Writing Process Blog Hop

on April 20, 2014 in Misc


That’s right.  The ever naked and nakedly ambitious Hart over at Confessions of a Watery Tart (www.waterytart23.blogspot.com) nominated me to be next in line for the Writing Process Blog Hop.  It’s a tag-your-it started by May Rock at www.maya-rock.com.  Check them out, because they are remarkably creative writers.

Now it’s my turn…

steampunk typewriter

1) What am I working on?

I’m polishing the second novel of what could be a series.  It’s called Charity MacCay and the Saintly Wives.  The first one is Charity MacCay and the Almighty Dollar.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

My two Charity novels are historicals, but unlike most books in the genre they’re funny and irreverent.

3) Why do I write what I do? 

Because I’m crazy.  And not normal.  And because – even with a modern thriller like my novel The Compass Master – lots of history keeps sneaking into what I write.  I try to create the kind of books I like to read: ones with some brains and lots of twists.

4) How does your writing process work?

I used to be more disciplined and usually wrote for long hours on weekends.  But that fell apart in the last couple of years because I got discouraged about publishing, and because I self-published The Compass Master, which kind of exhausted me.

When I write, I loosely outline my story as I go and scribble notes here and there, but never stick to them.  In fact, most of my notes are only about historical facts or background.  As for the creative process itself – this sounds weird, but I don’t like to talk about it.  When I want to write, I just clear my head and sit down at my computer and write.


However, because an agent is now looking at Charity MacCay, I find myself having hope and discipline again.  If my two Charity novels get traditionally published, I’ll keep writing.  But if I end up self-publishing them, I’ll probably die of exhaustion.  At the very least I’ve promised myself I’ll give up writing.

And on that cheerful note, I’d love to hand off this tag-your-it hop to someone else.  In fact, I was supposed to have THREE writers lined up.  But I have failed miserably at this end of the bargain.  EVERY WRITER I KNOW IS TOO CRAZY BUSY FOR ANY HOP ANYWHERE!  But I tried.  I really did try.

On the bright side, these writers are busy writing their novels and short stories, so all the success in the world to them.  Also, this is yet another opportunity for me to promote Hart’s latest cozy, Keeping Mum, which is written under her cozy pen name Alyse Carlson   It’s the third one in her series of fun, twisty mysteries starring the indomitable Roanoke sleuth Cam Harris.  Read and enjoy!

And you, my friends—what stories are you working on?

16 Responses to “Writing Process Blog Hop”

  1. I hope that agent takes on your series. I imagine self-publishing is exhausting.
    And Hart is awesome!

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – Doing self-pub seriously and with hard copies is indeed tough. But so many of us are doing just that.

  3. Funny/irreverent — I like that. Hope things go well with the agent search. We definitely have it easier than our predecessors what with the Internet and all.

  4. Hart Johnson says:

    Having read your first Charity novel, it is BRILLIANT and I really hope an agent DOES pick it up and sell it to a publisher. It was extremely funny, but perfectly fitting for the character and time.

    And I hear you on exhausting self-publishing. I think a person needs to not have a day job to really make a go of it…

  5. Helena says:

    Milo – The internet makes research and querying and so on SO much easier! Incredible resource.

  6. Helena says:

    Hart – Thank you so much for reading Charity and for being so kind. And I can’t figure out how you write and also self-publish on top of working full time and having a family and a super-clever blog. I’m not kidding when I say I’m a slacker next to you!

  7. Nas says:

    All the best with the agent. I hear you on self-publishing…

  8. I’m rooting for you! You’ll nail that agent and become famous and I’ll be like, “Hey I used to know said famous person.”

  9. Helena says:

    Nas – Self-publishing isn’t for wusses, is it?

  10. Helena says:

    Michael – And then your books will become famous and I’ll tell everyone that I know you and they’ll think that is so cool.

  11. I always love to read about other writers’ processes. It’s fascinating to me, since we all differ so much!


  12. Helena says:

    Stephanie – The creative process is different for everyone,isn’t it?

  13. Funny and sassy is what people need in these dark times — it is why I write my Victor Standish series. I am so happy an agent asked to look at your CHARITY manuscript. I have given up that any agent or publisher will be interested in my books — which is why I self-publish. And their lack of sales indicate all those rejecting agents might have been right! Best of luck with the agent!

  14. Helena says:

    Roland — Are you nuts!!?? Lack of sales has NOTHING to do with quality! The self-publishing field is simply so big now that it’s overwhelming for readers to navigate. I should know because I self-pubbed The Compass Master, and even though I got some great feedback, it hasn’t sold many copies because I suck like a sponge at marketing. In the indie field, it’s the writers who are skilled at marketing who do the best. As for agents — they are known for being disastrously wrong for books they’ve rejected (most recent and famous example: The Help, rejected by 59 agents), but in their defense they are inundated with queries, and trying to find the golden manuscripts among the thousands (literally) is super tough. I myself found that I didn’t get any feedback from agents until after I really narrowed my aim and had rewritten my query about ten times.

    Meanwhile, I’ve bought a couple of your books, Roland my dear, and I’m looking forward to reading them once I get past my current too-busy-to-breathe stage, which should be by mid-summer.

  15. Old Kitty says:

    Never lose hope lovely Helena!!! Never ever!! Yay for writerly craziness too! :-) Take care

  16. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – And I’m as crazy as they come.