Plotting….A Pantser’s Guide to Writing #MFRWauthor

As a reader, if a story doesn’t have well executed character goals, motivations, and both inner and external conflicts, then most likely you aren’t ever going to finish that story. All writers use the GMC formula in some way to craft a story. Finding these GMCs is a important part of plotting. Some writers use elaborate methods to plot a story, to the point of practically writing it before they write the first draft. But today I’m going to explain my process, something I call a pantser’s guide to plotting.



An oxymoron for sure. Since the definition of a pantser (a nickname for “writing by the seat of the pants”) is someone who DOES NOT plot. Anyone who knows me knows I define myself as a tried and true pantser. Most of the time I never know what my next scene will be. I don’t do mind maps; I don’t have bulletin boards with index cards of every action; I don’t like Scrivener, and I don’t have an outline. I like to let the story unfold before me as I fill the blank page with words. However, I always know how the story will end.  I know what has to change in my characters’ lives to bring them to the end, but I don’t always know how they get to that happy ending.  What I do know is something changes in their lives to bring them to this point. I know their character arcs, and what they had to overcome to have that HEA. The hows and whys of them getting to the end comes to me as I write.

Okay, now you’re scratching your heads. Trust me I’ve done that more than once myself.  I may not plot a story, but I do learn about my characters. How I do this is by making sure I have a clear understanding of what makes them tick. Once I decide on an idea for a story, I soon figure out who the key players will be—the hero/heroine and antagonist/s. I figure out what their back-stories are. What led these characters to find themselves in this story idea? Then I think about where I want them to be at the end of the story.  How do I want them to be different from the characters I’ve created from their pasts? I don’t do character interviews, but I write down everything that I can think of about the characters—descriptions, personalities, jobs, relationships, what would bring fear to them, what would bring them joy. I figure out what their goals are, what motivates them, and what would bring them conflict and how they might respond to that conflict. I even decide on the quirks in their personalities, and more importantly, why are these quirks important. I do this for every major character. I still have no idea how their stories will enfold, but I do know that I, indeed, have a story.

The only thing left is to figure out how the characters best want to tell it and let them do the talking.

Of course, I do occasionally take this process a step further and jot down a simple two page synopsis of what the story might be. I still don’t consider this true plotting, since I simply figure out what the turning points are and write them. How the characters get to each turning point is totally a mystery until I start writing. But as an established author, my last two novels were sold on proposal, and I just submitted a third proposal, for which I’m waiting to hear back. For Heartsong, I had a blurb, synopsis and first four chapters. For Heartland, I sold it on a blurb and a very skimpy synopsis.

My process has changed somewhat, but for the most part, I am, and forever shall be, a pantser.
Check out other authors in the Challenge here:


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Sorry Editor–I’m Having Another Dyslexia Moment #MFRWauthor

I’m taking a little different approach on this week’s MFRW Blog Challenge prompt and talk about how my learning disability causes my most drastic editing mistakes.

Mistakes. We all make them and we all hate when people correct those slips. But as writers, we have to quickly get past this feeling. The process starts long before we get our work in front our publishing editor. It begins with our critique partners. Early in my writing career, I had a hard time not taking my critique partners’ suggestions personally when they pointed out what most people would think of as a silly mistake. Now, I actually love when either my critique partner or editor finds those dyslexic moments.

One of these moments is my occasional use of the wrong word. I’m not talking about using “there” for “their”, or “to” for “too”, I’m referring to my heavy reliance on Spell Check. We all know Spell Check can be a both a blessing and a curse. My problem is sometimes I can’t tell which it’s being.

I’ve always hated that sometimes language isn’t easy for me. I didn’t learn to even read until I was in fourth grade. This was when I was moved into special education classes for my learning disability. I’m dyslexic and I also have a similar speech disability. Sometimes the word I want to say isn’t what comes out of my mouth. I sometimes forget totally how to pronounce words or I garble up the syllables. I call it speech dyslexia, because it’s so similar to the way I see words on the page and in my head, which means, I never really learned how to spell complicated, multi-syllable words. Or, more precisely, I’ve had a harder time of it then most.  I’ve overcome so many of  learning issues extremely well, but  sometimes I just lose all my coping mechanisms and mistakes happen.

So, I don’t have just one common mistake that my editors find. I have several, but I think using the wrong word is my most common. The funniest being this example caught in my very first book. I wanted to use the word “inconvenience” but couldn’t remember how to spell it, so when I got the drop down list from Spell Check I picked “incontinence.”  I know, how could this mistake be made? Well, easy, often in these multi-syllable words, the letters jumble together and I only know what’s being said because of context.

For me reading has always been a challenge and writing sometimes an even bigger one… But just like I can’t stop the changing seasons, I can’t stop the stories forming in my head, wanting to be told to the world.

Thank the stars there are editors out there willing to catch my dyslexic moments!
Check out other authors in the Challenge here:


Categories: Insights, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sorry, Family… I’m Working (How my family survives my writing) #MFRWauthor Blog Challenge

I often tell people I hold down two full-time jobs. I work a 40-hour-per-week day job and fit my writing career in around this. I easily put 40 hours per week “writing” (which includes all that goes with it—drafting new material, editing, promotion, networking, and a million other things). I spend at least two to four hours every evening and as many as twelve to sixteen hours on the weekends writing.  I do take days off and there are weeks where I barely write anything, but when I’m under deadline, in the middle of a promotional push for a new release, or the story is flowing then I’m not spending time with my family.

In the early days, when my kids were little they would sit in the den where our only desktop computer was and watch Disney movies. If they needed me, I’d stop working to take care of them, then I’d go back to writing when they were settled. My husband wasn’t as understanding. He’d often get mad at me for spending so much time “playing” on the computer rather than watching whatever TV show he wanted to see.

But never did my family suffer or lack my attention. I was there when the kids wanted or needed me. My husband had my attention when he really needed it—like when we had to talk something over or just for snuggle time. We ate (and still do) every supper together—at the dinner table, with no distractions. There’s never been a time we ate in front of the TV. We use this hour to talk about our days and to laugh together. I’m a neat freak, so the house has been and still is cleaned every week. The laundry is done and put away. I’ve gotten good at multi-tasking. I use this time while doing housework for plotting and planning.

Now, my kids are grown, or nearly so—my son is in his second year of college and my daughter is a very active high school junior. She and I spend a lot of time shopping and talking. We can talk about anything and everything. She’s easily my best friend (or rather will be when she’s all grown up). She likes to tell me stories that she’s come up with. My hope is someday she’ll become a writer, but for now she’s content with keeping her stories in her head. What’s funny is this is exactly what I did as a teenager… So, who knows.

My husband has since accepted my writing career. He’s gotten over my late nights and not watching TV with him. He’s gotten used to eating frozen pizza when I’m on a deadline. He’s even started cooking some himself. I think that now he believes all that “playing” on the computer has paid off. He likes my royalty checks as much as I do. In fact, not too long ago, he asked me when I’ll be publishing my next book.

Being a full-time writer with a full-time day job and a family is a tremendous joggling act. Sometimes all the balls are in the air like we want them to be, and other times they all come falling down on us… The key is to be able to pick them back up and get them all in the air again with the least amount of hardship.


Check out other authors in the Challenge here:


Categories: Insights, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Creating a Media Kit, Press Release or Press Kit

Blog hosts, have you ever been frustrated with the way authors send their materials to you for a blog stop? Authors, have you ever wondered what to include for a promo blog stop?

Whatever you call it, a media kit (also known as press release and press kit), can be extremely helpful to bloggers receiving an author’s information for a blog stop.

I’ve hosted blogs for a few years now, and I can always tell the newbie authors from those who have been promoting for a while. The newbies often send incomplete information and often in several documents, which I have to piece together to make sure they post to my blog properly.

Here are some helpful suggestions on what to include in a Media Kit and the formats that should be used.

1.  Include a JPEG or PNG of the cover or covers being promoted. Approximate dimensions of 200 X 300 pixels or 300 X 500 pixels are good sizes. Smaller sizes are just too small to make an impression and larger sizes take longer to upload and can use up unnecessary space on the poster’s blog. I used to resize photos that were too big, but then I’d have to save them to my computer. The beauty I’ve discovered when I finally got rid of Internet Explorer for the much nicer and faster Google Chrome was I no longer needed to save photos to my hard drive. I could simply open the attachment and dump them into WordPress…. Much nicer, however big photos use up more space.

2.  If an author wants a photo of themselves included, he or she should attach a JPEG or PNG following the same guidelines as with book covers regarding sizing.

3.The Media Kit Document should always be saved a RTF file or as a Word 97-2003 document to ensure no problems with compatibility. And should include several things:

……a.  Title of the book(s)

……b. Author’s name

……c. Blurb

……d. Excerpt or Excerpts: I’ve noticed that some authors are including several excerpts. (This is a good idea if you write Erotica and are promoting on non-erotica author blogs. However, it is good to include a spicier excerpt for those erotica author blogs you may be on.) It is also good to include longer and shorter versions. That way if you are posting a guest article or interview, a shorter excerpt can be used to keep your post from getting too long. If you are promoting several books, as in a series, always keep the excerpts shorter.

……e. Author bio: I’ve learned a while back that bios should be written in third person and kept short.

……f. Website, Blog, and Social Media Links: It is good practice to include the entire link, not just a handle for social media, such as @your_twitter_name. A lot of bloggers don’t like to use full links on their blogs because full links makes things look untidy. They hyperlink the links to the appropriate places. There are two things you can do on your media document: hyperlink these things in the document or send the whole link and let the blogger decide if they want them hyperlinked or use the full link. It isn’t always a good idea for you to include the hyperlinks because they can be lost in the copy/paste process. Also remember, the less clicks a reader has to make to get to you, the better, which is why you should include the whole Twitter address and not just your handle.

……g. Buy Links: Basically the same as above. Always include the link to the book you are posting about. You can use your author page on the seller’s site. The idea is to get to the book directly, the more clicks you require an interested potential buyer to make, you may miss a sale.

……h. Reviews: It is fine to add a snippet of a 5 star review or two, but don’t get crazy and add every review you’ve ever gotten for the book.

……i. Genre, Publisher Information, Metadata Tags: These things are optional but a good idea to include. I personally use this information for tagging. The more tags that are included in the metadata (sometimes called Tags or Labels, and Alt Text [on photos]), the more searchable you are. Don’t expect the blogger to know what are good tags for you or your book. I personally always include the author’s name, genre if I know it (or can guess by the information given), and publisher if it’s obviously stated. However, these might not be the only tags you’d want to include. For example: I always tag my own contemporary western romances with these additional tags (Texas Romance, cowboy romance, and small town romance). But remember; don’t go too crazy with these, just as with adding reviews. The best tags are those that describe your book in a few words/phrases.

……j. Contest Information: Be specific with what’s being offered and any rules that should be included. If you are using a third party randomizer like Rafflecopter, always include both the code and a general link for your contest. Not all blogs allow JAVA Script code (such as WordPress.com), so if you only include the code, WordPress.com bloggers can’t post your contest.

4. If you are including a guest blog article, you can do two things:

……a. Attach it as a separate document.

……b. Include the article in your Media document. I personally do this when I’m promoting my books. I format the post how I’d like it to appear in the Word document. I always put the article before the book information.

5. If you are doing an interview and the questions were sent to you, always follow the blogger’s instructions. If no instructions are included, then you can follow the same protocol as with guest articles—either attach as a separate document or include in one attachment with the interview preceding the book information.

6. If you have any photos that you want to include other than your book cover(s) and author picture, attach them using the title of the photo or the numbered order they are to appear to identify them. Then in the post itself indicate where you want them by either the photo title or by the number that you’ve given it. The best way to do this is by using bold print, {photo info}, [photo info] or colored font, or a combination of these to alert the blogger. It is also a good idea to include any copyright information for the photo. I personally don’t like posting photos that have no data with them. If you’ve purchased the photos or they are your own pictures, that’s fine, just let the blog host know that you own the photos. If you’ve pulled them from a place like Freedigitalphotos.com, then you have to include the link for the copyright information as per the site’s Terms of Use Agreement that you would have to have checked before downloading.

These are just some helpful hits. I’m by far an expert, but as both an author who promotes by guest blogging and as a blogger posting guest blogs, these are some things that I’ve either learned to include in my information going out to bloggers or is what I like to receive for posting on my blog.

If you are a blogger and can add something to this, please leave it in the comments. It’s easy to forget we aren’t born with this knowledge already ingrained in our DNA. Just as we had to learn what the acronyms GMC and HEA meant when we started writing, many newly published writers striking out in the world of guest blogging have to be educated on how best get the needed information to bloggers willing to help them in their promotion.

Happy Blogging!

Categories: Marketing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Burnout… And a New Year

Happy 2014!  Hope you all have a health, happy and amazing year….

For the last couple of years, I started the New Year off with a review of the goals I’d set for the previous year and a list of my new goals for the upcoming year. Well, all I’ll say about last year’s goals is… I’m not sure I made any of them. I only wrote one story in 2013, the novella I self-published in late May. But that was the last thing I’ve written. I haven’t done much writing at all for the past six to nine months.

No, this year I’m not bragging about all I’ve accomplished. I’m not even going to reflect on what I haven’t. Instead, I’m going to talk about my experience with what I’m discovering a lot of authors experience—burnout. According to May Clinic, burnout, is “a special type of job stress—a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”

In January 2013, I started the year on an all-time high. I’d contracted my second paranormal and three westerns within months of each other in the early part of 2012, then in the latter part of the year, my two paranormals were published. January 2013 saw the release of my first western, then in April, my second was released. During this time, in the midst of promotion, blog tours and the like, I completed edits on the third western, which was released two months early in July. In late May, I’d released the self-published novella. But by July, disillusionment, disappointment and uncertainty had begun to take hold of me.

Sales of all the previous novels and my novella were dismal at best. The constant promotion never seemed to increase my sales and never seemed to cease. I’d paid for some advertising of my second western, Heartstrings, and sales of it were better for it (ever so slightly), but by the time July rolled around and the release of the third western came about, I didn’t have the money to throw at the book. I was caught up in the government sequestration and was totally unsure how and when it would affect me. Turned out I lost six days of pay in July-August and was caught in the government shutdown in October, which didn’t do anything for my stress levels.

Aside from the stress, concerning the day job and the constant promotion with limited time for writing, real and crippling doubt had gripped me. I began asking myself what makes me think I can write anything anyone would want to read? Obviously, no one does, so why do all this hated work (like constant blogging, promotion) if no one cares anyway?

So, I started feeling the physical part of burnout. I’d come home from a stressful day at work to sit at my computer and instead of feeling instantly relaxed and lost in my story, I’d feel tense to the point of back pain, headache and utterly sick at the thought of having to put words up on the screen. I began to hate the one thing I used to love. I found myself pulling away from my blog, Yahoo Groups, even Facebook. I even considered dropping out of the RWA this coming year, which would mean leaving my beloved local chapter. I still don’t post much anywhere, but I refused to let myself leave the RWA.

The worst was and is the total lack of pride I now feel in what I have accomplished. My books were once like my babies. I’d talked to total strangers about being a writer and my books and trying to get published. Now I never mention that I’m even a published author and am embarrassed instead of feeling proud when someone asks me about my books, usually by asking that terrible, awful question: “How are your books doing?” God, I HATE that question. It only makes my felling of failure more poignant. The fact that most authors aren’t selling tons of books doesn’t help sooth my battered psyche either. It only brings me back to that perpetual question: Why am I doing this?

I took a much needed break from writing for the past three to five months. I dabble from now and again, but I really haven’t written anything. I wouldn’t call a hundred words of a new story writing. I went back to working on an old Star Wars fan fiction I’d written in 2006 and am rewriting/re-editing it, more for the need to still be creative, but unlike original fiction, fan fiction is totally for fun—no pressure and no expectations from me or my readers. It has become a type of therapy, now that I think about it. I wrote that story, which won a fan voted award in 2006 on The Force . Net forum boards—one of my proudest moments as a writer, long before I knew anything about writing. Now as I’m turning my passive voice, excessive descriptions, chunky/wonky sentences into something better, it’s showing me just how far I HAVE come.

At home, I’ve learned to relax doing other things other than writing. My burnout even affected my ability to read… I was beginning to hate reading for the most unpleasant reasons—jealously and resentment. So, I turned to watching movies and TV. I also picked up a hobby I haven’t done in at least ten to fifteen years—crocheting. I like to do it while watching TV, and recently listening to books. Crocheting also allows me to drift on my thoughts—where I can hopefully come up with a new story. I have some ideas, still nothing concrete, but I’m getting antsy to start something new, which I’m taking as a very good sign.

So for 2014, all I hope to accomplish is to continue to heal. Remove myself far enough from the feelings of doubt and failure and the crippling fear that has been preventing me from writing. With the fantastic news that broke yesterday that Lyrical Press has be acquired by Kensington as a digital first imprint, I’m thinking about finishing one of the two westerns I was working on before the burnout got too bad. Or maybe the paranormal that’s been forming in my mind as I crochet granny squares for the afghan I’m making my daughter.

Somewhere someone had told me that there would come a day when I would wish for the days before publication. I didn’t believe them; in fact, I laughed and said that would never happen. Well, I’m afraid it has to me. I sometimes wonder if I published too soon. Maybe I really wasn’t ready. Maybe I should have worked harder at perfecting my books more, learned more about the industry and submitted wider and farther than I had. Or maybe I just published too fast–contracting five books in less than a year’s time. Who knows? But I will say this, those pesky rejection letters and the chocolate-binging disappointment that followed them was an Hawaiian vacation compared to the bone-chilling doubt and depression of burnout I’ve been feeling for the past half year. At least rejections teach us something; burnout just robs us of all joy and hope and teaches us nothing.

Have any of you felt this way? And how did you overcome it?

Categories: Insights, Writing | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

2013 Goals…Finally

Back in the beginning of January I did an article on a guest blog about how I faired in keeping or meeting my 2012 goals. But I hadn’t made any for 2013 yet. Well, after a month of careful planning—er…procrastination—I finally came up with some.

My goals for this year are very similar to those of last, but I’m making them more specific.

  • Finish Gambling On a Dream and A Family for Jesse, both contemproary western romantic suspense novels, by June 1. Dream will be submitted to my editor at Lyrical, and Jesse I’m planning to submit to other publishers such as Entangled and Samhain and maybe even agents.
  • Begin another book—either book 4 of my Colton Gambling series—Gambling On A Wish or another stand alone western.
  • DO MORE BLOGGING!!!!! I’ve come to the conclusion guest blogging and blog tours don’t work for me (which I plan to do a blog on…LOL). I need to be blogging on my own blog, which will hopefully help me in the next goal.
  • Figure out and incorporate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to my websites. I’ve started doing this on Sara’s website and have seen my hits go up. The plan is to bring actual readers to me, not just other writers.
  • Which leads me to this goal… Figure out how to better market myself. The first thing I need to do is find some good books on marketing for authors with a shoestring budget and read them. (So, if anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in a comment.)
  • Take at least three classes.
  • Enter at least three contests.
  • This next goal is more personal—I’ve recently been having some minor health issues that I really want to keep from becoming big ones.  So, my health goal for this year is to lose at least 50 pounds. I’m going to join Weight Watchers and do more exercise. I plan to keep everyone in the loop either here or over on Cera’s blog, hopefully by having you all cheer me on, I’ll be able to meet or surpass this goal.

Well, there you have them… Hopefully, I can keep them.

So, what are your goals for the year?

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

A New Name

A New Name.

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Breaking the Rules

Cross-posted from Cera duBois.

I have a good friend, another writer, who always seems to doubt herself because she’d read or heard a rule somewhere that a writer can’t do this or should do that. I’m not much of a rule follower. I love to bend and break the rules. I don’t like being told I can’t do something, or worse, that I have to do something I don’t agree with. I’m like this with my writing, too.

I do follow the rules—the elements—that make sense. I strive to show rather than tell my stories, primarily because it makes for a more engaging story. Same goes for getting into the deepest POV I can and limiting passive voice. Some trends, like not head-hoping, makes for a more satisfying read, but often comes down to author’s choice. Grammar, usage and punctuation rules are as ageless as the spoken language and are there for a damned good reason. Let’s face it if it wasn’t for the comma the sentence “Let’s eat, Grandma” takes on a completely different meaning. It only makes sense to follow certain formulas that are important to writing a good, satisfying romance novel or not to stick all of the back-story into the first chapter.

Good craft is essential to having a story that will sell, not just to that dream editor or agent, but also to the readers who will shell out their hard-earned moula to buy the book.  Personally, these are the people I’ve been given this talent, this drive to entertain. And in this day and age, an author has more opportunity than ever to get her or his stories in front of those readers.

However, there are a ton of “rules” out there that are nothing more than a particular editor’s or agent’s preferences and have nothing to do with true craft or even good writing. They write these preferences up into blog articles or get them published in some writing magazine… Or even teach them to a bunch of eager writers in workshops—all under the guise of “craft.”  But the important thing to remember is most of these so-called rules often have good solid contradictions.  And that my friends, should be the clue that this isn’t really a true element of good storytelling.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t follow all the agent’s blogs. I don’t fall all over what this editor says is the best way to write a book on Twitter or Facebook. I don’t care. Some elements are universal; these are the important ones to follow—the books to read. I’ve read Deb Dixon’s GMC because that book is just a guide to good storytelling. She didn’t come up with the concept of goals, motivation and conflict, the elements every story has to have; she simply put them into an easy to understand guideline. I had GMCs in my fan fictions and my very first novel (not A Hunter’s Angel but the one I wrote in high school) long before I even heard of Deb Dixon or GMC. I didn’t know what they were called, but they were always there. Not having them makes for a boring story. And yes, I wrote A Hunter’s Angel long before I read Deb’s book, too.

I read Self-Editing for the Fiction Writers (Browne and King) and learned a great deal about many of the elements of good writing, but none of these is new. I learned even more from my fantastic critique partners. And even more, long before I ever started writing for publication and since, from reading and analyzing my favorite authors. I’ve taken a few workshops on craft, but these focused on passive voice and showing vs telling; however, like with Dixon’s GMC, these elements were never new to storytelling.

I have a philosophy. It may be correct or it may be completely wrong. Following rules won’t get you published, telling a freaking good story will. I only strive to follow the rules that are essential to telling a freaking good story. I don’t care what editor is saying that the opening scene should have the heroine standing on her head. I don’t care what agent says she’ll only read stories that open on a Monday and should always end on a Friday. Or that you shouldn’t use semicolons or start stories with dialogue or should have your hero/heroine meet within the first three sentences.

Doing or not doing these things won’t get the story published any quicker if it has other faults. Sure, the acquiring  agent/editor might ask an author to change things. But if the true craft of storytelling falls short, it doesn’t matter how the story started or what happens between  “Once upon a time” and “They lived happily ever after,” getting it published will be difficult.

The key, in my opinion, isn’t how well an author follows the “rules,” but how well an author knows when to break them. Because even passive voice and telling instead of always showing have their place in the right story, but the author has to know, above anyone else, what’s right for the story. They have to know why they are moving away from these universal elements.

So, if a story calls for having the heroine not standing on her head and beginning on a Thursday and not Monday—go for it. If you like semicolons, use them. If you think the hero and heroine shouldn’t meet until the second chapter, do it. But an author shouldn’t ever do anything just because some editor out there wrote a blog article about how they think a story should be told.

Now, once an author signs on that dotted line, all bets are off. However if an explanation can be given as to why a “rule” was broken and it makes sense to the story, most likely, the editor or agent will see it the author’s way…I know my editor did.

Categories: Writing, Writing Wednesdays | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Meet Cera duBois–My Paranomal Pen Name

Cross-posted on Cera duBois

The other day, my editor sent me the galley for my paranormal romantic suspense, A Hunter’s Angel, which will be released sometime this year by The Wild Rose Press under my pen name—Cera duBois.  In my excitement at seeing my first soon-to-be published book for the first time in any professional form, I showed my husband.  First let me say, he is very supportive of my writing career, and I can even *get* where he’s coming from with some of what he’s saying. However, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, even though he thinks he does.

The moment he saw the title page and my pen name there big as you please, he started arguing with me about my reasons for using a pen name.  In his way of thinking, it isn’t the same as the book being in my name.  He had tons of reason why I shouldn’t use a pen name—everything from it will screw up the taxes to no one will be able to find my book to it would be easier for someone to steal the idea of the book or claim it as their own.

He actually doesn’t even like Sara Walter Ellwood, because that too really is a pen name.  My maiden name isn’t my real middle name—but he can accept it over Cera duBois. He purposely mispronounces the last name all the time when he talks to people about my writing. Even though I tell him if he doesn’t want to say the French pronunciation, to just say “Du-Boys” like the Western Pennsylvania town of Dubois. I know he’s proud of me, if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be telling people I’m soon to be a published author. I think this is why my using a pen name is so upsetting to him. He doesn’t consider a pen name as a real thing.  To him it’s fake, and therefore, maybe people will think the book is too.

He just doesn’t understand that very few authors actually use their real names. Unlike actors or singers, we authors seem to value our privacy more. Or if that’s not the reason for choosing one, it’s that our real names don’t fit the genre we write or is already in use by someone famous. Nor does he get that authors often have more than one pen name to separate the different genres in which they write.

Hence, the reason I chose one for my paranormals, which was a business decision. I know marketing two names won’t be easy, but I like the way I can market each genre differently under different names—with different branding and websites to match the diverseness of the genres.

Let’s face it… Contemporary Westerns are very different from paranormals with vampires, werewolves, fallen angels and demons… But then, I do have a vampire masquerading as a cowboy in A Hunter’s Blade which is set in a mountain town in Colorado.  Maybe… No, I still can’t imagine wide-open Texas plains full of grazing cattle and beautiful horses mixed up with werewolves howling at the full moon from bleak forests.  Well I can, but it’s not a pretty sight…LOL

So, tell me: Do you have or plan to use a pen name, and if you do, what’s your reasoning behind it? And if you don’t, would you ever chose to use one in the future? That way, the next time the dear hubby decides to argue with me, I can come back at him with some really good ammunition.

Categories: Writing | Tags: | 2 Comments


Happy 2012, Everyone!

Did you make a resolution this year?  Some years I do, but most I don’t. This year and last I made goals instead.

For the most part, I met my goals for last year.

*I came up with something of a five-year plan.  Where do I see myself as an author in five years?

*I rewrote and sold my paranormal suspense, A Hunter’s Angel.

*I didn’t sell either of my contemporary Westerns, The Long Road Home or Butterfly.

*I didn’t finish A Family for Jesse…BUT instead….

*I wrote book 2 the Hunter’s Dagger series, A Hunter’s Blade (I didn’t even have this as a goal at the beginning of the year, but after my sale of book 1, I made it an immediate goal.)

For 2012 my goals are more focused.

*Submit A Hunter’s Blade to my editor at The Wild Rose Press.

*Finish rewriting The Long Road Home for a different editor at The Wild Rose Press who gave me a revise/resubmit option with a rejection.

*Write A Hunter’s Wing (Book 3 of the Hunter’s Dagger series).

*Finish A Family for Jesse and submit it.

*Promote the heck out of A Hunter’s Angel when it’s released later this year.

*Figure out a plan for self-publishing Butterfly and The Hardest Words to Say (Books 1 and 2 of The Cowboys of Colton)—find a content editor and cover artist.

*Start writing A Wife’s Dying Wish (Book 3 of The Cowboys of Colton).

*Continue my duties as the Communications Committee Chair for the RWA and as webmistress for my local RWA chapter.

*Blog more—at least twice a month.

*Eat better and take better care of myself.

*Don’t let the day job drive me crazy.

*Plant a memorial garden in memory of my brother who passed away in September.

*Remember to smell the roses when they’re blooming and enjoy my garden more this summer!

Now, what are your goals for the coming year?

Categories: Writing | Tags: | 12 Comments

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