A Secret Celeb I Based a Male Lead on

This week at the SFF Seven, we’re talking about real life people (or celebrities) we’ve based characters on.

That phrasing makes me laugh a little because I’m pretty sure celebrities are still real life people. It puts me in mind of some of my ongoing themes of reminding readers that their favorite authors are still people who get sick and have life drama. But I digress.

I don’t know if I’ve talked about this openly, but in UNDER HIS TOUCH, the second Falling Under book (and this series is contemporary erotic romance, not SFF, fair warning), I totally based the male protagonist on a celebrity. I wanted a Brit man, one who was brooding and not conventionally handsome, full of smoldering sexiness. Guess who I based him on?

Neil Gaiman.

Yeah, yeah – I know. Only a book nerd like me would pick someone like that. I don’t think it’s at all obvious in the text to the reader, but he was the guy I envisioned when I wrote it. I even threw in a little Amanda Palmer easter egg, just for fun.

First Cup of Coffee – May 13, 2024

My interview with Susan Cooper and #authorgoals, process and working with an editor and publishing house, and a breakdown of the plagiarism lawsuit brought against Entangled, an agent, and an author.



First Cup of Coffee – May 10, 2024

I’m having a rant today, talking about the fantasy genre and how I define it – with supporting details! – and what differentiates Fantasy from a fantasy. Also reviews and thoughts on The Idea of You and Challengers.



First Cup of Coffee – May 6, 2024

Thanks to you all for the support and kind words on my cat, who is even now having his toxic masculinity excised. Also, why it’s important for writers to share a common language and the role of privilege in creativity.



Living the Dream

I used this photo (Thanks to Craig Chrissinger for taking it!) a couple of weeks ago, but it’s too appropriate for this week’s topic to pass up using it again. Our topic at the SFF Seven is our fantasy dinner party. We’re asking which SFF authors and characters you’d invite to a soiree.

The thing is, one of the best perks of being an author is getting to make other authors be your friends. So my fantasy dinner parties have mostly happened! Case in point: above I’m having dinner with Martha Wells, Darynda Jones, and Kelly Robson. Yes, it was a great conversation. I feel so blessed and fortunate that I pretty much get to have my fantasy dinner parties on a regular basis now.

Last week I got to have dinner with Amanda Bouchet, Maria V. Snyder, Jennifer Estep, H.R. Moore, and Maria Vale. On another evening, I sat between Juliette Cross and Chloe C. Peñaranda, later joined by Carissa Broadbent.

The one person I have yet to meet in person – and hopefully have dinner with! – is Neil Gaiman. But I do have his cell phone number and have chatted with him on the phone, which gives me all kinds of happiness right there. Since it’s a fantasy, Anne McCaffrey, Tanith Lee, and Vonda McIntyre could all come back from the dead and join us.

My younger self would be thrilled.

 

First Cup of Coffee – May 3, 2024

I’m struggling with story focus and considering breaking All Of My Rules and writing something else. I can’t decide, which doesn’t help. Also, my cat drama from this week and how that has upset things.



First Cup of Coffee – April 29, 2024

I’m back from Apollycon and giving my wrap up. I got AMAZING news there, but – fair warning – I can only tease it for now. Otherwise giving my take on the event, what was great, trends I saw, and some of the lovely people I met.



Pantsing Doesn’t Mean Lots of Revising

This week at the SFF Seven, we’re talking about our revision process.

I’m running behind, as I seem to eternally be doing these days, and posting this a day late, but I feel it’s important to talk about my revision process to dispel a huge myth about intuitive writers. I feel strongly enough about making this case that I’m using the term “Pantsing,” which I almost never use.

(As an aside, the reason I don’t like that term is that it comes from “to fly by the seat of your pants,” which implies a lack of control that I think comes from the pre-plotting end of the spectrum. Writing without outlining beforehand does not mean having no control of the story. It also doesn’t mean that intuitive writers don’t plot. All writers plot; otherwise there wouldn’t be a story. The difference lies in whether we determine the plot before writing or during it.)

A consistent message I hear from those espousing pre-plotting is that writing a book without creating an outline first leads to many blind alleys, cutting huge chunks of prose, and spending even longer on revision. While this can be true of some writers – which is fine! Figure out what your process is and own it, I always say – this is not true of me.

Intuitive writers like myself have often internalized story structure. We know how to write the novel without resorting to external guideposts like an outline. I also think that I draft faster by writing intuitively, by submersing myself in the creative flow of the subconscious. It takes me typically 55-60 working days to draft a novel of 90-100K words. Then I spend about 14 working days revising. I typically cut 1-2K words in revision and add ~10K.

Explaining everything I do in revision would take longer than I have in this blog post, but in essence, my process is this:

  1. Write the story beginning to end, skipping nothing, never jumping ahead.
  2. Revise from the beginning. This involves:
    1. layering in foreshadowing and other clues for stuff I figured out along the way and about the ending.
    2. smoothing character arcs
    3. removing extraneous information, red herrings, doorways to routes I didn’t follow, tweaking word choices.
  3. When done, I read out loud one more time to catch any consistency errors or clunky wording.

 

And that’s all she (I) wrote!

First Cup of Coffee – April 22, 2024

Owning your process and still being open to learning from what others do to sustain productive creativity and aggressively refill the well. Some data on BookBub Featured Deals and release strategy, too.



First Cup of Coffee – April 19, 2024

An update on the release of RELUCTANT WIZARD and teasing the upcoming cover reveal! A bit on how traditional publishing works. Also thoughts on Taylor Swift, being a “real” Swiftie, and why I use her to teach voice.