Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “drafting”

Julie Gets Sappy About Living the Dream

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Cappuccino Something or Other

By Julie

Work/Life Balance is this unicorn everyone is always chasing, correct?

I finally have it.

I almost said I “think” I finally have it, but no. I do. I have it. At least for now. I might lose it again, but looking for it is fun, too. Trying to achieve is never a bad feeling. Exhausting, sure. But not bad.

Last night a book club in my neighborhood that’s been meeting for twelve years brought me to dinner (lobster ravioli and harvest sangria), and these wonderful women not only read RUNNING HOME, but loved it. We talked books, and the neighborhood, and kids, and I talked shop about being an author and that it’s what I’ve always wanted to do my entire life, and that I went to school for it, and that I had a great job and I got rid of it and we laughed and I was so happy. So grateful.

It’s one thing to be recognized in the world of publishing as a solid author. It’s another thing when your neighbors and the community you live in recognize that this is YOU.

Yesterday afternoon after school one of Bennett’s classmates came up to me and said, “I learned today that you’re a writer and you’re coming to talk to my class.” My heart stopped as it does every time one of these kids finds this out.

Friday I get to go to Bennett’s class and talk for an hour about drafting. They came home with packets about how a particular author they’re reading developed her novel through five drafts. I get to show these incredible kids and their incredible teacher that there’s not just one way to write the story you want to write. Everyone has their own process, everyone finds it on their own by trying. That getting it “wrong” in the first draft is an illusion–that the first draft is telling yourself the story, and every draft after that is about making it what you want it to be. Drafting, editing, revising–it isn’t about fixing what’s wrong. It’s about knowing what you want it to be and shaping it to be that. By your standards and nobody else’s.

I do a lot in a day. It’s not always easy, but greatness rarely is. Greatness by my standard–no one else’s. I get to bring my babies to school every day and bring them home. I got to carve pumpkins with Sam’s class on Friday, and host a giant trick or treating parade Saturday night. I learned that a novel I edited was nominated for the Bath Novel Award. I made scrapbooks with my kids and watched movies all weekend and write in short spurts, making every word count. Every single day we go to the park after school and my kids and their little troupe leave the swings behind and play in the woods, and their parents and I have made these amazing friendships while our kids play together. And while I worry about Christmas money and car inspections and new tires and rent, I remember that amazing literary agents are reading my latest novel, one that I believe strongly in, and growth comes with growing pains. And I remember that living the dream is exactly that–living it. Not getting it. But getting there. I want all these things: the bonding, the creativity, the time, the comfort. I’ve worked for it, I’ll work to keep it, and I’ll work to make it better all the time. Success for me comes in succeeding, and in all the steps it takes to get there. Feeling all the rocks underfoot in the road and smiling at the potholes. The potholes are deep, but my strength runs deeper.

Work/Life Balance isn’t just about time for me. It’s about meaning. Doing something meaningful myself, showing my family and community that they’re a part of that every step of the way. Seeing all the parts form the whole. The whole is my standard, and no one else’s.


Switching Gears Between Projects

Today’s Brew: Blueberry, my beloved

by Kristen

Couple of fun announcements first: Please check out my new author website and follow me on Tumblr! I WILL Tumbl for you. Please get the 80s music reference. Please.

It’s well documented that I’m a blonde. It’s more than just a hair color, sometimes, it’s a state of mind. When Kathie Lee and Hoda retire, I would hope someone will have the good sense to hire Julie and I to replace them. Who better to take over day drinking and inappropriate behavior on network TV than The Undead Duo? I dare you to find a better pair. And then please let us all go out drinking together. I’ve already got my role on this new TV show all set up: the bimbo sidekick. Sometimes I can be the funny one, sometimes the serious one, sometimes the smart one, but god damn, I make a great bimbo.

Bimbos get distracted easily. Never have I found this to be more true than when I try to juggle multiple projects. I’m starting to feel like one of those tired old mammas who yells at you for whatever sin you’ve committed but then calls you by the dog’s name.

Of course, you know NIGHT MOVES is out, so I’m doing promo for that. People are asking questions about Melanie, Ryder, and the rest of the characters and I have to think of them in ways I might have not considered before. It’s awesome to see my creations through other people’s eyes.

I just finished up a book that is vampire free. It’s in the hands of beta readers now, and I anxiously await their opinions. Notice I’m not telling you anything about this book? I feel like there’s just too much right now, and I’m even getting confused. I’m a big believer in keeping it simple. You’ll know everything about it all in due time.

Now that the book that shall not be named is done for now, I’m diving into final edits on WE OWN THE NIGHT. I’m psyched about this, because I miss Callie and Tristan. This book has been done since December, and this is the longest I’ve been away from these characters since I created them. Getting back into Callie’s head space is refreshing, a little shocking (if you’ve met Callie, you know how she rolls) and a little like welcoming home a long lost friend. She’s just met Melanie and Ryder at the point I’m working on now, it’s a Night Songs reunion.

Editing is stressful! When I draft, there’s no pressure to make things perfect because there’s always going to be another draft, revision, a chance to improve. But this is the round of work with the spit and the shine. This is the one you’re all going to see. It’s got to be 100%. I also have to consider the best interests of the book when making changes. Julie is my editor, which is a blessing because 1. she knows these characters inside and out 2. if this book sucks, she will pay for it dearly in buying me alcohol to mask the pain and 3. we get to discuss the edits as she applies them. That’s a luxury not many people get. Sometimes, Julie will be like WTF about a scene, and I can talk her through it. It doesn’t mean we leave it like that. If Julie didn’t understand it, neither will you, but we can make the absolute right edit that is true to what I’m thinking and what she understands. It makes me much more confident about making changes to the manuscript.

I had a hard time walking away from WE OWN THE NIGHT when I finished it, because it closed the door on this story. With SEASONS IN THE SUN, it’s technically the fourth book with these characters and this story line. Callie and Tristan didn’t want to say goodbye, either. I wonder how it will be to pass it in and really come to THE END. I didn’t close the door completely on these characters, so they might make another appearance sometime in some form. I haven’t decided yet.

I do want to continue The Night Songs Collection. My original idea was to have it as a universe instead of straight line story, with characters that might connect in different points in their lives. Kind of what Sherrilyn Kenyon does, but my way, because I don’t like to follow rules ever.

So there will be more books. Book 4, which will have new characters but is in The Night Songs world, will be coming to you this fall. This will be my first totally self published project, and holy shit, am I nervous. Julie is editing in now. I’ve got an amazing cover artist working on the art for it. I’ve got the formatter lined up. Everything is pretty much ready to go. Once I’m done with WE OWN THE NIGHT, I move straight into edits on this one.

See why I’m not throwing around titles? It gets confusing, fast. I took the “keep writing” thing to heart. Now I’m finishing up these projects, letting a few of them come down the pipeline so I can breathe and not work on four books at once.

Then….who knows?

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