See You Later, NaNoWriMo

ImageAhh, National Novel Writing Month, you are here once again.

I signed up for the writing marathon this year, but I’m somewhat second guessing that decision today. I’m not usually one to set myself up for failure.

My first day of NaNo last year was spent chasing squirrels, and I logged a big fat zero for word count. Each day I fell farther behind, and by Thanksgiving, I was ready to throw in the towel. But then it clicked, and the words poured out onto the keyboard. I wrote 22,000 words over the next four days. I finished Windy City Hunter on November 26, and I published the book on December 21. I was proud to grab my first NaNoWriMo badge.

So why not do the same thing this year?

Because Susan Hunter is still in Canada, that’s why. When I last saw Imageher around three a.m. this morning, she was fishing for muskie. It’s going to take a while yet to get her back home.

Maple Leaf Hunter is the one book I promised for 2013, and not only do I want to keep my promise, I want to finish the book. It’s shaping up to be a lot of fun, and there’s a Sasquatch (my brothers will be delighted). With over 20,000 words yet to write, I’m going to go into November with Susan Hunter. When the book is finished, I’ll take a day or two to make an editing pass, and then I’ll set it aside and move on to NaNo.

The book I intend to write for NaNo is Murder is Where the Heart Is, the second book in the Two Sisters and a Journalist series. I only have the bare bones of the story in my mind, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of penning 50,000 words toward it in November. I’m not confident about reaching the goal, but I’m not defeated before I start either.

So, I’ll see you later NaNoWriMo. Probably around November 10.

If you are participating, are you ready?

Shopping for Houses When You Write

Spanish_HomeMy father and my uncles worked together to help each other build their houses. It’s too long ago to remember the details, but I recall each of them being skilled at one particular thing, and all of them able to do a little bit of everything.

I was three years old when Dad built our house, so I don’t have memories of the construction, but I do remember years later when my uncle built a duplex next door to us. The framework was up, and there were planks over cement block footers until the stoops were poured.

One day I angered my brother, and the chase was on. I was running to find Dad to save me, and I jumped onto the boards over one of the holes. The next thing I knew, I was bleeding in the basement. Once Dad knew I hadn’t broken anything in the fall, I got a whippin’ for the disruption to the work process. Ahhh … good memories.

But the best thing about those men building houses was the books. The books with drawings of houses and their floor plans. I spent hours poring over those books and dreaming about the house I would one day live in.

I still love floor plans, and I use them when I write.

When writing Windy City Hunter, I looked at condo floor plans before settling on one from a building I stayed in when visiting the city.

For my new book, Murder Under Construction, I chose a simple two-story home for my main character. I copied the floor plan and added my own information. It was a big help when I needed to reference direction, and it also helped me to remember what I had already written about the house.

Floor_Plan_MUCFor the book I’m writing now, I’ve been searching for Spanish-style homes. Floor plans are certainly more attractive than they were years ago.

color_plan

I find it helps quite a bit to have actual houses and floor plans when I’m writing. It’s easier to envision my characters moving around in their homes. I’ve even printed hotel room layouts when my characters have stayed in hotels.

I’ve always used calendars, timelines, and maps when planning my books, but until I was searching for floor plans again, I didn’t realize how much I rely on them.

What about you? Do you make up your houses and floor plans in your head? Or do you go shopping for houses as I do?

Big Apple Hunter

I had such a nice surprise today. Julia at *Jwls Mac Ray, 2BCreative* reviewed my second book, Big Apple Hunter. If you have time, hop on over to read the review, and look around while you’re there, too. She’s one of my favorite bloggers!

Jwls Mac Ray

Review of Maddie Cochere’s novel Big Apple Hunter

In Big Apple Hunter, Susan decides to go on a trip with her friend Darby to New York City. I love the character of Darby and his friendship with Susan. I admit at one point I was hoping for them to get together. But, as we know, well…you must read the first book, Sunshine Hunter, to find out what makes their friendship just friends.

portada-facebook_every_girl_needs_a_boy_bestfriend_ENG (Photo credit to Bing.com)

I think setting one of the scenes in New York made the story line even more exciting and adventurous. I so loved the bus tour of men. Who wouldn’t want to tour with a bunch of hot guys?

hot_guys( Photo credit to Bing.com) This is what I was picturing when I read about bus full of guys. 🙂 hee hee

I liked the mystery of the bad guys. It kept me guessing…

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Just do it.

ImageIt feels good to dive back into writing full time, and I recently completed the first book of my new series.

As I quickly moved on toward completion of the next Susan Hunter book, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote a few months ago but never published. It is the advice I give to myself all the time when I think I can’t do it, when I have a hard time keeping at it, or even when I feel like quitting. It’s good for me to read this again today as I forge ahead with the hopes of writing two books in two months. I’ll share it with you, too.

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Just do it.

Everyone is familiar with the famous Nike slogan. It has seeped into many aspects of our lives. I think of the saying when I have chores to do, when I don’t want to exercise or eat healthy, and most definitely with writing.

I wasn’t a writer. I was a wife, a mother, a seller of used children’s books. I love books, but other than a couple of ideas for children’s picture books, the thought never entered my mind to write a fiction novel.

Until it did.

Just do it.

Late in the day, on a cold evening in February of 2012, it popped into my mind that I should write a story. It popped into my mind because I was surfing the Smashwords site, and I was amazed that people were writing stories and books and publishing them on their own. That’s when I thought I would try, too.

I didn’t do any preliminary outlining or give any serious thought to who the characters would be or where they would go. I simply started typing and kept at it for a couple of hours. It was fun, and the story made me smile. I went to bed laughing at myself that I might actually be writing a book.

I added to the story the next day, but I was already waning. I am sometimes my own worst enemy. I can be flighty. I talk myself out of things. Writing a book would be a lot of work, and I was already busy enough. I set the writing aside and went about my normal business for a few days.

But now that the story was started, it kept calling to me. I didn’t really want to, but I found myself adding to the story late at night after everyone was in bed. My book was finished within the month.
I wrote a second book. I wrote a third. I was too afraid to publish them.

Until I wasn’t.

Just do it.

In May of 2012, I published all three books at Smashwords and Amazon. I freaked out shortly after over the fact that I had put my work up at Amazon, but it was done, and I let it be.

Now I couldn’t stop writing. I started a fourth book, and then a blog. I didn’t want to start a blog, but the thought wouldn’t leave me alone Imageuntil I did. It seemed a good idea to keep a chronicle of my writing and self-publishing journey. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know any of the finer points of writing or marketing. I was doing everything wrong, but I was oblivious, and there was no one to tell me otherwise, so I simply kept going forward.

Just do it.

I’ve made wonderful friends through blogging, and I’ve learned a lot about writing, self-publishing, and marketing from other bloggers. If I would have had all of this “new” information before I started writing, I probably would have never written my first book. It would have been too daunting.

I didn’t have money for professional editing or expensive marketing, but that didn’t stop me. I’ve kept my sense of humor throughout most of my trials and tribulations. There have been times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and quit, but those feelings passed fairly quickly, and, for the most part, I continue to have fun writing and self-publishing. I’ve made corrections, republished a couple of my titles (numerous times), and I believe my writing has become stronger. There is still a lot to learn.

Will I ever write the great American novel? No. I enjoy my silly fare too much. But I’m happy I followed my instincts and the little voice inside my head that continually says …

Just do it.

Today, I want to encourage you, too – especially new writers. Whether you are toying with the idea of writing a book, or finally on your way and writing, don’t listen to the naysayers, not even the ones in your own mind. Learn what you can when you can, but don’t be afraid to go forward with what you know now and the tools you have on hand. I was as green as they come when I first started.

Just do it.

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Write. Write for fun. Write to entertain yourself. Write because you can. Then publish. It’s a wonderful world that has opened up to us because we can publish our own works.

What about you? What do you tell yourself to keep going forward?

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Back at the keyboard when the rain passes.