The 2nd Donovan Circus Adventure: Book Title Reveal

Hello friends! I’m thrilled to announce that this past weekend, I wrapped up the first draft of the second Donovan Circus book. It is in my editor’s hands!! My amazing friend and beta reader Ginny gave it a read and is already harrassing (er, I mean motivating) me for the third installment.

Because I’m so excited about this draft being done and the fact that I made my own self-imposed deadline (seriously, that never happens), I wanted to reveal the new book title to my readers!

BURNED, a Donovan Circus Novel

In Lucy’s second adventure with Sheffield and her friends, there’s a lot more at stake. After an attack, the gang takes a road trip to visit another circus; Lucy must make a choice between Keegan and Gabriel; new characters are introduced; and the big, bad villain is more vicious than Felix could ever be.

I’m so excited to get the book out – I think you’re going to have a lot of fun with it! And now that I’ve finished that story, I’m ready to dive into another story – no time to rest, what are you, nuts? – that will be another NA title with a unique spin on Reapers.

I hope you’re all having a terrific week! I’m off to road trip it to see my BFF (and cover designer) at the beach so we can celebrate her recent marriage…and probably begin to create the cover for BURNED 🙂

Official Synopsis and Sneak Peek: “Witch Hearts”

Ladies and gentlemen, very soon I will be releasing my second novel, an adult paranormal thriller titled Witch Hearts. Today I want to share with you the official back cover synopsis, as well as a photo my cover artist and I designed for the book. If you love shows such as “Criminal Minds” or movies like “Kiss the Girls”, I think you’d enjoy the read! (One of my beta readers says: “It’s like a longer episode of Criminal Minds but with witches and ghosts!”)

Witch Hearts by Liz Long, Spring 2013

How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells?

Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend.

If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.

Spellbook
Fun fact: I set up and shot this photo in my basement. If you can’t tell, that’s a spellbook in a pool of blood. The charm on it is a real Wiccan symbol for “protection” and as you can guess, is meant to be ironic. I hope that gets you guys excited to read Witch Hearts, on sale soon!

Writer’s Relief: Getting Through Writer’s Block

As a writer, is there anything better than finally breaking through your stubborn mind blocks during writing? That sigh of relief that comes with a villain’s new plot twist, the weight that leaves your shoulders when characters start jabbering again…there’s no better feeling than of accomplishment and for writers, that equals words.

While working on my superhero WIP (that we’ll tentatively call SuperNova), I’d been having some writer’s block. Usually my problem is plain ol’ laziness and while I’ve had some of that lately, too, it hasn’t been the entire reason behind the slow progress.

Any time I sat in front of the computer to write, I’d allow myself to be distracted by countless other things. I’d stare blankly at my Scrivener page, begging words to come to me, but when they didn’t, I’d wander away to watch TV or read (the Game of Thrones series really takes up every waking second some days). It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write–when driving around town or between work activities, I’d think up different conversations or scenes that needed to take place. When it came to getting them down on paper, however, the words wouldn’t come. I knew what should be done, but when I sat down to do it, I got nothin’ but white noise.

I know some writers recommend what I like to call the push it, push it real good method (Bam! You’re welcome for the old school Salt n’ Pepa jam now stuck in your head).

With this method, you basically glue your ass to your chair and start writing. You force yourself to get the words out, whether it’s in a word race, a special treat at the end of a session, or photos of puppies after hitting so many words. For some, this is a great method. By writing whatever comes to mind (the good, the bad, and the ugly), you’re at least guaranteeing hundreds of new words in your WIP.

But because I’m a jerk, that method doesn’t work for me–I’m an edit-as-I-go writer. I’m sure I’ll get some of you shaking your head at that process and I’m not saying it works for everyone (it rarely works for anyone from what I hear), but that’s just how I roll. I do a lot of rereading as I add new material to make sure it all matches up, that I catch typos or weird grammar, etc. I try to do this because I write whatever scenes come to me first, regardless of the order, so when I have to go back and connect the dots, I need to make sure it all flows. This saves me time down the road when I’m figuring out how the hell my hero made it from one point to another. For me, this means edit-as-I-go.

The way I get over myself is the same each and every time; I’ve only begun to notice this habit recently. I have to write to want to write. Make sense? Yeah, I know how stupid it sounds. Lemme ‘splain:

Last night after work, I was flipping through my pages (and pages and pages) of notes and caught a paragraph I’d written in terms of Nova (my protagonist) and her father. I decided to create an important conversation between them and suddenly, my fingers were on fire over the keyboard. Inspiration had hit me and I couldn’t be stopped. When JLo came home for our evening bike ride, I had to practically tear myself away from the desk. Even with a not-quite-finished-yet scene, it got my thoughts flowing in how to wrap up the scene, make sure it fits with the rest of the chapter, give character development to them and their relationship, and further establish the plot.

Once bike riding, all I could think about was what came next. I went home and wrote some more. I’ve spent half my work day wanting to write tonight, so I know I’m on a roll when my fingers feel itchy for the WIP. If I let too much time pass between writing, I lose momentum. Once I get over that first hurdle, I can go for miles. The problem is to keep going because if I pause too long, I’m right back in the same rut as before.

Right now I feel all the things that make me feel good about being a writer. I feel inspired, creative, like I can conquer any writer’s block as though it were my own personal villain. My brain is whirring with ideas, plot twists, and other ways to keep the reader engaged and liking the characters. And my subconscious is still working overtime for me–a decision I’d made about my villain, a small detail that might not ever make it into the books yet gives me insight to his character, actually mirrored my main character and turns out it works extremely well that way. It shows that opposition of hero vs. villain and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it earlier. Besides being incredibly impressed with myself (I’m nothing if not humble), I really liked it from a reader perspective because it gave me so much more to look at with my villain. Which, in turn, makes me want to write even more because I get excited about seeing where the story is headed. Writer’s block, you’ve officially been conquered for now!

How do you jump over the writer’s block? Do you have any strange methods to get the ideas flowing?

When Your Muse Leaves the Building…

I’ve been feeling very unmotivated lately. I’d say there are reasons, but for the most part (like 70%), they’re just excuses. No matter how many times I berate myself, I still find myself on the couch, staring at Jenson Ackles as Dean Winchester (I’d blame him–he is too pretty to ignore–but I know better).

In case you didn’t hear, several areas in my state and surrounding areas were without power for days. Luckier than most, my power came back after 4 days. (I’d like to take a moment and state that I’m a spoiled wuss–I need power: lights, a/c, TV, a working fridge. Having to carry a flashlight every time I had to pee got REAL old, fast.) I couldn’t type a damn thing. We got power back and then one of my/JLo’s best friends got married; since JLo was in the wedding party, that took me away for 3 days. So by this point, it’s been well over a week since I’d added any new material to my WIP. But even before we went to a temporary Dark Ages era, I’d been slacking on getting new words down. I couldn’t focus and when I did sit down to write, the words refused to flow. Frustrating. As. Hell.

I’ll admit that while I had no computer those 4 days, I did take a few hours one evening to set my mind with pen and paper on my male lead, using my “character layering” technique. I got some decent development in, realized a few new things about him and how he ticks, and now like him even more. But I haven’t touched any of the actual WIP. I found myself staring out the window or suddenly finding other things to do, like laundry or reading.

Funny Cry for Help Ecard: That moment when you have so much stuff to do, that you decide to take a nap instead.

I have a full time job, a great gig that not only pays the bills, but lets me throw my creativity around as the in-house “social media expert.” I’m on the computer from 8-5, Monday-Friday and while it’s certainly not a complaint against my job, I gotta admit the last thing I want to do when I get home after work is stare at my computer screen for another 3-4 hours. So that left me braindead on the couch with marathons of Supernatural, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s certainly not doing me any favors on getting a book written.

So. There’s the excuses, outta the way. My problem is motivation. My problem is that if I miss a couple days, I think it’s okay to miss a couple more. My problem is that I don’t hold myself accountable, despite my big talk of holding myself to deadlines, because they’re just MY deadlines and no one else’s.  Despite people asking for more books, despite my pride in the fact that I wrote a freaking book, despite my desire to get all these stories out of my head and out for the world to see…I’m still avoiding sitting at the desk. And I have no one to blame but myself. No one will write the damn things for me. And if I sit on my hands and don’t release anything for months and years because of it, I’ll be forgotten, no matter how many times I tweet about that one stupid book from a hundred years ago.

How do we, as authors, overcome laziness or writer’s block or a general lack of motivation? What happens when your Muse leaves the building? When the WIP is in danger of becoming a discarded manuscript, how can we shake our funk off and jump back into our world-building?

I’ve read several suggestions. Some say to get the heck outta Dodge (or your house) and observe people. When you’re at a loss for dialogue or reactions, go sit in a coffee shop or whatever and discreetly eavesdrop (don’t get caught looking like a stalker. It’s embarrassing for everyone). Besides eavesdropping, there are other ways we can shake it up–going for a workout, taking a scenic walk or bike ride around town, having a drink with friends, etc. I think the key is taking a step away from your WIP, even for a few hours, to get a different mindset, to take a mini-break (as opposed to the long vacation my mind’s taken the last few weeks) and get a new outlook on things. For me, I need to look at everything I have to do in stages and make a few lists. (One for everyday, one for the marketing plans, one for the actual WIPs, etc.) I think once I see everything that HAS to get done ASAP, then everything that must come after that, I’ll at least feel more focused and will hopefully feel more motivated to sit down at the desk again. After lists come schedules of how I can best use my time wisely. Once I schedule my time, then I can add in the free time for reading or drooling over Jenson Ackles.

What do y’all do when your muse leaves the building? When you’re feeling lazy and uninspired and have a hard time putting words on paper?