Category Archives: Writing

All in my Head epilogue, come read!

So everyone is asking about an epilogue and/or sequel for All in my Head. I’m working on a follow up novel called All in my Dreams, and I decided to share the first scene as an epilogue of sorts for the first novel. It’s posted here and added to the first book on Kindle too.

Okay, enough talk, here’s the opening scene of In my Dreams, book two. 

And feel free to post thoughts and/or feedback because the 2nd book is still in progress. ;)

~ ~ ~

In my Dreams

I look like a maniac and I don’t care.

I ran down the hospital hallway, dodging people without apologizing, tears running down my face and a guitar bouncing against my back. My hair was having a fantastically frizzy day due to the weather, or maybe my crazy life, and I felt it whipping around behind me. I tore around a corner, my shoes sliding before grabbing on.

I had to get to him right now.

He remembers me.

It’s okay.

Everything’s okay now.

If Marcus remembered me, then I wasn’t schizophrenic and making all this up. He had been in my head, sharing my life, listening to every thought. People would believe me now. He could tell his parents, his sister, my friends—everyone who thought I’d lost it.

It didn’t make any sense, but it was true. It was true!

The room numbers were climbing and I skidded to a stop, sliding past the door. Grabbing the door jamb, I pulled myself back and threw myself through the doorway.

“Marcus!”

Four people stared at me, stopping me in my tracks. This wasn’t the rush-in-and-kiss him I’d imagined. His parents stood by the door and Jen stood next to the bed where Marcus laid. Tom and Elaina still looked skeptical. They’d tossed me out as a crazy stalker before, and now they glanced at each other, not sure what to think. Tom narrowed his eyes through his super thick lenses. They were still worried I’d hurt their son. His sister Jen started to smile at me but the tension in the room stopped her cold too.

I finally looked at Marcus. He had his bed raised like he was waiting for me.

“Avery. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I—” He broke off and a smile flashed across his face. “You brought my guitar.”

“Yeah… how many times have you yelled at me to grab it?” I tried for a laugh at my lame joke and set it on a hospital chair. What could I say to him in front of his family? Nervous, I stepped past his parents and rushed to the bed, avoiding their gazes.

“We’ll wait outside for a bit,” Jen said, her voice cautious. And then, thankfully, she herded her parents out of the room. They were quiet until they stepped out, and then their voices mingled together and faded. At least they weren’t standing right outside the door.

“Marcus,” I whispered, my voice breaking as fresh tears filled my eyes. I took a step closer to the bed but something held me back. Did he still like me, now that he could see me face to face? Maybe I wouldn’t live up to the fantasy. Maybe he just needed me before, but not anymore, not when he had his life and body back. I glanced down at myself because I couldn’t even remember what I was wearing.

What did he think? I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t hear him.

“Ave?”

That prodded me into motion and I walked to the edge of the bed. He reached out to me. I took his hand, feeling his warmth in a new way. He turned his hand to entwine our fingers, then looked down, confused. I watched his expression and our hands, wondering if he felt weak after being in the coma.

“Marcus.” It felt so good to say his name and see him here with me like this. I’d seen him in my mind’s eye, and in pictures online, and even here sleeping in this bed, but this was different. His warm hazel eyes searched mine, mirroring my emotions, I think. Amazement. Surprise that we made it here. Fear.

“It was all real?” he asked, still staring at me, and lifting his other hand to caress my cheek. I closed my eyes and leaned into him, taking a big, shaky breath.

“It had to be. There’s no other explanation.”

“Come here.”

I leaned down and slid my arms around him. We came together slowly, like we were both unsure of this new reality. What was he thinking? But once I felt him this close and smelled his scent under the hospital smells, my breath quickened until I started crying and clinging to him. His fingers sank into my hair and he kissed my head, saying my name. When I lifted my face, he smiled.

Oh, my god, is he handsome. And real. And right here.

We paused, looking at each other, grins coming at last. Then his face went serious, something new in his eyes. He touched my chin and we stretched toward each other, our lips meeting softly.

A shock wave rolled down my body.

His lips, so full, so soft…so wanting.

His breath smelled of mint. I smiled as his lips moved on mine. I’d somehow gotten halfway up on the bed to kiss him back, my hands gently exploring him. His hands shook against my head—from desire or his injuries?

How fragile was he?

Would this hurt him?

A noise rose up his throat. Energy zinged through my veins. With my eyes closed, my body felt like it was floating. He hung onto me tight, his tongue suddenly teasing my lips, before he pulled me further back with him. At the contact, my body came to life, surprising me. We’d been so close but unable to touch before, not really touch. I pulled back, opening my eyes and finding his staring back, warm and dancing.

“Avery.”

My lips tingled. All of me tingled. I heard my ragged breathing and laughed. “Marcus.”

Suddenly, he pulled me forward, pressing another kiss onto my mouth. Then he pulled me back and looked at me, staring, taking me in, detail by detail.

“Damn, you are beautiful,” he whispered. “And you look even better from this perspective… I love you, Avery.”

I started to reply and couldn’t find my voice. His warm eyes grew shiny.

I pulled in a quick breath, still so amazed in be in this moment. “I love you.”

Our smiles grew together until we started laughing.

“Everything’s different now,” I said, my voice breaking.

“Better.” His smile faded. “Right?”

“Right.” I looked back toward the door. What would his family think? What would we tell them?

His hand came up to my face. “Ave, we’ll figure it out.”

I lay my head on his chest, breathing in his scent. I could feel him, smell him, kiss him!

“We’ll figure everything out.” His voice came softly as his fingers threaded through my hair. “I love you and we’re together. That’s what matters now.”

Closing my eyes, I decided to worry about everything else later. He was right. Only this mattered now. We were together, really together.
~ ~ ~

***I’m hoping to finish the sequel and publish it this year.***

But I have lots of other books for you to read in the meantime….

New release for authors: 101 Questions to Improve Your Novel

It’s out in print and Kindle! And it’s in a new box set with Blockbuster Books, Broken Down–details below.

This book grew out of my experience editing and my own “final check list.”

101 Questions to Improve Your Novel: for Writing, Editing, Revising, and Polishing

From plot twists to dialogue, authors have a long list to think about when revising and polishing a novel. These 101 questions and explanations will help you improve and check your novel’s opening, plot and character development, conflict, pacing, dialogue, and of course the writing itself. After months or years of working on a story, it’s difficult to check the quality on every fiction element. 101 Questions looks at overarching issues, small details, and writing technique. You may learn about new techniques and tips, see a method differently, or realize that you forgot a trick. This handy list of 101 questions explores many possible ways to improve specific areas, add layers and depth, strengthen conflict, find plot holes, and identify writing issues.

Contents:  Workshop and Checklist,  All About STORY,  All About Editing,  The Beginning,  Sample Openings,  Plot & Structure,  Chapters & Pacing,  Scenes,  Characters,  Dialogue,  Setting,  The End,  Strong Writing,  & Final Checks
Sample Question – #40. Do all of your characters have strong feelings about each other?

Working on this element truly adds another layer to your story. In life, we meet people and classify them right away. It’s not often that we know a person but don’t have any opinions or feelings about them. But we see that in stories all the time.

Sometimes I read or edit a novel and have a hard time telling the characters apart. This arises when the characters aren’t distinct, but it’s also caused by a lack of feeling toward each other. If your hero really dislikes another character, that will color the hero’s description and interaction with that character.

Take a closer look at your work: make a list of all of your characters and then describe how your hero feels about them. If your hero doesn’t feel anything that shows in your story right now, do you need to make that character more colorful? And by colorful, I mean annoying, more pushy, more opinionated, more deceitful, more secretive, more talkative, more silent, more helpful, more sweet, more of a pushover, more something?

Look at the relationship between all of your main characters. It might help to make a chart. Then think about how they interact and secretly feel about each other. You can have a lot of fun in this area, and it really deepens your story.


101 Qs for your novel

And here’s the box set for anyone who doesn’t have Blockbuster Books already.

Both books are in Kindle Unlimited so you can borrow them,so people who aren’t signed up to use that program might want the box set.

And information on the second book:

Blockbuster BooksBlockbuster Books, Broken Down

Learn from mega bestselling novels to build your own breakout plot!

Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? Instead, use a 7 point plot outline developed from wildly successful novels.

“Blockbuster Books, Broken Down” is a workbook style guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers of the last fifteen years, many of which became movies. By breaking down these books, we can see how successful authors are breaking out by satisfying readers’ needs.

This is a hands-on fiction workshop packed with insights and activities to quickly teach you breakout plotting and novel development.


101 Questions to Improve Your Novel

I have a new nonfiction book on pre-order called 101 Questions to Improve Your Novel: for Writing, Editing, Revising, and Polishing. This book grew out of my experience editing and my own “final check list” that I grow on a continuous basis. A while back, as I added a few items to the list, I decided to turn it into a book to share with other authors. 101 Questions is filled with questions on all the elements of a novel, along with an explanation and advice. I like having a list of things to look for to ensure my novel is the best it can be, and I think other authors will like having all this information in one place too. I LOVE thinking about story and writing, so writing this project has been a joyful experience!  More info below, and then I’ve included info on my other nonfiction books.

Pre-order, Coming May 26:    101 Questions to Improve Your Novel

for Writing, Editing, Revising, and Polishing

From plot twists to dialogue, authors have a long list to think about when revising and polishing a novel. These 101 questions and explanations will help you improve and check your novel’s opening, plot and character development, conflict, pacing, dialogue, and of course the writing itself. After months or years of working on a story, it’s difficult to check the quality on every fiction element. 101 Questions looks at overarching issues, small details, and writing technique. You may learn about new techniques and tips, see a method differently, or realize that you forgot a trick. This handy list of 101 questions explores many possible ways to improve specific areas, add layers and depth, strengthen conflict, find plot holes, and identify writing issues.

Contents:  Workshop and Checklist,  All About STORY,  All About Editing,  The Beginning,  Sample Openings,  Plot & Structure,  Chapters & Pacing,  Scenes,  Characters,  Dialogue,  Setting,  The End,  Strong Writing,  Final Checks,  &  Share Your Book!
Sample Question – #40. Do all of your characters have strong feelings about each other?

Working on this element truly adds another layer to your story. In life, we meet people and classify them right away. It’s not often that we know a person but don’t have any opinions or feelings about them. But we see that in stories all the time.

Sometimes I read or edit a novel and have a hard time telling the characters apart. This arises when the characters aren’t distinct, but it’s also caused by a lack of feeling toward each other. If your hero really dislikes another character, that will color the hero’s description and interaction with that character.

Take a closer look at your work: make a list of all of your characters and then describe how your hero feels about them. If your hero doesn’t feel anything that shows in your story right now, do you need to make that character more colorful? And by colorful, I mean annoying, more pushy, more opinionated, more deceitful, more secretive, more talkative, more silent, more helpful, more sweet, more of a pushover, more something?

Look at the relationship between all of your main characters. It might help to make a chart. Then think about how they interact and secretly feel about each other. You can have a lot of fun in this area, and it really deepens your story.


More books from Authorpreneur Press

Blockbuster BooksBlockbuster Books, Broken Down

Learn from mega bestselling novels to build your own breakout plot!

Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? Instead, use a 7 point plot outline developed from wildly successful novels.

“Blockbuster Books, Broken Down” is a workbook style guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers of the last fifteen years, many of which became movies. By breaking down these books, we can see how successful authors are breaking out by satisfying readers’ needs.

This is a hands-on fiction workshop packed with insights and activities to quickly teach you breakout plotting and novel development.

 Amazon/ Kindle  *Buy the workbook, get the Kindle book free with Kindle Match Book.*


Authorpreneur by Kristen James - on AmazonAuthorpreneur: Making Steady Income from ebook Royalties

Second Edition with Bonus Material and Updates

Authorpreneur: a noun. A professional author/entrepreneur who strives to improve in all areas of the publishing business: writing, publishing and marketing.

What does it really take to make it as an author? What are realistic production and promotion costs? Do many people make money publishing ebooks, and how much? “Authorpreneur” takes a look at what’s involved in independent publishing and what you can expect at different career phases such as:

  • Starting Out with ebook publishing
  • Multi-published author
  • Earning $500 per month and growing
  • And even feeling stuck in writing and marketing

I discuss real numbers and what success means to different people—it’s not just about money. This book is for writers who value great storytelling and connecting with readers, and who want to develop their career, not just spike ebook sales for a month.
“Authorpreneur” is filled with tips you can do during set up, how to get sales moving again, and all the strategies I’ve used to sell more books, doubling my sales every year and tripling my income.


Book Promoting 101 by Kristen JamesBook Promoting 101

The publishing industry is rapidly changing into an entirely new game, offering more ways to get published and many new avenues to promote books. Do you understand the new POD method of publishing and printing books, and what it means for you?

Just as you develop an outline for writing your book, you should have a marketing plan to guide you in promoting it. Book Promoting 101 offers tips, guest articles, a sample book marketing plan and industry news. Tips discuss website design, good cover design, to how to write a sales sheet and how to promote your book online and in person.

Written by a publisher, Book Promoting 101 will show you how to get started early, even while you are writing your book, and walk you through ways to continually promote you and your writing.


Note: Authpreneur is about how to be a full time author while How To Be A Full Time Writer looks at earning an income through freelance editing, writing, technical writing, sales copy, copy writing, ghostwriting, proof reading–basically any work found on a freelance site.

How To Be A Full Time WriterHow To Be A Full Time Writer

How To Be A Full Time Writer and Editor – Through Ghostwriting, Freelance Writing, Editing, Co-Writing and Your Writing

Do you love your job? You should! If you don’t, I’d love to help you create a job you love.

I created my own job through a mix of publishing and editing, and then I began ghostwriting. This allowed me to set my own hours, choose my projects, and work from home while dropping the daily commute. I share the sites I used, provide resources, and give tips for finding work, bidding, winning projects, avoiding problem clients and projects, and earning more money. These tips include actual, winning bids and things to watch out for. You can use some or all of the methods that have worked for me to create a job perfectly suited to your interests and passions.


A story and a sentence walked into a bar together…

They both noticed a woman with long, dark hair and an inviting smile, so they sat at the bar, four stools away from her. She glanced over at their entrance before turning back to her conversation with her friends. Sentence told Story, “Watch this. I’m going to wiggle my perfect construction at her. She won’t be able to resist!”

Story watched as Sentence tried to catch the woman’s eye. The woman and her friends gave Sentence a few polite glances, but they weren’t interested.

When Story had enough, he announced, “My turn!” He walked around Sentence to sit closer to the woman and gave her a nod and a wink. The woman immediately moved down the bar three seats to talk to Story.

“Your characters are amazing! How did you come up with this idea, anyway?” She leaned closer and tilted her head back to tease him with a half smile. “And the twist at the end! I didn’t see that coming, but then it made perfect sense. Please tell me there’s a sequel. Does Jake ever win Kathryn over, and does his father ever forgive him? Is there another mystery to solve?”

Story motioned for another round of drinks and murmured, “I’ll tell you everything if you have a few hours…”

Sentence sulked in his seat. What had he done wrong?

“Sentence” missed the simple fact that readers don’t go into bookstores and online retailers to buy groups of sentences. There aren’t any reviews that read, “This book is full of perfect sentences! Check out the metaphor on page 82. The sentences were so wonderful that I forgot about the story and highlighted the commas and semicolons. This author knows how to vary sentence length! Wonderful!”

Readers often say a novel is well written, and they might mention the imagery or fresh use of language, but that alone won’t win readers. Personally, I don’t want to throw a reader out of the story with a impressive sentence. I want the plot and characters to pull the reader in so she’ll keep reading past her bedtime. Of course, I don’t want poor writing to distract the reader either, but I know the point of the novel is the story.

As an artist, do you want others to see the picture you’re painting or the brushstrokes?

Do you need to write well on a sentence level to write good stories? Yes, of course! But are the sentences more important than the story you’re telling? Not in my opinion. Aren’t authors selling stories, not sentences?

Writing well is very important. I don’t mean to argue that point, but it really bugs me when I hear someone put down a mega bestselling author for their writing. It’s usually on a sentence level: “Look at all the clichés, passive voice, and simple sentences! A fifth grader could write better.” It could be true–the given book might very well be full of sentences that could be written better. Maybe their modifiers don’t line up. Maybe they like using clichés as shortcuts in certain places. Maybe they choose choppy or run on sentences over proper grammar to show the character’s thoughts and emotions. But, if the writing really is that poor, then the author must be doing something else right. And that “something else” really sells copies. Millions of readers are buying those books. Despite what people say, you can’t sell a book month after month on marketing alone. If it’s not a good story, people complain. They won’t tell other people about the book.

Readers want an experience away from their life. They want to get sucked into a great story that makes them forget everything else for a few hours. They want to connect with the character and see the world differently. They want to experience a great story. They want to feel.

So, yes, please learn to write sentences well and play with language. Study English, spelling, and grammar. Create fresh images and strive to be original. Learn how to write well so readers can understand what you’re saying. And if you want to sell that writing, remember your job is to tell a damn good story.

…and Upcoming Novels

So, on the writing front, I edited several novels over the last few months for other authors. It’s been a hugely fun process, and I got to work in romance, fantasy, historical, and crime fiction. I’ve been editing for ten years, and the last few years I’ve seen a dramatic increase in quality in terms of writing and the stories I’m seeing. I think it’s due to the Indie movement and all the content so readily available. There’s books, articles, blogs and Facebook groups that help writers learn about writing and the publishing process. So, it’s lots of fun all around!

And yes, I’m working on my own novels too. I’m working to finish the 4th novella in the Stranger series. It’ll be the final one and complete the story, although it opens the door for a new series if I want to continue it. Here’s the cover for the 4th book:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-sexy-young-couple-love-image21300227 Meg finally learns the truth and has decisions to make…

(I don’t want to give the story away yet, especially if people didn’t read the first three.)

I’ll publish this one and then a full novel version with all four novellas.

And…

I also started another story inspired by a video on Facebook. You might have seen the clip of a girl at a cam when the kiss cam zooms in on her and her boyfriend. The guy ignore the kiss cam but a mascot runs over and carries her off. I love that video! And I wanted to start a story with that, so I did. It might be a novella – I’m not sure at this point. I’m just having fun with it and writing away. Here’s the cover. What do you think???

Marry the Mascot cover

This story is lighthearted and fun with a big dose of humor.

Working blurb:

The Trail Blazer’s mascot sweeps Abby off her feet, literally, but she doesn’t get his name. Luckily he happens to know she writes the “Honest Abby” column in a local paper. The mascot is a fun loving, hot guy, but he also has a sick father and a load of responsibilities that lead to a little complication.

Blockbuster Books, Broken Down – Plotting with the novel map

Blockbuster Books - workbook and Kindle ebookLearn from mega bestselling novels to build your own breakout plot!

Why start from scratch and reinvent storytelling? Instead, use a 7 point plot outline developed from wildly successful novels.

“Blockbuster Books, Broken Down” is a workbook style guide that reveals the structure and elements in huge bestsellers of the last fifteen years, many of which became movies. By breaking down these books, we can see how successful authors are breaking out by satisfying readers’ needs.

Part 1 deconstructs today’s bestsellers and offers insights and keys to blockbusters and the Blockbuster Novel Map.

Part 2 guides you in creating a breakout idea and developing that into a solid plot with a novel map. Build from the ground up with 7 points to ensure your plot will connect with readers.

Buy the workbook and you can get the Kindle book free through Kindle Matchbook.

Amazon – Kindle ebook and print workbook available

Covers these books and more:

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Twilight and The Host by Stephenie Myer

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Maze Runner by James Dashner

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Notebook and Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Includes:

Part 1: Deconstructing Bestsellers

Does Genre Matter?

Hook, High Concept, & HUGE Stakes

Bestselling Qualities

What’s Different About Today’s Blockbusters

The Blockbuster Novel Map

The 7 Point Outline with 3 Act Structure

The Key to Blockbusters

Part 2: Building Your Bestseller

First, Know Thyself

Your Big Idea

The Breakout Idea Checklist

From Idea to Plot

Which Came First: plot or character?

Writing Your Novel

Ways to Improve Your Writing

Make Any Story BIGGER

Writer’s Block: specific cases and how to fix them

Additional Resources

Your Novel Map

Novel Map Worksheet

From Novel Map to Outline

Your Setting/ World

Your Setting Notes

Character Sheets

*This is a hands-on fiction workshop packed with insights, exercises, and worksheets to quickly teach you breakout plotting and novel development.

Amazon – Kindle ebook and print workbook available

Writing & Publishing Roundup 2014

So, it was another crazy year in publishing.Trade book prices came down, overall book quality (Indie and trade) went up in my opinion due to increased competition, and the number of books on the market skyrocketed. Of course, that’s been a trend over the last few years. Kindle Unlimited rolled out in the US and then in countries all over the world, drastically cutting book sales for many authors. I think a few have profited, but I’ve seen a majority of authors saying their sales (including borrows) and income doing a nosedive.Yeah, publishing continues to change, and the playing field has leveled out once again, where Indies no longer have an advantage with lower prices and faster releases.

All of the above is good for readers. I’ll admit I’m happy I can get books from my favorite authors for lower prices. And, the truth is, being an author isn’t like other jobs. You don’t put in the time and schooling and then know you have a career path with steadily increasing pay. Being an artist of any kind has challenges. Authors are creatives and business people, and our books have to compete with Facebook, TV, free content, and all the other books out there. In essence, if you’re going to be an author, you have to do it because you love it.

What about me? I’ve been writing away as usual. I released three full novels in 2014:

Costa Rica,  In A Field of Oranges, and  It’s All In My Head 

Links to different retailers on my homepage. There’s also my Amazon book page.

And I recently released the first novella in a new romantic thriller series, Stranger in my Bed. This first novella doesn’t have so much of the romantic element in it–I’d even call it a psychological thriller.

2014 was a really great writing year for me. I pushed myself to offer something really different with each book. I took It’s All In My Head to a week long, intensive writing workshop, and it eventually became my longest work to date, and my first novel in 1st person. I just LOVE that story and the characters. Some books are harder to write, and that one had challenges, but I still smile when I think about the writing process, and remember it like a life-changing vacation.

I took the lessons learned while writing that novel and started my new series. There’s a lot of mystery in Stranger in my Bed. It’s great fun to write! I also wanted to try a different format, so I’m using a TV episode format, where I’m going to release novellas hopefully once every month. The entire story is much bigger than my usual novel length, too, so this format works well. I really like having smaller conflicts in each novella that will also build the overall problem. In the end, I’ll probably release a box set of the entire story.

I’m also finishing a noBlockbuster Books, Broken Down - so you can write your wonnfiction project–my first book about novel writing. I’ve held off on offering writing advice because there’s an abundance of that there. But I haven’t seen one that covered my content. I took my notes on bestsellers and looked at lists of books that were turned into movies, and something jumped out at me. It was one of those amazing moments when a light bulb turned on and I literally stood up in amazement. This happens when I see something about my writing or writing in general, but I’ve never felt my new insight was a really new insight for writers in general. This time I thought, wow, I need to share this! So I am.

The guide is actually about plotting, creating a blockbuster plot, and making any story bigger. I break down the plot of mega bestsellers to form a simple novel map that anyone can use to plan their novel with critical points that set stories apart.

Blockbuster Books, Broken Down is up for pre-order in Kindle and will release on January 30, 2015. There’s a workbook for the print version, and I hope to release that in January.

Well, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and New Year– I’m celebrating Christmas vacation with two weeks of sleeping in!

So, nanowrimo

Nanowrimo what? National Novel Writing Month, aka the frenzie in November every year in the writing world. Did you join in? I’ve never participated in Nanowrimo because the timing has never worked out. I haven’t been at the starting point for a novel before November, and I have a pretty set schedule (or rather habit) of writing a novel in three months. I tend to write three novels a year plus a novella or other project, and this year I added in translations. I’m working with translators, but I need to answer questions quite often. So I’ve never felt compelled to time a project with nanowrimo, but sometimes I’ve wished I could.

However, it hit me just the other day that I started and finished a novella this month, and was able to send it to three beta readers within the 30 day period. I have a completed and polished novella, blurb, cover and even the series planned out.

I’ve read a few articles about nanowrimo rebels that make up their own guidelines, so I guess I can say I’ve done that now! My project isn’t a 50,000 word rough draft, but I think I’m happier with having something competed and ready to upload to Kindle. I already published three full length novels, and I had a blast working with this shorter format. I’m picturing my new series much like a television show with episodes: each novella has its own story questions, conflict and arc, and there’s a bigger story at play as well.

Writing a novel is a long journey. Writing a novella is like a fun adventure, with quicker pay offs, but a challenge of telling a full story in one third of the length. I was able to send it out for feedback and get comments within a few days. It showed me the weak points. I revised, added content, and then went through the entire novella several times to work on different aspects. I can perfect every scene and each element of storytelling, all within a month’s time. I hope to publish a new novella about once a month, and I plan share more about this adventure along the way.

Congrats to all the Nanowrimo participants! Even if you didn’t end up with 50k words, it’s quite an undertaking, and you still have a great chunk of material to work with. (And I think that’s the point.) Hope it was fun as well. :)

All in my Head – A story behind the story

Do you like behind-the-scenes stories that show you how a movie or book came about? I love learning what inspired a great story. The other day I was skimming through my journal and noticed something new about how I got the idea for It’s All In My Head. On February 6th, my husband and I planned to drive to Eugene to watch Jerry Seinfeld. We were super excited, to put it mildly. Then… a giant snowstorm hit and buried Eugene in snow and ice. It was fifty degrees here, an hour and a half south of Eugene, so it was extra frustrating. The show wasn’t cancelled, either, so we emailed our tickets to someone who could use them. That night, we watched the start of the winter Olympics instead. I got hooked on watching the snowboarders and their tricks in the halfpipe, flying twenty feet up into the air to flip upside down. It’s amazing what they can do. The following Monday, I was driving on our country highway and looking the pretty green hills here when a book idea hit me. I wrote 10,000 words in a week.

So if I got to see Jerry Seinfeld, I might not have watched the Olympics and gotten that idea. Funny, huh?

The book flowed at an amazing rate–the idea took over my life the way Marcus took over Avery’s!

By the way, here’s the inspiration for Marcus, a real snowboarder who competed in the Olympics, Sage Kotsenbrug. He thought he was after a gold medal… and didn’t realize he was inspiring a book! If you’re not familiar with him,  Wikipedia says, “He won the first ever Olympic gold medal in men’s snowboard slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russa, and became the first gold medalist at these Olympics.”

Marcus  - Sage Kotsenburg

This is a photo I snagged from his FB to help me write my novel.

The character of Marcus is fictional, of course, with his own quirks and beliefs. I was mostly inspired by Sage Kotsenburg’s attitude, and then his determination. I was surprised when I listened to all of the snowboarders talk–they were competing in a highly competitive, international stage, but many were funny, supporting each other, and enjoying themselves. Like, really enjoying themselves and the love of what they could do on their board. That’s what I wanted to capture in my character, Marcus.

I’m not sure where the story idea really came from–it just hit me, what if some normal girl had the voice of one of those guy’s in her head all of a sudden?

If you’re wondering about Avery, I had a picture of her in my mind and happened to come across a picture in Glamour magazine that matched what I envisioned. So I clipped this and kept it in my inspiration folder.

M AveryI was after an off-beat, unique beauty. People are beautiful in their own way, and there’s so many different faces and traits.

The story developed into all kinds of layers. Avery had a crush who was starting to take notice. She also had some pain in her past, ambition and plans, and a weird situation with her friends: her bestie is with her ex, and they all hang out together.

I took the manuscript through a week-long workshop and found even more emotional depth and complications, so by the end of the writing process, I had my longest and most complicated book. It’s about two opposite people thrown together who learn to see the beauty in each other, all while Marcus is a voice. I called it an inside-out love story, because yes, it’s very romantic and (I hope) surprising.

Here’s the blurb for the story that resulted in all of this:

He’s taking over her life, but is he even real?

Avery Waldorf wakes up from a concussion to find a voice inside her head—an adventurous male voice belonging to Marcus, who doesn’t know where he came from, but has an opinion on everything about her life. She just wants to work on her screenplay, go to her writing classes and flirt with the guy of her dreams, Nash, who is finally noticing her.

Marcus wants to get up at dawn, run, snowboard, and basically take over her life, and even her body at times. He thinks she’s freaking hot and does not like Nash touching her. Marcus may be smart, talented at snowboarding, drawing and playing the guitar, but he’s not real! When she needs help, she has to call Nash.

She can’t tell anyone about Marcus without sounding like she’s crazy. Meanwhile Marcus doesn’t know where he’ll go if he leaves her mind. Maybe she is losing it…

* * *

It’s All In My Head is on special for 99 cents this month in Kindle, or you can get a gifted copy by signing up for my newsletter.

Why am I running a special and giving away copies? Because November is my birthday month :) and I want to share this awesome story with you.

New Release: All In My Head

So… All In My Head is out!!

All in my HEadAvery Waldorf wakes up from a concussion to find a voice inside her head—an adventurous male voice belonging to Marcus, who doesn’t know where he came from, but has an opinion on everything about her life. She just wants to work on her screenplay, go to her writing classes and flirt with the guy of her dreams, Nash, who is finally noticing her.

Marcus wants to get up at dawn, run, snowboard, and basically take over her life, and even her body at times. He thinks she’s freaking hot and does not like Nash touching her. Marcus may be smart, talented at snowboarding, drawing and playing the guitar, but he’s not real! When she needs help, she has to call Nash.

She can’t tell anyone about Marcus without sounding like she’s crazy. Meanwhile Marcus doesn’t know where he’ll go if he leaves her mind. Maybe she is losing it…

Amazon    Kobo   Smashwords   Nook      Teaser Below!

This is my longest book to date, my first time writing in first person, and my first college age romance. I’m excited! It was such a fun book to write, and Avery and Marcus came to life. You might remember my writing challenge: that I want to write books that different, unique, and beyond what I’ve written before. This story is fun, flirty and very emotional, and full of surprises.

***

It’s All In My Head TEASER:

Then, mid-class, I realized that instead of paying attention, I was looking down at my notepad, sketching instead of taking notes or even trying to listen. It took a few slow seconds for me to see that I was drawing myself. And I don’t draw.

I stared in horror like it was a dead rat. Holeeee hell. Really, I can’t draw at all, and this was pretty good. Really good. I mean, it looked like me, even with expression.

Marcus, is that you drawing?

Oh … sorry. Bored out of my mind.

You’re good.

Wow, is that a … what do you call that? Oh, a compliment.

I scanned the few people around me who could see my desk. No one was looking my way.

How do you know what I look like when you’re on the inside, looking out?

I’ve seen you in the mirror.

He got all this from a few glances in the mirror? Marcus had a fine memory.

You have very striking looks. Now can I please get back to my artwork?

Worried and yet fascinated, I watched my own hand move the pencil in confident strokes, filling in my lips. When had Marcus been able to study me that much? The only time he saw my face was when I looked in the mirror. Speaking of my face, it got hot—for several reasons. First, I was drawing myself. I’d die if anyone noticed. Second, it blew up some of my theories about Marcus, or what was causing all this. If I can’t draw, I can’t make up a person who can, right? And third, he was drawing me in a certain mood. I looked … suggestive.

Excuse me, Marcus, but when have you seen that look on my face?

I have an imagination. A very vivid one at times.
Read the first 10% on Amazon.

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