Watch For It!

milliondollarblues-300x450Here’s a sneak peek at the cover for Million Dollar Blues. Thanks to Viola at Estrella Cover Design for doing such a terrific job. It’s a contemporary women’s fiction novel with strong romantic elements and it’s quite a departure from What Lainey Sees. There are no past lives in sight and the only suspense in Million Dollar Blues is a 75 million dollar lottery win! The novel should be available for preorder soon. Watch this space for updates.

Seeding Heavy

I plant heavy and I tend to write long. That means my garden overflows even after I thin and prune. And it means my novels sometimes get a little out of control before I revise them down to an acceptable length.

I can plant sparsely. I’ve done it plenty of times. I can write lean prose too. I do it when I wear my Laura Langston hat and write novella length books for reluctant teens (watch for In Plain Sight coming in 2017).

Gardens and books start with seeds – the seed of an idea or the seed of a tomato – and in the beginning stages, it’s my nature to seed heavy. With garden seeds, you rarely get 100% germination so it’s prudent to allow for some failure. With novels, you never know which tiny tangent, random piece of dialogue or secondary character might play an important role in the final novel. I outline, but not rigidly, and I like to leave room for surprises.

That means starting out like this if I want a garden bed of basil:

And starting like this if I want to work my way down to something publishable:

Then I need to take that overwritten book and revise it, and take that over seeded flat and thin it. I like the process. But last weekend, as I worked outside transplanting peppers I’d grown from seed, I felt a little sad at the number of plants that wouldn’t make it to the garden. They’d germinated but they were either stunted or so far behind the other seedlings that there was no point potting them up.

Coincidentally, the day after I finished my garden work, I was back at the computer editing Million Dollar Blues and feeling a little blue myself at the passages and phrases I had to delete.

But if I want to get to this:

And eventually this:

Then the work of thinning and revising has to be done. It requires a certain ruthlessness that can be painful. But the end result is always worth it.

Rewards can be a Long Time Coming

Years ago, a friend and I rescued dozens of plants from a city lot not far from where I live. The lot was being gutted in preparation for an apartment block. Over a period of weeks and with permission from the builders, we went in and dug up lilacs, hydrangeas, and reams of smaller things like California poppies and Shasta daisies. We also rescued a number of peony bushes. They were old and we weren’t sure they’d survive the move.  They did, though it took years to nurse them back to productivity.  But now, every spring, I’m rewarded with handfuls of blooms to bring inside.  Tangible evidence, as one friend said, of the reward of hard work.  Those peonies are also a reminder of my early gardening days, when I felt like anything was possible, slugs notwithstanding. Those days when the garden felt more like a blessing than a chore.

Coincidentally, I’ve spent the last few months revisiting and readying for publication a paranormal romantic suspense novel I wrote years ago.  Much of it was done when my daughter napped, and after I’d spent the morning writing magazine articles or assembling radio documentaries.  Back in the days when I felt like anything was possible, publishing climate notwithstanding.  Those days when the writing felt more like a reward instead of a responsibility.

At some point in the coming months I hope to have “What Lainey Sees” uploaded and for sale.  When it hits the Amazon shelf, it will be tangible evidence of the reward of hard work. And the pleasure of the journey itself.