Trusting the Process

One of the most common questions I’m asked at author-reader events is about whether I’m a Plotter or a Pantser. For those uninitiated in these terms, a Plotter is a writer who carefully lays out the story lines Journalist
in her books, giving each chapter a goal, and sometimes even sub-goals and the steps to get there. Many Plotters have tools they use to keep these elements straight; some use complicated systems of poster boards, sticky notes and colored markers.

A Pantser is a writer who flies by the seat of her proverbial pants. I find this kind of a derogatory term, since it insinuates that Pantsers are just writing willy-nilly, with no real aim or focus. Pantsers can’t always tell you how many chapters their books will have or what will happen with every character. As a matter of fact, some Pantsers will end up with unexpected characters in the story.

I might be a tad biased, as I am totally a Pantser.

I wasn’t always this way. I was never a strict Plotter, but I used to lay out my stories. When I began a new book, I had an idea of how it would progress. This worked well with my YA books–mostly. I found that no matter how well I planned, though . . . things popped up. Twists and characters and unexpected dialogue . . . it all happened. At first I was disturbed, but then I realized that my unplanned stuff? It was actually some of my best work. The dialogue was more organic when I wasn’t trying to manipulate my characters, and when new characters insinuated their way into a scene, often they changed the entire direction of the book–for the better.

I leaned to embrace this way of life. Now, I should caution the new writer: being a Pantser is not for the

Woman in dress and hat sitting on books and working on laptop

faint-of-heart. Not knowing exactly where your story is going can provoke anxiety, particularly when people ask you about your work. You learn to hedge. You learn to laugh and act mysterious: “Oh, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen!” Readers assume you’re just protecting your work, when in reality you really don’t know.

If there is one valuable lesson I’ve absorbed during the past three years, it’s that I can trust my characters. I don’t have to know precisely what’s going to happen. I’ll usually have a rough idea, but what happens is infinitely cooler than anything I could have consciously planned.

My favorite example of this happened with my Perfect Dish series. I intended Best Served Cold to be a stand-alone book, the story of what happened when Julia’s planned revenge on Liam Bailey went awry, thanks to her falling in love with Jesse. Liam was a character whom I planned to be totally without redeeming value, and Julia’s roommate Ava was meant to be a small occasional character. Someone to help Julia plan her revenge, someone with whom she could chat and expound.

And then . . . the unexpected happened. I was happily and blissfully ignorant, writing a pivotal chapter, when Ava, in the middle of a conversation with Julia, revealed something that not only changed the direction of that book but kicked off (at least) two more books, making Best Served Cold not a stand-alone but rather book 1 in a new series. What was even better, the next two books were two of my very favorite of my own books.

So now? I trust the process. When I began to feel anxious (“WHAT are they going to do? HOW in the &%@$ are they going to get from Point A to Point B?”), I remember that I can trust my characters. They know their own stories. They know what’s going to happen.

That’s why I have a new motto now: Embrace the Pantsing. Trust the process.

 

A Christmas Wedding. . .A Sweet Happily Ever After!

I Choose You

ICYTsrInvite

 

I CHOOSE YOU 

is live now on all venues.

I Choose YouThe path of true love was a bumpy one for Ava and Liam. He was her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, son of a local politician and the campus playboy. She was a hard-working, single-minded scholarship student with no time for romance. They were the couple least likely to succeed. 

But almost two years later, love is better than ever. Liam’s pursuing his dream of being a college professor, and Ava’s the rising star at a local ad agency. But Liam still has one more goal: marrying the girl who changed his life.

Neither of them realizes that making it to the big day might be their greatest challenge yet. Between his parents’ acrimonious divorce and her family’s ideas of how to plan the perfect wedding, it’ll take the strength of their love—and a little help from their friends–to see them through to happily-ever-after.

Amazon/iBooks/BN

Don’t forget. . .

the first book in the Perfect Dish Novels

Best Served Cold

is FREE right now.

And the second book

Just Desserts

is available at all retailers.

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Jingle Bell Hop!

 

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Welcome to the Jingle Bell Book Hop! I’m thrilled to be joining with some fabulous fellow authors to share some holiday fun.

I’m excited to share some Perfect Dishes with you. These are definitely not the type of Dishes you serve on your Christmas dinner table. . .though they are definitely smoking hot. (And if tables are your thing, go for it!) The men of the Perfect Dish Novels are the kind you’d like to find wrapped under your tree. . .unwrapping could be fun.

The first book in the series, BEST SERVED COLD, is ***free*** on all venues right now.

Grab it up.

I’m offering you a chance to win the second book, JUST DESSERTS, just in time for the release of

I CHOOSE YOU, the Perfect Dish Wedding Book (releasing on Sunday, 12/21!!)

All you need to do is comment below, telling me about your favorite Christmas tradition, and on Sunday night, we’ll choose three commenters at random to win JUST DESSERTS in the ebook format of choice.

PerfectDishCollageAnd ONE lucky winner will win signed paperbacks of all three books. Don’t forget to hop around to all the other authors and see what fun they’re cooking up!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

And Happy New Reads.

 

 

 

 

 

Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Free Book and A New Pre-Order

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The Perfect Dish: A guy with both sizzle. . .and heart.

 

It’s almost time for the much-anticipated release of

I CHOOSE YOU

the Perfect Dish novels Wedding Book.

Are you ready to catch up with Julia, Jesse, Ava and Liam?

For a limited time, the first book in the series is FREE.

That’s right. . .BEST SERVED COLD

is up for grabs on all venues, abso-tively free.

So your assignment?

Go grab BEST SERVED COLD, and while you’re there,

pick up JUST DESSERTS

and pre-order I CHOOSE YOU.

Of course, what’s a wedding without a bridal shower?

Join us here tonight at 8 PM EST on Facebook and Twitter (#ICYShower)

as we play games, give prizes and talk about I CHOOSE YOU.

Don’t forget to bring your virtual gift. . .every couple needs a toaster!

 

Best Served Cold - Tawdra Kandle

 

 

Julia worked for weeks planning the perfect surprise birthday party for her boyfriend, Liam, but that night, she was the one who got the biggest shock. He broke up with her in front of all their friends, humiliating her in the process.

Clearly revenge was in order.

The plan is simple. Make him jealous, win him back, and then crush his heart. Fair is fair. However, there is one little hiccup, and he has curly brown hair and dimples.

Jesse is everything she wants. With him, she could almost forget her bruised heart. Almost. Julia has one choice: let Liam walk away after everything he did, or lose a chance at love in pursuit of payback.

When her friend Julia needed help forming a revenge plan against her ex-boyfriend, Ava was happy to lend a hand. She never expected that in the course of JustDessertsSWCovermaking Liam pay, she’d be the one to fall hard. . .for the one person who was absolutely off-limits. Crushing on the guy who humiliated her best friend is definitely against the girl code.

Besides, Ava has goals. Her life is all about graduating with honors and landing the perfect job. And Liam Bailey—sweet-talking, complicated son of a well-known local politician—isn’t part of those plans.

But Liam doesn’t give up easily. And he doesn’t intend to let their friends’ opinions, his parents’ disapproval or Ava’s past get in the way of what he wants–Ava’s heart.

I Choose You
The path of true love was a bumpy one for Ava and Liam. He was her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, son of a local politician and the campus playboy. She was a hard-working, single-minded scholarship student with no time for romance. They were the couple least likely to succeed.

But almost two years later, love is better than ever. Liam’s pursuing his dream of being a college professor, and Ava’s the rising star at a local ad agency. But Liam still has one more goal: marrying the girl who changed his life.

Neither of them realizes that making it to the big day might be their greatest challenge yet. Between his parents’ acrimonious divorce and her family’s ideas of how to plan the perfect wedding, it’ll take the strength of their love—and a little help from their friends–to see them through to happily-ever-after.

Amazon/iBooks/BN

 

 

 

Same People, New Story: When Series Expand

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I’m working on a book right now that will be released toward the end of December. It’s not a book I planned to write, but it’s one that begged to be written.

When I wrote BEST SERVED COLD last year, I still labored under the delusion that I was capable of writing one-off books. Ah, silly, silly me. . .no. Before that story was finished, I knew it had another connected to it, and that’s why JUST DESSERTS came out this past summer. These two books were supposed to be a duo. A duo is two. I know that. You know that.

Clearly the characters and some readers did not want to accept that.

Because as soon as Ava and Liam’s story came out, I had messages and emails from readers asking me to please consider giving them more of this couple. I totally understood, because I loved these two crazy kids, too. But how to do this? Hmmm. . .

And then right around the time I was pondering this conundrum, Sarah Bareilles, one of my all-time favorite singers, released a single from her new album, and it was called I Choose You. The words were so perfect for Ava and Liam, and it dawned on me. . .of course. Ava and Liam needed a wedding book.

It’s been fun to play with where these two are two years after the end of their book. They’ve graduated from college, and we see that their relationship has grown stronger and flourished in that time. Since they had such a winding road to each other, it’s been gratifying to see what happened once everything came together for them.

I hope you’ll come along on their journey with me. We’ll be revealing the cover shortly–it’s gorgeous!–and I’ll have pre-order links for you. I can’t wait!