Okay, I’ve finally got an Amazon Author Page. So, you can follow me there and know when I have new works out for you to grab. Also, I have an author page at Good Reads. Leave honest reviews, shelf the anthology, and follow me. Every little bit helps.
I’ll be updating and adding to them as I make the time.
I plan on being fairly transparent, so I doubt some of what I post here will be the usual post book release information.
It is officially one day after my debut has released. This day is just like the day before and the day before that.
My story’s conception is awkward and fairly uninspiring. A friend told me she was submitting to an open call on a story concerning super heroes. I should too. Thankfully, I was in the mindset that I should get some of my writing in front of people. I need the feedback, the learning curve, and the experience. So, yeah sure, I’ll do it.
Now, I just needed a story idea. This is where the crickets start chirping. I wander around, trying to get any idea. I visit the publishers web site and buy a few of the books. I’ve already researched the press, but to my knowledge I have not read any of the books. I got several in genres I can tolerate reading. I sampled their heat ratings and tried to do a count of what the press published more, sweet or graphic.
I set a word goal of 7-8k words because that was the spot that was not too short or too long. Then I asked my forever fiancé, West, for some super power ideas and told him what I wanted to do. I did not want the super powers to be used outside of the bedroom. I wanted my characters to intertwine them with their tryst. So, I need to twist the powers and make them naughty.
We came up with several ideas. Now as much as I like the bad boys, I wanted to write the villain lady. To make it a bit more interesting and challenging, how do you get a villain lady and a good boy alpha together?
West and I worked on it for a few hours, laughing our butts off. Thankfully, I’ve got a man with a sense of humor and a publisher willing to accept a HFN ending. To call my story romance is stretching it. I used the whole destined love trope. I don’t mind it when I read it and actually rather like the idea. That’s about as romantic as my story gets.
I get out my trusty outline form and go to work. Starting with the ending. I know it ends up with them all hot and heavy and I even know the resolution. My issue was the rest of the story. I agonize over the story concept. I can’t tell if my idea is any good or not. Is it too cheesy? It sounds too cheesy.
I write my first draft completely unsure of the entire story. I toss it out to alphas and some of it to West. I learn a lot about some people in my life from this. I get good advice from my local writer friend, Leigh. Listen to your story. I mean literally, turn on text to speech and listen to it.
I ended up re-writing the entire two thirds of the story and taking out a character. Time is ticking. I had two weeks when I started. I drug my tail. It needed to be longer. I added a scene on public transportation. Hit word count goal and re-read the story around twenty times. Take out all those horrible filler words.
Then my friend, Leigh, helped me write a killer three sentence pitch that made my writing sound like gold and a query letter. Despite not requesting a three sentence pitch, I made sure it was the first few lines in the query. I kept that query as short and sweet as I could. Open my documents!
I did not hesitate hitting the send button, because I knew what to expect. We’ve all had some form of rejection. I’m ready for this. It isn’t a big deal and is actually a badge of honor. I didn’t think much of it until it was about time for the notice to pop into my inbox. Oh yeah, it’s been three months…
I get the offer of a contract. Now this is not what I was ready for…
To sum up how I think I got that contract offer:
- I wrote for the publisher. What I thought the publisher wanted. This includes how they want the documents formatted.
- I did the research on the publisher.
- I had a killer three sentence pitch.
- My query was short and to the point. The section on me was very short. No one cares about the author.
Now, to cater to the publisher and hopefully the reader I made my story as sexually tense as I could. Not sure how I pulled that off yet. Maybe I’ll get some feedback. Tension is a good thing in writing.
So, I wished I could tell you this story was months or years in the making. That the characters burned in my thoughts. That I had honed my skills and prepared for this. That it was epic.
While I am happy about it, I’ve moved on to other things now. I’ve got a request for a fairy tale mash up romance short story. Cue the crickets. Got any ideas? I’m really not sure of my current ideas :) I’m being wishy washie and uncertain. What are some fairy tales or folk lore you liked? Time is ticking.
If you don’t leave a fairy tale idea comment…then check out my debut. (yup, my lame attempt at marketing right there).
Ask an Author – Hosted by Karin Dahl.
She refuses to trust…he refuses to love.
Noble born Adaira Godwin is a determined young woman whose life is all mapped out until she runs into a stone wall—Norman warrior, Renouf de Sinclaire, who has other plans for her. Set in eleventh-century England during the Norman invasion, Vows of Pain & Passion is the story of two headstrong characters, enemies from different lands. Can they overcome hatred, language barriers, religious beliefs, and their own fears, or is their love doomed from the start?
I am Leigh Lee, writer of historical and contemporary romance, married to my hero. My husband and I currently live in upstate South Carolina enslaved by our 19-year-old cat. I started writing when my kids were young. Then life changed and I stuffed all my stories into a box and moved it around the east coast until we ended up in the south. That’s when I found the box of my manuscripts and began writing again.
• MWD: Heya Leigh! Welcome to the Ask an Author! Starting off, is romance your favorite genre to read? If so, why? If not, what is?
• Leigh Lee Thank you for having me. Yes, it is, but I do love a good mystery/thriller too.
• PJH: Is this your first book?
• Leigh Lee: Well, yes and no. It is my first published book. I have more coming.
• KB: Hello Leigh Lee, interesting time. How did you choose that as your story line?
• Leigh Lee: Hi KB. I fell in love with the medieval period, but I do like settings of any historical era.
• PJH: Is there a particular period that you enjoy more?
• Leigh Lee: Medieval, and anything in the 1700’s Scotland, PJH.
• MWD: Do you feel as if any specific author has influenced your own writing? If so, who?
• Leigh Lee: I grew up reading Kathleen Woodiwiss. But now I read Tanya Anne Crosby, Kathryn Le Veque, Tara Mills – among many others.
• MWD: Are there any “live and learn” instances you’ve experienced while writing this one?
• Leigh Lee: Oh my! Many things. Editing is an experience where no one tells you what to expect. I found it exciting but frightening too.
• AL: Will there be a second book to Vows of Pain & Passion?
• Leigh Lee: Yes I am writing the sequel to Vows of Pain and Passion now.
• KD: What motivates you to write more than anything?
• Leigh Lee: My motivation can come at the oddest times. It can be a look on a stranger’s face, a song or a phrase I over hear.
• AL: Do you plot out your stories, and where and when do you write?
• Leigh Lee: I do some plotting…but mostly I write and it happens. That might sound trite, but when it is flowing, it is the best feeling in the world.
• PJH: I understand you’ve been working on designing your own covers. Do you enjoy that? Mine would be a total disaster.
• Leigh Lee: Yes, I have been working with a good friend, Winter Bayne. Choosing a cover design, was the hardest part of the process for me.
• PJH: Are you a procrastinator about submissions or do you have quick fingers on the send button. (as I do)
• Leigh Lee: I am a procrastinator. I get nervous at this stage.
• MWD: Do you write for yourself, or do you keep your readers in mind?
For instance, if you felt as if a specific character needed to be offed or taken out of the plot somehow, would you do it even if it meant your readers would probably begrudge you?
• Leigh Lee: I write for readers. I question everything I write as to how it will be perceived. Nothing is better than knowing what you write is being enjoyed. I would do what I felt was best for the story within reason.
• KB: Leigh, how do you start your books? Do you have a plot in mind, do you envision the end and write to that vision? I would think keeping everything in order has to be difficult.
• Leigh Lee: I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants writer, a panster. When I get an idea, I mull it over for a few weeks. Maybe jot down some ideas. Then I begin writing. If research is needed, this is when I do it. I get a skeleton version down, and then I go back and fill in the good stuff.
• AL: Do you do anything special to get ready to write? Listen to music? Grab tea or coffee? – or a special munchie?
• Leigh Lee: I drink coffee, lots of it. I do listen to music but find I don’t really need it.
• PJH: What do you do about the entire promotion ordeal?
• Leigh Lee: That is something I am of course learning, but I wish I had a marketing wiz to help me through the steps. I just need my hubby to retire so he can do the marketing for me.
• AL: What time of day do you write best?
• Leigh Lee: I usually write in the afternoons. My best time of day.
• PJH: Are your books sweet romance?
• Leigh Lee: My books are hot romance, but not graphic. I open the door, and let the reader’s imagination take it from there.
• KD: If you could go back and give yourself 1 piece of advice on writing, what would it be?
• Leigh Lee: I would contact successful authors and ask lots of questions.
• AL: Do you have a writing ritual you do before you sit down to write?
• Leigh Lee: Yes. Coffee and making myself sit at the computer. I tend to do better if I walk first, and listen to the last day’s work on my Kindle.
• KD: Can we convince you to post a small excerpt for us? *bats eyelashes*
• Leigh Lee: Yes, in fact on my website, http://www.leighlee.com I have posted the first chapter of Vows of Pain and Passion. I would be honored to have you read it and post a comment.
• AL: Ahhh…nice. I’d love to read it.
• AL: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
• Leigh Lee: I am not sure. That might be getting a head of myself. I would have to think about that.
• MWD: What is your favorite writing power food?
• Leigh Lee: Nachos!
• AL: I’m curious… How much research do you do? Is it easy to find information tied to your work in progress or books you’ve written?
• Leigh Lee: I did months of research on this book. For Vows of Pain and Passion, I found a professor in Scotland who specializes in Medieval England. He helped me quite a bit. I owe the professor a bottle of good scotch!
• MWD: What is the question you’d most like to be asked that hasn’t been asked yet?
• Leigh Lee: Haha! “Where can I buy your book?” It is now available for pre-order on http://www.amazon.com and http://www.blackopalbooks.com. As of 2/2015, it will be available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and All Romance.
• AL: Do you write every day, 5 days a week or only when the bug bites?
Plus… Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
• Leigh Lee: I try to write every day… and I like to get at least 10 pages. The next day in the morning, I walk and listen to what I wrote the day before on my kindle. It is different hearing it. Some days it is heaven, some not so much…but most times I love it.
• JG: What a great strategy! To write it and then wait until morning to listen to it on your Kindle. I like that!
• Leigh Lee: Thanks, JG. My kindle is a great tool for my writing. Plus I get outside and exercise, my mind is fresher in the AM too.
• JG: Your answers are inspiring me with new ways to keep going! Such wisdom. Thank you for sharing your secrets of success!!!
• Leigh Lee: JG, I am honored that you would say that.
• MWD: Also, to expand on what AL just asked, how do you pace yourself, especially when the writing muses are being stubbornly silent?
• Leigh Lee: This might not be the way others do it, but I usually have more than one story going at once. If I hit a wall on one, I move to another. The break helps me to get a new perspective when I go back.
• PJH: Is your husband supportive of your new career? Does he get involved by reading your manuscripts and providing ideas?
• Leigh Lee: That’s a very good question. He is a strong influence in giving me the male point of view. And yes, he does read my manuscripts. On road trips to our cottage and I make him listen to it on my kindle in the car – a captive audience. Oh…he just told me to say, “Yes, he is very supportive”.
• PJH: How long did it take to write your book?
• Leigh Lee: It took me a year to write Vows of Pain and Passion. Most of that was spent in research.
• TA: You mention you did a lot of research. I am curious about your use of language: do you write in the style of speech of the period or do you allow your work to sound more modern, despite the time period?
• Leigh Lee: I do write in the speech of the period when there is dialogue, but I don’t overdo it. People today don’t think in terms of medieval speech and I think it could bog down the flow and take the reader out of the story if used too often.
• AL: Do you ever get writer’s Block?
• Leigh Lee: Yes, of course I get writer’s block…right after the holidays usually.
• PJH: How do you feel when you’ve finished your book?
• Leigh Lee: I love this book. I felt good once it was done.
• AL: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
• Leigh Lee: I do read a lot. I enjoy reading new authors, to see up and coming trends.
• KB: What tools and training have you done to help you build your writing skills?
• Leigh Lee: I have been taking writing and grammar courses. I am always looking for ways to hone my skills. I also study the styles of other writers. I learn a lot that way.
• PJH: Do you ever stray from your initial plan?
• Leigh Lee: All the time. Sometimes my characters go on strike – refuse to cooperate until I get the story right.
• AL: Is there a specific genre you like to read?
• Leigh Lee: I will read contemporary and historical romance, but I also love mystery/thrillers.
• MWD: What is your favorite part about the medieval time period? Do you think it is based on more of a romantic notion of the time or a solid, more practical and realistic version?
• Leigh Lee: My novel is based on more of a romantic notion of the time. I love the medieval period because it was a time of great change and find it an excellent backdrop for a story. Societies, cultures, religions and languages blended rapidly during the medieval period. If you look at the modern English language for example, you will be surprised to find how many words originate from French, Spanish, Italian, and German to give a few.
• PJH: Would you ever consider writing a contemporary?
• Leigh Lee: Yes. I have several I have started, but for now, I feel more comfortable writing historical romance. I do have a mystery/thriller on the back burner.
• KB: What is your second book about? Did you stray from the medieval period?
• Leigh Lee: My second book takes place in 1833, Lancaster, PA. I grew up in that area and I am very excited to be writing about it. The book is under contract right now.
• MWD: How do you juggle/manage the different ideas for the stories in your head?
Is there a certain order you have to writing them, or do you tend to work on them all here and there as time allows?
• Leigh Lee: I do write more than one book at a time. Oddly it works for me. It keeps me writing. When I hit a wall with one book, I move on. I seem to be able to pass easily from one to another. The break gives me a fresher perspective when I go back.
• AL: Oh wow…I looked you up on Amazon and see where you have a pre-order link…Nice.
• Leigh Lee: Thank you for posting that! I want to thank everyone for all the questions. This has been a lot of fun and a thought provoking experience for me. I would love everyone to visit me at http://www.leighlee.com to read the first chapter of Vows of Pain and Passion.
Leigh and I are writer friends and we both have our first books releasing this week! I couldn’t have made it with out you and I’ll be leaning on you a lot more in the future.
Originally posted on Leigh Lee:
My debut book is being released tomorrow, 2/21/2015. I am equally excited and nervous.
Becoming a first time author is similar to becoming a new parent. You’ve waited excitedly for the culmination of your new baby/book and planned for its arrival by buying clothes/cover art to dress it up for its introduction to the world. Everyone has happily given you advice as to how a baby/book should be handled/written, but still you fret. Once baby/book is conceived/written, you worry if you will be a successful parent/author. Will you live up to your expectations? Or worse, those of your loved ones. Proudly, you want to show it off to anyone who will take a look/give you feedback, and pray it will grow up to be a successful human being/novel. You cringe when someone does, but then soar when they think your baby/book is fabulous. No one…
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