My reading list for February is a bit shorter than usual because a release date deadline and urgent edits had to take priority over just about everything else. But I’m happy to say that I’m almost at the finish line; I’m currently doing line-edits for Opal’s Wish, so there’ll be an excerpt to go with the pre-order’s blurb very soon. And then I get to put out a bunch of my eBooks in print, and to start work on the third Freaks book. Fun times ahead. Woohoo!
I know I usually talk about a book or two from the month’s reading list in these posts, but today I’m gonna share a little about one of my own books. Or specifically, about writing one of my own books. (And if that’s doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then please skip to the book list at the end of this post.)
Those of you who’ve emailed me about a release date for Opal’s Wish will know it’s taken far longer than I expected to finish writing this book. I had some health issues. Life got crazy. And I was originally aiming for a December release, but that got pushed out to January, and finally to 31st March… because this book has been a challenge to finish in more ways than one– not least because my heroine decided immediately after I’d nailed my reluctant butt to my chair and labored to complete the Dreaded And Most Loathsome Outline that she didn’t want to be deaf. Nyuh uh. She wanted to have a debilitating stutter instead. Um, yeah. Thanks for that, Opal. O.O
Eventually I came to terms with writing a heroine who stuttered, but then something else unexpected happened. After reading a couple posts on a popular blog discussing pet hates in romance novels, I morphed into my own worst enemy. Sadly, after absorbing those well thought-out and logical arguments against certain tropes etc. in romance novels, and all the comments they sparked, it suddenly occurred to me my work-in-progress ticked just about ALL the pet hates that had been listed.
Yikes. Way to paralyze your already capricious muse, Maree! That’s what you get when you read your fricking RSS feeds rather than doing what you should be doing: writing.
I’m not saying those bloggers didn’t have valid arguments, BTW. I’m saying they had really good arguments that resonated with me deeply. And I took their opinions on board in a big way. So much so, that for more weeks than I care to admit, whenever I opened my manuscript it was kinda like those two bloggers were standing behind me, whispering in my ear that I shouldn’t be writing this story this way because discerning readers would hate it with a passion (the kind of passion that should only be reserved for really good quality dark chocolate). Meaning my daily word-count was either embarrassingly negligible or non-existent, procrastination was my bestest buddy, and those magical two words The End seemed very, very far away indeed.
Yeah. What can I say? Precious snowflake, much? *hangs head in shame* But for those months, writing wasn’t just a chore, it was painful. I was scared. I constantly second-guessed myself, doubted my ability to write a story that readers would want to read. I told myself I was mad to keep writing this story. I told myself over and over I should scrap it and start again. Some days I think only sheer bloody stubbornness got me to open that manuscript file and keep plugging away at the story.
Last but not least, there was my hero and heroine’s irritating reluctance to embrace sexy-times. Every time I thought they were gonna “go there” they backed off. Which might not have been such an issue if the first three books of the Crystal Warriors series didn’t have fully-consummated, explicitly described love scenes. Meaning readers would be expecting more of the same, right? Duh. Right! Uh oh….
So if you’re getting the impression this story was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written, then you’d be right on the money. And to be honest, if not for a very smart, über-talented author-friend, who listened to my tale of woe, and told me to quit worrying about what anyone else was going to think of this story, and buckle down and write it the way it needed to be written, Opal’s Wish would still be a work-in-progress. Or even a work-on-shelf because I’m not sure I would have found the courage to finish writing Danbur and Opal’s story.
Looking back now, it’s scary for me to realize that The End almost didn’t happen. But I did get there. And while tackling the content edits, I read a section of the story that made me laugh out loud. And another couple of sections that made me cry. And I realized I’m kinda proud of this story– as much as any author still crawling from the self-doubt pond can be proud anyway. I’m glad I pushed through my fears and didn’t chicken out, and that I wrote it the way I originally intended. There are times when a story isn’t going to see the light of day at all unless the author turns off her inner critic, writes from her heart and hopes for the best. And for me, Opal’s Wish, is the result of one of those times. I hope readers will love Opal and Danbur’s story but if they don’t, that’s okay. My biggest reward is what I learned about myself while writing this book and anything else is the frosting on the cake (that I’ll be eating on 31st March to celebrate this book’s release, even though I suspect I’ll have to bake it myself).
If you’ve read this far then Thank You! (Now go have a stiff drink ‘coz man, you deserve it.)
And I promise my next post will be a little less serious. In fact, it’ll be amusing as hell. (Hint: it has to do with a cover, a dress, and coffee beans!)
Until then, here’s my full reading list for February 2014:
- Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
- Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan
- Blue Dragon by Kylie Chan
- Earth to Hell by Kylie Chan
- Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Touch by Jus Accardo
- Ceremony in Death by J.D.Robb
- Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
- Daylighters by Rachel Caine
- The Look of Love by Bella Andre
- The Way You Look Tonight by Bella Andre
- With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent
- Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
- River Marked by Patricia Briggs