Making Progress and Taking Names

Dear Reader,

How are you doing? I’ve been wondering about you lately. There are a number of you who comment due to being a part of Round of Words in 80 Days, but those of you who don’t comment often, I’d love to hear how you found me, and what you find interesting about this blog.

The Latest Project

My new work-in-progress, The Rebel’s Hero, is coming along nicely, I have to say. It is a rewrite of Catching the Rose, so the characters, locations, and the overall plot inspiration are the same, but not much else. My mother keeps asking why I’m rewriting Catching the Rose, that people like that book for what it is: a historical romance from the mind of a 17-year-old girl.

But I’m not 17 anymore, thank god, and the characters are telling me they deserve a second chance. The writing for this book really picked up around mid-March, and as yet, I’ve accumulated 18 000 words.

If you follow me on Twitter or my Facebook fan page, you’ve been seeing my links from 750words.com, where you get a taste of the main words I’ve been using, the overall tone of the chapter I’m writing, how long it took me to write the chapters, etc. It’s kind of fun documenting the progression of a book like this.

For instance, on Sunday March 27, I wrote 2 435 words in 1hr 25min. I had no distractions (i.e. I didn’t stop typing for three or more minutes). The mood was happy and the characters were concerned about home. They were uncertain, but positive.

But most importantly, in the word cloud at the bottom of the page, you see two names: Brad and Veronica. The reason why I’m rewriting Catching the Rose is because the first time I wrote the book, I never had a good handle on Brad’s motivation. Why does he dislike Veronica? Why does he save her from danger in the middle of a battle gone awry?

A grown man isn’t swayed by beauty for much longer than a couple of months. There was something else making Brad stick around despite his annoyance with Veronica’s spoiled upbringing. And in The Rebel’s Hero, I finally figured it out.

I’d love to tell you, really I would. But that would be one of the many spoilers that is making The Rebel’s Hero so much fun to write. Instead of spoiling anything, I want to remind you that everyone subscribed to my newsletter will get a free advance ebook copy of The Rebel’s Hero. I’m not certain of dates, so you will have to bear with me.

These are exciting times! The Rebel’s Hero is coming along, and the next book in the queue to be written finally got a title that I like… My Unwitting Heiress. The only thing I will say about that book is there are identical twins involved.

Don’t forget to tell me how you are doing! Whether you’re a reader, a writer, a mixture of both or none of the above, I’d love to hear from you.

All the best,

Belinda

Roundup for Round of Words

Dear Reader,

I can’t believe that today is the last day of Kait Nolan’s first Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80). She has asked us to focus on what we did accomplish, rather than bewail what we did not.

For posterity reasons, I should note that my goals for ROW80 were lofty. I was supposed to write 750 words a day for the rewrite of Catching the Rose, and release an anthology of contemporary fiction short stories.

I did not do that. Not exactly.

I never released the short story anthology. My winter was full of ups and downs that killed my passion for the project, sadly. It really wasn’t until I was struck with a super bad cold/sinus infection that laid me out for a week (I telecommuted from my bed for three days) that I finally got inspiration to work on the Catching the Rose rewrite.

As I was getting better, work got more stressful… making my stomach more sensitive… meaning I’ve been dealing with a food poisoning-esque experience the last three days.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve written over 2,000 words. Baller. When I was sick with the cold/sinus infection, I wrote a couple thousand. Double baller. I also re-titled the work from Catching the Rose to The Rebel’s Hero and am within spitting distance of introducing the hero to the heroine. Triple baller and a half.

I have to say I’m surprised I lasted. When I started ROW80, I kind of thought I wouldn’t make it. That it would be a way to get things started, but who knew if I’d really finish? But I made it to the end, with different results than I expected, but results all the same.

Feels pretty good. Thanks Kait for putting this together! Check out what the other ROW80 survivors are saying…

Best,

Belinda

When Your Title Doesn’t Fit, You Must Acquit

Dear Reader,

A funny thing happened last week while rewriting Catching the Rose.

I realized I wasn’t writing Catching the Rose anymore.

Now, the funny thing is the characters are the same from Catching the Rose, and the plot is the same. But my writing style has changed so much in the eight years since I wrote the original Catching the Rose that I feel weird about continuing to call it Catching the Rose.

I mean, the book that’s out there now, known as Catching the Rose: Second Edition, is still the book I wrote in high school, but with grammatical fixes, etc.

I laid in bed late at night staring at my ceiling wondering what I was going to do. The fact is I don’t write that way anymore. I’ve learned a lot in the past eight years.

I couldn’t call it Catching the Rose: Third Edition. That just felt clunky.

I thought about calling it Catching the Rose: Redux. That felt good for about twenty minutes.

Then I thought, you know, people who really enjoy Catching the Rose as it is might feel betrayed. So I decided I won’t call this rewrite Catching the Rose at all.

Which meant I had to come up with a new title.

Well… crap.

I suck at writing titles.

But ok, if I can write an entire novel, I can write a title. Right?

I started thinking about titles I like. For whatever reason, I like three-word titles. Everything feels better in threes. It flows off the tongue better, don’t ask me why. So I knew the title would be three words long.

I began thinking about themes of the story. This is about Veronica, a rebellious young woman who is proud to be a Confederate (known a a Johnny Reb to the Yankees). She’s on the hunt for her Prince Charming. She has no idea where her Prince Charming is, but at this point in the story, there’s suspicion he may not exist anymore.

You know what Veronica needs? Veronica needs a hero. She needs a hero until the morning light. He’s gotta be sure and it’s gotta be soon and he’s gotta be larger than life.
Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out for a Hero

So now the book I’m writing is called The Rebel’s Hero. It’s a working title; I’m only seven chapters into the rewrite so I have time to live with it.

The Rebel’s Hero.

Thoughts?

P.S. Check on the other ROW80 writers this week…

Two Thousand Words

Dear Reader,

I wrote two thousand words last week. Pretty pumped about that. It’s for the Catching the Rose rewrite. I also wrote out a preliminary outline for the new book which has yet to have a real title. The working title is Secondhand Sister.

It pays to sleep all the time from being super sick. Yeah? Yeah? Not really, but at least I got some writing done.

I dropped the prices of my novels to $1.99 in celebration of eBook week. You have until the end of Friday to get your 50% discount code RAE50: Haunting Miss Trentwood and Catching the Rose.

That’s a deal if I ever heard of one. I decided to make the change across all my distributors, so that includes Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and Smashwords. We’ll see what this does with sales.

How are the other ROW80 writers doing? We’re winding down on the last month and our numbers are dwindling…

Best,

Belinda

Goodies Galore

Dear Reader,

Man, that illness took me out last week! I’m still sleeping an inordinate amount of time, so I’m keeping this blog post short.

I had a guest post at Indie Horror last week where I talked about how Mr. Trentwood, my ghostly father in Haunting Miss Trentwood surprised me time and again… even though I created him! Check it out, it was fun talking about how my character got away from me in the best way possible.

Happy eBook week! Starting March 6, get a 50% discount for Catching the Rose and Haunting Miss Trentwood with coupon code RAE50; and 100% off Mad Maxine with coupon code RE100 at Smashwords!

Also, Stacey Wallace Benefiel is discounting her books, so you should scoop those up as well. She’s tons of fun to read, and I know, because I read her Day of Sacrifice short and really enjoyed it.

That’s really all the writing I had energy for… my apologies. Enjoy your discounted books!

Best,

Belinda

Update from the Trenches

Dear Reader,

Have you ever been so sick you can’t even stumble from bed? That’s what I’m going through right at this moment. My manager mentioned it might be strep, which I hope it isn’t because that means I have to leave my apartment to get antibiotics.

Anyway, over the weekend I wrote another 900+ words for Catching the Rose, which is pretty great. Not that what I wrote was fantastic, but it’s progress, anyway. I’m upping the tension in the book much sooner… I’ve cut out pages and pages of description and pitted Amy and Veronica against each other in a way that both surprises me and has me interested. Which I hope my readers will feel the same way. An excerpt to wet your whistle…

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about these days, with the southern states breaking away from the union. Amy pushed her tongue to the side of her mouth and bit it lightly to keep from saying anything. Veronica was a spoiled brat who had no concept of what was going on around her. She wouldn’t know, or care, that this war was chasing Amy south, for a little while, anyway.

“But you know,” Veronica said, leaning back in her seat, “they probably should have. Or they would have, if they had any idea what I’m intending to do here.”

The carriage skidded to a stop. Amy’s stomach landed somewhere between the stamping hooves of the horse that dragged them to the quiet street where Mrs. Beaumont lived.

“And just what might that be, Miss Vernon?” Amy managed, hand on her stomach.

“Ronnie,” Veronica corrected. She rifled through her satchel, which had sat hidden beneath her skirts all this while, and pulled out a careworn journal. She flipped through it expertly until finding a page some three-quarters of the way through. “Find him, and marry him.”

Amy blinked at the handsome sketch of a man Veronica couldn’t possibly know. “What?”

“It’s not the best likeness, I know,” Veronica said. She sighed a little, staring at the portrait of a man with dark hair, sharp eyes, and the hint of a smirk tucked at the corner of his lips. “I haven’t seen him in years. But that won’t stop me, no ma’am.”

“You’re in Richmond to find this man and marry him.” Amy knew she sounded stupid repeating Veronica again. Her lips felt swollen and her tongue heavy. The nausea from the train came back with a vengeance and she swallowed heavily against riotous bile. She had come to Richmond to erase all traces of this man.

It’s a first draft, obviously, but I like it.

How is everyone else doing? Check out the Round of Words in 80 Days list of participants to keep up.

Best,

Belinda

Sporadic Creativity

Dear Reader,

Apologies for going MIA for a bit. Work has been super stressful and winter was getting me down, but no matter. I regrouped over the weekend by working out for three hours (two consecutive, one where the trainer kicked my butt and I’m still hurting four days later).

On Monday at work I took charge on a project that people needed but no one had time to do except for me, because I’m in a holding period for my two projects. It was just the sort of creative project I needed to do at work to make me feel accomplished and useful, because I haven’t felt either lately.

Tuesday was a rush of decision-making, updating the creative project I did on Monday, etc. I tweeted about how work was making my brain hurt but I wanted to write… I haven’t written in a while and rather than feeling down or antsy about it, I was finally starting to feel like doing something about it.

I’m in the middle of organizing the extra papers and books in my home office, one of the last things I have to do in order to truly be moved into my apartment. Rather than continuing with that, I plopped on the floor in the middle of the mess and wrote for an hour.

Reader, I wrote over a thousand words in 44 minutes for the rewrite of Catching the Rose. Which, funny story, is selling better than Haunting Miss Trentwood on Barnes and Noble for reasons unknown. Hoping that the rewrite will make those sales even better.

It might be too early to say, but… I think I’m back.

Check out how the other participants of Round of Words in 80 Days are doing!

All the best,

Belinda