Monday, February 25, 2013

Making Time Your B*tch...

I recently got an email from a friend who’s in the process of writing her first manuscript (YAY!). She wanted to know if I had any advice on how to juggle taking care of her small kids with finding time to write. After giving it some thought, I decided to share my oh-so-wise words with you all as well.

As far as finding time to write with kids around (and this same logic applies to spouses, demanding pets, pesky jobs...basically anything that keeps us from lounging around all day eating Bon Bons), I’ll be honest, there is no easy answer. When I was writing The Body Finder, my kids were 6, 15, and 20 (although my oldest was in college and rarely around). I was also working two jobs, so the term “me-time” was practically a swear word. But I had this story idea that I just HAD to write. So what did I do?

For starters, I got up every day before anyone else did so I could write before getting my kids off to school. I began squeezing in 15 minute cram sessions here and there throughout the day (whenever I had a break), and I wrote in the evenings while my husband helped with homework and did dinner dishes. At the end of the night, I would fall into bed, and in the morning I would start it all again.

And, no, it wasn’t easy. 

I read a great post on this topic by Jaye Wells that outlined the differences between those who say “I want to write” and those who actually sit down and make it happen.  It's kind of harsh, but from where I sit, it’s pretty danged inspirational, too.

The thing is, you really don't always have two or three hours to devote to writing. If you only have 10 or 15 precious minutes, spend them polishing what you’ve already written, or brainstorm and outline your next few chapters. Or write 100 words. The amazing thing is, sometimes when find your writing groove you won't want to stop, and miraculously you’ll find another 10 or 15 minutes…and then another. Because sometimes just getting started is the toughest part.

And don’t underestimate the voices in your head (you writers out there will know what I mean). I write in my head pretty much everywhere I go: in the car, in the shower, pushing my grocery cart down the aisles. Sometimes I’m fixing the plot and sometimes my characters are dialoguing with each other. I get my best epiphanies while I’m zoning out on a long stretch of highway. Hell, I wrote half this blog post in the shower.

Writing takes discipline, and finding the time is crucial. But if you really, really have a story that needs telling, you will somehow, some way find the time to get it done.

Ben Affleck may have said it best, when he summed up the keys to success during his acceptance speech for his Best Picture Oscar:

Or you can just keep telling people, “I’ve always wanted to write...”

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Love-is-in-the-Air Giveaway!!!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I've decided to talk about my favorite subject...and to give some stuff away!

Anyone who’s read my books knows one thing for certain: I love kissing. And I love writing kissing scenes. I love it when my main characters finally get to unleash the floodgate of emotions they’ve been holding back...when their lips finally meet at long, long last!

But sometimes even better than the kissing, is the non-kissing. The tension that builds up in the days, hours, and minutes leading up to that first kiss.  If you ask me, sometimes that’s even sweeter than the actual kiss itself.

You know what I mean...those moments when your eyes meet across the room...or you accidentally brush hands and there’s that sudden spark.  Or when you’re at a dance and that slow song comes on, and the boy you like wraps his arms around your waist. You can smell him, and feel the warmth of him against you, and the butterflies in your stomach are going crazy while the music plays and you get lost in the sensation of being so close to him you feel like you might implode. 

And then there are those scant seconds right before you know—you know!—he’s going to kiss you...when his eyes are watching your lips and you see him moving tentatively closer. Your heart feels like it might pound out of your chest. You want him to do, and at the same time you’re afraid that he might chicken out, or that you might chicken out, but he’s still coming...closer and closer. Until, finally, you feel his lips on yours...ever so lightly. Ever so gently. Ever so perfectly.

Did I mention I love kissing?

And that’s what I love about it, the tension. The uncertainty, and all of the emotions going crazy.  To me, the perfect kiss is that very first one. The one where anything is possible. Where neither of you know what to expect. You don’t know when, or even if, it will happen. You don’t know if the two of you will be compatible or if it’ll be the best kiss of your entire life.  It’s all still a mystery.  A heart-stopping, stomach-clenching, roller-coaster of a mystery that you can’t wait to unravel.


In honor of love, and kissing, and well...kissing, let's win some stuff, shall we???

I've got an an ARC of DEAD SILENCE, Tahereh Mafi's UNRAVEL ME (which I know you want!), Julie Cross's TEMPEST, and Alaya Dawn Johnson's THE SUMMMER PRINCE...all very good kissing books! Because of shipping costs, the books will be available to US residents only. But fret not, International residents, because there will be a second Rafflecopter as well! International residents are eligible to win the equivalent of a $20 e-certificate to the online bookseller of your choice so you can order the kissing books of your choosing! (Everyone is eligible to enter for the e-certificate!)

All you have to do is fill out one (or both!) of these Rafflecopters:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaways end on Valentines Day!!!