Writer Words

Q&A Sunday: Making Changes

It’s Sunday again, and you know what that means. I’m answering more questions from you, my amazing readers!

This week Vicki asked,

Is there a book you’ve written that you would change anything within the pages?

I really don’t like this question! I’ll be honest, I have trouble admitting my failures and I feel like I’m telling you my failures when I answer this. At the same time, I like this question because it’s really helping me to be clear.

So the short answer is yes.

The long answer is every single book.

In my earlier books I wrote the best book I could. In my later books I’ve written the best book I could. In between though, my style and skills have changed dramatically. When I’ve gone back and reviewed parts of my older books I want to rewrite the whole thing to match the way I’m writing now. Even my newer books I find things that I want to change.

I still love the stories inside, but I’ve changed.

PP1 Cover 30I’m balancing who I am, who I was, and who I’m becoming in my writing. It’s not an easy task. In my old career as an engineer, I worked on a project, I finished the project, and I moved on. There wasn’t any opinion in there. It was fact and things either worked or they didn’t. With writing, it’s all subjective, and that’s tough for me.

But I’m getting there.

Slowly I am working through updating all my older books. The first one I updated was Playing By The Rules. I loved the storyline, but I wanted to make some improvements so I changed a few things in May of this year. If you download it now, you’ll get the new version. I still have a lot of work to do on the others, but I know at the core they’re good stories.

Thanks so much, Vicki, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Q&A Sunday: Travel

This week I have such a fun question. I hope you’re enjoying Q&A Sunday as much as I am!

Vicki asked,

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you travel and why that place?

Let me start by saying I love to travel, but I also love home. I’m an introvert and very much a home body so whenever I travel I have to feel like I’m home, too. Meaning a very comfortable hotel to stay in (comfortable does not mean pricey to me because I don’t live very expensive – I mean comfort in terms of how I feel there), good choices for places to eat, preferably a mini-fridge and microwave (because leftovers = midnight snack sometimes), and close to where I want to be or what I plan to do.

I’m also a planner so when I travel I have to know what I’m going to do. I don’t usually have an itinerary, but I like to know where I’ll be staying is a reasonable distance to where I’d like to go visit.

But where is all that???

Golden Gate from view 2My number one place to go is San Francisco. Don’t ask me why because I couldn’t tell you, but if someone gave me a blank check to travel, San Fran would be the top of my list.

Why?

I’ve been there before, so it’s not a new place to me, but I didn’t want to leave. I’ve always been very drawn to San Francisco and the appeal did not dwindle when we visited. We stayed for a few days as part of our honeymoon, but I wished we’d stayed longer. (Yes, I took that picture, and you can tell how long ago it was since the time stamp was on it!)

I want to see more of the city.

I want to tour more vineyards.

I want to tour more of the touristy places in town (Ghirardelli, more of Fisherman’s Wharf, and Golden Gate Park to name a few).

I want to walk / bike Golden Gate Bridge.

I want to see Sausalito.

I want to do it all. 

If I ever got the chance, I’d really love to see a 49ers game in San Francisco. I’ve seen them play twice (once in Buffalo and once in Atlanta) and will see them again this fall in Buffalo, but we weren’t in San Francisco in the fall so I didn’t see them at home. I’d love to see a game there.

San Francisco is a city I absolutely love, but would never want to live. I’m not a city girl, but more than that I wouldn’t want to be so far from family. But I’d go visit any time! Call me if you have an extra ticket!

I’d love to visit all 50 states at some point in my life. One of my dreams is to take my kids to all 50 states. I’ve visited 24 so far, my kids are far less. My husband and I have talked about taking road trips over summer break (when the kids are a little older) and touring a different part of the country. Maybe take off a month and drive around different areas so we get a good view of that part of the country. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to do it!

Thanks so much, Vicki, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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Q&A Sunday: Big & Beautiful

It’s Q&A Sunday again! Welcome back. I have a question today that I know will excite you. Ready?

Stephanie wants to know

Will there be another big and beautiful story?

Guess what?

YES!

I know when Fluffy & Fabulous came out you were disappointed that it was the last book in Big & Beautiful. The great news is I’ve decided to add five more books! Yes, five!

How excited are you?

Want even better news?

BB9 Cover 3The next one, Puffy & Precious, will be out in less than three months! September 6 you will get to know Abby, Max’s sister, and walk with her to find love! Want to know more about it?

Abby is moving on with her life. After she caught her husband cheating, live and in person, she divorces him and starts living for herself instead of doing everything for him. Abby opens her own bakery, changes her look, and moves out on her own for the first time ever. The only thing she isn’t ready to do is date.

Graham helped Abby get her bakery up and running. As a carpenter he loved the challenge of turning the blank space into a bakery. Even more than that, he loved getting to know the beautiful new tenant.

When Abby’s ex learns she’s moving on with her life and doesn’t need him, he wants to remind her of everything she gave up when she left him. Everything Abby was happy to leave behind.

Now Abby is stuck between the man who made her feel needed, but never wanted, and a man who makes her feel wanted, but she doesn’t need him. Abby needs to figure out what she wants – the man from her past, the one who promises her a future, or the present she’s fallen in love with, alone.

Puffy & Precious is now available for preorder! If you want to order your copy now, you can do so. Links are for ebook only, but there will be a print version too. I’m so excited to share Abby’s story with you!

Preorder today from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, or Smashwords!

Thanks so much, Stephanie, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Q&A Sunday: Workshops

Welcome back to Q&A Sunday! I hope you’re enjoying learning about my writing.

This week I have another question from Jeannie, about workshops…

I know there are several workshop offerings for those interested in writing. Did you participate in a workshop? Did you find it beneficial?

There are tons of workshops out there for people who want to be writers. It’s wonderful! And yes, I take lots of workshops.

I’m a member of RWA – that’s Romance Writers of America. Within RWA there are tons of different chapters, or groups. I have a local chapter where I live and two different online chapters that I’m a member of. And everyone offers workshops. Other chapters offer online workshops that are open to anyone and I’ve taken a bunch, my chapters offer workshops, and the organization as a whole offers online workshops.

Me in Times SquareIn addition, RWA has a conference every summer. The conference is chock-full of information. There are three days of workshops! It’s amazing. Last summer was my first conference (that’s me in Times Square on my way back to the hotel one afternoon). This summer I’ll be traveling to San Diego for my second conference.

Every workshop I take helps. I know that sounds like I’m sucking up, but honestly, it does. I love to learn new things so even a workshop on a topic I already feel familiar with can, and does, help me. It could give me a different way of looking at things, a recommendation of who to work with, or not, or brand new information that I hadn’t been able to figure out before.

One thing I love is that my online workshops are all done through emails and Yahoo groups. If something comes up and I can’t participate in the workshops as they come, I save everything and go back through them when I have some downtime. Last month I went through the notes on a workshop I took last fall. It was a great program, but I just never had the time to review it. I’m so glad I took the time last month.

Thanks so much, Jeannie, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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Q&A Sunday: Inspiration and Ideas

I’m starting a new feature here on my blog. Every week you, yes you, are going to get the chance to ask me questions. Whatever you want to know. If you’ve ever wondered something about being a writer, about my books, or even about me, this is your chance to ask.

This week, we’re talking inspiration and ideas. Jeannie asked…

Each author seems to have a different perspective when it comes to inspiration or ideas for a standalone or series. Do you write off the top of your head, or as you go so to speak? When you get an idea for a story, do you prepare an outline and work from there. When you get your inspiration, do you just go with it or do you have to think about it for awhile?  Have you decided to make a story a series after you have started book 1 or after your fans have requested a 2nd book or both?

I love these questions! It’s a great topic to start out.

IMG_5244So, the first part… I’m a plotter. There are two kinds of writers – plotters and pantsers. Plotters plot everything out in advance. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants. I’ve tried pantsing, but it just doesn’t work for me. I create the whole story before I even sit down to write. I have a notebook (yes, that picture is of my notebooks – and my ‘map’ of Winterville) for each series with tabs for each book and details about the series as a whole. I create maps of my fictional towns (I print out maps of real towns and write in my own street names). I also have an entire character planned from a picture to refer to while I write and a character interview I complete ahead of time. I’m a little anal, but it works for me!

For the story, I do create an outline. I’m not overly detailed with it, but I use a process to lay out what is going to happen throughout the book. If things change a little as I go, I’m not so overplanned that it won’t work. My plan is general so the story can go where it wants as I write, within limits!

When I get inspiration, I do end up sitting on it for a while, but only because I don’t have time to write everything when I think about it! The books I’m writing now (May 2016) are books I thought up years ago. I have ideas for stories that I’ve been sitting on for years. I have my schedule already planned out for 2016, 2017, and 2018. Any new ideas I have will come after that! It’s crazy, but it’s wonderful to never be at a loss for words!

So series vs. single title is something I struggled with a lot at first. My first book (which isn’t published) was a single title, but then I discovered series and how much I enjoyed them. I definitely listen to my readers about what they want though. I’ve been asked for more books in all three ongoing series I have and more are on the way!

Thanks so much, Jeannie, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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