Archive for the 'Writing Progress/Goals' Category
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Great news. I’ve sold another book today to Ellora’s Cave. Biding His Thyme is book four in my Fancy Free series and delves into life at the Children of Nature cult in Sloan. And if I do say so myself, I’ve been very clever taking a military secondary character introduced in Summer in the City of Sales and inserting them into my Fancy Free series.
While I was away on holiday Cat Burglar came out in print, and in early December Lion’s Share (an anthology featuring Stray Cat Strut and Leticia’s Lovers) is due out in print too. I rather like the cover. What do you think?
During our holiday the vegetable garden went a bit wild. We’ve been eating lots of carrots and beetroot while we’re waiting for the tomatoes and lettuce to start producing. It’s been quite dry, and we’ve had to start watering each day. Each time I go out into the garden I pick a handful of strawberries. They’re my favorite.
Since our visit to Italy, Mr Munro has started making limoncello, a lemon liquor. It’s very easy to make and the end result is delicious. It doesn’t burn the throat like some homemade alcohols, but it means I have a lot of naked lemons in the kitchen. (He uses the skin only in the limoncello). I’ve been adding lemon juice to everything and using it to freshen the drains.
Have you tried making homemade alcohol or wine before? Any sale news that I might have missed?
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
During the last few months I’ve been attempting to complete three different manuscripts. When I’m at home it’s easy to become distracted. Too easy! There’s all the housework, the Internet, my email, the puppy wanting to play and the phone, just to mention a few things likely to derail my writing day.
Since I know myself well, whenever I can, I leave the house and work in one of my favorite cafes. I’ve posted about the benefits of a coffice before (coffee shop/office), and for me writing in a cafe really works. For instance, I’ve completed the first draft of a 50K manuscript this month, writing the final words today.
But there is an interesting by-product to working in a cafe. I meet some entertaining people.
Most people are attracted by Rufus, my pink netbook. They stop to chat about the cute pink computer and want to know what it does and where they can get one.
At one particular cafe, a group of retired men and women meet after doing a twice-weekly walk. Usually, I get there before them and gradually become surrounded by their group who range in age from early 60s to 80s. They’ve started chatting to me and discovered I was a writer. I received the normal questions about research, along with a few smirks. I told one man that writers who write about murder don’t go around killing people therefore it wasn’t logical to assume I participated in all the kinky stuff he was smirking about. I heard him repeating my words verbatim to two elderly women about two weeks later. The lecture must have sunk in.
One of the elderly ladies in the group wanted to know if I’d speak at her book club. I asked what sort of books they read. “Oh, we’re very relaxed,” she said, waving an airy hand. “Each month we have a theme. This month our theme is color.”
“That’s a good idea,” I said.
“Yes, I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey,” she said. “The first bit was all right, but I’m not sure about all this bondage stuff and tying people up. How am I going to explain that to my book club?”
Yesterday, I was in my cafe around eight in the morning and was busy tapping out my words.
“Excuse me,” the man beside me said. “I’m sorry to bother you, but could you tell me a word to describe addiction.”
I must have looked a bit blank because he said, “This is my sentence.” And he read a sentence about how his gambling had overtaken him, causing him lots of problems.
“Oh,” I said, and I gave him a suggestion.
Wondering just what he was scribbling about in his notebook, I went back to my writing.
“Excuse me,” he said. “Could you spell…” He proceeded to ask me how to spell about half a dozen different words. “Thank you,” he said politely once I’d finished.
I went back to my words.
“Excuse me,” he said.
I was starting to get the drift of what he was writing, and I was a bit nervous about what was coming next.
“I need a closing paragraph to read out to the judge. I’ve been very stupid,” he said. “I’ve done some bad things, and if this letter doesn’t work, I’ll have to go to jail.”
“Oh,” I said. “Okay, how about something like this? Your honor, I am truly sorry for my actions and have learned the error of my ways. I want to be a role model for my children. I’ve worked hard, gone to rehab and done everything required of me to turn my life around.”
He nodded, scribbled my suggestion down, adding a few words of his own. After a few minutes, he said, “Excuse me.”
I smiled politely and wondered what was coming next.
“Thank you for your help. I’m going home to shower and change now.”
“Okay, good luck,” I said.
He nodded and left. I watched him get in his car and drive away before going back to my words.
Life is never boring at the coffice!
Sunday, June 17th, 2012
The weekend just gone is the first that hubby hasn’t had to work for a while. We packed up our kites and took them out to the farm with us on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day, but unfortunately the wind didn’t cooperate. My kite was purchased in China, and it’s my very first kite. It’s really a series of small, light kites tied together to make a long line of kites. Since it’s light I managed to get it up in the air. I have to say it was fun and the kid in me enjoyed it very much. I can’t wait for a suitably windy day to go kite flying again.
My husband has a box kite, which is a bit heavier, and it didn’t fly as well. We needed a bit more puff in the wind to keep it in the air. Still, it was fun.
And in sale news, I’ve sold a story called Good Vibrations to Ellora’s Cave. Good Vibrations is the third story in my Fancy Free series.
Do you have any kite flying stories? Did you make and fly kites as a kid?
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
This is a bronze sculpture of Rodin’s The Thinker, which stands outside the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco.
Very appropriate for my post today since thinking is exactly what I’ve been doing this week. I’m about to start a new book. I have two series underway, and I’m tossing up which one to work on first. Beginnings and endings I have—for both stories. I even have titles, but the direction the stories will take in the middle? Ah, that’s the mystery.
The thinking stage is where I decide what my characters look like and what they want from life. I ponder about the conflict between the characters. I toss many and varied ideas into a pot inside my brain and percolate them, sometimes for months until I start writing. While I’m not a plotter, this part of my process helps me understand my characters and stories.
This time I’m trying something different. I’m attempting a method called Meet in the Middle where I work out 15 plot points for my story. Here’s a link to a post that explains Claudia Suzanne’s Meet in the Middle method of plotting. The resulting list of plot points is loose enough not to scare the pantser in me too much, but it will provide a framework so that I don’t stall because I’m not sure where to take my story. At least that’s the theory.
I’m also using the Manuscript app for iPad, recommended by author Brinda Berry. The index cards are very handy for my “thinking” notes, and it’s good not having to hunt for my notebook all the time. I have several and they all look the same. There’s a lesson to learn there, but it seems I’m a little slow!
Author Maria Zannini has a great post on style sheets. Although I doubt I’m ever going to be totally organized in this area, I am thinking about details a little more and the Manuscript app has proved helpful in keeping everything together.
My plan is to write one story in July and one story in August, writing as fast as I can. If anyone is interested in doing writing challenges, do shout out. I find working with other writers helps me focus and get words down on the page. June is set aside for editing two completed manuscripts. That’s the plan anyway. I figure if I write it down, I’ll make a fool of myself if I don’t follow through. September and October are for a holiday.
Writers: how do you go about starting a new book? Do you have a thinking period?
Readers: where do you do your best thinking?
Monday, April 23rd, 2012
This month I joined the Savvy Authors’ Boot Camp with the goal of getting a push on two stories. One manuscript was partially done, and the other was nothing but a twinkle in my eye. Today I hit 57K words, all written since 1 April, and I’m so close to the end of the twinkly eye manuscript I can taste it. I’m thrilled with my progress, especially since I had little idea where my story might go.
I’m not a plotter, but if I think about my story whenever I’m not at my laptop, I usually come up with something for the following scenes and don’t spend time scratching my head, wondering what to write.
I’ve taken part in several writing sprints, which seem to really work for me. I’m thinking I need to make sprints a regular part of my writing routine since a timed sprint brings out the competitor in me. My hands fly across the keyboard. Heck, I become a writing machine. It’s a beautiful thing!
If anyone is interested in joining me in writing sprints, please shout out. I’m open to sprints on Twitter, at the Savvy Authors’ Water cooler or via this new Facebook Group that has just been set up for like-minded writers who enjoy sprints.
Whenever I have a chance, I’ll head to a coffee shop to write. This works well because I can’t move. Puppy can’t distract me by trying to squeeze onto my chair for a cuddle. She can’t throw her toy at me as an enticement to play. When I’m at home she does both these things. She’s got it down to a fine art. Her imploring brown eyes get me every time!
On the holiday front, I’m getting very excited about our European cruise. Even though it’s five months away, we’re currently planning what we will see at each port. I’m really looking forward to revisiting Italy. Florence, Pisa, Rome, Lucca and Venice are all on the itinerary. This time we’re going to get to Pompeii as well, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I predict more than one photo of David will find its way to my blog on my return.
Meantime, it’s back to writing for me. Boot Camp continues for another seven days, and I’m determined to finish one manuscript and add at least 10K to the other one. Wish me luck!
What are you up to this week? Are you looking forward to anything coming a bit later in the year?
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
With summer almost here in New Zealand hubby decided it was time to get Bella’s swimming pool out for those warmer days when she needs a swim to cool down. She had a ball tonight chasing the bubbles while he was filling it with the hose. I was cooking dinner and turned around to find puppy Bella sitting on the mat outside the kitchen, water dripping off her onto the carpet. Cue one screechy cook! I shouted and waggled my finger. Hubby has also put new sand in Bella’s sandpit so that should keep her busy and out of mischief for a few days.
This year I’ve been in a bit of a writing funk. It’s true that my jaunts overseas didn’t help much, interupting my flow. This week it finally feels as if I’m back in my groove. I’m working on something new and added 2100 words today.
I have a release date for Christmas is Coming. Look for my new contemporary on 9 December from Ellora’s Cave.
Last week on the Marketing for Romance Writers Yahoo list we had a special guest telling us about author signatures and critiquing the signatures of a few brave volunteers. I volunteered my signature. This is the one I’ve been using recently:
Are you up to PAR?
Provocative, Adventurous Romance
The teacher liked my signature but suggested I change it around a little and reverse the order.
Shelley Munro…Provocative, Adventurous Romance
Are you up to PAR?
Some writers include details of their recent releases, their blog, Twitter and Facebook links in their signatures. My personal preference is to keep things brief. There’s nothing worse than scrolling through heaps of signature when I’m trying to read my email. I’d be interested to hear how you do your email signatures and what your preferences are – long or short?
One good suggestion was to use WiseStamp to do email signatures. I thought this looked promising, and I intend to explore it more this weekend. It’s on my to-do list!
How is your writing going? What is your preference for email signatures? Do you change your email signatures on a regular basis?
Friday, November 18th, 2011
Christmas. It’s almost here, whether we want it to arrive or not. Already advertising on the TV, radio and in shops is assaulting my eyes and ears. I don’t care what anyone says. November is too early for Christmas carols about snow and dashing places. Bah humbug! I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit in the slightest.
On the home front, hubby and I are talking holidays. Yes, I know we’ve just returned from jaunts to China and Australia, but if we’ve got to buckle down and work we need something to look forward to—an incentive. After much discussion and Internet research, we came across a cruise that we rather liked the sound of. It starts in Barcelona and goes around the Mediterranean visiting stops such as Rome, Venice, Mykonos, Istanbul, Casablanca and the Azores before finishing at Fort Lauderdale. Hubby and I took about two seconds to think before we both said, “Sign me up!” So, we’re booked, and we only have to wait about 11 months.
While hubby was at the travel agents, she showed him the specials that had arrived that day. Suddenly we were taking a short break at the beginning of December. This time we’re staying at home in New Zealand, but we’re flying to Wellington and catching a cruise ship back up to Auckland. It’s amazing how quickly one can get organized given the motivation.
On the writing front, I’m waiting for my first glimpse of the cover for Cat Burglar in Training. Cat Burglar is the revised version of The Shadow and is due out at Carina Press on Feb 20 2012.
I completed a super secret writing project and turned that in last week. My story will be out in February, and I’ll give you more details as soon as I’m given the go ahead.
This week, I’ve completed edits for my Ellora’s Cave release, Christmas is Coming. It will be out in December (exact date to be confirmed). This story takes place in the same small town where my Talking Dog series and Fancy Free take place. I bet you didn’t know the country town of Sloan was such a hot-bed of activity. If you’d like to get a head start and in the mood for Christmas is Coming you might like to check out the aforementioned books.
In the next few weeks I’ll be taking part in a couple of blog hops. Watch for details because there are some good prizes up for grabs. I’ll be giving away books—both e-format and print. I don’t know about you, but I can never have enough books on my to-read pile.
While I think about it, author Alice Audrey hosts Win a Book at her blog. It’s a chance to win a book, perhaps by a new-to-you author. If you’re an author hosting a book giveaway complete the form on Alice’s Win a Book page, and she’ll add your giveaway details.
And finally, if you’d like to win a copy of Peeping Tom, book two of my Middlemarch Mates series, today is the last day of my Goodreads give away. Don’t delay or you’ll miss out on the chance to enter.
I’ll leave you with a question: If you had 24 hours alone how would you spend it?
My answer: Right at this moment, I’d spend a good portion of that time sleeping. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind for the last few weeks. I’d also go for a long walk with Bella, catch up on some reading for pleasure and get stuck into some writing. It’s so good to work on something new for a change. There would also be a nice meal and a glass of wine in those hours somewhere. Probably a cup of coffee or two as well. What about you?
Thursday, September 29th, 2011
I have a new release coming out with Carina Press in February 2012. It’s a rerelease of my contemporary mystery/romance The Shadow, although I’ve done extensive revisions and rewrites with the help of my wonderful editor. There’s no official title or blurb as yet, but the release date is definitely February.
Monday, August 1st, 2011
Today I started polishing/editing the new gothic romance I finished last month. Part of my day was spent surfing the web and consulting my collection of reference books. One of the points I needed to check on was 18th century cosmetics.
Last week during my blog hopping, I visited Carol Dunford’s blog, Les Femmes d’Ecriture. Author Brinda Berry was visiting and discussing the use of podcasts for research. Brinda said she finds podcasts an excellent way to research various topics. You can read her post here.
The idea of using podcasts struck me as brilliant. I spend a lot of time walking the dog and often wear my iPod. Sometimes I listen to RWA workshops but hadn’t thought of checking out podcasts for research purposes. Today I came across the perfect podcast at the Colonial Williamsburg website, which answered all my 18th century cosmetic questions. It was called The Art of Beauty. For those who are interested in history or who write historical novels some of the other podcasts look exciting too. Topics vary from The Art of Cut (about men’s tailoring) to Music and Dance and Animals.
So what did I learn about cosmetics?
1. Pale is good and tans were frowned upon. A hat was a woman’s best friend.
2. Dark eyes and hair were preferred because both set off a pale skin.
3. Most people of the time bore scars and smallpox marks on their faces and many had hollowed cheeks after losing teeth.
4. Things like lead and other harmful substances were used to make the skin appear pale.
5. Patches in the shape of moons, stars and other shapes were very popular. They were perfect to disguise smallpox marks.
6. Mouse fur was used to make eye brows appear thicker and darker. Yuck!
Armed with this information, I’ll be able to make my heroine appear more authentic. If I suddenly time traveled back to the 18th century the other women would laugh for sure. Each summer my freckles join hands, go forth and multiply. A hat and suntan lotion don’t seem to help much!
What do you think of the beauty ideals of the time? Pale skin and dark hair? Do you listen to podcasts? Do you have any favorites that you subscribe to and would recommend?
Saturday, January 1st, 2011
Several years ago I started a tradition. On the first day of the year I always do some writing. This year was no different and I worked on the final story in my Middlemarch Mates series. It’s coming along nicely.
I have quite a bit of writing news to start off the New Year.
1. A Discreet Affair is due for release from Liquid Silver books on 17 January 2011.
2. I’ve contracted a Naughty Nooner story with Ellora’s Cave. I don’t have a release date as yet, but Lightning Strikes Twice is a Middlemarch Mates story. The action takes place at the same time as Scarlet Woman. This makes a total of twelve books in the series. A nice round number to end the series, I think.
3. I’ve also sold a story called Christmas is Coming to Ellora’s Cave. This story is set in the same world as Fancy Free and it is due for release around Nov/Dec 2011.
4. Resisting Tamaki was nominated for a CAPA in the Fantasy/Sci-fi erotic romance category at The Romance Studio. The winners will be announced in Feb 2011.
5. I received a ripper of a review for The Spurned Viscountess from Reviews from the Heart. The reviewer said, “This was such a great book and one that left me with the feel good feeling I love so much.” I scored a Totally Smitten rating. Yay!
How did you start your New Year?