Friday, May 15, 2020


Q: Time for some Q and A.
A: Why? 
Q: It’s May.
A: What does that have to do with anything?  Also, May is not a question.
Q: Look at the history here.  You’ve posted something every month for 40 months!  You don’t want to mess that up.
A: That is a nice streak.
Q: This is what we’re doing to keep it going for May.
A: Okay.  I guess it’s time for some Q and A.
Q: What are you working on right now?
A: I’m working on this post for my blog.
Q: If I could sigh in print, I would do it right now.  What is your current writing project?
A: This is writing.
Q: Fiction.  I mean, fiction.  What are you planning for your next novel?
A: It’s a love story.
Q: Are you willing to share anything about it that isn’t incredibly obvious?
A: It will be the start of a new series.
Q: I think if you check last month, you’ll see that’s been covered.  Therefore, still obvious.
Q: You can’t think of anything else to say about your own book?
A: This is the problem.  If I say anything that sounds like praise, well… we all know that’s not allowed.  I certainly don’t want to sound negative either.  That pretty much leaves facts.  I’m early enough in the project that those might change.
Q: Hey!  There’s a place to start.  What about a timeline?  When do you anticipate releasing the book?
A: Eventually.
Q: Are you willing to say anything that isn’t incredibly vague?
A: When I’m writing a series, I like to hold the first book until I’ve made significant progress on the rest to release them closer together.  It’s tricky to pin down a timeline for multiple books at once.  I will say that I’m aiming for January.  Forgive me if I eventually miss the mark.
Q: What is the new series called?
A: It’s called I don’t know yet and don’t ask me what the first book is called either.
Q: What’s the hero’s name?
A: I think I’m calling him Trevor, which means I’m calling him Trevor right now.  I don’t feel fully committed to the name.
Q: Why not?
A:  I don’t know.
Q: Tell us one thing about him.
A: That’s not a question.
Q: Tell us one thing about him, please.
Q: What?
A: He’s not a morning person.  That is something I understand very well.  I had an interesting paradox a while back where I was sitting at the breakfast table with a notebook trying to write from the perspective of someone trapped in that morning fog.  I knew the feeling so well I was too groggy to put it into words.
Q: What is the name of Trevor’s love interest?
A: Alison Brachy.  Probably.
Q: How do they meet?  Or is this one where they’re already friends?
A: They meet by chance, at least as far as Trevor knows, in a situation where he feels he’s made a poor impression.  Things sort of get worse before they get better.
Q: That sounds funny.  Is it funny?
A: Humor is subjective.  We’re veering into where I’m not allowed to comment.
Q: But your books always make me laugh.  I’m sure this one will be no different.
A: Careful.  People can see your bias, too.
Q: Okay.  We better stop until June.
A: Oh, no.  Are we doing this again in June?
Q: Only if you can’t think of a better idea.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Still Writing

Hobbies bring out a special breed of perseverance.  Many obstacles in life make us pause.  We wonder how we’ll get over or around them.  We might even consider if we need a new path altogether.  But when circumstances try to interfere with something we love doing, we don’t spend much (or any) time thinking about how we’ll keep going.  We just do.

Runners turn on the treadmill when it rains, or don the shoes designated for puddles.  When there are no games available, sports lovers watch reruns where the home team always wins.  Kids can turn anything into a toy if the imagination wants out. 

I’m not going to write about what everyone else is writing about right now.  I have nothing new to add.  I’m not going to mention it except to point out that I have a house full of people and distractions during the hours I normally have space and silence to focus on a story.  Because I love writing, I’m still squeezing it in whenever I can.  I released a new book in my children’s fantasy series this month.  It’s called Baby of Wisherton.  I see a new series in my future, love stories of course.  I can’t tell how far in the future right now.  Progress is slow.  I’m running through some thick mud.

It isn’t all bad though.  When I get to the end of a day and have advanced the next story by a single paragraph, I don’t have to worry about writers’ block or beat myself up for wasting time.  I know it’s because I had a lot of other things to do that day.  And I know that I will keep going.

Friday, March 20, 2020

A Deleted Scene

I have now posted 31 excerpts. These are only short reminders of where something happened in the book. It’s the notes with them that I hope are interesting, where I’ve tried to share a little of the thoughts and ideas that went into that part of the story. I try to grab scenes from early chapters and avoid significant plot points so they should be free of spoilers. But they are intended for people who have already read the books anyway.

As I was thinking of bits I might share from recent books, I remembered something that didn’t make it into the final copy. I can’t post it with the others because it’s kind of backwards. Usually I share something I wrote and why. This is something I didn’t write and why not. Fortunately, I have this blog where I can post whatever I like and (obviously) don’t worry about any post fitting in with other posts. I can put that thought here.

This non-excerpt would have been in By Its Cover but is related to Everything Old. Both of those books have been available long enough that I’m sure this won’t be a problem, but I’ll give enough lead in that you can stop reading here if it feels like you want to read one or both books first. (But you have to actually read them. No thinking you should read them and then going to do laundry or something. That’s no fun.) Ruth was a main character in Everything Old. She talks about a past event involving Eric, who becomes a main character in By Its Cover. I intended for him to describe his version of the same event in the later book. But this event was far less significant for him. I ended up leaving it out because I couldn’t find a place it didn’t feel forced. I still had parts of the scene scribbled in my notes. That’s what I’m about to write here. The plan was for Julia (who is “I” in this excerpt) to ask if there had ever been a girl he considered a good friend and nothing more.

    “Well, Ruth. Sort of. I think.”
    I considered Eric’s fumbling answer a fairly definitive no.
    “Ruth is my friend,” he said.
    “Have you ever done anything just the two of you?”
    “Really?” I was surprised and preparing myself to admit I was wrong.
    “Once,” he said.
    I wasn’t wrong. “Only once doesn’t count as a friend.”
    “We’ve known each other as long as I can remember, but most of the times I saw her our whole families were together. Then when we were in college and I wasn’t hanging out with Adam so much, I saw the Zieberts over Christmas and realized I missed the rest of the family. I called Ruth, who was right there at the same school, and we had lunch. It was good. But it was also right around the time she and Gabriel had some sort of falling out so I didn’t call again because I was afraid she might try to talk to me about that and put me in the middle. They’ve only recently reconciled and… What?”
    I was shaking my head at him. “I see,” I said. “She’s a friend who’s not allowed to talk to you about anything important. Some friend.”
    “Hey.” Eric sounded defensive. “She can talk to me about anything that doesn’t involve feelings and my brother. That’s a perfectly reasonable boundary.”
    I had to laugh at the look on his face. I accepted his argument because it proved what I wanted. Eric and I could be friends as long as I avoided that fluttery feeling I got from looking him directly in the eyes. And as long as I didn’t question the reasonableness of that boundary.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Who's full of questions today?

I haven’t gotten very far on the next love story.  I confess it’s frustrating me.  How do they meet?  Or do they already know each other?  What did she do to capture his attention?  What does she do that annoys him?  How can it take most of the book for them to get together without feeling like I’m dragging it out?  You know I have to ask that.  If they’re a happy couple in the first chapter, then I have to hit them with some sort of tragedy or awful problem to overcome.  That’s not a book I’ll find very uplifting.  When I start a book crying or angry, by the time I get to the resolution, I’ll feel only marginally better than before the book made me cry or rant.  That’s not very satisfying.  Maybe it sounds selfish, but when I write a book I spend a lot more time reading it than anyone else.  I want to enjoy it.

I’m not enjoying this project yet because there are just too many options.  I have to keep asking myself questions about what I might like.  What are some sweet words they might share?  What keeps putting them together?  How in the world am I going to come up with names for these characters?  And most importantly, how do they make each other laugh?  I know, I know, “someone who makes me laugh” is a total cliché.  But it’s a cliché for a reason.  Have you ever known a woman who described her dream man as a prickly sourpuss?  “Things were going great until she started to laugh at my jokes,” is something no man has ever said.

Unless I want to plant my main characters on a deserted island – which would be something I’ve never done before – they’re going to have to interact with other people.  This means more questions.  Do I give them friends they can count on?  Family that provides countless opportunities for service?  Can I write irritating people who are funny because they aren’t actually in front of me?  Can I squeeze in a few drops of the joy of living the gospel without anyone complaining that the book is too preachy?  Will a few drops receive complaints that it isn’t preachy enough?  (Seriously, I’ve heard both.  There’s no pleasing everyone.) 

I want to write stories that make people smile, people including me.  Love makes me smile.  If I can touch on all four loves, I hope it will be a truly uplifting read.  Speaking of uplifting and laughable segues, Everything Old is featured on 1531Entertainment today.  The site is compiling options for uplifting entertainment.  Options that are in this case a good thing.  Because not everyone finds the same thing encouraging or uplifting.  Is a happily ever after a must for you or will a bittersweet ending still tug at your heart?  Do you prefer first love or second chance?  Does a sappy romance kind of make you want to gag?  Is a thrilling adventure better for propping up your weary soul?

What is it that makes you smile?  If it isn’t my books, maybe you can find something there that works for you.  But if it is my book, that’s okay, too.  You might need to look for something to read while I’m trying to get my act together on the next one.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Switching Gears

This month I’ve decided to take a metaphor and beat it to death.  Why?  Look how long I’ve been doing this.  It’s difficult to come up with 77 things to write about that all have to do with what I’m currently working on or writing in general.  I don’t think I’ve ever driven a metaphor into the ground before so this’ll be new.

I’ve been working on the Love in Andauk series for about two years.  The last book releases this month so I need a new direction.  I just took a few weeks off for Christmas.  That was neutral.  I need a few days of overdrive to grind out some formatting that I should have done before the break.  Then I plan to downshift for as long as necessary. 

I promised my kids I’d write another Wisherton book when I left Andauk.  I’ve been cruising through the existing books to keep a smooth ride into the next one.  This writing will cover different terrain.  I’ll need to engage the action gear in place of the romantic one.  It’s a little overheated right now anyway.  Hopefully, I can keep some humor turning during this adventure. 

I’ll be planning my next love story while I’m in Wisherton.  The teeth of these two gears will alternate as I make time for them.  I haven’t made any decisions yet about that next love story.  I have considered going in reverse.  I could return to Hartford to pick up some minor characters to populate a new series in an old town.  I seem to be spinning my wheels with that idea.  I’ll keep swapping out gears until one feels like it has some traction.  In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys What Goes Around more than my metaphor butchering.  But hey, at least it wasn’t personification.