If you’ve always wanted to write, here’s how I started.

I started with Xposed the first book in the Code Raven Series. I had so much fun creating Luke Raven, Samaar and their cohorts (billionaire patriot, spies, ex-SEALS, ex-Mossad agent, a brilliant techie)that I wanted to keep on writing! My readers loved it and it was really their comments “What’s next?” “I can’t wait to read more!” “I’m addicted to Luci/Samaar” that determined the direction of the stories.

I thought it would be a one-off book (Xposed) but by the third one, I knew I needed to do a Prequel. So I wrote the background story, how Raven made his billions and the horrific event that propelled him to form his Raven Group.

The series started as novellas, morphed into full novels because that’s what my readers asked for. Now I use this prequel for anyone new to the series to set the stage. With the prequel, a reader can start anywhere in the series and still enjoy the exciting ride. There’s a link to the free prequel on my Bio.

If you click on my profile you will find a link to my Amazon page for 16 books that I’ve written. I also found in my contemporary romance books that one was not enough. I think today’s market is accustomed to series, episodes like Netflix and Prime and they want more than a one-off book. I also wrote a memoir about the time in my life in 2008 when I was given 6 months to live! And in the past month, I’ve written a second memoir about the last 14 months of my life! I sold everything I owned in Mexico and bought a one-way ticket to multiple destinations in the world. I thought I might settle and write in Bali. I never made it there. I fell in love with a guy and a city, Istanbul, and here I am!

Whatever you decide to do, if you would like your work to be commercial, think about your audience. Who are your writing for and what will they expect from your genre?

And most of all, have fun!

How do you handle writer’s​ block?

 

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Take a break. Go out, have lunch, take some photos, read a book—clear your head. You might be pushing too hard.

I read gossip columns, go to Huffington Post, Netflix—watch something totally unlike anything I’m working on. The idea is to trick your muse into thinking he/she is no longer working. Then go back to it.

Think of it like training in the gym or playing any kind of sport, or running a business. You have to take breaks to let the muscles—mind, body, creative juices—grow and flow.

I’ve published quite a few books/novellas since the summer of 2015. After the first novella JET: EXPOSED (Kindle Worlds Novella) (JET WORLD Book 1) I was lucky to have a mentor in the creator of the JET series. I learned from Russell Blake how to plot. So I plot. I don’t get stuck on the writing because the story is plotted out on Excel or any spreadsheet before I start to write. Do things change along the way? Absolutely. Are there surprise characters? Sure, that’s where the fun starts. That’s why they are called action/mystery/suspense novellas! Remember, if it is too easy to write, depending on the genre, it might run the risk of being predictable to the reader. And that’s not good.

When I decided to write a memoir on my healing journey LOVE The Beat Goes On I really struggled. How do you write the story or your life? And did I really want to do that? The answer was no. I wanted to focus on my diagnosis in 2008. The doctors told me to get my affairs in order, I had maybe 6 months to live. So writing this story I did the same thing as in my novels. I worked with a spreadsheet and found everything fell neatly into place. The first half is background up to my panic at the idea of dying. The second half is “what I did, what works, and what I continue to do.”

Think of your writing as a business and handle roadblocks the same way any major corporation would handle a problem. Take a break, let it all go for a few hours or less, then come back to it with a fresh approach.

And most of all enjoy your roadblocks. They are part of the process and will help you end up with amazing results!

Have you got what it takes to write a novel? NaNoWriMo

 

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You start with an idea. Where you proceed from there depends on the genre you wish to write. For example, JET: EXPOSED (Kindle Worlds Novella) (JET WORLD Book 1) is a series of Action/Suspense/Thriller novellas (fan fiction) that require lots of plot, the original characters from Russell Blake’s super successful JET series, and my original subplots. So for that type of story, I use a spreadsheet. I need to plot out my story before I write even one word.

This afternoon I was looking for something and came across TextEdit notes on my computer for book 3 of my “in the Sun” series, Book one wasn’t plotted at all Target In The Sun (Carlos & Mia Book 1) but because the fans loved it and wanted to know what happened to the main characters, I needed to come up with a convincing second story. I hadn’t planned on a series. Again, I used a spreadsheet to list my characters, their main qualities, looks, background and then down the page I would write chapter 1, 2, 3 and fill in the ideas. Book two went much faster. And now this is how I’ve started book 3:

“I’ve found her boss.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Kill her!!”

“Are you loco? What if he finds out?”

“I said kill her!”

Silence at the other end of the cell phone, and then the connection was broken.

I already had what I thought was chapter one, but I was wrong!! My muse is taking over—and that’s exactly what you want.

My basic literary tools go like this:

  1. Ideas—you can find them anywhere
  2. Discipline to write—that comes from your burning desire to be an author
  3. Structure—you need organization
  4. Flexibility—you must remember that stories come through us. We don’t own them, our muse comes out to play and can be as annoying as a sibling. Your muse will interrupt you WIP with something totally unexpected. It’s called magic.
  5. Belief—you must believe that your stories are meant to be written and read. If you don’t have belief, you will give up too soon.
  6. Determination—if you have #5 then the guts to work through a lousy review and tons of different types of rejection is a literary tool that you will need to have in your toolbox
  7. Team—you will find that you can’t/don’t want to do everything yourself. So the team that works with you need to understand your vision. Editors, cover artist, advertising groups, your FB fan base and your first readers
  8. Marketing—in today’s world anyone can write a book. Learn to market. It’s the part I least like and yet it allows me to connect directly with my readers. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you will have fans like mine who love my work and leave reviews that take my breath away.

 

My current Work in Progress   Lie to Me: an exposé on sex for money

 

Layla Duncan has an insatiable curiosity about Mexico’s other tourism, men who sell steamy sexual encounters to vacationing women. She infiltrates the organized underworld of male prostitution, interviews several men and writes an exposé of their lives. The lines between Layla’s personal life and professional assignment quickly become blurred, and she finds herself questioning her value system in an exciting yet disturbing way. 

How long did you take to finish writing a novel? Q

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In my lifetime I’ve written 4 complete novels, published two of them. The first I lost. Don’t laugh! I must have thrown it out by accident thinking it was previously published poetry work! I wrote the first book over 6 months and consequently if I can focus on it, 4 months seems to be my period to write a book. But the editing can take at least another month with back and forth.

Thoughts to make yourself more efficient:

  1. Know where you’re going when you begin, otherwise you could be writing that novel for years
  2. Plot it out even if it’s not a mystery—I use Excel
  3. Be open to surprises that will throw your plot off—visitors who show up in your mind and jump onto the page without warning!
  4. Write, write, write—try not to go back over what you’ve written and edit. It’s hard to do that but all writing teachers will say write that first draft and then go back
  5. My personal challenge: be aware of plot holes.
  6. Have fun!!