some days 10 and 12 hours a day in fifteen minute spurts to get it down on paper. But each chapter had to be finished and edited at least 3 times, while I went on to the next.
And my story board had to be updated to make sure I wasn't ignoring an important part of the plot or leaving a character's story arc ignored. And I did have to put in an extra chapter because I could see I needed a couple to connect more and that I needed to build their connection more slowly.
So from June to October I've written every day in fifteen minute spurts seven days a week. Until every one of the 115,000 words were down on the paper, just as I wanted them to be.
I sent the manuscript off to my editor on Monday, all but the last chapter, because I wanted my LL ladies to have a chance to read it and make their suggestions, and most importantly tell me if that last line in the book was the right one. Satisfying, fun, and upbeat. Everything my readers would want.
After I got their approval, I sent the last chapter off to Faith Free-woman, my editor. She'll go over the book with a fine toothed comb for grammar, homophones (which are my arch nemesis) , and any other small glitches. Because as hard as I work to make the manuscript perfect, there are always a few things she catches that aren't.
The book will be released the middle of November--if all goes well, editing wise, formatting wise. That is the plan.
There's a fear that plagues published authors. The fear that all our
readers will get tired of the wait and drop us. Abandon us.
Breaking Through I got up every day scared. It was a stretch for me as a
writer to write such a huge book plot-wise. It was soooo different in structure than Breaking Free the first book. Having three romances and a huge suspense plot line was an undertaking. But I was driven to write the book just as it is.
Breaking Away holds a different fear for me. It's written more along the lines of Breaking Free with a deep concentration on the Romance, there's actually two romances. But the action comes up front and leads the way. So once again the structure of the book is different. I just can't stop taking chances as a writer, author. But this one, the characters, my hero, has inspired the same feelings in me as a writer as Breaking Free did. I'm in love once again. And I hope my readers will fall in love again, too.
I want so much to thank my loyal fans for waiting for BREAKING AWAY. And for all the encouragement they've shared with me over the last two years since BREAKING FREE came out. It's been one year and one month since BREAKING THROUGH was released. So, it seems I'm on a one SEAL book a year schedule with finishing BREAKING AWAY, but I already have Doc's story rolling around in my brain titled BREAKING OUT. And as soon as To Capture A Highlander's Heart: The Wedding Night is done and released. His story will be the next one in line because he's waking me at night. Whispering his story in my ear. And telling me he needs a lady who'll understand what he's going through.
While I'm waiting for my edits to get back, I'm working on two Novellas at once. Deep Within The Shadows, a Horror novella that has sat on my desktop for a year. And To Capture a Highlander's Heart; the Wedding Night. I owe it to my TCAHH fans to finish the Scottish medieval first so I'm working as fast as this turtle slow writer can. I promise.
Tomorrow I plan to send out an unedited excerpt from BREAKING AWAY on my blog, so if you're interested, keep a look out.