Tag Archives: author

My Writing Process – Part 2.A, Planning

So a few days ago I started blogging about my writing process, namely to help out a young writer think through the process and give her some encouragement. I realize (as you’ll see below) that in putting together the process, I combined planning, plotting and character building together. They are all really one VERY LARGE step, but for purposes of my blog I’m going to break them down into subsections.

Here are the phases of writing a book, as far as I’m concerned.
1. Inspiration – coming up with an idea
2. Planning, Plotting, Character Building
3. Writing that first draft
4. Editing, First Readers and Cover Design
5. Beta Readers, Revisions and Blurb Writing
6. Wrapping it all up and releasing it to the world

 

So in looking at step 2.A really – planning here are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours as we’ll only grow and get more efficient from learning from one another.

 

Once I have a bit of time on my hands I move from the inspiration phase to the planning phase. I’ll be fair to my muse and let you know that I have about 300 book ideas thanks to her (my) overactive imagination. She usually forces a story on me, so where I’d love to go to my inspiration journal and actually pick an idea, that’s never the case. Usually one idea that I’ve been chewing on from my inspiration journal will just bounce around in my skull until I sigh in defeat and sit down to write it (start to finish).

 

So… with idea in hand and my muse sucking on a coke… let’s talk planning.

 

I’m a mathematician, so this is going to be VERY different for some of you to read, but that’s okay. Might help you out and perhaps not. I plan first by considering the parameters of what I need to get done. I know there’s a side of your brain that needs freedom and I’ll get to that in both plotting and in writing the first draft, but I’ve found that if I set boundaries in the planning phase, then my writing moves from a hobby to a very viable option for sustained income in my future.

 

Plus – rules and structure are the essence of freedom. I set it up and then I can play without concern in the box I’ve built. If I need to go outside the box I simply chop the box down and expand it. Nothing hard and fast set in stone.

 

So for me this is about number of words and pages from the get-go. I set up my book in Scrivener (which I just found and am still learning about) in chapters. How do I know how many chapters I’ll have? I calculate them. Check it out:

 

Romance – 50-60K words in a novel / 2500 words per chapter = 20-24 chapters
YA 85K words in a novel /  3000 words per chapter = roughly 28 chapters

 

I could go on, but the point (for me) is to know how many chapters I have to work with. If I don’t have a target to aim at in the big-picture view, then I’ll ramble and end up with far too many words, or not nearly enough. Having the number of chapters set up and aligned allows me to understand my plot points per chapter. I want my reader to end each chapter at a good point. I’m fine going over the word count per chapter, but I keep in the back of my mind that I have a goal to reach at minimum, and I do it.

 

With my chapters set up and my box created around me, I start to freely move into the stages of plotting and characterization, and I’ll tell you that for me these two next steps are ordered based on the story. Am I focused on telling a tall tale, or is there a character that won’t get out of my skull?

 

I know that’s not much in the way of planning, but it’s only part of that phase to me. Next time we talk about one of my favorite topics: characterization.

 

Until then – write your rear off. The world needs more fiction.

 

L.

 

(Oh! I have 3 books releasing this month. Wish me luck and join my e-mail list if you wanna know more. http://eepurl.com/9Nrc1 )
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Getting ready for a new year…

2015

I have to say that New Year’s is one of my favorite holidays if not my favorite. I love the idea of looking back to see what I’ve accomplished only to make goals for this year to be more successful. With that in mind, I’d like to spend this blog post just talking over some of the crazy hair-brained things I plan to do this year with my time, resources and talents.

Goals are a roadmap to moving toward where I want to be and who I want to become as I go through life. I love goals!

Writing Goals:

This one is a steep climb for me, but I’m excited about it. I plan to write 10-16 books just depending on my ability to make time to sit down and create. I am going to be writing YA, MG and NA this year, so it should be a good variety. I’ll be working with BookTrope on most of the series/novels, but there are a few that might go through my self-publishing platform simply because of how fast I can move verses how fast they can move.

Blogging Goals:

I plan on writing on my blog 2-3 times a week mostly with updates, random writings and great books I’ve read or will be reading! I’ve opened a new blog for my pseudo name Kate Thomas, but I think I’ll mostly use that to talk about my New Adult Paranormal series, contest and book involvement. I am opening two other blogs today for the new year. One will be about a journey I’ve been needing to take, but have been doing it all wrong – weight loss. It’s called, “The hardest journey I’ve taken.

I’m starting Optifast with my doctor on Monday (MY BIRTHDAY) and hope to take off about 50lbs this year. I’ll be blogging about that for my own record and to encourage others who are taking my same journey. Lastly, I’m a Christian first and foremost and need to start using some of my writing talent to give honor to God, so I’ll be writing a “Thirsty Thursday Devo” and other random encouragements to build up my faith and hopefully yours. That blog is called, “Acknowledging Glory.”

Entrepreneurial Goals:

I’ve always been type A and the type of person that looks for opportunity everywhere. That being said, Jacob and I are going to work hard on creating a few side businesses this year. The ultimate goal? Him and I working from home together – There is no one I love spending my day more with than my husband. He is the better half of me and is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given. So… I created an LLC this last year because I’m a CPA by trade, so I’ll be picking up a few small business clients that need bookkeeping/financial advise. I already have a subcontract to do taxes for the upcoming tax season.

I’ll be writing my novels of course and then I’m working on kicking off “Good Tales Book Tours,” a virtual book tour company simply because there are 2-3 in the market to compete with. Seems like there is room for one more. Logo is almost done for this, domaign is purchased and a web-designer will start putting together a custom site on Feb 1st.

This company will be a partnership with Jacob and should open around March/April 2015. Jacob and I are working hard to convert the garage to an office/wood shop. He’s crazy talented with woodwork and metals, so we’re creating a store on Etsy early this spring as well. We’re going with a partnership structure on this one too. So loads of business-type boring stuff to do, but we’re on our way. I drew the logo for our etsy business this morning! 🙂

Personal Goals:

This year I’m going to focus on my faith, my finances and my health. I plan on spending 30 minutes a day with my concentration focused on the things of God, so whether that is prayer, a bible study or my Bible, something that centers me and gives me focus.

Jacob and I are going on a pretty tight budget for this new year in hopes of getting ahead a little and paying off some debt to help us to move toward our goal of self-employment sooner rather than later. A cash budget seems to be the only way to go because that debit card or credit card is just TOO easy to use.

My health is going to be about two things: losing weight for good and running. Jacob and I are going to start training to run a 5k and then hopefully by October we’ll be up for the 10 for Texas. We’ll see! 🙂

“The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” Melody Beattie

I couldn’t agree more. I plan to write the next chapter in my life story this year by setting goals and being uber focused on my goals. My end result? Success – Freedom – Peace.

Are you setting goals and if so, what words does reaching those goals bring to mind?

Happy New Year’s! It’s going to be our best  year yet!!

L.

Why I Love Being Indie!

I think from a young age I’ve always been independent, always looking for a way to forge a new path and climb a steep hill and do it mainly on my own. So joining onto the Indiebooksbeseen and the Indie movement is something that was bound to happen.

A little bit of history…

I wrote my first YA supernatural novel in the spring of 2010, having read a zillion books through my younger life and realizing that I truly understood the necessarily elements that belonged in a YA novel without going over the edge. I’m funny and a bit edgy myself, so I figured I could do this book thing. Can I just tell you that writing the 90,000 word / 500 page novel was the easy part.

After getting more people than necessary to edit the book I began to research the query/agent/publisher map. How was I going to get this great story in front of the right people and better yet, make the time to do all of these non-writing activities to get the book published? I’m sad to say that I spent three times the amount of energy and effort on trying to get the book noticed than I did creating it. Crazy!

The whole effort ended with a great story, 200 rejections, months and months of beating my head against the wall, tons of dollars to attend this event and use this template and yadda… yadda… Finally – I put the manuscript in a drawer and said to hell with it.

The rest of the story…

Four years later I was done being poked by a good writer friend of mine who’d fallen in LOVE with Soul Keeper back in 2010 and finally opened the drawer to dust it off. A few good writer friends of mine had gone “Indie”. I pushed back against them a little and asked 2 million questions as I wasn’t in the mood to spend money or emotional energy on a project that seemed to be going nowhere.

However, with loads of nudging and reassurance I decided I’d self-publish my books and if nothing else – they’d be loud and proud on my own shelf. So let me tell you why I love being Indie.

1. No one will ever love my book as much as me. It’s my creation and having the freedom to choose what it looks like and where the plot goes is all mine to decide. I don’t have someone standing over my shoulder making it “better” by their definition of “better.”

2. I can spend as little or as much time, energy and money as I want. Obviously the more I put into it, the more I’m going to get out of it, but that’s with anything in life. The cool part is that if I’m a good editor or if I can design my own cover, then those are costs to be saved and skills to be used.

3. I belong. In a world of independent authors I find myself fitting in just perfectly. We all work hard and dream big and the encouragement is beyond belief. I don’t have to write a certain genre or stick to a certain structure in the plot. I simply write, promote and support and honestly feel great about myself at the end of the day.

Being an Indie author, to me, doesn’t really have anything to do with being Independent though. It’s a statement that says I’m capable of making every step along this book writing/producing platform to take a dream from start to finish. The truth of what Indie authors are doing is showing the world that there still exists hope. Hope to dream big and work hard to make that dream a reality.

That’s why I love being Indie!

L.

Check out this link: https://clrozelle.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/10-things-that-suck-and-rock-about-being-an-indie-author-part-1/

Cover Reveal – Destroyed SKII

I’m so excited to share my cover for ‘Deceived, Soul Keeper II,’ which is set to release in November this year. I’m so excited to share my cover for ‘Deceived, Soul Keeper II,’ which is set to release in November this year.

Destroyed_frontSynopsis:

They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life.

But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?

The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.

But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?

What if your choices had eternal ramification?

Destroyed, the second novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what’s to come.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23233086-destroyed

 

First Book Signing!!

Book Signing

So Friday I had a great opportunity to join my hubby at his Intermediate school for a book signing event with the teachers over their lunch break. I picked up a box of 25 books to take with me in case anyone wanted to purchase a copy. The best way to make back any money that I’ve invested has to come from getting the books myself and selling them at a live event. My mathematics worked out perfectly. I sold all 25 and had enough residual income to fund the homecoming weekend at my house!

So I thought it would be a little odd talking with people about the book or just trying to interact with a bunch of people that I didn’t know, but you know what I found out? It wasn’t odd at all. I love my love and my characters and had a great time telling people that approached me about them. I joked with everyone that came up and just allowed myself to be excited about sharing with each of them something that I created. It was a great hour and a half and I’m now looking uber forward to going to Austin next month for the Teen Festival.

My cover reveal is on Wednesday this next week, which I’ll post up here. If any of you are interested in hosting it with me, please e-mail me at laurie.Starkey@att.net and I’ll shoot you a copy of the cover for Wednesday’s reveal!!

So in the end the book signing thing was a total win and I got 25 more copies of my book in the hands of teachers that interact with the kiddos that I’d love to reach. Great event, great interaction and I’m actually way more comfortable talking with any and everyone than I thought I would be. 🙂

L.

Time, my most beloved Nemesis

time

There is simply not enough time in the day to accomplish all that I’d like to accomplish. People say that we make time for that which matters most to us, but to them I reply, “Hush.”

There must be a lot that matters to me, because time has always been and will always be my most beloved Nemesis. Some part of me wants to write a book and have the villain be Jonathan Sixoclock just to poke fun at that which I cannot conquer.

The day starts at 5:30 a.m. – which is so horrendously ridiculous (sounded like a lucky charms commercial). I drop off children who sleep as we ride or mess with my radio and introduce me to songs that make me grateful that my teenage years are over. Working all day long is a bit taxing, especially because I find myself running from meeting to meeting for nine hours, all the while thinking of my next novel, or a great character I could make out of the various people I interact with all day. It’s almost disturbing to be inside my head.

I pick up kiddos after work and run by to see my parents most days, namely because my mother is the best southern cook in the universe and my father is a bowl full of jokes. Getting home fourteen hours after I left, I try to talk myself into exercising, all the while thinking of how to properly write a query letter and which logo to choose for my bookkeeping company that I’m in the midst of starting.

I consider reading because honestly, what is better than reading? Really… nothing. After assisting with math homework and writing a to-do list for my handsome hubby, I usually sit down to start plugging away at my latest novel or editing something for future production. I find lately that twitter has become an addiction and it seemingly joins the side of time in stealing precious moments that could move me closer to my dream of writing all day and eating bon-bons all night. Or something along those lines. I fall into bed exhausting just before realizing that I need to set the clock – for 5:30 a.m.

Time,

Why do you run from me, make fun of me and poke at me with subtle reminders that you’re a fair-weather friend? Why do you creep by in the most uncomfortable and awkward of situations and race away in the most exhilarating? Why do you steal my youth and my memories and make me wish at times you’d do more of both?

It’s time that we break up, me and you. It’s me, not you.

L.

Picture from http://www.edudemic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/time.jpg

Musical Muse Monday (Post!)

Edge of the World

Living a Life Worth it.

(Song: OneRepublic – Counting Stars)

I made it to the top of the mountain – the peak, and I closed my eyes, filling up my lungs with the clean fresh air. I had decisions to make and my heart palpated as I walked close to the edge of the cliff I’d just climbed.

I pulled off my shoes and socks, my shirt and shorts – wanting to feel the wind on my skin – I was alone – free to be me.

Lately I’d been losing sleep, dreaming about the things that we could be.

I felt like a lion and a lamb, quiet and reserved, vicious and loud. I chuckled under my breath. He thought he’d broken me, that he’d won, but the irony was spent on him. He’d never know, and that was okay. Reserved victory is still victory.

The sharpness of the rocks beneath my feet should be painful, but I am numb to the demands of my flesh. My heart is soaring and breaking in conjunction. I make it to the edge of the cliff and turn ninety degrees, and I began to walk on the very edge of the mountain. Hope used to be my four letter word.

To my left is the grassy top of the formation, welcoming, warm, inviting – safe. To my right is the jagged cliff and it’s promise of sweet release. It’s whispers talk of carnal pleasures, explosive joy… danger. I shiver at the thought of falling into it’s delicious trap one minutes and laugh deep in my chest the next. I feel something so wrong doing the right thing. I could lie, but the truth was that everything that kills me makes me feel alive in that moment.

My right foot dips to skim the outside of the cliff, cutting my foot. The color infiltrating my senses. I stop and back up from the cliff, clinging to the only reality I know – the safe one.

But love and mystery and rebellion scream at me to come and not walk along the edge but to jump, jump into the unknown and take life for the ride it was intended to be. The two parts of my soul fight for dominion; safe or free? Which life will I chose?

I see his face, I hear his voice, I feel his touch. The warmth of his breath rushing to surround my nakedness and I release myself to him. He is what I know. He’s what’s safe. And then she awakens and I growl in my chest, waking up to the alarming reality of the situation. He wasn’t what he appeared to be – oh he was so good – almost good enough to forget his transgressions, but no… no, he’s not a risk worth taking.

But drowning in the dance floor, letting my soul dance to the music, sweating with a million others, finding a new lover, starting a movement, being a rebel and daring fate to press against me – those are risks worth taking. There will be hundreds of men in my life, but only one me, only one time to take this risk.

I smile, content and pull myself up, flinging my arms wide, loving the way I feel, the way I look… Beautiful and unashamed of who I’ve been and who I plan to be. I don’t walk, but run to the edge of life and I fling myself off the ledge and dive into a world of possibilities.

I will be the love of someone’s life. I will sing and dance and create with the light and dark passions in my heart. I will share my soul and my wealth with those that are in need and I will dance naked and unashamed in the rain as it washes me clean.

That’s a risk worth taking. To live a life unbound. To endlessly count the stars and never apologize for looking up.

That’s the choice I make – what about you?

L.

Picture from : beachy-head-chalk-cliff-in-southern-england-nicknamed-edge-of-the-world–18606

The need to succeed…

key-to-success2

I have always, for as long as I can remember, had this extreme need to succeed, this driving force that pushes me to exhaustion and races me to the next adventure or creation in hopes of finding it – success.

But what is success really? Don’t you think we all define it differently?

In my own mind I’m successful at being a good mom, a good wife, a good worship leader. I’m a great teacher and a strong leader in most areas of my life. I’m a successful CPA for a good sized oil and gas company and I’m a good writer.

As wonderful as those things are, it’s funny how quickly we get wrapped up in our current success. Do you really think anyone else in our lives really defines our success the way we do when we look in the mirror? I’d say I’m only as good as my last successful moment and yet you’d look at me and say I’m an overachiever and quite successful.

I realized today I was doing that again with my writing. How successful I am with it is determined by the number of people I reach and the number of books I sell, but in all reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

I am successful because I poured my heart out on paper and it ACTUALLY made sense. 🙂 Because I pushed to get the story in reader format and learned a million things along the way. Because my family all has a copy of the novel on their shelves and are proud of me for marking something off my bucket list. Because I love writing and effectively telling stories.

I don’t think wanting to be successful is a bad thing at all. I just think we have to be careful by whose terms we define that success, especially if they are our own and move us into a place of not acknowledging all that we’ve done thus far.

The need to succeed is alive and well and at times can leave us frantic. Perhaps in those moments its best to pause and reflect on all that we’ve done and how it’s made us who we are today. Then… tomorrow we jump back onto the race of life in hopes of grandeur. 🙂

L.

Picture: http://www.audreyreille.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/key-to-success2.jpg

The Key is Confidence or is it?

passion

How quick are you to react to someone that’s confident in whatever they’re selling? Is it confidence really or perhaps passion? Maybe its a mix of both?

There is something quite contagious about a confident passionate person, isn’t there? I run into very few people like this, but when I do, I find myself wanting to follow and spend a few minutes in the warm glow of whatever they have running through their veins.

I was thinking how depressing it is to only sell one or two of my books a day and then my AWESOME husband reminded me that I’m a successful CPA with several other businesses in the works. I didn’t write my book to sell it. This has nothing at all to do with money, but acceptance perhaps.I wrote them because I’m passionate to the point of vomiting color wherever I go. I needed an outlet – not your typical accountant to say the least.

I wrote it to release passion into a world that didn’t exist and create characters that I’d love to know and showcase as part of who I am in my heart. So if it wasn’t to sell, then it’s pretty cool that it has sold. I’m up to 80 copies or so from Amazon in the last two weeks and considering that all I wanted to do was write for me, that’s not too shabby.

So I’m confident that the next book will do better than this one, and the one after that even better. Why? Because I’m overtly passionate about my books to the point of talking to everyone about them. Are you passionate about what you’ve created? Do you want to desperately share it with someone?

Then do it – with confidence. Let that passion show and people will grab onto it and hover above it like a fire on a winter’s night. The world says, “no” and “go away” and “we’re not buying what you’re selling.”

Well you know what? The world is simply missing out. Share with confident passion and invite us in.

L.

**Picture from http://www.freespiritsunited.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/passion.jpg

Message in your writing?

I recently did an author interview and one of the questions was around slipping in a subliminal message into the story. So let me ask you… In your latest story, did you weave in a derivative meaning? Makes me feel like being sneaky like when the movie theater shows you a picture of an ice cold soda and greasy popcorn. Um… yes.

Here’s my response.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?

My book was written for more of an escape than for a message to be sent. The one message that seems to run through the pages (inadvertently) is that love has its eye on all of us. Whether in a love relationship or friendship or parent/child relationship, love presses against all of us and invites us to try. Sam, my protagonist, is quite tainted toward loves efforts and yet she finds herself wanting so badly to give in. I guess the message I see, and one I hold true in my own life is that it’s better to have loved and lost a million times than to have never loved at all. I’ll be limping to the end of my life with multiple heartbreaks, but before it broke from those people and situations, it was filled with something magical and right – love.

Almost funny how, whether we mean to or not, some part of who we are and what we believe will always slip into anything we create. What’s your response to the question?

L.