If any of you take meds for ADD, I’d love to hear about it. What you take, how it makes you feel, etc. Please share.
Ok, yes, it’s been 3 years since I had a release. Yes, I had a very bad block — it’s over. But I also have ADD and that will never get better. Unless I get drugs, which I don’t want to do.
But I am writing. I’ve decided to stop kicking myself and imagining all the things that might happen before I ever finish another book because that just makes me crazier. So I might die, or the world might blow up, or something else might happen before I finish another book but that has nothing to do with whether or not I’m writing.
So, I’m writing. I have 50,000 words in one story, and 13,000 of them are in good, tight form. I think.
But I’m an anxious, insecure, nervous wreck of a writer (in other words, totally normal.)
Some writers have critique partners, I don’t. And some writers have beta readers, who read their books after the books have been written.
And that’s my problem. I need a beta reader to read what I’m writing it as I’m writing it. Someone to say “yes, this is good” or “no, this sucks” because if I’m spinning something that sucks, I want to know about it before I finish it, right?
And it needs to be a non-writer. I have an excellent writer beta reader, but she’ll give me writer feedback — what to fix, where to tweek, etc. I need a reader, someone to just say yeah, I like this, or no, I fell asleep.
So. I’m looking for 2 beta readers. My only requirement is that I already have you in my contacts list – and you’re in my contacts list if you’ve ever emailed me or left a comment here.
If you’re interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I just need 2 people. It’s a rock star/country music star contemporary and it doesn’t spend a lot of time on the glitzy rock and roll lifestyle – it’s mostly them, and it mostly takes place in Texas, although some of it’s in California. And this is the beginning. And it might suck. I don’t know. That’s why I need beta readers.
Vickie – this does not let you off the hook. But you can’t carry the burden yourself.
I thought I had a belly button hernia. (Technically, an umbilical hernia, but I like belly button hernia better.) One of my doctors said I didn’t have to do anything about it unless it got bigger or started to really hurt.
The week we were supposed to leave for a few days’ vacation in New Braunfels, it felt bigger and became extremely painful and my stomach had red streaks. So I thought I’d see a surgeon recommended by a friend before I left town, just to make sure. He looked at it, said “That’s not good – we need to fix that right away.” It was a Friday, he scheduled surgery for Monday, and we had to cancel New Braunfels. Diva handled it like a reasonable teenager – disappointed but fully understanding.
So I went in Monday morning the 14th for a 30 minute surgery that should have seen me leave by 3 or 4 at the latest. And I ended up leaving one week later, on Monday the 21st.
The surgeon found when he looked inside that I didn’t have a hernia at all, but adhesions and other not good things happening because the 12.5 year old sutures left over from my hysterectomy were messing up my intestines. Had it gone on much longer, I could’ve been in serious trouble. (His explanation of what happened was much more detailed than that, and when I get back to work I’m going to research it in Pub Med just for interest’s sake.)
Apparently my problem was very weird. The surgical resident who assisted is going to write a paper about it.
So I’ve been home five days and I’m definitely feeling better than I was, but I still hurt. (I hurt even worse today after my first post-op appointment, where the doctor poked and prodded and took out some of my staples.)
I’m trying to write. I mean, I have days to sit around the house with nothing to do, so I’ve been trying to write. Problem is it hurts to sit up straight at a desk, but sitting on the couch with the laptop on my legs – my normal writing posture – hurts too, because I can’t keep my arms from hitting my stomach. This kind of blows.
It’s played sheer hell with my schedule. The rock star romance is supposed to be finished Aug. 31, and I was on track but now I’m behind. I’m supposed to get back into Seth and Evie September 1 so I can be done by November 30.
I’m going to have to double up or something.
Stronger drugs – that’s what I need. Much stronger drugs.
I figured this out because….it says Methodist in big lit up letters at the top of the building and I hadn’t noticed. (Hey. I’ve been on drugs.) I think the blue lights on the building next door must have something to do with the Life Flight helicopters.
Anyway. Pretty view.
I’m in the hospital. Came in Monday for what was supposed to be a hernia repair, 30 minute surgery at the most. Doctor opened me up and it turns out I didn’t have a hernia at all. My 12.5 year old sutures (WTF??????) were irritating my intestines and making inappropriate holes and I didn’t want a graphic explanation because it all kind of freaked me out. Just glad I decided to see a doctor about the “hernia” before we went to New Braunfels for 4 days – I could’ve gotten really sick.
Hoping to go home tomorrow, but at least today I got a shower, washed my hair, put on a Tshirt and sweatpants. I keep trying to write but I can’t think clearly. I mean, I can type stuff like this, but I’m a little fuzzy from the painkillers and it’s hard to do narrative and dialogue like that.
The painkillers are in IV form, with a pump. When I press the pump, the machine makes a noise as it dispenses shots of the medicine – the noise sounds exactly like a Dalek turning/whirling around.
Also, while the daytime view from my window is blah, the nighttime view is cool. I’m in St. Luke’s but have no idea on which side of the building my room is – I’m poring over Google maps to identify the 3 buildings outside my window – at night, two of the buildings have white lights around the top, and the 3rd one has green lights – like no one took the Christmas lights down. When it’s dark and the stars are showing and the buildings have their lights on, it’s really pretty.
Having a terrible premonition that I won’t be released tomorrow. So tomorrow, I’m writing, no matter what. Maybe I’ll tackle the Jeep sex scene – could be really interesting/funny/horrifying to see how it goes while I’m on these great drugs.
TV choices are very limited. Think I’m going to watch the first episode of The Almighty Johnsons – a new SyFy show I recently saw ads for – no idea what it’s about.
Some of it’s stuff that I’ve known a while, and some of it’s stuff I only just figured out. (A six hour drive back from New Orleans with PG Forte produced a lot of it.)
1. I know what happened to El, and you would be shocked at how smart and resourceful that flighty Fae chick really is.
2. I know there’s a whole bunch of stuff TJ’s mom never told her about…stuff she should’ve told her.
3. I know why Nick is going to have more trouble than he can handle shortly.
4. I know who Michael’s dreaming about, why it bothers him, and what it means.
5. I know the rock star romance I’m working on is really good, and I’m going to have it finished before the end of the summer.
6. I know BOTH rock star romances and Seth’s book will be done by the end of the year.
7. I know I’ll start writing Nick and TJ at the beginning of 2015.
So, that’s cool. Makes me feel good.
What I still don’t know is what exactly the bad guy in Seth’s book is doing. I won’t let it keep the book from getting done, but it is annoying.
Thanks to Kate Davies for inviting me to join her on this writing process blog tour!
NOTE: OMG y’all! I’m writing this on Sunday night (naturally, because it has to go up on Monday), and we’re watching Supernatural. The episode is “The Monster At The End of This Book” and it’s where they first meet Chuck Shurley, the writer/prophet who’s been documenting Sam and Dean’s lives while thinking he’s writing fiction.
Dean demands to know how Chuck’s process works, and Chuck replies, “Well, it usually starts with a headache. A really bad headache. Aspirin is useless, so I drink.”
That’s so meta it’s kind of scary.
1. What am I working on?
3.25 things at the moment. I’m almost finished with my book for romance writers (this is the .25 thing). It covers how to format a manuscript, deal with submissions and editors and, most of all, navigate social media.
I’m also still working on the rock start contemporary and I love it. (NOTE: This will not last.) My hero is tough and sexy and adorable.
And there’s the alternate history steampunk, set in 19th century Galveston, for which I’ve developed a second burst of enthusiasm. I think it could be really good. Not really a romance, though — a steampunk with romantic elements.
And yes, I’m still working on Seth’s book. Having problems with the relationship between the heroine and the villain, though.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know…it’s not as good? I mean shit, look at Viv Arend and Patricia Briggs and okay, I’ll stop self-flagellating now.
My werewolf books are lighter than a lot of series in the genre. Bad things happen, and the stakes are high, but the world is not dark and there’s a lot of humor.
My paranormal world is firmly contemporary–werewolves are a natural part of society, as are other shifters and the various species of fae. There are no female werewolves–that’s not unique, but it is unusual.
I don’t think the steampunk I’m working on will be strikingly original, as for instance Meljean Brook’s is, but Galveston Island itself will be as much a character as any of the people in the story, and I like that.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I have no idea, seriously. I don’t know how I get the ideas I get, and I don’t know why I imagine the characters I do. My books always start with characters–a person occurs to me, and it’s usually a person with an already-formed backstory. And when that character starts walking around and talking in my head, then I have to think of a story.
The idea of a non-werewolf girl who throws herself in front of a crazed werewolf to save the live of a child she loves came to me when I was first reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I think.
The character of a 30-something female fiddle player who’s been playing professionally since she was a teenager (she’s the heroine of my rock star romance) came to me years ago, but I have no idea where she came from. Recently I realized that Jason Isbell’s wife, Amanda Shires, fits the profile perfectly–she joined a storied country/Western swing band, and had a recording contract, when she was fifteen or sixteen. I’d love to ask her some questions about her experiences but I have no idea how to go about that.
The steampunk I’m working on is different – the character of Galveston Island came first. I love that place, and it has a fascinating history. If not for the hurricane of 1900, it might never have been eclipsed by Houston. In its heyday it was the equal of New Orleans for vice and pleasure, and of Wall Street for finance and corruption. I was driving down Seawall Boulevard one day and I passed the remains of the pier where the Balinese Club once stood (the pier was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008) and I started thinking “what if?” And the more I thought “what if?” the more grandiose I got, until it was “what if Vienna fell to the Ottomans in 1683? What if the Ottoman threat to western Europe was so great and so imminent that the War of the Spanish Succession never happened and the thrones of France and Spain were united? And there was no American Revolution? And what if Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, when he escaped from Galveston Island after being shipwrecked in 1528, turned east in Mexico instead of west, finding his way back to Spanish civilization years earlier, and so the Spanish colonized Galveston in the seventeenth century?” And I just went on from there. As you do.
Have I mentioned I’m a history dork? Not just a history geek – a history dork.
4. How does your writing process work?
Slowly, with many false starts and constant distractions. My daughter takes medication for ADD and she was so happy, and so grateful, when she got it. It made a world of difference for her in school, both in her grades and also just in her self-confidence and stress levels. As she put it, “Now I don’t have to daydream if I don’t want to.”
I’ve been daydreaming against my will since I was at least her age and I’d really like to stop. (Doing it involuntarily, I mean.) I’m seriously considering getting tested.
Anyway. I come up with an idea, it germinates for a while, then I start writing it down. I am a plotter; despite my ADD, I cannot pants. I can’t sit down and just start writing with no idea what’s going to happen. I’m far too OCD (yes, along with the ADD). I have to plan. I have to have a list, a map, directions. I don’t have to follow the map exactly – I can alter the course. But I have to start with at least a partial plot.
One last thing about plot: I was observing a Twitter convo between Stacy Gail and Jody Griffin – they were discussing pantsing and plotting and process. Stacy said that her plots unspool in her head like movies; she writes in scenes. Jody was gobsmacked by that – she just writes as it comes to her.
I recall reading an interview with a romance author many, many, many years ago — like, pre-Internet days, when I was in high school or college. (This, by the way, is how my mind works. I remember details of an article I read 30 years ago but I’ll probably forget to cancel Diva’s dermatology appointment in the morning.) The author talked about how she’d had what she called “mind movies” for years — stories she made up seemingly without trying. So she started writing them down.
I recall feeling SO FREAKING RELIEVED that someone else did this; I’d done it since I was a toddler and I’d always been afraid something was wrong with me. You could argue, I guess, that something is wrong with me — mind movies probably aren’t normal.
Something else I recall from that same interview: The author’s husband was quoted as saying “Have you ever smelled a writer on deadline?”
That could be every author’s tagline.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to swing over to (SOMEONE ELSE’S BLOG I DON’T KNOW WHO BECAUSE I FORGOT TO INVITE ANYONE BUT I HAVE NOW AND I’LL UPDATE THIS POST WHEN I HEAR BACK FROM THEM) next Monday for the next installment!