Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cathryn's Post: Introducing THE LONG WAY HOME


Hello!
I’m interrupting our hiatus to participate in a blog hop with Denise Eagan, the original founder of our Moody Muses blog.  Denise is over at Scandalous Victorians this week, and here is the link to her blog post talking about her latest book.
On to the blog hop questions…
 
What is the title of your book?
THE LONG WAY HOME is my second Harlequin Superromance and a December 2012 release.
Here is the back cover blurb:
Life on the road suits Bruce Cole just fine. And after what he went through back in the day, he’s in no hurry to face his hometown again. Until his little sister asks him to return for her wedding. One brief visit can’t hurt, right? Especially when he meets a beautiful stranger at the reception.
Except Natalie Kimball isn’t a stranger. In fact, she knows more about Bruce than anyone else in Wallis Point—including the secret he’s been running from all these years. The woman Natalie has become is fascinating…and so different from the girl he remembers. If anyone can change his mind about what home really means, it could be her.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is difficult to answer, because ideas come from all around me.  One of the first sparks for Natalie and Bruce’s story came from the memory of a tragic automobile accident that happened in front of my childhood home.  I’ve often wondered what became over the years to the families and friends of the deceased teenage driver. 
What genre does your book fall under?
This contemporary-set story is a Harlequin series romance.  My line, Superromance, has recently increased to 85,000 words, which is about single-title length.  I like that there is room to present complex characters and detailed plotlines.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I used photos of Christian Bale (love him!) as a model for Bruce Cole.  The image of Natalie Kimball exists only in my imagination. 
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Here are two sentences:
A charming but emotionally-unavailable business consultant is forced to spend the week in the small beach town he’s avoided since the summer after high school graduation, when his best friend was killed in a car accident and he was unfairly blamed.  A hearing-impaired family lawyer, determined to make it in her home town, is the only person who knows his secret, and can help him learn to live and love again.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am unagented.  This book is published by Harlequin Enterprises.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I do a LOT of prewriting, which for me, takes longer than the writing itself.  Once I have my outlines, I use a NaNoWriMo philosophy for the first draft.  This draft takes me a few weeks to complete.  I do several more layers of revisions and edits after that.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Denise’s answer fits mine, too.  Let me quote Denise: “I am very, very uncomfortable comparing my books to other books. Partly I don’t want to upset other writers, but mostly I am just too close to my characters and story to be anywhere near subjective.”  
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My first published book was accepted for publication in May, 2011, and after that, my editor invited me to submit more story ideas for a second contract.  I sent in a list of ideas, and this was the idea she chose for my second book. 
While writing it, I was inspired by the characters, Bruce and Natalie.  Their stories and struggles became real to me.  It also helped that many of the topics in the book are important in my life, namely the Seacoast New Hampshire setting, the fact that Bruce was a road warrior and that he attended the Naval Academy, Natalie’s hearing loss, and Bruce’s grandfather moving to a rest home facility, being a few.  Their community and their romance really came alive for me as I wrote their stories.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I worked with themes of forgiveness and redemption and courage.  It’s an uplifting, happy-ending story, great for the holidays.
In closing, let me introduce a special, real-life character who is featured in THE LONG WAY HOME.  He is Otis, my neighbor’s cat, and here he is showing off “his” book:
 
Here is the link to my website, and a list of places where the LONG WAY HOME may be purchased.
Happy Reading!

Monday, July 23, 2012

ON HIATUS

Life and deadlines are taking their toll.  Therefore, the Moody Muses are taking a brief break to regroup. Keep an eye out for news about our new direction coming sometime this fall.

Thank you for reading our posts these past couple years.  We appreciate the support, and we look forward to chatting with you again soon.

Regards,

Barbara, Katy, Becca and Cathryn

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Katy's Musing: Not My Story

If you've been out and about on the internet, you'll be aware that the ongoing tension between readers and authors over reviews has erupted into A Thing again. I'm not going to get into the particulars, because for my purposes today, they're not tremendously relevant. (If you really want to know, a good recap is here.)

What does matter is the insight that was sparked as I was thinking about the most recent explosion.
 
When someone reads my books, she (or he) is not reading the story I wrote.

Each of us brings experiences, biases and expectations to every book we read. Those experiences, biases and expectations fill in the white spaces in our reading, making every book a unique experience. As a writer, I have no control over that. If someone hates -- or loves my book -- it's as much about what she brought to it as what she found in it.

And that's okay. In fact, it's kind of awesome. All I can do is write a story that pleases me. If my taste aligns with a reader's, great; if not, so be it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Barb's Musing: Of goals, directions and RWA National

I'm supposed to be writing a proposal.  Because silly me, I've decided that yes, I'd like to write for more than one publisher.  Because in this crazy industry, it's wise to have more than one iron in the fire career wise, and I am in the gloriously awesome position of having two editors I enjoy working with.  (And who, I might add - make me a better writer!)

Of course, as anyone who has read my whining blog posts knows, I'm still struggling with balancing those irons. 

Fortunately, this dovetails nicely with the fact that next week I travel to Anaheim for the RWA Annual Conference.  The trip will give me a chance to seek out those other authors who are more a) prolific and b)fearless than I am and pick their brains.  (Maisey Yates and Donna Alward - watch out!)  I'm hoping they can help mentor me on balancing multiple deadlines and being more productive. 

I'm also going to be gathering as much information as I can about romance writing as a small business.  Because it dawned on me last week that my career is just that - a small business - and that I need to structure my work schedule as such.

If all goes right, you'll be hearing less whining and reading more Barbara Wallace novels.  At least that's the plan.

Meanwhile, like I said - I'll be in Anaheim.  I have no clue who checks this blog out regularly or who is going to be there too - but please, seek me out.  Though shy by nature, I'll have my extrovert hat on and would love to chat.  So if you see my name badge - say hello!  (BTW, Katy and Cathryn will be in Anaheim as well.  They too would love to hear from you all.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Katy's Musing: Insanity

My life is insane.

Most weeks, I write my Wednesday posts on Tuesday night and schedule them to appear on Wednesday. You can no doubt guess by the time this is turning up that it didn't happen this week. That's mainly due to lacking the brain cells to write anything. Seriously. I opened up my computer, typed "Katy's Musing:" and then proceeded to start and discard half a dozen very bad ideas. After 20 minutes of this, I gave up.

One thing that's suddenly on my mind is RWA's national conference, which opens in two weeks. Under normal circumstances, by two weeks out I have my packing list compiled, my schedule sketched out, handouts downloaded. I'm starting to be seriously geared up and I've begun thinking about my goals for the conference.

This year, not so much, because my life is insane.

Okay, I have started to compile the packing list, but it's still sketchy. I've glanced at the list of workshops, but there's only one I've marked as a must-attend: Robin LaFevers and Barbara Samuel, Beyond the Hero's Journey: Exploring Other Archetypes for Women. (Robin and Barbara are friends of mine, not to mention being two of the wisest women I know, so, hello, must-see workshop.) The rest of it's a blur.

I have no idea what my goal is for the conference itself. Maybe to relax, and step outside my day-to-day life, the one that's insane. Maybe to spend time with my writer friends, and absorb the experience of being with my tribe, the People Who Know What It's Like. The ones who know what's it's like to agonize over craft, obsess over grammar, and live vicariously through people they made up in their own heads. Maybe to let go of the goals and expectations and demands that make my life insane. 

Maybe I should let go of anything resembling a plan and let the conference take me where it will. Instead of planning on many workshops I ought to attend, consider no more than a handful that I really don't want to miss...and wing it for the rest.

Maybe I should just be, and let the insanity pass me by.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Barb's Musing: Resistance and Procrastination

Yesterday, my friend Deborah Monk, posed a question to our critique group.  Why is it, she asked, that we resist with so much strength the very thing we want the most? She was, at the time, talking about why she wanted to go out and play instead of sitting down at the keyboard and finishing her second.

Of course, being writers and natural procrastinators, that started a conversation.  We came up with four possible suggestions - all interestingly, fear based.

1. Because we're afraid of the outcome.  What if we get it, and we find out it doesn't make us happy after all?

2. Conversely, perhaps we're afraid we will be happy with the outcome.  If we're happy and have achieved our goals, what do we have to whine and play victim about?

3. Maybe it's because once we accomplish our goal, it's over.  We procrastinate because we don't want the experience to end.

4. And lastly, maybe what we think we want the most, isn't really what we want.

Ultimately, we decided the answer to her question is uniquely personal with everyone having a different reason.  However, the question is incredibly valid - especially for writers and aspiring writers who find themselves spending more time talking about wanting to write than actual writing.  Therefore, I decided to throw the question out to the bloggerverse.  Why do we resist doing that which we claim to want so badly? Why do we procrastinate?

Want to weigh in?  I'd love to hear your opinions.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Katy's Musing: Beautiful Words

Today is Independence Day, aka the Fourth of July, in the U.S., where we celebrate our nation's birthday (actually, the ratification of the Declaration of Independence). In honor of that day, I want to quote three of my favorite pieces of writing, all having great historical significance in the U.S.

First is the opening of the aforementioned Declaration:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
I think that's a gorgeous piece of writing. I love the groundedness of it, the formality, the courtesy. The next part, the one about all men being created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, is the part everyone knows. I still really love the beginning.

The next is the first paragraph of the U.S. Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I love its practicality: "In order to accomplish these things, this is what we're doing," but I also love the stateliness of the list of things to be accomplished by ordaining and establishing the Constitution. (Miracle at Philadelphia, Catherine Drinker Bowen's account of the drafting of the Constitution is fabulous; she makes you believe it might not have happened, no mean feat...)

The last is one of the most beautiful pieces of prose I've ever read, a true prose poem: Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. (For a detailed examination of the address, both in context and as a pure piece of writing, I highly recommend Garry Wills' Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America.)
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
 Here's wishing you a safe and happy Fourth of July, whether you celebrate it or not.