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Writer Wednesday Welcomes Valerie Haight!

JULIE!!!!! *insert cartwheels* Thank you so much you AWESOME critty pal, you!!  It’s such an honor for me to brag here on your rockin’ blog today! I’m so excited to be your guest because I’ve learned so much from you. Musings was the first blog I clicked on when I decided to start writing. You helped me get published!  And here I am…on your blog talking about my first release, Happenstance. Isn’t life grand? It took a couple years and lots of sniveling and whining but I can finally call myself an author thanks to all your help! (Also, now might be a great time to apologize for all the newbie craptastic I had you critique. Eeesh and shiver.)

Let me interject *blog owner pulls rank on guest poster* You are crazy pants. You are brilliant and I am supremely blessed to be your crit girl. Also, I’m glad my posts about how to fail at writing helped you avoid those pitfalls. TO recap: I’m a dorkfish. You are *jazz hands*.  Please, continue. 

Happenstance, my debut novella, will be available from Turquoise Morning Press on December 13, 2012! I wrote this story using a corporate setting based on some of the relationship conflict I witness at my day job as an administrative assistant. I take note of the Peyton Place happenings and file them away in my scheming brain for future novels but today, we’re talking Happenstance!

Taryn Ballard is happily married and a newly appointed analyst for a prestigious shipping company.  Her career upsurges in record time but she’s about to discover the real price of corporate life.

While on yet another business trip, Taryn suffers a brutal attack by a carjacker. Her husband isn’t there, but her co-worker Devin is.  The accidental bond Taryn and Devin share pitches them into dangerous and confusing territory. Taryn struggles to discern both her feelings for her sexy protector and Wade’s reaction to it all. Unfamiliar emotions blur the rules of the game and Wade’s ready to quit.

Taryn must rise above disaster to save her marriage. But is she ready to let go of the man who saved her life? In a single moment, Happenstance changes everything.

One of the invaluable things I learned from you was to put my MC through the wringer and that’s just what I did with Taryn. She was so much fun to write because I could really play havoc on both Devin and Wade while running her through the mill! Yes, I’m awful. J My favorite two genres are suspense and romance so I couldn’t resist merging them into my story. Here’s a snippet to give you the feel of the book.

“Devin, it’s Taryn. You were right. The execs want me to meet them for dinner and I feel really foolish because I have a GPS and a connect-the-dot map from the concierge and I’m still lost.”

Devin laughed. “Not a problem. Where are you?”

Taryn took a second to locate the green street sign. “At the corner of First and Third at a tiny, ancient-looking convenience store.”

“Oh, I know the one. You’re right next to us. I could probably see you from the tower window. Okay, which restaurant are you looking for?”

Taryn grabbed the hand-drawn map. “Caminas.”

“I know where it is. Actually, it might be faster by freeway.”

“Of course it would. I just came from—”

An unexpected rush of damp, hot air hit her and Taryn turned, confused to see her door open wide. She sucked in a quick breath and saw too late the arm reaching for her. Terror gripped her as she zeroed in on the gun in her face.

 I had so much fun writing this story. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do! You can purchase Happenstance here on December 23rd!

Tweet with me @Valeriebrbr, follow me on Facebook or find out the latest on my Author Page about my upcoming short story Magnolia Brides in a TMP wedding anthology out in June! Thanks again, Julie!

About Valerie:

Valerie Haight is a short story writer and contemporary suspense and romance novelist.  She is a member of Ozarks Writer’s League through College of the Ozarks in Branson, MO. She is a published author with Turquoise Morning Press.

You can find her scheming on the corner of Happy Trouble and Literary Mayhem, also known as Twitter @Valeriebrbr or raising the eyebrows of her husband and two boys in their cozy Arkansas home. She also gives way more than her two cents at www.thewriteoneval.blogspot.com.

What About MEEEEEE?????

There comes a time in every aspiring writer’s life when they look around and scream, “What about me????” I have said this like a million times. I’ve also announced “I quit!” at least as many. The problem with quitting when you’re a writer is that, well, you’re a writer and I’ve told you already I think it’s some kind of not-yet-diagnosed mental illness. Writing should be on the DSM-IV. We all have the same compulsions and regardless of race, religion or geographical location, it doesn’t change. We couldn’t “quit writing” any sooner than we could quit breathing, though if we put our mind too it, we’d survive the former a little longer than the latter. Still, we’d be back.

Writing’s like that.

Points:

1. Since you can’t really quit writing…why stop submitting? I mean, you’re going to be writing anyway. What’s the point of not subbing your work? If you get rejected, so what. If you don’t submit, then you definitely won’t get a “Yes.” *shrugs* You like my logic? Right on.

2. As for the “What about me????” If you’re saying this, then you’re doing it right. If you’re saying this it means you’re working hard, improving your craft and it shows. You’re waiting for someone else to take notice of what you already see. This is paramount. They WILL see. Hang in there. See #1.

3. If you’re saying “What about me???” It also implies you’re watching those around you get agents, book deals, contracts. Maybe even your entire critique group is moving up the publishing chain. What about YOU? Well, from where I stand applauding you, I can see that you’re exactly where you need to be if you want to be next. You’ve networked with writers. Good ones. Ones who have something to offer back or they wouldn’t be getting those things above. You’ve aligned yourself well. Do you know how many other authors I’ve pointed to my press? My agent? Do you know how I found them? Yep. Through others in my writer-life who got there first. One of my old critique partners quit writing to become an editor. Imagine how much I learned from her. Your writing friends make a difference & they will help you reach your goals.

Seeing those around you reach their writing goals means you’ve got good friends with strong hearts and diligent minds. Friends usually have things like that in common. Be assured. You are where you need to be today. I am here to attest to the difference a day can make. A week. A year. That’s a post for a different time.

To recap:

Do not give up. I forbid you. And you can’t do it anyway :) See #1.

You can do this. You were called to this. It won’t go away, but it will make you crazy if you deny your desire to write or be published.

Hang on a little longer.

Your call is coming.

I Let My 6 Year Old Do This Post

True Story

by Andrew Lindsey age 6

I have a friend named Dylan. I don’t trust him very much.

He said he had $100. I asked him, “Are you gonna buy candy with it?” He said, “Yes.”

He said he would share with me.

I asked him every day for a whole week, “Did you buy the candy yet?”

He always said, “No.”

I asked his brother, Luke, “Does your brother have $100?” He said “No.”

I don’t trust him much anymore.

THE END

****I love this kid so much it’s crazy. Hope you enjoyed his story :) ***

I Fell Off The Nano Wagon & Ran Out of Water

I made it three weeks into Nanowrimo this year. I was ahead of the game for a while. It’s all very sad. I fell off the wagon.

My mom came from out of state to stay with me for two weeks over Thanksgiving and I put her first. What can I say? The woman likes to shop. We painted pottery. Lunched. Saw a movie. Had a spa day. Laughed. A Lot. Bought some DKNY bags and Chinese Laundry tights. Drank copious amounts of Starbucks and generally went around having the best time ever. I came home every single day exhausted. Still, I don’t regret a single minute of lost writing time when traded for making  memories with my mom. I’m not guaranteed another holiday with her. I crave and devour whatever amount of time I can get. That’s just the way it is. People first. (Real ones I didn’t make up). Then the other ones.

I also had the flu a few days. I’ll spare you the deets on that little misadventure.

Then our well went out. For those of you on city water….flush one time for ya writers in da woods. *Beat boxes* Cause I had no water. I literally made Thanksgiving dinner with no running water. We carried in gallons of water & Mom poured while I washed the turkey and my hands. We Clorox wiped the table and counters. We ate off of paper plates with plastic spoons. It was ridic. Times like a jillion. In hindsight it made for fun pictures and silly memories. I can laugh now because we have water again.

We took my mom home yesterday. So, I can get back on track with my Nano project, but I gotta tell ya I am WAY behind. For those of you who also fell off the Nano wagon or quit or whatever….it happens. Life happens. Don’t despair. Chin up. I’m right there beside you shrugging and smiling and saying “But hey! Look at the xx,000 words I DID write!”

Give yourself a pat on the back, a pep talk, or whatever you need to do and go write something. After all, you are a writer. And writers gotta write. Nano or no nano. :)

Writer Games. Mental Hopscotch. Rope-a-dope.

My brain is so excited. There are a number of thrilling things happening for my creative side these days. Unfortunately for the woman who must upkeep a life in the real world (also Me) it’s all kind of a bummer.

I’ve discovered the most beneficial tool in my writing arsenal is the ability to switch gears. This means the ability to transform from mommy-mode to creative genius and back again at the sound of a breaking glass or screaming toddler. I can cuddle up for a date night until midnight and then plot a murder until three a.m.. It’s not always easy to do, but it’s necessary.

The ability to do the mental rope-a-dope is a must have for writers, especially for those writing across genres.

I consider it a challenge. And I accept. *circles wrist* *takes a deep bow*

For example: I’m preparing to work through edits now on a sweet romance with a spring release. I’m also plotting and outlining a sequel to a cozy mystery.  Beyond that, I’m wrapping my head around the transformation of a SiFi YA to something more contemporary, and I have the story of my heart screaming to get out in the form of an edgy New Adult romance. Everything jokeys for position and as the writer, I have to prioritize. Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Tell the voices to take a number and get in line. They will be addressed – eventually.

I say all that to say this….

1. If you’re just beginning your journey as a writer, you will read about how “amateurish” it is to jump genres. I call bologna on that silly concept. As a former psych major and current people stalker, I say we are never just one person. We wear many hats every day and we have already experienced many different seasons of our life. How can a person be expected to contain all that life in one genre when their heart and head have other stories to tell? Hey, if you’re all in on one genre, fabulous. But, if you’re not…put your chin up and don’t be discouraged. You tell that story. Whatever genre it is, tell it with gusto and don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t.

2. Organizing the writer life takes a special skill most aren’t born with. If your writer life is more like a free-for-all than an exercise in precision, I say you’re on the right track. No worries. Learn to shrug and laugh things off. None of it matters anyway. Whatever. Do your thing.

3. Write the story of your heart. Don’t worry what other people think about it. Write the story you want to read. If that story is erotic today and zombie-filled tomorrow, who cares. Keep writing. You can and should express your ideas any way you like including as many genres as it takes. You have my permission.

4. Learn to adjust because right when you are six worlds deep in a new YA Fantasy manuscript you started last month, you’ll land an agent for the old world cobbler cookbook you submitted last year. It’s practically guaranteed.

 

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