My Personal Challenge – Fated (The Rewrite)

authoressGetting back to writing is harder than I ever imagined. After several weeks of plotting and creating an initial outline, I tried to re-write the first chapter last Saturday. Well, I’m still working on it.

But I’m determined to get it done. I think one my biggest problems right now is trying to write the story I want to write and silencing that inner critic because she has major issues.

While it is important to think about plot holes, character consistency and grammar rules, my critic also likes to throw in random thoughts like – “Who’s actually gonna read this?” “Is anybody gonna like this?” “Doesn’t this suck?”

My answers lately have been – “No one”, “No one”, and “Yes”. So I have rewritten the first chapter each day for the last seven days. And I remain in the place where I started.

Ughh!!!!

My remedy for the time being is: Do it anyway. Maybe, this piece won’t ever be published but I will finish by the end of the year and to help me along – stay tuned for unedited chapters each week.

Here’s the synopsis for Fated (working title)

Marc Rossi is a small town detective working on the biggest case in the not only the town’s history but his career. A prominent business man is found with a single gunshot wound to his head in his office. To complicate matters – the business man is not only a member of the latest wave of post-Katrina transplants to settle into the town but a member of the growing number of immigrants into the South Louisiana region. Language barriers and general prejudice hamper the investigation as well as Marc’s growing attraction to Laurence Tomas, the victim’s former girlfriend.

Can he find a killer and love at the same time?

Hope you’ll join me on Monday for that first chapter!

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I had great hopes for this summer. I was going to polish the rest of the Rose Gold Collection. I was going to complete the follow-up novella to Scent of a Woman. I was going to finish a Christmas novella.

Then life happened.

After six months, I was unable to find a full time job and my savings had taken a serious depletion.

Writing and publishing is now a dream while I deal with the real world.

I’ve moved in with my in-laws a state over from where I began my writer’s journey.

magic pen (series C)And my kids are undergoing a journey of their own. If you are a parent then you’ll understand that their struggle is paramount to your own. So when my daughter looked up her new school online and saw 0.3% of the enrollment who classified themselves as one or more races, she was concerned. Which led to my younger daughter being concerned which led to me being concerned.

I’m an African-American woman in her forties married to a White man. I’m used to being one of the only few in a crowd whether it is one of his family’s functions or one for work, so I no longer think in those terms.

But for a child who identifies herself as biracial, who does she gravitate towards? In our former hometown, it was easy. It was like we were a minority population of those who were interracial couples – White/Asian, Black/Latina, Black/ White, White/ Latina/o and the list goes on. But here on the North Shore (about thirty minutes outside of New Orleans), we don’t even qualify as a minority. It’s more of an anomaly.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll let you know how we are doing. Especially the kiddos. And I’m going to write again.

I promise!

~Val

The Virgin Heroine?

When I began college eons ago, I became friends with a group of ladies and gents that I still hang out with. At the time we met, we were all virgins. Every single nerdy one of us.

By the time we graduated, only two virgins remained. Unlike the rest of us waiting for our moment to bloom in the eyes of the opposite sex, they had made a conscious decision to not have sex before marriage.

darceystraighthairSo here’s where my life experience affects my enjoyment of smexy reading material. The Virgin Heroine who is old enough to legally buy alcohol.

In order for me to buy into this woman’s story, I need the reason she’s a virgin. I don’t even care what is – self-esteem issues, daddy issues, religious view point, whatever! Secondly if she’s now going to have sex with this guy then I need to why as well. And sorry it can’t be lust at first sight.

This is a lifestyle choice we’re talking about. Like being a vegetarian, you don’t look at one burger and say to hell with this. This is years of hearing – “Say, girl, you wanna come back to my place?” And the answer being – “No thanks.”

Of all the heroine romantic archetypes, I think the virgin is trickiest one to write for contemporary writers. I applaud those who have done it well and keep me seeking out their stories. And I’m asking for support as I put the finishing touches on my own virgin heroine’s story. Look for it over the Christmas holidays!

Happy Reading!

Typed The End…Part 2

Cocktail partyAllergies have slowed the work down this week and I didn’t accomplish as much on my second week, but I did accomplish some things. Here’s the wrap up:

The first thing, that I’ve done is to create a writing schedule that will take me to the end of the year. Along with that came a promise to myself that I was going to complete it. Here’s schedule and where I am:

  1. Anthology Submission to Hot Ink Press for an upcoming project called Naughty Bedtime Stories – Received an email that it was received and is under review.
  2. Holiday Short Story – The second draft is going very slowly. I’m trying a new technique and while I think it will produce a better work, it’s taking a lot longer.
  3. Second Shifter Novella – The first draft stalled on Wednesday and I haven’t gotten back to it. Must work on this this weekend.

I also know that I have to get back out there and start connecting with readers and other writers, so I have a few blog hops coming up and some writers lined up to visit the blog very soon.

Happy Reading!

November 2013 Update

I’m deep in the heart of NaNoWriMo 2013 and 5000 words off pace. No matter all my careful planning, LIFE struck.

Work – The company I’ve worked for for the past seven years was bought out officially in October. This past week, the first wave of layoffs occurred. Six hundred employees were told they no longer had a job. And none of them were given the reported 7.2 million dollars that our former CEO received. So it was hard to write this week.

Home – Spanish tests, low math scores and science fair projects. I’ve been super busy with my girls. And my son is a maniac often waking me up at three in the morning to announce that he has to go potty. He doesn’t want my help or anything, he just wants me to know. Of course, I can’t go back to sleep after that. At least the hubs is satisfied with the football season. Geaux Saints!

In the midst of it all, I managed to complete 25,000 words and I’m halfway done with A Loving Affair. Have I shown you the inspiration for Lenore.

Here she is!

(How sexy is forty?)

Mature Black Woman on a Boardwalk (2)

 

Back to writing, I have 25,000 more words to finish in less than 15 days!

Hump Day Hook – Christmas 2014

It’s time for the Hump Day Hook! A group of authors sharing a small bit of their WIPs or already released works. Click the icon to discover your next great read!

humpdayhook

This RAW snippet comes from a WIP novella, I hope to complete by Christmas submission time in 2014 so by the end of June or late July 2014….August 2014 if I limit my publishing options. In this exchange, Ada Haynes is checking into a bed and breakfast in her ex-husband’s home town of Willow Springs, GA during the Christmas holiday.

photo_66781_20111209“Well, I used to visit this area with my ex-husband and we always ate there.”

At the word, husband, Mr. Ballard cocked his head to the side at a sharp angle that swung his hair into his suddenly nquisitive eyes. “Is that right?”

Willow Spring was a small town tucked high in the mountains of Georgia. A local husband most likely meant that she’d been married into one of the few residing African-American families. She hadn’t.

Ada let his mind tick over the possibilities, unable to contain the width of the smile straining her against her cheeks. She’d always enjoyed the shock of someone finding out that she’d been married to a member of one of the town’s founding families, Tolbert McCrae. “And the lights in the square, do they still have those?”

Happy hopping and wish me luck! The next stop is Elin Gregory.

Honing the Outlining Process

Before beginning to write and learn, I had no idea what a pantser was. For my first published short story, I was a total pantser. I came up with an idea, had a vague idea of my characters and wrote their story as it came to me.

Calendar Girl Cover

Calendar Girl Cover

For a short story, less than 8000 words, the editing process was arduous. I was extremely lucky that Amira Press even took the chance on Calendar Girl. I literally typed as Nia and Connor spoke.

Feeling adventurous, I ventured into a longer work.  Lena and Ethan, Music for Her Soul,  still spoke to me but there were missing spots in the story and I began to develop my own system of outlining.

The character bio – How old? Where are they from? What is their relationship like with their families? Where do they work? What are their hobbies? I even include things like their senior prom experience and who they voted for in the last presidential election. This is especially helpful when I’m writing dialogue.

The story idea – I write a paragraph or two which basically tells the whole story.

The plot outline – I used to write plays and think in terms of acts. So I outline Act I, Act II, Act III, etc…

Research – What do I need to complete all these things? Job notes? Housing? Airline Schedules? What I think I need I collect and store.

The first draft – This is part of my outlining process. I begin to add words and dialogue and setting to the plot outline. The hardest part about the first draft is not to edit myself and just let the characters speak. The work is for later.

Rewriting and Editing – This is the fleshing out and corrective process. Actually my least favorite part, but I’ve had some good moments.

DEJAVUFinalI used this process with Deja Vu.

With an additional writing class which I thought was wonderful, I’m adding another step between first draft and rewriting. I’m calling it the questioning period. I’m going scene by scene and asking myself if this is the most important focus of the character at that moment and making sure the reader knows this as well.

For instance, I walked into my office this morning and saw a bright pink sticky note in curvy writing on my monitor at work this morning. That caught my attention. I had a class to teach in ten minutes, I hadn’t arrived as early as I should have and the note could only be from my boss. It wasn’t until later in the day that I noticed the six files crammed into the corner of my desk and the light blinking on my phone that I had messages.

I want my readers to be in that moment with my characters and I’m trying out my new technique in my WIP – wish me luck!

~Happy Writing

Introducing Felicia Tatum

About the Author

I’m a small town girl that lives in Tennessee. I read and write more than I watch TV and I prefer animals to most people. I love the color pink but wear a lot of black. I’m a vegetarian and love making Mexican food vegetarian friendly. I’m a mommy to the most amazing little girl in the world and the daughter of awesome parents. I’m a little sassy and overly ambitious. I want to go to Italy, yet I haven’t even been on a plane yet. Who am I you ask? I am Felicia.

How long have you been writing?

I have been a writer for as long as I can remember, though I never called myself one. I remember in 7th grade, I had a notebook that I was writing stories in. I kept a diary with detailed information on everything. I had a journal I kept on my computer later on. In 11th grade, I had to write a poem and match it up with a song, and I remember a classmate was amazed that I wrote it so fast. It was a turning point for me, someone noticing my writing and enjoying it. I’ve been working on my novel since May of this year.

I’m currently working on my first novel, The White Aura. The title actually came to me in the middle of writing it. You’ll have to read it to figure out why though. I’m currently revising, but I plan to share some of it on my blog when I’m finished. www.followyourdreamsalways.blogspot.com

 

Have you started another book yet?

Why yes, I have. Originally, The White Aura was going to be a two part novel, but after writing the first part, I decided to expand it into a full novel. So there will be a sequel to it and let me tell you, I’m even shocking myself with what’s happening!

If you could have a book signing anywhere in the world,

where would it be and why?

Well this one is easy, Europe! I have many friends over there and I’ve wanted to go since I was 12. London, Italy, all of those fabulously beautiful places. I’d want to meet all of my friends there too, though. I have met so many amazing people over the internet in the past few years. It would be a big party!

Connect with Felicia Online

Thanks, Updates And The End Of Summer

It has been a fun week around the blogosphere for me and I wanted to thank those who made it happen:

Anne Ashby, author of Wilderness Liaison: Great interview on the Vallory V Blog with her heroine, Jamie Mathieson.

Kristy Centeno, author of Call Of The Wolf: I had an author spotlight on her blog, Books by Centeno. She had questions that made me think.

Tiffany Rose, author of Fun With Buster: I had a blog post on the Tiffany Rose Erotic Romance Blog entitled As Long As Your Nipples Are Covered. And it’s not what you think. I’m talking about one of my favorite places to set a romance ~ New Orleans!

I also wanted to give you a couple of updates:

Betrothed – My historical interracial romance. Wow! This thing has grown and I’m sending it off to my favorite reader who is also on vacation this week. She has promised to let me know if it is finished yet. Then, one more revision on my part before going to the editor.

Something Wicked – As my friends find out what I write, they like to tell me stories. Some are funny and some are weird. Then they tell me to find a home in a romance for something like that. Okay, I nod politely. And then I was told something that wouldn’t leave me alone. Ideas, characters, scenes demanded to be written. Something Wicked was born. (I am still working through the details and you’ll be able to read the first chapter soon. A scene is posted on the My Writing tab.)

Hero Worship Week (September 10th – 15th): I’m hosting a week of character interviews featuring the heroes of the romances we write. Do drop by and meet the first men interviewed on the Vallory V Blog! I even made a cute button.

What the end of summer means in my little corner of the world:

  • Coordinating pick up and drop off schedules
  • Volleyball practice and games
  • Three year old soccer
  • Finding new chili recipes
  • Preparing for the holidays
  • And writing, writing, writing

Enjoy the rest of your week ~ Val