• Tag Archives #amwriting
  • The Long Year and a Look Ahead in an Indie Writer’s Life #amwriting

    Not going to sugar coat it, 2016 was a hard year.

    Reflecting

    Despite the struggles, I somehow managed to publish two new books: The Astronaut’s Princess in February and Shifted in Seattle in October. And I haven’t written a word since.

    My mother (70) was diagnosed with non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis two years ago. She steadily declined this year but the img_5824past six months proved very challenging. She spent August in a nursing home near my home and then lived with us in our home September, October, and November…when she wasn’t hospitalized, which was frequently. I spent the last week of her life with her (she in a coma) in yet another nursing home. She passed Nov. 10.

    I’m so glad we got to spend that time close to her.

    As you can imagine, there wasn’t much time or energy for creating.

    But, a new year is on the horizon, and I’m getting back into the writing cave and looking ahead.

    It’s exciting.

    I already have about 10k on book four (Reap & Reckon) of the Reaper Series so that’s encouraging, and as I read through those pages, I’m reenergized with passion for that project.

     

    ReapandReckon (427x640)I had a brief stint (two months) with all of my books on Smashwords and distributed through all retailers, thinking this would find new readers. With little to no promotion, however, and out of KDP Select, all those book rankings slowly sank. They currently sit like the Titanic on the bottom of the Amazon Sea.
    I’m fixin’ to go on an expedition to try to raise them.

    They’ll all be back in KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited by the end of the weekend. Amazon is Queen, and I am her minion.

    Planning

    I was looking over my 2016 Writing Business Plan. All in all, I accomplished most of what I set out to do. Except finish Reckon and have audio books made for my non-reaper books. I just don’t think audio books are worth it. The narrator and I are making about $10 a month on those two audio books. I just can’t ask someone else to invest that much time for such a minimal payout.

    Wonder what my plan looked like? Take a gander if you want. The barely legible red writings are the results. Check marks mean it happened, baby.

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    A few more good accomplishments in there: a box set put together, audio books released, an AWESOME endorsement blurb from Darynda Jones…seriously, go check out her reaper books.

    Future

    So what’s in store for 2017? Kid, if I knew that, I’d play the lottery and own a mountain somewhere. That said, I’m working on THE PLAN now. I hope it will include Reap & Reckon published, work on the third Cosmic Cowboys episode, The Magnate’s Moon, attending Visioncon in Branson in February and Ozarks Indie Book Fest in Springfield in October.

    Right now the rest is TBD. I want to stay open to the possibilities. But like I always tell my husband, if we don’t make a plan…nothing happens.

    Here’s to some good happenings in 2017.

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    What does your 2017 Plan look like?


  • A title reveal and a work in progress

    Gosh! I just realized I’ve been working away on the next Cosmic Cowboys episode and promised a title reveal, which I totally didn’t follow through on. Bad author!

    Without further ado (Oh, who am I kidding? It’s all about the ado), here it is. The big reveal:

    The Astronaut’s Princess

    Seriously, did you ever think you might see those words together in a title? No. The answer is no. That’s part of the reason I love it so much. A traditional publisher would probably never let me use that title. They’d get all squinty-eyed and develop a tick just thinking about it.

    My Cosmic Cowboys series is part Firefly, part Cowboys vs Aliens and part Harrison “Grumpy Pants” Ford in his heyday. I try to channel a little bit of him into each of my heroes. I’ve taken some real-life characters (think Richard Branson and Elon Musk) and sent them into the near future with a boatload of cash to make their space tourism dreams come true against the better judgment of my heroes and heroines who have to put those multi-billionaire maniac’s plans into action.

    With great fortune comes great irresponsibility.

    You’ll be happy to know I’m just past the halfway mark on The Astronaut’s Princess and plan on a January release date.

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    See, it says so right above. Progress meters do NOT lie.

    Honestly, this book has been progressing sloooooowly.  Or at least it feels that way. Of course, when I sat down to do the math (PS writers should never, ever under any circumstance do math), I realized I’ve only actively written on The Astronaut’s Princess seventeen days, but it’s taken me four months to do it! That averages out to 1,252 words a day, which doesn’t suck. I just need to not suck more often to wrap this puppy up.

    Part of my problem, I realized today, is that I don’t have a good playlist for this story. I had a few downloaded songs but nothing is gelling. And THAT’s when I remembered the great music from The Martian. I just downloaded the soundtrack plus a bunch of seventies disco songs from the movie.

    Houston, we have some grooves. Let the writing flow and the good times roll.

     

    Sign up for my newsletter for new release news, sales, and general awesomeness: http://eepurl.com/9Zhcz


  • Reaping What We Sow: Join Medley’s Marauders Street Team

    Do you enjoy reading about monsters in love? Do you like your romance to bloom while your hero and heroine are fighting against the things that go bump in the night? Join my street team, “Medley’s Marauders”, and you could receive ARCs  (advance reading copies – means you read for free!) and earn prizes just for reading, writing reviews and spreading the word about my books and upcoming events.

    Team member duties:

    • Reading my books and then writing and posting reviews of my paranormal romance/urban fantasy works on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Harlequin. (Don’t worry if you’re new to reviewing. I’ll send you a ‘How To’ tip sheet!)
    • Tweeting
    • Sharing and posting on your Facebook
    • Other creative ways that you devise to spread the word

    Benefits include:

    • Author review copies of my new releases
    • ARCs of backlisted books on occasion (when I HAVE a backlist, ha!)
    • Opportunity to win gift certificates to Amazon (a points-based system)
    • Special monthly prize drawings for gift certificates
    • Extra entries in ALL contests I run on my blog

    Qualifications:

    • Must enjoy reading sometimes steamy romances about sexy heroines and dominant heroes in all sorts of supernatural situations 😀
    • Writing and posting reviews of my paranormal/urban fantasy romances
    • Must have a Twitter and Facebook account
    • Other social media connections helpful, but not required.

    To apply:

    Just fill in the contact form below and say “Sign me up, Lisa!” in the comment box!

    Special note: Existing Medley  Marauders will receive 10 points during this promotion for referring a friend who joins the team. (Have your friend follow the instructions above AND mention your name in the body of the email).

    The first release will be Reap & Repent, an urban fantasy romance to be released by Harlequin E in a paranormal romance/urban fantasy box set with three other authors in early March. New members who join now will receive an ARC mid February with pre-order buy links so they can post reviews as soon as they finish reading.

    Thanks for sharing in the dream! Let’s do this!

    P.S. Book reviewers may also contact me on the contact form below or at lisamedleyauthor@gmail.com Reap & Repent should be available on NetGalley soon!


  • Prepping for a New Year of Writing: Plotting 2014

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    I’m working on my third synopsis this weekend in advance of two of our local writing groups’ upcoming events. As I wait for my beta readers to return their feedback on Reap & Reveal before I send it on to Angela, I’m looking ahead to what might be coming next.

    I’ve had an idea for a ghost romance rumbling around my brain for a while now. It came to me one night when I was trying to fall asleep and was failing miserably. The bad thing about working late into the night (and sometimes morning) is that often my brain just won’t turn off when I walk away from the keyboard.

    The night of the ghost romance idea was the perfect example. I grabbed my iPhone and typed away with my tired thumbs from bed as I expelled the basic elements of the story into the Notes app. It turned out to be a pretty long note! It tried twice to fall to sleep before I had to grab my phone again and add a few more details.

    Purged of the mental Post-its, I finally fell asleep. I printed it out a few days later and added to my Novel Ideas folder.

    When I pulled it back out Friday night to finally begin fleshing out the story, I got more and more excited about it. Researching the writing of a new novel is a rush. So many possibilities! The hardest part, once the ball is rolling, is reining the thing in.

    I ended up with a four-page synopsis I feel really good about 🙂

    Next I moved on to an idea I had for a new Harlequin E Erotic Vacation subgenre. It would definitely be a departure from my other books, and I could only rustle up a one-page synopsis for it. The expected word count is much smaller 15-50K. Right now it feels like it might flesh out to 20-30K. It’s hard to tell until the thing takes flight. 

    The third synopsis is for a fourth book in The Reaper Series. I’m tentatively calling it Reap & Reclaim. There were several loose ends and unanswered questions lingering from book three. I’m thinking that all of those Reaper Authority Force reapers, who were coincidentally named after angels, aren’t quite what they appear. It may take a few books to reveal their true origin and mission.

    Right now, I keep coming back to Haunt My Heart. It’s my brain squirrel at the moment. Every few minutes I find myself Googling something else dealing with HMH research instead of my Reclaim synopsis. I’m taking it as a sign.

    January first is the launch date for #JANO2014. JANO is like NANOWRIMO only sponsored by Sleuths’ Ink and Ozarks Romance Authors, the two bestest writing groups in the Ozarks.

    JANO officially begins January 1 but gets a huge push at our 3rd Annual Mega Critique & Write-In. It’s a fun day of writerly fellowship and high word counts.

    Anyone can attend. We’ll even feed you lunch!

    If you’d like a sneak peak of where I’m headed with Haunt My Heart, you can check out my Pinterest board.

    It’s good to be Queen.

     


  • Book Two is in the Harlequin E Queue

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    Book two of the Reaper Series, Reap & Redeem, is all wrapped up, copyedited and on it’s way to Harlequin. Book three, Reap & Reveal, is out to my beta readers and awaiting its turn.

    Reap & Reveal is due for submission to my editor Jan. 31 so I have a few more tweaks to make to it before I hit send. Hitting send on book three is just as scary as hitting send was for book one.

    Some days I wonder how all of this actually happened. As I was reading through Reveal for the umpteenth time, it seemed like someone else entirely had written it.

    Apparently, birthing books is a lot like birthing babies and you pretty much immediately forget all of the pain and discomfort they caused you all those long months the moment they finally appear, fully-formed into your world.

    And now I’m ready to do it all again.

    The books birthing, not the baby birthing. I’m all good on that front. I don’t feel the desire for a series of real babies.

    What I do have is a burning desire for is a BACK LIST. And the only way you get a back list is if you continue to write and publish books.

    I’m spending the remainder of December brainstorming and working up synopses (what a weird word that is) for three ideas which have been scurrying around the nether regions of my brain. Plotting a book is a heady thing.

    I spent all afternoon last Sunday working on a ghost romance idea. As you can imagine, there are some obstacles to romance to overcome with that idea but it’s fun trying to figure out how to make it happen. I already have a working title, hero/heroine names, settings, and the beginnings of a playlist. And yes, the plot is coming together.

    I went to bed at midnight Monday morning and couldn’t turn off my brain. Those characters are already pounding at the door wanting to tell their story.

    I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve discovered through the years I am a great STARTER but sometimes have trouble SUSTAINING. With writing, I get to enjoy the best of both of those worlds. Brainstorming new novel ideas feeds my organization and STARTER self while 75-80K seems to be just about the end of my SUSTAINING capacity. If I had to write longer books, I think I’d lose interest before I ever completed them.

    Writing a series right out of the gate has been challenging. Keeping ALL of those details straight would be impossible for me without the help of my beta readers and my fantastic editor. I really lucked out when Angela was assigned to me.

    The ghost romance will be a standalone book.

    Plotting a new book is a lot like working a puzzle without having the picture on the box to look at for guidance. Right now I’m gathering all of the pieces and working the framework. I know it’s say, a picture of birds and flowers, or in this case a ghost romance but the rest is revealed as the writing progresses.

    I know what the general picture is going to be but there are lots of details that won’t take shape until much farther into the story. I think that’s what makes writing so exciting.

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    It’s true!

    I’m trying to resist writing those first lines until I have worked out more of the framework but it’s hard!

    I thought I’d take a break but I think, writing something new and different and taking a step back from the reapers for a bit will re-energize me and enable me to see where the reapers are headed next.

    Sometimes you have to leave the forest to appreciate the trees.


  • Gravitating to Graveyards

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    I got completely lost yesterday.

    For my day job, I’m a vampire for a local blood bank. I travel around organizing blood drives across five counties and am responsible for nearly ten thousand donations a year. Most days go smoothly since I’ve covered the same ground for the past nine years now, but one wrong turn yesterday took me completely off the map and into parts unknown.

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    The unexpected writerly benefit was I found some super cool graveyards.

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    You probably don’t really pay much attention to cemeteries. Once you start looking, you’ll see they are like Chinese restaurants and banks…there’s one on every corner.

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    I am particularly drawn to decrepit and neglected graveyards. There is an abundance of such places in the rural countryside. Most rely on volunteers to mow the grounds and some haven’t been mowed in a very long time.

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    Those are the best.

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    I especially like broken tombstones and those worn slick by time and the elements.

    If you’d like to read my sentiments on the tradition of burying our dead in steel boxes, you can find a post here.

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    No one will ever admire my broken tombstone, but that’s okay.

    Since I write reapers, I find graveyards inspiring.

    Sometimes you can find inspiration in the strangest places.


  • Reaping The Benefits: Tracking Book 3 and Book 2 Edits

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    I received my next two contracts from Harlequin in the mail last week and diligently filed them away. I can’t believe this is becoming routine.

    Monday, August 12, I’ll get my structural edits for Reap & Redeem, book two of my Reaper Series.

    My goal (admittedly impossible) was to finish writing book three before the book two edits arrived. That did not happen. Life happened.

    What did happen is that I wrote 24,646 words in fifteen days, and now I’m sitting at 61K on book three. I still have to write the ending and the entire first draft feels thin to me. After my book two edits are finished, I’ll be ready to tackle it again. I need to be over 80K at completion. And I have to turn it in by October 31.

    Now THAT is scary.

    I have a problem with all of my books actually ending around 70K then I tack stuff onto the end. Apparently, I should be writing 70K length books. But the contract says 80k and that’s what I’ll do. Originally I thought I would write maybe ten books in this series but it’s feeling more like a trilogy.

    I have plenty of characters I can spin off into a new direction however, so we’ll see.

    After I finish with book three, Reap & Reveal, I plan to take a break and wait for at least one of them to publish. It looks like Jan-March will be the likely time frame for Reap & Repent. Reap & Redeem should come out three months later. I can’t wait to have a book out so I can start sharing and promoting it!

    Although, I don’t think I’ll be able to stay away from the keyboard for long.

    I have two other book ideas eating a hole in my NOVEL IDEAS folder. One is a ghost romance and the other is an erotic vacation romance. I also plan to write a Reaper short story to post on my site or sub to an anthology once the books start publishing.

    Once the writing Kraken is released, it won’t go easily back into the dark night.


  • Anything I Can Do You Can Do Better!

    Gosh. Today another email from Harlequin magically appeared in my inbox–for the next two Reaper Series books. One, Reap & Reveal, I’m working on right now.

    Okay, so right now, I’m screwing off on the internet and writing a post…you know what I mean.

    My friend Beth Carter, author and marketing guru for our group, says that marketing is not bragging. Sometimes, posting about these amazing successes does feel like bragging, but I sincerely hope no one else sees it that way.

    My intent is to journal the process and the progress–good and bad. Because if I can do this, you can too. If you’ve ever had a germ of an idea float through your head that you just couldn’t shake or even a passing desire to write, what are you waiting for?

    Granted, publishing a book is not like winning the lottery. Most books don’t make 50 Shades of the Harry Potter Games money. There are many other rewards, however.

    Who knows were the path might lead you.

    Join us in Springfield, Sept. 21 at the fabulous University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center for ORACON (Ozarks Romance Authors Conference).  Let us motivate you and help you along your path to publication.

    Register now, right here and start writing TODAY.

    A year from now, you’ll be so glad you did.

     

     

     


  • The Reaper Series: Contract Two Is On Its Way!

    Last Friday I got word that the contract, if not the check, is in the mail for book two, Reap & Redeem. It’s amazing to realize that this thing is actually happening.

    While I am still awaiting a release date for book one, Reap & Repent, the copyedits are finished, and my input (except for the cover suggestions) is all but over. The thing is being typeset as we speak.

    Elvis has left the building.

    It’s both exciting and terrifying, because very soon people will be actually READING my stuff and scarier yet…reviewing it online. Eek!

    I’ve jumped into the writing of book three, Reap & Reveal and am currently sitting at 22K. For all my planning, this book has developed much slower than the previous two. In fact the writing seems to be creeping along at an excruciating pace. Why some books are easier to write than others is a mystery I haven’t had enough experience to solve yet. But you can bet I’ll keep trying.

    I had to give a projected date of completion for book three…um, erm…Oct. 31?

    That would be the fastest I’ve completed writing a book. A lot of magic is going to need to happen between now and Halloween.

    Next time you think, “Geez, why doesn’t {insert favorite author’s name here} write more than one book a year! I hate waiting!”, trust me…we hate waiting too.

    From what I can figure out, most of being an author is WAITING. Oh sure there’s the actual writing, but AFTER that? It’s all waiting. The wheels of fiction grind slowly my friend. Even those maverick indie publishers have their fair share of waiting.

    The really amazing news…Harlequin Digital First wants the next few books in the series as well. I haven’t even thought them up yet! But I will…

    {heads off to look for that magic wand}


  • Keep On, Keeping On

    I started book three in The Reaper Series.

    This is Nate’s story. It’s called Reap & Reveal. To be honest, it’s felt slow and painful here at the beginning. Today, I finished at 12,259 words. I’m not sure why this one has been such a herky-jerky process.

    I actually made about five pages of notes before I even began. Maybe that’s the difference? Maybe trying to convert from pantser to plotter has its consequences. Sucks some of the magic out of it?

    Reap & Repent is still out for copyedits and no news on a release date. Reap & Redeem is with the HQ acquisitions team, and I’m waiting anxiously to see if they’ll officially pick it up. I felt good about book two. It was the easiest to write so far because I was a little in love with Kylen. He’s a dark and tortured hero.

    After getting some editor feedback on it from Angela (nothing official), I realize I tend to write fast and furiously up to the 70% point of my story, then sort of run out of steam and tack stuff on at the end. I’m going to work really hard on this one to NOT do that.

    The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same things and expect different results, yes? I want to do it right the first time.

    I’ll probably never do it right the first time.

    But I will keep trying. I’m hopeful that my story will break over soon and then I can ride its wave. I continually alternate between thinking it’s total crap and okay. The author’s curse in all its glory. This is the EXACT reason authors become alcoholics. 

    Lucky for me I don’t really like booze that much. Sure a gin and tonic with a twist is nice from time to time, but give me a bag of chocolate… Good God, man! I could put a hurt on that.