World Teacher Day!

Happy World Teacher Day! Without teachers, there would be no authors. I’m giving a great big shout out to Sheila Taylor, my ninth grade English teacher back in 1982 – no, you don’t need to do the math.

She always encouraged me, and after thirty-odd years and the tribe that is Facebook, we are in contact again. So thank you, Sheila Taylor!! I hope you are enjoying your retirement.

I’m back in contact with the teaching world again, since I have two middle-schoolers in my house. All I can say, is bless their hearts. I know that the bureaucracy that is teaching now can be overwhelming. Hang in there. You are reaching kids.

 

World Teacher Day

Thank you to Grammarly for the infographic (https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker).

Plotting Versus Pantsing

or Why (my) Novels Take so Long to Write!!

Anywhere novelists gather, you’re sure to find a discussion of plotting versus pantsing. Do you write a detailed plot in advance, or do you wing it? There are shades along each spectrum, from pages and pages of outlines to the plot summarized on a cocktail napkin.

I have a general idea of the plot, including major turning points, but then I wing it. Here’s a better explanation.

For the Win City Lights Book Three__200x300I don’t write short stories, but if I did, envision a trip from Greenville, SC to Atlanta, GA. About 150 miles, or 233 kilometers. Having lived near both cities, I’ve done that drive. It’s fairly easy, without a lot of issues. If you set your GPS, or your phone’s map app, you might find it says it will take you two hours and thirteen minutes with no stops. That’s reasonable. If you choose to stop off halfway at the outlet malls in Commerce, that’s your choice, but it doesn’t change the drive time. You will just get there later. You arrive, short story done, crank out a few edits, and that’s that.

Some writing websites meant to encourage writers try to throw math into the equation. If you sit down and write ten pages a night, you will have three hundred pages in a month. That’s the premise behind National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in November of each year. Thousands of people are determined to write a novel in a month, and they try to churn out fifty thousand words, no editing, and call it a novel. Some of my writer friends who don’t have day jobs or kids can do that, and their work is still good. I am not that writer.

For the Win, around 105 pages printed, about 39,000 words, took me from August to April, nine months. That was a record time. Its companion, Breaking Even, has 40,000 words and I’m not done with edits. The grand finale, Winner Take All, has about 30,000 words and there are major holes. While I’m not working on them both at the same time, I had to nail some issues down before I could finish Breaking Even.

Right now I’m doing first edits, where I review the book chapter by chapter and send it to my editor. I’m halfway done with that. Ric and Lindsey are living in separate places during a good bit of this book, which makes the writing of a romance difficult. They are also an odd couple, especially considering how they came together.

Going back to my GPS metaphor, things happen during the first round of edits that you wouldn’t expect. If you are traveling from Atlanta to New York City by car, all sorts of things could happen. It’s 880 miles, or 1416 km. One online calculator says 13 hours two minutes. (Two minutes? Really?) Flat tire. Bad traffic. Road construction. Interesting sights that cause delays. Most people would split this trip into two days, so that adds to the time, including meals, bathroom stops…

The same thing happens when writing a novel. Real life gets in the way. Even with a first draft done, for me, things can happen during the first edit. A scene that sounded like a good idea suddenly reads flat. Or when you read it, you think Why on earth would this character do that? Or you left a hole with a note – fill this in with x, but suddenly x is the last thing you can fit there because of some other change. Or you read a scene, realize there’s no point to this particular interaction, and start cutting. This is when the GPS notices you’ve changed routes and you hear that dreaded computer voice Recalculating.

For my fans who want to know when the book will be out, I have committed to a release date of September 7. I’m hoping I can get these characters to stop arguing long enough to finish edits on Breaking Even earlier. If edits are done sooner, I will release it sooner, but I don’t want to rush it and have a bunch of errors either.

If you want to know an exact date, well, all I can say is Recalculating.

 

News:

Check out my new Pinterest board over at https://www.pinterest.com/MissLilyBishop/

I have just started using this to post inspiration and research ideas for my books, particularly with furnishings and that sort of thing.

 

If you are an author, how do you feel about pantsing versus plotting? If you are a reader, would you rather see fewer, longer works, or more frequent and shorter?

More about Winter Tales

A Holiday Anthology (Volume Two)

A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales

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Please join us in reading this fantastically diverse FREE collection of stories to warm
your heart while you wait for the kids, the oven to buzz, on a
15-minute break from work, or when you just need to hide for ten minutes
from everyone! Every story is PG,but a few have a hint of zing.

The calendar on the wall says 2014 but the holidays are a magical time where anything is possible when it comes to romance. Prepare to travel through snow or to a tropical setting with a little dash of fantasy sprinkled in to make your holiday reading enjoyable. This heart-warming collection of all new, very short stories is our way of saying happy holidays to you.

 

FRANKIE’S WISH by Jennifer Garcia

“Every night, as my daddy taught me, I kneeled by my bed and said my prayers. But tonight, I wanted to ask for something.
“Now I lay me down to sleep… I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Oh, please bring me a mommy. Amen”

THE GIFT OF TIME by Rose Anderson

“Rose is a multi-published, award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
Possessing an active imagination, she writes everything from children’s stories to historical non-fiction.”

FRANKIE’S WISH by Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer believes in writing love stories that connect families and touch hearts. Her first novel, My Mr. Manny, was released August 2013 and her first novella, In My Mother’s Footsteps, was released July 2013.

A KISS AT MIDNIGHT by Lily Bishop

Lily Bishop lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and has published two books in the City Lights series, No Strings Attached and Under His Protection. She is working on the third book now.

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Dee Ann Palmer

In every age the heart loves, and Dee Ann Palmer’s romances reflect those eras in fantasy, historic, contemporary and futuristic tales. The award winning Palmer is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and belongs to the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime.

MARJA’S VICTORY By Barb Caffrey

Barb Caffrey is a writer, editor, book reviewer and musician from the Midwest. She is the author of the humorous urban fantasy/romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and is the co-author of the Adventures of Joey Maverick series (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey).

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS by Beverley Bateman

Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author of several books who loves traveling, good wine and a mystery. She lives with her husband and two Shiba Inu dogs among vineyards and orchards set in lake country and surrounded by mountains – beaches, swimming and skiing.

GINGERBREAD DREAMS by Victoria Adams

Victoria Adams is a romance writer, dividing her writing between contemporary romance and New Adult contemporary romance. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and kitten, Licorice. She likes to study Raqs Sharqi (Egyptian belly dance), garden, and bake.

CHE GELIDA MANINA by M. S. Spencer

Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine. Ms. Spencer has published nine romantic suspense novels.

ROMANCE VALLEY by Kaye Spencer

Native Coloradoan Kaye Spencer writes romances from her basement hovel in a small, rural town in the far southeastern corner of Colorado—no mountains in sight—just prairie dogs, buffalo grass, and glorious prairie sunsets. While drawn to cowboys and the Old West, all genres are within her story-crafting realm. Retired from a long career in public education that included teaching through a community college outreach program, Kaye is enjoying being a full-time writer and spoiler of grandchildren. Kaye is also afflicted with ACD—Accumulative Cat Disorder—with no cure in sight.

THE CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT by Janis Susan May

Janis Susan May is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works and non-fiction as J.S.M. Patterson.
Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.

TROPICAL CHRISTMAS by Gemma Juliana

GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.

A KISS AND A PROMISE by Lyndi Lamont

Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.

A COWBOY’S HOLIDAY by E. Ayers

E. Ayers is a multi-published and best-selling author of western and contemporary romances. Her books are never too sweet or too hot. She writes down the middle.

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It is available for FREE at smashwords-icon1

will be available at Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

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Last year’s anthology is also available at

smashwords-icon1

and

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New FREE Holiday Anthology

I am featured in a FREE holiday anthology of short stories —
A Holiday Anthology Volume 2 A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales

If you are familiar with my books, you may remember Deena from the first book. She was one of Bonnie’s Assistant Chefs, and she was dating Lee at the time.

In the second book, we learn that Deena has moved to Las Vegas and she and Lee have broken up. But what happened to Deena? This little 1,500 short story gives us an idea.

The anthology is currently free on the website Smashwords, and will be free on the Nook and iTunes soon. At Smashwords, you can download an epub, an Adobe file, or read online, all for free.

You can find the anthology here… https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498109

The stories range from sweet to Spicy Hot, with mine somewhere in the middle. Check it out, and you may find some new authors you want to explore.

Flash Fiction – Lost in the Maze, Part 1

Bickleigh , Bickleigh Maize Maze - geograph.org.uk - 1223716.jpg

Bickleigh Maize Maze from geograph.org.uk

Bickleigh , Bickleigh Maize Maze – geograph.org.uk – 1223716” by Lewis Clarkegeograph.org.uk. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

I mentioned a while back that I was gong to try my hand at flash fiction, short little stories less than 5,000 words.  Here is part one of Lost in the Maze.

 

Lost in the Maze, Part 1

Copyright Lily Bishop, 2014. No part of this story may be reproduced without permission.

 

Caitlyn rushed around her apartment while she talked to her sister, trying to get everything straight and in its place before her date with Cody. If her sister Maddy didn’t stop irritating her, she would put down the phone right now.

“Caitlyn and Cody sitting in a tree. K – I – S – S – I – N – G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Here comes Caitlyn with a baby carriage.”

“Maddy, stop it!” Caitlyn fussed at her sister. “You don’t know anything.”

“I know you want to marry him,” Maddy said, giggling. “Why are you in such a rush, anyway?”

“What do you know? You’re still in high school.” Caitlyn tried to put her off, but unfortunately, Maddy did know. Caitlyn was tired of waiting, and she was ready to get married.

“And you’re a wise woman of the world at twenty-one. You’re just upset that he’s a senior and graduating, and you’re not. Why are you in such a hurry to get married? Not me—I want to travel first. I want to see London, and Paris, and Athens, Greece. I don’t want some boy tying me down.”

“When you meet the one, you’ll change your mind. Anyway, don’t jinx me. I just know tonight’s the night.”

“How do you know he’s the one, anyway?”

“I just do. We’re perfect for each other. We like the same things. We eat the same foods—”

“Sounds boring to me. Where’s the challenge in that?”

“Everything doesn’t have to be a challenge.” Caitlyn looked up at the sound of boots on the porch. “He’s here. Gotta go.”

She opened the front door and stood there for a heartbeat, smiling up at her Cody. Taller by about six inches, he leaned into her, just as he always did, and she draped her arms around his neck. His aftershave was familiar, his cheek smooth. His dark curls were just a bit damp. He wore his usual button down long-sleeved shirt, the first button undone, and his sleeves were rolled up on the forearms. The only difference is that tonight he wore jeans instead of khaki pants.

“I missed you,” he said. She leaned into him and puckered for a kiss. He kissed her like it had been a month. She had, of course, just seen him the night before, but none of that mattered.

“I missed you, too.” She backed up and pulled him into the main room. Her apartment took up half of the bottom floor of an old Victorian house on Main Street. She had a living room, a bedroom, and a tiny kitchen, if you could call a modified hallway with a stove and refrigerator a kitchen.

“I’ll wait out here while you change.”

She looked down at the flared-skirt dress with the nipped-in waist that she had picked out for this romantic evening. “You don’t like my dress?”

“I said casual, remember? You do not want to wear that for what I have planned.”

“I paired it with boots,” she said, frowning. This was as casual as she got for a date, especially one that she felt sure would be a proposal. “Where are we going, anyway?”

“Oh, no you don’t. It’s a surprise. Now go change.”

 

to be continued…


 

I know it’s short — probably three parts to this one. What do you think?  Caitlyn’s got her life all planned out.

Don’t miss a single scene. Subscribe to my blog to get the rest.

When Characters Go Rogue: Meet Lindsey

You know Lindsey Todd as the younger sister of Laura. At the end of the first book, she is enrolling at Clemson University in Mathematics. At the end of the second book, she is still visiting with Ric Salzana-Toledo on his island paradise, enjoying a bit of a break before she goes back to school for her final semester.

Laura thinks her sister is a genius who must be protected at all cost.IMG_0396

Elizabeth just met her, but she thinks the girl has a good head on her shoulders.

Fox and Lee went off on a wild-goose chase in the first book to find her, but they look at her like a kid sister.

Lindsey just wants to be left alone so she can figure things out. She doesn’t think that she has as much to offer as her sister, and she sees herself as damaged goods. She has seen things that Laura has no idea about. The only time she ever felt sexy was when she dressed in tight sequined cocktail dresses and wore a platinum blonde wig that reached her waist. We know she was on the island with Ric for several days, and we know that the kissed at the airport, but we don’t know what happened. We know that when she returned to Miami, she left with Ben, a friend from college. If she felt such a connection with Ric, why would she turn around and move in with Ben?

That is the sum of what we know right now. As I spend time getting to know Lindsey better, she’s sharing some of her secrets, and I will tell you, she’s tougher than she looks.

Right now, she’s not impressed with the Tower Suite at the Castle, and she doesn’t care about the French chef that Ric swears is the best in the Caribbean. She ignores the fancy menu handwritten on parchment and orders a burger. She mocks the fact that every time she sees him, he’s in a suit. If Ric wants to keep her attention, he will have to do it some way other than the trappings of his money.

What really happened in her first trip to Calliope? And what happened the weekend of the wedding, after the two newlywed couples left? Can she set aside the logic that rules her life and let Ric into her heart? When danger comes–and you know it will–can she trust Ric enough to believe in them through it all?

I’ve got two working titles for this one. The first, No Ordinary Man, focuses on Ric. The second idea that I have for a title, No Stone Unturned, focuses on their journey. Or it may even be a third title not dreamed of yet.

What do you think? How innocent is Lindsey? Is she too young for the sophisticated Ric? I can’t wait to get to know her better, and dig into her story.

Romance Reader Survey

There are many puzzle pieces to putting together a book, including the genre, the cover, the sex scenes… I thought I would do a quick survey. Please take the time to answer a few questions. Help me get additional people to take the survey by sharing on twitter and facebook using the buttons below.

What type of romances do you like to read? Stand-alone? Connected books

What type of covers catch your eye?

All of these and more are covered in this quick survey. I’d love to hear your opinion, and I will share the results with my fellow writers.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Q9cT1AZAz6EeSp1hRmuxiSGqcH8fudxNMzy0q6z0ODc/viewform?usp=send_form

Thank you!  Did something in the survey strike a nerve? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

(Don’t forget – I’m still waiting to give away a Starbucks gift card. Sign up for my newsletter here)

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.

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.

Character Interview with Lee Thornton, from Under His Protection

I’m getting so excited about this book!

Today I’m interviewing Lee Thornton, Fox’s younger brother. He’s getting his own book, but he doesn’t seem happy to be here. He’s sitting with one leg flung over the other, his arms crossed in front against his chest. He looks like a young Antonio Banderas with his long ponytail and muscled arms. If you can’t remember young Antonio, you can find him here.

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So, Lee, what do you think about this whole book thing? Are you ready?

I guess. Is this really necessary? You followed Fox and Laura around for a few months, and now you want to shadow me?

You know the routine. All of our fans are dying to know what is going on in your life. Do you have a lady you’re interested in?

And that’s why this isn’t going to work. I’m not even seeing anyone. I’m trying to get this company off the ground and I don’t have time for romance.

(I didn’t remind him that Fox wasn’t seeing anyone when we started with him either)

What about Deena? (If he could look even more forbidding, he did)

I don’t want to talk about her. She moved to Las Vegas. She didn’t have time for me and I didn’t have time for her. I guess it was mutual.

I see. (I didn’t know how to respond to that. During the last book, he and Deena seemed really cozy.) Are you still doing Bonnie’s show?

I told her I wouldn’t be back on. Mom’s not happy about it, but it’s hard to be taken seriously in my line of work if your face is plastered all over a cooking show.

So there has been some question as to whether you can cook or not. Fox said you are an awesome cook, but Laura told me that you had trouble with turkey bacon. Who’s right?

I’ve been on a cooking show for years. Of course I can cook. When I made BLT’s for Laura I played helpless to get her to let her guard down. I cook all the time.

Tell me more about your company. What will you be focusing on?

I’m still working on a business plan, but I basically want to help business owners and individuals obtain the security they need for their budget.

So you want to be a bodyguard?

[He grimaces.] Not really. I’ll mostly be the link between businesses that want additional security and other companies that provide it. I’ll be deciding what they need, and then putting them in touch with companies that provide it. Sort of like a general contractor for all things security.

But you wouldn’t turn down a bodyguard job if it were short term?

Why do you ask?

No reason. Is Robert upset that you’re branching out on your own?

No, he always knew that I wouldn’t work there forever. I’ve followed orders for too long in the Marines to have someone else in charge now. I want to see what I can do, see if I can make it on my own. In fact, Robert is the one who set up this job with Senator Martin Crowne.

That’s right. You’re meeting with him tomorrow?

He wants to talk about security for his daughter Elizabeth. She’s running for Georgia attorney general, and apparently there have been some death threats.

What do you know about her?

Not a lot. She’s a pretty successful lawyer from what I hear. I’m sure it’s just the basics. Check the office, put a system in her house. Pretty routine. It will be nice to have a senator as a client. That can’t hurt.

What are you looking for in a woman to date?

I’m not looking for anyone right now. I said that.

But if you were?

Someone who realizes that I have a lot to offer even if I didn’t go to college and get a degree. There’s more to life than book learning.

That’s all I have. Do you have any questions for me?

What’s the name of this one?

Under His Protection. And you’ll get to carry your gun.

Works for me. I never go anywhere without it.

You’ve got it today? [Since he’s wearing a golf shirt and khakis, I didn’t see where he could be hiding a gun]

He lifts his leg and shows me the black cowboy boots and the holster hidden inside.

Oh, and one other thing. Stay out of sight. If you get in my way I’m canceling the whole project.

Did you notice me the last time?

Can’t say that I did. All right. If that’s all, I’ll head out. I need to do some more digging on the senator’s daughter.

 

We started to shake hands as he left, but then he said “What the hell” and pulled me into a hug. I shouldn’t have been surprised – Lee was always really friendly to me, and I’ve known him for a few years now, but it still took me off guard. If I weren’t happily married I might have to check into some security for myself. He doesn’t know it yet, but I think he will be the perfect match for Elizabeth.

(If you’re in the mood to look for Spike’s list of top 10 bro-tails, check them out here.)

http://www.spike.com/articles/wb4cs2/the-top-10-most-important-dude-ponytails?page=1

I’ll be interviewing some of my other characters as we lead up to book launch. Stay tuned!

Also, if you haven’t yet, make sure to click here to sign up for my newsletter. I still need a few more subscriptions before I can give away the $5.00 Starbucks Giftcard I promised.  A new one will be coming out around the middle of July.