February 2014’s Progress on Publishing World Domination

This is going to be quick and dirty because I have to get ready for work. February was no less great than January for achieving some writing goals. In February:

  • I went to my second Central Florida Romance Writers meeting, where we studied pacing and emotion.
  • On my way to said meeting, I had an epiphany about a story in the Christian series I’m planning, and throughout the month, I wrote character profiles for the main characters and an outline of the book, along with doing a bit of research. This shall be known as the Enemies story.
  • I joined Romance Writers of American and Central Florida Romance Writers. Yay! I’m a card carrying member–or I would be if¬†I had a card. I do, however, have a member number. ūüėČ
  • I entered¬†Cupid’s Lit Connection’s¬†Blind Speed Dating competition to try and get the attention of an¬†agent but wasn’t chosen. I was disappointed, but I was OK with getting the news because the same day…
  • I entered the Second Chance Carina pitch and got a request from an editor! I sent my manuscript for Delivering Justice in on February 14th, Valentine’s day. I should receive feedback of some sort by March 21st. I basked in the achievement of getting a query letter, synopsis, and manuscript submitted for a couple days before I began obsessively checking my email.
  • The sequel to Delivering Justice, known on social media by the hashtag #MrLastNameBasis, started to come together when I added a pint sized motivator to the mix who broke my emotionally distant hero wide open. I love this little boy in this story and the dimension he adds to the suspense. I’m trying to figure out where this story is going while I outline the others in the series in case I get a bite on Delivering Justice and someone is interested in the other three books.

I crossed off two major¬† writing goals–I submitted to an editor and I joined RWA and CFRW.¬†Not only did I submit to an editor, I submitted a¬†requested manuscript, not to the¬†slush pile. It’s a fast track entry with a quicker than usual turnaround.¬†So why do I feel as if February was a slow writing month for me? Probably because I didn’t get as many words on the page as I would like. I didn’t post as many reviews as I meant to post. I’m a little behind on¬†reading my craft books and such.

But what I’m trying to embrace is that all forward movement is important, that what I’ve accomplished¬†this month is huge. True, I spent a lot of time doing revisions,¬†writing and revising a query letter and synopsis, and not getting new words on the page.¬†But¬†doing those things are what got my submission out the door.

March is about moving forward even more. What are the goals for March?

  • start getting the¬†Enemies book¬†written.
  • finish most of¬†#MrLastNameBasis.
  • get feedback from Delivering Justice submission.
  • work on marriage kit book and get it ready for publication.
  • further develop my writing routine.
  • Start and finish at least one writing craft book.
  • Get all of my March reviews done.
  • Work on one super secret project.
  • Get materials ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in April.
  • Finishing outlining and start Luka’s story before Beta Reader kills me.

How was your February? What are some of your goals for March? Be on the lookout for more reviews and a few special writing posts coming this month. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any.

XOXO,

Erica

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Writing From Experience…

I had an idea on my way to the Central Florida Romance Writers meeting on Saturday, February 2nd for a story in the Always series, and I wanted to try and share a bit of the process of how I come up with ideas. The only problem with this is that I came up with this idea a bit differently than usual. Luckily the past week also yielded a¬† completely new idea, so I can give you two different ways I come up with them. On my way to the CFRW meeting, I realized that over a year has passed since my car accident. That accident was one of the most terrifying incidents of my life and effects the way I drive to this day. Traffic was semi-heavy and there was some rain on the road, not at all the conditions when I had my accident. As I began to reflect on my accident and the surrounding events and remember other bad accidents involving family members and drunk drivers that didn’t end as well (yes, the other driver was drunk at the time), I began shifting my experience around and around in my brain, playing a game of “What if?” with¬† the accidents. What if I hadn’t survived that accident? What if it was a family member of mine that received those frustrating notices of continuance, dragging out the trial of the drunk driver that had killed their loved one? Drunk driving convictions are far too lenient, even in cases of vehicular manslaughter; what if the person responsible for the accident was released and my family member saw them somewhere? What if they asked for forgiveness? As Christians, my family would have to forgive them; but how?

I had the framework for the concept of the story before this trip: a young woman who holds a man responsible for her sister’s death and runs into him. He sees it as divine intervention, as an opportunity to make amends and to ask her forgiveness. But as I was on my way to the meeting, it finally entered my head to use my personal experience, split among a few characters, to convey it this way. I know that car accidents have been used in movies and books frequently, but by using details of my own accident, I can make it both more realistic and more unique.

The brand new idea started out when I was reading about one of my favorite romantic tropes: the marriage of convenience. I love this trope, but it’s been done to death by far better writers than me. I thought about writing one of my own, but I knew if I did, I would have to come up with a fresh take on the idea somehow. So as I sat doing sums at work, I let my mind wonder across all the reasons that a person could be looking to get into a marriage of convenience that I’d ever read about, and my main male character began listing them to my heroine as reasons he thought she was proposing a marriage of convenience to him. My heroine refuted every reason he came up with, exclaiming that he read too many romance novels. “Actually, I watch too many soap operas and Lifetime movies with my mother,” he retorted, nonplussed, and continued to name reasons until she spilled why she wanted a marriage of convenience, illiciting an argument from him that she wasn’t going to be happy with the results if she went forward with her plans. I wrote out the scene and put it away to mull over where I could go with the story. Once I knew what my heroine was after, a slightly different take on the trope began to come together for me. Even though I have never extended anyone a marriage of convenience, my heroine’s motivation for offering one to the hero, and the¬† reason he tries to refute her notions, are both my own sentiments, sentiments I have been wrestling with for some time.

Those are two examples of how I come up with stories. How do you come up with your ideas?

In other writing related news: I joined RWA and the local¬†affiliate chapter, Central Florida Romance Writers, this weekend! I’ve sent in two reviews over at¬†Harlequin Junkie,¬†and I’ll post links when the are up. I’ve also extended one of the three scenes that I¬†identified as needing extensions for Delivering Justice. I am still plugging away and trying to make the manuscript sing. I should know this week if I was selected¬†as an entry into the¬†Blind Speed Dating agents round,¬†and if not, I’ll be submitting DJ around¬†on my birthday.¬†There’s a lot to do either way.

Off to a busy day at the office, but I’m looking forward to sharing more reviews¬†here, as well as more about my writing and¬†writing related news.

XOXO,

Erica

Marketing by Submitting

Gandhi drafting a document at Birla House, Mum...

Ghandi I am not... Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking of ways in which I can broaden the readership of my blogs and get my writing self out there. I told you about submitting a short story for possible publication, but in the meantime I want to get more eyes on my blogs. Enter some guest posting!

There are a few blogs that I follow that have guest posting opportunities. They have bigger readerships than mine have, more regular commentors, and will therefore give me more exposure than my recent efforts (one can only force so many of one’s friends to actually read one’s blogs…and those that do will more than likely NOT become regular readers).

I’m not just submitting guest post ideas to them simply to further my readership, however; I really want to participate in their blogs. I love what they are doing and I want a chance to be a part of it. Plus, I need practice submitting things.

I’ve written more¬†comments in recent months than I think is healthy. I’ve shared the link love on this blog and others. I even make a point of using pingbacks when I want to expand on something someone else brought up. I post daily or weekly on my blogs. I have played around with the design of the blogs and tweak the layouts. I’m having guest posts on my main blog. I’m observing all the laws of blogging etiquette, yet the following hasn’t come. Yes, I write blog posts for me as much as for others, but not getting feedback on some of the issues I am struggling with or validation from a growing readership can make it seem more or less pointless some days.

I’ve never been good at marketing my writing. I’m one of those writers where if people read it, they like it, and will continue to read and be loyal. The thing is, I have trouble getting people to read. As aforementioned, I’ve tried all kinds of promotion, both direct and indirect, and it hasn’t seemed to help. I’m not any closer to any of my writing or blogging goals.

So, how do you develop a readership when none of the traditional things seem to work for you? Is it a case of me wanting to give up too soon (after a year and a half of consistent, quality blogging, and a couple decades of writing in general)? What has helped you develop your following and readership? Do you have guest posting opportunities on your blog?