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Writing Under Glass

 

Shadows of Ghosts L A McGinnis 1

So I had this brilliant idea to volunteer for something that sounds kind of like a cool science experiment- writing in a store-front window at a bookstore up in Cleveland- AppleTree Books.   The basic concept: sit in the window, write, maybe talk to some people about writing, get work done, have fun.  Win-win.

As a bonus?  The whole month of November was NaNoWriMo, so I absolutely needed to get at least 50,000 words written last month. (I was actually shooting for 65,000-70,000.)  But let’s keep it real.  I’d have settled for 50,000- that’s solid first draft territory.    I’m currently working on a new series that I’m super-excited about, so every day of last month was spent stealing writing time from real life. You know, my house was pretty much a disaster  (I finally cleaned it up today), we ate tons of take out food, (still ate take out today) and I have a huge pile of laundry that I still need to get to, but wonder of wonders, I managed to end up with 71,644 words!  That’s right- not only a solid first draft, but one that’s actually divided into (gasp!) chapters, and even has cool stuff like plot twists and some complicated character layering that worked out pretty well in the end.  I still need an ending, but that will come with the first round of editing.

But back to the subject….writing in that window. I’d been advised to dress in layers, so that I did, ready to strip down, hopefully not to Amsterdam red-light standards, and there’s not a lot of room, so I only brought a laptop and myself, and a big to go cup of coffee.  See?  I was totally prepared.  Like a boss.

Shadows of Ghosts L A McGinnis

Problem was, the day I volunteered to write in the window it was about 68 degrees out, even though they were decorating for Christmas, which meant it was about 101 degrees up there under glass.  I decided I was tough.  Hell, I’d had kids.  I LOVED the sun!  I could do it.  I stripped down to a t-shirt.  Let’s do this people!

I lasted all of twenty minutes and ended up writing for two hours at a table in the shade in the back of the bookstore in relative comfort. Such a wuss.

If you’re ever in cleveland Heights, check out Appletree Books, it’s the most charming, eclectic bookstore I’ve ever been to, and Jane is so helpful and knowledgable!

Here’s the link: Appletree Books

Happy writing!  -L

Appletree Books L A McGinnis

Check It Out!!!!

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If you have a second today, head on over and check out this interview I did with Kay about Shadows of Ghosts on Sorchia’s Universe (plus, there’s a never before seen excerpt from book 2 (about half of Chapter 1) “Reflections of Your Heart”!!!:

Here’s the link:

https://www.sorchiadubois.com/novel-magic-shadows-of-ghosts-by-l-a-mcginnis/

 

Thank You!!!

Shadows of Ghosts L A McGinnis book signing

Wow, I was truly humbled on Saturday at the turnout for my book release party.  Tons of people came out to help me celebrate the occasion, I (think) my little speaking part wasn’t a total disaster, and we had lots of good food and drinks and laughs.

Shadows of Ghosts book signing

There were lots of really good questions that made me re-think how I want to develop the series going forward, and others that brought out the laughs, which, if you know me, is what life is really all about.

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As an added bonus, we all got to spend the evening surrounded by an incredible collection of artwork, in a beautiful building.  What more could a girl ask for?  Oh yeah, roses, a girl can ask for roses…

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Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with me, I love you guys! -L

Book Release Party!!!

 

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Sooo….I’m planning my first ever book release party and I am a complete nervous wreck!  Not because I can’t plan a party, ’cause I can plan a heck of a party, but because I am going to have to, at some point, stand up and actually talk in front of people.  Not something I’m good at and something that I’ve actually been obsessing over since I first signed my contract.  Weird, right?

You’d think of all the things I had to worry about, that would be super low on my list, but no….

Editing?  Got it handled- I can edit an MS a hundred times and not blink and eye.  Marketing?  I’ll figure it out.  Artwork? Right up my alley.  Public Speaking? Bring on the Tums.  But yeah, here I am, planning out this fabulous event and the only thing I can think about is the talking.  Something I’m actually pretty good at (just ask the hubs), yet it gives me the willies.

OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod.

So everything will look great, and there’ll be tons of food, and probably a wide selection of adult beverages, but if you can’t find me when this thing kicks off, start with the bathroom, I’ve probably locked myself in!  -L

If you are in the Akron area, and want to check it out, stop on by! Here is the cool gift basket I have for a give away to one lucky winner:

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I’ll be signing books on Saturday,  October 28th from 7:00-9:00 pm

at the Akrona Galleries

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NaNoWriMo

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Yes!  It’s almost here again.  THE MONTH!  The time of year when it feels like you simply have to write every single day.  The month when you make any and all excuses to sneak away and tap out a couple of words, or, if you’re lucky, actual, complete sentences.  The month when your husband is always looking for you, the house is a constant wreck, and you never know what’s for dinner because…WRITING TAKES PRIORITY.

Which it probably should all the time, but hey, life usually gets in the way.

So this year, like last year, I’m coordinating a group of writers from my local Romance Writering chapter- NEORWA – in a friendly contest (ahem, we came in second last year) to see who writes the most words.  It’s a great way to get moving on a new manuscript, or finish an old one (or several-yeah, I’m talking to you- Judy McDonough).

My master plan is to write manuscript #4 in a new urban fantasy series I’ve been working on for a little over a year, fleshing out the next story in the series and  completing one of the major storyline arcs.  The total number of books will be 7, with a possible shorter epilogue, depending on how things finish up in book 7.  It’s a nice break from the Shadows series, with a totally different vibe, and gives me a chance to play around with some new themes and ideas that I can then translate back into other concepts and character development for Shadows.

I’ll keep you posted on our progress! -L

Sometimes It Is All About The Destination

 

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The day we arrived in Charleston she was underwater, as she often was, after every drenching summer rain.  It was disconcerting, dodging the hordes of tourists, umbrellas braced against the downpour, winding our way around knee deep water at every intersection.  Charleston, I’d thought, would be a proper setting for my story, rich with history and culture, but looking around at the drenched crowd, now I wasn’t so sure.  Scouring the travel logs, it had seemed far more exotic than rural, dusty Ohio (although the two ended up melding seamlessly into not dissimilar small towns).

Charleston, it turned out, had everything I was looking for, and I was hoping for just a little bit of this city to rub off on me, so I could take it home and pour all her little details back into my story.  I hadn’t expected the cobblestone streets, or the crushing crowds, the smell of horses mixed with sweat, or how close the stately mansions were to the Battery.  Or how close the ocean was to everything.  Experiencing this first hand changed everything in the book in subtle ways.  In better ways.

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I discovered some great new settings for book two; King Street shopping area was trendy and busy and I’d have never thought to include it in a book unless I’d actually walked up and down it.  Standing on the Battery at sunrise helped me fine tune my character’s reaction during a confrontation she had on that very site.  The wedding cake antebellum mansion, now a B & B on Meeting Street, turned into perfect house for my bad guy, while driving the roads north of the city helped me create a realistic travel timeline for my heroine.  The smells, the feel, the taste of the city all were translated, in some small way, back into the book. None of which would have been possible sitting at my desk.

Now the only question is how soon until I can go back?

Happy writing and traveling! -L

Release Day!!!

 

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“The only way to their future is through the past.”

I am ridiculously excited about today!  In a pinch-me kind of way! After years of work, and about fifty- probably more- edits, this story is finally ready to be unveiled.  I’ve been asked for a longer excerpt from the book, so here it is:

…Ian moved quicker now, but Logan didn’t back away, fueled in part by her own curiosity and because nobody pushed her around. When his golden eyes locked on hers, a strange, sweet feeling swept through her.

The man…dazzled. With his fallen angel beauty framed by hair the color of copper and a body that flowed as gracefully as smoke. But it was those eyes, she decided, eyes as gold as Midas that did it for her, slanted above a smile as dangerous as a predator’s. A wondrous feeling blew through her, like she’d missed him, like her heart had been broken a thousand times and now was finally whole. He was how home feels when you don’t even know how much you’ve missed it until you step through the front door and there it is. Waiting for you.

“Who the hell are you, Grant?” She managed, as he stopped a few inches away. The fierceness of his gaze set off another sensation, and as need curled through her, she reeled. It was as if she knew. Knew what his mouth tasted like. His weight on her body. Because she’d felt them before. Staggering forward, Logan found herself caught by capable hands. “Oh God, what’s happening to me?”

His breath feathered her ear. “You’re curious, aren’t you? You feel it, don’t you?” Logan stood helpless, held in place not by him but by something inside her that made it impossible to leave. And when he reached out and tucked a stray hair behind her ear, a gesture so tender, yet so achingly familiar, she couldn’t breathe. “You always had the most beautiful hair.”

“What kind of games are you playing, Grant?” Logan managed.

“Unfortunately for us, Miss Dean, this is not a game.” Clouds covered the sun, cutting off the nimbuses that fractured the gloom, plunging the room into shadow. It was a sign, she thought, of something momentous. Or at least, she was going to take it as a sign, which meant pretty much the same thing. Right about then she realized they weren’t alone.

“What the hell is going on here, Ian?” Face burning, she stepped away from him immediately. Busted. Robert carefully looked between the two of them, a growing awareness on his face.

Grant smoothly took over. “I just drove out to see Bart’s old place. I’d hoped Miss Dean might be interested in selling.” Just like that, he became completely detached. Gone was any trace of whatever had happened between them. The moment felt stolen, instead of real. He didn’t want Robert to know. Know what, she wasn’t sure, but she did remember Robert’s final words yesterday…get the hell out of here, Ian… Her legs were still a little shaky, but as the distance opened between them, her bearings came back. Fine, she thought, two can play at that game.

“Mr. Grant was explaining to me his plans for Aviemore.” She felt Grant’s jolt of surprise behind her. “I’m afraid I’ve…” she went on sweetly, “…fallen in love with the old place, too. So, of course I can’t sell.”

It was a small victory to see that coolness crack for a second. “Then I believe I won’t waste any more of your time.” His footsteps echoed down the empty hall.

Logan held up a hand to Robert. “Give me just a sec, will you?” She waited on the porch until he opened his car door before calling out. “This isn’t over. Why did you come here, Grant?”

“You don’t want the kind of answers I’ll give you, Miss Dean. Trust me.”

She laughed. “Maybe not, but sometimes those are the only kind you get.”

Squee!!!  I can’t wait for you to read all about them.  Logan isn’t one to let things go, and Ian’s not about to walk away, but they’re about to discover that their worst nightmare is something they thought was long dead and buried.

Check it out, at $4.99 for e-book and $14.99 in paperback, available here:

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

B&N (Nook)

ITunes

Bookstrand

Cover Reveal!

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Finally!  It’s here and I can show it to all of you!!!   It’s a day that’s been a long time coming- the cover reveal for Shadows of Ghosts!  A big shout out to the awesome marketing crew at The Wild Rose Press for their work on this- and especially to  Debbie Taylor for her awesome artwork.

But first, a little taste of the story:

‘Driving to South Carolina to claim an inheritance from a total stranger didn’t figure into Logan Dean’s long term plans. But she’d be a fool to pass up an opportunity, and her mother didn’t raise any fools. Now she’s a pawn in a vampire war and fighting to stay alive. Thankfully, she’s discovered an ally in mysterious Ian Grant. As her feelings for Ian grow, Logan comes to realize if she wants the love she deserves, she’s going to have to fight the demons of her past.

For over a hundred years, cynical Ian Grant swore to never love another woman. But from the first time he saw Logan, he knew an ancient part of his history had come back to haunt him, and the one thing he doesn’t want becomes the one thing he has to have.

Two irreconcilable lives, five hundred years of history, and all they have to do to live happily ever after is defeat the evil that threatens to tear them apart.’

Dear Readers: I’ve worked on this story for years trying to tell it the way it should be told.  After too many edits to count, Ian and Logan are almost ready to face the world!  I can’t wait to share them with you in a couple of weeks.  -L

Available for pre-order here:

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

B&N (Nook)

ITunes

Bookstrand

Workshops

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I first began writing badly. It’s how we all begin writing, I suppose, if we are to be completely honest.  Much the same way that the Mona Lisa was not Da Vinci’s first, your best work will almost never be your first, although if you are very lucky, there may be some gems sprinkled throughout.  Last weekend, on Saturday to be precise, I had the privilege of taking a writing workshop with Margie Lawson.  I don’t have a lot of time these days, wedging precious family time in between too little sleep and too many sweets, and it seemed a bit early, driving up to Cleveland on a weekend, blinking in the early morning sun, as I used to when I migrated there on an almost daily basis. But I was excited.  Because I had a whole day to dedicate to writing. To learning. To getting better.  I hoped.

A last minute email had answered a last minute question about what I needed to take, and I took two “in process” manuscripts with me, both rather bad, but with a glimmer of promise. We learned about power words. Using power words in your opening paragraphs packs psychological power, and I circled and found I had about twenty in my first paragraph.  Boom!

Power words seemed to encompass phrases that evoke feelings- names, family ties (mother, father), loss (sick many times before), love (a thousand desires), movement; back and forward.  Things to change: make sure the first line is your main character’s POV.  Yeah, need to work on that.

Next she covered rhetorical devices, emotional levels, and my favorite part lunch.  After that we went over character descriptions, cliches, and deep editing. So. Many. Things. To. Remember.

But the main thing was learning, moving forward, using these new ideas, new ways of pulling apart your MS and putting it back together.  Making it stronger. I found that the way I naturally write seemed to meld with Margie’s, so there was a sweet alignment between what I was learning and how I was writing, stylistically. As well as some validation.  Many of the things my editor had made me cut from my first book Margie taught as writing tools, ways to increase cadence, power and emotion.  So some 20/20 hindsight there.

So, on to editing with a fresh eye and a brighter red pen!

Are We There Yet?

MODES OF TRANSPORTATION

I was researching how long it would take for a horse to get from Wick, Scotland, to Inverness, Scotland, and thought I might as well blog about it so when I forget in six months, maybe this will pop up in my search and I’ll save myself some time.

So…it’s about 103 miles from Wick to Inverness (never mind the fact that Loch Dornoch is in the way) and a horse can travel anywhere from 10 to 40 miles a day.  Here’s the breakdown, courtesy of Cartographer’s Guild:

https://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=19730

Roads/trails: 20-40 mpd

Off road: 15-30 mpd

Mountainous terrain: 10 mpd

Horses are capable of more than 30 miles per day, one can be ridden at a gallop for more than an hour at a time, however, this depends on the build and breed of the horse.  The 2012 President’s Cup race was won in just 6 hours 21 minutes and is 100 miles long.  You have to factor in the condition of the horse, the load carried, and any stops to be made.

Cut these distances in half if pulling a cart, and horses cannot be pushed hard for more than 2 days at a time.  Also take into account the weather, and conditions arising because of rain, flooding, snow, etc.

Take into account as well, if you are expecting your character to fight, or the horse to carry him/her into battle, fighting after a 3 day ride is not going to realistically work.   From my research, it appears a 20 mile ride is the maximum you can expect from your horse, and still expect him to carry you into battle.

For the sake of argument, my horse is a heavy built, gypsy vanner, being ridden bareback over rough, rocky terrain, and on roads only occasionally, with one rider and no pack, so I estimated 5 days to Inverness from Wick.  Give or take the weather I decide to write into the story, and any other little problems that may or may not come up.

Still trying to figure out how to get them across that damn loch.