Monday, May 5, 2014

A Place to Shine

I'm writing book two in my Long Shot romance series with a determination found nowhere else on Earth.

In July, my husband and I are taking the kids on our annual vacation road trip to Tennessee. We love it. We adore it. We want to move there and live on a mountainside farm in Cade's Cove.

My lofty goal? Complete my first draft before we leave on July 4th.

How in the hell am I going to write a 68,000 word document in that amount of time?

Allow me to explain:

2,000 words a day.

10,000 words a week. (Weekends off so I don't lose my shit)

7 weeks = 70,000 words.

I know. That's a buttload of words to write in a day. But I'm a lucky, lucky girl (depending on when you ask me how I feel about staying at home...sometimes I feel more constrained and less lucky.)

The thing is, we're constantly being spoon-fed writing advice. It's all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds. An item that pops out at me every time, the one bullet on the list that stands out with the most meaning is:

ALLOW YOURSELF TO SUCK. Now that I'm forcing myself to write on this insane timeline, I'm having to practice this constantly. I feel like it all sucks. There's no tension between my romantic counterparts, the humor isn't there. In short, it's falling short.

By whose standards, though? No one has read the 11k words I've plopped down. Right now, I'm the only judge. I don't have time to pause and twiddle my thumbs in worry that it isn't good enough. I'll have months upon months to fix things--it's called editing, and it's a joyous thing. For me, getting the story down is the hardest thing. Editing is easy. I can mold something that already exists. Conjuring up an emotional, connecting story out of blank space on a Word document is damn hard, though.

Damn hard.

Anyway, I'm talking location today.

I did this crazy thing with my last novel, and put my characters into a setting in which I have little to ZERO experience. I've never even flown over the Atlantic, let alone been to London. I have no British friends to call upon, either.

I had to do the research and the legwork with my main male character, especially. Can't have a British guy putting on tennis shoes, can we? No, we can't. Because Jack Decker wears trainers. He won't answer his cell if you give him a call but will answer his mobile if you ring him.

I had to learn how to order coffee. I had to learn just how English are english muffins. (Turns out, they're not.) There was a crash course in both bacon and common insults. It was fun but also time-consuming. Hugely time-consuming.

I told myself to get smart.

If you were going to chose the setting of a novel, what would you choose? Somewhere you've visited, somewhere you've lived? Hey, I live in Roswell, New Mexico, famous in its own right. Plenty of environmental juiciness.

Alas, I've got better up my sleeve.

I chose Honolulu for book two. I chose to make my character a tourist. I've been a tourist in Honolulu, so I should have this down. Another fabulous insider trick? My brother was stationed on Oahu for a while. Met his wife there, in fact. So, my hero who happens to be a local...I can make him legit, too, with things one might not find on the Internet. Things you might need to live there to know. All I have to do is call and harass my brother every time I need clarification.

My setting for book three is Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Because it's well-known. An interesting place. But also, I lived there for seven years. Both my children were born there. I've personally experienced the highs and the lows of being a local.

I'm excited about this. I'm excited to write scenes with utter confidence that I know what the heck I'm talking about instead of praying I'm not making an ass of myself and embarrassing the indigenous people.

The bonus, of course, is getting to relive my Hawaii vacation from three years ago. Something about Hawaii stays with you after you've left. It's a beautiful emotion, and I get to use it in my novel. I have a feeling book two is going to be very close to my heart.

And now, if you've stuck around this long, I do have some news to share. Estimated publication for book one, Men Like This, a Long Shot Romance, is the end of March, 2015.

It's quite a long time from now. BUT, rest assured I'll remind you often that it's coming, and share what I'm able to as it comes. This very day my signed contract should be arriving at the Kensington office in New York. (Even typing those words is a surreal experience.)

So far this morning, I'm a tad behind schedule, but nothing's so important I can't stop and give a little update.

As always, thanks for reading!

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