Slow it down. An author changes her pace.

Yesterday, an author friend and I were discussing how stressful it can be when we can’t write or edit as much as we’d hoped. No matter how you measure your progress, whether by words or pages or chapters, I’m sure a lot of us feel the strain when we don’t accomplish as much as we would have liked in a certain time period. Once the day or week or month has elapsed, and we’re still staring at the same paragraph, tension mounts.

Why is that? Why do we feel we need to rush ourselves?

I’m sure a lot of it comes from seeing the progress of those around us. When Author X publishes fifty-seven books in a year, and they all seem to be doing well, we begin to wonder why we can’t do the same. However, I think it’s important to remember a variety of factors could be contributing to Author X’s success. Maybe she has four hands. Maybe she has loads of unpublished manuscripts ready to go. Maybe she’s a freak of nature (or just extremely talented- let’s go with that one.)

I know a lot of my author friends also have other jobs. For many, writing is something we can only do on the weekends or during our evenings. Let’s face it, it’s not exactly an easy schedule to maintain, especially if you’re tired. Eventually other commitments and responsibilities will collide with our writing schedules and we need to make decisions on how to allot our time. Writing won’t always win out. There will be weeks when the most we can hope for is a paragraph.

With the advent of ebooks and differing publishing schedules, to say nothing of self-published works, authors can establish deadlines that might not have worked with traditional print publishing. Remember when your favorite author only released one book every few years or so? Let’s not even talk about Harper Lee. I’m not advocating any writer duplicate that pace, of course.

To some extent, some of us can set our own schedules now but this comes with its own challenges. We may not have big publishers setting deadlines but what about the ones we set for ourselves? Are they realistic? Are we putting undue pressure on ourselves and each other? And are we releasing our very best work?

Is it such a crime to release one book per year or every couple of years? Whatever happened to building anticipation? And has Rosanna fallen in love with question marks?

I do like them, by the way. They’re curvy, like my heroines.

I have made a personal pledge to stop torturing myself with fabricated deadlines. Yes, if my publishers set them for me, I respect them. However, if it’s a case of me writing against some imaginary clock, sometimes I let the clock win. When I started writing, it was meant as an exercise in joy. I need to ensure the joy remains. If I’m stressing myself out, where is the fulfillment in that?

If you can only publish one book per year, do it and make it your best book. Polish it. Edit it. Check the spelling several times. Have someone else read it. Make it a story that speaks to you and don’t try to write for Author X’s audience. You’ll find your own audience and they will appreciate the time you took to craft it. If I hired someone to cut my hair and she only took five minutes, I wouldn’t be impressed. I’d want to know she respected me as a consumer and did her best job.

I read a book by a bestselling romance author recently and had to put it down one-third of the way through. I was very disappointed with the story and how cobbled together it felt. Everything about it seemed flimsy. This author has released numerous books. When I read the reviews on Goodreads for this one, her readers were complaining, saying, “What went wrong? It felt rushed.” Perhaps it was. Maybe that author felt the pressure too and phoned it in. Readers are smart. They will know.

As for me, I’m going to slow things down and enjoy the process as much as the end result.

 

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Anise Eden. All The Wounds in Shadow.

Some time ago, I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of author Anise Eden and am honored to call her a friend. Since her recent debut with All The Broken Places, book 1 of her series The Healing Edge, I have also become a fan. I was so excited to read book 2, All The Wounds in Shadow, which just released this week.

ATWIS cover MED

I have posted reviews of both books online but please read on for my review of All The Wounds in Shadow. In the meantime, Anise is going to tell us a little  bit about the book and share the book’s music playlist.

Congrats, Anise!

*****

Here’s a bit about my new release, ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW (The Healing Edge, #2). You may recall that in the first book of The Healing Edge paranormal romance series, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES, Cate Duncan is a therapist who is struggling to cope after her mother’s death. Cate’s world is forever transformed when she learns that she is an empath and is recruited to work for the MacGregor Group, a clinic staffed by a unique group of paranormally gifted individuals. ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW picks up right where the first book left off. Here is the description:

For fans of Karen Robards and Shiloh Walker, Anise Eden brings us the mesmerizing sequel to her paranormal romantic suspense novel All the Broken Places.

Cate’s enemies aren’t just surrounding her―they’re inside her head.

Therapist Cate Duncan has just accepted a job with the MacGregor Group, a unique collective of alternative healers. She’s excited by the prospect of honing her empathic healing techniques among others like herself―aura readers, telepaths, crystal healers, and more. The fact that Cate just started dating Ben, her magnetic new boss, is an added bonus.

Before Cate can settle into her new routine, the poisoning of a prominent neuroscientist draws the entire MacGregor Group into both a federal investigation and an even more insidious threat. Protected by Ben’s former Marine Corps unit, Cate and her colleagues must use their alternative healing methods to solve the crime as their patient clings to life.

The responsibility of discovering crucial information falls to Cate and her parapsychological powers. But for Cate, unraveling the mystery means reopening wounds that had just begun to heal―and in the environment of the Marine Corps unit, differences between Cate and Ben become clearer, straining their budding romance. When a new crisis looms, Cate must trust in her colleagues’ gifts and the strength of Ben’s love, finding the courage to confront her deepest and most terrifying demons―or her own life will be at risk.

I’m so excited to share this new installment in The Healing Edge Series with readers! The third book, ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS, will be coming out in Spring/Summer 2017. Readers can always find the latest information about my work on my website, AniseEden.com, which also has all of my social media links. Thank you again for hosting me on your blog today; it has been an honor and a pleasure, as always!

Playlist for ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW (The Healing Edge, #2):

“One And Only” – Adele
“Dindi” – Joseh Garcia
“I’ll Be Seeing You” – Billie Holiday
“Fight Song” – Rachel Platten
“My Baby Just Cares for Me” – Nina Simone
“I’m Kissing You” – Des’ree
“Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
“It Had to Be You” – Frank Sinatra

EXCERPT FROM ALL THE WOUNDS IN SHADOW:

His features grew soft with affection. “You never stop surprising me, Cate.”

I felt my cheeks redden again. It was time to change the subject. “Let’s talk about something nonserious for a change. It sounds like it’s going to be all serious all the time once we get where we’re going.”

“Good point. Let’s shorten the road. What would you like to talk about?”

Suddenly, I couldn’t think of anything but the mission, which I knew we couldn’t discuss further until we arrived. I racked my brain. “Twenty Questions is kind of a road-trip game, isn’t it?”

“Hmm.” For the first time that morning, he appeared upbeat. “I should warn you, I’m really good at that game.”

At the prospect of playing a normal, lighthearted game with Ben, happiness flitted through me like a tiny fish. Still, I shook my head at his overconfidence. “Is there anything you aren’t good at?”

“Plenty of things,” he said, “but absolutely no advantage will accrue to me if I tell you what they are.” A smile played across his lips. “Ladies first.”

We played a few rounds. It was obvious that we were trying to make it easy for one another. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ben took the same approach to games that I did—that their purpose was fun, not serious competition. Still, after I guessed his Jaguar in eight questions and he guessed Vani in six, it was starting to get a bit ridiculous.

I glanced around for inspiration. It wasn’t hard to find. “Okay, I have something. Go ahead.”

“Animal, vegetable, or mineral?”

“Mineral.”

“Is it your ring?”

My mouth fell open. “You know, being telepathic is the kind of thing you’re supposed to disclose to the person you’re dating!”

“Not telepathic, just observant.” He nodded at my hand. “You looked down at your ring right before you said you had something.”

I gave him a lengthy glare. Then I put some real thought into my next answer. “Okay, ready.”

“Animal, vegetable, or mineral?”

“Animal.”

“Is it bigger than a breadbox?”

“Yes.”

Ben glanced in the rear view mirror, presumably to make sure that Vani was asleep and Asa and Eve still had their headsets on. Then he asked, “Is it the incredibly distracting woman who’s wearing your ring?”

I pressed my lips together. “You know, for someone who’s so fond of following rules, you’re certainly playing fast and loose with Twenty Questions.”

“You’re right, I apologize,” he said, with no sincerity whatsoever. “Give me one more chance. How many questions do I have left?”

As much as I was enjoying Ben’s playful side, I tried to look stern. “Seventeen.”

“All right.” He frowned in exaggerated concentration. “Is it a mammal?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm.” He rubbed his jaw and murmured, “Is it the woman I kissed last night—the one I can’t stop thinking about kissing?”

A fresh blush splashed across my face as I recalled our prolonged session on my couch. “You can’t stop thinking about that either?” I whispered.

His smile was triumphant. “So I guessed right?”

“No, you did not guess right!”

“Oh, too bad.” He arched an amused eyebrow. “And no, I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m thinking about it right now, in fact.”

My breath caught in my throat as Ben’s eyes flashed up and down my body like a sultry searchlight. “You’re not even playing the game at this point.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry. In my defense, though, it’s hard to concentrate on Twenty Questions when you’re sitting this close to me.”

I tried to disguise my stirring arousal with an eye roll. “Says the master of self-control.”

“Only when I’m able to concentrate fully on that task,” he admitted with a crooked grin. “Right now, at least half of my brain is occupied with driving.”

“I see.” It occurred to me that this information might come in handy sometime. “I’ll have to remember that.”

He shot me an inquisitive look. “Tell me what the answer was, at least?”

I only kept him in suspense for a minute. “It was Tank, the dog from your old Marine Corps unit.”

“Tank!” He leaned back, stretched, and tucked his free hand behind his head. “Well, I was in the right neighborhood, anyway.”

I was in the same neighborhood as a Rottweiler? “Meaning what, exactly?”

“Well, Tank used to kiss me all of the time,” Ben said. “Of course, his kisses were more slobbery….”

Choking back a laugh, I warned, “I’d stop talking right now if I were you.”

*****

Buy links (the books are available in paperback or ebook. Ebook links listed below):
Author bio:
 
Author Anise Eden writes The Healing Edge paranormal romantic suspense series for Diversion Books. She spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren’t there. On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue. Although Anise claims that she’s the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments. Visit her online at AniseEden.com.
Rosanna’s review of All The Wounds in Shadow:
“I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of Anise Eden’s All the Wounds in Shadow and enjoyed this second installment of The Healing Edge series. In book one, the author draws the reader into the story of Cate Duncan, a therapist with issues of her own. Her world changes forever when she learns she is an empath and is recruited to work for the MacGregor Group, an organization filled with psychically-gifted individuals. In book 2, Cate has begun her training. We also see her in the throes of a new romance with Ben MacGregor, a former Marine and leader of their ensemble. The group is called into action when an acclaimed doctor is poisoned and on the brink of death. Cate and her friends must employ their unique talents to delve inside the doctor’s mind and discover who attacked him. However, the case brings to light old wounds for Cate and presents new struggles. Can she come to terms with her feelings for Ben? Can she help a man who can only communicate telepathically? And will her efforts endanger her as well? Ms. Eden takes us on a remarkable journey, one laced with intrigue, romance and hope. I cannot wait for the next book.”

Insta-love in romance novels.

If you read the romance blogs, you may have run into a term called “insta-love.”  In other words, instant love. The characters meet and somehow know they are destined for each other. As a device, it does crop up in romance books a lot. I confess to using it myself in my paranormals (although I prefer to throw in a healthy dose of struggle). Some readers dislike it. Others have no issue.

Does it actually exist? I know many people who say they fell in love at first sight. Many of them are people who have now been married for years. I do understand “lust at first sight” (I may even have experienced it once or twice), but real love? Can we actually develop such a bond within a short period of time?

That’s the great thing about romance stories. We can suspend our disbelief for a time. It’s all about the fantasy. However, insta-love doesn’t always work. I’ve read some books that employ this device and they rang untrue for me.

When does it work? I do believe it works better in paranormal romance. After all, in this genre, we are often dealing with characters who are magical or inhuman. For many of these sorts of characters (my selkies and shapeshifters, for example), emotions run deep and they happen on a level a human might not understand. There is an instant kinship, a “mate bond” that seals the fate of the main characters. In this incredible world, the implausible becomes plausible. Not only do we buy it, we slap our money down on the counter and say “Give it to me.”

Added to this, in paranormal romance, we often have life-or-death situations. Characters are thrown together and must often fight, not only for their goals, but for their survival. In these tense situations, people bond quickly.

I find insta-love less easy to accept in contemporary romance. This genre is supposed to be more reflective of real life (unless you happen to live with a werewolf, that is). In contemporary romance, I like to see the characters struggle with their feelings a bit more. I relish the uncertainty because I have felt that uncertainty in my life.

What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy insta-love romances or do you appreciate the long fight and ultimate surrender?

Learning stuff.

Those who follow me on Facebook may have noticed I celebrated a birthday yesterday. 46, baby. 46.

Although if you tell people I’m 27, I will pay you. I’m not kidding. 😉

Every year when my birthday rolls around, I start to groan. I know, I know. Aging gracefully and all that crap. I’m supposed to embrace my age. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. This year, I noticed a difference in my body and I couldn’t help reacting with mild horror.

I got these spots on my forehead. They’d better not be age spots. I’m way too young for age spots so I’m calling them sun spots. Yeah, sun spots.

Oh, then there were the arm/shoulder/neck issues. I’m still doing physio for that every couple of weeks. It’s getting better but I’m stiffer overall.

Don’t even get me started on walking into a room and forgetting why I went there.

Bodies change. Minds change. We get older. Things begin to sag. So I hear. 😉

But here’s the good part. Aging means we are given new opportunities to learn. I’m appreciative every day of the increased awareness I’ve achieved in my later years. I know I still have more to learn. I certainly haven’t figured it all out, but every year, I feel as if I absorb a little more. The things that used to bother me at 20 don’t bother me anymore. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff and I try very hard to concentrate on the grand scheme of things.

So what have I learned this year in particular?

I’ve learned children become very pompous when they outgrow you.

I’ve learned to be really scared when my eldest talks about getting his driver’s license.

I’ve learned not to go searching for good reviews. That’s when you find the bad ones. Reviews are awesome in any form, and I appreciate anyone who writes one, but I can’t let them define me or my work.

I’ve learned not to disregard any form of friendship. Friends are awesome. We always need more of them in our lives.

I’ve learned happiness comes from many sources but having a job you love has a huge impact on your well being. Find a way to do what you love.

I’ve learned it’s important to move. Writer’s ass sounds like a funny concept but in real life, it ain’t so funny.

I’ve learned I’d rather go through my day with a smile on my face than with a frown. And I will continue to find ways to bring you as many smiles as I can through my writing.

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes this week. I love you guys. Be happy and be well.