Monday, June 23, 2014

My Writing Process – Blog Tour :: In Media Res and the BBE

Welcome to my stop along the "My Writing Process" blog tour!

Hi, I'm Cora Zane, the author of Wicked Obsession, How to Date an Android, What She Doesn't Know, and the Werekind Werewolf series of erotic romances. I've also appeared in several erotica anthologies, including The Dirtyville Collection, Never Say Never, Coming Together: Hungry for Love, and Morning, Noon, and Night

For a complete book list, please visit my website.

I was invited to participate in this intriguing write-craft Q and A blog tour by the lovely and talented Yolanda Sfetsos. Next Monday, Nancy Henderson will be joining the tour, and sharing interesting tidbits about her writing process. Her blog and website are linked below.

Onward to the Cora Z. Writing Process Q and A! 

What am I working on?

I'm currently putting the finishing touches on a backlist vampire novel that I plan to self-publish at the end of the month, and I'm revising a category romance novel that I plan to submit in July.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Everyone's perspective is unique. The same goes for a writer's style and voice. You could tell a room full of men and women to write a 100 word flash fiction story revolving around a popular trope or theme, and everyone in that room would bring a unique story and perspective to the table. My work is different, because I'm me. :o)

Why do I write what I do?

Everything I write about has to be deeply interesting to me in some way, or I'll end up abandoning the project. Regardless of what genre I choose to write in at a given moment, most of my work explores my characters' secret desires, both whom and what they've always longed for. Until the start of the story, they've simply been too afraid or too busy to go after what they really want in life.

How does your writing process work?

When I get an idea for a story, it may be a scenario or a character that catches my attention first. If I start with a scenario, I play around with a chain of possible events to see if my idea can be worked into something I can actually write from start to finish. If I come up with the character first, I open up a new file in Word and try to figure out where that character comes from, what their job is, who their friends are... A character may morph into someone else several times before I make the decision to actually use them in a story.

I also plot heavily before I ever begin writing. I do a lot of pre-writing. Many, many pages of pre-writing. I try to figure out what the logical plot points might be, and I build back stories for my main characters - profiles that may or may not ever end up being used in the written work. I do that to help cement their personalities, and when I actually start writing, I begin in the middle of the book, in media res.

I call the midpoint starting scene in my draft the Big Bad Event (BBE) of my story, because everything my character does after that scene is done in order to fix what's broken and resolve the conflicts in play. Everything at the beginning of the book leading up to the BBE is story setup and initial character development.

Most of the time, this process works for me. When it doesn't, it's usually a sign I didn't flesh out the plot or develop the characters enough before I started writing. 


Thanks for dropping by for my stretch of the My Writing Process blog tour. Next Monday, June 30th, Nancy Henderson will be blogging about her writing process at Always a Story. Nancy Henderson is the author of Blackbird, Stranger in His Bed, Wicked Redemption, and Nathan's Return. She also writes humorous cat stories. If you're a cat person, you definitely won't want to miss Litterboxes and Hairballs

Until next time, happy wishes!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Revisions, Revisions Everywhere... and a Blog Tour Date

I sent off Wicked Obsession for copy edits/proofing today. Yay! I'm super thrilled about that. Once the files are back I'll move on with the formatting, but for the next two weeks, the vampires will be out of sight and out of mind. 

Instead, I'll be deconstructing and reconstructing the 50k+ cowboy novel I've been workshopping for the past week. Whew! This is going to be a job. I'm not even going to joke around about it. I'm a very messy first drafter. Most of the manuscript is already printed. There are only three or four chapter files left to go, and I'll have the entire thing ready for a read through and initial (post-it note) markup. 

I have Post-it notes and highlighters, and paperclips and pens. All that jazz is ready to go. I start feeling a little sick every time I look at the growing mountain of manuscript pages, but I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get her done.

One more thing before I go...

On Monday, June 23rd, I'll be joining the My Writing Process blog tour. I'm super excited about this blog tour. I love reading about author's writing processes, how they get their books written, and that's what this tour is about. My post will appear here on the blog, so if you're subscribed to my blog through Networked Blogs, Feedspot, or a similar RSS service, the post will appear in your feed aggregator, as usual. If you're a blog hopper, I hope you'll drop by on my special day to say hello. 

If you're an author and you'd like to join the My Writing Process blog tour, hit me up. I have an invite left, and I'm itching to use it. Send me an email (there's a contact form on my website), and I'll send you the easy-peasy instructions and your blogging date.

I'm off to read a before I zonk out for the night. I'm currently reading Horror 101: The Way Forward. (various authors) It's a collection of essays on different aspects of the genre, and the horror business - everything from film making to writing novels. Interesting stuff! 

What about you? What are you currently reading? If you have any recommendations (I read everything from non-fiction, to erotica, to romance, to horror), leave it in the comments! 

That's all for now. Until next time...happy wishes!


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Saturday, June 07, 2014

Ready for Revision

Updates. Yes, I finally have updates. I'm still working with Wicked Obsession and getting it ready to be proofread. Most of the issues I've faced with this book are spacing issues. I converted the novel from pdf to a word document, so I had a lot of words crammed together and nothing was separated into proper paragraphs after the conversion. What a mess. Nothing too taxing to fix, just time consuming.

I've been doing a light edit over the material as I go through it, and I've caught and changed a few little things. Nothing major. Overall, the manuscript is very clean. Then again, it should be, since I'm working from a previously published copy.

Anyway, I've about got all that spacing business fixed. I'm planning to hire someone to do the proofreading, but I have to be cost conscious about it. The most common price rate seems to be $1.00 a page and up, and Wicked Obsession falls into the 65k/200+ page category. So, I'm shopping around looking for someone experienced who will take less than the cost of my soul to do the proof reading. I may have to go with beta readers instead. We'll see.

A couple of days ago I announced that I'd reached 50k on the category romance I've been workshopping. It ended up a little over that mark, well within the target word count zone. Oh, I'm talking about the cowboy story, by the way.

Today I picked up extra Post-it notes, found my highlighters, and scrounged up several ink pens that still write. Now I'm all set. On Monday, I begin revisions on the cowboys. I'm hoping for a quick and dirty revision, if you know what I'm saying, but this book has already seen three rough draft incarnations, so I'll probably end up sobbing over this monsterpiece all the way to submission day. That said, I'm going into this with my eyes wide open. This book needs major revisions, and I'm not even going to kid myself about that. I'm rolling up my shirt sleeves, and in the weeks ahead, I'll post progress as it happens. I want this book finished. Wish me luck!

As of last Tuesday, I have all the stories pulled together for Twilight's Edge. I thought that day would never come. I have the table of contents jotted down, and now I just need to find the time to put it all together and begin revisions. The Desire comes first, so it will likely be August before I begin revising the fae stories. One thing for certain, I'm going to have a for real, girl's day out celebration once that book is finished and uploaded. I'm totally not kidding. This book has been a royal bugbear. More so than A Trick of Light could ever hope to have been. As of this post, I have the ebook version of Twilight's Edge scheduled for an October release. It's going to be my Halloween-ish celebration book for this year.

On the side, in my free time, I've been working on my vampire opus. I think this will be my next BIAM project. I have a full draft written for this book, half a second draft (lots of changes and tweaks) and a file containing dozens of subplots, still the book still isn't what I initially imagined it to be. More tweaking ahead, I realize. This book is the book of my heart. It's the book the experts tell you to write "just for yourself" because it's that magical book you yourself want to read. The experts failed to tell me the book of my heart is also extremely difficult to write. Yeah, I know. I need to just get out of my own way and get back to the core idea. That's so hard to do sometimes. I could probably write a whole blog post about nothing but that - taking a story back to it's core idea. Then again...meh.

Okay, I need to get back to work. Now that the house is settled for the evening, I need to jump on my to-do list and tackle a few things. Until next time...happy wishes!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Featured Author Samantha Lucas talks about Self-Publishing her book, Sanctuary

Featured Author Samantha Lucas talks about self-publishing her non-fiction book, Sanctuary 

I have been a story teller since birth, a writer since I was 8, a published author for nearly a decade now and an indie author for nearly a year and I have to say, this is absolutely my favorite season of this journey.

Sanctuary was my first foray into non-fiction and it challenged me in a different way than anything I’ve done in my life, in part because the content was so personal and in part because I knew people needed what I was writing. I knew my words had the power to change lives.

For those not familiar with the term Twin Flame, also known as twin souls, it’s believed to be the meeting of the literal other half of your soul. Only it’s not simply a wonderful romantic fairy tale, this relationship will tear you open and make you face yourself in a way you’ve never had to before. When I went through it, it was the greatest love I’d ever know, but also more pain than I’d ever felt and for people within the twin flame experience, we quite simply get lost in it at times. I just wanted to write something that would act as a light, give you something you could actually do during all this to help you keep going.

Since the book has been available, I’ve received so much positive mail full of heartfelt thanks that I know everything I went through, both in my twin flame experience and in writing this book was worth it.

People have been asking me why I went with self-publishing though, and truthfully, I’m not sure I would have, had I not tested the waters at the end of last year with a few erotic romances I wrote.

I wrote two books entirely from the hero’s point of view that weren’t a good fit with my usual publishers so I said what the heck, I’ll give self-publishing a try and see what happens. They were both very well received, in fact out selling a lot of my work at publishing houses, so I had the confidence to try again with this book.

Honestly, I feel the same way about self-publishing as I did about e-books and erotic romance a decade ago. Oh back then it so wasn't respectable to be e-published. If you didn't have an agent, if you weren't in a brick and mortar bookstore, you weren't really an author. There was a ton of prejudices against those of us with e-books, a lot of that based on the old vanity presses. E-books weren't vanity presses though, and it was a changing market. I'm a bit of a rebel and back then e-books were like the Wild West. Yes there were a lot of publishers who'd take any old crap, but there were also a ton of exceptionally talented writers finally finding a place for their voice in the marketplace.

I basked in the freedom of that time and a lot of my earlier work was very experimental as I figured out what it was I really wanted to write. We original e-book authors were of a different stock, and while our vanity still craved the big three book print deal with one of the big NYC publishing houses, we were learning all that really mattered was building a relationship with a loyal stock of readers. I love my loyal readers and appreciate them more than almost anything in the world. Now that I've ventured into self-publishing, they are literally the most important thing to my career and I recognize and respect that.

Self-publishing was a risk, there's no doubt about that, but I feel the same way about it as I did about e-books back in the day, it's a scary frontier, but it’s the right place to be.

Self-publishing for me is about needing to tell stories, needing an audience, and needing to combine the two in as few steps as possible. I can finish (polished and revised) a story and have it available to my readers the same day! With e-books you're looking at about 3 to 6 months and with traditional print, sometimes it can be as much as two years before your beloved story sees the hands of readers.

For me, I think what I love best, is I get to stick with a story from concept to publish, release it, then do it again. Where with other publishing, you finish, you submit, you wait, you start another story, you get edits back, you need to switch gears, then remember where you were in the other story... then second round of edits come in... then there's promotion... what was I working on again?

My ADD brain really appreciates the continuity that self-publishing allows me.

I've spent most of the last decade finding myself, building my life on my terms and deciding what's important to me. I want success in my career, but I want it on my terms, plain and simple. I'm a smart, talented woman who works her ass off every day and I have all the faith in the world in what I do and the choices I'm making right now to proceed with self-publishing.

As the trend grows, we welcome more and more voices to the fold as well. There are some big named authors going with self-pub these days and thing is, I think this is one of the best things to happen to readers in forever. There is no longer some faceless corporation deciding what we want to read and what we don't. I would highly recommend, if you haven't already, check out some of these indie authors and their stories that are now available without corporate sanitization. There's some amazing work out there and I hope my work will rise to the top with the cream as well.


Sanctuary is a 30 day guide with meditations, affirmations and guidance to help you navigate your twin flame experience. 

Samantha has written something that is easy to read, pulling from her own knowledge and experience to help you with this amazing, and sometimes incredibly painful, journey. 

Each day has a mantra, either a meditation or an affirmation, and a look at crystals and stones that will help you open and balance your chakras as well as resonate with the higher energy of divine love. 

She finishes each day with a personal message of light and love where she shares her own experience and lessons learned along the way in the hopes of enlightening, encouraging and inspiring anyone walking the path of twin flames. 

Wherever you are on your twin flame journey, you can't afford to miss the insight and wisdom this little book has to offer.  

Where to buy Sanctuary


Smashwords -

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Doing the 50k Dance, Formatting Realities, and An Upcoming Guest

Last week I signed up for a fast draft, book in a month workshop to finish my category cowboy romance. It's...working. I hit the 50k mark yesterday, which is the minimum word count requirement for the line I'm targeting. I'm jazzed this sucker is finally picking up momentum. My goal is to have this book completed, revised, edited, and submission ready by the end of July.

I really wish I could afford to join a group like this for every new book I set out to write. The motivation of writing within a group helps. Accountability helps, especially when I don't have any concrete deadlines to keep me on track. Just saying.

Moving along... Wicked Obsession is about ready to be sent off for formatting. I've decided to pay to have the book formatted instead of doing it myself, because I've discovered just how much better a pro formatter can make a book look than I can. There really is no comparison. My formatting is basic at best, and I can never get Word 2010 to anchor images properly.

A few days ago, I uploaded a sparkly fresh (and totally updated) version of A Trick of Light to Smashwords. I hired L.K. Campbell of  LK Design and Formatting to handle the interior for me, and it was worth every penny. She is very good at what she does, and her prices are affordable for authors on a budget (which I am). After seeing the end product, I believe it's definitely worth paying someone else to do the formatting. Not only does it save me time and the headache of tackling the job myself, outsourcing that step results in a much better looking interior. So says me.

That pretty much covers all the business-y things going on for me at the moment. I'm actively trying to write new material and whittle away at my backlist. One more thing before I go...

I hope you'll drop by the blog on Monday, when author Samantha Lucas will be guest blogging about her non-fiction book, Sanctuary: A 30 Day Guide to help you Navigate Your Twin Flame Experience.

Are you single? Looking for your twin flame?  Interested in learning more about ways to navigate your relationship? Stop by and check out what Samantha Lucas has to say about her book, Sanctuary.

That's all the news for now. Time for me to crawl back into the writing cave. I hope your weekend has been a pleasant one. Until next time, happy wishes!