Never A Dull Moment When You’re Writing

I wasn’t sure what to title this post. It’s not something dedicated to a particular topic, except my rambling about working. I recently listened to a couple of podcasts where Dean Wesley Smith was interviewed, and he’s right that writing isn’t work. It is play. But I have to tell the people in my life that I’m working or else they won’t give me time to write. Anyone who’s ever worked at home knows that people assume you aren’t doing anything because you’re home. It’s not like you go out, clock in at an office, and leave at a certain time. People who work at home don’t have set hours, and because of that, it’s harder to convince others that you can’t drop everything to do whatever they want.

Over the course of ten years of seriously writing books, I’ve come to learn that 95% of the time, the stuff the people in my life interrupt me about are distractions. Such distractions include, but are not limited to, talking about something they saw on TV/read in an article, wanting you to check some You Tube video, or venting about something that happened to them. These are all things that can wait until you’re done, but because you are home, you’re not “busy”, and since you’re not “busy”, you have all the time in the world to listen to them. Talking to people who also work at home, I’ve learned they go through similar distractions. And it makes doing the tasks on our list harder to accomplish in any given day. Add kids to the mix, and it’s twice as hard because kids don’t understand time management.

This week has been like pulling teeth to get anything done. My kids are off school, and every fifteen minutes, someone in my house is interrupting me. It’s been insane. I’d say over half the interruptions have to do with some fight one of the kids is having with his brother. (I have four sons, and since one is deaf, there are A LOT of misunderstandings in this house. Most of my time is clearing up those misunderstandings.) I often think that if I were a standup comedian, my platform would be “Kidtastrophes” because every little thing is a huge thing around here. Trust me, there is a lot of humor in the kinds of things kids complain about. But since I hate public speaking, I am never going to run those standup routines that periodically go through my mind during the day.

I already knew going into this Christmas break that I wouldn’t get any writing done, so I have put all of my romances on hold. But I like to stay busy. I can’t just sit and watch the TV. I need something to do or else I’ll go crazy. It’s too cold to go for walks. Across the US, it sounds like a lot of states are getting record lows. (Montana is having its share of the cold weather, along with snow.) So I have to stay inside.

I decided to work on a pet writing project. I’m in the process of editing an old Young Adult Fantasy trilogy that I wrote back in 2004. Yeah, that long ago. And I can tell you that my writing has changed a lot since then. I thought this was going to be an easy edit. It’s turned into a lot of rewrites and massive edits. I’m halfway into Book 2. The reason I’m making as much progress as I am is because each book is novella.

Anyway, the other day I did the covers for this trilogy while on the phone with my good friend, Janet Nitsick. (I can’t just sit and talk on the phone, either. I need to do something while on the phone, so I did the covers. Graphics are easy to work with while I’m talking on the phone since they don’t require a lot of attention.) So the covers are done, and while I’m not sure they will appeal to the YA fantasy crowd, they appeal to me so I’m using them. I did do my research, and I think it’s a doable compromise since some YA fantasy fit that look.

About once or twice a year, I allow myself a pet writing project to work on. I find doing these projects help me stay fresh and creative. I guess taking a break from romance helps me to fill up my creative tank in the romance genre. This is probably why I love reading outside the romance genre. Romance is, and always will be, my first love, but I enjoy other genres, too. Ironically, I read more nonfiction than fiction in my spare time. Most of it does have to do with my Christian faith (I read the Bible regularly). I also read books on the proper management of money (because I’m not good with this area of my life), and I read books on writing and book promotion, which probably doesn’t surprise anyone reading this post.  I used to read a ton of fiction, but once I really got into writing, that dropped significantly. I guess it’s my mind’s way of trying to find a good balance. I can’t just focus on one thing. I need to have a couple of things going on at any one time. So writing fiction and reading nonfiction gives me a balance.

I’m not going to put this pet project under Ruth Ann Nordin. I’ve done a couple of pet projects under that name, and I think it only adds to people’s confusion because I’m a romance writer. So for this pet project, I’m going to go with a pen name. I have one clean contemporary romance under Barbara Joan Russell, and I haven’t done anything with it since. I’ve decided to give that pen name this pet project. I have a couple more stories that I wrote back in 2005-2007 that I’ll be editing, and I’ll put those under the pen name. I figure this will take a couple of years. These stories were originally published with the vanity presses. This was before Amazon and Smashwords came along to change the way authors published their stuff.  That was a huge game changer in the publishing industry. Other publishing platforms (Kobo Writing Life, Nook Press, Draft 2 Digital, iBooks, etc) have come along since then, but Amazon and Smashwords were the original places to publish ebooks that made it easy to get books into the world.

From time to time, I get asked, “Do you get an editor?” Yes. I do for every single one of my books. The pet projects are no different. I’ve already hired two editors to work on the trilogy I’m currently working through. By this time next week, I plan to be done with my initial edits of the trilogy. Then the editors will go through them. That will free me up to return to working on romances again.

Tomorrow, Married In Haste is coming out, but I’m going to delay the blog post announcing its release until Monday. I’m currently busy on this pet project, so all I can do tomorrow is send out the email with the special epilogue to those of you on my email list. I’ll also post the special epilogue to those of you in the private Facebook group I share with Janet Nitsick.

One of the keys to balancing all of the stuff on my To Do List is to dedicate one or two non-writing things to do each day.  If I try to do everything in one day, I’d go crazy. This is also why I can take a while to get to people on Facebook and in the emails. I’m not ignoring anyone. I’m just wading through everything I have to get done. I don’t have a personal assistant. I do it myself. I know some authors have assistants, but I like doing things on my own. Except for editing, book covers, and taxes. On those three things, I do contract out. (Sometimes I also hire out for book descriptions if I can’t figure out what to put down.)

So yeah… I never have a dull moment in my neck of the woods. 🙂

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New Cover for The Marriage Contract

First off, The Marriage Contract is Book 1 in the Marriage by Fairytale Series. I just started this series, so I don’t know how many people are aware of it yet. 🙂

Second, I did like the original cover I had for The Marriage Contract, so I didn’t replace it because I didn’t like it. I ended up changing it because I have a cover for Book 2, and I decided I wanted the covers in the series to have a similar “look”.  I think it makes it esaier for people to lump the books into one series when the covers are similar.

The artist of both covers is Love Books.

Here’s the new cover for The Marriage Contract:



This is the book loosely based off of Beauty and the Beast, and I have added a The Legend of Sleepy Hollow element to it.  At the heart of this story, however, is a romance with a happily ever after.

I just uploaded the cover to Smashwords, so it’s not on the other channels yet. I can’t upload it to Amazon yet, but it is available for pre-order on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.

Since I mentioned the cover for Book 2, I’ll share it right now. 

One Enchanted Evening ebook cover

This one is loosely based off of Cinderella. Until I write it, I don’t know if any other elements will be added to it, but I do love combining different elements to enrich the storyline.

This book is not on pre-order yet.


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More Updates on What I’m Doing

I am almost done with the epilogue that goes with Married In Haste (Marriage by Fate: Book 2).

(This book is coming out December 30!)

The only people who get this epilogue are those on my email list and those who are in my private Facebook group. (If any of those links don’t work, let me know.)

I have MailChimp handle the details on the email sign up because they want to make sure I’m not putting someone on my list who doesn’t want to be there. I used to put people manually in when people signed up, but I think handing the reins to them to do this is a lot better. I only send out an email through MailChimp when I have a new release out. I don’t want to clog up people’s inboxes. I average nine to ten new releases a years, so that gives you an idea of how many emails you can expect from me.

As for the Facebook group, this is the best way to give me feedback. I do ask for feedback once in a while. For example, I got ideas on the Married In Haste epilogue from the people in the group. I find it to be a very relaxing and casual way to communicate with others, and I think the atmosphere is very pleasant because the people over there are wonderful. Anyway, this group is something you ask to join and Janet or I will approve it. We do try to be careful about who we let in because of the amount of phony accounts that pop on on Facebook, so if we haven’t approved you, please send me ( a message and let me know you have read my books or Janet’s books. That way we know you’re safe to let into the group. I recently had someone duplicate my profile on Facebook, and a few awesome people ran to protect me. It really meant a lot that they were looking out for me. The least I can do is protect you guys, too.

The Rejected Groom (Misled Mail Order Brides: Book 2) is still projected for an early February release.

The Rejected Groom Ebook Cover

Click here to pre-order!

I haven’t set a new date yet, but it’s definitely coming out before June 2. I like to wait until the book is all done and ready to upload to do that. At the moment, it’s only on pre-order at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks. For those of you who love the Larson family, this one is Anthony (aka Tony) Larson’s romance. Tony is one of Richard and Amanda’s twin sons.  I’m currently working on the other twin’s story (The Perfect Wife).

Make Believe Bride (Marriage by Fate: Book 3) looks like it’ll be out around April.

make believe bride

Click here to pre-order!

I thought The Marriage Contract (Marriage by Fairytale: Book 1) was going to be out sooner, but Make Believe Bride suddenly gained momentum, and I’m now further ahead in that story.

The hero of this story is Lord Whitney, and for those of you on my email list and in my private Facebook group, you might remember he was in the special epilogue that went with If It Takes A Scandal. He was the one who returned Corin’s pocket watch that Corin lost to Stephen so he wouldn’t get caught in the scandal with Celia. Candace ended up searching for the pocket watch, and finally found it becauase of Lord Whitney. Hopefully, that rings a bell.

Anyway, he also made a very brief appearance in The Reclusive Earl (Marriage by Fate: Book 1). He was the gentelman who bored Opal to death when he was dancing with her at the ball. I liked him, so I wanted to give him a story, and this one fits perfectly.

I thought this was going to be a comedy because the plot is that the hero and heroine are pretending to be engaged so that the boring hero can finally get friends. But today I wrote a scene that had me in tears. This is not going to be a comedy. It’s going to be a serious book with a lot of struggles the hero and heroine are going through. The heroine has a lot of stuff going on with her father, her self-esteem, and her mother who’s given up on even living.

I didn’t see this coming when I started this book, but it’s the direction the characters are taking, and I’ve learned to wade through the unknown by trusting my gut while writing. Since this is a romance, the cover still fits the story. There is going to be a happy ending. Things are going to greatly improve for the hero and heroine. I think both characters are going to help each other grow in ways that I haven’t seen for a while in my stories. Usually, there’s one character that pretty much stays constant, but in this case, both characters will change dramatically during the course of the story. It’s surprises like this that make writing by the seat of my pants so much fun.


Since this post has gotten pretty long and one of my kids keeps coming up to me, I’m going to end things here. 🙂

Posted in make believe bride, Married In Haste, the marriage contract, the perfect wife, the rejected groom