Seven totally trivial and/or deeply revealing things about my writing process…

Over on Facebook, in a kind of virtual spin-the-bottle challenge, I was tagged by author Lynne Raimondo to share seven things about my writing that most people don’t know… it quickly morphed into a confessional. I planned on numbering them from least to most embarrassing, but that turns out to be impossible, so here they are in the order they came to me…

#1. I have a desk, but I don’t normally write there. Instead, I sit on the couch with a laptop, then I sit on the carpet, then I sit outside, then I stand at the kitchen bar, then I sit on the bed, and so on. I don’t normally stay in one place for longer than a half hour. My dog likes to be wherever I am, so this drives her insane.

#2. I used to be a really, really good speller, and I felt smugly superior to people who were not-so-good spellers. Now, for unknown reasons, I am a not-so-good speller, and it’s hugely embarrasing. Embarasing. Embarrassing. The only way I know I finally got that right is because my word-processing program has not underlined it in red.

#3. Some days I write 2,000 words with ease, and others I struggle, truly struggle, to write 200.

#4. I write the word “wow” in a lot of dialogue. My editor has asked me to limit myself to no more than four wow’s per manuscript.

#5. I have a love/hate relationship with outlines. I envy writers who can stick to them while they work, but at the same time, I like to be surprised as the story develops. Otherwise, I lose interest. I always have an outline in the beginning, but invariably it gets abandoned as the story and characters flesh out and take on a life of their own. This is hugely problematic though, because it’s easy to write oneself into a corner and get stuck there. So far, I’ve been lucky.

#6. I can’t write and listen to music at the same time, and I can’t write if someone else is in the room. I’ve lately gotten into the habit of turning off my internet and phone while I write, not necessarily to limit interruptions (although that is a nice side-effect) but because it’s isolating, and the more alone I feel, the better work I do.

#7. I write early in the morning, usually starting by seven, and I keep going until the coffee pot is empty, usually around noon, with just one or two short breaks. I’ll go at it again in the afternoon, but once the sun has gone down, I’m useless.

They call it a Cozy? From Blaize Clement, some damn good writing…

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I regularly read the old Dixie Hemingway books to keep the voice going in the back of my mind, and occasionally I stumble across something that literally stops me in my tracks, like this, from CAT SITTER AMONG THE PIGEONS…

And now another man was in my bed, and I was inhaling him the way I had once inhaled Todd, and it was good and right that he was there. Pain was still with me, but there was more sweetness than pain. New love had come as quietly as cats’ paws, silent as smoke or trickling sand. It had drifted into my consciousness when I least expected it, shoving out memory of old loves, lost loves, hopeless loves, wrong loves, betrayed loves, true love, all fading into the darkness of doesn’t matter. This new love stood alone, marvelous and electric, always believed in but never expected. The lightning it created lit up the universe from eternity to infinity, and lit up my heart from edge to open.

Paco…

I’ve had a little multiple choice bubble up on the website for about two weeks now. You might have seen it. The question is, “If you were stranded on a tropical island, who would you want to be stranded with?” The options are all characters from the Dixie Hemingway books: Dixie (of course), Michael (her brother), Paco (Michael’s partner), Ethan (Dixie’s boyfriend, for lack of a better word) and Guidry (Dixie’s long lost love, ahem, that’s not true says Dixie).

I’ve gotten a few write-in votes for Deputy Jesse Morgan, and a solid block of votes for Ethan, which was no surprise since he is, after all, so damn hunky. On a whim, I included a line in the questionnaire where you can explain your choice, and I’m so glad because that’s given me some things to think about. Hands down, the most popular response has been Paco…

People love Paco. I’ve always known that. My mom got letters praising Paco, and I’ve gotten them too. What’s surprising is the reasons. “Paco wouldn’t lie to you.” “Paco could probably catch fish with his bare hands.” “Paco would keep me safe.” “Paco could make a gourmet meal with a coconut and a couple of snails.” And my own personal favorite, “Paco is THE MAN.”

VICTORY!

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A gigantic thanks to everyone who entered the contest… we have a winner! It’s Stephanie Lynn Mitchell of Zilwaukee, Wisconsin. Congratulations Stephanie! Be sure to check back for more book give-aways coming soon.