I’m doing some work on my website, so some pages and posts may appear a bit wonky. I’m trying to get this sorted asap. Things should look shiny and new soon.
Archives for May 2015
I’ve decided to not write another book in ten days and have therefore postponed writing the first draft of Seasons Of Love. I did this for several reasons, the main ones being:
– There are 14 work days left before we leave for Belgium. If I use 10 of those for writing this book, that leaves me only 4 days for all my other work, including 1 day to move the Ladylit office from the city to the island. And, yes, there are 2 weekends left, but they are reserved for 1) celebrating my birthday, 2) putting together a top secret surprise present for my wife’s 40th birthday, 3) having a life. Four days is, quite simply, not enough.
– My writer’s fuel tank hasn’t been replenished yet. I started Release The Stars not long after finishing Once In A Lifetime, and I poured a lot of emotions into those two books. As much as I regret having to come to this conclusion: I need a break before I can do it again.
– The first part of Seasons Of Love is actually set in my holiday destination: Algarve, Portugal. I’ll be spending a week there at the end of June and instead of relying on Google Images and such, I concluded it would be so much better to be there, soak up the sunny (cougar-y) atmosphere, and then write the book.
– I have a shitload of work to do before we leave. Finalize Once In A Lifetime. Publish and promote Summer Love, the lesbian romance anthology I’m co-editing with my wife. Move our office. Freeing up my schedule will also allow me to make the Harper Bliss and Ladylit websites mobile responsive and give them the overhaul they’ve needed for a while.
So, for now, this mission has been aborted. It’s definitely not been canceled, just postponed. I’ll keep you posted.
Well… I did start, but I didn’t get very far. As much as I wanted to just jump from one book to the next, apparently it doesn’t work that way. I felt it as soon as I opened my eyes. I was actually nervous to start this book. I have many emotions when starting on a new story (of any length), but stress and anxiety usually aren’t among them.
I had trouble with everything, but mainly with staying off the internet (which is usually a sign that it won’t be a stellar day for writing.) I also had problems switching from 3rd person POV past tense (which I used for Release The Stars) to 1st person POV present tense. I tried, because, despite the nerves and the not-really-feeling-it, I am very excited about this story, but some days it just doesn’t happen.
I did manage to somehow ‘bang out’ (that’s how I call it) 3000 words, so today was not a total loss. (And lest you think all I did with the rest of my day was watch The Voice, there’s always plenty of publishing stuff to do for Ladylit… I did however watch The Voice finale (on fast forward because who needs to see more white dudes sing?) during my lunch break. My favorite part was when Christina impersonated Britney, Lady Gaga & Cher. Respect!) (My favorite contestant didn’t win, though… they never do.)
So, back on track with this blog post… I decided to scrap tomorrow’s writing day from my schedule as well, and start again on Tuesday, when I’ve at least had a few more days to put Release The Stars behind me. As much as I would like to be a ‘book machine’ at times, I’m just a writer of flesh and blood (and many many feelings.)
But, I do already have a proper title for this new book: Seasons Of Love. Props to my wife who came up with it when we had a little brainstorm over lunch yesterday. The book deals with a May/December relationship, so the word ‘Seasons’ in the title is a reference to that.
What I also have, is the cover for Once in a Lifetime! Again, props to my wife, who made it. I love it so much.
For this book, I’m going to keep a proper tally, so you can easily follow along.
Day 1: 3000 words
Total: 3.000 words
I should be back on Tuesday! Have a great weekend.
A heavy rain shower woke me up at 4.30AM this morning (it’s rainy season in Hong Kong) and instead of trying to get back to sleep, I just got up and started writing. I began my first session at 5.20AM and everything came together nicely. By the time I finished just before lunch time, I was riding a massive adrenalin high (and was feeling mightily pleased with myself.)
So, that’s the first draft done in 11 days! (Actually, 4 of those were half days so it could have been 9.) ;-p
I had a few lesser days, but never anything alarming, and I think my crazy writing experiment was, at the very least, a word count success. Whether it will be successful in other ways, remains to be seen, of course. But, first and foremost, I had a lot of fun writing this book. If only half of the joy I experienced while writing it translates to the page…. it should make for an enjoyable reading experience as well. 😉
But, as always (and as I like to say): no rest for the dramatic! On Friday, I’m starting on the next one. My wife and I sat down last Monday and plotted it out already. I’m very, very excited about this one as well, so I actually can’t wait to get started.
I’ve certainly learned a thing or two while writing this book. Here are the most important ‘lessons’:
Stay off the internet
I can’t repeat this one enough. The internet is a massive time suck. I try to stay off until lunch time (I don’t always succeed) because the morning is my ‘golden time’.
Wake up early
This one is very person specific. Until a few years ago, I’d never have guessed I was a morning person. But, for me, the early hours easily dissolve a lot of ‘writing resistance’ I would otherwise struggle with (aka I’m not so prone to procrastination in the morning.) I will definitely be getting up earlier to write my ‘Swimming Pool novel’.
A little bit of plotting goes a long way
I’ve always been a massive pantser, but the 1 sentence per chapter I had outlined for this book prior to starting certainly helped me to write faster. This doesn’t mean I always stuck to my plot, but it did steer me back in the right direction when needed, and kept me from having to have ‘a long hard think’ before starting a new chapter.
Believe in yourself
Writers doubt themselves. It’s in our blood. It’s normal. Half the time, we believe that what we put out is utter crap. I do suffer from this also, but writing fast helps with that simply because I don’t give myself the time to doubt. Because I use 30-minute writing intervals, I also don’t have to believe in myself all day, just for 30-minute stretches of time. 😉
* * *
If you’re wondering what I’m planning to do with all these first drafts and why I’m so keen on finishing them before I go to Belgium… I’ll be away from Hong Kong for two months and I think my writing time might be seriously compromised when I’m away from home. (I’m quite anal about my writing rituals.) I will be working while away (but will also take some time off!), but the focus won’t be on producing new words (although I would like to return in August with a good start on French Kissing Season 3…)
As for polishing these first drafts (Release The Stars is still full of notes and is missing one very important, crucial paragraph e.g.) and getting them ready for beta-reading and professional editing… that’s going to be a whole new experiment in itself. Sorry to be lame and not give you more details on this yet, but I kind of want to test if it will actually work out first.
If you followed me along the way, thanks for reading. And not to worry, I’ll most likely be back on Friday. 😉
I’m so close to the end of Release The Stars now, I think I might be suffering from (wholly imaginary, I’m sure) Finishing Fear Syndrome. After a decent morning (where I did start later than usual, but the words flowed nicely), I only managed one more session after lunch. I just blocked. It’s a bit crazy because I’m almost at 53.000 words now and I know exactly what’s going to happen (lots of sex, basically) (just kidding), but I just couldn’t sit down any longer and write the scenes.
Before I started this crazy writing experiment, I would have been over the moon with a 4700 words day, and I’m certainly not displeased with the progress I made, but it just feels like the last few writing days have been much more tricky than the first.
That being said, my story did take me by surprise today. I’ve ventured off the plot I laid out in the beginning quite a bit (although the outcome will be the same, the route to The End is a bit different than I had first envisioned). Something came together in a way that I hadn’t expected and made me a little emotional. The main character is a writer and perhaps I put a bit more of myself in her than I wanted to. 😉
I would also like to clearly state that this is just first draft writing. The manuscript will need quite a bit of work before it’s ready to be edited (or even be sent to my Dearly Beloved Beta-Reader.) What I’m mainly trying to accomplish by writing so quickly is a sense of freedom and an easy way into ‘the zone’. Shut off the critical brain and just let the fingers on the keyboard do the work.
Anyway, my schedule doesn’t allow for a lot more goofing around and I WILL NEED TO FINISH TOMORROW (all caps as a reminder to myself.) 😉
My first idea after brainstorming my story for Opposites Attract was to get a very messy person together with someone prone to OCD, but then I watched the movie Swimming Pool, featuring a very uptight Charlotte Rampling and an extremely sensually portrayed Ludivine Sagnier and I became slightly obsessed. I started dreaming of a lesbian plot for the movie and I woke up on the day I set aside for writing the story so completely consumed by images of Charlotte Rampling secretly feasting her eyes on Ludivine Sagnier’s glossy, youthful legs, I had to write that story instead. So I did. And you can find it in this mini-anthology, alongside more clashing tales of lesbian lust by my favorite co-authors, Cheyenne Blue, Laila Blake, Lucy Felthouse and Erzabet Bishop.
Here’s a snippet from my story ‘The Power of Words’:
Alice lay in a deck chair wearing just a pair of bikini bottoms in a loud floral print. The way the sun warmed her nipples was, indeed, an exquisite sensation. Additionally, Alice was still basking in the glory of actually having taken her top off. She’d just done it. First the straps, then the clasp, finally letting it fall by her side—after which she’d picked it up and draped it over the back of her chair. Joy was entirely to blame for this. Alice didn’t take any responsibility for putting her upper body on display like that. And she would certainly never even consider doing so in front of someone else. But it was just her now. The blue sky above. The cool water of the pool next to her. Some birds chirping in the bushes surrounding the garden. This was what her holiday was made of. Joy would be leaving again in a few days. In fact, Alice might even enjoy her holiday more, what with the contrast of being all alone again—and the new-found pleasure of baring her chest to the sun.
“Wow, Mama,” Alice heard someone say, followed by a wolf whistle. “Glad to see I inspired you.”
Alice blinked her eyes open. The sun was all the way on the other side of the garden. What time was it? “I must have dozed off,” she muttered. Joy stood next to her chair, her eyes fixed on Alice’s bosom. Only then did Alice remember she’d taken off her top before falling asleep.
“Oh shoot.” She quickly covered her breasts with her arms, looking around for her top.
“Looking for this?” Joy held Alice’s bikini top between two fingers. “Nice fabric, by the way… Very unexpected, but hey, life can be full of surprises like that.”
Here’s the blurb:
Ladylit’s ‘Fab Five’ are back, and this time they will regale you with stories revolving around the age-old theme of Opposites Attract. Find out how a Democrat and a Republican reconcile their different political view points in Cheyenne Blue’s ‘Coming Out In District 31′, how a gym novice and a gym bunny get it on in Lucy Felthouse’s ‘Same Place, Same Time’, and how an older, rather uptight woman deals with a young brat spoiling her holiday in Harper Bliss’s ‘The Power of Words’. Further stories by Erzabet Bishop and Laila Blake expand the settings in this diverse mini-anthology to a bookstore and a museum. Tension flies high in these five tales of clashing lesbian lust, in which the characters will have to either ignore their desire or broaden their mind.
Table of Contents
Same Place, Same Time by Lucy Felthouse
Dark Bloomer by Laila Blake
Coming Out in District 31 by Cheyenne Blue
Art Speak by Erzabet Bishop
The Power of Words by Harper Bliss
And you can get it here:
P.S. The movie Swimming Pool has inspired me so much that I will also turn the lesbian (non-thriller) version of it (that’s been playing in my head for a few weeks now) into a full-length novel soon! (Seriously, watch that movie!)