No More Net… or Happy Book Birthday, Harlow and Dax!

Three years ago this month, I released my fourth book. It was a story that had been percolating inside my head about an older woman who falls in love with a much younger man. Originally planned as a novella, one that would have tons of funny and steamy scenes, it would end up taking a different road all its own the moment I sat down to write the first chapter.

I didn’t even know the heroine’s name that night in May. I just knew that she was on some kind of vacation in the Southwest, a place I’d been to in the past and had fallen in love with. There was just one catch.

This was one vacation she planned never to return from.

And so the original steamy lighthearted novella turned into something different but one that I realized was a story I wanted so badly to write. I had to write it like my life depended on it.

Around this time, I had already written three books, all of them commercial failures. I had been so close to quitting writing altogether and heaven knows what my friends and family thought of me and my sad attempt at being a writer. But something inside me decided to give it one more try. One more book.

One more story.

And so, I quit my massage teaching job that summer. I still had my main private practice even if it had already been cut back from five days a week to two days a week because of my son’s schedule which only made childcare costs more expensive because now I was paying per day instead of a monthly rate.

At this point, I’d lost whatever confidence I once had about being a decent writer. I really had no idea if I was good enough or not. I had no idea if the story would resonate with anyone outside of Wattpad (where I was posting each chapter). But I had to try. Quitting my teaching job which I had relied on for that extra boost of income was also that message to myself that said, no more net. Now show them what you got even if you have to bare your soul to do it.

For days and weeks after the book was done, I was so scared of letting it go. If I could have delayed the release, I would have simply because the book, to me, was too raw and too honest in parts. I had also changed my pen name and so people were basically seeing a brand new author at this point. Just another wannabe writer trying her hand in the author world.

But life has a way of reminding you that you’re on the right path. The singer-songwriter whose two songs inspired the book granted me his permission to include lyrics to one of the songs when I saw him perform in Los Angeles two weeks before the release, prompting me to go back and do those additions just in time.

There was no turning back now.

And so if my math is correct, October marks the third book birthday for Dax and Harlow’s story, Everything She Ever Wanted. It marked the official debut for my main pen name and it would remind me that you can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. You have to take that first step and put yourself out there.

You have to go after your dream, share your stories with those who need to read them and do it again and again and again.

I also learned that you do need to set a series bible and timeline but that’s a story for another day…

In the meantime, the ebook version of Everything She Ever Wanted is FREE for a limited time. It’s also available in paperback and audiobook.

When her husband leaves her for a younger woman, transplant surgeon Harlow James hits the open road and ends up in Taos, New Mexico hoping to find out where she went wrong.

Instead, she finds the perfect man.

Master woodworker Dax Drexel is gorgeous, funny, and represents every reason to keep going.

There’s only one problem: he’s too young.

But even if everything about Dax is perfect, can their fling stand a chance against the world that betrayed her… the same world she’s about to return to?

For Dax, a naked woman asleep in his bed when he thought his rental would have been available is the last thing he expected to find on his day off.

He could walk away… but he can’t.

For there’s something about Harlow James that he just can’t turn away from.

Sure, she’s thirteen years older than him, but she’s smart, independent, and beautiful.

She’s also broken.

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Still Behind

This is a quick update about my latest Work-in-Progress (WIP) and it’s not looking like I’m going to make my deadline.

I know. I can’t believe it either.

I thought I had my book solidly plotted but the further along I got, things didn’t feel right. Events and emotions seemed forced, and it wasn’t the characters talking. It was me, the ringmaster, ordering everyone where to go even when it wasn’t true to the characters established in the first book. And that’s the thing – the characters have to be true to the first book, back when I wrote things without plotting a darn thing. I just wrote.

But things are different now. For one thing, I need a timeline as my storylines are all over the place.

And so plotting, I found, was essential for this book even if it’s a prequel—especially since it’s the prequel—the book that introduces the world more thoroughly through the eyes of a popular side couple. A different world view and one that’s hopefully written through the eyes of a more mature and skilled writer.

Unfortunately most days I don’t feel like one.

Last week, I spent five full days writing 8k new words, changing the beginning completely. Then on the sixth day, I snapped out of my perfectionism problem and went back to the original story and from there, it’s been an uphill climb only because I want to get things right. Some days I write 2k words and other days, only 500 although I’m formulating the events of the story inside my head.

To help me do that, I’ve decided to participate in #inktober2019, an online challenge where you draw something in ink according to a prompt for each day of October. I don’t know if I can make it all the way till the end of the month but so far, the first three days are in the books. If anything, it’s teaching me to accept the works as they are in the amount of time I’ve given myself to finish each drawing (an hour, max)—imperfect and simple. It’s like a reminder for that story I’m writing.

Perfectly imperfect and simple.

Musings Over Coffee: I’m a Hot Mess

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Another hot day here in Southern California and I’m still a hot mess without a Macbook to work with. I’d ordered a used iMac from a third party but it arrived damaged and so I had to return it and I’m still waiting for my refund to show up on my bank account. In the meantime, my MacBook is supposed to be ready to be picked up today. They’re just doing more tests on it to make sure everything is back to normal.

I guess I must have downloaded a virus or some kind of malware because they said the solid state drive was wiped clean so whatever I didn’t back up to the cloud is gone. I figured if I don’t remember what it was then I don’t need it (crossing my fingers). But it is what it is. I would love to get a brand new MacBook but I hate that all new Apple devices from what I’ve heard are designed to be tossed away. And given the state of affairs of the world where we have enough trash to contend with, I’m not a fan of that. No way you can simply upgrade stuff inside it like you used to (unless you go only to a certified Apple technician), and that’s why I’m not buying a brand new one yet. They’re also over a thousand dollars and with my book income on life support, even with a healthy credit limit, I just couldn’t push that Buy button.

But I’m still here. I’m surviving #firstworldproblems

I do have the HP Stream laptop I bought two years ago when DH needed to practice with Excel but never did and so it’s been sitting around with its barely there memory (32g) that you can’t even upgrade the operating system without first deleting everything. Well, I did just that and inserted an SD card as was recommended and almost bricked the thing. But luckily I was able to restore it to its system settings without all the bloatware that HP had included when I originally purchased it and so far, so good.

So, yes, I’ve had a crash course in Windows after switching exclusively to Apple products since 2006. And I still can’t write with the thing because my stories are ALL written in iOS apps like Ulysses and so I end up writing them on my iPad. It can be done and I have been writing but there are still a few limitations. I’ve also started uploading my files directly to Google Docs so that my editor can take a look at my WIP since I’m really behind everything.

How behind? According to TimeandDate.com, it’s been 163 days since I last published. That’s four months. Yikes!

But you know what?! The LilDude goes back to school in TWO DAYS!!!!

By the way, if you’ve read this far, Everything She Ever Wanted is $0.99 this week. It’s also part of a $0.99 weekend sale that ends today! Check out other books that go from sweet to steamy!

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A Bit of Nature

Another day without a laptop or a computer… can you tell?

Today, LilDude and I went hiking again. Our goal was to reduce his fear of “bugs” since the last time we hiked, he was running away from any “bug” that happened to cross his path be it a dragonfly or a butterfly. So I told him we needed to work on that so he’ll get used to “bugs” because it’s not like they’re going to hurt him or anything.

It was a nice walk and he was actually looking forward to it!

On the writing front, I haven’t written much but I have been “writing” inside my head. After all, not all writing as a writer has to be “butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.” Sometimes all the action is inside my head as my characters slowly reveal what they’re made of after I’ve put them through their paces. I also do a lot of handwriting on my Rocketbook –notes here and there about this or that.

I guess to a casual bystander, it looks like a lot of “doing nothing,” but the moment I do get to put my “butt in chair, fingers on keyboard,” then off I go like a sprinter at the crack of that starting gun. Goodbye laundry!

It’s Monday or Day 5 Without a Laptop…

Day 5 (or is it 6 because it feels like 6 or 60) without my laptop and I’m feeling the withdrawal symptoms already. Even though I can still type as fast on my wireless keyboard and write on my iPad since thank goodness, I have my trusty writing apps that work on both the Macbook and all my iOS devices, it’s just not the same having a laptop to work with.

So I’ve been doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and wondering how on earth I get to tidy up our tiny house yet fit everything in it. I should be writing–and I have but it’s just not the same on my trusty ol’ Macbook!

But I’m not giving up just yet.

It’s only Monday.

Saturday Distractions

Day three of no laptop/computer and so far, I’m still… sane. Well, maybe I was a bit cranky last night but it helps to have an iPad and a few wireless keyboards to make sure you still hit that word count each day.

Right now, I should be writing but it’s a steamy sex scene and being constantly surrounded by family members as I try to write on my iPad in the kitchen is not as easy as I thought it would be. And with LilDude constantly coming over to “check the time” right when I’m writing those four-letter words becomes, shall we say, awkward.

And so I’m distracting myself with Instagram. Probably a bit too much because now I’ve probably spent two hours looking at all the pictures and videos of the current muse/inspiration who I had hoped to limit to stock photos like I always do, that way, he remains something I’d create in my head.

Only he’s such a charismatic performer to boot (not just a model but an actor and singer, too) and so he’s quite active on Instagram and today, he popped up in a private message responding to a comment I made on his IG story after he emerged from one of his boxing workouts with a cut under his eye and I had responded with a “hope your eye is okay.” I actually don’t expect responses when I do that because I kinda don’t respond to all my IG story comments myself (sorry).

That was probably a week ago and I had completely forgotten all about it but when he messaged me back, I was working on that steamy scene and I just had to drop everything. And since he can only speak Russian and Spanish, I ended up with a crash course in Spanish which was good because I’ve only been half-heartedly studying it for decades since when my grandparents spoke it whenever they’d get really exasperated with us and I always wanted to know what they were saying. Unfortunately, when you don’t practice something regularly, you forget and today, my Spanish got a workout.

Poco a poco, he said and damn, is he right. When I got confused between “soy” and “estoy” as a variation of “I am,” he said I was correct the first time. He said he liked the way I used his images for my naughty pen name’s IG (unfortunately, this is not related to my Liz Durano IG). It helps that he’s also so gorgeous and sexy and… well, come to think of it, I need to get back to writing that sexy scene again. Sarah and Benny are waiting!

Musings Over Coffee: When You’re Without Your Computer But You Need to Put Down the Words…

So my 2011 MacBook Pro fizzled the other night and it’s at the computer repair shop where they tell me it will probably be about five to seven days BEFORE they can even look at it since they’re backlogged. I could have taken it somewhere else but these same guys upgraded the hard drive to an SSD two years ago and made it work like new.

Of course, the body of my poor MBP isn’t the greatest anymore; the keyboard no longer works and the battery was starting to bulge which rendered the trackpad useless which means I’ll probably end up needing a new Mac. I do have an HP laptop but since all my writing/publishing apps are iOS based, I’m not bothering to use that one.

Yesterday, I typed 4K words on my Freewrite typewriter in a re-edit of The Replacement Fiancée and today, I’m working on my current WIP again, The Other Side of Love online using Plot Factory.

Plot Factory is an online story planner that can help you get your story from idea to completed story. You can even listen to a narration of your story if you’d like which is a great way to self-edit your story as you go.

They have a free plan but I’m using the Novelist plan ($10/month or $100 a year) to make use of all the features.

And with me being without my MacBook where I write, outline, and format all my books, Plot Factory is just what I need. I was already using it before my MacBook died as you can see from the dashboard below but even better, the app works perfectly on my iPad as well and that’s where I’m continuing Sarah and Benny’s story.

So if you’re looking for a tool to help you get your writing organized, check out Plot Factory. I’m not getting paid to say this, by the way. I just think it’s an awesome tool for writers and it’s one that’s saving my butt right now and helping me meet my deadline.

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!