Monday, February 24, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour Stop

I was asked to take part of the “My Writing Process” Blog Tour by my friend Janie Crouch. I met Janie on the Harlequin Board, when we both entered So You Think You Can Write 2012 in the inspirational romance category. That’s right, I knew Janie when she was a saintly writer.

Her debut novel with Intrigue, Primal Instinct, will release in April 2014.

How cool is that? Find out more info about Janie at:

So here’s the scoop on My Writing Process, based on the four questions.

What Are You Working On at the Moment? While I wait to get the release date for Harte’s Peak, I am working on book two of a contemporary romance three book series set in the Napa Valley wine country. Book one, All of Me, is complete and I hope to have a cover reveal soon.

How Does Your Work Differ From Others in the Genre?

My inspirational romances tend to be what is at times classified as “edgy Christian fiction”, which might sound like an oxymoron, but let me explain. My heroes and heroines have struggled with their faith, have sinned and fallen short. One of them is almost always still struggling with their faith through the book. They sometimes don’t behave in the most saintly of ways, but they are always trying, always slipping and always receiving grace.

I also love humor, and when my editor lets me, I will liberally apply heavy doses. I believe you can find humor even in the most desperate of situations, and I do believe God wants us to fill our hearts with joy whenever possible.

Why Do You Write What You Do?

Because I couldn’t write a mystery or a thriller to save my life, even though I’m a die-hard Dateline fan.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

I suffer from “shiny object” syndrome, so when I do have huge chunks of writing time on the weekends, you will no doubt find me getting up every few minutes to find out what that strange noise is, what is that enticing smell coming from the kitchen, and why is my dog still barking? Setting a timer helps.

Critique partners also help. We nag each other and keep each other accountable. If necessary, we use whips.

When I’m writing a first draft, I can really get in the zone. I will stop watching TV or spending time with the family, not always such a good thing. Revisions are a bit harder for me and require me to forcibly sit down at the keyboard and work it out. Revisions don't come easily and can’t be forced even if sitting in the chair can be.

Hopping onto the "My Writing Process" Blog Tour next week (3/3):

Amy Lamont writes contemporary and New Adult romance with quirky heroines, hunky heroes, and guaranteed happily ever afters. She lives in New England with her husband, twin daughters, and two rescue mutts. Find her at: Amy Lamont

Belle Calhoune grew up in a family of five children in a small town in Massachusetts. A lover of romance novels since she was in middle school, she now enjoys writing happily ever afters for the Harlequin Love Inspired line. Find Belle at: Belle Calhoune and Author Belle Calhoune Facebook page.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's All About the Song

An agent recently blogged about the comparisons between American Idol and an author's journey. She was dead-on about all of them, including those singers (and authors) who don't realize how great they are, to those singers (and authors) who don't realize there is still some work to do.

But it got me thinking about another comparison.

I'm not one of those people who always dreamed of being a writer. I would write - all the time. Journals, diaries, short stories. Therapy, basically. I just never imagined that could be a career. Besides, my real dream was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stop laughing.

Though my singing "career" self-imploded, I'd like to think I've learned some hard won lessons I can now apply to writing.

So, back to American Idol. Ever notice how the judges go on and on about song choice? There's a reason for that.

There are hundreds thousands of great singers who never "make it". I personally know one of them. She sounds like Janis Joplin, but better. I've thought about it for years, and sometimes it does come down to the song.

Now once you have an established fan base, the rules shift a bit. But until then, people are buying a song. If you're lucky, you happen to be the one singing it. Not that you can sing it badly or off-key and still be a success(but let's face it, that has happened).

Let's translate this to the publishing world. You need a story - a great story - either you take a trope or theme and turn it on its head, or your "voice" is so fresh and engaging the story sounds brand new.

The other side of it is knowing your voice and style - you'll often see the judges questions a contestant's sound choice. This almost always comes down to a younger singer who is still unsure of who they are. They tend to be all over the place with style and delivery. Consistency is key.

The same could be applied to writers who may not know their own strengths yet - maybe they long to write a tear-jerker that will pull at the heartstrings and cause readers to curl up in a fetal position. Instead, their real strength lies in telling a humorous story, but they don't know it yet. They need time to grow and figure it out.

Can you think of other comparisons? I'd love to hear them.