Update

Last week was hellish. I was so busy, I hardly had time to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I did a lot of fun stuff, but my days were filled from morning to late night.

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But first some awesome news: y’all remember the Christmas story I wrote back in March/April? Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings? I submitted it to Dreamspinner Press and their Advent Calendar submission call…and I GOT ACCEPTED!

YAY!! *doing the happy dance*

RPSAGR is about two young men who’ve loved each other for a long time, ugly Christmas Trees, and how to make Christmas merry despite not having much. Here’s some inspirational pictures:

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The boys that inspired me (though Ellis is younger than the lovely man in the picture), the gumball rings, a sad looking Christmas tree, and popcorn dyed red.

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So, why was I so busy last week, you might wonder? Well, here’s what I did:

  • Two rounds of edits and one proof for Cinnamon Eyes
  • Filled out a gazillion forms about my story for Dreamspinner Press. Okay, it was only two, but it felt like a gazillion and they were time consuming
  • Critiqued the writing of two writer friends
  • Planned a really fun project with three writer friends. You’ll get more information about it later, but needless to say, I’m excited
  • Tried to keep up with my NaNo word count. I’m sad to say that I had to lower my goal from 20K to 15K or I would have been screwed, but on Friday night I reached my goal. Yay!

Phew. I think I’m going to spend this week flat on my back on the couch.

And finally: when you get this reaction from your editor, you’ve done something right. Right? 😀

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Life signs and blurbs

Hi everyone. Just wanted to say that I’m alive. It feels like forever since I was here on the blog. I know it might not seem that way, considering I’ve been posting something every day (almost, with the exception for the 11th) this month, but that’s the magic of pre-written, scheduled blog posts, my friends.

In reality, I’ve been far too busy to blog, so good thing I decided to do that challenge! It all started on May 27th with the release of Find His Way Home. A new release is fabulous and fun, but also stressful and lots of work. On June 1st I wrote and scheduled almost all blog posts for the #RiotGrams challenge, and after that I’ve been writing like a fiend to finish my WIP, The Boy With Cinnamon Eyes. 

It took me thirty days to write Cinnamon, and it’s approximately 35K words. That’s a lot of writing in a short period of time.

Which is why I’m not doing any writing this week. I’m recharging my batteries and all that. And since Cinnamon is with my most trusted beta, there’s not much I can do anyway. Except for writing the blurb, of course.

I decided I’d go about that differently this time. Let’s face it: my tried and tested process of obsessing about how difficult it is to write a blurb for two weeks, try to write it and fail miserably, and then drown in anxiety for the next two weeks before finally producing anything—like I did with the Christmas story—wasn’t all that great 😀

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Instead, I wrote down a bunch of words I associated with the story. Then I made those into sentences that didn’t have to be connected, just related to the story. And then I cut them up so I can play around with them. That’s what I’m doing at the moment.

I have no idea if it works yet, but it’s giving me a lot less anxiety which is great. Wish me luck! 🙂

 

Music of my youth

These past couple days, I’ve completely immersed myself in music. It’s been research…if one can call music one’s been listening to a million times research. But it’s for one of my current WIPs (I’ve got two going right now), the one I mentioned in my Monday update when I was trying to write lyrics.

Music will have a very prominent part in that story, and I’ve spent hours on Youtube watching videos with the music that’s important to the MCs. Music that’s also been incredibly important in my life.

And that got me thinking.

Do you remember when you were a teenager and discovered something you loved? How that thing consumed you completely, and you loved it with your entire being? A book, a movie, a boy (or girl – not discriminating)?

Or in my case: music. Music has always been an essential part of my life. And while it’s still as important to me as ever, I miss the way I listened to music when I was younger. How I fell in love with new songs or bands or artists. How I scribbled their names in my text books in school (hooligan!) and wallpapered my room with posters of my favorite bands.

How I would lie on the floor and listen to my favorite album and cry because it moved me so much. Touched me to my very core.

When did I lose that? When did I become this practical grown up, who still loves music desperately, but not like before? Sure, I still buy the records. I listen to Spotify and check out videos on Youtube. But when was the last time I laid on the floor in complete darkness and listened to my favorite record so loudly my mother would have exploded with anger if she’d been home?

It’s been decades.

Why do we become so hard to impress when we grow up? When do we lose that enthusiasm and overwhelming love for something we feel in the teenage years? Why do we lose that passion?

Let me paint you a picture: one of my favorite albums when I was a teenager was Mind Bomb by a British band called The The. (I was an alternative girl. I didn’t listen to mainstream music (there were exceptions, of course, but mostly not)). I bought it on vinyl (I’m that old!) in the local record store in the tiny town where I lived, and I listened to it again and again.

Printed on the inner sleeve of the record was the following “instruction” from the band: To obtain maximum pleasure & effect from this album, please play VERY LOUD!, VERY LATE, VERY ALONE…& with the lights turned VERY LOW!

I followed those instructions to a T. Lying on the floor with only the display on my stereo illuminating my room, I listened to the record loudly in my headphones (to avoid disturbing my parents and my brother). I immersed myself in the songs, learned the lyrics by heart, and sang along (or mouthed along, if I had to be quiet). And I felt like he was singing about me.

You were the girl I wanted to cry with
You were the girl I wanted to die with

I wanted so desperately to be that girl for someone.

Or this song, originally by The Smiths, but performed live by the singer (Morrissey) in this version. The boy I was desperately in love with when I was fifteen was also a big fan of this band. And I would lie on the floor, listen to this song, think about him, and cry because he didn’t love me back.

Last night I dreamt
That somebody loved me
No hope – but no harm
Just another false alarm

I like that I’m older and wiser now than when I was fifteen, but why did I have to become so cynical and hard to impress?

I want that innocent enthusiasm back. I want to be able to lie down on the floor and listen to my favorite album without feeling silly (or fearing I won’t get up again because I’m too old). I miss how my heart started to race when I heard the first notes of my favorite song playing on the radio.

***

The MCs in WIP#2 (working title Cinnamon) were best friends when they grew up, but were separated when they were fifteen, because the narrator moved away. My story starts when they meet again, sixteen years later. They have inherited that love of music from me, and Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (the song in the second video in this post) is a part of the story.

Here’s an excerpt. Bear in mind that it’s fresh of the presses and completely unedited. And the “it” that they used to lie on the floor and listen to, was Strangeways, Here We Comethe record that song was featured on.

We’d used to lie on the floor and listen to it. Learning the lyrics by heart and singing along, happy we hadn’t been as miserable as the singer seemed to be.

“I can play it now, you know.”

I jerked at the sound of his voice, not having heard him come back upstairs.

“What?” I asked as I looked up at him where he towered over me. All the tension from before was gone, and the corners of his mouth were turned up in a fond smile.

“Your favorite song,” he said and tipped his head down at the record. “If it still is your favorite, that is.”

“Yeah, it is.”

Asher fetched an acoustic guitar from somewhere I couldn’t see—one even more beat up than the one he’d played downstairs—and sat cross-legged in front of me. He plucked the strings, and twisted the tuning pegs a little at the time until all six strings were in tune.

He went from plucking to strumming the first chords, and I smiled as I recognized them. But then he started singing, and every hair on my body stood straight up, and my mouth fell open.

His raspy voice was perfect for the sad lyrics. It was impossibly intimate to sit this close to him and listen to him as he poured his soul into the song. And when he came to my absolute favorite part and sang about how he’d felt real arms around him last night, hot tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks, leaving burning trails in their wake.

Monday update

Hi everyone. I know I’ve been a little silent lately, but I’ve been feeling really off. I’ve hardly written anything for two weeks, I’ve felt like all the words have run out.

I think I need to watch less news. It upsets me and screws with my creativity. But on the other hand, it’s difficult stop watching, considering the current climate. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?

However: I feel a little better today. It might have something to do with the fact that I wrote 2K words yesterday.

I also wrote some lyrics. One of my MCs (in WIP#2 I’m currently working on) is a songwriter and he’s written a very special song for someone very special.

Do you know how freaking difficult it is to write lyrics? Luckily the MC isn’t a big star or anything, so the lyrics don’t need to be Billboard material. But it took me four hours or something for 171 words. Adding to that was equally many hours the other day when I came up with the structure and the concept.

So eight hours in total for 171 words. Not even 21,5 words/hour. Songwriting is hard. And I’ll probably rewrite it, but it’s a start.

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Writing lyrics requires pen and paper.

Other than that I’m done with the editing for the Christmas story. I’ve had it out for three rounds of beta-reading, had an intense discussion about loose ends, and edited, edited, edited. But I’m happy with the result now, and all I have left to do is write a blurb and a summary and then it’s ready for submission.

So maybe not so lazy after all?

Have a great week.

Oh, I almost forgot. Five more days until Find His Way Home!! I’m excited!

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Preorder links for Find His Way Home:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N

Edits, edits, and more edits

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you had a interesting and productive week last week. I did. It didn’t contain much writing (about 3K words maybe) but I did lots and lots of editing.

As I’ve already told you I edited my upcoming book Find His Way Home. After two rounds, my fabulous editor was happy (and if she’s happy, I’m happy).

I thought that while I was in editing mode I might as well continue. So I rolled up my sleeves and dug my teeth into Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings. 

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I dusted off the Christmas playlist in Spotify, warned my husband about the upcoming holiday spirit (who put on his big over-ear headphones like the Grinch, because that wasn’t what he felt like), and listened to a few select songs.

It worked like a charm. Except for when I listened to Last Christmas and started crying because I still haven’t gotten over the loss of my beloved George Michael. Other than that—perfect.

After five songs or so I was filled with holiday cheer and finished the edits super quickly. Now it’s with one of my most trusted betas and I await her comments eagerly.

This week I’ve gotta get some writing done, though. I have all the grand plans for the upcoming months, and books don’t write themselves.

Also: make sure you stop by on Wednesday when I will post something really important about how you can help in a very worthy cause. Click the image below if you don’t want to wait until Wednesday!

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Have a great week, friends.

#CampNaNoWriMo result

So. That was April? I can’t believe how fast it swooshed by!!

I’ve already told you I won NaNo (yay!), but I thought I’d show you the final result:

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As you can see, I’ve been shamefully lazy this last week, but I promise I have a good reason! My husband is a hot-shot global support manager, who manages people all over the world, across all time zones (from Japan to the US) meaning his work hours are weird and insane. He works a lot, people! But last week he actually managed to get a few days off, and I wanted to spend them with him when I had the chance.

Ergo: very little writing. I probably would have worked harder if I hadn’t already reached my goal, but now I chose to take a few days off instead. Marriage before writing, and all that! 🙂

I didn’t actually take all those days off, though, so I’m not as lazy as it seems. I just didn’t write anything. I still did research and came up with backstories for the MCs in my next story, but that doesn’t count for NaNo.

So. Final word tally: 25856 words. That means I can easily reach 30K in a month, so if I decide to go ahead and sign up for Camp in July, too, I’m gonna set 30K as my goal.

My current WIP, Never Before Him, isn’t done, so I’ll keep working on it. It’s currently at 20K and I’m nowhere near done! Holy crap, it’s gonna be long. Or at least a lot longer than what I usually write 🙂

I have to say I really enjoyed taking part of Camp NaNo. I can see myself doing it again. See you in July?

And congratulations to my writer friend Addison who also reached her goal. We rock! 🙂

Have a great week! 🙂

Planning?

The other day I wrote a formal schedule for my writing. I have all these projects and ideas floating around in my head, but I haven’t written them down properly, so I decided to do it. To see if it was doable.

And then I kind of croaked. All my ideas and projects that felt so manageable in my head, was overwhelming on paper. It looks like a lot:

P1060400Ambitious. At least for someone whose approach to this writing thing so far has been I want to have fun. 

But if I break it down, it isn’t so much. The Christmas story (that’s now officially named Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings) is written and at about 12K words, so editing won’t take too long.

I don’t have official deadlines for Never Before Him and The Locked Room, even though I really wanna finish NBH asap.

The JMS Submission call I mention is this one, Colors of the Rainbow. It’s the second time that JMS posts a sub call that fits an idea I already had. It’s like she looks into my brain to check out my ideas and before posting submission calls. Do I need a tin foil hat? 🙂 So I feel like I have to write my idea and submit it. It’s going to be about a boy with cinnamon eyes, so I’m calling it Cinnamon for now.

Then there’s finishing everything in June (deadline RPSAGR July 1st and Cinnamon June 30th), before participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again in July. And I’ve already got a story started for that one (Don’t Forget to Breathe). I abandoned it some time back (I tried plotting a story and it went straight to hell—I’m a pantser), but I want to get back to the boys, so I’m gonna rewrite the words I already got and try to finish it.

Sounds reasonable, right? I can do it, right?

It’s just…I don’t usually do long time planning like this, so it feels big and scary. And real.

How do you plan your projects? And how far in advance? Let me know in the comments. And let me know what you think about my plan. Is it doable? Have I lost my mind? Do I need my head examined? 🙂