Love & Other Lies

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Book Birthdays & Thank You Notes

One year ago, my Terrible Romance Novel (AKA, Love & Other Lies) made it out into the world.

Of course, me being me, this achievement was not announced for nearly another month when a fellow author outed me on Twitter. My response was literally, “HOW DID SHE FIND OUT?!?!?!?”

(I have issues. I know.)

But its official birthday is today.

I am so very grateful to everyone who helped this little experiment of mine get to this milestone. From the critique partner who very helpfully said of an early draft, “I don’t want these two characters to spend any more time together” (oops…) to my brother whose suggestions helped put this project on a much better path to my beloved goddaughter whose enthusiasm for this story ensured I would one day get it done, and to everyone in between. Me writing a book truly takes a village, and I love you all.

And I also want to give the loudest of shout-outs to the people who have taken the time to read this story. I don’t look at reviews (like, never ever), but I have heard through the grapevine that there are some, so whether you loved the story or hated it or fell somewhere in between, thank you for taking the time and making the effort. It is so very appreciated.

Because of my aforementioned issues, I don’t always (translation: pretty much never) do things in this industry the way people think I should. It’s a honest-to-goodness struggle for me to do things like not physically run away and hide should someone say to me, “hey, I read your book” or even “hey, I know you wrote a book.”

So if you ever do that, or anything like that, and I am weird and awkward in response, just know it’s not you. It’s me. It’s all me.

And, also, in case you missed it, last week was Effigy’s book birthday. It didn’t make it onto the blog because I was busy lamenting a certain struggle with a certain Camp NaNoWriMo project, so I thought I would mention it here and now.

This was my debut novel that came out seven years ago. I’m pretty sure I said after the fact that I would never publish another novel, but that just goes to show what I know.

Who knows what the next seven years may bring. Or even the next year. Certainly not me. (But I do hope it involves an ending for my current WIP…)

Anyway, thank you, everyone, for coming along on this all-too weird and awkward journey with me. I hope, at the very least, it has been entertaining.

Stay safe & well, all.

So…This Happened.

In November 2009, I set upon a two-pronged experiment: write a 50,000-word romance novel during NaNoWriMo. It was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo as well as my first attempt at a romance novel.

I started off with nothing more than the genre. I just wanted to see if I could do it and what a romance novel written by someone who traditionally didn’t write, you know, happy characters or endings would look like.

At the end of the month, I didn’t have an answer. I stuck the project in a metaphorical drawer where it remained until July 2017, when I pulled it back out in an attempt to finish it.

It soon became known as the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Bad Romance Novel because, according to my CPs, I had completely missed the mark on that whole ‘romance’ aspect of the romance novel. As one CP said, “I don’t want these two characters to spend any more time together.”

Clearly, I had my work cut out for me.

And because I am the slowest writer on the face of the earth, it took a while to figure things out. The urge to shove the damn thing back into the metaphorical drawer was strong. Just so, so strong.

Fast forward to January 2019, when my beloved goddaughter expressed a desire to read this book. I love my godchildren and would do anything for them…even finish and publish a terrible romance novel.

Which (deep breath) I did.

Last month.

See, I set a goal to publish it in time for my beloved goddaughter’s birthday. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I didn’t announce it. Against all odds, I actually achieved this goal ( I know. I still can’t believe it, either).

And because I am a marketing guru, even after the birthday surprise, I didn’t announce the book. (I have issues. I know.)

But this past weekend, it was revealed (not by me because, again, I have issues) that the Terrible Romance Novel (at some point, I should probably start referring to it by its actual name) had been set loose upon the world.

Which, yes, is technically true, if you want to get all technical about it.

The Terrible Romance Novel is the product of years of neglect and massive rewrites. It somehow managed to survive having me as its author and because of that, it is now available for Kindle and in paperback.

My goddaughter loved it, and should anyone out there choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it, too.

Oh, and because my goddaughter wants to read it, I’m scheduled to start the second book in the Terrible Romance Series on November 1st.

One last thing…

Back in March 2019, I ran a contest. You may not remember it because it was back in 2019, and we’ve all had MUCH larger concerns since then, but it was a contest to guess how many pens and highlighters I would go through in the Terrible Romance Novel’s revision process. (Thank you to everyone who entered!)

There were three people who guessed exactly right (two pens, two highlighters). Their names were put into a metaphorical hat, and the winner was…

JE Oneil

Thanks again to everyone who entered. Maybe I’ll do another contest whenever I have another manuscript ready for revisions. So…like, ten, twenty years from now, maybe?

Insert Goals Here

Well, against all odds, it seems, we have made it to May. I’m not sure I had actually planned on making it this far into this year because I’m having a hard time figuring out my goals for the month.

But I’m going to start with a recap of last month’s goals. Maybe I’ll figure something out along the way…

April Goals

Win Camp NaNoWriMo

As you may have seen on various social media platforms, or even the shiny new badge over there on the right, I did do this. The goal had been set for 30,000 words (the Camp sessions allow you to set your own word count goal) and while I didn’t always meet the daily word count goal (1000 words/day), I crossed the finish line a few days early with a final tally of 32,358 words.

Apply revisions to the Terrible Romance Novel

I think I only get partial credit here. I completed the bulk of the changes I wanted to make, but I have a couple of pages of leftover edits (you know, pretty much anything that required more than thirty seconds of concentration to fix…) and my punch list of overused words and phrases still to go.

Prep for and run video conferencing thingamajig for local writers group

I did this. Perhaps not particularly well, but I did it. It seemed to go all right. I mean, I was my usual awkward self, but absolutely NOTHING will change that.

Log at least 100 miles

I did this. I didn’t think it would be a problem, as I’ve been walking even more than usual. I walked 111 miles this month.

Read a book

I did this. Sure, it was a 200-paged book that was probably 80% short lines of dialogue, and sure, it took me until last two days of the month to even open it, but I did this. I read a book. I even read two books. How very sad that this is such an achievement for me.

May Goals

All right. What am I going to do this month? Let’s see…Okay, so I always start with a writing goal. So let’s try that.

Finish the revisions for the Terrible Romance Novel

It’s kind of feeling like it’s now or never with this project, so I guess I’m going to try and make it now. I really don’t want to disappoint my goddaughter.

Read more books

The two books I mentioned reading earlier were the first two books in Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. It’s a series about a Boston-based private detective that I first discovered back in high school. It’s been a while since I’ve read this series all the way through, so I have decided to try to jumpstart my reading habit with the Great Spenser Re-Reading Project. In theory, what I am going to do is reread the entire series from the beginning and each Friday, I will post which books I’ve read and a little about what I thought of them.

Walk at least 100 miles

Just want to stay active. Or as active as I get.

And, I think, on that note that I’m done.

Sorry, y’all, but I am seriously lacking in enthusiasm these days.

Hope everyone is doing all right out there. Be safe, and take care.

Goalapalooza

It’s the beginning of a new month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of…Goal Post Monday.

First up, a recap at last month’s goals…

March Goals

Work out the timeline for Part Two of Full Circle

Welp. At the start of March, I thought I’d have to do another major word purge in my manuscript because despite all my careful plotting and planning, the characters were all, “Yeah…we’re not going to do that” and went and did their own thing because of course they did. I mean, the story will ultimately be better for it, but it has left me feeling a little like…

So, I only managed to work out about half the timeline. Not terrible, certainly, but also not the progress I had been hoping to make.

Work on another round of edits/revisions on the Terrible Romance Novel

I did this, actually. (I know. It surprised me, too). What’s more is there were parts of it I didn’t totally hate. (I know. It surprised me, too.) I finished the read-through part and made my notes and corrections (none of them too overly difficult to fix, I don’t think…she said, jinxing herself horribly). So yeah. Move this goal into the “completed” category!

Log at least 93 miles and try to throw in some yoga once a week

Okay, so once again, I did the miles part of the goal. I walked 137 miles last month. But I did no yoga whatsoever.

Read two books

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah…I didn’t do this. Y’all, I just have no interest in reading. Like, anything. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

April Goals

Win Camp NaNoWriMo

As you may have seen on various forms of social media and, you know, the big-ass picture at the top of this post, I am participating in this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo session. My project is Full Circle, and my goal is set for 30,000 words. Thus far, I have managed to stay on or just above par. May that trend continue.

Apply revisions to the Terrible Romance Novel and maybe start researching potential proofreading-type people, if time allows

This goal will be the thing I work on when I get stuck on my Camp project. Which will NEVER happen, so…Yeah. This goal will probably be finished by the end of this post.

Prep for and run video conferencing thingamajig for local writers group

So, as has been mentioned a couple of times on this blog, I somehow ended up running four writers groups in the area. All meetings have been postponed indefinitely, but whiskey I came up with the brilliant idea of doing a video conferencing thingamajig. It’s scheduled for Saturday the 11th. I’ll be giving a presentation on some writing-related topic (as soon as I come up with one) and yeah…So there’s that. This has filled me with such dread. I can barely get through a presentation without the added pressure of having to remember how to use technology. Look for me to possibly become the latest internet sensation with whatever video conferencing gaff I make.

Log at least 100 miles

This will not be a problem. Since the whole quarantine thing started, I’ve been walking a lot more. Fortunately, my neighborhood is good for walking and spacious enough that even if the neighbors are also out walking, we’re well spaced apart.

Read a book

Seriously, M.J., I cannot make this goal any easier for you. It’s getting super pathetic now. I beg you…just read a damn book. Any book.

On that note, I’m outta here. Hope everyone is healthy and well. Take care!

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same (An IWSG Post)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

(I’m assuming that anyone reading is post is already well-versed in the IWSG, but if you’re on the prowl for additional information and/or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.)

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard.

This month’s (optional) question asks, “In this time, when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, how are things in your world?”

So, yeah. It turns out that my lifestyle is best described as ‘social distancing self-quarantine’ because nothing’s really changed all that much. (I am very fortunate to be able to say that, I know, and I am grateful for it.) I’m still an anxiety-ridden introvert who has decided to take on too many projects in an attempt to keep from worrying about things over which she has absolutely no control.

For example, I’m working on putting together a video conferencing thingamajig (probably not the proper terminology) for one of the writers groups that I run. (Yes. I run four writers groups in my area. I don’t know how it happened, either.) I’m planning to do some trial runs before the actual meeting date so I can attempt to become slightly more comfortable with the technology. I remain optimistic, however, that no matter how much practice I do, I will completely forget how to do everything on the actual day. (I apologize in advance, group!)

I signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo session because I figured if I was going to be staying home and avoiding people even more than I already do, I might as well attempt to use that time to finish up the first draft of Full Circle. The goal is set for 30,000 because I’m honestly not sure if there’s 50,000-words worth of story left to tell. I could be wrong, though. It’s hard to be sure. I think I’ve traumatized my characters to the breaking point. Seriously, one of them has just been sitting at a table, staring into the abyss, for, like, a month now, and I can’t get him to do anything else. I would tell him that things were going to get better, but he’s gone through two and a half books with me so far. He knows exactly how much of a lie that would be.

I’m working on a manuscript critique for a writer acquaintance (a post-apocalyptic novel, actually, which feels a little too timely these days…). He also asked me to review a short story he had written for a contest.

And last, but not least, I’m also working on a read-through of the Terrible Romance Novel in the hopes of getting it to a proofreader-type person in the possibly-not-so-distant future. I had pretty much decided to stick that story in a drawer, but my niece texted me over the weekend to ask how much longer it would be before that book was published because she really wants a copy, and in doing so managed to shame me into pulling the manuscript back out of the drawer because I love my nieces and nephews and would do anything for them. Even write a terrible romance novel.

So yeah. I now have entirely too much to do, but at least that’s a pressure/anxiety I kind of sort of know how to deal with a little bit. Maybe. In theory.

On a slightly more serious note, I hope everyone’s doing all right out there. Please, please, please take care of yourselves. Love to all.