Do not settle

I bargained with life for a penny
And life would pay me no more
Though I begged at every tide
When I counted my scanty store

For life is a just employer
And will pay you what you ask
But when you have set the wages
Then you must bear the task

I worked for a menial’s hire
Only to find dismayed
Whatever I had asked of life
Life would have gladly paid.
-Jessie B. Rittenhouse

The scenes I put off writing

There are some scenes I just don’t want to write.

Firebird

Writer, having grabbed hold of an idea, has no clue what to do next.

I can’t avoid them, either. Usually these are major emotional turning points in the story. I think the reason I dread them and put them off is that I don’t think I can pull the transition off successfully. Which is rather like an out-of-shape person not wanting to run a mile because they’re not an athlete.

I’m not going to get good at writing emotional turning points by ignoring them.

Steven Pressfield wrote a good post about how you have to be your own mentor sometimes. Hold your feet to the fire and question whether the story is the best it can be. I would go further and state that even if the story isn’t as good as it could be, you have to try and write it anyway. It’s not going to improve sitting in the back of your mind. You have to get it out on the page first.

His Forgotten Fiancée: The Blurb

After all the pain I went through trying to write a blurb, I have to say that when someone else does it for you it seems so simple and straightforward.

Voilà!
Illustration from The Little Lame Prince and His Travelling Cloak by Dinah Maria Mulock illustrated by Hope Dunlap 1909 25

Liza Fitzpatrick is stunned when her fiancé finally arrives in Oregon City — with amnesia. Matthew Dean refuses to honor a marriage proposal he doesn’t recall making, and Liza is forced to consider he may not have loved her after all. But she needs his help now to bring in the harvest, and maybe she can help him remember…
Matthew is attracted to the spirited Liza, and as she tries to help him regain his old memories, the new ones they’re creating together start to make him feel whole. Even as he falls for her again, though, someone’s determined to keep them apart. Will his memory return in time to save their future?

The Cover Reveal!

The cover arrived sooner than I had expected, and I am very pleased to be able to share it with you.

9781335369529 copy

Voilà! Meet Liza, Matthew, and the kitten Elijah.

The cover models bear an incredible resemblance to the characters described in the book. A round of applause to the Harlequin Art Department for a wonderful job. They have an amazing attention to detail, right down to Liza’s hair and dress. And the background looks like it was taken almost exactly from the picture of Mount Hood that I’d sent. Truly, they did a fabulous job of representing the book.

And yay! His Forgotten Fiancée has a cover! At this rate, even my subconscious is starting to believe that I really did sell a book.

 

Revisions, Nietzsche, and Positive Thinking

That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.-Nietsche

Feedback. What’s not to like?

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
—Elmore Leonard, Newsweek, 1985

Seriously. It’s good. I like feedback. Well, most of it. Good criticism falls into the ‘hurts so good’ category, because once I make the fix I will have a Much Stronger Book.

Revisions are my friend. Revisions make the story stronger. I like need revisions.I confess that it is disheartening to see the gap between what I intended to say and how it came across to the reader. But that’s not the reader’s problem.

If I didn’t hit the mark, I need to improve my aim.  I was trying to write a story that relied a lot more on showing emotion through the characters’ body language, rather than explicitly stating what they were feeling, but I need to work on that some more.

Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – wholeheartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.
— Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing, 1916

Now I have to figure out when to schedule the revisions that I need to do on Geoff and Lia’s story. I want to finish the first smooth draft of the story I’m working on before I go back to rewriting this one.

I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.
— Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory, 1966

Each story I write is going to make me a better writer because I am going to go through the revision notes and improve my writing as a result.

Plant your own garden

John Falconer Slater The Flower Garden

“Plant your own garden
and decorate your soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.”
~Veronica A. Shoffstall

This post has no literary merit. I am merely whining about the weather. Again. It’s too hot to write in my house. It’s too hot to sleep in my house. It is, in short, too hot in my house.

I love my backyard. It has many tall trees and lots of lovely shade. Alas, thanks to the wildfires in the Gorge, at the moment there is ash all over the place as well. I’m ready for autumn.