Archive for the 'HelenKay’s Posts' Category
Thursday, June 21st, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
I have a writing friend who insists she has a finite number of book ideas in her head. She gets to the end of a contract and panics because she doesn’t have a new idea. This never happens to me. I have the opposite problem – idea bombardment. I have four books to write from now until December 15th. Two are romantic suspense and two are straight contemporary romance. You’d think I’d be consumed by those books, possibly throwing up a little because the deadlines are tight, and focusing on those four plotlines only. Yes and no.
While I am consumed, a little deadline dizzy and focused, I’m also thinking ahead. For some reason, whenever I need to go on a serious writing run new ideas for stories that aren’t under contract pop into my head. Like, they storm in and the plots start moving. If I didn’t write for a living I would truly worry that there is something wrong with me.
This cycle has happened repeatedly over the last few weeks. Since I have almost no short-term memory, when the ideas come I need to take some notes or risk losing the idea forever. Unfortunately, that eats up time but I found out the hard way over the last six years that this is how my mind works. Take notes or else!
So, today while I work on a contemporary that’s due for Berkley on August 1st I will also be mentally wrestling with a new super sexy contemp idea that came into my head two days ago and a space cowboys idea that’s been kicking around up there for months. At some point I will stop and take notes on the new contemporary idea so I don’t lose it. I’ll probably have that moment of doubt where I wonder if that new idea is the one I should be writing for Berkley instead of the one I sold, and eventually the voices will die down and I’ll get the pages done on the deadline book…I hope.
Thursday, June 14th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
This week’s topic is about our summer reading choices. Honestly, I am slammed with work right now, so the reading time might be thinner than usual over the next few months. Still, I try to make time to read no matter how hectic the schedule gets because I get grumbly when I don’t.
Last week I talked about the book I’m most excited about this summer. It’s the thriller, GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. Apparently I’m not alone because it’s flying up the bestseller charts. My copy finally arrived yesterday. Reading it is my reward for getting a few must-do things done by Friday.
I’m also going to try a different-for-me type of book, CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. There was a lot of buzz for this a month of so ago, and I ordered it. I was sold by the haunting first lines of description:
Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
The other thing I want to do is tackle a romance series. This can be a bit daunting. I’m always a little wary of jumping into an ongoing series because it means a lot of reading, but I’ve been hearing about Bella Andre’s Sullivan series. I’m intrigued and so happy about the huge success she’s found in self-publishing these, so I’m going to jump on in and try them.
If there’s anything else I need to make room for on my reading schedule, let me know!
Thursday, June 7th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
Sometimes people are stunned when I identify myself as a reader. Writing for a living doesn’t take away from the fact I’m also a pretty avid reader. Talking about books, looking at books, collecting books – love all of it. Time is the problem now. I can’t spend hours walking through my local B&N, staring at covers like I used to. There is just too much other stuff to do…and the B&N doesn’t seem to have as many print books these days (which is frustrating). But I do track authors I love and to check out new releases, now mostly online.
This month is a good month for releases, which means a bad couple of weeks for my wallet. There are some suspense and romance books I’ve been waiting on and the time is finally here. And then there’s the book I’ve been so exicted about that’s I’ve stalked the pre-order page. That level of excitement doesn’t happen for me all that often. It happened this week. Want to know the book?
It’s GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. I teach writing class and use Flynn’s previous suspense, DARK PLACES, to demonstrate a lot of craft points. The idea of another book by Flynn makes me gleeful, which is kind of amazing because there is nothing gleeful about her books. In fact, after reading this book I’ll likely need a happy romance, so if anyone has a recommendation for a new release, please let me know.
Thursday, May 31st, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
This is one of those weeks. You know the ones. All the work piles up and somehow, despite careful planning and ruthlessly guarding the calendar, everything converges and lands on the same few days. In my case it’s a deadline for one book, copyedits for another, a commitment to go to a friend’s booksigning for a few hours and a flight for a weekend readers conference. That’s a lot of stuff to happen at one time. Add in family stuff, the usual errands and few extras, including packing for the trip, and you get a Perfect Storm of crap.
That’s where I am. It will be fine because, somehow, it always is. But right now it’s all very daunting. Probably has something to do with the limited sleep and the lack of sunshine thanks to being trapped inside.
When I’m interviewed about writing or people ask me about the one thing I wish I’d known before I sold, I always think of moments like these. When you sell a book you have some idea about scheduling issues and deadlines and expectations and reviews. I don’t think you really understand how working on one book means others are in the pipeline and demand attention for copyediting and other parts of the process. I know I didn’t. I got the basics but didn’t get the “everything is happening on the same week!” thing. I also didn’t realize that it would always be this way.
It’s fine. I’m not complaining and wouldn’t change anything. But if someone could figure out how to add six or seven hours to each day from now until the end of the year I would be really grateful.
Thursday, May 24th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
Over the last few weeks I’ve heard bestselling authors Ann Patchet and Erik Larson speak. Both were charmning and interesting. There was something about Larson that when he spoke I wanted to run out and buy all of his books, even though I already have them. Hearing authors talk, getting that small peek into their private lives is interesting. There are some folks who overshare. You know the ones. They blog about their sex lives or in the heat of some sort of manic episode. I don’t go to those blogs because that’s too much for me. I still need some mystery, I guess. But the small peeks? The small bits, the human moments, when I can can connect on another level? I love those.
I had one of those moments the other day. I was reading an interview with bestselling Jane Porter in the RWR, the magazine of RWA. If you don’t know Porter, she wrote a book called Flirting With Forty that was made into a tv movie and seems to mirror what happened in her personal life – go to Hawaii, fall for guy there, get your groove back post-divorce. But Porter is really honest about her life versus the fiction:
Jane Porter’s real story is pretty damn gritty and has a lot of brutality and suffering and tragedy, and no one wants that. Not even me. So I present to the world the Jane with great hair and a nice smile because I don’t believe in making excuses, and I want to take negatives and turn them into postivies; if I let my past color my future, then “the bad guys” won. And the bad guys aren’t going to win. So when confronted by adversity, I roar now and fight and insist that I – like all women – have a right to love and happiness and being who and what I want to be.
It’s a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain. I totally understand why she wants to keep her private life private. I have never had to deal with brutality, but I do like privacy. For the most part, I want all authors to value privacy because the line between having insight and having too much information about a person can be very thin. But this is a time where that tiny bit of information makes me admire her even more.
Thursday, May 17th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
I am super late in posting today. I wish I had a good excuse. I don’t. But here’s the bad one: I thought it was Wednesday. This has been happening for a few weeks now. I think it’s Tuesday and it’s Wednesday. I think It’s Thursday and it’s Friday…you get the idea.
A deadline is looming on May 30th, but I think this is something more than deadline-brain. Yesterday I knew it was Wednesday, so why did I not think ahead and realize today couldn’t also be Wednesday? Don’t have a good answer for that, but I am wondering if this is a casuality of working from home.
I’ve actually been working from home for about five years now. The losing time thing is not new. It happens now and then. Lately it happens all the time. We recently lost our adorable family dog after thirteen years of having her. Maybe that’s it. Before I had to keep to her walking and eating scheduling. Now, I get up, do a few things then sit down at the laptop. After a few days of that, the hours run together.
So, my apologies to everyone here and all who follow the blog. If you have any suggestions, I’m open. Otherwise, I think it’s time to watch my desk calendar more closely.
Friday, May 11th, 2012 by HelenKay Dimon
I started blogging long before I sold a book. With the full-time job and family stuff I didn’t really have alot of time to write, but I still used some of those precious minutes to blog. It was a way to get in the habit of writing something every day. It also gave me the chance to reach out to other writers and readers. Those few minutes of blog writing jumpstarted my book writing. I could blog, blog hop a bit and then I had to start writing. During those years I came close to blogging every day.
That was then. Today my blogging habits are quite different. I’m much more careful about the blogs I visit. Much of the kerfluffle stuff – you know, the “this author is behaving badly” stuff – while intriguing can derail my productivity. I now go to a few places, but not nearly as regularly as I used to. My blogging habits have changed over time. I’ve thought, more than once, about shutting down the blog or turning it into a diary where I post now and then but not with any certianty. Just when I decide it’s time to stop, I think of a bunch of things I want to say and I keep it running.
It’s interesting that the subject matter on my blog has also changed. I still talk about industry stuff, but I’m more guarded. After a few times of saying something and experiencing the fallout I decided I didn’t have the time or energy to enter into angry debates. Who does? That stuff is exhausting. Again, it can be interesting to read but adding up the writing time lost while wading through comments is depressing.
I also remember hearing Nora Roberts talk about blogging. She said something like: I write for a living and don’t write for free. I’m not sure I agree with that completely, but I do know that I make a living from writing, so I need to weigh the time I spend on fun blogging versus book writing. Yeah, I get the promo value of blogging. I also enjoy blogging, which is why I’m thrilled to be included in this group blog, but there are only so many hours in a day. Any chance one of those internet/social media inventor gurus is out there trying to add time to the day? Now that’s something I could support.