First Lines and Free Time

Can you believe it? This is the thirtieth day of my Daughter Am I blog tour! Only five days left. Oh, dear . . . what am I going to do with all that free time? As if I don’t know.

For one thing, I’m going to get back to writing. I figure if I tell myself this enough, it will sink in and I will actually do it. I keep hoping I’ll stumble on a new idea to give me a renewed enthusiasm for the story, but perhaps that idea will come during the writing. I’ve been rereading what I’ve already written so I know what the story is, and it’s different, but then what’s the point of writing the same?

For another thing, I’ve decided to follow the story of A Spark of Heavenly Fire in real time on my blog. I just checked the book. The story begins on December 2. Whatever happened to December 1? That’s when the original story started. Apparently, when I condensed the first fifty pages, I decided to leave the rest of the timeline intact. The book originally began with Rachel Abram’s death on December 1, then the jogger’s death on December 2. Somehow in the rewrite, the order got reversed.

My original first line was: “There’s something terribly wrong with me,” Rachel Abrams said. “I feel great.” I always liked the idea of starting with that line, but sometimes we need to do what’s best for the story.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I have to focus on this tour — there are still articles about Daughter Am I to write, comments to respond to, and the end-of-the-tour party to plan. As if that’s not enough, my party will run concurrently with the Second Wind Publishing new release party. Daughter Am I will be in good company. JJ Dare’s new book False World has just been released, and so has One Too Many Blows to the Head by Eric Beetner and JB Kohl.

Today’s tour stops are all wonderful, and that’s due in no small part to my hosts.

I’m in South Africa with horror writer Joan De La Haye talking about: Creating Interesting Characters.

I’m talking Over Coffee with Sia McKye about: Running with a Gang of Rogues.

And I’m on Bobby Ozuna’s blog talking about: The Story Behind the Story–an Author Interviewed.

DAIClick here to find the Daughter Am I Blog Tour Schedule 

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC. 

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.

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On Writing “Shadows”

My guest today is Joan De La Haye, author of Shadows and co-founder of Rebel e Publishers. Joan writes:

I started writing Shadows a few years ago. I was in the middle of editing and finishing off another book, which is now collecting dust in the back of a drawer, when the idea for Shadows hit me. In fact it did hit me, in the middle of the night, in the guise of a very freaky nightmare.

I decided that since it frightened me, it probably would also frighten others. I couldn’t go back to sleep so poured a glass of wine, switched on my old computer and started writing a story that seemed to come from somewhere else. It was one of those rare moments when the muse strikes and there’s just no arguing with her or in this case him. The story just flowed out of my fingers and onto the keyboard.

I spent a year working on the first draft. This time I took Stephen King’s advice and wrote with the door tightly shut. I’d made the mistake with my previous book, the one that’s collecting dust, and allowed too many people to influence it. As a result it ended up not being my book.

The first draft was only Sarah’s story and written from her perspective. It ended up being way too short, so I added Kevin’s story and tied them together. They fitted together seamlessly, but there was still something missing from the story. I couldn’t figure out what it was until I sent it off to a local publisher. The submissions editor loved it, but said that it was too short and she then suggested that I added some additional scenes.

The additions she suggested were all great and incredibly helpful, but she also got me thinking about another side. One I hadn’t even thought about. Carol’s story was written in a matter of days. I couldn’t focus on anything else until her story was written. Shadows became the interwoven story of three very flawed individuals struggling with their own demons.

I re-submitted it to the local publisher, who then unfortunately didn’t like the extra scenes that they’d requested. It wasn’t what they’d wanted. It took a year from my original submission to the day the publisher passed on Shadows.

Needless to say I was devastated. I’ve never been very good in handling rejection. What I did to get over the rejection can be found on Pat’s other blog: Book Marketing Floozy.

See also: Pat Bertram Introduces Jack, the Torment Demon from Shadows by Joan De La Haye

A Stranger on My Own Blog

Sometimes I get to feeling like a stranger on my own blog. I know I’ve told you several times before that I’m going to reclaim it for myself, but I keep meeting fascinating people who have more interesting things to say than I do, so I invite them to write a guest post. Sometimes I don’t even know how fascinating the people are! I met Vince Gotera on Facebook when I added my Suspense/Thriller Writers group to his index of Creative Writing Sites on Facebook, and we struck up a sporadic conversation. (Actually, I think sporadic is being generous.) The upshot of the deal was that he would write an article for me about an editor’s pet peeves. How was I to know that Vince is the editor of  the prestigious North American Review, the longest literary magazine in the U.S.? Actually, I should have known the magazine was a big deal — with Google, there is no excuse not do one’s homework. Still, it makes me seem as if I’m way more savvy than I really am. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Vince’s bloggery, “Submitting to Literary Magazines 101: Professionalism.” And don’t forget to read the comments. Vince was a perfect guest, responding to everyone who commented. Even more thrilling, this is just the first installment of a three-part series.

I’m doing it again — aren’t I? — talking about other people instead of myself. But I don’t know what to say anymore. When I first began this blog, I gave writing tips and suggestions, then somewhere along the way it began to seem presumptuous. Who was I to tell anyone how to write? Two hundred rejections is not an indication of a great writer! At least it’s not an indication of a writer who follows the rules she’s propagating. Then I got the idea that I should write that which only I can write. Again, a presumptuous idea. But I did talk of my WIP (poor stalled creature that it is) until I found a publisher who loved my books More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire. Then I started promoting. Or at least talking about it. I don’t have a clue how to get from here to selling the thousands of books I should be/could be selling.

Which leaves me to talk about . . .

I don’t know. At least I don’t have to figure it out for a while. Joan De La Haye is going to be stopping by here on May 5th as part of her blog tour. Then Steven Clark Bradley will be here shortly after that talking about the importance of perseverance in writing.

Meantime, I started a new blog — one just for me. I liked the idea of the WordPress P2 theme, (sort of a Twittery thing) and had to try it out. Stop  by and say hi! Talking about presumptuous — I call my new blog The Mind of Pat Bertram. Sheesh. As if anyone cares what goes on inside my head.

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