Trying Some Short Fiction

Now those are words that I ever thought would come out of my mouth. Short? That’s crazy talk. keyboard

But I’ve been encouraged by a writing group that I’m in to come up with a 1,000 – 2,000 word extra-short story related to a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year, and it may be chosen fora n anthology. It can’t be a chapter of a longer work, and it has to stand alone.

This is coming from someone who literally dropped out of the Purdue MFA in fiction twenty-five years ago because they wanted me to write short stories. I couldn’t do it then, and frankly, since then I’ve had little interest in short. I don’t read a lot of short fiction, and as such, never had any interest in it.

But, on the other hand, I wanted to be a part of this promotional opportunity. So I brainstormed and brainstormed. How on earth could I have a romance in that few words, and end it? Really? The couple would have to know each other previously, obviously.

So tonight I punched out a first draft of a short involving two characters from my two books, and I really like it. Mark and Deena anyone? It’s tentatively called A Kiss at Midnight and it takes place on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. If I don’t get accepted for the anthology, I’ll probably post it here, but I’m excited about it.

How Publishing a Book is Like Having A Baby

I keep trying to think of a metaphor for releasing a novel into the wild.2013-12-07 11.45.56
The first one that I came up with is releasing novel is like having your first baby. You prepare for nine months (although this book took about 15 months), you read everything you can about parenting (all of those books on character development, pacing, etc.), and you buy everything you can think of to help you with your baby. You have parties (showers), you fix up the nursery, paint the room. But as the date gets closer, you wonder, have you done enough? Do you have everything you need? Will the baby be healthy? Once you bring the baby home, you start to get your confidence up as a parent. That’s where the metaphor fails.
The second one that I came up with is sending your child to college. Now, granted, my children are 12 (almost 13) and 11, and I haven’t sent either one of them to college, but here are my thoughts. You took care of your child for years, making sure that he does his homework. You hope that you taught him the right things about life. You hope he will have a good work ethic and not flunk out. You buy him everything you think he will need to help him in his new life. He needs a new computer, new clothes, and bedding for that extra-long twin bed. Then he moves out, and suddenly your control vanishes.
I‘m getting ready to send this baby on out its own. It’s hard, so very hard. I think the story’s strong. I love the characters. I’ve been working on the language for a month now. My editor has gone through it and four beta readers. Why is it so difficult to take the final steps required to publish it?
I’m not a perfectionist, but last minute changes can kill you with a book. That’s usually where those typos and “oops” moments happen. When I read it, I see what’ supposed to be there, not what’s really there. It’s also nearly impossible for me to read it and not tweak. Sigh.
When you send your child to college, she has to stand on her own. You’re not going to be there to make sure she goes to class, or eats breakfast.
Once I hit publish, the book either makes it or doesn’t on its own merits. Either the book will get good reviews and some attention from readers, or it will languish in the millions of ebooks available now, never read or loved. I have to give it the best shot I can, and then it’s on its own.


 

Update…

I wrote this last Friday, but I couldn’t bring myself to publish it. The book was still in process with Amazon, and taking forever, and I was like an expectant father of old, pacing the waiting room with cigars.
And now I find I’m mentally exhausted and not wanting to get anywhere near my computer, although I know that I need to be looking for ways to promote this book. After working all day, and then staying on the computer an average of 3-4 hours a night, that’s about 12 hours a day of computer time, and I have to admit that I’m burned out.

So, if you are looking for something to read, Under His Protection can now be downloaded from Amazon
Under His Protection (City Lights Book 2) Barnes and Noble and iTunes will hopefully release soon. The first in the series can be found here: No Strings Attached (City Lights Book 1)

I’m sure I will tell you in the future how great my baby is, and how it will scare and titillate you at the same time, but right now, like a new mother, I just want to sleep. Oh, and psssstttt, if you want to keep up with how all my babies are doing, don’t forget to join my monthly newsletter here. Every time I get ten new susbscribers, I give away a $5.00 gift card to Starbucks.

Character Interview – Meet Elizabeth from Under His Protection

Well, we’re getting close to delivery date on Under His Protection, so it’s only fitting that we sit down and have a chat with Ms. Elizabeth Crowne, lawyer extraordinaire.

Elizabeth is a beautiful brunette, with long straight black hair and brown eyes. Elizabeth loves the color red. Pull up a chair and have a listen.

So you’re one of the hot female lawyers in the greater Atlanta area. You must have to fight off the men with a stick.

I don’t date. I thought this interview was about my career.

Of course. So you were in the top of your law school class, and after you graduated you went to work for your father. He’s a Georgia state senator, right?

That’s correct. But I don’t work exactly for him. I work for Brad Lawson, one of the other partners. I started out working for my dad, but that was a recipe for disaster. He’s way too controlling for me to work for him. I mainly practice criminal law at this point. I’m getting ready to declare my intentions to run for attorney general.

So why don’t you date? Is it because your ex-fiance works in the same office?

I have nothing to do with him. He was supposed to stay in Miami.

I see. How do you think your life will change if you decide to run for attorney general?

Why, what have you heard? At this point I don’t plan to do anything differently.

There was the little matter of the death threats…

No comment. That will all blow over.

I see. So, tell me what issues you feel will be important in this election?

I want to draw attention to the increase in sex trafficking in Georgia. I also want to make sure that business regulations are enforced equally..

Well, good luck with the election.

Thank you.

___________

Elizabeth wasn’t in the mood to talk, not about her ex or about the death threats. We’ll be hearing more about her campaign in the coming days.

Although the attorney general is a partisan elected official in Georgia, meaning that one would run as a Democrat or a Republican, this book stays away from partisanship and doesn’t mention either political party.

Take a look at the new book trailer for Under His Protection. Make sure and give it a like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXjCDDiGJto

Click here to join my mailing list and receive my monthly email newsletter. I’m close to giving away a $5.00 Starbucks giftcard to one lucky winner.

Cover Reveal: Under His Protection

Are you ready? I’ve held onto this one for almost six months. This is the cover that made me change the name from No Time for Love to Under His Protection.

 

 

I am so excited about this book. We continue Lee’s story, and no, he’s no with Deena, the chef he was dating in the first book.

Fox and Laura are in several scenes, and they are getting ready for their wedding.

Lindsey has been at Clemson for a year, and is progressing towards her Master’s degree in mathematics.

Lee has started his new business, as he planned in No Strings Attached, but he’s having trouble getting any traction. No one wants to give a new company a chance. Robert Stephens, his mother’s husband, uses his connections to get Lee an interview with Senator Martin Crowne, who wants to hire security for his daughter.

Elizabeth Crowne (don’t call her Beth) is running for attorney general for the state of Georgia. Someone is threatening her with vicious notes, but she doesn’t think they need to hire security. She has a feeling that her ex-fiancé is behind the threats and it will all blow over. She goes along with the bodyguard for her dad, but she thinks it’s a waste of time and money. When the threats become attacks, she has to admit that someone wants her dead.

Two jaded loners find a connection, but nothing is as it seems.  As Lee digs deeper, looking for answers, he only raises more questions, uncovering a conspiracy that goes deeper than they suspected. When those closest to you betray your trust, nothing is sacred.

Originally I envisioned this series as connected books, meaning that they share characters and not much else in terms of story line.  However, I found unresolved issues carrying forward into this book, and the plots are becoming more entwined than I planned. For this reason, I recommend they be read in order, and put the order number on the cover. My editor has the complete book now, and I am hoping for a release date in June or early July.

Today I dropped the price for No Strings Attached to $0.99, to celebrate its birthday. I’m planning to run the sale through the end of May. I’m not sure how long the different retailers will take to lower the price, but you can find a direct link to your preferred ebook seller here.  All-Romance ebooks also sells the book in pdf format if you don’t have an ebook reader. The book is now available in iTunes, Kobo, and the Nook. You can also download a kindle reader app for your tablet.

Everyone who signs up for my new email list between now and the end of May will be entered for a drawing for a $5.00 giftcard to Starbucks. You can choose either the monthly newsletter option, or the email on new release only option. Either way, you’re eligible for the drawing.

The first newsletter will go out June, and the contest will reset. So be one of the first subscribers and have a chance to win. Newsletter subscribers will also be the first to read the new prequel that I’m coming out with in August or September, that explains tells some of what happened in the first book from Lindsey’s point of view. What really happened in that casino with Ric? Sign up for the nesletter here

Happy Birthday to No Strings Attached!

The official birthday for my book is May 25, 2013, because that’s when it went live on Amazon. But on May 24th, at about ten o’clock at night, I clicked publish.

2013-07-08 11.00.55It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year. One year ago today, on May 24, I clicked publish on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. We had checked and checked and made changes, and as I stared at that screen, I was terrified. What if I had some stupid error? What if everyone hated it? What if? What if? What if?

It’s scary as a writer to Let it Go. (Cue the Frozen song, because that’s what we do at our house).

But I knew that I had put too much time and effort into that book to let it languish on my computer. So I hit publish. Since no one knew me from Adam, and I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on promotion, I’m pretty proud of my results. In it’s first year, my book has sold over 500 copies.  The most interesting thing for me is that I have developed quite a following in the UK. For the past two or three months, I have sold more books over there than in the United States.

I have had strangers email me and tell me how much they enjoyed it. People regularly harass me as to when I’m releasing the sequel. So, to celebrate the one year anniversary of No Strings Attached, tomorrow I’m going to reveal the cover for Under His Protection.

I struggle with titles. The working title for the first book was always A Corporate Affair. The sequel was to be called A Political2013-12-07 11.46.15 Affair.

Then I decided to start each book in the series with the word No. So, following No Strings Attached, I planned to have No Time for Love, which was the working title for the second book. Tomorrow you will get to see the cover that made me change my title to Under His Protection.

If I wasn’t using the title to tie the series together, I needed a series name. I liked the idea of the city background for all of my books in this series, so I decided to name the series City Lights. While we travel to the Caribbean a good bit in the books, much of the action takes place in Vegas, Miami and Atlanta in the first book, and Atlanta in the second. Plus using the city background ties the covers together. Here’s the new cover for No Strings Attached with the series name.

Tomorrow I will celebrate the first book by starting a week long sale, and we’ll have a big cover reveal for the second book.  Everyone who signs up for my new email list between now and the end of May will be entered for a drawing for a $5.00 giftcard to Starbucks. You can choose either the monthly newsletter option, or the email on new release only option. Either way, you’re eligible for the drawing.

The first newsletter will go out June, and the contest will reset. So be one of the first subscribers and have a chance to win. Newsletter subscribers will also be the first to read the new prequel that I’m coming out with in August or September, that explains tells some of what happened in the first book from Lindsey’s point of view. What really happened in that casino with Ric? Sign up here

Calling all Crazy Beatches

Disco Ball

I have struggled with what to write on this blog. What do fiction readers want to read about?  It’s hard to say. I like to read blogs about writing, but my readers who aren’t writers probably don’t.

So, in the next few weeks I’m working on a new schedule and hopefully a new theme for this forum.  In the interim, here are two snippets of a scene I am working on. I don’t think I’m giving anything away.

Lee is the hero/main character of this story, and he plays opposite Elizabeth. This is a scene at a fund-raiser that happens fairly early in the story.

I’d like your input on this scene. You’ll see two casual women at the party who make some snippy comments. Or bitchy. Are they catty enough? Too catty?

I don’t want to expand on their roles much in this party, but I would like your input. Have fun getting a sneak peak.

Lee looked up at the giant screen showing pictures of the guests that night and his eyes widened when he saw a shot of him kissing Elizabeth’s ear. He heard hooting and hollering from somewhere in the room, and from somewhere else he heard a catcall. Great.

“I guess that’s proof we’re dating,” he said in a low tone to Fox.

“Right there in HD for everyone to see, bro. Hey, at least you haven’t lost your touch.”

“I need a drink,” he grunted and walked over to the car set up in the corner.

“Bring me a beer,” Fox called back.

He was waiting in line behind a couple of women in short tight cocktail dresses when he heard one of them say, “That hot young stud with Elizabeth Banks would look even better if he’d cut his hair.”

“Are you kidding? He’s hot now! He’ll probably be in the market in a few months. He’s just a toy to mess with while she’s on the rebound. They never stick around. Besides, he’s way too young for her. My money is on James. I’ve heard he’s up for an ambassadorship. Why wouldn’t she take him back?”

The line moved forward, the women bought their drinks and turned to leave. The mouthy one saw him and flushed slightly that she had been caught talking about him, and then winked at him. She fished in her purse for a card. “Here’s my card. Call me if you want to go out sometime.”

He wanted to say something cutting to wipe the smirk off her face, but instead he took the card and winked, and she kept going. He tossed it in the trashcan as he passed. Too young. That was ridiculous. It always amused him when women bitched about men talking about their physical attributes, but when they were alone they did the same thing. He handed Fox his bottle of beer.

 

They stood to leave just as Candy and Juliette, two women that had gone to the University of Georgia with Elizabeth, came in. Instead of long skirts, they had gone for short cocktail dresses that clung to them in all the right places. Elizabeth had tried on the style before, but always felt like a hooker so she never bought them.

“Elizabeth, I liked that picture they flashed up there a few minutes ago of you and that stud you’re dating. What’s his name?” Candy asked.

“Lee. What picture?”

“You know, the one of him leaning in all kissy kissy,” Juliette said. They made smooch sounds with their mouth and started giggling.

“I haven’t seen it,” Elizabeth said, feeling offended.

“You’ll have to. Then the camera pans out for another shot and I tell you, his buns are AMAZING. When you get done with him you need to hook us up.”

“I thought you were married?”

“We’re separated, but by the time you’re done with him I’ll be divorced and ready for my own rebound man. I’m sure I could keep him in the style he’s accustomed to. As long as he does some work around the house, if you know what I mean.”

Elizabeth didn’t consider herself a prude, but she wanted to claw the other woman’s eyes out. She was about to blast her when Laura touched her arm and nudged her forward.

“We’ve got to go. Nice meeting you,” Laura called out.

“Was it my imagination, or was she just a complete bitch?”

“You didn’t imagine it. I felt like I was in middle school all over again. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“I’m glad you were here. I was about to say something I would regret later.”

“I wonder what picture they are talking about?” Laura asked.

They came back out it in the ballroom and stopped as a life-size picture of Elizabeth and Lee dancing filled the screen. His hand appeared to be cupping her ass, although she swore she didn’t remember him doing that.

“Great,” she muttered under her breath.

“And that’s not even the best one,” she heard Lee say.

“I guess that’s what happens when you skip all the parties for six months. They come at you like piranha. Are you ready to go? I’ve had about all this I can stand.”

Copyright 2013, Lily Bishop

___________________

So what do you think? i would love your comments below. Keep checking back in the next few weeks as I move closer to release date.

 

(Picture By Sarah from Brizzzzzle, UK (Disco ball in blue  Uploaded by TheCuriousGnome) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Birth of a First Draft

Yesterday morning I finished the first draft of No Time for Love, Lee and Elizabeth’s story. Lee is the brother of the hero in my first book, No Strings Attached. When last we saw him, he was dating Deena, who works for his mother. We find out his story in this book.

What happened with him and Deena? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Lee has done as promised and started his own security firm, now called Security Solutions. He doesn’t want to focus on personal protection, but he can’t turn away a lucrative contract protecting Elizabeth Birch, the daughter of a State Senator and candidate for Attorney General. Someone is trying to kill her, and his job is to keep her safe, find out who is trying to kill her, and keep the whole thing out of the media. He’s only got one problem: Elizabeth doesn’t need or want his help and she gets in his way every turn.

Sound interesting? I hope so. Here’s a picture of my newborn, still covered in sticky fix-it-flags.

My Baby

Currently I have over 60,000 words, and about 175 pages. As I add more depth and sensory detail in coming drafts, it will get longer. But before I go too far in the revision process, my husband the lawyer has promised to give it a quick read for plot only to see if he believes the story line. Since my main character is a lawyer running for Attorney General, in ways this is his world more than mine. While I’ve picked up lingo from him for years now in the way he talks about his cases, I want to see what he thinks about the bad guys in this one. If he can believe it, then I know I’ll have something, because he doesn’t suffer fools lightly.

I’m sure together we will tweek the storyline, then I’ll get hard to work on revising. Once I’m happy, I’ll send it to my editor, who will help me make sure my language is the best it can be.

Then it will come to you. I promise.

 

If you want to keep up with news on No Time for Love, subscribe to my blog. Or if you don’t want all my posts and just want to hear about new releases, click here to get an email when I’m releasing new books. Click here to join my mailing list.

 

Nik Wallenda — A Perfect Example of Goal Visualization

Watching the interviews with Nic Wallenda before the walk across the Grand Canyon provided a perfect example of goal visualization. Many of us, in thinking about what we want to achieve, skip this step.

I was glued to my television last night watching Nik Wallenda attempt his walk across the Grand Canyon. Our kids were watching, so we were hoping it wouldn’t end tragically. We joked before the walk that it was bedtime, but they had been watching the lead-in, and it was clear they were determined to watch it. Fortunately, it ended well. He lowered to a crouch twice, which was nerve-wracking, but he made it. See the full article here.

“Daredevil Nik Wallenda Completes High-Wire Walk Across Grand Canyon”

 

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim

 

We all have lessons that we can learn from his visioning process. First of all, even with all of his family history and his own previous walks, he didn’t just say, “I’m going to walk across the Grand Canyon.”

In the interview before the attempt, the reporter asked Wallenda how he prepared for the walk. In addition to showing video of his training center in Florida, where he walked on a wire during a tropical storm, he talked about how he pictured the walk. He talked about the feel of the wire beneath his feet, the wind, and the view of the canyon walls. He painted amazing pictures with words of the sensation of walking in the sky. Beyond that, he talked about how he would feel a quarter of the way through, halfway through, how he would feel as he started the ascent, and how he would know he was almost there.  He added, “Although I won’t hear their thunderous applause, I know they will be applauding when I get to the other side,” he said. When he spoke of the walk, it was always in positive terms, never if I finish, but when I finish.

Most goal-setting exercises invite you to visualize the end result. Have you gone through this process? Do you know what it will look like when you become successful? Can you define success? With any process, it’s important to visualize what the end result is. I know that my book became more real to me when I had a cover image, even if I hadn’t settled on a title.

Pick a goal and visualize what it will look like when you are successful. I’m visualizing a desk at home that I want to clean off. Now let’s see if I can get that done. I think it may actually have brown wood in there somewhere.

 

Photo of the Grand Canyon by www.world-wide-gifts.com

What Happened in Vegas Didn’t Stay in Vegas

No Strings Attached is now available. After double and triple checking my final copy, I felt that the time was right to upload. After all, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter were all visible in the twilight sky. What more of a sign do I need?

This little book started I went to Las Vegas with my husband in 2009 for our tenth wedding anniversary. My husband had been before, but I had not.

I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess after years of hearing how sleazy Vegas was, I thought there would be prostitutes openly stalking the streets, and winos on every corner. I was pleasantly surprised.

We stayed at Harrah’s, but we spent a great deal of time walking through the other casinos. We explored Caesar’s, the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, Venice, Bellagio, New York New York, and the Desert Sands. We splurged and went to see Phantom of the Opera (now defunct) and O by Cirque du Soleil. I found Vegas the ultimate paradox. I was amazed at the opulent beauty and at the same time horrified by the men on the streets handing out the business cards with naked women on them.

Las Vegas is a tremendous conference venue, and from there, it felt right as a setting for the opening scenes of my novel. What happens when a career woman finds an attraction so strong that she can’t deny it in a town known for its sinful hook-ups? What if she gives in just this once, believing that “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas?”

Laura Todd attends a conference in Las Vegas and meets Fox Thornton, a consultant to the hotel industry. Far away from her normally quiet life, Laura is swept away by her strong attraction for Fox. They both know the score, and neither expects to see the other again. After their hot weekend, circumstances bring them back together in Miami, where Fox is investigating a suspected embezzlement and Laura is the prime suspect. Can their brief romance rekindle in the real world, where suspicions and misunderstandings lurk behind every corner? Will their no-strings-attached affair evolve into a strong relationship, or is it destined to stay in Vegas?

I hope you will join Laura and I as we take this journey together. Take a sneak peak on Amazon, or download the first few chapters for a test drive.

If you are a blogger and interested in helping me promote No Strings Attached, let me know. I’ll be happy to work with you. Let the roller coaster ride begin!

A Little Beauty Goes a Long Way

I’m visiting my hair dresser today for my four-month touch-up. I don’t have much gray, but with dark hair it quickly becomes like a red cape to a bull. I look in the mirror and that’s all I see.

Romances are often about transformations, and I’ve read many make-over scenes, particularly in contemporary fiction. There’s the inevitable straightening of curly hair, a lightening with highlights, and often our little middle class heroine gets a designer wardrobe. Most contemporaries have stars too young to have gray, but the coloring of gray is a strong scene in Cher’s Moonstruck.

I have a scene where Laura, my leading lady, goes to a spa before a big party. I chose to leave her hair curly, because Fox, her hero, loves her curly hair. She’s always playing with her hair, and I use the way she wears it in each scene as a barometer of how she is feeling. I can’t wait for you to meet Laura.

One more point about romantic stories and hair as I move from the dryer to the stylist chair. I get so tired of contemporary heroines with waist-length hair. Who does that? Even the college girls I see every day on campus cut it at mid-back. My hair is shoulder-length and some days it’s too much. So next time you write about waist-length hair, get out the scissors!!!!!