Jennifer Lyon
Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Happy Friday & Random Writing Tip

It’s Friday! Yay!!

Yesterday afternoon I got revisions for CAGED MAGIC. I’m going to process them overnight then dive in. I’ve made progress, but the book still needs some work. This is the home stretch, that last mile to the finish line. I think most writers are fatigued at this point, but it’s more important than ever to stay 100% focused on the finish line. Sometimes it’s too easy to just give up, or to start celebrating too soon and not do that final push needed to take the book all the way across the finish line.

Like this guy — the runner that started celebrating too soon.

 

That had to suck for him. I don’t want to be that guy. Of course, I’m pretty much the opposite, never sure I’m going to make it until I’m actually on the other side. This is the point where I have to shake off any doubts or worried and believe in myself and the book. Because that’s what gives us that last burst of energy to get us across the finish line.

I had a wonderful reminder of why this is the point where believing can pay off. We just did the final proofread on EXPOSING THE HEIRESS (slated for August 4th release), and the proofreader contacted me to tell me she loved it.  Man, that is so nice to hear at this stage when I can’t really change anything significant. But here’s the key point: I love that book NOW, but like all my books, there was a point where I loathed it. When I was sure it wasn’t working, that it was boring, that…well you get the idea.

All that kept me going was that I chose to believe in myself and story, and kept going until I hit that finish line.  So when I read the proofreader’s lovely comments, all I could think was — what if I’d given up? Quit? Or lost focus (like that poor guy in the video above who celebrated his win prematurely)?

That’s my unsolicited writing and life advice for the day. Believe in yourself and what you’re doing, and hit that finish line!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Dresses, Tiaras and Wednesday Worthy

The dress I ordered is supposed to come today. I’m excited to see it. So far, I’ve only seen it in this picture:

golden-globes-kate-hudsonn-Eonline

Bwhwahaha!! Okay I’m kidding. That’s Kate Hudson rocking that dress that I could NEVER wear.  The dress I ordered is much more modest, a light aqua “sweetheart gown” with sequins. We’ll see if I like it. So then I’m on a plotting phone call with my friend Laura Wright and she asked about the dress. I finally confessed I’d ordered one but hemmed and hawed about showing her. I mean come on, Laura’s a former actress and much more fashionable than I am.

Laura, “Are you going to show me or not?”

Me, “Fine, I sent you the link. But I don’t know if you’ll like it.”

“Okay,” she said, “I’m opening the link.”

I waited and chattered on about my book that we were plotting. Finally I couldn’t stand it. “Have you looked at the dress???” Seriously how long does it take?

“It’s opening…oh I love it! It’s you.” A beat of silence then, “Damn I’m glad I didn’t have to lie.”

LOLOL! I love Laura. She would have lied to me, but she’d have hated lying and I would have known she was just being nice.

Then she asked, “So what shoes are you going to wear?”

Me, “No idea. But this is my princess dress so I’m going to wear a tiara. I’ve always wanted to wear one.”

 

tiara 2

DEAD SILENCE!!! I gave it a whole four-seconds before I burst out laughing, “I’m kidding! You are too fun to screw with.”

“Oh my God I believed you! I really am fun to screw with.”

I was laughing too hard to even touch her last line. And what’s really evil is she’d just helped me with a hook I desperately needed to get my book going. Laura’s awesome and I’m…evil. So finally I thanked her a gazillion times (I have some class) and then got off the phone, when Wizard asked.

“Why were you laughing like that? It’s your evil laugh.”

So I told him.

Now he’s swearing he’s going to buy me a fake tiara and I’d better wear it or his feelings will be hurt.

I think I just got paid back for teasing Laura. I’m so not wearing a tiara. But I might have to take a fake picture with one to convince Wizard that I did wear one :-) Hopefully though, he’ll forget about the tiara.

Oh and Laura loved the premise of my new book, which is way more satisfying than her liking the Rita dress and convincing her I’m going to wear a tiara :-)

Now if you waded through all that, here is our Wednesday Worthy. I’m sorry he’s wearing a shirt, but I couldn’t convince him to take it off.  Maybe I should have worn my tiara and commanded him to take it off <g>

Stylized portrait of masculine handsome young man against neutral background

Stylized portrait of masculine handsome young man against neutral background

So is he worthy?

 

Monday, May 18th, 2015
Weekend Roundup

Plotting a new book! I love this “research and development” part of the process where anything is possible. I think it could be amazing — IF I CAN GET IT RIGHT. I have characters, a premise and structure of the novel, but there’s one component I’m missing that’s key to making this book work. It’s part of the hook and it has to be exactly right. I’m excited, terrified and hoping I’m up to the challenge. We shall see.

But the truth is, I really won’t know what works until I write it. I have to get the characters on the page to see their chemistry with each other, and really understand their hopes, dreams, fears and vulnerabilities. But this “research and development” process is keeping me happy until I get the revisions back for CAGED MAGIC.

Otherwise, this weekend I did boring stuff, including getting the MRI done for my ankle. And yesterday I ordered a dress online to see if I like it for the RITA awards. It’s sad how few dresses are actually in the stores anymore. But I can return this easily if I need to, so I took a shot.

Today I’m heading back to my final dental visit to get my permanent bridge in, so I won’t be back to answer any comments until afternoon. But all that time in the dental chair will give em more time to think about my book :-)

So how was your weekend?

Friday, May 15th, 2015
Jen Rambling About the Joy and Nostalgia of Writing

Once, I thought the more books I wrote, the easier this writing gig would get. Bwhahaha!! Nope, not for me. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last year as I really struggled to write my last two books (CAGED MAGIC and EXPOSING THE HEIRESS), and that has me something seasoned authors told me long before I was published:

Enjoy the process now because once I published, all the pressure, deadlines and drama would suck out the joy.

Hmm, after writing twenty-some books, am I losing my joy in the process?

Sure, I look back on my early days of “writing the free and untamed book of my heart” with nostalgia. I miss just going for it without that pesky voice of experience in my head censoring each word, questioning every character motivation, scoffing at an unrealistic plot line or nagging me about passive writing. Trust me folks, those voices crowd into my head, bottlenecking my writing process and frustrating the bejeepers out of me. On top of that there are always deadlines ramping up the pressure to produce, which of course, sends my brain into the blue screen of death.

Oh yeah, it seems like the early, pre-published days were glorious – until I wipe away the nostalgia of writing with more hope and joy than any real skill, and I realize the truth.

I was clueless as shit.

No seriously. I didn’t know what sold. I didn’t understand the appeal of a trope (a tried and true plot line like redemption or falling for best friend’s little sister). I didn’t know how to emotionally hook a reader into my character’s goals to create page-turning tension, or how to use hooks and action to ramp up pacing and keep the reader from putting the book down.

I’m still learning every single day. I love that part of the job, I’m always pushing myself to write a better, more powerful and cleaner story.

But I hate the fear that has come with the knowledge. The more I learn, the better I get, the more critical and frustrated I become with my own writing. I realized this even more as I just did a revision on CAGED MAGIC, plus copy edits and proofreading on EXPOSING THE HEIRESS. I’m never satisfied and I suspect I never will be.

That’s called growing as a writer. Sure, in my beginning days as a writer, the newbie passion burned brighter and sitting down to the computer was more of a joyful experience. But that’s a memory that’s been cleaned and sanitized by time, often conveniently forgetting all the numerous people who didn’t take my career goals seriously and a few who made fun of me. And later, too many dream-crushing rejections to even count. Nostalgia has a way of softening the old pain and letting us recall the good times over the bad.

These days, getting paid to do a job I love is priceless. A deep and satisfying joy because I had to work my butt off for it with long hours, painful mistakes and pure determination to do it over and over until I got it right. Or at least close to right as I could, because as I said before, I’m never completely satisfied.

In my early days, I had a dream and every time I put my fingers to the keyboard, I was pursuing that dream with joy. That’s a good thing.

But now? I’m living the dream. It’s harder, takes more blood sweat and tears, but the joyful dream has matured into a sense of accomplishment, and a drive to keep doing it. And the pay off? Every time a reader falls in love with one of my books or characters, I experience profound sense of happiness that is significantly more satisfying that the simple joy I felt in those early days.

My joy still lives and burns, it’s just tempered by time, experience and the drive to do my best not to let down my readers who got me here.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
Wednesday Worthy

Today’s candidate for Wednesday Worthy is actually a couple. But feel free to use your imagination and cut her out of the picture :-)

Young beautiful loving couple is embracing on a black background

So what do you think? Is he worthy?

Monday, May 11th, 2015
Weekend Roundup

So how was everyone’s Mother’s Day? We had a blast here. Kids + Dogs + Margaritas + Hot Tub = FUN!

Cookie and Corky were tired! (Corky is on the left, Cookie on the right)

cookie and corky are tired

We missed Bailey! He had to stay home since he doesn’t always play well with other dogs. But Bailey is coming to stay with us for a week in June, so that’ll be fun.

The weekend had a mild hiccup. On Friday, just a couple hours after I sent the manuscript of CAGED MAGIC to the editor, my other editor sent copy edits for EXPOSING THE HEIRESS and needed them done by Monday.  That’s what I get for planning a weekend off :-) But the good news is, Wizard and the kids all pitched in and everything worked out fine. I got the copy edits done and had fun too.

So how was your weekend?

Friday, May 8th, 2015
Happy Friday and Mother’s Day!

Sending out a special wish to all the Moms!

Cute little Teddy bear giving a bouquet made of hearts

Cute little Teddy bear giving a bouquet made of hearts

Today I’m finishing up CAGED MAGIC to send off to the editor. I’ve been clocking 12 to 16 hour days (I wish I was exaggerating!).  I can’t wait to get a break — but not this weekend. Saturday I’m making enchiladas to talk out to my mother-in-law for dinner. I haven’t seen her in a while, so that’ll be nice. I volunteered this because I thought the kids were busy (and I always understand that). But it turns out they are coming over Sunday so I need to figure out something to have for them too. We’ll barbecue hamburgers or something easy so it’ll work out and we’ll have fun.

So what are your plans?

JenniferLyon.com