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

Getting Back on the Horse

Dear Reader,

Last week you’ll remember that I announced unplugging to help eliminate stress in my life. Things were getting bad, and with my seasonal affective disorder on top of everything, I was feeling super low, unmotivated, and irritated that I felt that way. I worked from home on Friday both because my car was semi-blocked in by the snowplow and because I didn’t want to leave my bed. It wasn’t until I texted my guy Sweets around noon that I hadn’t left bed yet and I felt crummy about it that I realized what a pathetic waste of space I was being.

And I was tired of it. For about a month, now, I’ve been whinging about how I can’t write but want to, I feel crummy but am afraid to join a gym, etc. Wah-WAH woe is me life is hard what do I do?

I climbed out of bed and took a much-needed shower. I grabbed my computer and took Sweets’ advice to work at a bookstore or coffee shop instead. I finished the work day at Borders because I could walk to it. I walked back to my apartment, dug out my car, and drove to Barnes and Noble for some enforced writing. I told myself I wasn’t allowed to leave B&N until I had written 750 words. This was a big deal because I’m scheduled every Friday night to be at the ceramics studio… that’s $230 telling me I need to be in the studio on time to make the most of it.

Reader, I wrote over 900 words in half an hour.

They were crap. As soon as I glanced over it, I knew they were crap. My mood was plummeting because they were complete and total crap. But I left them, went to the ceramics studio, and had dinner with my friend Adrienne in the desperate hope she would smack some sense into me. On Saturday, the sun was shining, which is always a good sign. I decided I had to move.

An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest is dead.

After running around town doing errands, a skype date with some graduate school friends who helped me work through some things, and a pep talk from Sweets, I wound up at Panera drinking a lovely chai latte and nom-nom-ing on french onion soup. I pulled out my laptop and wrote over 1000 words to replace the 900 from Friday evening. And this time, they weren’t bad. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad.

Yesterday, I met Jen Lane, a fellow local author, at a different Panera, and just being around another writer working on her own project inspired another 830 words. Don’t let these numbers fool you: the words are not flowing. It is a painful process. But at least I’m making progress. I know I said I wanted to write 750 words a day, have an outline for Catching the Rose, and be completed with Love or Lack Thereof by this point. But last week, six different people told me I need to chill the freak out and rest on my laurels a bit. I just published a book in October. No one expects another book so quickly. No one but me, that is.

So even though I am still a part of Round of Words in 80 Days, I need to chill out. Any writing at this point is better than none. I need to be okay if I have to postpone the release of Love or Lack Thereof again, since the words I do have are for the rewrite of Catching the Rose.

Thanks for supporting me last week when I was getting to my really low point. I really appreciated the sentiment. Don’t forget to see how other ROW80 participants are doing.

Belinda

Love or Lack Thereof Progresses

Dear Reader,

And so I write my second check-in for Round of Words in 80 Days. I know this is supposed to be the writing exercise that remembers you have a life, but goodness, it’s still tough because I expect so much of myself.

Love or Lack Thereof goals

  • Weeks 1+2: Edit short stories 3, 4, and 5

Over the weekend I completed the edits for another short story for Love or Lack Thereof, the anthology of poems and short stories I will be releasing in February. I’ve determined the book will be in two sections: Sweet and Savory. I determined the order of the stories that are ready for professional editing, etc.

I am starting to kind of freak out because I want the anthology in my editor’s hand by this weekend. I’m participating in a startup weekend event beginning Friday evening which lasts until Sunday afternoon. Which means writing this upcoming weekend is out. Argh! It’s frustrating how my professional life conflicts with my writing life. I have to change my goals for this week yet again.

Fingers crossed I don’t stress myself out trying to get this anthology to Cindy (my editor). She’s already booked for late January and all of February. Gah!

Catching the Rose goals

  • Week 2: Finalize updated blurb, tightened outline

I have completed the blurb, I’m fairly pleased with it. However, I think I’ll have to drop the other goal of writing 750+ words a day until I complete work on Love or Lack Thereof. No outline work will be done until LOLT is done. The new blurb is available below for your enjoyment, however.

CATCHING THE ROSE

Accustomed to getting her way as a privileged southern belle, Veronica Vernon is outraged when her step-father arranges a marriage to her childhood bully. Desperate for a way out, Veronica runs north in search of her childhood love, Jonathan, to convince him to marry her instead.

Intrigued by similarities between her memory of Jonathan and the description of her friend’s cousin, Veronica ventures into Yankee territory only to find Brad Williams is nothing like Jonathan. But that won’t stop Veronica from trying to convince her step-father otherwise!

Refusing to let others run her life for her, Veronica embarks on a headstrong quest to find her Prince Charming before war takes him from her forever.

Belinda Kroll crafts a tale of lost love and determination during the exciting first year of the American Civil War.

Thoughts?

Check out how the other Round of Words in 80 Days writers are doing this week.

Rewriting a Back Cover Blurb

Dear Reader,

It’s time for the first check in for Round of Words in 80 Days. I have two projects for this first week:

Catching the Rose goals

  • Week 1: Finalize new blurb

Well, I’m making progress on the new blurb for Catching the Rose. I’ve written and rewritten it four times so far and I’m still not pleased with it. That’s ok though, because I have until Saturday to wrap it up, which I think I’ll be able to do. This has been more difficult than I expected. I haven’t touched this story since I published it seven years ago. As I was in high school when I published it, I never went through the motions of making marketing materials like a tag line or back cover blurb.

At its core, Catching the Rose began with the question, “What happens when a southern belle’s childhood Prince Charming grows up to be a Yankee?” What makes the story fun is that the “Prince Charming” character has no idea he is anyone’s prince charming in the first place, and is fairly resistant to the idea.

The existing tag line is…

It was her responsibility to marry as her family wished, but she never lost hope of finding her childhood love.

That is still true. I want to shift my thinking for the rewrite, though, so I’ve made a tag line just for me…

A southern belle embarks on a headstrong quest to find her lost Prince Charming before war takes him from her forever.

I like this because it has more action, and reveals Veronica to be the assertive young spitfire we all know and love.

The biggest issue with writing back cover blurbs is how to reveal enough—but not too much!—of the plot to intrigue readers. It took me a week to write the back cover blurb for Haunting Miss Trentwood, and we’re only at Wednesday, so I’m fairly confident I’ll have a blurb I like by Saturday for Catching the Rose.

I need to focus on setting the scene and adding intrigue at the end so readers think, “Ooh. Wonder what that means?” So difficult.

Love or Lack Thereof goals

  • Weeks 1+2: Write 750 words a day

I am not writing 750 words a day on the short story anthology because of other things going on in life. I already have first drafts for each of the short stories I want to include in the anthology. So it was perhaps kind of silly to say I want to write 750 words when in actuality, it’s more like I need to be editing the stories. Haha! Week One and I’m already changing my goals.

  • Weeks 1+2: Edit the four new short stories

I don’t know what I was thinking about the 750 words a day since I’m not making new content, I’m cleaning old-ish content.

Check out how the other participants are doing! Since I’m a sponsor, I’ll be checking in on the participants whose submission number ends in a 7 (7, 17, 27, etc).

Time for My Second Chance

Dear Reader,

Joe Konrath says the best part about self-publishing is if something isn’t working, you can always redo it. As much as we like to think a book that has been released to audiences is a finished product, we authors know better than that.

I wrote Catching the Rose (CTR) when I was in high school. Seven years later, I released my second book Haunting Miss Trentwood (HMT) with awesome reviews. CTR has made some sales since its re-release in July, but nothing compared to HMT.

This information, coupled with the fact that Wulfshado took a look at it and had so many suggested changes within the first couple of pages has convinced me.

I must rewrite CTR if I want it to get the attention I think it deserves.

Perfect timing, because I’m a sponsor for the Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), led by Kait Nolan. Below are my goals for the first round of eighty days, which should keep me busy as I’m working on two projects.

Round of Words in 80 Days Goals

Catching the Rose goals

  • Week 1: Finalize new blurb
  • Week 2: Finalize updated, tightened outline
  • Weeks 3+: Write 750 words a day

Love or Lack Thereof goals

  • Weeks 1+2: Write 750 words a day;
  • Week 3: Send clean draft of anthology to my editor, Cindy
  • Week 4+5: Review edits, prepare for publication
  • Week 6: Release for publication, just in time for Valentine’s Day

The thing with ROW80 is that if I accomplish all my goals, or find that my goals are too much for whatever reason, I can change them. I think this is a manageable effort, though. I’m excited to make CTR more into the Civil War-based fairy tale I had imagined originally. And I’ve never released an anthology before, so I’m interested to see how that goes, too.

Seems like 2011 is going to start with me as a busy little bee. All the best,

Belinda

Touring the Historical Fiction World

Dear Reader,

I hope your holiday season is going well! Those of you who entered the giveaway from last week, you should have received an email with the discount codes. Have you had a chance to listen to my half hour interview on Page Readers? It was a blast, and I’m so glad Nanci had me on the show.

This week, I want to talk about Charlie Courtland’s great idea to take a tour of the subgenres that are popping into historical fiction. The goal of the “tour” is to read six subgenres of historical fiction. Charlie has suggested…

  • Historical Mystery
  • Historical Horror
  • Historical Romance
  • Historical Young Adult
  • Historical Plantation
  • Historical Thriller
  • Historical GLBT
  • Historical Fantasy
  • Historical Western
  • Historical Paranormal
  • Historical True Crime

Given that I am part of the group of authors who are playing with the historical fiction norms, I love this idea. I’ve written in the historical romance and historical gothic-thriller genres. I have no idea what my next genre is going to be, except that it will be historical. This will be a lot of fun!

So with the above genres in mind, what books do you think I should read? I think I’m going to start with Maids of Misfortune. I want to read books by authors I’ve never read before and in genres I’m not familiar with, which means I can’t read Lauren Willig (romance), Philippa Gregory (romance), Amanda Quick (paranormal), Deanna Raybourn (mystery/plantation), Mary Jo Putney (fantasy).

What’s Next?

I’m not happy with the sales for Catching the Rose, so I’m having an editor look at it to see where I can improve the story. I wrote it over seven years ago, meaning I don’t know what to do with it without outside help. I’m looking forward to the results from the editor, especially because the editor, Wulfshado, needs help with finances. This is a good way for both of us to get what we need.

I’m hoping to get the new content out for Catching the Rose in the next couple of months. I’m also working on the short story anthology Love or Lack Thereof; my awesome editor Cindy Sherwood has agreed to help me with that so I can get it out in time for Valentine’s Day.

I’m looking forward to hearing reviews from the giveaway. They are two very different writing styles, but I hope people enjoy them.

Best,

Belinda

Spooktacular Winners!

Giveaway-WinnerDear Reader,

We had 53 entries to win signed copies of Haunting Miss Trentwood and Catching the Rose, which is pretty good for a little blog like Worderella Writes! Everyone who followed me in more than one location online (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter) got an additional entry per location.

I placed all the entries in a spreadsheet, and used Random.org to pick me three random winners. The number correlates row line of the entries.

Without further ado, the winners are

  • Catching the Rose : Brandy, from Goodreads
  • Haunting Miss Trentwood : Michelle, from Twitter
  • Haunting Miss Trentwood : Charlie Courtland, from Goodreads

If the winners could send me their addresses as soon as possible so I can ship their copies out to them, that would be wonderful. Use this Google Form to make it really easy!

Sorry to those of you who didn’t win! Better luck next time, and thanks so much for your interest. ❤

Coming soon… I’ll talk about my book launch party, which went really well!

Best,

Belinda