Monday, August 25, 2014

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

Good Morning. Today is Monster's first official day of school. Yay! 4th grade. I cannot believe how time is flying. Over the summer, I finished writing two novellas, and started the last novel of the series. Again I say Yay!

I also learned a few things and as with every beginning of every school year, I have written the requisite WHAT I LEARNED ON MY SUMMER VACATION essay.

1. After five years I finally had all the elements of creating perfect meals, gas stove, gas grill, farmer market organic vegetables and locally caught seafood. I indulged a few times and realized playing with food is a creative talent that I should indulge in more often. Unfortunately, without people to eat said food, it's not worth it to cook. Half of it went down to the beach for the sea gulls.

2. I way over-packed, including extra shoes, dresses, and beach cover-ups, however, wore the same 3 outfits the entire time I was there. (out of the 8 pair of shorts I brought with me, only two still fit. I've gained back all the weight I lost before I left so I could fit into those shorts. Ironic, or sad, either way.) (As for the dresses, I thought I might meet someone and have like a date. Uh, what in god's name was I thinking.)

3. Five weeks is too long to be away from home. I missed my bed, I missed my animals (3 dogs and a cat) I worried that by the time I got back all my houseplants would be dead (which they weren't thankfully). You can only go to the beach so many times before it gets boring (and you get sun poisoning -- which I did the first day we were there -- and then again the last week we were there). I also did not realize that the more I shopped, the less room we would have in the car on the way home. Needless to say, I have to return to Pennsylvania to my brother's to pick stuff up.

4. I read more while I'm on vacation. Truthfully, this is the first time I've read in about two years. I used to read a book a day, almost 6 per week before I began writing. Now I don't read at all. And I can honestly say that New York editors aren't all that. Nora Roberts had typos. In all three books I read. And she used the wrong character's names. And had grammar issues. And run on sentences. And long boring paragraphs of useless description. And she used adverbs and adjectives so much I thought I was at a circus. What that taught me is, A) she's either a very crappy writer, B) New York doesn't care as long as she keeps bringing in the big bucks C) rules are totally meant to be broken.

5. Writing is something that I must do quietly. I tried to write in places people were not meant to write in. I tried to write in bed. I tried to write at the beach. I tried to write in the bathroom. I got nothing but frustration. So I gave up. And then lo and behold, a beautiful day presented itself. Monster went to the beach with the kids across the street. I set the laptop out on the deck, and bam, just like that hit 3000 words. I took a break in the afternoon, and added another 2000. As I looked everything over at sunset, I heard Amazing Grace being played by bagpipes. Yes. Bagpipes on the beach at sunset and 5000 words. I would have to say that was the best writing day I've ever had.

So yes, cooking, sun tanning, beach going, reading, shopping, writing, all the elements of a wonderful vacation.

So why do I feel so drained. I need a vacation from my vacation.

Tell me --  How was your summer? Did you go away? Did you get any writing done? What did you do?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Lady's Secret is Finished

Where I am going to sit for the next 5 days and
burn to a crisp
Good Morning. For those of you who keep track, my last novella for my series is finished. I worked on it for 12 hours yesterday, and wrote the end last night at 7:39 pm. It came in at 44,378 words.You must think I'm nuts to do something like this and I am, but I was on a roll. My vacation ends Saturday and I wanted to actually be able to spend time and enjoy it, so I pushed myself to finish it. Besides Monster has been camping all weekend with my brother and his family so I had no one asking "Can we go to the beach?" every five minutes.

I'm very excited about this little book. It has a lot of good stuff in it if I do say so myself. Evil sisters, Prince Charmings (2 actually), wicked father (sorry, no step-parents in this one), intrigue, sexual tension, oops, sorry, we're calling that desire and longing these days. What's cool about this novella is that I've tied it into the other novella LADY OLIVIA'S UNDOING. If you read one, you'll see elements of the other in it and vice versa. It's pretty clever if I do say so myself. And these are the pre-quels to the last novel in the series.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that, and now I'm going to enjoy the last 5 days of my vacation. Because as you know, it's been a doozy so far.

And if you don't follow me on Twitter, you should. @gallagher_anne

I've been having a lot of one-sided conversations with myself. It'd be nice to talk to people.

Tell me -- Have you ever worked like a maniac to finish a book/book/novel/story? Did you bum ever fall asleep while you wrote? (That was my challenge -- my bum kept falling asleep)

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Have Been Dreaming

Good Morning. As I clicked the "schedule" for this post, I saw that I only have TWO weeks left to vacation, instead of THREE! OMG, where does the time go. And, as I watched the morning news, the weather lady said Tropical Storm Bertha will be on our doorstep within the next couple of days. I do not want to tell Monster that she may not get in any beach time until later in the week.

45 ft. down -- at the Coast Guard Station
Point Judith, Rhode Island

Anyway, I have been dreaming. During the night, as it were, not day - of which I am generally most fond. My dreams at night have been mind-blowing to say the least. I have not had such "real" dreams in a very long time. You know, the kind where you do NOT want to wake up from. The kind you wish you could live in forever. The kind, when you do finally wake up you roll over once more to see if you can get back into it, but to no avail, and then you feel like crying because the life you had in your dream was sooo muchhhhh betterrrrr than the one you are currently living in.

Yeah, those kind of dreams.

The first dream was in answer to a question I had asked myself before trying to sleep. I had just finished reading a book (contemporary romance) where the male protagonist was hot. Soooo hot. I liked the book very much, I liked the writing very much, I liked the male character (and the female MC, but this is not about her). Anyway, as I drifted off to sleep that night, I asked myself the questions -- Why can't I write a character like him? What is the secret? How do I get my writing to THAT place?

Ellis -- love him
So, I slept. And in my dream I was with my character Ellis Smith, Marquess of Haverlane from THE LADY'S FATE. Yeah, I know kind of wacked, but go with me. This book was the first novel in the series that I had published. It is, however, not the FIRST book in the series it is in actuality, the THIRD.

However, it has always been my best seller. Even when I have published other novels THE LADY'S FATE has always managed to outsell anything else. And I have always wondered why.

In my dream that night, the answer finally came to me. I was in love with Ellis when I wrote the book. Totally, irrevocably smitten. I had his image so clearly in my mind during every single scene that I wrote, I couldn't help it.
(Mind you, I had only ever seen the actor from this picture once, in a British drama about a zillion years ago, and even though he's quite famous now, I still can't tell you his name.) He's always been Ellis to me.

I also loved Violet as I wrote it, not in that way, but as a writer who's dug deep from the recesses of her own memory and imprinted her feelings onto the page through her character. (wow, that was kind of deep for me.) Anyway, as I was BEING Violet, and falling IN LOVE with Ellis as I was WRITING, I guess it made an impression on the pages. Hence, the obvious outselling other of my novels.

When I awoke from this rather bizarre dream, and as the answer clicked into place, that made me think about my other stories -- why they sell, or don't, and how I felt about the characters as I wrote each of them. Was I in love with them as well? I can honestly say, yes. And no, some not so much.

However, what's really weird, is -- each of the leading male characters from my other novels is based on a man I have known and loved at some point during my life. In each of the stories, each of them has the flaw that broke us up in real life to one extent or another. (I'm a writer who draws from her experiences) EXCEPT FOR ELLIS. He is totally and without reservation, completely made up.

Mind blowing isn't it? Well, maybe not to you, but it certainly was to me.

Perhaps I need to go on vacation more often? Or just eat pistachio ice cream before going to bed.

Tell me -- Do you ever dream about your characters? Do they speak to you? Give you the answers to questions you didn't even know you wanted? Or do they generally leave you alone?

Anne Gallagher (c) 1014