Category Archives: Moonday mania

Buy Romance & Donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

authors helping houston

Super excited to be able to participate in this fund-raiser organized by Carrie Pulkinen for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. And because I know you want to help, here’s the link:

https://www.carriepulkinen.com/authorshelpinghouston/

Want to help? Here’s how:

Buy any of the fab romance books listed on the page between September 4th and September 17th and the authors will donate all their royalties to Hurricane Harvey Relief.

I’ve chosen to donate every single dollar of royalties I earn for sales of PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE. All you have to do is purchase a copy from your favorite bookstore and I’ll calculate and donate the proceeds.

prince by blood and bone by jessica aspen

And guess what? I’m rounding up!

I’ll be rounding up the donations to the nearest hundred, so it really makes your purchase count!

Already own PRINCE BY BLOOD AND BONE?

Don’t worry, there are lots of other romance authors doing the same thing. Just click HERE and choose one of their books and they too will be donating their royalties.

Thank you for helping us help Houston!

 

Authors Helping Houston

In an effort to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, a group of authors has joined forces to raise money for charities that are helping with the recovery efforts. From September 4th through September 17th, each participating author on has agreed to donate their royalties received from the sale of these books to a charity of their choice.

Each author has pledged to donate their own royalties to their chosen charity. Royalty calculations will vary depending on the publisher and distributer.

Charities funded: Red Cross, Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society, Dickinson Texas Relief Fund, Houston Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, Wharton Animal Rescue, Texas Diaper Bank

Please click HERE to scroll through the books, find a new author to love, and help Houston recover from its worst flood in history.

*****

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

 

Your Jessica Aspen Starter Library is waiting.

Click HERE to discover Jessica Aspen’s fast-paced world of paranormal romance

jessica aspen starter library

 

 

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Filed under Events, Moonday mania, Prince by Blood and Bone

Buy Blood Enforcer and get Pack Enforcer for FREE! 2 days only

For two days only, buy BLOOD ENFORCER  by Jessica Aspen and receive Pack Enforcer…FREE!

PackEnforcer-600x900

Because you love alpha shifters, fast-paced suspense, and romance, I know you’ll love BLOOD ENFORCER. But even better, after you read it,  I know you are going to want the sequel, PACK ENFORCER.

That’s why I’m giving you this very limited, one-time only, special offer to buy both for one price!

That’s right, purchase BLOOD ENFORCER in the next two days and email me the receipt at:

jaspen writer-PEoffer @ yahoo .com (don’t forget to take out those pesky spaces)

and you’ll be signed up to receive a FREE copy of PACK ENFORCER, as soon as it’s ready.

Did you read that right?

Yes you did. Purchase BLOOD ENFORCER by midnight August 2, 2017 and get PACK ENFORCER as soon as it’s ready for sale.

How do you do you get two books for the price of one?

Here are the steps:

1. Click HERE and purchase BLOOD ENFORCER on August 1st or August 2nd, 2017
2. Take a screen shot of your receipt and email it to:

jaspen writer-PEoffer @yahoo .com

(don’t forget to take out those pesky spaces)

3. If you’ve done it right, you’ll get an automated response saying you are on the list. 🙂
4. Then…wait…and as soon as PACK ENFORCER is ready I’ll email you your link to download it for FREE!

Is there a catch???

Of course there is!

The catch is:

you only have until midnight August 2nd, 2017 to purchase BLOOD ENFORCER to receive PACK ENFORCER free. After that, the deal is closed.

So, jump right on this and get both books for one price, today!

Cheers!
Jessica

*All receipts must be dated August 1st, 2017 or August 2nd, 2017 to receive your free copy of Pack Enforcer. The free e-copy of Pack Enforcer will be emailed when the book is ready for sale, within 6-8 weeks of the offer closing.

 

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Filed under book sale, Moonday mania, Sexy Shifter Romance, Werewolves and the Fae, Wolf Enforcer Series

The Slow Burn

Moonday Mania

a blog for struggling romance writers everywhere

Launched book 12 today (book 4 in my fantasy series, The Winter Queen’s Dragon). Romance, and in particular fantasy romance, is competitive so this time I tried to do all the launch strategies I could. I so want this one to jump on day one! To be number one on that fantasy romance list. Wouldn’t that be amazing? But, I’ve designed a slow burn launch by sending my announcement to my newsletter list in three batches, and doing social media on another day. So that day one jump is not likely to happen.

The idea is to show Amazon I have consistent sales, instead of a huge bump on day one. But as I look at my  trickle of sales this morning and my finger-grapping hold on the fantasy romance AZ list, I have to keep reminding myself—this is a long tail business. So it’s back to the grindstone. The good news is my early readers seem to love it. And maybe, that’s the one thing to focus on instead of sales: pleasing the readers. If I focus on that, instead of sales and launch days, then everything is a success.

I’m reading Derek Sivers book ANYTHING YOU WANT: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur . It’s this tiny book filled with lessons he learned launching CD Baby, a small business he started just to sell his own CD’s and ended up selling for millions. One of the things I love about this book is that he’s so not focused on making his business a million dollar business. Instead he’s focused on how to serve his customers, who, when he started, were mostly his friends.

What is your measure of success? Are you in control of it? Is it in control of you?

Okay, that’s not a direct quote from the book, but it could have been. What it is is my take on his book. If I look at my sales and try to go for the money, I’m a total failure. It’s true. I love my books, but they barely break even. It leaves me feeling like I’m clawing and scratching just to make a living writing romance. And it feels desperate.

But, if I focus on some of the things I’ve actually achieved, I’m a success.

My readers love my books. They really do! I get letters asking me when the next fantasy romance in the Tales of the Black Court is coming out. They don’t want to wait! And my free shifter book for my newsletter subscribers, Rogue Enforcer? That inspires letters too. People want more from me. More romance. More shifters. More fantasy.

I’m getting better as a writer. This is super important. It took me two years of edits and massaging to get my first fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, to where it is today, but The Winter Queen’s Dragon only took months. And my editor said it was the best one yet! That’s amazing. My reviews for all my romances are at least averaging 4 stars, and usually average higher. Romance readers love my books! WOOT!

I love my life. I am making money doing something I love. Not many people can say that. Am I still struggling to get up that cliff? Yes. Do I want my job to make enough money to say it’s a living? Yes. And I’m getting there. I’ve doubled my income every year. That sounds amazing, right?

(Typically I follow that statement up with some disclaimer about what my income was the first year, but I think I need to just stick with the amazing part. I’ve only been publishing for a few years and while some others are rocking their way up the charts, most small businesses take five years to really get going. My small business is no different.)

Okay, so I’m no CD Baby. I can’t say I’m one of those romance authors who seem to appear out of nowhere and jump to the top. But I can say:

My readers love my books.

I’m getting better as a writer.

I love my life.

All of those are fabulous measures of success. And so what if the money is slow? That’s okay. I’m doubling my income every year, right? 😉

So I’ll get there. One book at a time.

*****

the winter queen's dragon a fantasy romance by jessica aspen

 What’s a heroine to do when her dragon captor is not only her enemy’s best defense, but is also the man of her dreams?

 

Frozen for a hundred years the only thing on Siobhan’s mind is finding out what happened to her brother and vengeance on the queen who has punished them both. Upon gaining her freedom from the ice she finds herself the prisoner of the Winter Queen’s Dragon, Atavantador. But nothing is as it seems and when the dragon’s manservant, Doyle, turns out to be the dragon himself, Siobhan discovers that ending the queen’s reign may mean sacrificing her true love for the quest for revenge.

Doyle is hiding more than one secret from the queen, and all of them are worth his life. To keep the queen on his side he must play the game of dragon so well that no one guesses his secret—that beneath the Winter Palace lies the key to all of dragon kind’s survival, one of only seven queen dragon eggs left in the universe. And time is running out.

When the dragon egg’s hiding place is threatened Doyle finds himself caught between his heart and his loyalty to all of dragon kind. Can he trust Siobhan enough to tell her his secrets, save the egg, and still serve her lust for vengeance? Or will the attack on the palace destroy not only the egg’s chance of survival, but Siobhan and Doyle’s chance at love.

Love magic, romance and dragons? You’ll love THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON.

 

 Buy now for 99cents (limited time offer)

Ibooks       Kobo       Barnes & Noble      Amazon

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania, The Winter Queen's Dragon, Writer's Journey

Fabulous Fun Romance Reads on Sale Now!

Moonday Mania

a blog where you can discover romance on sale!

It’s the shopping season and of course you want to pick up some fabulous reads to keep you warm this winter. Check out the November Book Fair where you can discover romance books that suit everyone’s tastes from paranormal to suspense to YA.

Most of the books are on sale and all are priced $2.99 and under and there are even some fabulous boxed sets.

And I’ve included SNOW: A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, on sale for 99cents, limited time only.

snow: a sexy shifter fairytale romance

Happy Shopping!

-Jessica

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under book sale, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Goals: Increase Writing Productivity

Moonday Mania

a blog where I set the bar high—and then try to clamber over it

the winter queen's dragon a fantasy romance by jessica aspen

Publishing Update:

I’ve finished my rough draft of THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON. Yay! It won’t be ready for publication for a while, but it’s finally finished and I’m happy dancing. Meanwhile, I have a few other projects sitting on the back burner that I’ll move to the front.

If you’re a member of my mailing list and have read your free book, ROGUE ENFORCER, I’m writing more wolf shifter romances that have that paranormal suspense feel. And at the end of September, I’ll be attending a Romance Reader Convention—Rom Con—in Denver, Colorado. Other than that I’m going to be editing, editing, editing, so that THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON is ready for publishing in January 2017.

Now on to the blog…

Well, it’s that time again. I’ve finished a rough draft and it needs to sit for a little while before I dive into editing it. So, it’s time to start writing another one. And this time I’m trying something different. I’ve been using something called, The Chunky Writing Method originated by Allie Pleiter, to keep track of how many words I write in a sitting, and how long my optimal sitting is.

It turns out, I’m a large chunk writer. In other words, I like to write for a very long time (with short breaks) and write a lot of words. Now, I’ve known this about myself for a while, but I hadn’t really thought about how it affected my writing organization until I read Allie’s series of articles in the Romance Writer’s Report this year. My life doesn’t have very many large chunk moments in it, but I need those large chunks to write effectively.

I like sitting down for three hours in the morning and writing a total of 3,000 words. So, I’m goaling a new rough draft at 50k. That means I need seventeen large chunks of time. If I want to write this book in about a month, and I do, I need to organize my life so I have seventeen large chunks. Allie recommends that as a large chunk writer I try to write in some small chunks too, and I understand why, but I won’t be able to finish this draft by the end of the month if I plan to do smaller chunks, so for this one, I’m aiming for the big chunks.

And, if I’m able to squeeze in a few smaller chunks of say…1k per hour, than that’s great!

So…how does this thing play out?

Step One: Figure 17 3-hour days, if everything goes well. And we’ll add in a couple of extra to give me some wiggle room.

Step Two: Plan the days.

Oh, this is the tough part! but I’ve gone to my calendar (Click here to see the calendar) and put my writing days down for the month of September. And I have a progress meter there too, so I’ll be tracking my word count as well.

I’ve got myself writing every day with this plan, except for the weekends. And Labor Day. Oh, and the long weekend at the end of September when I’ll be partying it up with the romance readers at Rom Con.

Step Three:

The thing that will really make this work is having a fabulous outline with detailed scenes and chapters. So I’ll be working on that for the end of August and then, watch out September, words are going to be flying onto the page! 🙂

Check back and see how this goes.

I’ll update how this went at the end of September. Or actually, more likely the beginning of October since I’ll be at Rom Con the last weekend in September. If I stay on track, I’ll have a brand spanking new book at the end of the process. If I get derailed, I’ll still have a great plot outlined and lots of words done. And then I’ll start planning October.

How do you plan? Do you figure out how long it takes you to do a job, and then how many days you need to schedule to do it? Or do you do what I used to: schedule the days and then see what kind of work you get done in those days? What method works best for you?

***

Check out the five top things I’ve learned writing romance on these blog posts:

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Writing is a Muscle—Use it, or Lose it

Moonday Mania

a blog for the readers and writers

It’s the end of the summer. Out here in Colorado, kids are heading back to school, the nights are getting cooler, and we’re on to the last of my summer blogs on The Top Five Things I’ve Learned Writing Romance. Today’s topic may be the most important of all: Writing is a muscle—use it, or lose it.

Here is the list of the other top five things I’ve learned writing romance, and the links to the posts:

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Now on with today’s blog:

Writing is hard!

I have had a lot of ups and downs in my effort to write on a regular basis. Sometimes it seems like I get on a writing roll (writing three days a week and getting 10k done) and then it happens: life laughs at me and says “Sorry! Time for a family emergency. No writing for you!”

GRR!

Why is this so upsetting? Because, just like running, lifting weights, or even walking more than ten minutes, it when you don’t use your writing muscles, they degrade.

I know I can write. I know I can get a good sized rough draft done in about 2 months, but my health, my family’s health, and various other interruptions mean that the last book took four months to write, instead of 2. And that just frustrates me.

In fact, I think I can even do better!

I wrote for 11 days in April, 8 days in July, and four in August for a total of 66,556 words. An average of just under 3,ooo words per day. Now that sounds pretty impressive, but let’s take a better look at that. Some of those days I wrote less than 1,000 words, and some days I wrote nearly 5,000 words. Why were they different?

  • Amount of time is a piece of that: some days I only had an hour to write, some days I had four.
  • Organization is also a piece: sometimes the synopsis and beat sheet were spot on and I could really sit down and just write. Some days I had to throw out the synopsis and figure out what I needed to do.

Getting back to writing is slow writing.

But mostly, it had to do with if I’d written that week at all, or if I was sitting down to a cold and chilly keyboard. The first few days of July, when I hadn’t touched this manuscript since the end of April, my pace was super slow. The first two days: 331 and 433 respectively.

The more I sit down and write, the faster the words roll out. If I want to write a book in two months, they need to be consecutive months, they need to be consecutive weeks, and the best possible scenario? They really need to be consecutive days.

Imagine if on the days when I wrote a few hundred words, I actually wrote my average of 3,000 words. (And this really is my average. If I’m writing 2-3 days per week for 3 hours at a time, I write 3k per sitting.) My word count on those days would be 3 times what I actually wrote. And that would mean I could have written the entire rough draft in less than a month, instead of two months stretched over four months.

Wow! I’d be a superhero writer!

muscle

Photo by Denis Yang, creative commons

 

 How do you get to be your own writing superhero?

Write as much as you can as often as you can. It’s that simple. Okay, it’s not that simple. Writing is just like working out. It takes discipline and focus. And it takes getting to the job day after day, even when you don’t want to.

Notice, I can tell you what you should do, but I struggle with it myself. But when I crunch these numbers, I can see superherodom in my future. And I want it.

How can I write like this?

I won’t lie, it’s hard. But like all good things it comes with it’s own reward. Just like working out, when you write on a consistent schedule, you’ll see your muscles getting stronger.

I’m going to test out my theory. I’m goaling writing my next book in a month. It has a 50k rough draft goal. At 3k per day, that’s 16 writing days. And if I can get my writing speed up because I’m writing faster? I think it’s still 16 3 hour days because the days I wrote 5k I sat at the keyboard for an extra hour per day to make up the time from the days I couldn’t get to the writing.

So that’s the goal for the next project:

16 days writing. Want to see my plans? I’ll be detailing my calendar in my next writing post. Want to see how I do? Check in at the end of September and we’ll see how we’re doing. Thousands of people achieve this very goal in the month of November. The most I’ve ever written in 30 days is 30,000 words.

Life? Challenge accepted. Superhero, here I come!

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing organization

Resistance is Futile: And other writing myths

Moonday Mania

a blog for the readers and writers

I’ts hot! And to keep my mind off of the heat this summer, I’ve been blogging on the five top things I’ve learned writing romance. Today we’re on number four: There is such thing as resistance.

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Now on with today’s blog:

Resistance Exists

A few years ago someone gave me the fabulous book on resistance The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Stephen Pressfield. It introduced me to the concept of resistance: the idea that once you decide to do something creative you immediately create roadblocks for yourself.

Now, I’m not going to go into all of that here, you should read the book. It’s truly a classic for any creative trying to achieve anything. Basically, we all throw up roadblocks when we want to succeed at any endeavor and Stephen Pressfield labels this “resistance”.

I can see this all the time, especially in my teenagers. The classic line at our house from our kids is: “The problem is…” and then they’ll list the reasons why whatever solution we’ve come up with is not going to work. Or just plain wrong.

But it’s not just the kids, it’s me too!

Whenever I face something difficult, it happens to me too. When I try to make time to get back to writing my book I find myself saying, “I’d get that done, but the problem is…” And what’s bad is that the problems are legitimate. I do have too many important things to do. Cleaning the house, cooking quality food, exercising—all of that is important. And taking care of family emergencies is super important and with two aging parents and two maturing new adults there are a lot of family emergencies.

Or, maybe it’s legitimate work that is book related, but not actually writing. Because you see, there are always tons of things to do that are not writing paranormal romance, but are very important. Like blogging!

The fact is: I’m not lying to myself, or to my spouse, or even to the world in general, there are reasons why I should not be doing any creative work. And they are all legitimate. But without the writing, there are no books.

Woah! Then how does anything get done?

If you let life intervene, nothing else gets done. That’s the simple truth. If I let all my excuses, valid or not, keep me from writing. And I want to write books, don’t I?

The real question behind resistance is not: are your excuses are valid? It’s: how badly do you want to create, or succeed, or take risks?

And the real answer is: How willing are you to face your fears?

Because that’s what it really comes down to. Legitimate or not, all those excuses are just excuses—reasons why we are not doing what we set out to do because, for whatever reason, we’re afraid. How do I know that my family issues, cooking, cleaning, whatever… are only roadblocks and not reasons I can’t write? Because I’ve seen other people do it. People with full time jobs, five kids (one of whom has a disability), and just as dirty houses write books. And some of them write way more than I do.

Excuses are resistance. They are my way of avoiding what I’m afraid of. Now, what exactly is that? Well, that’s another blog topic all together. Or therapy session. LOL!

How do I overcome resistance?

Back to Stephen Pressfield’s book, THE WAR OF ART. You have to do it every day. So that’s my challenge. I struggle with writing new fiction words on a daily, sometimes even weekly basis. Because real life interferes, and I let it. Stephen says you have to face resistance every day, and that’s the real war of art.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

I’m always saying, I’ll try to do this. But I need to apply my inner Yoda and just do.

What are you not doing? What are you avoiding in your life, creative or otherwise, that is a form of resistance? Have you read THE WAR OF ART? Have you tried, ahem, done the work? How did it work out?

Tune in next week for topic number five: Writing is a muscle, use it or lose it

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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The Writing Muse, and other deadly myths.

Moonday Mania

a blog for the readers and writers

This summer, I’ve been blogging on the five top things I’ve learned writing romance and today we’re on number three: There is no such thing as the muse.

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Now on with today’s blog:

There is no debate among professional writers: the muse is a myth.

I first read about this total disbelief in the writing muse in Stephen King’s On Writing. A fabulous book that almost scared me so much, I nearly stopped writing altogether. Luckily, I persevered.

Why?

Because of that mythical muse.

Huh? If the muse doesn’t exist, then how could it have motivated me to write?

Well, I’ll tell you. Productive, professional writers are correct, from horror to romance to thrillers they all say the same thing: If you want to actually publish and be successful, you cannot wait around for inspiration to strike. I let too many things interrupt my writing schedule, but I know that in order to be successful you have to sit down in the chair and write. No matter if you don’t have the time, or the energy, or the muse hasn’t shown up. You just write.

This is what a synopsis is for.

When I don’t know what to write, when my characters don’t want to cooperate, it doesn’t matter—because I have a synopsis to guide me. I don’t have to have inspiration to get myself kick-started. And, if that piece isn’t the most inspiring, that’s okay. That’s what editing is for. And believe me, I edit. A lot.

So, wait a minute. Didn’t you just say that the muse kept you in the game when your fear of Stephen King almost made you stop?

Yeah, I did say that. That’s because this is where I believe in the myth. The muse may not have to show up every day to get you to write. Writing is a job and muse or not, you need to do it. But, the muse does have to show up sometime. And when she does, wow! That’s when your fingers fly over the pages. Or it happens when you’re out walking and a fabulous idea for a tricky scene pops into your head. Or, she visits you in your sleep and whispers into your dreams.

That’s what the muse is for. Kick-starting. Not for everyday working the job.

So…here’s the skinny:

Get to work without the muse, but be grateful when she does flit into your writer cave; because, those are the moments that make it wonderful to be a writer.

Tune in next week for topic number four: There is such thing as resistance.

 

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft

Lesson Two From the Writing Path:Your characters will try to wrestle for the controls

Moonday Mania

a blog about writers, writing and the roadblocks we all face

Last week I started this series of blogs about my romance writing lessons, well, roadblocks really, with a post on how life gets in the way of my goals. You can read that HERE. This week I’m addressing lesson two. And in the following weeks I’ll be hitting the other three top lessons I’ve learned by writing and publishing paranormal romance.

On writing, plotting, and how characters are lying in wait, ready to derail your best laid plots.

Lesson number two:

The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible, and roll with it.

You’ve heard of it. Writers who detail all their plots in advance, and then stick to every single plot point.

Well, I’m here to tell you that those writers are the minority. You see, writers are divided into different camps. There are the pantsers: those who don’t plot at all, but just sit down and write, never knowing where the plot is going. Then there are those stick in the mud, rigid plotters: they stick tight to their plan, even if the characters beg plead and threaten mutiny. But most of us are somewhere in the middle. We have an idea of the story. We know the begining, maybe the middle, and the end. We know the highlights.

Some of us fill in the story from there. Some of us, like me, write down as much as they can of the plot points from begining to end, trying to peg down the route like you would plan your summer road trip. But, as we all know, not all road trips are smooth driving.

Yeah, those characters are frustrating sometimes.

It’s taken me a long time to work out how to plot a story. I have a very effective method that gives me a beginning, middle, end—and lots of hot romance and exciting plot points in between. But rarely do I end up sticking with the whole thing. That’s because, even though I have my plot down, my characters are never quite pressed out. They tend to pop up with ideas and motivations that I had no idea about when I was outlining their stories. And so, I need to be flexible and change the story when they ask for it.

Demand it.

Absolutely refuse to cooperate until I rewrite.

Characters drive the story.

In addition to outlining your story, you have to decide if your tale is plot driven or character driven. While I love having a good, fast-paced plot, in romance the characters have to drive the story. That’s because, no matter what else is going on, it’s the emotional changes of the couple and how they go from not meshing to totally being immersed in each other, that is the essence of romance.

And that’s where my characters will change my plot lines.

I’ll think the plot goes one way, and that’s a perfectly great way for the plot to go, and then the characters’ emotional changes will move the plot an entirely different way. A great example of that is in the third book in the Tales of the Black Court. I knew the Black Queen had to die. I’d known it since the first book. But, when it came time for her to die, she threw a total twist at me. I’m not going to spoil it for people who haven’t read Broken Mirror, but suffice to say, Aeval’s death was nothing like I’d planned.

And that’s okay. That just means that I have another book to write!

Does life ever throw you curves when you think you have it all plotted out? Do people sometimes do things totally unexpectedly? 

Want to read the rest of my five lessons from writing romance?

Here are the rest of the lessons I’ll be addressing.

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene. (Check out the first post)
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it. (That’s this one!)
  3. There is no such thing as the muse. (Next week’s post)
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

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Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

7 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft

Lessons from the Writing Path

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing, writers, and um, well, not writing

Whether it’s the big American novel or writing paranormal romance or blogging, writing is a journey of self discovery.

I’ve been a writer for, what seems like, all of my life. But I only got serious about it in 2008. That’s when I buckled down and said I was finishing a book. Any book. And that book turned out to be THE DARK HUNTSMAN. I had no idea that it would lead me to continue writing twisted fairy tale romance for the next few years, or that it would lead to a five book series. But here I am, writing book number four in the TALES OF THE BLACK COURT, and knowing book number five is not that far away.

So, what have I learned on this writing journey? 

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Turns out it’s so much, I need to divide it into multiple blogs, so today I’m addressing the first of five things I’ve learned on my writing path:

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene. 

I can decide to write. I can have the time and get started and the words are flowing out from my frantically typing fingers at a terrific rate, daily. But, if I decide that this means I can hit multiple deadlines…I get screwed. Life shows up and steals my time and suddenly that deadline is looming and my writing squeals to a STOP!!!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/84388958@N03/7729300102/in/photolist-cM1FCS-dVCQB9-fekqPf-fnCBmJ-dm9hSQ-dc7cwR-fe67oX-dTVms3-fekr2d-fnor2P
Clover Autrey, Creative Commons, MyWana Flickr

So, what to do?

I still need deadlines. They motivate me in a way that nothing else does. Call it fear motivation. Fear of disappointing my readers, my editor, myself. So I still set them. And I still beat myself up when I miss them, even if it’s due to someone else’s life falling apart and me riding to the rescue. Or vacation needing three weeks to catch up at the day job, instead of the one week I planned. Or whatever.

Deadlines work. What doesn’t work is panicking and sitting on the couch eating ice cream when I miss one. So, back to the keyboard we go. Every time life rears up it’s head to say, sorry—no hitting your deadline for you! I fight back. I keep trying. I move the deadline, or move projects, or call up whomever it is that I made that deadline-promise to and apologize profusely while begging for a few more weeks.

Is it ideal? No. Of course not. ‘snort’ Ideal would be for everyone else’s life to leave my deadlines alone. For me to never get sick. For my day job to never have it’s ups and downs. Ideal would be if I could predict when those things are going to happen and adjust the deadlines before they come due. Preferably, before even setting the deadlines.

But life happens.

So…

I keep setting deadlines. Because if I don’t, nothing happens. No writing gets done, no books get published. And I want all of that to happen.

How about you? What do you do when you set deadlines and life rears it’s ugly head and attacks? Do you give in and wallow in your failures? Or do you regroup, set new deadlines, and get to work?

Want to see what else I’ve learned on this romance writing journey? I’ll be writing about the rest of the things I’ve learned on my writing path over the next few blogs, so check back next week and find out how I wrangle plotting vs characters.

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Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

3 Comments

Filed under About the Author, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft