Friday, April 5, 2013

"There is no other way of writing a novel than to begin at the beginning and to continue to the end." - C.S. Forester

If you would've told me four years ago I'd sell my first novel before I turned thirty, I'd have called you a liar.

A little over two years ago, I started to write fanfiction. No, I won't tell you what characters it was based around, but I will tell you it was horrible. Like AWFUL. I'll never forget this one "comment" I received from a reader. It crushed me, to the point my writing career almost came to a grinding halt before I could ever get into fourth gear.

Because I'd never been to college, I felt embarassed of my writing. I mean, I truly believed I couldn't write a book unless I'd at least obtained my Associates Degree. Add to it I write romance, albeit sweet romance, but romance none-the-less...I hung my head at the thought of anyone unearthing my secret. So, when Josh found out what I'd been up to, I was mortified. There the chips lay of my emotional stability, displayed on the table for Josh to see.

But to my surprise, Josh only encouraged me to keep writing, and to find a group I could join. By having his blessing, my confidence began to grow. Though my stuff was nowhere near the caliber it needed to be for him to read it, the fact he supported me was, not to sound corney, but the wind beneath my wings. He helped guide me on my first flight into the wonderful world of writing. Two nights later I discovered a national organization called the Romance Writers of America, and the local chapter was only a city away.

So, the following week, I packed my computer and headed into the unknown. I had no idea what to expect and could only hope that the women and men attendees would welcome me with open arms. I hadn't even gotten a chance to set down my bags before Christine, a sweet woman, introduced herself to me. It felt great, to not have been there five minutes and to have made a friend. I got so much out of the lecture that day. When I left, I felt energized to write. Most importantly, I left with a belief that "I can do this".

My drive started out with the desire to finish a book. Halfway through the novel, it changed to wanting to show my children you can do anything you put your mind to. Towards the end, it evolved into "I can make a living at this".

The following month I went to the RWA meeting and met my now good friend, Erin. Between her pushing me in my writing, and RWA challenging me to think outside of the box, the next year was spent in growing my craft. This year promised new and exciting things on the horizon. I felt the book I'd started the previous July would be "the one". Little did I know that, by the end of the year, how true my premonition would be.
Now here I sit, having my first book published, and in the sequel submitted to my publisher. It's been a crazy three years and I'm thankful for my journey along the way. There has been some amazing women in my life who have helped me grow in ways I couldn't have without them. Erin and Laura are two of the many of those wonderful women.
Thank you to my husband, my friends, and everybody who has been a continuous support to me. Without you, I'd still be saying "One day I'll write a book."


Erin Pryor

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Editing yourself is like an irksome coin toss. You've got to strip yourself of super ego and operate from id." Vera Farmiga

Being in the final editing phase of my book, I'm realizing how much fun it is. It's fun to read the book allo the way through and make subtle edits along the way. How I write, I try and do so clean the first time, so I don't have many edits to go back through on the final edit. I typically edit as I go, counting as my first round pass. Then, I do one last round of edits.

Edits shouldn't be that thing that we as writers look at with disdane. It's something that we can get the overall picture of our writing, and see the story in its entirety. I look back, and go over certain sentences thinking 'wow, I wrote that?' and it is fun to see where my head was at the time of writing scenes.

For those of you who dispise editing, I suggest you try and edit as you write. You will write slower, but in the long run, for editing purposes, it makes your movement of the overall story that much quicker. As far as writing the story, it all depends if you write by the seat of your pants, or if you are a plotter. Personally, I'm between both.

I typically mull over a story for a month or two before I even do any writing. I get the overall story mapped out in my head, and then I write one sentence scenes, and build my book around them. So, for example, one of my scenes in my published novel was that my hero got poisoned, so I wrote "poisoning" for my one sentence scene. I knew in my mind where I wanted to go with it, and wrote the scene around the one word. I do this for the whole book. I write the one word, phrase, or sentence scene, and build around it. I have the ability to do this because I've spent a month or so mulling over the story in my mind and I know where I want to go. By doing this, I can write a book, including edits as I go, within a month, and depending on the time I have, maybe two.

I challenge you, as a writer, to try writing like this. It may or may not work for you, but if it does, it will change your writing. You always stay on point, and never drift off when writing your manuscript.

Happy writing!

Erin Pryor

Monday, April 1, 2013

"There are three different difficulties in authoriship: to write anything worth publsihing, to find honest people to publish it, and to find sensible people to read it." Charles Caleb Coulton

Recently, I posted on my Facebook account, asking for ideas on what to post on my blog. Only one person responded, and asked me to talk about the pitfalls of publishing and doing your research when choosing to go with a publisher.

In this person's instance, they accepted a contract from a publisher about a year ago. It took the publisher almost a year to edit, then they published it, without going back to the writer to review edits. Then, when the author purchased a copy of their book for their e-reader, they found major gramatical errors littered throughout the first 20 pages, and so on throughout the rest of the book.

Let me start off by saying that any publisher that takes almost a year to edit should raise red flags. Editing, from start to finish, shouldn't take more than a month, maybe two. That is including the time that it goes back to you as a writer to review, accept, decline, or change any edits or story content. It is your job as a writer to stop everything you are doing when you get your edits (no matter what round) and really go through the manuscript. IT IS YOUR BABY. Treat it as such. You DO NOT want work with your name out there that has issues, gramatically, plot wise, or character wise. It is your job to see to it that the story is well rounded, that the characters are diverse, and that it is readible.

Do your research on the publisher you are offered a contract with. Google is such an amazing tool. Just type in the name of the publisher and you will be able to find different conversations about that publisher the deeper you go. Research their other books, are they quality? Is it the kind of publisher you want representing your book? As a writer, you hold all of the cards prior to getting published. Don't be so quick to jump on the bandwagon of being a published author. Having a quality product is worth the wait.

I personally got offered for a contract at a smaller publisher house for my first book, Kismet. It is too long for my current publisher, and I didn't feel like taking out 20k words, so I was excited. Then, I got back my first round of edits. There were NO edits. No line edits, content edits, etc. I told the publisher that I wasn't interested in working with them any longer. They asked me to give them one more shot, and so I did. When it came back, there were like 3-4 edits per page, and that was it!! Keep in mind, this is my first book, so I know a LOT of editing needs to be done. I ended up telling the publisher that I was cutting ties. Now, I'm back on editing the book, working on cutting out 20k words, and sticking with my current publisher. My current publisher, Decedent Publishing, is AMAZING. I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon.

In short, do your research when deciding to go with a publisher. Putting your name on crappy work is NOT how you want to get your name out there. Multi-Published Author's get away with a LOT more than what newbies can get away with.

Best of luck in your endeavors!


Erin Pryor

Friday, March 29, 2013

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." ~Stacia Tauscher

I still cannot believe that I am a mother to a nine year old and a five year old. Where has the time gone?

I remember bringing home my oldest from the hospital as if it were only a year or so ago, not over nine years ago. It's crazy to think that little black haired, tan infant would turn out to be this stunning young girl. She now has blonde hair with blue eyes, and looks a lot like me. People always call her the "minny Erin". She's an amazing little girl. She excells at anything she puts her mind to. I cannot say enough about her. She does her homework without asking, picks up her room when asked, and is a well-rounded young girl. She makes me proud every day.

Not until I put a picture of myself in Kindergarten next to a picture of my son in Kindergarten did I think we looked alike. Then, seeing those two pictures next to one another, I realized how much he looks like me. I always told people that he looks like my husband, but man, is he a spitting image of me at that age. He's a little shit, but I love him with all of my heart. When he's hungry - watch out! He is a holy-terror. But when he is fed, oh my goodness, he is the most sweet/angelic little boy. There is nothing like the times we spend together cuddling.

I'm blessed to have two beautiful children. As I've mentioned in a blog previous to this one (written about a year or two ago), I grew up in a house where my mom had to go through invitro-fertilization four times in order to get pregnant with my brother. Going through that with her makes me appreciate my children all that much more.

Like I said, I'm blessed to have two beautiful children.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." ~Ray Bradbury

So often, my writing has taken me places where I've dreamed of going, or where it is impossible to go. I dream of things that could happen, things beyond the realms of reality, and I put it on paper.

As most of you know, I write time-travel romance to fourteenth century Scotland. I chose it because of my favorite author, Lynn Kurland. She inspired me to write the time travel. Not Diana Gabbledon (sp?). I didn't particularly like her books, but Lynn Kurland delivers on so many levels. She writes sweet, just like I do. Unlike Lynn, I use a bench as my time gate. She uses fairy rings.

I don't know why I chose the bench to be the time portal, but I did. The bench is white stone, smooth to the touch, and a solid piece. The couple inch side has an intricate pattern that leads down into the posts that are leaf-shaped. The first person to use this time gate is Collin Kincaid, brother to Nicholas Kincaid, my hero in my first novel, Pillars in Time. Collin doesn't know how it works, and is forced to stay in present-day Scotland and make a life for himself.

Cadence, my heroine in Pillars in Time, was the second person to use it. She didn't know how she'd been transported back into time, but knows that it has something to do with the bench. At one point, she is on the bench, repeating just as Dorothy did, "there's no place like home". Of course, the bench doesn't work for her and she is forced to stay back in the fourteenth century. Oh how I do awful things to my characters to make a book. *Evil Laugh*

I know that the possibility of time travel is impossible, but I like to explore if it did happen, what would people do. I've always dreamed of going to Scotland, England, and Ireland, and one day I will go, but until then, I live through my characters experiences. I've always wondered what would happen if I were transported back in time, and I try to live that out through my characters.

I'm addicted to writing time-travel romance. I won't stop. I plan on having several more books published by the end of next year, taking myself on the journey of writing them, and my readers on the journey of reading them. My only goal is to deliver to the readers something that is of quality that they don't regret picking up one of my novels.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dispicable service to our Vets by the VA Hospital

Okay, I'm an American, born and raised. I'm also a major Patriot. I get my patriotism from those years that I stood by my husband's side while he went away on "field ops", on his six month deployment, or over in Iraq. I was always patriotic before being with him, but became a true patriot when I married him.

I remember, when Josh was in Iraq, I took on a second job at Barnes and Noble just to keep my mind occupied while he was gone. This was at the very beginning of the war and I worked at a Barnes and Noble by the mall. One night, one of the guys I worked with said "Hey, Erin. My wife and I are going to picit the protestors, care to join us?". I very cooly said "No thanks." When he asked why I told him, "my husband and his men are fighting for our freedoms right now, one of them being freedom of speech, so I'm not going to take away someone's freedome of speech." The guy, as I remembered it, was taken aback by my words.

When my husband was discharged, they did a medical evaluation before he separated from the service, and found him to be rated 40% disabled. He has various things wrong with him, but the biggest of all is his back (which he was only rated 20% disabled for). He has five degenterive disks, three hurniated disks, a buldging disk, and a torn spinal sack. To say his back is messed up is an understatement.

Josh can be fine for months, then, out of nowhere, he steps the wrong way, and is down for the count for at least two weeks. No joke. He can barely move to get into bed, and it pains him beyond anything to help with the kids and do meanial things.

A recent bout of this came like a month ago. Josh was playing basketball, stepped, and tweeked it to where he could barely walk. FINALLY, after begging with him to go to the VA several times, he decided to go.

Not that it mattered.

He couldn't stand straight, nor sit straight, but what did the VA Hospital do? They gave him a heating pad and told him that they could see him in May. Like WTH? Josh was in pain then, excrutiating pain. So, instead of covering medication for a military related disability, the VA sent Josh on his way with a heating pad and told him to come back in May. Of course, Josh couldn't wait that long, so he had to dish out over $100 for a doctor's visit and three different medications from his primary doctor.

Bottom line - the VA Hospital SUCKS. You would think that they take care of their own, but, by their actions to Josh this past February, they couldn't care less what he did for this country. Such a sad thing to second-hand witness. A sad thing that the VA Hospital represents vets at all.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"If your're 'interested' in balancing work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Make your work more pleasurable." Donald Trump

I wear so many hats that it is hard to keep them all straight. I'm a wife, a mother to two, a full time employee, and a full time writer. And, strangly enough, I devote myself to each one with individual passion.

It's crazy to think that in September, my husband and I will have been married for thirteen years. The clock is ticking down to the point where I will have been with him just as long as I was alive before I met him. Make sense? It does in my mind. ;-)  We've gone through so much in the thirteen years, including ten years of my undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder. I look back and still can't believe that he stuck by me the entire time while I went "crazy". Our love now is deeper than it's ever been. He is my rock, my everything. With him by my side, there is nothing I can't accomplish.

And our two beautiful children - oh my. They are such little blessings. Katelyn recently turned nine, but is going on nine-teen. She is SUPER responsible, articulate, and independant. It's hard to look at her and remember those times without her. She is such an amazing little girl. She makes me proud every day. She's makes the right decisions, gets straight A's, and is such a light to everybody she encounters. Jackson, oh my little boy, Jackson. When he isn't being a monster (when he gets hungry), he is the sweetest little boy you will encounter. His smile and laugh brighten every room he enters. He is my everything, my heart. I'm in trouble where he is concerned. I look forward to the day they both move out and are on their own, but at the same time, I want to put Jackson in a time capsule and keep him this small forever. I love his five year old age. We have a blast with him!

How amazing is it that I LOVE my job?!?! I love what I do, helping other people in their refinance or purchase transactions. I love the number crunching, the interaction I get with both clients and Loan Officers, and that my husband has joined work with me. I look forward to the new adventure of having him be my assistant. So far, it's been a week that we've been working together, an amazing week. We know how to keep business business, and personal personal. We have a perfect working relationship. I'm excited for what the year holds for us in a professional sense.

Last, but not least, my writing. It's crazy to think that I only started to write a short four years ago. Since then, I've been published, and am working on publishing my next book. I'm super excited about what lies ahead of me in my writing career. My goal is to have 3 more books published by the end of next year. So, I'm busy working on two stories at the moment. One, I need to cut 20,000 words and submit to my publisher. The other, I need to revise, expand, and submit. I should hopefully have both off to my publisher, Bono Books (aka Decadent Publishing -, within the next month.

Again, so many hats to wear, but I have equal passion for all of them. All four points carry such a significant impact on my life. Without even one, I wouldn't be the complete person I am today. I have to have them all in my life, or nothing. Thankfully, my husband has never made me choose him over my hobbies, or my kids over my husband. There is a beautiful balance to my life that I love.

I live such a blessed life and I try not to take one day for granted.

Have a fabulous weekend, everybody!


Erin Pryor