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Apologies! I skipped my Friday Five – but in my defense, I was driving for nearly twelve hours! So I bring you Saturday Top Six.
Today: Top six things I NEED when I write.
One. A scent. Weird? Certain scents just ignite something in me and this one in particular always does the trick. It smells all manly and woodsy to me, and for sure gets me fired up to write some romance!
Two. Coffee or tea. Lately, it’s been green tea with matcha.
Three. Snacks! I don’t even know how I can stand myself after posting all of these together. The smell of white woods, a cup of green tea and Wasabi peas – yet somehow I’m still alive! I love these things and they are the perfect little snack when writing.
Four. Notebooks, planners and tons of pens and pencils to jot down dates, ideas, things to research – I have a million notebooks and calendars scattered around my desk.
Five: My cat. If you hang out long enough you will discover I am somewhat obsessed with my cat (s) Meet Jojo, my beautiful baby. She is just about as obsessed with me as I am with her. Her little friend Hazel, however, besides me giving her food – really doesn’t care about me much at all.
Six. A break. Tuesday night Trivia at The Red Monkey is the perfect break!
In 2013, as my father was dying from liver cancer, and in the months that followed, I wrote a book.
I had a dream one night about these three people in a tent. They were all kind of snuggled up together and when the woman got up in the morning, she found a note taped to the outside of the tent that said “threesome” and she joined several other people at a big table in the jungle for breakfast, laughing about the note. I literally became obsessed with it. Who were they? Why were they all in the tent? I forced myself to dream about them again and it kept evolving.
I sat down to write what I thought might be just a quick little erotic story. Not even a short story, like something you might post on a blog or something – and it eventually evolved into the story that exists today. As I fell deeper and deeper in love with these three, I kept going back and toning down the sex more and more so it wouldn’t wind up being some dirty book that you might read in secret. A lot of people have asked, and yes, a lot of myself came out through Amie. Though no, she is not me. (But I wish she was … I mean, those two guys???…)Her name was something else in the beginning, but I ended up hating it. I scoured Facebook friends for names, and that one popped up and I loved it.
I sent the book off to some e-pub romance store that I cannot remember the name of. Ninety days later the editor wrote me back saying she loved the first three chapters and wanted the rest. Ninety days after that she wanted to publish the book…but the terms were bonkers. Even as a brand new unknown author, I couldn’t do it. So I sat on it.
I shared it with a group who fell in love with it – and that’s when I started to see some flaws in the story. And I sat on it again.
But my dream has always been to write. I have stories upon stories in my head. Some sweet. Some dark. Some steamy. I decided now was the time to try and make it happen and I sat down with my laptop and began poring over the story again. Re-writing the scenes that bugged me, or didn’t have the emotional depth I wanted. I edited. I re-wrote. I edited. I re-wrote, until one night I anxiously hit that publish button on Amazon.
My book has been live for exactly a week. And I want to thank my friends first for reading it and giving me the confidence to realize it IS a good story. I want to thank my friends who have recommended it to their friends. And to everyone who has purchased it, and left me reviews. I feel like I’ve been walking around on cloud nine! Reading the comments I’ve been left literally puts me in tears that people see what I saw in these three! So thank you!
*also spoiler alert if you haven’t read The Island yet*
I always wonder what other writers rituals are.
As I was sitting yesterday and outlining my ideas and researching a particular town, I lined up my cup of green tea just so. I had my pen and paper. Candle lit. I had my earbuds and I made a playlist.
Michael’s story is exciting me. When I first sat to write The Island, he was my baby, my favorite. In fact, the whole time I thought it was going to be Michael that Amie found herself closer to. As I wrote (my stories tend to unfold for me as I go along despite my best efforts to stick to the plan) I realized it just wasn’t plausible for it to work that way. I cried like a damn baby when he left because that hadn’t been my original intent – yet it made SO much sense.
He was underestimated, and while Amie has a deep emotional connection to Gabe, her connection with Michael starts out as very physical.
So when readers asked for a prequel or even for the stories of the guys – I knew Michael would be first. I want to get in his head. I want to go on his soul-searching journey in Alaska. I can’t wait to flesh out his depth since I purposely left him only skin deep in the original story.
So back to my ritual.
It’s always the same. Green tea (won’t lie…sometimes there is wine) pad and pen. I burn different scents to get me in the mood too…I’m scouring stores as we speak for the perfect scent right now! And my playlist of course. The Island was A LOT of Joshua Radin. I can’t even listen to him now without thinking of that book!
So what are yours? Do you have any? Do you have anything that you HAVE to do or can’t do in order to write?
Inquiring minds want to know.