Guest Post

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

GUEST KATHY KREVAT and the 5 Stages of Deadlines

cj Sez: Are you on a deadline? How’s that going? 

Today’s Lyrical Pens guest, author KATHY KREVAT, shares her experiences with her 5 Stages of Deadlines. Kathy’s latest book, THE TROUBLE WITH MURDER, is scheduled to launch December 12 so all of these deadline stages are fresh in her mind.

5 Stages of Deadlines
Kathy Krevat

I just finished writing my fifth book for publication and realized that I continue to be bad at the whole planning for a deadline thing.  I know that other authors have their word count scheduled out and, listen to this, they actually stick to their plan! I don’t how they make that miracle happen.

I have tried that. I start off with a detailed spreadsheet for how many words I have to write in order to complete and edit my manuscript before my deadline. I prepare an outline. Some of it is quite specific and some is rather loosey-goosey. Okay, more of it is loosey-goosey than it should be. But that doesn’t matter, because then I start writing and ignore that silly outline thing anyway. Which works out fine because I usually come up with a better story.

The problem is that I ignore that word count spreadsheet. For far too long. (Just ask my poor critique partners.)

I ignore it until I figure out, usually by accident or when my critique partners ask, how much time I have left until the deadline. Then I update the spreadsheet with my new, much larger daily word count, and it still seems reasonable for me to finish on time. So I ignore it some more, until it becomes almost impossible. Then I kick into high gear and work many, many hours of the day for the months running up to the deadline in order to finish on time.

Someone who knows about these things said it was because I’m a Sagittarius. I’ll take whatever excuse I can get.

Like a lot of authors, with each book, I worry intensely about readers liking it. Even Harlan Coben just posted this to Twitter:


(Please say you love it, please say you love it, please say you love it)
"I LOVE IT!"
(I don't believe you.)

And every time I forget that the only way for me to fight that anxiety is to write. It works every time. And walking. Walking helps me too. I come up with a lot of ideas that solve the problems in my stories. I use the voice memo app on my phone to talk to myself. Later, I’ll listen to and write down story ideas mixed in with reminders to call the plumber, mail a birthday present, and schedule my mammogram.

While walking this week, I realized that my deadline protocol kind of follows the stages of grief. I came up with my own tongue-in-cheek attempt at explaining my coming up to deadline process:

DenialLa-di-dah. No deadline in sight. It’s totally okay for me to spend hours looking at cat videos and reading the latest political news on Twitter. I’ll write this afternoon.

AngerHow can anyone expect me to write a whole book this fast?

BargainingSo if I go to my moms’ night out tonight, I’ll wake up super early tomorrow morning and get all of my word count in before sunrise.

DepressionI’m NEVER going to finish this book. My publisher is totally going to fire me.
                              
AcceptanceAuthors do this all the time. I can do it! All I have to do is eat junk food, mainline coffee, not shower and I will finish this book!

Then I send the book to my wonderful editor who sends back an email with a bunch of smiley face emojis and I start all over again. 

Author Kathy Krevat

Kathy Krevat is the author of the GOURMET CAT MYSTERY series featuring cat food chef Colbie Summers and her demanding cat Trouble, the culinary muse behind her recipes. Kathy also writes the bestselling CHOCOLATE COVERED MYSTERY series under the pen name, Kathy Aarons.

Kathy lives in San Diego with her husband of twenty-five years in the perfect location – close to Philz Coffee and the beach, and within visiting distance of her two grown daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s an advocate for youth arts education and president of Partners in Crime, the San Diego Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

You can follow Kathy on Facebook or Twitter or visit her at: www.kathyaarons.com

****

THE TROUBLE WITH MURDER

Single mom and gourmet cat food entrepreneur Colbie Summers thought she’d escaped her tiny California hometown forever. But when her father needs her, she packs up her adolescent son, their finicky feline, Trouble, and her budding business. She knows change is tough—but she doesn’t expect it to be murder . . .

Between dealing with her newly rural life, her grumpy, sports-obsessed father, and preparing to showcase her products in the local Sunnyside Power Mom’s trade show, Colbie has more on her plate than she bargained for. Luckily, she has her official taste-tester, Trouble, by her side to vet her Meowio Batali Gourmet Cat Food line. Things look promising—until one of the Power Moms is found dead—with an engraved Meowio specialty knife buried in her chest.

As the prime suspect, Colbie needs paws on the ground to smoke out who had means, motive, and opportunity among the networking mothers—including a husband-stealing Sofia Vergara lookalike. And the cat’s still not out of the bag when a second violent death rocks the bucolic community. Trouble may have nine lives, but Colbie’s only got one to clear her name and stop a killer from pulling off the purr-fect crime . . .

Available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2nKvFL4
****
cj Sez: Junk food and coffee! So true, so true. Thank you, Kathy. I am now encouraged to set my derriere back down at the computer because I can expect it to all work out if I just keep working at it.  Congratulations on the upcoming launch of THE TROUBLE WITH MURDER. Best wishes for great sales and raving reviews. And most of all, I pray the fires in California miss your home in San Diego. 

Okay, Lyrical Pens reader-writers, did you find a been-there kind of nugget in this post? Leave Kathy a comment and let us hear how you meet your deadlines.

cj
“Bad Day at Round Rock” short story in The Posse anthology
Qrtly newsletter sign-up at cjpetterson@gmail.com
Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo
California Kisses—10 book publisher’s bundle @ 99 cents (includes Deadly Star)
The Great Outdoors  8 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)
Bodies in Motion — 10 book publisher’s bundle @99 cents (includes Choosing Carter)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Feel the tug?

cj Sez: I did some research for your next fantasy story . . .

Far out. (Reuters/Jason Reed
The last full moon of 2017 is going to appear a little bigger (14 percent) and brighter (30 percent) when a supermoon rises on December 3.

Not only will this be the only full supermoon of 2017, it’s also going to begin a series of three, back-to-back, full supermoons in a row. And there’s a bonus. Full moons numbers two and three on Jan. 2 and Jan. 31 not only will be supermoons, they’ll also be blue supermoons—a “blue moon” meaning the second full moon in a single month. How extraordinary is that? Think about the saying, “It only happens once in a blue moon.”

Supermoon status is a rare event that occurs when the lunar orb will be near or at its closest elliptical-orbit point to the Earth…its perigee. High tides will be a little higher, male deer will begin to grow velvety antler nubs.  

Native American tribes that settled in the United States created nicknames for each month's full moon to help them keep track of the seasons. For December, the tribes referred to the full moon as the cold moon. It's the month when "the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark," says the Old Farmer's Almanac.

According to some, when 
supermoons rise, lunatics let loose on the streets and werewolves howl their loudest.

The word lunacy comes from the Latin “lunaticus,” meaning, in modern language, moonstruck. Everyone knows that when the moon is full, the crazies come out, right? Not so says science of the myth that spawned werewolves.  In the 1800’s, it was feared that those affected by lycanthropy would grow extra-long canines and feast on human flesh when the moon was full.

The myth remained so popular that, in 1985, a team of scientists did a study on the concept that a full moon (full harvest moon or full wolf moon, or full snow moon, or full buck moon, et al.) could affect human behavior as it does the tides.

You can rest easy. No evidence of such an effect was forthcoming but the idea does make for great story telling.

So why do we blame the full moon for strange happenings? Probably because we’re expecting the correlation, and we can point to that moon for confirmation.

Okay, that’s settled, and now you can sleep tight . . . no werewolves out with the full moon.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj
By the way, do garlic and a silver cross keep werewolves away…or is that for vampires?

“Bad Day at Round Rock” short story in The Posse anthology
Qrtly newsletter sign-up at cjpetterson@gmail.com