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Archive for March, 2014

After my super “heavy” post last time, I need to keep this light. LOL

I’ve been with ROW80 since the very beginning. I’ve had good rounds and bad rounds. But I’ve been here EVERY round. The ROW80 community is awesome!

How did I do? Not so well. Not terrible, but not up to expectations. For this round, I wrote 19,534 words. I could have done much better than that. It averages out to about 227 words per day. I actually only wrote 14 days this round. So if I only use THOSE days, then my daily average is 1395 per day. See how you can look at something in different ways?

I will say, a lot of the reasons I had for not writing were legitimate. I’ve been doing some proofing, which actually makes me more money that my writing does. And then Susan, Kait, and I started The Forge: Affordable Book Finishing. So I have been a little busy. Writing is my passion, but I need to do what is going to put food on the table, right? So I plan to do both. 🙂

Here’s to a great Round Two! There’s something about spring that makes me more energetic.

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God is Good

For my friends who do not like to read posts about God, religion, or Christianity, you might want to stop here.

Most of you know my husband has been dealing with health problems off and on for a few years. He’s had two mini strokes, a broken ankle, a serious blood clot in his lung, and heart problems. This is a man who takes care of himself and stays fit. The heart problems are hereditary. Today, he is having a defibrillator implanted. He’s been wearing an external one for three months because the insurance company won’t pay for an implanted one until they determine after three months that the medicine won’t take care of the problem. So, of course, we have to pay about $1600 for that life vest. But we’re hoping the defibrillator will take care of his problems.

Here’s the thing. Because he’s been out of work for so long, our money situation should be dire. At this point it isn’t. And I truly believe it’s because God is taking care of us. I believe he’s doing that through other good, kind people. We are promised in the Bible that if we are faithful to Him, he will see to our needs for food, clothing, etc. I don’t say a lot about my Christianity on this blog or Facebook, but I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t force my beliefs on others because each person chooses for themselves, but I will tell you what I believe if you ask. Anyway, I’m rambling.

One instance of true love among Christians is when we found an envelope on the pew where we usually sit at church. There was $1,000 in it. The card wasn’t signed, so the people who did it wanted no credit for it. Another instance of true love is two lovely ladies who made it possible for me to go to Azizona Dreamin’, which I couldn’t afford. I don’t think these ladies would want their names mentioned, so I won’t do that. But I truly believe God uses these “angels” to help those in need. I remember back when my husband was in the hospital and out of work once before, Kait Nolan set up a fund raiser for me. Many fellow authors, readers, etc. contributed to it. I was able to pay some of that forward to someone else later when we were doing better, but not much at the time. When we are back on our feet financially, I hope I can be an angel to someone else someday. I firmly believe in paying it forward when it’s possible.

So now I’m waiting for my husband to get out of surgery. And I believe things will be fine. Because God is good. And we’ve been through enough, right?

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Forge

This new book finishing service started out because of a conversation between my friends, Kait Nolan and Susan Bischoff. They were talking about the need to earn a little extra money. Let’s be honest here…it’s a hard time for authors right now. Although, it’s great that everyone is able to publish a book now, it DOES lead to more and more books being available to readers. It takes awhile to build a big enough platform to get yourself well-known among readers. In the meantime, money gets tight.

There are three services offered at The Forge. Susan Bischoff is the best content editor I know. Also known as “The Pink Hammer”, she has a wonderful eye for what is missing, what needs to be added, when something doesn’t flow right, etc.

Kait Nolan is one of the most organized, computer savvy people I know, and she knows a LOT about formatting ebooks for publication. She’s one of those people who has to have everything just so wants things done right. 🙂

They still needed a proofreader, and that’s where I came in. I know most grammar rules, and when I’m in doubt, I look it up. I’m good at spelling, and I’m a comma Nazi. I am FAR from perfect, but I strive to do my very best to proof manuscripts to the best of my ability. When people put their trust in me, I want to deliver.

When I was asked to be a part of this, there was a slight hesitation on my part. The reason is, I have a couple of VERY good friends who are proofreaders, and my first thought was “Will they see me as competition?” But, as another friend pointed out, these days, there’s enough work for everyone. And we probably wouldn’t even be exposed to the same potential customers, especially when we all have so many other circles of friends and acquaintances. I’ve been told I always worry too much about these kinds of things, but that’s just me. I can’t help it. LOL.

Anyway, if you are looking for a content editor, proofreader, and/or formatter, check us out at The Forge. You might need one, two, or all three services. We are all independent contractors, so you would contact us separately for whatever service you need.

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This has been a great writing week. Although I only wrote three days, I still managed to churn out 5,837 words! Yesterday, I wrote almost 2,400. Hubby was gone, so the TV in the living room was off and I was at my desk in my office, the sun shining through the windows beside me. Coffee was on the desk beside my computer. A couple of pieces of sugar-free chocolate. The conditions couldn’t have been better! 🙂

I really think it makes a big difference WHERE you write. If you have your own writing place, I think your mind says, “Okay, this is where I’m supposed to write”. I’m so glad I was able to fix up my son’s old bedroom and make it into an office.

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ROW80 Update 3/12/14

I told my husband last night that I would love to be able to sit down and write 2,000 words. Guess what? I DID it. Yep, I think it was 2,026. It was funny, I was in my office and the sun was shining, and I had the windows open. The birds were chirping. Then my husband yells, “Are you working in the dark?” I looked around, and it WAS dark. And getting a little chilly. I had been in there for an hour and a half. I always thought I wrote about 1,000 words per hour, but apparently it’s more like 1,000 words in 45 minutes. 🙂

I hope this momentum continues. When things slow down at work, things will be easier, I think.

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I was asked to join in this blog tour by Julie York. The idea is to link here to the person who tagged you, then tag three other authors whom you’ve asked to do this.

I met Julie online and she participated big time in my Facebook Release Party for Hearts of Evil. Thank you, Julie, for this opportunity. So…here are the answers to the four questions about my writing process.

1. What am I working on? I’m currently working on a book called “Fire Wizard”. It’s a paranormal romance with a little bit of a different angle for me. There are no vampires, werewolves, or ghosts this time. The hero and heroine in this book are just a little…different.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? I usually put a little different twist on things. Some of the vampire or ghost lore doesn’t apply in my characters. I actually got criticized in a review because my vampires could eat real food. LOL. I believe when it comes to creatures that aren’t real in the first place, we have free reign to change the rules.

3. Why do I write what I do? I’ve loved vampires since I was a kid and starting watching Dark Shadows. I’ve always been fascinated with the paranormal, even though I’m a total skeptic. That’s why paranormal romance came easily to me when I started writing again. (I say “again” because I gave it up years ago and came back to it.) There’s always some kind of story in my head. I’ve branched out a little into horror a couple of times, and I’m actually playing with the ideas of other genres. I like to try new things!

4. How does my writing process work? I’m not sure I have a process. I’m always so busy at work, I barely have time to write. I feel like I’m always trying to just squeeze a little writing in when I can. When I do get to sit down and write, I like to do it in my office surrounded by munchies and my two cats.

As far as the plotting goes, I really don’t like it. I tried seriously plotting the last book I wrote, and although I was able to do it, I pretty much hated it. I’m a pantser at heart and like to see the story develop as I type. I love it when my characters surprise me. I really kind of plot in my mind. I don’t do it all ahead of time. I figure out what I want to happen the next time I sit down to write. Then I hit those main points I want to make, but I allow myself to drift away from those if I think of something even better while I’m writing.

Here are the three authors I’m tagging:

J.R. Pearse Nelson
I am a fantasy and paranormal romance author. My work is fast-paced, adventurous, and sometimes dark.

I’m a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. I live with my husband, two small daughters and the family dog. I’m always searching for the magic in our world. I love to weave tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. I’m the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, and Queen Witch, the first installment of the Foulweather Twins fantasy series.

L.S. Engler
L.S. Engler is an aspiring writer, dreamer, creator and editor.

Her works have previously appeared in Temenos, 10;29, and The Grand Traverse Insider, and she is the author of a collection of short stories entitled Bowlful of Bunnies, available now on Amazon.

Michelle DePaepe
Michelle DePaepe is the author of The Gardener, Vampire Music, and Eaters (published by Permuted Press).

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ROW80 Update 3/9/14

Just a quick check-in. I only wrote 1,111 words this week. My full time job just drains me this time of year. I have nothing left for writing most days. I would have gotten some writing in yesterday, but I was involved in helping with a wedding shower at church, which involved cooking, actually BEING there, then cleaning up. I so hope next week will be easier.

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decision

Warning! Long, serious post ahead.

I just realized it has been 11 days since I’ve posted here! I almost never go that long without posting. There are a number of factors involved in my lapse, but the two biggest ones are 1) I’ve been sick, and 2) My day job is killing me right now. Since the company I work for caters to gardeners, especially rose growers, this is the peak season for large orders from rose societies and garden centers. And they all want their products at the same time!

So here I am. And I’m pondering. On what, you might ask? Well…I guess it’s genre and pen names. I’ve done posts about this before, I think, but I’ve got some serious decisions to make. I use a pen name because of my church affiliation. I’m a Christian, but I see nothing wrong with writing about paranormal creatures and such because it’s fiction. I don’t believe in vampires and werewolves, but they’re fun to read and write about. But some people don’t believe Christians should dabble in things like that, so I stay incognito to keep from offending anyone. I won’t fault them for their beliefs. I have a few issues, though. 1) My mom is so proud of me that she wants to tell everyone I’m an author. 2) I have some real life friends on my author FB profile, and sometimes they say things that could link my writing life to my real life. 3) I would like to be open about being an author.

So…genre. Aside from the fact that I feel like I have to lead a double like, I’m finding the paranormal genre is FLOODED with self-published authors. I’m thankful that publishing is so easy for everyone these days, and I believe everyone deserves a chance to do so, but it also brings in a LOT of competition. It’s so hard to even be found lately. I’ve been lucky enough to attract the attention of a couple of frequent reviewers lately, so that has helped me a bit. I’m so grateful for them, and I’ve tried to express this to them. But I still have to keep myself out there and try to be found.

This is what I’m contemplating. I’ve been thinking about sweet romances and cozy mysteries lately. I could easily write a sweet romance. The mystery would involve a lot of plotting ahead of time to make sure I get the “whodunit” right. And there’s still that Christian romance I started a long time ago and never finished. I think I could take the strong religious undertones out of that and market it as a sweet romance. I think, although there are a lot of books in these genres, too, there are more readers for them. I could be wrong, but just from comments I’m getting from readers I’ve met online who say “I don’t read paranormal”, it leads me to believe there’s a wider range of readers for the sweeter romances whether they be contemporary or historical (which I wouldn’t attempt).

Another decision I would have to make…new pen name or real name. I honestly feel like I shouldn’t write in these other genres under my current pen name. I want my mom to be able to shout to the world that her daughter is an author. She doesn’t like it when I tell her not to do that right now. I want the ladies at church to be able to read my books. I want to be FREE.

Now here’s the biggest decision of all. Should I completely do away with my current pen name and stop writing paranormal altogether so I can focus my time and energy on the new stuff? Should I try to do both? I think the worst part of leaving Lauralynn behind would be not interacting with all my wonderful online friends. I think I would probably tell my closest friends who I really am. It’s not so much that I don’t want my Lauralynn friends to know who I am. It’s that I don’t want my real life friends to know who Lauralynn is. Does that make sense? This is very hard for me, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Even if you think I won’t like your thoughts, I would rather have the honesty.

That’s all.

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