A Little White Lie and Other Updates

For the past few years, I’ve been wondering how to link Everything She Ever Wanted (Dax and Harlow’s story) with Falling for Jordan (Addison and Jordan’s story), Book 1 and Book 2 respectively in my Different Kind of Love series.

Somehow, I never really linked them together except for the second version of the Prologue that replaced the original version in the last year and a half. Only that wasn’t what I should have done.

Instead, that second version of the Prologue should have been a short story, one that would be available at the end of Book 1 as a bonus story (appearing AFTER 90% of the ebook) and the same one I’ll link here. So if you’ve read Everything She Ever Wanted and want to take a peek at the wedding reception through Addison’s eyes, you can read it here.

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Little White Lie introduces Addison Rowe, Harlow’s best friend, a Filipino-American doctor who just finds out her life is about to change while attending Harlow’s Taos wedding to Dax.

In the writing front, I’m still working on stories I set aside a month ago. Somehow, subconscious me wants to finish the stories I started before tackling the big ones and so that’s what I’m doing. They won’t fit any of my current series but my subconscious mind won’t let them go either so I guess I’ll have to follow that muse for now.

Oh, and two earthquakes happened in my neck of the woods. The house was rocking for over a minute during that second one and the lamps were swinging and so was the front door. It was scary but at the same time part of living in Southern California. My main concern during the second one was that my kid was wearing only his underwear (he has SPD and likes being in his underwear while wrapped in his two favorite fuzzy blankets when he doesn’t need to be outdoors) and I told him that if we had to run outside, he was running out in his undies.

I need to know where to shut things off should the big one hit and it’s just me and the kiddo at home (water, gas, electricity). I need to stock up the emergency backpack, too. Two earthquakes in a week is not a good sign. But then, what else can we do but keep on going, right?

How about you? How’s life treating you so far?

Sunday Word Count #excerpt

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I got to 680 before everyone woke up and it’s time to get off the computer and step outside for a while.

That’s 11109 words into my holiday novella and so far, I think I may have found my groove. Caitlin and Campbell seem to be cruising right along and I couldn’t be happier. I’m hoping to get at least 2k more words in by tomorrow so crossing my fingers!

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a section that I just finished.

***

By the time we make it to the theatre, the mere brush of his hand on my elbow or my hand leaves me feeling giddy, and somehow I can’t help but assume it’s no longer accidental. Even the theatre disappears whenever Campbell turns to look at me, all my senses heightened and focused on what he’s doing, on the words he’s saying. When he holds my hand as we make our way to the lobby during the intermission, I don’t see anyone else.

How long has it been since I’ve been with a man? Somehow I draw a blank. All I remember are the first dates that barely made it to first base, much less the second, my mind constantly on my research projects, meetings with my advisor, and that unwavering goal of making it to graduation and then finding a job.

But for tonight, I’m willing to toss all that out the window. I’m having way too much fun being with a man I’ve always felt safe with, my brother’s best friend and the boy next door. Only this time, something’s different. Somewhere between then and now, Campbell Murphy grew up and I never saw it until now.

#AmWriting, Yes I Am

Somewhere on this blog is a private page that has 32 covers I’ve purchased hoarded since I began publishing—and that number doesn’t include the covers I’ve made.

Yes, you read it right. Thirty-two covers.

And I can’t show any of them off because I have to write their stories first.

But I will show you one because I’ve decided to kinda do an ongoing journal of my writing process, word count, and all that on my blog.

So I’m supposed to be part of this holiday box set that comes out, well, during the holidays. And one thing about me is that I don’t write holiday stories. Not the happy ones, at least. If you’ve read The Accidental Christmas, that wasn’t exactly a happy romantic story. More like a bittersweet one because it’s just what I know. I mean, my favorite Christmas story is The Gift of the Magi. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the story of a couple who give each other gifts that aren’t of any use because they sold that to which the gifts would have been of use for. Wait, that was confusing. Basically, she cut her hair so she could buy him a chain for his gold watch but he sold his gold watch so he could buy her a pair of beautiful combs for her (now non-existent) long hair.

Yep, that’s my idea of a holiday story.

So you can imagine me sitting in front of my laptop going, so what bittersweet story am I writing this year? No, I don’t think it will go over too well…

Enter two side characters from Falling for Jordan. Caitlin O’Halloran, Jordan’s sister, and his best friend and the boy next door, Campbell Murphy. Since Falling for Jordan is my happiest book so far, I have a feeling that there won’t be hardly any angst with these two side-characters.

Fingers crossed.

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Campbell is supposed to look more alpha male but for now, this works. It’s the girl’s expression I’m after.

I definitely need this mock cover to guide inspire me to make the story sweet instead of bittersweet.

But boy, has it been a struggle. It took me more than a week to outline it. Yes, outlining again, my nemesis! And this time, I managed to outline it from beginning to end! That way, it won’t go off the rails and become bittersweet.

So far, I’ve written 8819 words with 2,111 today. Chapter 4 done and tomorrow on to Chapter 5. I have a feeling I’ll overshoot my 25k word maximum requirement but I’m not about to sweat that one. I’ll deal with it when it happens. Actually, the box set is clean romance – No D, C, and F-words. So I’m sure I can scrape off the 10k extra words of all that steamy stuff easily (fingers crossed).

Anyway, I was just looking at my publishing calendar for the past year and I wondered why I had these gaps where Liz didn’t publish anything. And then it hit me! That’s when my Naughty Pen was publishing her stories! Duh!

And today, she published another one! Come to think of it, she published one last week, too, so it seems like she’s on a roll. But I can only do one thing at a time, devote time to one pen name at a time hence the outlines so I remember what I had planned to write to begin with. Lika a map. A Thomas Guide. Anyone remember that?

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Without an outline, it’s like relying on GPS to tell you what’s coming up only when you’re close. Having an outline to follow is like having a Thomas Guide handy. You get to see the big picture first and actually know what streets come before your actual turn instead of waiting for Siri to finally tell you to turn at 500 feet.

And so that’s how I’m viewing outlining now—especially when I’m juggling three pen names. It’s like having that trusty Thomas Guide that was indispensable for Los Angelenos before it was replaced by smartphone apps telling you when to turn left or right.

Or drive into a lake.

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Finally Done

So I lied.

I went back and updated two chapters of my latest book. The changes went to Chapters 19 and parts of 20.

I know, I know. The book’s been published. What do you mean, you published something that wasn’t your best?

Not exactly, although it was my best then. The editor didn’t complain or ask, can this scene or arc go any deeper? Can you expand it?

But in my perfectionist’s heart, I knew Chapter 19 was a cop-out, one that allowed me to focus on the romance more because dang it, I didn’t want to go down the road of self-harm in a book that was supposed to be a lighthearted follow-up to the angsty Dax and Harlow one. And so I let it go until I was ready to update it without feeling like it was an uphill battle.

Last night, it wasn’t. It was half of a chapter change; still a closing of another character’s arc that had been closed so easily in the original version. Too easily. This time, there was a bit more depth to it. And with that, the book is done.

It was Russell Blake* who gave the advice to fix something in your book that you’re not happy about. You want the future reader to get only your best work so if you can change it, then change it. Make it better.

And with that, Falling for Jordan is finally done.

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  • Took me awhile to scour KBoards where I’d first seen the advice but I found it finally and will put it here so I won’t spend another hour looking for it again. Bold my own.

I want every example of a Russell Blake book to be as good as I can make it. Not as good as I could have made it two years ago. Or good enough for what it was when I released it. If my command of craft has improved, I want to improve the books that need improving, so that the product I’m selling is the best possible product for the customer who buys it and reads it today. I’ve re-edited about 10 of my 22 novels. Some were minor tweaking, others were eliminating echoes or doing other craft-related chores, still others were adding backstory where I felt it was lacking. They are all better books for it. I’m glad as a business person that I did it, because if I’ve invested countless hours and effort in gaining a reader, and that’s the only book they read to decide whether to buy my oeuvre or not, I don’t want to take the chance that ANY of my work isn’t as good as I can make it. If you look at the car business, they are constantly tweaking and improving models from year to year. It’s understood. So I’ve taken that position with the books I sell, as well.

– Russel Blake, author of the Jet series

And there you go. As a “business person,” I re-edit and update my work even though the creative part of me, that writer, loathes the idea that I didn’t get it right the first time.