Enjoy the ride

Mazatlan Diver Sequence

Note: this is a rather long Note To Self that I wrote. It occurred to me that there might be others out there also going through this, so I figured I might as well publish it.

US Navy 031205-N-2306S-002 Ensign Megan Barnett completes a diveIt seems to me this is the best way to approach this business of making things up and writing them down. You send your stories off into the world, and if you want to remain a reasonably sane human being, you get on with writing the next thing and don’t burden yourself with visions of dollar signs dancing in your head.

Someone bought the book? Terrific. Go on with the next story.

No one bought the book today? Whatever. On with the next story.

So my resolution for today is not to worry whether my books make a splash or bellyflop. On with the next story.

I was going to write a book for Nanowrimo this year. Set up my Nano page with the book’s cover and its title. Then promptly on November 1st, I got hit with a lightning bolt of a new idea. I had to write it. The goal for Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words of a new novel in a month. I passed that in two weeks. That’s the problem with lightning bolts: they dazzle you so you cannot see any other stories.

Now I’m in the dull part of writing. I’ve got all the scenes down on the page, but I have to put them in order and make sure they flow one to another. This part of the process takes a lot of chocolate. Especially at this time of year, when all I want is to curl up and ignore the fact that it’s dark at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Albert_Bierstadt_-_Winter_landscape

How do you cope with this time of year? Chocolate? Chestnuts roasting on an open oven?

Romance FAQ

I participated in a chat on Romance today at the Hillsboro Public Library.  (And my thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers who made the Local Authors’ Fair such a success!)

Here’s the FAQ that I put together for the Romance chat:

How much can I make writing romance novels?*

Where can I go to learn more about writing romance?

Recommended books on the craft of writing

Podcasts about writing in general

YouTube videos about writing

*Because that’s invariably the first question I’m asked.

I’m signing books and giving a talk

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The Hillsboro Public Library is hosting a local author’s fair. I’m going to be signing copies of His Forgotten Fiancée  and The English Lieutenant’s Lady, as well as hosting a chat on Writing Romance. If you’re in the neighborhood, please do stop by! There are going to be a lot of other authors there as well, and a variety of presentations.

I’ll be at the main library on Saturday, September 22nd. The romance chat is at 4 p.m., but the book signing will be going on all day.

The library has a full list of the day’s activities.

Where: Hillsboro Public Library, 2850 NE Brookwood Pkwy, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

When: Saturday, September 22nd

Why: Because it’ll be fun!

The pen is mightier than the keyboard

writing-1209121_1920Maybe this is a sign of my old age, but I think better when I write things out by hand. Once I get started writing, the words are coming too fast for my hand to keep up. Since I can’t be bothered to learn shorthand, I reach for the keyboard once I’m in the flow. But to get the tap flowing, I have to start out with a pen and notepad.

Specifically, I write with a fountain pen. I got into the habit of writing when I took the train to work and now it’s automatic: I get on the Max, and the pen comes out. It is amazing how many looks I get writing with a fountain pen. It fascinates people.

I recommend using a fountain pen if you can. The ink flows easily and you don’t have to press down, but unlike most gel pens, it’s easy to refill the pen and keep going. You can keep the same pen for years. Some people don’t like to loan their pens out to other people. They say the nib has been worn down in a way that just suits the way their hand pressed the pen onto the paper, and loaning the pen out changes the shape of the nib. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it is true that all fountain pens are not created equal. I’ve purchased pens that were a pain to write with. And I’ve purchased others that were a joy.

Another thing I like is that the ink comes in a variety of colors. I experimented with loading my pen’s cartridge with a mixture of turquoise and navy blue inks, and I’ve found this is the shade I like best for autographing books. But you can also get ink in purple or pink or green or… well, there are a lot of options.

I have just found a new time sink: an ink comparison website.

Warning: once you start writing with a fountain pen, you might become addicted. Proceed at your own risk.