Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Update on How's that Writing Journey Coming?

Update The cover is ready for Hair of the Were the first book in the Luna de la Mar Spa series from Eliza March.

Have you met your goals? What do you do when you succeed? Or fail? What about when you disappoint yourself? Beat yourself up for not being dependable? I have a confession... 

 It's October? OMG - How did I get here and how did I get side-tracked from my writing goals? One thing that interferes with getting my writing done is having more pressing issues that keep popping up, forcing me to re-prioritize.  My family's needs always take priority over everything else, and my uncle has decided to move into assisted living. With no children of his own, I'm trying to help him find a suitable place near his friends. It's giving me good practice for finding out what I will want when the time comes for me and my husband. But it's time consuming and distracting.

"Hair of the Were" is late. I'm beating myself up over not meeting the goal for a planned  September release. The first humorous paranormal book in my As the Chair Turns series should have been released by now, but Irma showed up and blew (pun intended) that and several trees in my yard all to hell.

My house is way too large for my husband and I to maintain. We were ready to downsize and reduce the stress in our lives. Half our belongings are in boxes. We installed new flooring, new roof, and updated the kitchen and the bathrooms. There's still more to do and, now after this hurricane season, there's more. I also planned to put "said" home on the market last month. Real retirement is beginning to feel like an illusive dream.

Needless to say, my plans have changed. But although we had no firm plans in place for moving on, we did have a few dreams; so now, frustration is setting in.

Since I'm not wealthy enough for my writing income to take precedence over my other sources for paying the mortgage and bills ... such as emergency hurricane preparedness and cleanup, I need an alternative vision. I edit part time, mentor/coach part time, work as a hairdresser part time, and then write. So writing comes last, and money that I'd like to spend for promotion and advertising is being gobbled up in daily living expenses.  I am not the only author suffering from this dilemma.

What I've decided to do is stop setting "firm" goals for my release dates and avoid the guilt. I have at least eight books in progress at this time, and because I value good story and character development above churning out crap, I am taking a step back.

One of the observations I'd like to make for writers is that you should set your own pace. Yes, the authors who are releasing quickly and often are having success, but don't sell your work short. Don't self criticize because you take more time to tell the story the way you want to. Do it your way in your own time.

The self-publishing market makes it difficult to rise above the algorithms, keywords, and massive numbers of releases daily. What I see are opportunists, sharks feeding on minnows, finding a way to make more money for themselves without a care to the quality of what they turn out or how they affect the market in general.

Are we dumbing-down literacy? Yes. And genre fiction. The Chicago Manual of Style reviews editing rules about once a year because colloquial language and needs within the US are changing with the speed of social networking. There are age-gapped and style changes taking place every day. English, in all its forms, has different rules around the world, but in addition to that, I believe, fiction in (American) English is being swamped by books published with little, no, or unprofessional editing.  The results are chilling.

Incorrect uses of tense, words, phrases in books and TV, social media, and radio infiltrates our daily experience. Which came first? Does it matter? The results are the same. Confusion and inconsistencies. Authors who discard the rules and, through advertising and promotion, convince readers it doesn't matter.

To each her/his own. I can't live with "incorrect" or inconsistencies in my books. And believe me they have them. But I strive to improve with each book I write, because, as in all art, fiction and novels are a personal matter of taste. Correct language, grammar, and punctuation is not. Dialogue can be true to form, narrative can not.  An author can maintain her or his voice without compromising quality editing.

Be careful when comparing your goals, needs, and successes with other peoples'. 

Be good to yourself. Enjoy the journey no matter where it takes you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Blame Harlequin for this ...

As the Chair Turns (a paranormal, tongue-in-cheek romance series) by Eliza March begins with
Hair of the Wolf, Book One coming this Fall.

Anyone who's ever read my writing knows I have an underlying sense of snide... Is it humor? Or sarcasm? Or scattered brain cell patterns from working with too many chemicals and inhaling too much hair spray?But funny? I'm not so sure. Lately, maybe more so than ever.  Nevertheless, I was a reader (and, also apparently a drinker) before I was a writer.

I belonged to Harlequin's "books of the month club". Not sure what it's really called. But I got additional gifts when they arrived. Purple wine glasses I had to use while I read the books they sent. I had a book a day habit and the purple glass always looked full ... too bad it wasn't. My wine habit couldn't keep up with my reading or I'd pass out before I finished the book...and four books, Harlequin? That didn't keep me satisfied. I went to the used book store to supplement my reading addiction, ordered books online, and then discovered a few small ebook presses. Whala! I would never go without something to read again...and I could download at 2 AM! Book two in the series completed? Ah! Book three is available immediately! Yea.

Soon, the series didn't satisfy, the authors couldn't write fast enough, I'd imagined the story twist differently, the characters reactions differently, and I had an idea...write it myself. At least I couldn't drink and type at the same time.

When I first began writing, one of my stylists suggested As The Chair Turns for a title, and with her blessings I am going to use it. The series was originally intended to be reality based and a serious, non-fiction fiction. I just couldn't do it. Fifty years in this business, in one capacity or another, didn't allow for it.

What I didn't suspect at the time was that:
1. I'd ever write it.
2. It would be paranormal.
3. It would be funny.

Karsley, "like Parsley," thank you.  Now that I'm finally going to use it, I hope you find it up to your title suggestion. I doubt Karsley ever suspected it would be something like this. But she has a great sense of humor so I think it will be perfect.

I'd started out writing romantic suspense, then for a while, found my niche in erotic paranormal romance. And I was pretty darned good at it, too. The only thing funny about that is the idea of me writing erotic anything. My husband suggested I write what I know. I have had one husband, five children, the beauty industry, and reality for experience. That was more what he had in mind. But hey, Problem was I read lots of fiction. Don't forget that book a day habit. And I read sexy fiction. Paranormal fiction.

I guess he didn't expect me to stray off to my wild imaginary, sexy-shifter worlds. Uh-duh...that had become my escape reality. Who needed more of what I did every day? I refused to consider writing about the industry I'd been immersed in for...well...forever. (Fifty years is close enough to forever to qualify, I believe.)

 One morning I woke up with my hero and heroine in my head in a scene in a salon.  Deja vie. They were sexy. New addition. Nice. But they were funny. Too funny. I didn't write funny. I'm not funny ...or I wasn't, anyway.

i thought for a moment and suddenly realized in recent years,  I've started having comic-strip visions in my head when people speak or I read something. The intent changes and I see the hysterical side of life.  Everything has a humorous side, right? The visions I have usually include little clouds of dialogue pointing to the characters' (sometimes cartoon animals') heads. Often, I have to bite my tongue to stop the hee-haw response I feel swelling up inside me. You experience that too, don't you? No? I've wondered why my imagination for story-telling waited so long, but it was probably for the best while I was doing personal things to people's hair and bodies.

Here's an except from Hair of the Wolf from Book One of As the Chair Turns. To set up the scene, Dela is the only human working in Frankie de Wolf's world renowned salon and spa in Boca Raton, FL. They are going to a hair show in Vegas...Dela is the responsible one until the slot machines start singing...

All rights reserved Copyright 2017 Eliza March

...Our group filed past the flashing lights, then the digital billboards caught my attention. Suddenly, I had a change of heart. My gambling release switch flipped off and desire did a happy dance in my pants. Images of gyrating, shirtless men from “Down Under” put me in a different frame of mind.

Vegas. Sin City. I began thinking of all the potential sin and felt my lips curl. I was here to party. What happens here...yadda yadda yadda…right?

“Earth to Dela. Are you ready for a couple of those in your lap?” Selena, the female cat shifter, purred, pointing to the Chippendale poster.

Frankie didn’t look at me, waiting for my answer, but I noticed the way his ears perked up. They sort of twitched in my direction. I weighed my answer carefully, reconsidering my previous let-it-all-go moment, and just gave the shifter my non-commital smile.

I had enough on my plate with this raucous bunch of supernatural species, who, under normal circumstances, did their best to look human and contain themselves. Here, I’d already seen evidence of their loss of control. Eye shapes and colors were the first signs. Contacts were a good explanation since shimmering silver eyes weren’t a color humans were naturally blessed with, but that was just for starters. Some of their other traits weren’t as easy to explain. The younger vampires were already setting off smoke when direct sunlight hit them and one of the younger werewolf’s ears sprouted hair.

Never mind. You get the gist.

Controlling them at Luna de la Mar promised to be easier than keeping my staff’s identities secret in a town filled with them…. In Boca, being the only human in charge of every paranormal species unknown to the local inhabitants was harder than making them seem eccentric or weird instead of different. Here, I had a feeling my boss and the staff were going to be, not only uncooperative but, downright bad influences.  

By the time I rounded up transportation for everyone and gave directions to the hotel and instructions regarding where to pick up the hair show tickets, I’d lost half the group and all their attention.

Whatever! The staff were all adults of a sort. They could fend for themselves. After all, I wasn’t their caretaker this weekend. They were powerful, magical, and gifted. I, on the other hand, was merely human. “Screw it,” I mumbled to no one in particular. Only a handful of the staff were still nearby, close enough to hear me anyway.

“You need a drink and entertainment, sweetie.” Jen, the witch, slipped her arm around my neck and scrunched her magical nose at me. Before I could argue, one of my favorite witches prepared to glamour me right there in the taxi line, in front of fake Elvis, a poster of Neil Diamond, and God knows how many witnesses.

I gasped and held up my hand to ward off Jen’s magic, then realized she was right. “What the hell? Do your worst!” I opened my arms wide as she doused her magic over me.

Hell, the six-inch red stilettos didn’t even hurt my feet. Wow. I could get used to this. I liked the taller illusion. The view was pretty awesome. I just hoped I didn't topple over what with all my cleavage piled up in front like this.

Carrie, my other witch-bitch, just grinned up at the billboard. “We need three or more of them…” She pointed at a digital video of bare-chested Chippendales.

Chippendales and Thunder From Down Under? 

Be still my thundering heart. How would I ever get through the weekend? With a low moan, I clenched my jaw and turned away from the smorgasbord of flesh and muscle. Calculating the idea of  “more” ... my right brain did the math while my left side did the architectural planning...

There's more, so much more so if you liked this excerpt and want more, sign up for my Newsletter HERE  at http://eepurl.com/buCZLf  You'll be the first to get them and hear about the release date.