On my first book, Bulletproof Mascara, the novel was also spun off into an audio book and (guilty admission) I have never listened to it. Or rather, I got ten minutes in, freaked out, turned it off and never went back.
It wasn’t that it was bad. It was more that the voices in my head had become external, but they weren’t actually my voices. The process of publishing is, in many ways, about taking something deeply personal and turning it over into the public domain. And at the time, I had barely come to terms with my friends, family, and complete strangers having opinions on my characters. Having the auditory sensation of hearing them in different voices was completely disconcerting.
However, it’s been a minute since then. Don’t you love how that phrase implies that it really was a short amount of time? And I’m a little more resigned to the process of sharing my fake people with the world. So I recently took a deep breath and dipped a toe back into the audio waters.
This time the process was much better. Not only did I get to select my voice actor, but I could add my two-cents on her interpretation. I’m completely in love with this new interpretation of my romantic suspense novel The Second Shot. It’s been so fun to hear the book with her voice. It has also been illuminating to realize when I’ve written something that looks so good on the page, but turns out to be difficult to read out loud.
The Second Shot is book one of the Deveraux Legacy series and I can’t wait for my voice actress to tackle book 2, The Cinderella Secret, and 3, The Hardest Hit (due out 10.18.21). Currently the book is under going the Quality Assurance check with Audible and once approved it will hit the virtual store shelves.
You can check out the audio version of The Second Shot here: bethanymaines.com/the-deveraux-legacy/
A drunken mistake in college cost US Marshal Maxwell Ames the affection of Dominique Deveraux and six years later, he’s determined to fix the slip-up. But there’s just one tiny problem—someone wants the Deveraux family dead. Dominique Deveraux never expected Max to reappear in her life, let alone apologize, but as Dominique investigates the mysterious attacks on her wealthy family Max quickly becomes far more than her one time college classmate. Now, Max and Dominique must dodge mercenaries and bullets as they try to make sure that they’re the only ones who get a second shot.
Wahoo! My little Christmas romantic-comedy Blue Christmas is still making waves – It has officially been named a Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards! (It’s also an award winning screenplay! Winner: Romance Film & Screenplay Festival 2019, Finalist: WriteMovies Romance and Comedy Award 2020)
I loved writing the story of Blue and Jake – two Seattle-ites on the run from gem smugglers with Jacque the French Bulldog in tow. To get your own copy (for FREE) sign up for my newsletter: https://bethanymaines.com/free-e-book/
Last weekend, I reached peak pandemic and hosted a gathering in my carport. It was a writer’s gathering, aka a Plotting Party, so there was a lot of sitting and staring at our notebooks. And also snacking and freezing. But, as with other joint writing gatherings I’ve hosted, we did use each other to work through problems in our outlines. No one asks more “but why?” questions than a writer except a four-year-old trying to stall bedtime. But why do you want a ball in your story? But why is she in Ireland? But why did the killer drain all the blood? Each story has it’s own answer and it’s fun to hear the reasoning that went into each one.
Of course, being the writer in the hot seat isn’t quite as much fun, but it does serve an important purpose. Searching out the answers to those questions forces me to examine the clues in the story I’m writing as well as my intention for writing the character or story that particular way. When another writer points out that my characters motivations seem implausible I’m forced to confront why I want that scene or why I want the character to behave that way. Being faced with well-intentioned friends who simply want to understand my story is the equivalent of Law & Order level third-degree. Pretty soon I’m caving and confessing that I just like something and I’ve been ignoring my characters motivations all along.
But the added benefit of a plotting party is that I have additional minds to help me brainstorm. And with brainstorming comes encouragement and a cheering section that is irreplaceable. The pandemic has put a lot of things on hold, but creativity and friendship clearly haven’t been one of them. I see more outdoor plotting parties in the future, particularly as the weather gets warmer and I wish all of you a carport full of friends of your very own.
You know how Madonna now talks with a British accent? And everyone kind of mocks her? It is annoying to have someone you know grew up in Michigan try and sound all posh, but at the same time… I would be the same way. I once realized that I had been watching twenty minutes of a cooking show with an Australian host and I had no idea what was being made. I’d spent the entire time watching her mouth trying to figure out how she was murdering pronouncing her vowels that way. I sounded like a monkey on the couch as I clenched and unclenched my teeth trying “ehhh-oooh-uh” my vowels. I was two seconds away from throwing a shrimp on the barbie when my husband came home and gave me the look that implied that while our marriage was a joy and a blessing, it was also occasionally weird.
The unfortunate thing is that, just as I’m addicted to copying other people’s accents, I find that I’m also prone to picking up the language of whomever I’m reading. I’m sure my writing/reading group can tell when I’ve been reading Regency Romances. One cannot help but be addicted to the opulent turn of phrase. And if I could work some sort of line about puce satin and a cravat into the paragraph all the better. What if I’m reading fluffy chick lit? Pretty sure that my character needs to mention her thighs and a cupcake in the next sentence. Taut thrillers? Sentences get shorter. Characters become brutal. And adverbs? Kill ‘em. Kill ‘em all.
The brutal snuffing out of “suddenly” aside, this habit does real damage to my narratives. Characters don’t sound like themselves (why does that Texan sound English?) and plots can veer wildly off course as I spend a page (or three) describing clothing. So when I’m writing I have to take a bit of a hiatus from reading unless I can find that wondrous book that matches the tone that I’m writing. I think it’s incredibly unfair that my reading has suffered as a result of my writing, but currently it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Of course, if I could just figure out how to retire with a million dollars so that I could segregate my year into reading quarters and writing quarters life would be awesome.
As many of you know, I’m a mom with a full time job as well as an author. And while all of that is challenging enough, the pandemic has brought many fresh and special new problems. To free up some of my time I’m relinquishing one of my Stiletto Gang posting days to the fantastic Lois Winston. Lois is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author who writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Lois will be posting on the second Wednesday of the month and I thought I’d sit down and find out a little more about her as she comes on board.
Q: What do you write?
I started out writing romance and romantic suspense and was first published in chick lit with Talk Gertie to Me in 2006. However, back in 2003, while waiting for that first sale, my agent suggested I try writing a crafting mystery. She knew an editor looking for one. With my background as a crafts designer, my agent thought I’d be the perfect person to write such a series, even though I’d never written a mystery. I gave it a try, and in the process discovered my true literary calling. My Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series sold in 2009. Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, came out in 2011. I’ve since published nine books and three novellas in the series, plus two books in my Empty Nest Mystery Series.
Q: What got you excited and started you on your writing journey?
I’m not someone who always knew she wanted to be an author. In the mid-90’s I was going through an extremely stressful period, taking on as much freelance design work as I could because my husband was out of work for an extended period of time. One night I fell into an exhaustive sleep and had a very strange dream—strange for me because I usually don’t remember my dreams. Also, the people in the dream were all strangers. Weirdly, the dream kept unfolding night after night like chapters in a book. Finally, I decided to write it down. When I finished, I had a 50,000 word romance that spanned thirty-five years!
The writing bug had bitten me. Long story short, I joined some writing organizations, learned what I was doing wrong, honed my craft, and signed with an agent. After many years of rewrites, that totally unpublishable romance transformed into a 90,000 word romantic suspense and became Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, the second book I sold.
Q: Do you solve the mysteries in novels & movies or do you sit back and enjoy the ride?
I should have had an inkling that I’d eventually wind up writing mysteries because I have an uncanny knack for figuring out whodunit early into most books, movies, or TV episodes. I love when I’m wrong and fall for a red herring, but it doesn’t happen often. My grandfather was the captain of a large county police force and responsible for the apprehension of many gangsters and other bad actors back in the day. I figure I inherited a large dose of his detecting DNA.
Q: And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask… what are your favorite shoes?
At this point, any that are comfortable! I’m afraid my sexy heels days are over, thanks to foot surgery a few years ago after an injury and arthritis that developed in that foot as a result. So now my shoe closet contains mostly Sketchers with cushioning inner soles.
Connect with Lois!
- Website: www.loiswinston.com
- Newsletter sign-up: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z1z1u5
- Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/anasleuth
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston
- Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lois-winston