LizAnn Carson

Releasing the stories into the world


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Seducing Adam News

Hi, everyone. This is a quickie post with a couple of news flashes about Seducing Adam:

First, the book is on Goodreads Giveaway until April 20. If you haven’t already, hop over there and enter.

Second, if you’re more the e-book type, I’m pleased to say that Seducing Adam is now available on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and a few others. I’m sorry it took so long to make this happen; blame it on the learning curve!

I’m exhausting myself with the preparations for a triple book launch this summer, plus trying to have a life. Stay tuned; I will have a preview page of Amanda, the first of the three books, up here sometime soon.

Nothing more for now, though. I have a sunny evening and a purring cat on my lap, and I intend to relax and enjoy every moment.

Wishing you lots of time to read,

LizAnn


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Staying within the Lines

Secret Garden, not quite finished

Secret Garden, not quite finished

I have a new coloring book. I love it. (If you’re curious, it’s called Secret Garden, by Johanna Basford.) It has page after page of these wonderful, flora-themed line drawings to color and play with.

As a child, I was always a first-rate colorer. I knew how to take my time, to stay within the lines. As I got older, I remember being frustrated by the juvenile nature of most of the available coloring books. This was long before grown-up coloring books became popular, of course. Now you can get coloring books to help you study anatomy or botany, coloring books that mimic stained glass windows, coloring books with patterns ranging from old wallpaper patterns to crazy paisleys, and everything in between. Being an adult colorer has never been easier.

No one ever told me, back in those childhood days, that you could draw your own pictures. That you didn’t have to be confined by someone else’s lines. It was as an adult that I discovered that I could draw, if I put my mind to it. Or that I could create Zentangle drawings that blew my mind. Nobody told me.

I’ve picked up some of those skills now, to some extent anyway. But I’ve also colored my way to my relatively ripe age, happy as a clam.

Funny thing, though. When I look at my coloring in my new book, I realize I’m not quite as good at staying within the lines as I was.

Being me, I have to wonder if this is symbolic. I’ve never personally wanted to stay within the lines. Sometimes I wonder if that’s part of why I became a romance author.

Pity the poor romance author! Given no respect, no credibility. And yet we account for an enormous percentage of fiction sales. And while not all romance writing is great, a lot is nothing to be ashamed of. We can write, dammit. But it really does feel sometimes like we’re on the outside looking in, waiting for someone to notice us and say, hey, wait a minute, this book is actually good.

I’ve heard it said that romance writing is writing to a formula. In some cases it plays out that way. But not all cases. Having the lines pre-drawn, as in a coloring book, means you know the beginning and the ending before you start writing. But then you get to choose the colors, fill in the blanks. How the beginning and ending happen, and all the steps in between, are yours to tint. My finished drawing, or book, isn’t going to look a thing like yours.

And then there’s the business of coloring outside the lines on purpose. Now we’re getting exciting—and scary. My new coloring book actually encourages you to draw your own lines, add to the patterns. I’m not sure I have the courage for that (the old what-if-I-mess-it-up thing starts happening). In writing, sure, I’ll try it. It’s called finding your voice. It’s called ignoring convention and going with your gut. It’s called making your book the best darn book you can, on your own terms.

I bought a new pack of markers to go with my new coloring book. And that’s what I’ll do this afternoon after tea, having written all morning. I’ll stay within the lines or not. I’ll layer colors. Maybe I’ll add a trailing vine or a red flower. I’ll make the picture my own.

(One last note. In amazon.ca, Secret Garden is a number one best seller in children’s coloring books. Kids these days are a lot luckier in their selections than I was!


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Book Launch

OMG, I did it. Seducing Adam is available on Kindle. I’m not a mere writer anymore; I’m an author!

Golly gee. It’s even selling!

Amazement and total exhaustion. Because this has been, and still is, a labor intensive process.

It’s my own fault. I’m a do-it-yourself kind of gal, working on a do-it-yourself kind of budget. I have friends who have had someone else produce their (admittedly gorgeous) book covers. Who have hired editors and copy editors. Who, being better organized (or more in the know) than I am, launched their baby with blog and Facebook fanfare. Who had someone else do all the technical stuff to get a book Kindle-ready and on the e-shelves.

Not me. Do-it-yourself all the way, although the only part of launching Seducing Adam that was even remotely fun was the book cover. I do a lot of collage work, including electronically, so at least I know how to work with layers in my graphics editing tool (Paint.net – and a big shout-out to them, it’s a wonderful product, and free). But that doesn’t mean I’m perfect at it. The book was barely out there when I spotted a big hole – How did that get there? How did I miss it? – in one of the roses on the cover. Recreate, resubmit. Pray.

Those are basically the steps to self-publishing an ebook – rework, submit, pray, rework, resubmit, pray, repeat.

And the editing. Part of the rework-resubmit sequence has to do with stumbling over just one more typo in there. I hate to admit it, but by the time you’re satisfied that it’s as good as you can make it, you may still love your baby, but you’re thoroughly sick of it at the same time. There’s a reason they say you shouldn’t proofread your own stuff. Even dragging your pace down to one sentence at a time, your eye glosses right over the word you know is in there, because it should be in there – but for some inexplicable reason, it isn’t.

Isn’t this fun?

I’m doing the same kind of process with Createspace now, and I hope to have the paperback released within the month. Not sure though, because it’s the holiday season, and that’s going to slow down cross-border traffic for ordering a proof copy. (I’m in Canada, Createspace headquarters isn’t.)

What you don’t see is the stiff neck and sore shoulder muscles. The neglected housework. The nerves. Oh dear goddess, the nerves. Rather like watching your firstborn get on the bus to kindergarten for the first time. It seems simple, but you’re well advised to plan to devote your life to it for a while. Or be very patient.

I’m just about ready now to move on. I have two more books written, the first volumes of a trilogy. (You’ll find the first chapter of Calder Creek 1: Amanda at the back of Seducing Adam.) These need work – but revising is more fun than writing, for me. First drafts are killers.

Sick of it or not, I’ll miss Adam and Stacie. They’ve been such a part of my life for the last many months. I know them. I love them. I like that my chosen genre is romance, so I can give them their happy ending.

Please check the Seducing Adam tab on the website to see Chapter 1. I’d be so happy if you bought a copy, doubly happy if you left a good review. Whatever, I wish you happy reading.


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One Week to Launch – Give or Take

What happens when you’re within, say, a week of seeing your first book published?

Nothing. As far as ordinary living is concerned, you cease to exist.

Because there’s no time; you have a gazillion things to do. There’s no space in your brain box; your neural pathways are basically fried. You are, in a word, obsessed.

So anything approaching normal life is out the window. Back-burnered. Non-existent.

Furthermore, you risk nervous wreck-hood. The house doesn’t get cleaned. The meals get made, provided that making them involves taking them out of the freezer and heating them. You’re up an hour earlier than usual, because you know – you know – that there are typos in there you haven’t found, or that the last cut-and-paste left half a paragraph missing.

You know that the whole thing should be rewritten. Because it isn’t good enough, is it? Is it? Maybe it is. Never mind, you can always tack on another hour at the end of the day.

And then there’s everything that goes with the launch date. Formatting and learning how to submit to – in this case – Kindle. Write the blog, get the new page up there. And then there’s the dreaded publicity thing. Sad but very true to say, social media and I seem to live on different planets. I write this blog, and I’ve made a stab at Google + (since I seem to have ended up on it by default anyway), but somehow I can’t get into it.

Did I mention that I picked this moment in my life (thank you, Black Friday) to buy my first Windows 8 computer? Truth to tell, I’m afraid to turn it on. Maybe next week.

Okay. Calm. Focus. Here’s the deal. I’m working  toward a launch of Seducing Adam next week, on Kindle, a little later in paperback. I can do this. I. Can. Do. This. There seems to be a combination of excitement and terror and too-much-to-do-at-once that rolls over all the good intentions. And naturally I’m convinced about those typos and missing chunks of paragraphs, so in the re-read of course I’m finding things to re-word, to clean up, to enhance, to … to … oh heck.

Did I mention my thumbs? Woke up this morning with aches in both thumbs. Who knew that being a romance novelist was dangerous to your health? Typing is a challenge this morning, which may mean it’s time to stop for coffee and a scone, give the poor thumbs a rest.

Do you have time for coffee and a scone? Really? Can you edit while you eat? Don’t stop. Don’t stop!

Okay, time for some balance. I could revise Seducing Adam until the proverbial cows come home. My deadlines are self-imposed. Sometimes it’s a better plan to remember to take a breath. Enjoy the scone. Go to yoga. Or at least, get up from the computer and go see if the sun is shining. (I call my dark little office space “The Cave”.)

I hope that next week I’ll be announcing a book launch. Today, I’m showing off a book cover and a blurb. Look for the new page – and fingers crossed, everyone. Here comes the plunge.


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Failure as a Woman

Okay, I admit it. I’ve failed the woman-test.

Makeup? I’ve never learned the mysteries. Foundation? Powders and blushes? My mother never taught me, and I never learned. My occasional dabblings have failed to enhance. Plus, I get bored trying.

Hair? At least I do get it professionally cut nowadays. With standard instruction to the stylist: whatever it looks like when I wake up in the morning is what it’s going to look like for the rest of the day. Minimum maintenance, that’s me.

Clothes? Put me in anything flirty and feminine and mentally I go straight to cow-in-a-dress. Way back when, I had my colors done – remember that? Thank the Goddess for that! Now at least I know I should stay away from forest greens and oranges and such. The problem is, I really, really don’t want to be condemned to a life of pink. Personality-wise, pink is so not me.

But my big guilty secret? I’m not interested in shoes.

This at least means that my feet are in good shape. But it affects every aspect of my external presentation. I rarely wear skirts, mainly because I don’t have the right shoes. My sturdy lace-ups would look dumb, even I know that. So I suffer wardrobe challenges on a regular basis, and mainly wear jeans. On reflection, I don’t get invited to up-market restaurants very often …

I have a life-loving, girly-girl heroine coming up in book three of the Calder Creek Trilogy, so I foresee challenges ahead. Writing what I know clearly isn’t going to work, this time out.

This is where an active imagination shows its worth. Because even though she is so different from me, I do know how Mel feels in her clothes. She feels damn good. Ready to play, complete in herself. If her long, carrot-red hair is frizzy today, she doesn’t care – perfect with a peasant blouse, one she can pull just a little bit off the shoulder. If her shorts are, well, really short, it’s a hot day and she’s likely to be chasing a Frisbee. Clubs? Something diaphanous. Work? A shade less flirty, maybe a ruffle at the neck, stronger in the color department; nothing shy and pastel about Mel.

Have I learned something about my heroine by writing this post? Yep. And isn’t that one of the joys of being a romance writer? I’m getting to know someone now who was never me, a special someone heading for the happy ending I already see on her horizon.

I’m an absolute sucker for falling for my heroes – don’t we have to love them a little to write whole books about them? But we fall for our heroines, too, or at least I do. They’re our friends and our daughters and ourselves, we learn about them and learn with them.

Yeah. Writing romance is a good thing.


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Who Knew It Was Fun?

It’s an odd mix of fiction and real life, this writing lark. You’ve got one foot in a world of dreams and another foot in the kitchen dealing with the slow cooker.

I didn’t write for a long time, other than the occasional poem. Why? Because I had expectations. It was the next great Canadian novel or nothing, and for me that meant – nothing. It took me a long time to realize, first, that not all of us have the great Canadian novel in us; and second, that there are novels out there that are a lot more fun to read than Moby Dick.

I belong to a very intelligent book club. I mean we read books like Madame Bovary and Don Quixote. But in the middle of an otherwise challenging winter I realized that I don’t always have the stamina to handle Aphra Behn (Never heard of her? Neither had I.), or even the latest Margaret Atwood. Guess what I discovered that winter? Romance.

When, sweetly blushing, I admitted to one of the other book club members that I was reading  romance novels, she said, “You should write one.”

“You should write one.” Sometimes words get into your head. It wasn’t long before I was imagining plots, hearing dialogue, considering motivations – and buying Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies. (True. I couldn’t believe it either. Good book.)

Alas, being a romance author isn’t particularly romantic. You  wear out your eyes staring at a screen, worry that the ache in your thumbs might become carpel tunnel syndrome, and threaten to withdraw supper-making services if your family doesn’t leave you alone. Your back aches. Your cat feels abandoned. But oh, what can you do, things are bad, heroine’s weeping and hero’s in a snit ….The cat has to wait; you can’t leave them like this. Only another few more pages …

Working. Tearing hair. Discovering a plot twist ten chapters back that leads you straight to a dead end. Help! Another cup of coffee. Maybe a little cry. (Maybe a big sob.)

Strong arms, gentle hands caressing you, drying your tears …

Enough of that. Back to work. Read the thing over. OMG, it’s boring. Boring! Lament: Oh, woe! My masterpiece! What must I do to save you?

Rewrite, hone. Rewrite some more.

I love it. I fall in love with my heroes and delight in my heroines. I get a kick out of creating the quagmires they get themselves into, and cheer as they emerge – together. Sometimes, I even learn something from them.

Is it fun? Oh, yeah.


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My Books

Okay, I’m putting myself out there as a writer of contemporary romances, so I suppose I should at least let you, the world, know what I’m up to.

I also write poetry. I write essays. But the romance tops the list; I don’t remember when I’ve had so much fun with writing. (My husband says I live vicariously, but that’s another story.)

So here’s a summary of what I’m working on and what I expect to do with it all.

  • There’s Seducing Adam, set on a small island in the Pacific, between Victoria (where I now live) and Vancouver.
  • There’s the Calder Creek Trilogy: three women finding their men in a small town in central Ohio (where I grew up).
  • There’s a shorter one in the planning stage, which will make it to first draft in November’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), assuming I gird the old loins and go for it.

None of these exists “out there” yet. But they will. They are coming ….

My target is to have Seducing Adam and the first two books of the trilogy ready for publication around next February. Seems like a long time, but self-publishing turns out to be not simple; the writing’s the easy part. If I can get it all sorted out sooner, I will; I suffer from the writer’s lust to hold the finished book in my hands and say, “Whee-hoo! My baby!” In the meantime I have to somehow stay sane while I wade through the legalities and formatting and book covers and ISBN’s and publicity and all the rest. Agghh!

~

In the sanity department, I’m actually in a good place: lots of support and love, a wonderful place to live, and my favorite time of year. (Not my sinuses’ favorite time of year, perhaps, but I try to ignore that.) The long, glorious summer we’ve had in the coastal Pacific Northwest – glorious except for the forest fires – is almost over; today was the last day for the pots of mesclun and basil. I like the clearing-the-decks feeling of autumn, new paper and pens and rulers and protractors (remember those?). There’s an anticipation about autumn, as well as a dying off. Maybe that’s the point: making space for whatever’s next. But then I was always one of those kids who really wanted to get back to school. Geeky, I guess. And what’s next, these days, is exciting.

Good fortune to you all as we wander into autumn.