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Fun, sexy reads

Fun, sexy reads

Looking for fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense with military heroes? All books in the Men of Steele series are connected but can standalone. Find fun facts and excerpts on each book's page.

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Scrivener Training for Everyone

Scrivener Training for Everyone

Need help with Scrivener? I provide Scrivener training to individuals and groups all over the world through online courses, in-person workshops, and private training sessions.

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Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

A great reference for new and experienced Scrivener users, a guide to software and apps that help with productivity, and essays on every facet of writing from the Writer Unboxed contributors.

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Memorial Day

Redondo Beach veterans memorial with flag at half mast

Veteran’s Park – Redondo Beach, CA

Today I honor and remember those military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for my country. Happy Memorial Day!

Scrivener How-To: Using Snapshots

Happy Friday! I’m at the Writers in the Storm blog today talking about how to save your words in Scrivener with the Snapshots feature. I hope you’ll check it out. I’m traveling and may not be able to respond quickly, but I’ll pop in to answer questions when I can.

Cheers from Alaska!

Blockbuster Video storefront

Turns out Internet isn’t cheap here…

How to fail at writing

 

Quote by Thomas Edison, "I have not failed. I have just found 9999 ways that do not work." in blue lettering on white.

I’m all for the idea that failure is merely figuring out what doesn’t work, finding out where you need to focus your energy, and that it’s an important part of the learning process that we often stigmatize to our detriment.

However, I really wish my method for producing a novel didn’t resemble Edison’s light bulb-inventing process as much as it does. I’m mainly a pantser—a seat-of-the-pants or “organic” writer—who doesn’t plot my books in advance. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) For a logic-oriented person who likes to make lists, and plans just about everything else in her life, this is disconcerting, irritating, annoying, and a long list of other synonyms.

For my books, I have learned that I need to understand what the antagonist is doing and why, or I won’t get past the first quarter of the book, no matter how exciting my initial premise. Without the villain’s goal and motivation, I can’t figure out how to escalate their actions against the main characters in a way that makes sense.

I also need to know the inner conflict between the hero and heroine (what’s keeping them apart), and the outer conflict (what’s keeping them together). The latter usually relates back to the antagonist/villain, so it’s all linked.

In order to determine these things—because even when I think I have them, I usually don’t—I must write. I write scenes (or partial scenes), discard them, write new ones, repeat. Every scene (or set of scenes) is a method for testing an idea. It also spurs my subconscious to go to work on the story in ways it just won’t if I’m only sitting around thinking or making lists of ideas.

Eventually, I do nail it. (Hopefully, it doesn’t take 9,999 times!!) And once I have the early stuff figured out, the rest of the book comes together much faster. Not fast exactly, but faster.

So, if you’ve ever wondered why it takes me so damn long to write a book, mystery solved.

I’m slowly learning to, well, not love, but at least work with my method. Honestly, I feel lucky I have a process at all. I’m writing, so life is good.

How about you? Do you have a process for writing—or anything else—that frustrates you, but ultimately works?

Anniversaries

partially blurred clocks flying over gray backgroundJanuary marked nine years since I started writing. February was 10 years since I quit working for someone else. March means I’ve been married to my awesome man for 23 years (!!). And in May I’ll have been teaching Scrivener for seven years. (April is, apparently, worthless.)

Every time these anniversaries roll around, I’m shocked at how much time has passed.

And yet, if I look back, tons has happened. Contest wins and finals. A nonfiction book deal. Three training platforms. Four novels indie published. Two kids in college. Five moves. And so many new friends. Whew!

I’ve grown immensely as a writer and businessperson, though there will always be more to learn. In fact, that’s part of what keeps it interesting.

There are things I miss about having a “day” job—the camaraderie, the ability to leave work behind at the end of the day, a steady paycheck—but I love being my own boss.

Unlike many of the jobs I’ve had over the years—being a military spouse either means having a long resumé or no resumé—writing never ceases to be a challenge. You don’t “master” it and then get bored. (Or realize how repetitive it is, have a blast learning how to automate it, and then get bored. Oops.)

In addition to improving the craft of writing and storytelling, there’s always a new storyline to develop, a plot problem to solve, or a character to understand.

And no matter how many manuscripts I write—and there are way more in various stages of never-to-be-completed/published than the four novels I have out—each one presents its own struggle. Usually the good kind. Like solving a puzzle.

(Please remind me of that next time I’m pulling out my hair over my current work in progress.)

And when I want a break from writing, I get to teach people how to use my favorite program. I talk to real live humans, and help them solve a problem. Two activities I adore. 😉 Plus, the need to keep up with Scrivener and all the technologies I use to provide online courses and private training ensure I’ll never be bored.

(Side note: If your kids ever tell they could never be bored if they had a dog, I’m here to tell you they’re lying.)

So, basically, I’m happy.

Last weekend we celebrated our wedding anniversary with 36 hours in Seattle. Below are a few pics.

tulips in buckets in a public market

Fresh flowers at Pike Place Market

utility cover stamped with flowers and "CITY LIGHT CITY BRIGHT" repeated around the edges

Every utility cover I saw in Seattle was different. This one was across from the Seattle Art Museum.

Camellia bush in front of pond with pine trees in background

Washington Park Arboretum Japanese Garden

vine-covered pergola in pond with mostly bare willow and greenery in background

Washington Park Arboretum Japanese Garden

tall bridge over lake in early morning, with dock and boathouse in front and smaller boats in back

George Washington Bridge over Lake Union looking East from the Fremont Bridge

boathouse and canoes on water

Center for Wooden Boats on South Lake Union

What big milestones or anniversaries are happening for you this year?

Exploring Scrivener on the Indie Author’s Journey Podcast

word PODCAST with headphones on side for the letter C

I had fun talking to Terry Heath on the new Indie Author’s Journey podcast about what Scrivener is, what I like about it, what’s new in Scrivener 3, and my suggestions for approaching how to learn it.

Clocking in at 34 minutes, this episode’s not too much of a commitment, so I hope you’ll check it out.

And if you need to spice things up, drink every time I say “cool.” Do not do this while driving. 😉