Quality over quantity…

NaNoWriMoNovember is Nanowrimo month.  Most readers won’t know what that is, but to writers, it’s a month of excitement and stress.  Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a special event that challenges writers to write 50,000 words in one month.  Now, again, to a reader that may not seem like such a horrible plight but to writers it can cause anxiety and so much distress that they can’t write at all.

Consider that an average novel runs about 70,000 words.  And consider that greats like Stephen King write 1,500 words per day. And…. consider that most writers have full time day jobs, families, commutes, and chores like eating and showering that detrimentally eat up hours of their days.  This usually leaves very little time to write, let alone spit out 1,500 words in one sitting.

For me, that’s 6 pages of words, nearly a full chapter since my chapters range in the 8-9 page area. It may not seem like a lot, but again, to readers, I’m sure you think stories magically pour out of us, hence the demand for more and more books, which brings me to my real topic here.

I spent this past weekend with two author friends of mine.  One has just released her first book, the other, who has published non-fiction in the past, is finishing her first fiction novel, but both mentioned something that has also plagued me:  With the advent of e-publishing, pressure to release books more actively is becoming something of a necessity.

Readers demanding books immediately are pushing writers to pump out books on a quicker schedule.  It used to be that a writer would get a book deal, have up to a year to complete it and then it would get sent out for edits and production.  Now, as statistics go, readers won’t actively read an author unless they have a backlist of titles.  So that leaves many of us on a hook.

I’m a slow writer in comparison.  More on that year track.  I can get out a couple of chapters a month if I cut off my family and friends and really buckle down, but that is only done in extreme circumstances – like now where I have a deadline to get my currently incomplete book to the editor in a month.  That means writing every spare moment I get, which means I don’t eat much or speak to many people.  Which means by the end of the process, I’m pretty burnt out and fragile.

Without the demands, that would be fine.  A writer would take a few weeks to rest and recharge their creative juices before starting another project.  Except now a writer is expected to blog, Facebook, tweet and PR the heck out of everything they are producing in order to make any kind of living.  That means that before, during and after writing, you have to also be active on social media, which in turn shortens the amount of time you have for stuff like, I don’t know, a life.

And it gets better.  With eBooks flooding the market and readers demanding a backlist, most A list and B list writers are expected to crank out some 3 books per year, or more.  3 books.  That 210,000 words ( or more) per year.   And what do readers get?  Well, in my opinion, they get crap.  And I have heard this from so many friend, writers and readers alike, that it can’t be coincidence.

One friend who gushes about her favorite author and reads all of her books recently told me she hurriedly picked up her new book and could only get through half of it.  She said it just fell flat and seemed canned.  And I have heard this about other books whose authors are forced to crank out book after book.

How are writers expected to research or even think about writing and put any amount of emotion into it if it’s becoming a chore? I mean, I refuse.  I’d rather have a handful of fans who are willing to wait for a new book every year and get something with depth and substance than something they’re going to quit reading because it comes off as rushed drivel.  I put too much effort into my craft to shortchange my readers and have them walk away unsatisfied.

We’re here to tell stories and to give our readers some entertainment.  We aren’t writing robots, but like everything, we’ve become a commodity.  To be traded and pushed for higher earnings.

Well, I refuse.  Quality over quantity.  And I’m standing firm.

With Spring comes new beginnings…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  The extended winter we’ve been having has put a huge damper on Spring activities and it’s hard to get yourself motivated to do anything when you can’t get out of the house.

Though “Race for the Sun”, Carson’s story and the next installment of the Lambourne Legacy, is in process I have also begun writing in a different genre all together.  Sci Fi.

Sci Fi has been a love of mine since I was a kid and being the tech geek that I am, it’s just something I understand.  It’s an intrinsic part of my life in all aspects.  Don’t know why it never dawned on me to write in that genre, but I’ve started and I’m really enjoying it.  It’s a breath of fresh air after writing romance for so many years.

No worries, I won’t leave romance entirely.  Keep an eye out for the last two Lambourne books as well as another I hope to release in the medieval realm.

With that in mind, I thought I would share an interview I recently did with Chanel Blake.  Enjoy!


As I sit staring out my window into the white tundra that is the eastern United States right now, I can’t help but laugh at the impatience of my situation.  Of everyone’s situation who is dealing with this mess.  We’re trapped in our homes, forced to binge watch our favorite shows on Netflix or post all day on Facebook while the storms rage outside.  For me, it’s the ice and cold that keeps me indoors during the hours I am not at work.

And this made me consider the people from the era in which I write.  The mid-19th century.  They didn’t have huge snow plows or snow blowers, no salt or brine spreaders making passage safe.  No improved performance snow tires or thinsulate winter coats. Nope.  They had none of that.  They didn’t even have internet or cable, so what did they do?
They shoveled.  When they were able to they shoveled and carted the snow away, literally.  Since there were no large vehicles or trains yet, they had to rely on good, old fashioned manpower.  When that failed, they stayed indoors.  And in some cases, people died.

I know it’s not quite period, but I recall stories told to me by my grandmother, who was born in 1923.  She and her sisters would go out during the day and walk the railroad tracks to collect coal that had fallen off the engines and would bring it back to their home to heat for the winter.  I realize trains weren’t part of the picture during the 19th century, but I am sure, in similar fashion, children were sent out into the cold to collect perhaps wood or any number of other items to burn.

Clothing was woolen and though warm in frigid weather, it can easy get soaked and freeze solid.  This I know as fact since I remember having wool winter coats as a child in the 60s and that’s exactly what happened.  Rubber goulashes were stuffed with newspaper to keep your feet warm.

I cannot imagine how hard life would have been in that day and age to deal with blizzards and frigid temperatures, but we all know from our history lessons that thousands died on the Oregon Trail, having being stranded with the carts in the snow with little more than blankets to keep warm and in London in 1890, extraordinarily low temperatures and uncommon weather had them cocooned in ice and snow for two months and is listed as the coldest period in their history.

And still, they didn’t have Netflix or the internet.  They had each other to chat with, throw card parties and sing-alongs around the fire.  It’s something we, as a modern society, will lack with the advent of social media.  Nice as it is to talk to whoever you wish at a moment’s notice on a chat, you really can’t warm your hands on your monitor.

Stay warm and safe!