Winner of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Carol Award for Dauntless!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Little Christmas Fun

Yes, it is true, this silly bunch of people is my family. My husband Dani is from Lebanon and works in television production. Christi is in college at Oral Roberts University studying engineering. Jonny, bottom left, is a high school senior who competes in track, loves adrenaline sports, and plans to study business next year in college. Adam in the center is in seventh grade and is involved in music and gymnastics. And the dogs, Scruffy and Bella...well, they like to do dog stuff. Hope you all have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Improved Dauntless Cover

Last week I started seeing a new version of the Dauntless cover online. The leaves in the foreground are new. A little birdie told me that someone suggested them to take the focus off of a certain part of Merry's anatomy, which the strap of her bow made all too obvious. LOL. Which is good with me, because Merry is supposed to have a petite, compact gymnast type body. Now Gwendolyn in book 2 is a different story...

So here's the new cover. This version was sent to the printer, so it should be the final one.

What do you think? It's undergone a number of changes from the first version, which I loved, except the model didn't look much like my heroine. Now that the picture has been tweaked numerous times, and I've tweaked my descriptions of Merry as well, I'm completely happy with it. I really think it will hit the target market.

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Writing Process

Often when I am interviewed, I am asked questions about my writing process. So I thought today, I'd give you a glimpse into my writer's world.

Nothing gives me more pleasure than when I can write in a frenzied, blissful fog and lose myself completely in the world of creativity. Once I wrote a 40,000 word memoir in six days. And I wrote the first draft of my second published novel, Love in Three Quarter Time, in six weeks.

But now that I'm a "professional" writer, I rarely get that luxury. These days, my writing process begins with preparing a summary (synopsis) for my publisher. Once it's approved, I pound out about 2,000 words a day, five or so days a week. 2,000 words might sound like a lot, but that usually takes me under two hours. What takes a lot more time each day is getting myself in the mood to write. Usually I begin my day with house chores and errands, so I can feel like everything is in order. I have some quiet time with God. Then I re-read and edit what I wrote in the last few days. If that isn't enough to get my creative juices flowing, I might take a walk or exercise to try to let my mind wander freely to that creative space.

One unique thing about my writing process is that I never just sit and stare at a blank page. I don't believe in doing that. In fact, I "just say no" to writer's block. Occasionally I'll force myself to get some words down even if my imaginary friends aren't talking in my head that day. If after a few pages I haven't found my flow, I stop, because my writing won't be any good anyway. However, I always stay well ahead of deadlines so that I can afford to do that. In general, I find that a lack of creativity means I've hit a snag. Usually after a day or two of letting my subconscious work on things, I figure out where the story went wrong, fix it, and then I'm able to move forward again.

I don't use any fancy systems, outlines, or software to write. I don't listen to music, write on my walls, make bulletin boards, or follow any weird rituals. I usually have two Microsoft Word documents. One for notes and research, and the other which includes the manuscript, plans for upcoming scenes, and occasionally complete random scenes that come to me out of order or even just cool lines that pop into my head.  I guess that means I'm pretty good at staying mentally organized. For one of my books, Dance from Deep Within, I did chart out my three protagonists journeys and how they would overlap and intertwine, but I was still pretty new to novel writing at the time.

Dina's Writing Space
Writing is a solitary activity for me. I usually come up with my ideas completely on my own. Although, for the Valiant Hearts series, I did some brainstorming with my kids to devise lots of unique story premises once the general concept was solid in my mind. Most of the time, I need privacy and silence to write. On the other hand, I do stay surrounded by writer friends--both online and through a local group--for encouragement, help with snags, and critiquing purposes.

The other aspect of my process that is a little unique is where I write. Often, I see posts about writing spaces, and the writer talks about a desk in a quiet little nook surrounded by supplies. That's not me. My writing is all about my laptop--on my lap. In fact, it wasn't until I received my first laptop that I got serious about writing. I hate sitting at a desk. Ninety-five percent of the time I write curled up on my bed. Occasionally on a couch. And sometimes when I'm really in the writing mood, I sit at the kitchen table and continue writing while cooking dinner, although that method is likely to result in culinary mishaps.

So that's my writing process. Mostly just me, my imagination, and my laptop. Any questions?