Tuesday, May 12, 2015

7 Ways writing is like gardening #writingislike

Large decorative plant from 4freephotos.com

  So I was walking outside looking at the squash early this morning and I thought about the similarities between writing and gardening. (I'm by no means an expert gardener- my rosebush didn't survive this last winter.) There are more than a few so I thought that I'd list some of them.

  1.  Patience: Gardening is filled with watching and waiting. Waiting for the right time to plant. If you move to early your plants might be killed by a late freeze. Waiting for the plants to mature. In writing, we have to have patience as well. The most obvious, the submission process. Waiting for a response, while continuing on with other projects.
  2. Tending: Gardening is something you have to work at. At least in my area of the US, we don't normally get enough rain to simply let garden grow on it's own. In some cases, you prune off dead limbs or stems, tend the soil, fertilize, and weed (but more on that later.) Writing takes some work, as we all know. Sometimes the words flow, other times we have to push through the horrid days.  Revising, rewriting, editing, and promoting.
  3. It's hard work: Gardening takes work, especially at the beginning and end of the season. You have to prepare the soil, aerate it, add compost. At the end of the year, you have to prepare plants and bulbs for the winter. Dirty work, but it can be so rewarding and relaxing. Finishing a novel can seem like a never ending task. Making your writing into a habit. Wrangling your characters into cooperating when they seem to be at opposing goals. Revising the manuscript once you finally do finish it.
  4. Sometimes you have to pull out the garbage that's crept in. In gardens, that means weeding. Pulling out those dratted intruders that might choke out your plants. While in revising your work, you need to cut out the weak words, take out the inconsistencies, and decide if some things even belong in there at all.
  5. It's not always going to work out the way you want it, no matter how well you plan it. You could be going for a brilliantly colored flower bed, but only the seeds from the red flowers sprout in the spring. Your melons may do great at first. Little round melons begin to grow, but suddenly they're stunted and stop growing. In your novel, your characters may throw something at you that completely changes your careful outline. It could be something that seems small, a motivation, but that motivation, may change what they do in the rest of the story.
  6. Build a cage. (Last year, this one wouldn't have made the list,. Until this year, I hadn't seen anything analogous to quiet, alone time to write.) Sometimes you have to protect your plants, in this case, strawberries from predatory squirrels. Yes, strawberry stealing squirrels. Like the plants, you have to protect your writing time. Find a quiet room away from others. If you can an office with a lock. Post a note on the door. Give em a lecture. Disturb me and you will pay.
  7. Take care of it and it will bear fruit. If you tend, water, and care for your plants, you should see great results at the end of the season. If you push through the hard times, you'll finish writing, revising, or editing your novel. And that is definitely something to celebrate.

Alright, I'd like to see other things writing is like and if I can think of one, I might even come up with another writing is like post.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Revision x 3 #amrevising

I'm in the middle of revising 3 stories at the moment. I'm also solidifying the plot on two WIP, one of which I have started, but needed to be replotted, because of a twist I didn't see coming. On top of that, I'm trying to come up with a short story idea. So yeah, busy right now.

Back to the revisions. Looking at them as a whole, mega-overwhelming. A huge amount of work. Two of the stories, need the whole process, clean up, attention to the details, character, relationship, expanding scenes, cutting scenes, some world building and the list goes on. The other though, I have to cut some scenes, cut some whining by one of the characters, add in some character and relationship development.

Anyone got a corner for me to sit and rock in? Okay, I am kidding about that. My current plan is to take it one step at a time. Start work on the one with the least work first. Do the cutting first, saving most of it in case there's world building in there that I need to find a place for in the book. Then start on the rest of the work. One thing at a time. Much more manageable.

Back to the revision cave for me.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guest Blog: Katya Armock's Monica's Match

I'd like to welcome Katya Armock to the blog today. Her latest release Monica's Match released on the 14th! She's sharing a delicious excerpt with us so, please enjoy!


Monica has the ability to see a guy’s aura light up the first time he touches his soul mate, but she’s kept it a secret since her parents shamed her as a child. Still, she decides to start her own matchmaking company—even if she doesn’t advertise her unique ability. Business is so-so until she gets a call to find matches for the singles of the small town of Perry Grove. She’s not looking for love herself but has an immediate attraction to one of her clients. Too bad another woman lit up his aura.

Hunky dairy farmer Jeremiah wants nothing to do with his grandpa’s hare-brained matchmaking scheme but agrees to play along to appease the man who raised him.  But when he meets the sexy matchmaker, he starts to rethink his single status. Too bad she’s intent on pairing him up with another woman. If there’s one thing he knows, though, it’s how to be stubborn.

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Monica was pretty sure Jeremiah wasn’t hearing a word she said, a fact confirmed when she stopped talking and he kept staring off into the distance. Must be a really fascinating cow over that way.
Why had he wanted her advice if he wasn’t going to listen to it? She’d bet her life savings he couldn’t repeat anything she’d said in the last several minutes back to her. Of course, thanks to starting her own business, her life savings consisted of about fifty bucks in a savings account her parents had set up for her when she turned eighteen, so she wouldn’t have too much skin in that game. That made it pretty easy to commit to a bet that he hadn’t brought her out here for dating advice either. Her earlier fear that he suspected she was hiding something reared its ugly head. How long would it be until Ed, Bunny, Edna, Bea, and the other kind people she’d met in this town looked at her like she needed to head to the funny farm?
She took a bite of her sandwich. It had cucumbers on it. She loved cucumbers on her sandwiches and had so rarely met anyone that included them. She also liked his choice of Muenster cheese. She supposed that proved he wasn’t all bad. A few more bites and she almost liked him.
“Enjoying the sandwich?” His voice startled her and she almost dropped said sandwich.
“Yes, um, thank you for making it. You did make it, right?”
He nodded, the breeze ruffling through his wavy ash-blond hair in a most distracting way that made her fingers itch to do the same. “With my own two hands. Didn’t even ask Grandma for help.”
“So do you feel prepared for your first date now?”
“What? Oh, yeah. Sure.”
She could barely contain her snort as she started to stand. “We should head back. I’d like a little time to prepare for the next appointment.”
Instead of getting up, he scooted until his back rested against the tree and then patted the ground next to him with that charming, dimpled grin back on his almost painfully handsome face. “Give me ten more minutes. You haven’t relaxed yet, and under this tree is the best place to unwind.” His voice was a smooth drawl with just the right amount of pleading to batter at her defenses.
She hesitated and glanced at her smartphone to note the time. No one expected her back for about thirty-five minutes. Time was just not on her side.
“Come on. You told me yourself you haven’t spent much time in the country. Take a few moments to smell the fresh air and listen to the wilds.”
Oh, what the heck? They could easily spend the next ten minutes arguing about whether to go or stay. She sank next to him on the grass and leaned against the tree so her shoulder brushed his. The electric sizzle she felt whenever she touched him was back.
He inhaled deeply and let it out with a pleased sigh. He looked completely in his element, his face relaxed and boyish. He shifted one leg over the other, and the move pulled his T-shirt tight across his chest so she could clearly see just how defined his pecs were. He took a deep breath.
Oh. Mama. She was sure the sun had just gotten hotter.
He let the breath out with a contented sigh. “Do you smell the grass warmed by the sun? All the oxygen from the trees carried on the cool breeze?”
She paid a bit more attention to her next breath as she wiggled to try to find a more comfortable position. The air did smell fresh, although there was still an undercurrent of cow. “It’s nice.”
He looked at her sidelong. “It’s more than nice. The country air around here is the best smell you’ll ever experience.”
His impassioned statement had her wanting to believe. She closed her eyes, relaxed against the tree, and…what was poking her in the tailbone? She scooted forward enough to pull the blanket back and find the offending rock. She’d had quite enough of the outdoors for the day and started to stand, but Jeremiah’s hand shot out and held her in a crouch.
“It’s just a rock. Move it and sit back down. You haven’t fully smelled the air yet.”
Her glare didn’t inspire him to remove his hand, as she’d hoped it would. His clear, blue eyes stared at her with equal parts challenge and amusement. He wanted her to smell the cow-filled air? Fine. She’d smell the damned cow-filled air.
With a huff she plunked back down, and he released her arm so she could get herself situated. Nothing poked her in the behind this time, and she leaned back against the rough bark. His eyes burned into her, but she refused to acknowledge his watchful stare or how very much she’d like him to touch her again.
She needed to relax and get this over with. She closed her eyes once more and drew the air into her lungs. Now that she was paying attention, she caught the floral fragrance of the grasses and weeds and wildflowers and trees. The air was fresh. No sooty, dirty, city smell from the cars and houses and people.
“It’s so quiet. I don’t hear a single car.”
He chuckled. “Sit here long enough and you’ll learn just how much racket a single car makes. But it’s not quiet out here. Nature is a symphony.”
She listened for those other sounds now. Birds tweeting to each other, insects buzzing, the rustling of leaves overhead. She even heard something scurrying through the taller grasses.
It was beautiful. Peaceful. She felt herself relax farther against the tree, the bark biting into her back but not uncomfortably. She felt almost…happy. When was the last time she’d truly felt that way?

About the Author

I like books that are funny and fun to read, but also make me think or look at the world in a new way. These days you’ll find me living my happily ever after in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband, dog and cats. I love to hear from readers, so please come find me on the Internet.

                    Website: http://katyaarmock.com/
                    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katyaarmock
                    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KatyaArmock

I hope you've enjoyed Katya's excerpt. Happy Reading!