Dawn Meadows

A Romance Writer's Blog

Ideas, Lightbulb Moments & Cuteness!

For some odd reason, I get a lot of my ideas or plot bunnies when I am unable to get to a computer or ever write the ideas down in a notepad.  In sometimes happens when I'm driving my car.  Red lights are for jotting down notes!  But most of the time, I get ideas while I'm in the shower.  This happened to me the other day.  I was stuck on a certain part of my work in progress, and I was frustrated.  Out of the blue, a past event in one of my character's life came to me, which makes their behavior very logical.  I thought I had motivation for the character before, but this little piece of history was the very thing I was missing.  \0/

Sometimes, I get ideas while I'm blow drying my hair.  I mentioned this once on Romance Divas and the naming fairies got me.  I'm the Blowing Ideas Into My Hair Diva.  LOL!  I once came up with a complete poem while drying my hair.  I had to run over to my desk and write it all out.

I shall leave you all with a cute cat video:

Another Submission ~ Rolling Right Along.

In an attempt to keep moving forward while I wait to hear from publishers, I have done a few things.

I am concentrating on writing more of my Paranormal Romance, Skeptical Latitude.  Man, oh, man, that novel needs a new improved working title.  And today, I submitted Do Not Disturb to Avon Impulse.  I'm not sure that was a good move, because there is no advance and the royalty rates are slim.  Not to mention that I am not informed enough on the subject of DMR protection or on the library thing.  The chance to work with Avon editors and have professional marketing and cover art is very tempting.  Chances of getting my novel accepted is slim with so much competition out there.  I will get informed and make the best decisions for me.

Also, I am still working with my mentor, who is totally awesome by the way.  Check her website out:  Sela Carsen.  She's got me reading novels with the assignment of paying attention to the author's voice.  It's very interesting, and I hope to learn something from it. 

Mentor Program

I am going to participate in the Romance Divas mentor program this year!  The mentor/mentee pairs will be posted in a couple of days, and I am looking forward to finding out who my mentor will be.  One of the moderators is giving out hints.  It's fun and a welcome distraction to flex my research muscles while I try to decipher the clue she gave me about my mentor. 

I will be concentrating on my Paranormal Romance during the program.  I am approaching the novel as the start of a series, so I'm very excited to pick it back up again and start work on it.  Here's hoping my mentor can help me see where my weaknesses are and give me some assignments to help me improve.

It feels as if I've been on this journey for a long time, but that I have a very long road still ahead.  There are so many issues with my writing that I need to work on.  I hope it won't overwhelm my mentor.  I am determined to improve, so at least I have that.

I like that the mentor program is not about trying to finish a work in progress.  It's about improving writing skills and getting help, advice and feedback from someone who is more experienced than the mentees.  It's a three month commitment, and I'm ready to get started! 

Must Write . . . Right Now!

It's that feeling I get.  A tightening of the chest.  A sort of rush, like a drug humming in my veins.  I wish I could get this feeling every time I sit down at my desk to write.  I have it now, at almost 2:00 am.  Normally, I'd be dashing off to open one of my works in progress, but not this morning. 

I want to figure out what sparks this feeling so that I can try to recreate it when I need to be creative.  Things that might have factored in to this: 

1.  Beautiful blue sky this morning.  Crisp and clear day, yet cool.  I love California weather and the scenery. 

2.  I went shopping for new expensive toys today.  We bought a 40" Plasma TV.  My husband loves the whole shopping experience where he gets to badger multiple sales people and shop as many stores as he can possibly go to before he finally makes a purchase.  I love getting the new toy home and figuring out how it all works.  Gadgets are so much fun!

3.  I watched a lot of TV today.  And I actually think this might be the key.  I watched some amazing television where the actors were good looking, the writers were spot on and the whole atmosphere of the show was just perfection.  I also watched a few blah shows that I am still keeping up with even though I'm finding that they've gone ridiculous and are just a waste of time.  Bones, Supernatural:  I'm talking to you.  The Mentalist:  You are so right there, on the edge.  Then there was the horribly stupid reality shows that are like watching a train wreck.  But I think all of these varied shows help me to be more creative.  I see what not to do, I see possibilities in reality TV and I see what really, really works for me.  Damon Salvatore, you work it, man!

Well, whatever it is that gets this feeling deep in the heart of me, that feeling like I have to move my characters forward, I have to make scenes come alive in a .doc file, the feeling that I'll burst if I don't start typing, I feel so blessed/lucky to get that feeling. 

It would be nice if the feeling happened at 9:00 am or 10:00 pm, when I have set aside time to write.  Not 2:00 am when I should be asleep and I've going to regret staying up, in the morning when my six year old is jumping on me like joyful bit of sunshine, asking for breakfast. 

I'm going to write in a few minutes, but just like this post, I'm sure what I write won't make much sense in the morning.  I'll have to edit later.  At least the story will get edited.  Somehow, I think it's a good thing to babble incoherently on my blog once in a while, just to remind myself why I should go to sleep before 2:00 am in the future.

Write on, creative people!  Write on!

Real Men and Their Flaws

My eldest son, who recently turned fourteen, reminded me the other day that men have flaws that often times do not end up in romance novels.  But maybe some of the flaws should find their way onto our pages.  Can’t our heroes be more realistic and still charm the socks off us?

My house was a bustle of crazy insanity early one morning, as all five of my kids ran around trying to gather their things for school at the last minute.  My oldest son complained that he couldn’t find his jacket.  As I rushed through the house helping the younger kids gather backpacks, I gave him ideas of places where it might be, but he insisted that he’d looked in all of those places.  He stood in the middle of the living room looking lost.
Once I had everyone together at the door, I opened the entry closet to get my youngest son’s jacket and stopped short.  There, hanging on a hanger, plain as day, was my oldest son’s jacket.  I took it out and waved it in front of him.  

“What!  That wasn’t there a minute ago.  I just looked in there,” he said to me with a slack jaw.

I could only shake my head and do my best to stifle a giggle.  I told him, “You have now officially entered manhood.”

And that got me thinking about romantic heroes.  Color-blind ones who need help making sure they don’t wear one blue and one black sock.  Ones who continually misplaces their car keys.  Or one who is a neat freak that gets bothered when the heroine drops things on the floor.  Flaws that can be annoying, but really, they make the man real.  He can still save the day, team up with the heroine to get things done, make decisions, fight for the girl and all the other wonderful things heroes do.  

Just something to think about.

Novella Submitted

Well, I did it.  My first time submitting to an epub.  I've got the category romance subbed with Harlequin while I still have queries for it out to agents, and now the first novella in what I hope will turn into a series is in an epublication editor's inbox. 

In three years, I've gone from taking up my dream to become a published author to this point.  I'm really proud of what I've accomplished so far.  I've still got a long way to go, but just knowing that I began this journey, took my time with it and have gotten to where I have more than one finished, polished work out there on offer makes me want to pat myself on the back.

I spent time in the playground (created world) of someone else, creating stories with characters not my own.  Thank you, Joss Whedon, for allowing your fans to play that way.  I learned about story structure, beta readers and proper formatting.  I also found a great bunch of writers/readers online that I now call friends.  During this time, I worked on my grammar, sentence variety and dialogue.  I enjoyed every minute I spent writing stories that I could never make a dime off of.  Stories that fellow fans could enjoy. 

When I felt like I could do original fiction justice, I still had a lot to learn, but I had the confidence to know I could finish a story if I put my mind to it.  I knew I could handle tough critiques and many hours revising and editing my stories.  And I enjoy every minute of the process.  I don't find it tedious or boring.  I love writing the first draft; I look forward to making corrections and adding and subtracting from the first draft.

I won't lie and say I enjoy writing query letters or synopses, but I love when they are finished to my satisfaction. 

I'm still not good at hitting send when I query an agent or submit a package to a publisher.  I get jittery.  My hands tremble, and I feel like I'm going to be sick.  I wonder if that will ever go away?  Probably not.  A little fear is a good thing.  It will keep my on my toes, and help me to stay diligent and professional.

I will be very disappointed if I get a rejection on the novella, because I love that story and I love the epub that I have subbed it to.  They are my first choice.  There are others out there and I do have a second and third choice that I'd be happy with, plus four others that I would be okay with.  After that, there are still options.

So, now, I will keep busy writing the two works in progress that I am most interested in right now.  I've got 14,000 of the sequel to the novella written and just under that amount of my single title fantasy story written.  Plenty to do to keep my mind off possible rejections.

Taking Care of Myself This Year

I am going to be good to my body this year.  To kick things off right, I've joined the Romance Divas team for the Biggest Loser Pound For Pound Challenge.  I've pledged ten pounds.  Wish me luck!

A New Year

The future looks bright and I'm raring to go!  I'm a list maker.  I make many lists every day.  One for things I need to purchase, one for chores I need to do around the house, and one for things I want to do by the end of the day to further my dreams to make a full time career out of my writing.  There is something so satisfying about crossing off items accomplished.

Now that we are in a new year, I need to think about my year long list of goals I wish to achieve.  I try to stretch myself with big goals, but have a few easy to accomplish ones as well.

1.  Submit All Business to an epub this Friday.
2.  Write the sequel to All Business by February 1.
3.  Continue to seek an agent and/or submit Do Not Disturb to publishers that take unsolicited manuscripts,      including epubs.
4.  Complete my YA Fantasy novel, do rounds of edits and be ready to query agents by September. 
5.  Work on the third novella in the All Business series. 
6.  Complete my Paranormal Romance.
7.  Work on Contemporary Vegas Romance.

By the end of the year, I would like to have a contract for All Business and hopefully one for the sequel.  I would also love to have a contract for Do Not Disturb, but I'm more confident about All Business.  If I can't find a home for DND by the end of the year, I plan to self-publish either on Smashwords or with CreateSpace.  I want to have books in all stages of planning, writing and submitting.  I would also like to improve my photoshop skills as I love making book covers.

What are your goals for the coming year?
Publish Post

Tools I Use

Every writer has their own routine and their own set of tools that help them keep moving forward.  I try to keep it simple.  Here are some of the tools I use to help me along.

I do all of my writing in MS Word.  I like being about to add notes and use track changes when I'm editing.  Before I could afford MS Word, I used the free program, Open Office, and it was almost just as good.  It has some of the same features and files could be saved as .doc files.

I backup my files using Dropbox, which is just an awesome program.  All of my writing file folders are kept in Dropbox.  I can access them from any computer, and no matter which computer I open files and make changes on, those chances will be there on any other computer, when I open the file again.  If my main laptop dies, I will still have the files on Dropbox and will be able to still retrieve them. 

When I am querying agents, I use Querytracker to keep it all organized.

If I'm stuck and need to push myself to keep writing, I will use Write or Die, which is just a lot of fun.  I recommend using the normal mode, because it's more evil to have to hear that song than to have my words erased.  LOL!  He's got a new editing tool that I want to check out too.

What tools do you use?

Got My 50,000 words. Moving On.

I did it.  Got my 50,000 words for Nano.  I had a bad month with computer woes and financial issues, but I somehow managed. 

Now that I've given myself a few days off from writing, I'm going to focus on submitting two of my completed stories, and I'll be writing two others.  I'm also thinking about what my realistic goals should be for the coming year.