Blog Tour – My Writing Process

plus one is a lucky numberThanks to Teresa Morgan for inviting me to do this stop on the Writing Process blog tour. Check out Teresa’s post here. She’s obviously got this writing process malarkey cracked as she had her first novel published with Harper Impulse last year and the next is on its way. Meanwhile she recently had stories in anthologies from Harper Impulse. Check them out!

So on to my writing process.
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Whose story is it anyway?

You may think that romances are the story of two people (or sometimes more), but I’d contend that quite often one of the leads in the romance is the protagonist, even if the story is shared pretty equally between them in terms of page time, point of view etc.

In some stories that’s entirely intentional and obvious. I’ve read a romance book where one of the lovers died part way through, and it was actually someone else that the surviving character ends up having his happy ever after with. But it was still clearly a romance. Maybe you could say it simply started earlier in the life of that character than most romances do. The writer could have started the story when the lead met the man he ended up happy ever after with, and left the previous events as back story. But since that wasn’t the case, the book definitely became his story. We didn’t have any similar showing of the other lover’s back story.

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Review of the Year

It was Year Two in 2012, my second year as a published author and I was working hard on building my backlist.

January was a good start to the year, and the backlist building, seeing my first ever print release – Liar’s Waltz became available in paperback. Meanwhile I was working hard on final edits for Higher Ground with my publisher and with the help of a critique partner, editing Ganymede Tilt, getting it ready for submission.

Liar's Waltz Coverflat

In February I went to my first meeting of the local chapter of the Romantic Novelists Association, which was great. Always fun to meet other writers, all at different stages in their writing careers. I’ve been to several more monthly meetings and other events since. Late in February Higher Ground came out – my third novel and my first ever published novel that started life as a NaNoWriMo novel.

Higher Ground

March, I submitted Ganymede Tilt to Loose Id and continued working on the draft of Chrysalis Cage while I waited to hear back. But in April Ganymede Tilt was rejected – oh no! But like Higher Ground, with a “Revise and Resubmit”, so I decided to make the suggested changes. But this was a way bigger job than the Higher Ground R&R, so took a lot longer. Whole plot lines got taken out, characters eliminated, the relationship started in a much different way. It was hard work!

In April I also wrote a short, for the Lashings of Sauce fundraising anthology for the UK Meet. I’m not someone who writes shorts, well, ever. So it’s no surprise my story was basically “scenes from a novel I haven’t written yet.” Though I think it worked on its own terms too.

Lashings of Sauce Cover

I was slogging on hard with the edits of Ganymede Tilt in May and June. I thought that’s all I had to work on, until I suddenly had to bring forward something else and work on that too, wanting it finished by mid-July. June was an intense month!

In July I toddled over to Penrith in Cumbria for my first ever RNA conference, where I met up with old friends like Jo Myles and my local RNA chapter and some new ones. I had a great time, meeting all those writers and going to loads of interesting and fun panels. I also got to do my first ever “pitch” to an editor. Very valuable experience!

July was a good month all around. The Lashings of Sauce anthology came out, and the rewritten Ganymede Tilt was accepted by Loose Id! Yay! Then after the intensity of June and the first half of July I got to slow down a bit in August. I started doing my edit of Chrysalis Cage and was soon working on Ganymede Tilt with my editor.

September was a great month! I went to the UK Meet of writers of GLBT Fiction. It was in Brighton, and I had a fantastic weekend. Again I met old friends and new ones. Got to meet people I only knew online. And tried not to totally fan girl at some of them.

Me and Jordan Castillo Price

Me and Jordan Castillo Price at the UK Meet. She’s the one with the hat!

Stowaway came out in print about the same time and I took a couple of my author copies to the meet. With that gorgeous cover they quickly vanished off the sales table! I also took part in a panel as a speaker – which was a Big Deal for me. Public speaking, not my thing. But it went well and wasn’t as scary as I feared.

Stowaway Cover Flat

Late September a new plot bunny popped its head up. A zombie story! I’ve always wanted to do a zombie story. I expected just to make a lot of notes about it and put it away to work on in 2013. But no! This bunny was rampant! As befits a zombie story, it ate my brain. This bunny wanted to be written for NaNoWriMo. I already had a plan for what I’d write for NaNo though. But the zombie bunny won in the end. For various reasons it’s best if I put the one I was going to do on the backburner for later. Which left me with a hole to fill for what to do next and NaNoWriMo and this new bunny just waiting. I usually like to have a much longer lead time than that. I like to think about a story for a good while before actually outlining and writing it. But this came together fast –but so did Higher Ground and that turned out okay!

I took October to make the plans for the new one, now given the working title of Shoot the Fresh Ones First. (There’s a long story behind that. I’ll tell you sometime.) Meanwhile, I got great news – Loose Id bought Chrysalis Cage. No R&R this time – phew!

November of course was NaNoWriMo. I forged ahead hard on the word count in the first half of the month, knowing I’d have the first edits for Chrysalis Cage sometime that month. So when they did come in I was able to take a few days off the NaNo novel and not fall behind word count target. I hit 50K on the 29th of November. My 7th NaNoWriMo win.

I also had to work around the release of Ganymede Tilt on the 6th of November. And somehow or another, having my secret identity as a writer exposed at work! It’s not a problem; I just have to put up with a lot of banter and random references to Sean and Alex of Ganymede Tilt.

Ganymede Tilt Cover

And now it’s December already. The year has gone so fast! I continued working on the NaNoWriMo novel as it was far from finished. Chrysalis Cage edits continue. I took part in another panel, this time with my local RNA chapter at an evening event in the library in Hexham, Northumberland. I’m getting the bug!

So it’s been a busy year, has Year Two. Two new novel releases. Print release of my first two from last year. My first ever published short. RNA conference, UK Meet, NaNoWriMo.

Bonus! Books of the year!
I fell a bit short of my usual total of around 100 books read this year, ending up on about 80. I’ll have to set myself a target next year. What were my favourites?

Can I count series? Well I started working through two classic m/m book series, Jordan Castillo Price’s PsyCop series and Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English series, so they were my favourite fiction of the year.
Favourite non-fiction: I read Robert McKee’s epic Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. I’m obviously not a screenwriter, but it has many lessons for anyone writing fiction.
Favourite Re-Read: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.

December news and a bonus

The first weekend of the month is usually a news roundup post, but there isn’t much to tell this month. It’s been not a quiet, but a focused month, working on my latest draft as part of NaNoWriMo. I completed 55,564 words by the end of the month, and am still working on the draft. I also resubmitted Higher Ground after making some revisions.

So in lieu of anything interesting about me, here are some much more interesting women! A while back I did a favourite heroes post and said one day I’d do one for the heroines, so here it is. It’s not just about female characters, but rather female characters that I’d personally refer to as a hero, not a heroine.

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November News


The big news this month is that Liar’s Waltz will be released in print, sometime in the next 90 days (I’ll give you the exact date when I know it.) Be nice if it’s in time for Christmas! Below is the lovely cover flat, with art by Anne Cain and the cover design by April Martinez.
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