“Have You Created A Character For Me Yet?” #MFRW #Authors #16

Oh boy….I get asked this all the time by close friends, and usually the answer is “Not yet.”

It’s no secret that the Arbor University series is loosely based on myself, roommates, and others in my dormitory, because, let’s face it…..I quickly became the ‘ear’ of our wing.  Anytime someone needed a shoulder to cry on, or just wanted advice about their relationships, guess whose door they knocked on?  So yes, I had plenty of material to fictionalize.

Love On The Rocks:  One of my 1st roommates.

Love Finds A Way:  Based on my AF officer

Forbidden Love:  Kyle is a mix of about three different guys.

Balancing Act:  Based on the real-life emotional abuse suffered at the hands of a control freak.

Endless Love:  Based on my best friend’s tumultuous relationship.

Searching For Love:  When a friend came out of the closet, I knew I had to include her story.

#11 or 12, still yet to be titled:  Based on an acquaintance.

My KJ (karaoke DJ) asked if I’d based a character on him yet, and when one of my stories was pulled, I ended up putting him and several others I sing karaoke with, into a short story.

As for Kenzie’s titles, I used one of my son’s teachers as the inspiration for Kevin in Teacher’s Pet.

All She Ever Wanted/Class Reunion:  Stumped for the name of a secondary character, I combined two old friends’ names for a placeholder……and forgot to change it.  Fast-forward eight years, and another friend ‘demanded’ I create a character using his last name and another friend’s first name, and Kira’s Slice Of Pizza was born.

As for pets, there are only two books that feature animals.

Off The Clock features Shadow the Black Lab….funny story.  The day before it was due to be released, I was reading over the proof copy when it dawned on me that Shadow was only seen in the first chapter!  I contacted my publisher and editor, and quickly wrote him in.  Whew!

#14 of the Arbor U series:  Keri has two goldfish, Ariel and Scuttle, then later Ursula, and a Beta, Flounder.

With only two exceptions, whenever I create a character based on a real person, I always show them the finished product, so if anything I’ve written hits too close to ‘home’, I can change it.  So far, I’ve only had to revise one tiny detail in one of the books.  Everyone else has loved the finished product.

As my BFF told me, “It’s nice to see how my life might have turned out, had I stayed on track!”

What about you?  Have you written any friends or family into your stories?

To see more, click here.

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Emotional Rescue…#MFRW #Authors #15

When I sat down to write this post, I wrote the title ‘Release The Pigeons!  Book XYZ Is Here!“….then looked at the topic again.  Oops….not ‘how do you celebrate your release’, but rather ‘how do you celebrate finishing your story’?  Okay….delete, delete, delete….For me, I’m in need of an emotional rescue.

Depending on the story, my emotions as I type ‘the end’ run the gamut of elation to extreme relief to yes, even tears.    At times I’ve been so wrapped up in the story, I’ve actually cried while writing the final scene (Forbidden Love, Searching For Love).

Relief, that this story that has behaved more like a two-year-old in the throes of a tantrum (Best of Both Worlds, Teacher’s Pet) is finally finished!

Elation and wonder, that my brain managed to conjure this complicated web of characters and pour from my fingertips so eloquently that I’d even dream about them, and know exactly what the next scene/dialogue/setting would be.  As my mother once observed, after watching me last year, “I just watched you type furiously during the Jeapardy and Survivor commercials.  It’s amazing the way your brain works, to come up with that!” (Family Matters, included in Crossroads Anthology)

But how do I celebrate it?  Depends on what day this miracle occurs.  If it’s on karaoke night, I’ll indulge in a drink or two and sing my heart out.  If it’s on a regular day, a glass of wine and a plea to the spouse to take us out to dinner (esp if I’m wiped out by typing all day!).

I give myself a few days’ distance from it before diving into edits, in hopes that in a few short weeks or months, I’ll be shouting its release to the world:)

Curious about how other authors celebrate?  See you next week!

Update on ‘cover-gate’:  When I signed on for this project back in July, the publisher said ‘yes’ to the idea of putting those four novellas into one print anthology.  While I wasn’t happy that a) I was never consulted on cover art for the re-release of the e-format of all four and b) wasn’t happy with the final product, I nevertheless signed the new contract, anticipating the print version would arrive this week.

Queried new manager yesterday, only to be told they are NOT going to honor the original agreement, and since I was promised it originally, and if I felt strongly about it, they would be happy to release me from my contract.  So now I’m back to paying my original cover artist, and contacting another to create the print cover:)  I’m sure I’ll have more on this subject later, so stay tuned.

Lessons Learned….#MFRW #Authors #14

Apologies; the last three weekends were hectic, with attending two book signings, Palm Sunday, and then the Easter weekend.  My father gets released from his restrictions next week, and my life *SHOULD* return to some semblance of normalcy!

I’ve got another confession:  I’ve never had a really bad review.

The only 1-star rating I received on GoodReads was from a reader whose 5-stars were all given to Christian Fiction.  Why she chose to pick up an Erotic Romance is beyond me….unless she was curious?

Truthfully, the lesson hammered home the hardest came not in the form of a review on any site, but a comment on a yahoo chat loop:  Not everyone shares my sense of humor.

Back in 2012, a Certain Book began making its way up the NY Times chart, and captivated many readers across the country.  Authors hated it; readers devoured it.  I decided to see for myself what all the hoopla was about, and was so appalled by the editing-or rather, lack of, that my twisted sense of humor kicked in, and I began a weekly blog about ‘The Book Which Shall Not Be Named”, followed by both sequels.

At first, fellow authors and readers loved my commentary, chapter by chapter.  I received praise, thanking me for sparing them the agony of reading it, ala cliff-note style.  Each week, I made the rounds of my yahoo loops, promoting it.

Until one author or reader could no longer stomach my posts, and asked why was I, a fellow author, ripping this book to shreds?  Weren’t we supposed to stand in solidarity, to support each other?  In short, my attempt at humor did not suit her.  I apologized, and no longer promoted that post on that particular site (I was nearly finished with the 3rd book anyway).

Was I hurt and angry about the criticism?  You bet.  But I got over it, much as I did back in 2007 when I made the rounds with my 1st story, and was prayed over, invited to church by well-meaning individuals, and gently asked why not write something that contained no swear words?

Yes, not everyone is going to ‘get’ me.  Not everyone is going to fall in love with the words I write (imagine that!).  As most authors, I’m merely taking dictation from the voices in my head, a slave to the muse.  God gave me this talent for writing; I can only believe when it’s time to write that ‘clean’ story, the words will come.  Truthfully, I’ve already veered away from the explicit sex scenes (somewhat, not entirely!) and onto writing paranormal characters.

My mother will be thrilled:)

Want to see what other authors have learned?  See you next week!