Why Finding Your Writing Process Is A Bit Like Learning to Drive!

There are so many choices to make when we sit down and write a romance novel. Should we plot it out or wing it? Do we write in first person or third? Is it going to be a novel or a novella, and what kind of word count should I be aiming for? And then there’s the craft, finding ways to make the connection between the hero and heroine deeper (in romance), and how to tear them apart again just for the reader’s enjoyment. Deciding on a sub-plot (if you have one) and how to weave that into the main romance.

Credit: Depositphotos

Of course these are only a few of the questions I ask myself (not always consciously, but they need to be addressed at some point), there are so many more. A bit like when I first started to drive, I’ve had a huge learning curve — first of all realising that, just as I wouldn’t get in a car and expect to be able to drive like Jensen Button, nor should I sit down and write a book and expect it to be brilliant in the first pass. (And yes, we all know some authors who can do this — whose first book was amazing and took off — but there are more of us whose first books proved to be huge learning curves).

So if I take the driving analogy further; at first, every move you make when you’re learning to drive is conscious. You sit in the driver’s seat and have to think ‘first I put my foot on the clutch, then I turn the key, then once the engine is started, I need to find the biting point’. And all this is before you’ve even driven anywhere. More importantly, you have an instructor, somebody to guide you until you’re competent enough to do this thing on your own. Sadly, I didn’t have somebody to sit by my side as I typed, pointing out all my mistakes and suggesting alternatives, but I did find people who could help me do this. Beta readers, editors, and reviewers all can help you learn what works and what doesn’t, and I find them invaluable, even if I’m more confident in my skills nowadays.

Credit: Depositphotos

But more than anything, I needed a method to approach my writing, even before it went before the eyes of the editors and the readers. I needed to find my writing process. I’ve managed to do this through a combination of reading craft books, watching webinars, and, most importantly, learning through my own mistakes. In the romance world we’re really lucky that other writers are so willing to share their experiences, and often for free, or not a huge cost. Most weeks I find myself reading craft books or watching a video — as an ex-HR professional, I take my continuous professional development seriously!

The important thing to remember is no two writers’ processes are the same. What works for me won’t work for somebody else. I hate pantsing (i.e. writing without a plan) — although I do less planning than I used to nowadays. So when you get advice, whether it be from books, webinars or fellow authors, remember to take what works for you but ignore the rest.

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As for me, my process has been gleaned from a combination of Blake Snyder’s ‘Save the Cat’ beat sheet, Gwen Hayes’ fabulous book, Romancing the Beat, Nina Harrington’s brilliant videos (plus her many writing books) and a whole lot of trial and error. More importantly, it’s changing every day, as my needs and experience changes. I don’t need as much ‘instruction’ as I did when I was a learner driver, but I’ve also learned that a ‘refresher’ course doesn’t go amiss. I don’t want to be caught speeding after all!

 

 

My Favorite Things Giveaway – Sydney Logan

Today in the My Favorite Things Giveaway, we hear from Sydney Logan, author of Listen to Your Heart, Songbird, Once Upon a December, and other sweet romance novels.
A list of my favorite things about the holidays would probably look a lot like yours: spending time with family, singing carols, watching holiday movies, wrapping presents . . .
What’s that? You don’t like to wrap gifts?
Sydney’s Dream Job


I love, love, love to wrap presents! I love it so much that my family members bring me their gifts to wrap. When we travel north to spend the holidays with my husband’s side of the family, his mom saves some gifts, just for me to wrap!
Enablers, every single one of them!
Of course, wrapping has its obstacles. Oddly-shaped gifts, misshapen boxes, and of course, little helpers.
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Not Sydney’s cat, but totally could be.

So this year, when you’re unwrapping your gifts, think about the person who wrapped them. Think about the love and care this individual took in choosing just the right paper, just the right bow . . . or maybe they just chose the right department store gift wrapper who did all the wrapping for them! Either way, enjoy!
Speaking of enjoy, you might enjoy Sydney’s holiday short story collection, Once Upon a December. This book includes three holiday short stories that are sure to warm your heart this winter. And, it’s just .99¢, which really makes it the perfect gift!

Here’s the giveaway! Good luck!


To learn more about Sydney and her books,
 please visit her website at

Cover Reveal – Two Holiday Novellas by Lindsey Gray!

Coming December 1st,
TWO Holiday Novellas by Lindsey Gray!
 
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Cover Design: T.M. Franklin
Release Date: December 1st, 2016
Page Length: 76 Pages
Daniel Digby is cursed by his good looks. After years of sexual harassment, he’s convinced wearing a wedding ring is the answer to fending off unwanted attention.
CiCi Newport is cursed by her family’s money. When men look her way, all they see are dollar signs. After two years, her “no dating” rule is still in place.
After a chance meeting, they’re entwined for the holidays. What starts as attraction might just be the holiday cure they’re looking for.
 
PRE-ORDER NOW for 99¢
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Cover Design: T.M. Franklin
Release Date: December 1st, 2016
Page Length: 74 Pages
Two broken hearts embarked on a holiday season in a way they never had before. Divorced.
Mitch had been badly burned by love, but was willing to take a chance . . . with the right woman.
Hannah had lived everyday with the grief love had brought her and followed her everywhere.
Can two hearts find love and heal each other during the most difficult season of the year?
PRE-ORDER NOW for 99¢
 
 
Lindsey Gray spends her days and most of her nights creating characters, over thinking everything, and trying to remember all the things on her massive to-do list. One thing that is always at the top of her list is writing something she hopes others will enjoy. Her journey into authordom began when her first novel was published in 2010. Through trials, tribulations, and learning how to work well with others in the author sandbox, she has found a joy she never thought she would know.
Her many lists also include mothering her two children, devoting time to her handsome hubby, formatting novels for other authors, and hosting her weekly radio show, Gray Matters, on TMV Cafe Internet Radio.
Blogger or Reviewer?
Want to join the Holiday Novellas Tour?
Sign up through Indie Sage PR for the tour running December 5th-16th!
Click the banner!
 
 

 

GIVEAWAY!! – Halloween Hop and $50 Amazon Card

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It’s time for the HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY HOP!

Trick or Treat with the Enchanted Publications Authors ALL WEEK and you could win Ebooks, signed paperbacks or our Grand Prize of a  $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD!

Just hop along to each author’s stop to enter into their individual giveaway, and then just the RAFFLECOPTER to enter for the Grand Prize.

Today I’m giving away one ebook ARC copy of FIX YOU. To win, all you need to do is comment ‘Trick or Treat’ on this post and you’re done!

Winners will be chosen by random after midnight on Halloween.

THE NEXT STOP IS JIFFY KATE, who are giving a signed copy of THE OTHER ONE.

So head on over to their page!

For a complete list of stops, and to find out how to enter the rafflecopter for the $50 Amazon Gift Card, please visit HERE

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, and HAPPY HOPPING!

Competition rules can be found here.

Book Blitz and Giveaway – Politically Incorrect by Jeanne McDonald

We’re right in the middle of election season (don’t worry, no politics allowed on this blog… well, apart from fictional politics), so what better time to take a look at the fabulous Politically Incorrect by Jeanne McDonald. Jeanne is a friend, colleague and all-round-fabulous person, and when I received an ARC to read I was pretty much bouncing off the walls.

If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at the book yet, scroll down for more information, and the buy links, plus the fabulous rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom. Enjoy!

Carrie Pink

 

 

Title: Politically Incorrect
Author: Jeanne McDonald
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 16, 2016

 

Blurb

Sex. Lies. Greed. Power. Scandal. Politics.Political strategist, Elizabeth McNeal has been called a lot of things throughout her career—bitch being at the top of the list—but she doesn’t let it get to her. She’s bold, she’s blunt, and she takes orders from no one. This is how she’s survived working in a man’s world. She’s the master of diversion, and her specialty is winning an election—no matter the cost.

That is, until she meets her new client, Democratic candidate, Congressman William Baxter. Kind, considerate, insanely handsome, honest, and ten years her junior, he’s a unicorn among politicians. He infuriates her. He challenges her. Most of all, he makes her see past the scandalous world of politics and helps her to discover the heart of the woman inside her.

With sparks flying between them and the election rapidly approaching, the last thing either of them need is to be caught in a compromising position. Some lines are meant to be crossed and some rules broken, but for Elizabeth and Liam is it worth the cost of being politically incorrect?

 

 

Purchase Links

 

AMAZON US / UK

 

Excerpt

“You’ve been avoiding me all night, Elizabeth.”

My brain was on overload. His close proximity was killing my resolve. I pushed back against the very thing I wanted the most – to simply give into my desires. The pragmatic side of me took over, scratching and clawing to regain control.

“Congressman, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been busy doing what you hired me to do.”

“I did hire you for a job. And I’ve been satisfied with you, until today.”

“I beg your pardon?” I gasped.

“I’ve just spent the last several hours selling you like you’re God himself. Not to mention all the hours I’ve invested in this campaign.”

“All of that’s true, and I thank you, but at this moment I don’t really care about the campaign.” He chuckled, taking a step forward, forcing my back against the lockers. I hit the metal with an oomph. My hands flattened against the cold steel. My eyes darted to the left and then to the right. This was bad. So bad. I began to freak over what our little standoff might look like to the media.

“Liam, we can’t do this here. What about the media?” I tried to push him back, but his large form wouldn’t budge.

“I don’t care,” he stated intensely.

“But I do. After tonight’s rally…” The corner of Liam’s mouth quirked upward. “Forget the rally or the media. Tell me why you’re avoiding me.”

He dipped his head, his lips brushing the shell of my ear. I withered at the feel of his tongue flicking my earlobe. All control was gone now. Kaput. Vanished. I was falling apart in his arms, which was the complete opposite of how he appeared to be.

Teeth grazed along my neck, a flick of his tongue followed. A small squeak and a heavy gasp expelled from me. My hands reached around his back, digging into the fabric of his jacket.

“Because I can’t resist you anymore.”

Damn him for being able to pull the truth out of me.

“Then don’t.”

 

 

 Author Bio
Jeanne McDonald is an author, a mother, a wife, a student of knowledge and of life, a coffee addict, a philosophy novice, a pop culture connoisseur, inspired by music, encouraged by words, and a believer in true love. When she’s not spending time with her family, she can be found reading, writing, enjoying a great film, chatting with friends or diligently working toward her bachelor’s degree in literature. A proud Texan, Jeanne currently resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her family.
Author Links

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER

Release Day Blitz – Politically Incorrect by Jeanne McDonald.

Today I’m delighted to take part in the release day blitz for my wonderful friend, Jeanne McDonald. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Politically Incorrect, and I loved it. Read on for more information about the book, and your chance to win a signed paperback!

Carrie Pink

Young couple flirting with legs at the restaurant under the tableRelease Date: August 16, 2016

Synopsis

Sex. Lies. Greed. Power. Scandal. Politics. Political strategist, Elizabeth McNeal has been called a lot of things throughout her career—bitch being at the top of the list—but she doesn’t let it get to her. She’s bold, she’s blunt, and she takes orders from no one. This is how she’s survived working in a man’s world. She’s the master of diversion, and her specialty is winning an election—no matter the cost. That is, until she meets her new client, Democratic candidate, Congressman William Baxter. Kind, considerate, insanely handsome, honest, and ten years her junior, he’s a unicorn among politicians. He infuriates her. He challenges her. Most of all, he makes her see past the scandalous world of politics and helps her to discover the heart of the woman inside her. With sparks flying between them and the election rapidly approaching, the last thing either of them need is to be caught in a compromising position. Some lines are meant to be crossed and some rules broken, but for Elizabeth and Liam is it worth the cost of being politically incorrect?

Goodreads
Purchase Links

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/28SfwKX

 

iBooks: http://apple.co/28O2NYV

 

B&N: http://bit.ly/28Ykqoe

 

Kobo: http://bit.ly/28O6z6a

  ReleaseDayTeaser

Giveaway

 

One of Two Signed Paperbacks of Politically Incorrect by Jeanne McDonald

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cba4250295/?

 

PI_jacket

 

About the Author

Jeanne McDonald is an author, a mother, a wife, a student of knowledge and of life, a coffee addict, a philosophy novice, a pop culture connoisseur, inspired by music, encouraged by words, and a believer in true love. When she’s not spending time with her family, she can be found reading, writing, enjoying a great film, chatting with friends or diligently working toward her bachelor’s degree in literature. A proud Texan, Jeanne currently resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her family.

 

Connect with Jeanne

Website: http://www.jeannemcdonald.com

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2ahMlB3

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2ardmBi

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/VFamn

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2ant56n

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2avdUre

Tumblr: http://bit.ly/2aaCDhu

Google+: http://bit.ly/2aazNdf

YouTube: http://bit.ly/2aaDT42

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2awz2ii

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/29f6C9z

BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2arcEEm

 

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Nerdy Girl Scavenger Hunt

Hi! I’m delighted to be taking part in Lindsey Gray’s scavenger hunt. Read below for more details, as well as your chance to win an ebook copy of Canada Square!

NGSH-Banner

Follow the clues every day at the participating sites from April 18th to 22nd to enter the daily and grand prize giveaways. 20 Clues in all! Check the Nerdy Girl Scavenger Hunt Facebook Event Page for daily links.

NerdyGirlClueList

HERE’S THE CLUE

SuperheroPillows

These pillows are a must have for a nerd girl. Lindsey Gray always imagined these lying across Emma’s bed or on the couch in her nerd cave. Emma actually receives a superhero pillow at one point in the novel. Wonder if you can guess which one.

To find out about the rest of the story, read Nerdy Girl Nation today!

Nerdy Girl NatNGN eBook Cover-2ion by Lindsey Gray
Published by Gray Matters Press on October 8th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Who knew the girl who spent most of her Saturday nights watching Doctor Who marathons with her best friend would end up becoming a reality television star? Not Emma MacLean.

Emma tried to leave the nerdy girl behind as the Vice President of Operations for billionaire venture capitalist, Terrance Hunt, on the hit show Hunt for Life. When double tragedies occur on the same day, Emma is out of a job, but the cameras and a nation of fans continue to follow her.

Rob “Bobby” Breyer lived and breathed the professional wrestling circuit for five years. Rob happens to be a devoted Hunt for Life fan due to a chance meeting with Emma while in high school. When he reaches out to Emma in her time of crisis, he never imagines how much it will change his life.

After twelve years, their attraction still sizzles and this time, Rob’s not letting Emma get away. As the cameras roll, Emma’s new career and Rob’s quest for glory are in the spotlight. When the heat is on, they’ll need all the support they can get from the Nerdy Girl Nation.

About Lindsey Gray

Lindsey Gray typed her first complete novel at the age of twelve and dreamed of making her writing into a career. When her eighth grade class wrote a twenty year reunion story, casting her as a mystery novelist, she wasn’t sure she could make it a reality. After years of writing off and on, she decided to make a go of it. In December of 2010 she finally made her dream come true with her first published novel, Lies Inside. Five years and thousands of written words later, Lindsey released her seventh published work, Nerdy Girl Nation, in October 2015.

When Lindsey takes a break from writing, she spends time with her husband of thirteen years and their two children, reading all kinds of romance novels, and hosting her own weekly radio show, Gray Matters, on TMV Cafe Internet Radio.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!!

I’m giving away an eBook copy of Canada Square. To enter, post in the comments below. The winner will be picked at random (using random.org) on Friday 30th April!

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