Category Archives: Author

I suck at this…

Banse and I moved. In April. I still don’t have my desktop, or even a desk. I’m building a desk with bits and pieces from Ikea. Eventually. I have an empty bedroom (two actually), so one will be a guest room while the other is my writing hole. This picture will give you an idea, except I’m not so good on the dimensions. 


I already decided to swap room sides, so reverse that “l” and put the longbpiece on the side by my fingers. And, I decided shelving on the wall will be easier than free standing. Sturdier too, I hope. 

Anyway, I’m still working on the contemporary series. I’m developing my own little small town and my characters. I’m definitely leaning more sweet than steamy, by the way. But, without that space, time is snatched in pieces. Annoying. 

So, that’s an update. Still chugging along. At the laundromat right now with my bullet Journal and notepad. 

Sunday Funday, writer style


Yes, I have already switched notebooks for my bullet journal. Now, I’m in a faux Midori, traveler’s notebook style. It allows me to keep all my separate notebooks in one place – I have my trackers, my dailies, and my writing. 

Ah, writing. 

Things are not going so well there. Depression clouds many things, and I don’t mind telling you: I’m in a great fog right now. So, while words are elusive, planning goes in bits and fits. 

Today, I’m looking at setting. It’s a cozy series, so I need a small town. None of this small community within the big city for me. (Which I do enjoy, btw, and am not disparaging – I’m just not familiar with big cities!)

Now, small towns? Those I know. But I absolutely do not want one of the super tiny villages in Illinois. No, I want something a bit bigger – more attractive, more touristy. 

I found list of ten small towns in Illinois. Narrowed that down to five. And then had to make it four because one is just too small. 

At least, I think it’s too small. It’s something like 963 for population, I believe. It’s Elsah, Illinois and it’s absolutely  beautiful. And perhaps Hollis will find she has a cousin there, eh? 

Now, I really wanted something in central, Illinois but I’m not certain that’s feasible. But, I continue to compile a list. By the end of the week, I will have made my choice. 

Here are the contestants: 

  1. Galena
  2. Lebanon
  3. Fulton
  4. Greenville
  5. Nauvoo

Oh. I thought I started with five, but it appears I had six. 

What’s your setting research like? 

Where did my productivity go?

I mean, seriously. I started this whole Bullet Journal thing because it’s supposed to help. And it does help me focus on what needs done. I’m just not doing everything. Because with or without this damned thing, I’m still a slacker.

And I have to stop. I mean, who cares if I note that I’m going to do these 5 things if I don’t actually do them? Well, I do. With school coming up, I need to be back in productivity overdrive.

Did I mention yet that I cannot wait to start my fall classes? I’ll be taking two tax classes. EXCITED!!!

Yes. Seriously.

So, it’s Wednesday, and that means it’s Work-in-Progress. Over on Jude Knight’s website, she’s talking about servants. Specifically, the servants of her characters. Jude is a wonderful historical romance author – and I’ll be hosting an event for her 16 July. Let me know if you’re interested in attending. I can probably link the Facebook Event on here.

But see, I switched my focus from historical romance to a cozy mystery set right here in Springfield, Illinois during the early 20th Century. We open in 1918, although the series will veer into the 1920’s. Turns out, my fair city has a rich history of gangs and bootlegging.

So, while my main character comes from a wealthy family, she is peacefully estranged from them, and has no servants. Oh, she’s well enough off – and receives a stipend from her father – and she owns her own book shop. She does, after all, have to be able to travel and investigate the murders. Plus, as I was writing her, she revealed that she owned this shop and did not talk to her family. Running from a tragic event, of course.

But if we don’t have servants, what do we have? Well, mob bosses have hired muscle, naturally. And they don’t play an important part in my book, but the exist. I mean, I’ve written the confession (no tells, sorry) but not much more than that, so perhaps they do play an important part.

Anyway. Here’s a hint at what’s to come. (Naturally, I’ve already changed a bit of this, so I feel fine sharing!) And please remember this is 100% raw, unedited nonsense scribbles!

I briefly admired the Pullman attached to the end of the train, but it was nothing to get too excited about. Daddy had one, and mama always tried to get me to use it for my buying trips. I preferred the anonymity of a public car.

Two more men in that public car. I found the last public car almost completely empty. Two large men sat at the rear, largely ignoring each other. Each read the morning paper. Rather, they pretended to.

Hired muscle, each of them – likely for the owner of the Pullman. I recognized the air of self-importance about them almost immediately.

Lefty stared at me over the fold of his paper, careful to avert his eyes when I dared meet his gaze. Righty had no such subtlety. He put the paper down and stood. With a grace not usually seen in one so bulky, he moved to where I stood.

I was unable to suppress the smile that spread across my face. Lefty remained unknown, but I had known Righty most of my life.

“Newton Jones. What a pleasure.” It would not be. Newton only worked for one family since leaving our small town up north.

“My apologies miss, but this car is full.”

I detected the moment recognition set in. The tough guy act shattered, and he flashed a quick smile. “Surely it’s been too long, Miss H – ”

“The car is empty, Newton.” I gestured widely – we had yet to be joined by another person, and the ticket girl had indicated this car was fully available.

“It’s for your own good, miss.”

Of course it was. But I was tired of being told what was good for me. In the end, I won – but only because the train started moving, and there was nothing to be done. I was stuck in the car closest to my uncle’s biggest rival – the man who most hated me and my family.

So there you have it. The first official excerpt from my newest piece. It’s rough, but it’s fun. I hope you enjoy!

Tell me, what are you working on this week?

 

No apologies…

This second half of the semester is going to be hard, and that means I’m super busy. And that means less time for writing. Which makes me sad. 😢😢

Just how busy? Let me show you my personal calendar.. 

  
And that’s just school. Don’t forget, I also have a 40 hour work week in there, too.

As you can see, I left Sunday’s blank in the hope they will become my Sacred Writing Day. So far, not so much. There’s just too much work. 

But, I have to stop and take a break, so I’ve actually joined a little reading group on Facebook. It’s hosted by author Colleen Gleason, whose book I recently gave away. Vampires, 19th century London. I’m sold. 

So, I look forward to sharing information about the book with you, and I’ve a few more reviews to post. Perhaps tomorrow!!

Happy Birthday

So, I have a blog post all planned out for today, but it’s my daddy’s birthday and I’ve had a horrible day… And I don’t want to take the trouble.

I’m going to do it, though. Things are about to get so chaotic here, how can I not keep my silly little commitment? I mean, who am I if I don’t? Big loser, that’s who…

So, I give you –

Scraps and Tidbits –

I love the idea of themed days for my blog – as you are, likely, already aware, of course. Unfortunately, while I am blogging only once per week, I do not feel I can fully commit to a theme; at least, not while doing the theme any justice. I am, of course, still ironing things out – we know the day of the week (Wednesday), but I have yet to determine the time I will post. Perhaps during my lunch hour, I will compose the content to post once I get home.

And it isn’t just a factor of time restrictions weighing on my mind, either. No, it is a combination – too little time, too many ideas. I want to share things I learn while researching, I want to share tidbits and first lines and excerpts… I want to share everything with you that I have in the past. I want to share with you the progress I make while following Bryn Donovan’s new writing series. Every Monday through 2016, I will follow her guidance until I have a finished novel that I can then publish in 2017. I think one book per year is good – at least until I gain the confidence to do it on my own. 🙂

Now that is exciting! At least, it is for me – because I’ve committed to publication, you see. Something I thought I would never do.

Clearly, this is my last post of 2015 – also exciting in its own way. Enjoy your holidays and stay safe.

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day Sixteen

It’s like the blog challenge loves me today. 

Post a photo of yourself. 

Then I realized, I have over 500 photos on my phone, and very few of them are of me. And none of them are on my new laptop. 

So, I’ve moved to my phone for this post. 

Now, this photo is of me and my nephew, Andrew. It was taken just before the death of my father, and might possibly be the last photo taken of me. 

We smiled, but inside, we died. 

  
And then, here is one with me and my daddy. 

  

Ideas

I have so many ideas floating through my head right now. The current series I am working on involves twenty different stories, although some will occur at the same time. I am still 100% devoted to the story of Sarah and Stratford, but the other Ladies are pounding at the door. I already have an idea of what is going to happen with at least 4 other couples.

So what happens? Clearly, an entirely unrelated idea pops into my head. I mean, seriously Laura? Get your stuff together, woman. And not entirely a romantic idea, either. Ugh. What to do?

Well, there is really only one thing to do isn’t there? Take notes, write several stories at once. Follow the inspiration. Right now, inspiration has me investigating what psychiatric care was like during the Victorian Era. That’s your only hint. Well, there’s another one, but I buried it.

Did you find it? Let me know if you figured it out.

This is really short because I just wanted an excuse to share this:

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The Fourth Wall

I guess you’ve heard the news by now that I have put Midnight Garnets to the side – for the time being. We need some space. We aren’t breaking up per se, but we sure as hell aren’t hanging out right now. Like Ross, I found someone new. Oh wait. No, they were on an actual break. I just said we didn’t break up. Well. This is awkward.

Anyway, I am playing around with a Fairy Tale right now. In my usual fashion, I am ignoring all the rules and twisting things around. I believe they call that a Fractured Fairy Tale. I call it Laura being Laura.

Why am I doing this? Because I can?? Oh, still not a good enough reason. OK. Because I am playing with the 3rd Person Omniscient POV. Think I explained that one already. Whatevs.

And let us be honest with each other – Fairy Tales are made for a 3rd Omni POV. They scream for it. But that narrator becomes a new character, takes on a life of their own. They have to – in order to have an authentic voice, that is. So I wondered – how do you get to know the narrator of your story? Do you fill out a character questionnaire?

I recently watched Mirror, Mirror. I am a Snow White junkie, and this was a good fix. I L-O-V-E-D it. For reals. If you’ve seen it, you know that the Evil Stepmother is the Narrator. If you haven’t – oops, spoilers.

Well, I’m not writing Snow White. So, who should narrate this tale? I don’t know, but I like her already. Here’s a tiny tidbit of what I’ve written so far:

The night before her twenty-first birthday, Olivia fell into bed, visions of a different future dancing through her head. She dreamt of soaring through the clouds, high above amber fields and green pastures. She dreamt, as one may do, of a life in which she was free of the shackles of her sightlessness. Of a life in which she did not bump into furniture spitefully moved in the middle of the night. A life where she had purpose. One where she was not just that “poor blind child,” abandoned and unwanted. Unworthy. Unloved.

The dreams were all the same. From the safety of her tiny bed, tucked away under the eaves of the attic, Olivia swept aside the walls of her prison, escaping into the air on iridescent wings. In these dreams, she drank in all the colors reality denied her as her travels took her to the farthest reaches of the Empire.

Her dreams on this night were no different. She was at peace, and hoped the dream would never end. Unfortunately for Olivia, everyone must wake up – even sleepy Aurora broke free of her dreams. But that is another story, is it not?

For Olivia, the illusions built by her slumbering imagination were shattered by the shriek of another great beast roaming the night skies. One moment, she was wafting through a cloud, the next she had bolted upright, a dazzling flash of light obscuring her vision. She rubbed the sleep from the corner of her eyes, expecting the light to fade to the familiar darkness.

It did not. Instead, the light remained, growing brighter with each beat of her heart. Olivia knew she must still be dreaming. Her chest tightened as she fought for control of her frozen mind.

She screwed her eyes shut, just as she had so many times before, pinching at the skin of her forearm. She knew that if she could just wake up, all would be right again. The light faded as darkness crept in, but her mind would not be comforted.

The darkness is gone, it screamed. Olivia pulled her knees to her chest, burying her face in the crevice. A bead of sweat trickled down her back. She knew, in the way one just knows these things, that this brilliant light could mean only one thing: she could see. After twenty long years of darkness, she could finally see.

She gave voice to a small yelp of excitement. She could see – the one thing she wished for more than any other thing had finally come true while she slept. And she knew something else, knew it with a clarity typically reserved for day-after regrets: nothing good would come of this revelation.

Stuck to the feather tick mattress of her cot, Olivia rocked slightly, hands clenched together under bare legs. She cursed, relishing every unladylike word that tumbled from her lips. She gave in to the terror of the moment, mourning the loss of the familiar – exactly as would you or I.

Sunshine

As writers, we all have those lines or paragraphs that we are immensely proud of. Well, I have two such moments. A little background: this is a typical historical romance with instant attraction that is being fought every step of the way because of a Big Misunderstanding.Something happened between them (not romantic), and Duncan got hurt pretty bad. 

I actually wrote the scene where he got injured with them shifting into dragons – and his shift was violently ripped from him. That probably helps this make more sense. Fortunately (for the sake of my historical romance), those dragons hied off to parts unknown, so that whole bit has to be written over)….

Anyway, here is the first part – you can see the reference to dragons here. 

“You test my patience, Helena. I want to hate you. I really do.” Duncan said, running a hand through his dark hair.

Helena watched his movements through lowered lids. He grabbed up handfuls of sand, letting it sift through his fingers. But what?

When he did not continue, she asked. Her voice was quiet, barely audible above the crashing of the waves, her brow wrinkled. She could no longer handle the suspense or pain; loneliness pushed down upon her, the weight too heavy.

“How does one hate the sun, Princess?” He asked in way of a response. “It creeps slowly into your life, brightening your day, your world. Only once it has slipped away do you realize just how bright life was. How much better.”

Helena pushed herself up, looking Duncan directly in the eye. What, exactly was he telling her? “Do you forgive me for ripping the dragon from your soul?”

Duncan winced, pain clouding his eyes, “The sun burns when least expected, Princess.” Pausing to consider his next words, he said only, “I acknowledge it was not you, but rather the dragon.”

Next, several days later, they are overheard having the following conversation:

What is this Duncan?” The girl asked in hushed tones that barely carried to their hiding spot.

First names. They were intimate enough to use first names in public. Wait until she told Mama. The girl would be ruined. If she weren’t already, she corrected with a snort.

“It is the moon, Princess. You are the sun, so all I can do is hang the moon for you.” Duncan’s words whispered over Eloise’s skin, sending chills down her spine.

To What Do I Owe the Pleasure…

Question: Do we, as authors, have a responsibility to our readers to not disappoint them? What if we added the caveat of not hurting them “too badly”?

No. I am entirely serious. What do you, as authors, think?

Someone posted this sentiment in one of my online writing groups recently. I do not remember which one, nor would I name it if I did. Nor do I even remember the frame of the conversation at the time.

But let me tell you how I felt when I saw those words. Frankly, I was taken aback. I kept my opinions to myself to avoid starting any sort of drama or nonsense. Let me share them with you here; that is why I have this blog, right?

If you could not already tell, I absolutely disagree with the idea that I have a responsibility to not disappoint my readers. I immediately disagreed, but allowed myself 48 hours to reassess my feelings.

Nope.

I don’t know about other writers, but I write adult-themed books. Even if the action in my books never goes past second base, I am not writing young adult fiction.

Adults. Grown up humans. Decidedly not children. I expect adults to react to situations, including disappointment, as adults. It is not my responsibility to shield adults from something as mundane as disappointment. Frankly, it isn’t my responsibility to shield children from disappointment.

There is also the fact that I am writing for myself. Perhaps one day, I will consider trying to publish, but that just isn’t a goal right now. Here’s a tiny secret though: even if I do one day publish something, I’ll still be writing for myself. No one else.

Does this mean I don’t want readers to like my story? No. Are you telling me that people will only like what I write if I write for them and not myself? Do you think the greats worried about disappointing their audience? You know they didn’t. It seems to me that readers are smart enough to know an authentic voice from that of someone targeting an audience. And if I write to avoid disappointing everyone, I will lose my authenticity.

Want to know what I consider my responsibility to any potential future writers? Compelling characters and stories. Nothing more.