I wish my TV listened better…

My TV, and the people on it, do not listen when I yell.  I really wish I could change that.

No, I’m not talking about sports.  Sure, my husband yells at the TV when he watches football.  I think that’s a “guy thing.”  Everyone is an armchair coach.

What I’m talking about is all the OTHER programs on TV.  Especially bad reality TV, of which I might have a slight addiction to.  I can’t help it that I have such wisdom to impart to these people, yet they do not care.

Do you want examples?  Of course you do.

The prime show that I want to reach into the TV and grab the people by the throat, is a little gem on TLC called “90 Day Fiancee” and I DVR it every week and watch it with a passion that is perhaps unhealthy.  The premise of the show is that people from America fall in love with people from other countries and then get them a special visa so they have 90 days to come to America, get married, and live happily ever after.  I believe we’re on the fourth season of the show.  ** Spoiler Alert – so far every single couple have been married and NONE of them have walked away**.  This is very surprising to me.  There are a few cases where the American is good-looking and so is the lover that they import from abroad.  However, this is the rarity.  In most instances, the American is quite a bit older or overweight in comparison with the person they bring over.  Do you want examples?  There was an old man last season who had a daughter older than the 19 year old Filipino girl he imported to be his bride.  He was dead set against more kids and she agreed to that even though she really wanted them.  This caused me to scream at the TV.  “YOU ARE A YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL GIRL.  DON’T GIVE UP YOUR LIFE FOR MONEY.”  She didn’t listen and married him anyway.  The guy from this current season that totally pisses me off is Jorge.  He’s an overweight marijuana distributor (legally) who imported a Russian model-wannabe.  Jorge seems like a decent guy.  The Russian seems like a money-hungry skank who’s clearly after one thing $$$$.  She got all his passwords and shut off his phone because he wouldn’t buy her a $10,000 purse.  He brushed that off as her being feisty.  Okay….bad move Jorge.  Part of me feels bad for him because he’s obviously being taken advantage of.  The other part of me knows that it’s his own damn fault for going after someone so out of his league and being foolish enough to tolerate that behavior.  This leads to more screaming.  “JORGE, IF NO GIRLS IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY WILL DATE YOU, WHAT THE HELL MAKES YOU THINK A RUSSIAN MODEL IS INTERESTED IN YOU?”  Does he think all the Russian girls are magically only attracted to overweight men with low self-esteem?  I don’t think so.  Poor Jorge.  I’m really hoping he’ll ditch her pretty soon, but I doubt he will.

Please don’t think I’m the only person in my household who directs unhealthy amounts of rage at the TV.  Nope.  My husband is also a guilty culprit.  He can’t handle the shows on HGTV.  Yes, you read that correctly.  All the real estate shows where the people are buying primary (or vacation) homes in Hawaii or on Caribbean Islands…well…these send him right over the edge into insanity.  The shows start innocent enough and then we get to the part where the realtor asks them what their budget is…and I know the screaming is not far off.

Realtor:  “Well, sir.  I see that you are a tattoo artist from Albuquerque.  What is your budget for this home on St. Croix?”

Tattoo Artist:  “I would really like to stick to my budget of seven hundred thousand, but I would go up to nine hundred grand if the house is absolutely perfect.”

Cue the screams of “HOW THE HELL DOES A TATTOO ARTIST HAVE ALMOST A MILLION DOLLARS?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

Then my husband looks at me and tells me that we’re doing something wrong in life and I should go write more books.

Yeah, okay.  I’ll get right on that.  Unless I’m writing the Harry Potter series or 50 shades of porn, I don’t think I’m buying a house on St. Croix in the near future.

So…all you people in internet-land….what TV shows do you love to hate on?

I’d love to make this post longer, but I have to go write books.  Those Caribbean houses don’t pay for themselves!

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

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How does a book get written?

Perhaps you’ve read my newest book, “Mowed: An Erotic BBW Comedy Romance” and you’ve wondered how the heck it came to exist.  I will share my writerly process.  (Yes, I know writerly is probably not a word, but Microsoft Word is not correcting me, so we’ll go with it anyway).

STEP 1:  Have an idea.  I was mowing the lawn at my mom’s house and I looked across the street and got to thinking, “What if….?”  Once an idea enters my brain, sometimes it won’t leave and just stays there nagging at me until I pay attention to it.  So I mulled over this new idea and asked myself the major questions, “But who are the characters?  Do they have backstories?  Are there any minor characters?  Do they also have backstories?”  Of course the major characters spoke the loudest, but the minor characters had a voice too.  And they all had backstories.  I’m all about the backstory.  Then I had to come up with a plot formula.  I generally use the following:  unique meeting….build-up to first bedroom scene…conflict arises….conflict is resolved….happily ever after.

STEP 2: Hand write a complete outline.  Beginning, middle, and end.  Random bits of dialogue pop into my head throughout the day.  I have to write them down on little scraps of paper so I don’t forget.  I generally build the plot around random bits of dialogue.  For this reason, I always have a notepad and pen in my car.  I guess my mind wanders while I drive.  This is very dangerous.  I should really break myself of that habit.

STEP 3: Write the book.  This is difficult because it involves forcing myself to get stuff done and to stay off Facebook.  I enlist the help of my Facebook friends to yell at me and keep me off the internet.  Ana is good at giving me insane word counts and yelling at me (she also tells me she’s proud of me, which I appreciate).  Julie is good at complaining that she wants her porn stories.  Aidan likes to freak out until she gets the first chapter sent to her and then comes up with pictures for the characters (she’s damn good at that).  Marla likes to make random conversation and has no clue that I use it for plot suggestions (You can thank her for the BBQ scene).  So I have people constantly buzzing in my ear telling me to “hurry UP!”  This pressure helps aid the writing process.

STEP 4:  The end.  The book is written.  Then it gets printed out and sent to editing.  My preliminary editor is my mother.  She does not hesitate to tell me what sucks.  I’ve actually changed things based on her suggestions.  Usually she tells me that my sex scenes are filthy and that’s how I know I’m doing something right.  She does basic edits like finding missing words and extra words (for example if I write “took to house” instead of the correct “took to her house”) and then gives it back to me for the real edits.  This happens at my kitchen table with a highlighter and red pen.  I re-read the book from start to finish and change what doesn’t flow, paying close attention to punctuation.  For some reason, I love this editing process.  I have no clue as to why.  Then I put all the paper edits into the computer word doc.  I also pay attention for good quotes to use when making graphic teasers for book promotion.  I also found a wonderful friend on Facebook who gets a copy once the book is published and who is kind enough to read it for grammar issues.  She is amazing at spotting things that I miss!  (Thanks, Steph!!!)

STEP 5:  Miscellaneous.  I make a cover for the book by finding a picture that’s CCO Public Domain and licensed for use by anyone for any purpose for free.  I edit the picture on CANVA or PIC MONKEY and add a title.  I usually also do graphic teasers at this time.

STEP 6: The Blurb/Synopsis.  I hate this part with a passion.  I’m extremely long-winded and have a giant problem condensing a 62,000 word story (Mowed) into a two paragraph synopsis.  Honestly, “Mowed” came together like a miracle and I wrote the blurb while sitting in the dentist’s office waiting room before my appointment.  I also had the title right away and finished the cover when the book was a few chapters in.  I had a hell of a time with the blurb for “My Dirty Detour” and both the title AND blurb for “Nights in the Fast Lane.”

STEP 7: Formatting.  I convert the Word Doc to an epub file using free Calibre software.

STEP 8: Upload the file to Amazon.

STEP 9: Sit back and wait for the next idea!

Ok, in reality Step 9 is actually “try to do a half-assed job at marketing and promotion.”  I personally feel that I suck at that, so I’m not the best one to give any advice in that area.  It’s all a learning process and it honestly gets a little easier with each book.  You develop a system and meet more people and the word slowly gets out.  I launched my very first book in January of 2016 and when I look back and realize EVERYTHING that I’ve learned in such a short time, I’m truly amazed.

So that is my writing process.  I don’t agonize over whether people will like what I’m writing or not.  I just type what’s in my head (and my heart) and hope that the reader will be able to relate.  I also don’t pay a penny out of pocket for editing or book covers or blog tours.  The only thing I’ve EVER paid for is marketing in newsletters ($22) and two fiverr campaigns ($10).  I also paid for gift copies of my first book to send to reviewers before I realized I could send mobi copies for free (oh…the money I wasted!  Such a doofus!).  I guess I also paid for printer paper, ink, and flash drives.

I’ve also paid with TIME.  I’ve spent countless hours writing three books and promoting them and busting my butt to get my name out there.  But you know what?  It’s been a hell of a good time!

What’s next?

My fourth book of course!  Back to step one……

Thanks for reading and have a great day!