Writers, like professional athletes and gamblers, are rumored to be a suspicious lot indulging in odd, idiosyncratic practices and rituals that set them to the correct frame of mind and, if the powers that be are willing, ensure success. Just like I don't collect things or have any special (if useless) talents, I don't have any writing rituals, either.
Egad, how utterly boring I am.
I don't have a particular time set aside to write. I don't have a special place designated as my writing spot. I don't have any distinctive habits that must be performed to settle my mind or get me into the writing frame. I'm pretty random when it comes to my writing.
I write when the urge strikes me. Sometimes that's frequent, not so much other times. I once went around a decade without writing anything creative--just copy for my job. That was, overall, a pretty dark time of my life. Bitter cynicism permeated me, to the point at which I wasn't really joking when I said I sacrificed hope for Lent.
Although many writing experts advise aspiring authors to dedicate themselves to a daily habit of writing a certain number of words or for a certain length of time, even setting aside a scheduled "writing period," I never subscribed to that. I learned long ago that forcing myself to write produces utter garbage. If the story doesn't interest me, then I and my readers are better off if I simply abandon the project. Sometimes I return to an old project that recaptures my interest, but that seldom happens.
Those writing experts would probably call me undisciplined; however, I don't see it that way at all. When I write, I'm very disciplined. I follow the characters as they lead me through their journeys and self-edit along the way. When that draft's finished, I go through it again wearing my "editor's hat." Heaven forbid I deliver a rough draft to my editor. Finessing the manuscript as much as I can before she gets her hands on it keeps her rates at a level I can afford.
For what it's worth, those same experts also caution against editing as one writes. Customary advice says to vomit the rough draft and then go back and self-edit, basically leaving editorial judgment for the second draft.
Since I typically produce three or four novels a year, I'm comfortable disregarding their advice, because my undisciplined, random practice suits me just fine.
Progress continues with my upcoming release, Bear of the Midnight Sun. I hired a graphic designer for the cover--I wrote about that disappointing experience last week--and received a cover that's OK. I used part of his design to create my own front cover. You can decide which is his and which is mine. Ultimately, it doesn't matter.
What I would like your opinion about, however, is which of the two cover options you prefer. I'm calling them "with the beard" and "without the beard." Leave a comment to indicate your preference.
So, about the book ...
I'm taking a break from fantasy romance to wade back into paranormal romance. This book continues the series begun with The Barbary Lion and its sequel Tiger in the Snow. You'll see the theme in cover design.
As consistent with the trope, our hero is an immortal shifter, a polar bear. He's older than Dmitry and younger than Atlas. Also consistent, he's looking for his mate. In an original twist upon the usual grab-and-bag scenario of shifter males finding and claiming their mates, Sindre finds his soulmate as a fellow guest in a talk show studio in Las Vegas.
It's Vegas, baby. Anything goes!
Unlike Atlas Leonidus, Sindre doesn't mean to be an overbearing jerk. Just like Atlas, he can't really help it. Miranda, our heroine, finds herself overwhelmed by this big, virile man and the powerful bear he unleashes within her.
This adventure takes our hero and heroine from the bright, garish lights of Las Vegas, NV to the frigid arctic to the steamy heat of Kenya. We reacquaint ourselves with Atlas and Chloe, who hasn't quite tamed the old lion. Be prepared for marital advice from the Barbary lion: hey, he said it, not I. I heard his voice clear as day when that scene flowed onto the page.
Beginning October 1, my Book of the Month promotion will be the first two books in the series: The Immortal Shifter Duet which contains both books. Bear of the Midnight Sun is scheduled for release on October 31 and will be November's book of the month.
#HollyBargo #MFRWhooks #HenHousePublishing #Fantasy #Romance
This week's prompt concerns strange or useless talents. Well, I suppose we're in for another week of short blog posts.
I can't think of any particular talent I have that would fall under strange or useless. Actually, one might consider me bereft of most talent, so I cherish the few that I do claim and refuse to call them strange or useless.
I can't dance. When I sing, dogs howl. My musical prowess leaves much to be desired. My drawing skills are considered better than most, but not good enough to take on the road. I have no particular gift for working with animals: what skill I have I worked hard to acquire. I tried pottery, a 6-week course. It was fun, but there was no real spark. If it's green, I'll kill it. So, gardening's out. I dislike digging in the dirty anyway, and I detest yard work. I'm not particularly insightful or perceptive, but a few folks have mentioned that I'm pretty good at cutting through bullshit. My mother taught me to sew--and do it well--but I loathe sewing. And embroidery. I'm also an indifferent (okay, awful) housekeeper.
Nope, I'm not particularly talented.
So, what can I do? I consider myself a decent cook, not great and nowhere near "Master Chef" caliber. But what I make usually doesn't suck. I consider myself a pretty damned good writer. Obviously. If I thought my writing skills were abysmal, I wouldn't be doing this for a living. I consider myself a good editor, too.
Yeah, I'm limited. And I hear voices. For instance, I heard my grandmother's voice on the way to her funeral. She never spoke to me again. However, the voices I usually hear are the characters who manifest in my books. My head's a crowded place. But that's probably not what one would consider a talent, just a psychotic disorder.
I'll be taking more art classes beginning this week, one class a month exploring different media and techniques. I'm looking forward to it. Perhaps I'll find that divine spark, that sense that yes, this is what makes my heart sing.