Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Year, New Stories

Throughout all the bullshit I've been going through lately, I actually have been writing.

Well, sort of.

I finished WHAT THE HUMMINGBIRD KNEW. Still haven't published it.


Then I started working on another short story. THE UGLY WIFE. Almost finished, maybe another two chapters, but can't seem to find the time.


Then, the other night I was having these ridiculous dreams and lo, and behold, I found another story. Short and sweet, but again, alas, no time to spit it out. However, I find if I make a cover for it, it makes me WANT to write it. Although, I guess if I'm toodling around with covers, that is still kind of working. 


And I suppose now, if I have the time to write a blog post, I should have enough time to finish THE UGLY WIFE. My daughter is as basketball practice until 8 tonight. The caregiver is with my mother. Laundry and dishes are done. All the paperwork I have been putting off for weeks is finished. There really is no other excuse is there?

See ya. I'm hitting the keyboard.

Robynne Rand (c) 2019

Monday, December 10, 2018

Threads

It's been over a year since I've been to this blog. I can't remember if I told you or not, but my mother is in the latter stages of Alzheimers/dementia. I have been her primary caregiver for the last eight years. I hope you can see why I haven't been to this blog.

I've also resumed several of the functions at my daughter's school that, being an 8th grade mother this year, I should not have had to take on. The principal laughed in my face. I am doing the same if not more work much to my chagrin. The staff are also under the presumption that I will resume my duties next year, even though my daughter will have graduated. (They can't keep her back, she's making the honor roll.) I laugh at them every time they bring up the subject.

Romantic "Boomer" Short Story
Over the last year, I have begun two manuscripts. They both sit in the mid 20k range. However, I have written and completed one novella and one short story. Both are edited and have been waiting for publication. I know it only takes 5 minutes these days, but I just haven't been able to find the time.

I forgot how much I like writing shorter fiction. However, readers want a longer ending. They are disappointed they can't follow the HEA to a spot in the future. I find that interesting.

It's that time of year when I tend to take a final sweep of the last twelve months and see if I've accomplished anything.  I keep telling my friends that I want to "go back to work." I guess I have, but it doesn't feel like it. I remember the days when I could write 75 thousand publishable words in six weeks. I guess I'm not who I used to be.

It's also that time of year when I tend to look forward. My daughter is heading into (hopefully a private high school) and the volleyball schedule is a nightmare. The school is also an hour from the house (one way). We still can't seem to find a full-time day-time caregiver for my mother that will stick around longer than a couple of months. I need to finish the manuscripts I started before I begin another story. I have had it in the back of my head to build a website for more than five years. I'd like to tackle that this year.

I also think I'd like to blog more. My therapist appreciates the books I write as a cathartic excercise, however, she thinks, and I think I do to, that I need to discuss writing as my "real job" because the job I do at school is not about writing and I never discuss it. How can I stay relevant if I'm not around?

It's that time of year when I clean my house. I begin the week before Thanksgiving and don't finish until we return to school on January 3. Furniture is moved. Clothes are sorted. Cabinets are cleaned. I have two bedrooms, the other half of the dining room, and a hallway I have to finish painting (including all the trim) a bathroom I need to finish floor to ceiling (I tore out the wall tile and the floor) and another bath I have to start. I must also finish the floor in my office and move all the furniture back in. (Is it any wonder I can't write?)

I miss my old life. When I was famous. In my own little microcosmic world. When everybody knew who I was. Now I don't know who I am and I'm certainly not famous--infamous is a much better word. I hate to say that people will definitely remember me after I leave my daughter's school. I am, as it were, a character.

The old urge to write the Great American Novel is coming back. Sure, we all say that, but once the glamour and the hype of being a full-time novelist wears off, most of us write to recieve enough royalties to quit whatever shitty job we have so we can pay the bills. The GAN has long been stuffed to the bottom of my writing list. Until recently. I've been toying with an idea for fifteen years (since I was pregnant). The threads of it change constantly, flowing in an out of existence, sticking somewhere in the gray matter then floating free again. However, it's there and for whatever reason, won't go away.

I also want to start the romatic women's fiction project I've wanted to do since I began volunteering at my daughter's school. If you think your workplace suffers from gossip, political wrangling, and snobbery, you haven't worked for your private school PTO. The sad thing is I'd like to write a screenplay instead of a novel. And that would take forever. However, it would totally work as a movie.

Today, we are dealing with 13" of snow in North Carolina. I have to put on my gear and head down to my parents' house (137 steps away down the hill). I did it twice yesterday. During the storm. It was like walking through rough shoreline chop. My ass tingles today. How many muscles haven't I used?

The only thing I like about snow in North Carolina is that school will be out for at least two days. Maybe I can get some writing in. After I finish the pots and pans from my cook-pocolypse episode yesterday. After I deal with my mother. After I flip the laundry. After I unload the dishwasher. After I shovel the driveway.

I'll see you soon.

Robynne Rand (c) 2018

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Discussing The Five Act Structure

Cover # 17 I think I'm
keeping this one
When I started writing THE MECHANIC NEXT DOOR, I thought it would be a slam dunk. I was writing from experience, both on the personal and technological side. I'd done this before, I knew what I was doing, and what I can piece together from what I saved on Twitter and in Versions, I am a fairly proficient writer (when I have time and am in the zone.) All told, it took me 37 eight-hour days to "produce" the finished manuscript. Of course, in reality those 37 days actually took six months. (And let's not forget how many man hours it took for editing and final look-sees and beta readers. And then another round of whatever.)

That being said, during the latter half of the summer, when I was writing the heart of the project, I noticed that the story would not end. Every time I came up with an ending, I found another piece of the puzzle that needed to be shored up. I know as a reader, I would not like to ask at the end of the book, "what happened to...?"

So, I let the story go where it wanted to. A friend of mine used to have as her tagline, "My characters write the stories. I just take dictation." (She's not online anymore, but her name is February Grace. I believe she's on Twitter. Phenomenal storyteller.)

For the last third of my story, I let the characters decide what they wanted to happen because quite frankly, they weren't doing what I wanted them to anyway.

Sometimes, it's the craziest moments when everything comes together.

We had just gotten back to school. I was nearly finished with the book. I was flat-out with gift card responsibilities, volleyball season had started, and the principal asked me to be on semi-permanent car-line duties. I needed to finish the book, but it just wouldn't end.

And then it hit me--because I was thinking it was supposed to be over. Everyone had gotten what they wanted. But not really. It wasn't as if there were loose ends, the story just felt like it had been cut short. There should be more.

Who am I to argue?

I slaved over the last three chapters wanting to make sure I got every little nuance that I had written at the beginning. There were quite a few I have to say. However, I love writing intricacies in a story. It allows a farther reach for the character to develop.

I rewrote the ending four times. Completely. At least 1500-2500 words each time. I wanted to have the "perfect" ending. When I finished, I felt satisfied I had a good product.

Blam! 

And then it hit me. I had just written another five-act structured novel. I was following a pattern. My contemporary women's fiction were both five-acts. My Regencies were not. Neither are the murder mysteries.

One of the very first rejection letters I received in my young career mentioned my "purple prose." I tend to write very long flowery sentences-- a throwback to what I used to read during my formative years. I guess I still do it, only in a different genre.

Women's fiction is supposed to mimic real life. Well, life has a way of moving up and down. Yes, sometimes, when we think the worst is over, another wave comes crashing in to unsettle us again for however, how long. For those of you who are lucky enough, the second wave brings good news.

Over

Well, now the book is finished and out in the world. Yes, I still have to go through it and have my trusted writing friends go through it, but I needed to get it out of my computer for me to be able to move on.

It's called a "soft opening." I just sort of learned that/remembered that phrase a couple of days ago. More on this in another post.

Robynne Rand (c) 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Editing, Publishing, and Writing Again

Last January (2016) I said on this blog that I wrote three murder mysteries. I finally finished editing the last one, and they are published under another pen name I have.
Logan Hendricks. You can find information about that here. 

 They are not available on Amazon. (That is another story.) However, you can find them on Smashwords, itunes, and Kobo. I tried to find my links to itunes and Kobo but couldn't. When I do I'll post them. I only Tweeted about them once, or twice, quite frankly because I haven't had time.
FROM THE SKY is the next one in the series. I'm about half-way finished. They're each a little over 100 pages. Nice easy afternoon read. No blood. No gore. No psychological drama. Not a whole lot of swearing. Just plain and simple murder mystery stories about a detective and his unofficial partner, a pot-smoking astrologist, and what happens to them while on the job and off. The 6th grade teacher at school read them and he said they're a cross between Law & Order and James Patterson's Jesse Stone.

I also published
THE MECHANIC NEXT DOOR
two weekends ago. I'm still waiting to take
more pictures to try and figure out if I should
bother finding another cover.

However, I just started writing the Regency romance that should have been started in August--according to the schedule I set for myself (time and again) and I'm always ALWAYS off by six weeks. Always.

So, I know how long it SHOULD take me to write the Regency. I SHOULD be able to publish by Christmas. HOWEVER, I know things will get in the way and it won't be finished until Valentine's Day. So, be forewarned if you read Anne Gallagher Regencies. She'll be late with her next book.


Anyway, once volleyball season is over (Saturday) I'll be able to breath.
I have to return to school now. Time for car line duty. And how on God's good green earth did I get stuck doing this job now?  Grrrr...

Robynne Rand (c) 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Changing the Title and Cover Again Part 37

Okay, I skipped a few in between 3 and 36. I've changed the cover a lot. I've changed the title 3 times. For those of you who were here last week, that new cover I showed you--yeah, everyone I showed it to in the real world said no. Except Kim. I then found the perfect picture. I made up the cover. It's still not what I want.



I happened to see Katrina the other morning. She has a camera. A nice one. We asked Mrs. Martinez if we could borrow her truck for a picture. Katrina and Rosario took some great pictures. Then Katrina hurt her back so she hasn't sent them to me yet. I'm hoping to take some more next week with the janitor's truck. It's white and would showcase the font against the green backdrop.

Which leads me to the font. Again, giving me fits. I picked three. I found new ones. I mixed and matched. Grrr.

So, I'm back to the beginning. The girl with the dog. Because I think once you read the book, you'll get the cover. And I've always liked that cover. It's comfortable.


At forty-two, Abby Pryzbylowicz had everything she thought she ever wanted—nice apartment, nice car, nice life. A novelist by trade, she penned romance novels for the money, detective mysteries for fun, and the occasional piece of literary fiction to keep her name in the papers. A reclusive woman by choice, she only wanted to be left alone with her characters. However, when her cousin phoned and begged Abby to help with her mother she couldn’t say no. Abby loved Aunt Rose. Besides, it was only for the summer.

Upon her arrival to Rose MacLaren’s house, Abby found her aunt a ferocious hoarder, had frequent bouts of forgetfulness, and a penchant for choosing her clothing according to color rather than season. Conversations had to be pieced together to make sense. And convincing Rose not to drive proved to be a covert operation. 

When Abby set out to help her aunt, she thought it would be simple enough. All she had to do was clean the house and get it ready to sell. Rose was moving in with her daughter in September. However, as family skeletons started falling out of the closet, Abby’s only confidant was the mechanic next door.


Dealing with him was another story. 


It should be available everywhere.

Robynne Rand (c) 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Changing the Title of Your Book When Nothing Else Seems to Work

So, I was writing all summer with the intent to publish in September. I had a perfect title (which I'm not going to share because I may want to use it again). The book was supposed to be about a woman and a jerkface dog. Well, half-way through the manuscript, the dog semi-disappeared and the story became more about the woman, her aunt, and the guy who owned the dog. So, I changed the title again.

It was great. Or so I thought. I found three pictures for the cover (because I couldn't make up my mind which one I liked best), made mock-ups, and showed them to my friends. Twelve friends to be exact. It was a 3-way tie.

After discussing the situation ad nauseum with my very good friend, I decided the only other option I had was to change the title AGAIN. Because once I finished the manuscript, the new changes I had made to the cover copy didn't reflect the old title.

Of course, once I decided to change the title, I then had to search for more cover pictures. Because the old pictures didn't fit either. And luckily, I found one. While making the cover (yes, I know how to do that) I found that my fonts were all icky. Nothing looked right. So, I had to search for new fonts.

So, here we are with a new title and a new cover design. Now, I just have to go back in and edit the manuscript and I should be good.

Naturally, that all depends on what the Gang of 12 have to say about it. I sent them the new mock-up about 20 minutes ago. Let's see if they like it.

What do you think?

At forty-two, Abby Pryzbylowicz had everything she thought she ever wanted—nice apartment, nice car, nice life. A novelist by trade, she penned romance novels for the money, detective mysteries for fun, and the occasional piece of literary fiction to keep her name in the papers. A reclusive woman by choice, she only wanted to be left alone with her characters. However, when her cousin phoned and begged Abby to help with her mother she couldn’t say no. Abby loved Aunt Rose. Besides, it was only for the summer.

Upon her arrival to Rose MacLaren’s house, Abby found her aunt a ferocious hoarder, had frequent bouts of forgetfulness, and a penchant for choosing her clothing according to color rather than season. Conversations had to be pieced together to make sense. Convincing Rose not to drive proved to be a covert operation. But every Saturday night at eight o’clock, Rose parked herself in front of the television to watch a British comedy on PBS, just like any other little old lady on the block.

When Abby set out to help her aunt, she thought it would be simple enough. All she had to do was clean the house and get it ready to sell. Rose was moving in with her daughter in September. However, as family skeletons started falling out of the closet, Abby’s only confidant was the mechanic next door.

Dealing with him was another story.






Robynne Rand (c) 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Perils of Pen Names

Robynne Rand is my pen name.
Anne Gallagher is my pen name.
Logan Hendricks is my pen name.
None of them is my real name.

Ever since I was little, I've always called myself something other than the chosen name my parents gave me. I'd like to think I was making up characters even then, instead of the likely scenario that I'm really crazy. I was Susan Breckenridge for a long time. I might have been nine. Don't ask me why. Let the therapist figure it out.

Why I Have So Many

I write in niche markets. Traditional Regency romance. Detective murder/mysteries. Contemporary romantic women's fiction. I've found through trial and error that Regency readers generally don't leave the confines of that genre. Women's fiction readers might wander into a detective story, but won't stay for very long if there is too much blood.

In the beginning of my career, I didn't want to lose readers because I didn't write what they wanted to read. Anne Gallagher wrote Regency romance. I did publish REMEMBERING YOU under Anne Gallagher's name, but it was a flop.

I had too many stories, so I found another name.
Too many genres so I found another name.

Why They Are A Problem

Because I have too many. Three different names, four different social media platforms, (remember I'm also piedmontwriter). I can't keep track of half the shit I'm supposed to do in real life, how am I supposed to keep up with four blogs?

I know, I know. Anne R. Allen and I had a long discussion about this a long time ago. She said not to have a pen name. I disagreed. Now, look where I am. Neck deep in schizophrenia. (I don't want to offend anyone if you are schizophrenic. I empathize with your situation.)

Whilst reading a book on menopause, I came across some interesting information. It said women who are going through the change will lose their mind.
Unequivocally.
It's a scientific fact.
I feel so much better.

What I Would Like to Do

I would love to design a website for Shore Road Publishing and house everybody under one roof. That way I'm only there once instead of all over the place four times a week. Sounds good and easy in theory, and probably would be in practice, but I just don't have the time to research and write and upload and download and all that crap. I want someone to do it for me. But I want input. And that costs money.

The cat's surgery broke my bank account. (That's another story.)

What I am Going to Do

Ignore the bullshit. Just write. Sooner or later, after one of the books I'm currently involved in gets published, I'll figure it out. My head's just not in the right space to do so right now. My Saturdays are spent at volleyball games until mid-October. That used to be my work-on-other-things-day-but-still-related-to-writing-so-I-can say-I'm-working-day. And Sunday is my get-the-laundry-finished-day. Mon. thru Fri. I'm writing.

The writing guru's say you need to have a website, blah blah blah. As a Taurus, I find it's easier to ruminate on serious issues before tackling anything this big. But I have to figure it out before my friend moves away. She said she'd help me.


Luckily, I don't think are any other genres I wish to write in, so the names I have will do.
However, I had an idea about a non-fiction book.


Robynne Rand (c) 2017