Welcome to my stop on the My Writing Process Blog Tour!
This is a first for me and when my friend, Linda L. Barton, asked me to participate in this running blog tour, I said, “Sure, why not?” Then I remembered I have three back-to-back conventions on my plate this month – one of which I’m helping to organize – and thought, “Are you insane?” It finally occurred to me that, yes, most writers are insane because we do this to ourselves all the time. Overbooking our time at the expense of our writing is part of the writer’s process…at least, it is for me.
I could probably stop here because I’m currently so overwhelmed that my writing process is actually stunted at the moment, but let’s assume for a moment that I’m a writing as usual. I can still share my “dream” process with you, right? 🙂
1. What am I working on?
Writing as K.L. Docter, I’ve just released the first book in my new romantic suspense, Thorne’s Thorns series, Killing Secrets. Police Officer Ross Thorne and his wife, Evelyn, have raised their son, Patrick, with five foster brothers. They became known as Thorne’s Thorns over the years because of their escapades growing up. Now strong, sexy men, each with a career and lives of their own, their trouble comes from the dangers and the women that enter their lives one-by-one. Patrick’s story is the first in the series. Killing Secrets released April 14 and is available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, and in paperback at Amazon.
Here’s a peek at the back cover blurb:
Some secrets are better left dead.
Rachel James’ ex-husband is released from prison determined to reclaim her and her little girl — the child is his key to controlling the James fortune. Frightened, Rachel flees to Denver with the child who hasn’t uttered a word since her daddy went to prison.
Contractor Patrick Thorne wants nothing to do with another of his parents’ charity cases. He failed his own wife so abysmally she took her own life as well as his unborn son’s. After two years, it’s time to concentrate on the bid he’s won and the saboteur trying to destroy his construction firm.
There is no room for trust in either of their hearts. But trust is all that will untangle the secrets that dominate their lives, free a little girl of her silent prison, and save them all from a serial killer who stands too close.
I’m currently writing the next book in the series, Killing Proof, which is Police Officer Ben Zancanelli’s story. Like Patrick, Ben isn’t interested in getting involved with a woman, let alone one with a kid caught up with a street gang. He’s too busy trying to figure out who murdered his partner and getting the killer off the streets. But, he’ll soon learn Cynthia and Peter Chapman are crucial to his investigation…and his life. Killing Proof will be released in Oct/Nov 2014.
I also write contemporary romance with a kick of humor as Karen Docter. My first book, Satin Pleasures, was released February 2012 (Kindle/Nook/AMZN paperback), followed by a Christmas novelette, Catch That Santa (Kindle). I’m currently in the planning stages for another contemporary novel, I Do, I Do… For Now, which I hope to release in time for Christmas.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
This is not an easy question to answer. I write in two different genres. My contemporaries are lighthearted, cute romps with lots of sigh-worthy romance and laugh-out-loud moments. There are a few notable writers who write the lighthearted stories, but I think there aren’t as many as there used to be. Many of my readers have said I write romantic comedies so I guess it fits in that genre, although I don’t believe that I’m all that funny. But, who am I to argue? 🙂 With so many different sub-genres within the contemporary romance market, I guess I’m different because I write spicy humor.
My romantic suspense is filled with danger, both physical and psychological, as well as sigh-worthy romance and the occasional lighthearted smile. It think, overall, I write more traditional romance. Although my characters make love in all of my books (with the exception of Catch That Santa), I focus my attention more on the sexual tension building between the hero and heroine than the moment they eventually give into their feelings. I spend as much time building the relationship in my suspense book as I do in my contemporaries, which I think sets me apart from a lot of romantic suspense authors. When I’m reading RS, I often notice the relationship takes a back seat to the suspense and I try for a more even balance.
My characters aren’t all in law enforcement, either, so I think it’s easier for me to incorporate more of the romance within the confines of the suspense elements. I blend woman-in-jeopardy stories, with romance and thriller elements. Danger and romance and serial killers, oh, my!
3. Why do I write what I write?
First, I have to write. It’s a huge part of who I am. I live and breathe writing, and can’t imagine doing anything else. If I’m not writing, which sadly can be often with my overwhelming schedule sometimes, I’m always thinking about writing. Story ideas pop into my head all the time. I have over 40 romantic suspense and 15 contemporary romance stories in my To Be Written folder. I can’t write fast enough to get them all out of my head, and I get new ideas all the time, so I jot down just enough to get moving when I’m ready to pick up that story.
It drives me crazy sometimes to have a new idea jump in front of me while I’m trying to get another story moving. I can’t write two books at the same time. I did try – once – but that was a disaster. Think two freight trains, fully loaded with TNT, on the same rail with a crazed conductor cutting the brake lines. Not a pretty sight!
It’s only natural that what I write is a reflection of me, of what I dream about and value. I write romance because I truly believe there’s someone out there for everyone. We may not find that other person in our lifetime, but s/he’s out there. Even before I met and married my husband, I knew he was there. I believe in love at first sight, too, not necessarily that, “Oh, my goodness, I love you, let’s get married this second,” kind of love. But a connection. Somehow you just know, deep down, this person is important. I experienced it with my husband. It was weird, but I “knew” it from our first blind date. Yeah, it was my one and only blind date that I was sort of “tricked” into making. Naturally, I believe in romance. So everything I write has a strong romantic element to it.
I also have a strongly defined sense of justice, which was formed when I was young. I was about ten years old when something happened in our neighborhood that made me personally cognizant of the injustices of the world. My family had gone to the drive-in and were returning home late, when we were stopped outside our neighborhood by the police. They had it all cordoned off and couldn’t allow anyone back into their homes while they dealt with a really bad call.
There had been a domestic dispute, which many of us know is probably the worst kind of police call. In this case, the two police officers who had responded to the dispute had resolved the problem and were leaving when a neighbor, who had been drinking or doing drugs, took objection to their presence and started shooting. He proceeded to kill one of the officers and injured the other one. There was a standoff until he surrendered to police.
I was young but when I learned the circumstances, and that the slain officer left behind a widow with an unborn child, I was appalled. It was so unfair. He was doing his job and paid the ultimate sacrifice for something so stupid. For the first time, I became aware of the injustices in the world around me. I lost my innocence and started seeing the world a different way. For a long time I thought about becoming a police officer, but I eventually decided it wasn’t the career for me. My suspense novels allow me to find justice for my characters, to put away the bad guys. They satisfy my need to help people to find solutions that keep them safe, give them back their lives. Yeah, I know they’re only characters in a book but, to me, they’re real people by the time I’m done writing their stories. It’s gratifying to give them a satisfying ending. I also hope that I give my readers the belief that justice can be found in the world, no matter how bad things get.
4. How does my writing process work?
I used to be a “pantser”, that writer who got up every morning and just wrote whatever popped into her head. I’ve long since given up that writer. She was always getting lost and ended up running into sagging middles and falling into black holes of broken scenes. I eventually learned how to use the “W” plotting technique which, surprisingly, worked very well for this pantser. I won’t get into the technique. Let’s just say I liked it so much I taught a lot of other writers how to use it in online workshops for over 15 years. I still sell the lectures on my website and conduct personal workshops.
Anyway…once I have a story idea, I start brainstorming and plotting. I could spend a week or two, or even months plotting, depending on how quickly I pull together a story that feels cohesive and excites me. Then, I’ll set all of my plotting and notes and characterization sheets aside and start writing. If I had the ideal writing day, it would be morning and I’d be sitting outside on the deck with my laptop. I do my best writing in the morning and love to write outside. But, that’s not typical.
I usually start around eight o’clock checking my 5 personal emails, 3 business emails, and taking care of all of my social media for myself and any other business I’m involved with. I am the RomCon Blog Calendar Diva (nope, didn’t give myself that name and I’m not a diva, shhh, don’t spoil my illusion) and schedule eight genre calendars for RomCon. I’m also RomCon Programs, and organize all of the authors who host events at the convention (RomCon 2014 is June 20-22 in Denver). I also have a personal blog that posts at least three times, and up to five times a week showcasing myself, other authors, and sharing recipes (another great love, cooking). I’m also on Twitter, Facebook (three pages plus a group, Book Bench for Romance Lovers), Pinterest, Goodreads, Google, and Shelfari. I’m sure I’m forgetting something but there’s a reason I have lists for my lists!
I’m still trying to learn to free myself up by early afternoon so I can write. When I do get writing time, I have a routine. I usually have my favorite flavored coffee at my elbow. If I don’t, I’ll get a fresh cup…often iced. I even have “writing coffee”, some special flavors that I only allow myself to have when I’m writing. A great motivator! It’s also a signal to my brain to turn off the logical, detailed “stuff” – I’m both right and left brained – and get into creative mode.
Music also helps with that signal. I do my best writing to music. I have a number of Pandora stations geared for my mood or the mood I’m aiming for in my scenes. I almost always write to romantic flamenco like Benise (my absolute favorite), but I have a stations for piano, guitar, Industrial, New Age, classical, etc. I almost always listen to my “Apocalyptica” station when I’m writing intense or dangerous scenes. Their music is so primal and raw, even though it’s all cello. I like Indie artists like Lindsey Stirling and other instrumental/metallica bands. My music preferences are eclectic and I listen to a lot of different things, but none of it can have lyrics. English lyrics, at least. I love listening to Josh Groban sing in Italian, and Spanish doesn’t impinge into my zone either.
With my coffee and music set, it may take me up to an hour to really get moving on a scene because I edit from earlier in the story (up to a chapter) to recapture my zone and get started again. Once I get started, though, I can really cook…as long as I don’t get interrupted a million times. Another reason I listen to music? When I have my music or my earphones on, my family has learned to leave me alone.
Two days a week, I take myself and my laptop to join my critique partners at one of their offices for Just Write sessions. If I get no other writing done that week, those two days are sacred. Although we can occasionally get sidetracked, we all write for those hours. We even keep beginning and ending word counts for that day. We all live for our Just Write days because we’re all too busy to write as much as we’d like.
And there you have it…my writing process in a nutshell. Okay, maybe it’s more of a watermelon husk. I have been “bending your ear” far longer than I intended. Did I mention the fact that I’m a looonng writer?
Ahem, okay, maybe that’s for another day. 🙂
I want to thank Linda L. Barton for inviting me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Be sure to check out her blog from June 26. You can find it here: http://lindalbarton.blogspot.com/2014/05/Its-my-turn-on-My-Writing-Process-blog.html?spref=fb
Now, on to the next stops on your blog tour!
I’m thrilled to introduce you to two authors who play special roles in both my personal and writing life, and who’ve agreed to continue the fun with their own blogs.
JM will have her entry for the My Writing Process Blog Tour on Monday, June 9 at http://jmkline.net/.
JM Kline was born in Colorado, and was raised to love books by her mom, a published author. While she grew up reading many different genres, anything with paranormal or fantasy elements caught her eye most often. She grew up writing fantastic stories about Rindercella and her Prince, talking monkeys, and fairy princesses.
The Shadow Hills Shifters series is a Young Adult Paranormal series about a small town in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Shadow Hills is a small town where a pop quiz could include multiple choice, essays, or a sudden shape-changing battle with your best friend!
When she isn’t writing, JM spends her time with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two rambunctious dogs.
Michele will have her entry for the My Writing Process Blog Tour on Monday, June 9, at http://www.michelecallahan.com/blog.
Sci-Fi/Paranormal Romance Author Michele Callahan is a wife, mother, romance and science fiction addict, and founder of RomCon. She suffers from a dangerous case of sci-fi/fantasy fever and never turns down an opportunity to sit through a Star Wars, True Blood, or Matrix marathon. Her favorite things in books; hot heroes, superpowers, freakish things that can’t be explained by modern science, and true love!
I want to thank JM and Michele for being good sports and agreeing to share their writing process with you next week. Be sure to check out all three of these fabulous authors. You’ll be glad you did!