• Tag Archives Lisa Medley
  • Harlequin So You Think You Can Write 2013 – It’s on like Donkey Kong!

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    A year ago today I entered a contest. It was a big one.

    The Harlequin So You Think You Can Write contest. More than 700 writers uploaded their first chapters for the world to see. It was exhilarating and terrifying. And ultimately it was the launch pad for my writing career. 

    Getting that email from ucanwrite@harlequin that said, “Congratulations!” was the second best moment of my career so far. The first was the call from Malle Vallik in Toronto with Harlequin e and a two book offer 🙂

    The good news is YOU can enter the same contest. The most amazing thing this year is that you are GUARANTEED to have top Harlequin editors reading your first 5,000 words!

    This is YOUR year. You have NOTHING TO LOSE and everything to gain.

    You still have a few days to polish those manuscripts. And you’ll want to. If you are chosen as a Top 50 entry, the editors will request your full manuscript. Trust me. You don’t want the stress of trying to finish a manuscript under that sort of pressure.

    The online conference begins next week. Be there.


    Make it happen.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Repeat.

    First off, I’d like to give huge thanks to my editor, Angela Polidoro, for her saint-like patience in editing my first novel, Reap & Repent. The woman is the Word Whisperer. For reals.

    Angela sent me three pages of structural edits to help me get my sometimes random and errant plot in line. I’m a pantser. Or at least I was on the first book. A pantser just starts writing with a vague idea of where the story may or may not go then continues forward until the end.

    Yeah. That was book one.

    Angela labored meticulously over my book, pulling the gems forward and giving me gentle suggestions of ways to solve my plot problems.

    I did everything she said and basically rewrote/restructured the second half of the book. It’s much better.

    Then came the line edits. Holy. Cow. She would give Job a run for his money in patience. I happily accepted all of her suggestions and tried to find some rhyme to reason or common denominator in her edits so I could do better next time. I don’t know if she laughed more or cried more during what had to be painfully tedious revisions.

    I emailed her and asked for any common things I could try to avoid next time to save her sanity. She just said,” Everyone needs a good polish!”

    Bless her heart.

    She’s the best and most positive cheerleader. She’s obviously worked with dozens of emotionally needy authors and knows how to soothe our savage insecurities.

    I promised her I could do better.

    She already has book two. I think my plot/story is better in book two. It’s a darker book, which I totally dig. More of a J.R. Ward vibe (I hope) as opposed to the little quirkier vibe of book one. I suppose I’ll know soon since she’s reading it now.

    I only have 800 words written on book three so far, but I do have five pages of notes.

    Slowly but surely, I’m upgrading to a plotter. See…I can learn.

    God help me.

    God help us all.


  • I Have An Editor!

    welcome writing After much waiting (okay, so it wasn’t that long, but I am exceedingly impatient), I have an editor! Yesterday, the amazing Miss A (keeping her secret identity for now, ha!) contacted me to tell me she has been assigned as my editor. We exchanged several emails, and I love her already. And let me tell you, there’s a lot to love about her. She spent the last five years working as an editor for a MAJOR NY PUBLISHER before signing on with HARLEQUIN.

    Uh, yeah…she’s da bomb. Lucky for you, dear reader, she’ll soon have me sparkling like a scythe in the moonlight. I’ll speak with her again next week, and she expects to get my first edits to me mid April. Then…it’s game on!

    Speaking of editors…you have an opportunity to unleash YOUR inner editor on the first page of my second book in The Reaper Series, Reap & Redeem. I’m on the chopping block over at historical romance author Mia Marlowe’s page which you can find HERE. Edit on!*

    *No editors were consulted in the writing of this post. All mistakes are my own. Sigh.

  • Novel Tracking: The Road So Far

    The road so far

    For someone who absolutely hates numbers, I’ve become fairly obsessed with tracking words lately. As for resolutions, one of the resolutions I made for 2013 was to buy NO NEW BOOKS because my to-be-read book shelf and ereaders runneth over.


    I’ve already made plans to fail at that resolution. My favorite Indie book store, Larry Bowen’s Readers Corner is calling to me, and I’ll be visiting him next week.#plannedfail

    As for my writing resolutions, things have been going along pretty smoothly until last night when I realized my novel actually ended 2k ago. Despite the fact I was trying to beat the future 5-10k into submission, book two just wasn’t having any of it. Instead I was inadvertently creeping up on book three.

    So what I think needs to happen at this point is to go back and begin the bedazzling and embellishing of the rest of the book. I’m fairly confident that will 1) improve the overall content and atmosphere of the story and 2) successfully propel me past the 80K mark.

    I’m not the best at description. I think my mind just automatically fills in for me. This doesn’t bother me at all in other people’s work. In fact, I’m bored and bogged down in most fiction when authors try to go all Van Gogh and paint a picture for me. Just give me enough to get the feel of things, and I’ll take it from there. I don’t even really need to know what the characters look like because I’ve already dressed them up and colored their hair in my head.

    A few times I’ve actually been surprised when movies come out based on books I’ve read because the characters/actors look NOTHING like what I had in my head. Later when I go back and check their descriptions, I realize they were a lot closer than I’d thought. I’d just missed the details because I was already lost in the story.

    I guess the trick is to find a happy medium. That’s what I’m going to attempt to do.  Even though I’ve been working on book two all week, I took a month long break from it in December so it still feels pretty fresh.

    Of course, this new plan of action is likely going to kill my daily word count. Last week was one of my biggest weeks ever for writing, and I ended up with 12,529 new words. Rereading and embellishing is going to be much more painful and slow than running ahead full speed like Phoebe from Friends towards a conclusion I had all along.

    I’m thinking an epilogue might be in order to tie up some of the loose ends, but sometimes you just can’t solve all of your characters’ problems in a neat little package.

    Thank God.

    That’s what a series is for.