Research is fun

I’ve mentioned previously I have started plotting my next book. As a historical romance, the emphasis for me initially is on the historical part of the story I am telling. So this means I get to do historical research.

Yum!

As a history geek, I love this part of writing these books. It is important to me the scenes are accurate in speech, dress, actions, and setting. The way these people in 1869 interact within the parameters of the time period are very different from now. My goal as a writer is to walk the reader into the comfort of existing in this place with these characters.

Currently I am in a logistical difficulty. 100_6614Most of my library of approximately 2000 books is boxed up and in storage while the shelves are relocated, set-up, and painted. This means much of my historical resources are not accessible. Bummer. I’m ready to get them out, sorted, and organized.

 

When I say I have resources, I mean I have enough material my son could write a 10 page paper for his history class requiring one source for each page, and only one online source, and I had all of it!100_6612

I love my books.
100_6613

I do read a lot of eBooks,
but I also collect hardback copies of my favorite writers. Hubby does too (can you say Clive Cussler.) I prefer hardback if possible in the books I add to my collection.
I also am a book sale fan. And I love the smell of old books.

My library is a legacy I will leave to my kids. My daughter is a teacher after all.

The research I’m doing is about Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory and this is a location I have100_7059 actually visited.

It is truly amazing to walk the area my character will walk. To look at the surrounding hills and mountains, and see the colors of the vegetation will give the words authenticity.100_7062 I want it to be real for the reader and this is part of it.

So, let’s see what my hero experiences so far from home. Will he be the same person when he returns from the southwest?

Cheers!

-N

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New book release!

the_holder_of_my_fla_cover_for_kindle

A dangerous job and a red haired beauty are setting Jacob Severn’s world up side down. 

http://www.amazon.com/Holder-My-Flame-Tremaines/dp/1539552896

Excerpts:

            “May I have this dance?” he asked, making her aware of the others around them. She looked at the gloved hand he held out to her.  She thought to herself that dancing would mean she would have to get up and she didn’t know if her legs would hold her.

            “I’m afraid I don’t waltz very well,” she responded meekly.

            “Well then why don’t we make fools of ourselves together?” he responded, leaning near her, his black eyes gleaming.

            She looked from his twinkling eyes to his gloved hand. She gave a brief nod, placed her hand in his and rose. He tucked her hand in the crook of his elbow and together they approached the dance floor.

            As she placed her hand on his shoulder and he put his arm at her waist everyone else in the room faded. They began to move to the seductive strains of the waltz, swaying and twirling, staring into each other’s eyes moving together as though they had been partners, dancing together forever.

            “You’ve mislead me,” he remarked. “You are a marvelous dancer.”

            “I fear, sir, it is my partner who excels in dancing,” her eyes dropped to the buttons of his shirt and she blushed slightly. “You are very easy to follow.”

            They smiled at the mutual compliments.

* * * * *

           The raids took place every two days and yesterday had been a day off, so he expected to participate in the next raid. Each of the men was paid from the bounty they stole while terrorizing the homeowners. After dressing, Jacob headed down the alley to the stable, it was likely he would need his horse to be ready. He didn’t want to hold up anyone or bring any unwanted attention to himself or Horace. He hoped this would be a routine job completed quickly. The sooner this job was over the better as far as he was concerned.

            He looked up at the bright morning sky and inhaled deeply. As he exhaled his mind raced with scenes of a beautiful, golden-eyed, woman, he had caressed, held and kissed. He allowed himself to think of her for a moment knowing he would have to block her out when he became a criminal.

            He found Horace waiting for him at the saloon, seated at a table with Seymour, a large, husky man with a bushy black beard that matched his thick hair and eyebrows. His eyes were dark and deep-set with his ruddy cheeks adding to his menacing looks. Jacob’s intense gaze swept over the two men. He noticed Horace had dropped the foppy gentleman and become a bearded, restless saddle bum, just in it to make enough money to move on. Watching Seymour, Jacob’s eyes took in the scroungy apparel and the gleaming brand-new Colt 45’s resting on each hip. The man’s priorities were clear, and he knew Seymour a smart man. They looked up as Jacob approached pulling out a chair, he carelessly dumped himself in it and ordered coffee.

I am very excited to share that my new book is out in paperback and eBook.

http://www.amazon.com/Holder-My-Flame-Tremaines/dp/B01NC0DBNE

Cheers!

-N

Yeah I’m ranting.

Greetings all!

It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster these last several days. A member of my family is struggling with mental illness and it has been a test of patience and enduring emotional highs and lows. It’s chased away my muse and now that things are improving I am on the search for it.

One exciting thing to share is I will be a great aunt again. My niece is in labor with her second child right now. She is one of those women who is very fit and I expect her to do well, especially since it is her second. Can’t wait to meet the wee boy she is having.

Just finished the edits on the first draft of my newest story. I have to revise and rewrite a scene that will add at least 10 pages. It comes from a discussion I had with my hubby about a question I asked him. The more we talked about it the more I realized I had to trash a bunch of words and start over. His suggestions were perfect and gave me a great scene but requires some character building I wouldn’t have recognized previously. Now I have some historical research to do on costumes and vehicles. Also have to flesh out a character who revealed themselves during the edit. He showed up and I knew I needed more backstory, so there it goes.

So its time to go through the manuscript and fine tune before handing it to my beta readers.

My writing combines two things I enjoy: romance and history. The historical accuracy is important to me. I love the feeling of immersing in a specific time and place in history. If I can add a bit of spicy romance to it then mores the better.

Two more months until fall in most places, four more months until it shows up here. Southern Arizona has two seasons: hot and not so hot. Although where I live is a higher elevation than Tucson, and we are up next to the 9000 ft mountains when it is 110 in Tucson it is 107 here in Catalina! Gaaah, hate heat. I loved Misawa, Japan, with its 10-12 feet of snow, blizzards and earthquakes. It worked for me. I am still a cold weather fan. When Chuck and I were living in Tioga, ND it was perfect. I loved bundling up and tromping around in my fur lined snow boots. If it’s going to be hot then there should be a lake or ocean nearby.

Well enough ranting, time to get to work.

Cheers!

-N

Is a re-do a good idea?

As I have written earlier I have been working on a contemporary mystery/romance that’s taking me a while to construct. I have several pages of notes but it seems to have stalled. I watched a movie a couple of nights ago titles “Bag of Bones”. The main character is a writer who loses his wife who is also his muse. He is having a painful writers block. His agent is pressuring him to complete the next book. In frustration he pulls out his first manuscript that was never published and submits it.

Is it a good idea to revisit an old manuscript? I have one that I completed several years ago. I pulled it out and read through it, did a lot of editing and cutting, but before I put more time into it I wondered if this is a common issue with authors. After re-visiting this story I remembered how much fun the story was to me and I worked to be critical as I read it again.

My initial genre interest was historical romance, but I have since grown into other areas. The draw for me was the history. I’m a history nerd. My first finished manscript, which was started and completed after I had written the first story, is currently undergoing Beta readers critique. Researching the history is fascinating and really moves the plot along. Inserting my characters into history is my high. This old story I knew wasn’t fully complete, there was a lot to cull out of it but I was excited by the history and my people.

So my question is…do I go back to this story and hope the work will open my mind my new work? Do I walk away and leave it as a lesson learned? I know that I don’t want my work to be pigeonholed in one genre any more than I want to read only one genre.

What are others writers experience in this situation? I have a notebook full of plot ideas for multiple stories in multiple genre’s and I guess I’m trying to find the proper steps for progress.

I write every day whether it is blogging, plotting in my note book or putting words on “paper”. I need to know how do I triage when they each cry out for me to get them out and pay attention.  I would love to hear from others out there with ideas about my babies.

Is this what the mother of triplets goes through? Which baby gets fed first?

I covet your opinions.

-N

Writing research

I have been spending lots of time doing research on how to improve my writing . Topics have included agents/editors, Beta readers, query letters, improving plot lines and POV, and self-publishing. The more I search the more I realize how much I don’t know. I just know I like to write.

I have two notebooks with plots for two stories. Do most people work on two stories at the same time?

I have also been reading a lot more. My Kindle has been working overtime.

I have so many questions about being a published author. Is the best route getting an editor or agent first and then breaking into that area or going the route of self-publishing to get my work out there and hope for the attention of a publisher? I have two complete manuscripts, and the genre seems to be very popular but in looking at agents accepting queries my genre isn’t on their lists. What does this tell me?

The two stories I have in process right now are different from the two other works. Does this say I’m changing or growing in my interests? I know that I read the books I like to write.

Blogging is turning into a very fun outlet for me. I see it as a side of me growing directly from the messy thoughts rushing around in my brain that have nothing to do with the fiction competing for my attention. I can compartmentalize them both because I know where they come from. My imagination finds a home in both. I will continue to tease them out and hope there will be a place for them in the literary world.

-N

A man’s perspective

I was talking to my husband last night about the story I am currently working on and as I told him about some big changes I am making he started to ask some questions about my characters. As we talked he shared his ideas about their development and the ancillary characters. His perspective was enlightening and really made me think of the way I was drawing them.

His ideas were refreshing and the male perspective drew out thoughts and new directions for the storyline. I was given so many ways to pull the best of the their personalities into focus and make the story flow. The power of defining the characters instincts based on their true natures is a basic part of a character driven story. Showing the reader who they are inside and playing it out in their actions gives depth to their lives and brings the reader into an understanding of motivations.

When I described a scene I thought would be a motivation for my lead male he said a man like my lead wouldn’t respond that way. As he explained what would be a better response it was more realistic for the storyline and transferred the beginning for my characters iinto one that reconciles who they are and why they react the way they do to the circumstances they are thrust into.

I am lucky that I am married to a reader. It is interesting because though we read very different books there is always the format for books that cross genre’s and give additional perspective that can be applied to any work. It is always good to get that other point of view.

-N

Making me a better writer

I have been looking in a variety of directions to help mature and development my writing. My research has started to change the way I look at the stories I have completed, the ones I am working on and the plots I have for future work. So much of what I have plotted, written and thought of is a jumble now and the direction of my ideas is confusing me. It makes sense that while I am trying to develop my author voice I am compelled toward a broader spectrum of characters and plot device.

I have one story nearly finished, and then in a moment I huge change in direction came to me. This would disturb the main characters assumptions about themselves and each other, and drawn in the secondary characters as well. Lines of alliance will be drawn.  Where did this come from??? It has stimulated my imagination but there is a lot of re-writing  to be done to fit this huge redirection. I know these people pretty well and it will be interesting to find out how they respond to this major alteration to their lives.

It may change the beginning of the story.

I will need to be true to the time period and what would be the expectations and assumptions of the cultural influences at that time. There was a huge difference in what was acceptable in Boston and Billings in the late 19th century.

Another thing that has altered in my writing is the sex. As I have read many stories I find that romance and romantic scenes don’t have to necessarily include graphic sex. In fact I have read books that the graphic sex seemed to be a filler to make up the required page count and adds nothing to the heart of the relationship.

What is romance?

 

 

Motivation

I let my crazy life put my writing on the back burner. I have been contemplating plots, scenes and POV but nothing has been set down on paper. It is time to change that fact and get my butt in gear.

I opened my notebook with all my future stories and it gave me the inspiration to get busy writing. I started with historical romances because that was what I was reading at the time. As I looked at the plots for several of those genre they don’t have the draw for me because I don’t read those anymore. The story ideas are good but now I want to convert them to contemporary settings.

But I love history.

I find that most of the books I’m reading are biographies and mysteries. The development of one genre into another is not easy. As I looked over the research I did for the historical romances there is a lot of information. So many of them have characters who have obstacles rooted in the drama of survival in early territorial life. How does this convert to a contemporary setting. The human struggles are basic day to day living. The desires are food, shelter and establishing a home in hostile environments.

During a conversation with a friend who is also trying to break into the writing field I discovered how much I needed the perspectives and input from other writers. Her efforts mirrored my own and the enormous wealth of helpful material out there encouraged my own efforts. She understands what I’m trying to do and why I am compelled to tell stories. As we spoke of delving into who our characters are and why they do what they do, my mind began to race with scenes and plot devices. This is what I needed.

I want to be published.

I will keep going. I will make my writing the best it can be with the resources available to me. I have rediscovered the fun of telling the stories of the people of my mind.

-N