The paperback version of Snowbound is live!

ImageJust wanted to let you know the paperback version of Snowbound is finally live via my CreateSpace store. You’ll be able to purcase it from Amazon in a few days. Ebook version is still in the works. I had a some formatting issues which I am trying to get sorted ASAP. So, if you are in the mood for a love story set in snowy Vermont with a nice holiday mood, then Snowbound is just the thing for you. 🙂

I’ll keep you posted on when the ebook version (which will be available for all ereaders) will be ready.

Some of you may remember Snowbound as my Nanowrimo 2011 novel. It was also the novel that helped me complete Nanowrimo on time for the very first time.

More novellas and short stories will be coming your way soon, so keep checking in. 🙂

Happy reading (and writing)!

NaNoWriMo is coming…

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 2.27.25 PMIn a few days it will be that time again. That time when my friends will wonder if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth and my husband will be grumpy because I am not spending enough time with him. That time we call…NaNoWriMo.

For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and–despite being called “national” it’s actually a global phenomenon. The goal? Write a 50,000+ word novel between 1 and 30 November. The prize? There is none–this is all about staying motivated and encouraging others to reach their goal while you reach yours. So if you think you have a book inside you, why not give NaNoWriMo a try? Just think how pleased you’ll be when you write “The End”. And this gives you a good excuse to be anti-social for a while. 😉

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 11.08.21 PMThis is going to be the ninth time I embark on NaNoWriMo, and I hope I finish on time. I’ve got a busy November ahead, so I will have to pace myself and make sure I finish my 1650 words/day. My novel this year will be entitled Near Enough to Hold. I have two very different story ideas swirling around in my mind, but I think I have a pretty good idea which of them I will write. And as always, I will post rough and very unedited chapters here, so you’ll be able to follow my progress.

I also made a mock-up of a cover to help me stay motivated. No, this isn’t the final cover. I don’t own the rights to this image. I am just using it as inspiration for when I write. Whenever you get stuck, you need something to “unstick” you, and I think this will do the trick.

If you think you’re ready to give NaNoWriMo a try, head over to the official website. There is still time to sign up and it doesn’t cost you a single penny! Even if you don’t finish, the fact that you tried is impressive enough! 🙂

Happy writing (and reading)!

 

Cover Reveal: Snowbound

ImageBack in 2011, I wrote a holiday-themed novel for Nanowrimo called Snowbound. It’s now with a freelance editor, so soon I will have her feedback and begin a speed session of tweaking to get it as close to perfect as possible. (I don’t believe in perfection. It doesn’t exist.)

While I wait for the edits, I thought I’d share with you the gorgeous cover Design for Writers has created Snowbound. I love it, and I think you will too. I’ve got a couple of releases lined up for the coming months–A Little Night Music and Maybe Baby are just two of them. My plan is to release Snowbound in mid-October. 🙂 It’s the story of two people who weren’t supposed to meet and what happens when a little snow conspires against them. 😉  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

That’s it for now. Before I sign off, I’ve got a question for you: if money were no object, where would you spend your Christmas vacation? (I know it’s August, but I’ll bet  you want it to cool off a bit.)

Happy reading (and writing)!

Choose Me is live…

Choose Me Version 3So Choose Me is finally live. It’s not the collection of short stories I’d originally planned. A few months ago, I decided I’d rather release a novella instead of more short stories. I figured it was time for a longer piece of writing and–let’s face it–I am a little behind schedule. I can only blame it on having a heavy workload at the office and the fabulous weather here in Stockholm. It’s not often we have a summer like the current one–hardly any rain–amazingly blue skies…yes, this is the weather that makes you fall in love with Sweden. 🙂

The idea for Choose Me first came to me back in 2007. I think that was the year I reluctantly decided to try Nanowrimo–thanks Rebecca F. for encouraging me to do it! In fact, Choose Me (which was called Horizons back then) is part of the Nanowrimo novel I *almost* finished on time. I was one day late meeting the deadline due to illness and teaching an insane intensive Business English course. Instead of finishing on 30 November, I finished 1 December.

Jessica and Chris’s story starts in Choose Me. The second part of their story will come soon. 🙂 Possibly in October. And the stories I’d originally planned? Well, they’ll be released around November or December.

At the moment, Choose Me is a Kindle-only novella. I hope to be able to release it for Kobo and Nook very soon. There won’t be a print version of Choose Me but if you’d like it as a PDF, you can always contact me here and we’ll see if we can work something out. 🙂

On Pinterest, writing Maybe Baby and inspiration…

I think I’ve become addicted to Pinterest. I’ve been using it to make inspiration boards for my writing and it really helps me–especially when I am trying to imagine setting and what my characters look like. Before Pinterest, I had scrapbooks full of pictures, piles of magazines that littered my desk…it was wonderful chaos that could sometimes be distracting and become a bit of a nightmare. I am trying to bring a sense of order to my life and Pinterest, in its own little way, is helping. Well, at least it’s helping keep my desk While I’ve been working on Maybe Baby, my inspiration board just seems to get bigger and bigger. I’ve got 88 pictures pinned depicting the people who inspired my characters and the places in Copenhagen and Stockholm that feature in the novel. When I first started writing Maybe Baby back in November, I knew I wanted to play with the idea of a Dane as the love interest for my expat American heroine. I was in the middle of a dreary Swedish winter and Nanowrimo was the only thing keeping me from focusing too much on the gray winter skies. I wanted my Swedish main character, Niklas, to be like the Swedish seasons–beautiful and warm in summer, but in turns distant and emotionally unavailable.

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Rudi Køhnke

When I first began writing Maybe Baby, I initially had a Danish actor, Rudi Køhnke, in mind as  Mads. He had the same intensity that I thought Mads should have. But the more I thought about it, the less he felt…right. I’m not sure why he didn’t feel right but he never really became Mads in my head. Maybe he was a little too boyish-looking? Maybe he was too young? Mads is in his mid to late thirties and Rudi Køhnke looks a little too long. I started searching again for the right Mads and it took a couple of days until I realized I needed someone who looked more experienced and had a laid-back vibe. I didn’t want him to be too perfect. I wanted him to be flawed in a good way.

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Eventually, I realized the person I’d been thinking about as I wrote about Mads was actually another Danish actor, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Images of him pepper My Maybe Baby board. Once I switched to thinking about him as Mads, the scenes he was in were easier to write. I guess it helps that I was seeing him everywhere–on Swedish TV, in Game of Thrones, in old episodes of New Amsterdam. I showed my Maybe Baby board to some friends who’d been reading the unedited chapters of Maybe Baby as I posted my Nanowrimo progress here on the blog. They all agreed–he was Mads. So when I finally publish this and, if some lovely day, someone wants the film rights…it’s on one condition–Nikolaj plays Mads. I can’t really picture any American or British actor playing him.

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Kerry Washington

American actress Kerry Washington became the inspiration for Laney. I liked her vibe. I’d seen her in a few films and liked how she could exude vulnerability and sexiness at the same time. Just before I began working on Maybe Baby, I watched Lakeview Terrace. Kerry plays Lisa Mattson, one of the main characters in the film, and she is gutsy, sometimes frustrating and not afraid to show her fear, confusion and anger. She was the perfect Laney and every picture I found of her confirmed it for me. So maybe I need another clause for the day I sell the film rights…Kerry should play Laney to Nikolaj’s Mads. Writing the first draft of Maybe Baby took a month. Revising it has so far taken me four months. I keep finding small things that could be better. I had three months of author mentorship with author Misa Ramirez via Savvy Authors, and she helped me see when I wasn’t going deep enough with my POV, when my pacing was off with too much telling instead of showing and when the backstory was taking over. (Thanks, Misa!) 🙂 I’ve got a plan, and I am trying to stick to it. I’m a bit behind schedule but I think I can catch up. 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and, when my brain stalls, I’ll search for pictures that inspire me and pin them on my Pinterest board. And I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 🙂

March Madness of a writerly kind

Photo: Textlad @Flickr

Photo: Textlad @Flickr

My writers friends and I have an annual tradition. Much like November is my Nanowrimo month, March is time for March Madness. No, it’s not when we all bow at the altar of Mads, the Danish hunk in my WiP, Maybe Baby (the first draft of which you may remember was my Nanowrimo project). March Madness is when we vow to write at least 500 words a day every day for the entire month. It’s like Nanowrimo-lite but just for us.

Why do we do it, you wonder? Well, January is that month when everyone swears they will write everyday and they make resolutions (and you know I stopped making those a while ago). February you try to keep the momentum going. This year I was lucky. February has been a very productive month. March is when you usually forget you even made any promises to yourself. And March Madness came to being.

I can’t take credit for March Madness. I think it was Catherine from Stockholm Writers Group who first came up with the idea. Some years, I’ve managed to hang in there. Other years I start and then forget about it. But this year I feel like I can commit.

What about the rest of you? Have you got a March tradition to keep you writing?

Post-Nanowrimo Update: Last three chapters online

That's me! :)

That’s me! 🙂

Now that Nanowrimo is over, I can do useless things like watch TV and do laundry (actually, I managed to do both of these things while I was doing my Nanowriting). It also means I can start my Christmas Movie Bonanza–the annual event when Tord and I overload on our favorite Christmas movies like Elf, the Holiday, Surviving Christmas, the Preacher’s Wife and Love, Actually. And we drink glögg (Swedish for mulled wine).

Now, for those of you who’ve been following Laney, Mads & Niklas’s story, you can now read the last three chapters of Maybe Baby. Please remember it’s still really, really rough. And there are still plot holes–already thinking of ways to correct them. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story. It’ll  be online until the end of the month. After that, I’ll start a new page to keep you updated on the revision status of Maybe Baby and when I hope to make it available.

Also, this month, I’m trying to raise money to donate to Stockholms Stadsmision, an organization here in Stockholm that helps women and children in need, the homeless, and substance abusers who are trying to recover. If you buy a copy of  The Melanie Chronicles (ebook or print version) or Linger: a short story (Kindle-only), all the profits for the month of December will be donated to the mission.

Happy First Advent! 🙂

Nanowrimo Update Day 25: 41.5K words and Chapter 8 online now

Last night while making a turkey for my belated Thanksgiving dinner, I worked on Maybe Baby. After we finished eating and then watching an episode of Big Bang Theory, I continued working on my NaNoNovel. And now, I have crossed into the home stretch: I have written 41,500 of the 50,000 words necessary to complete Nanowrimo. If I can stay on track, I will finish on 28 November. That is my goal this year–to finish slightly ahead of schedule.

I am pleased that I’ve managed to be so disciplined. I am usually a lazy writer in that I write in fits and spurts. I force myself to get up at 6 AM every weekday morning and sometimes I manage to write, other mornings I edit or try to revise. There are those mornings when I am just too tired and I end up reading celebrity gossip on TMZ.com or I stare at the screen as I try to read Huffington Post through sandy eyes. I don’t get much done. Some mornings only 200 words emerge. On a good morning I will have written close to 1000 words before it’s time to take a shower and head to work. But then it’s time for Nanowrimo and I always get at least 500 words written before it’s time to go to work. And then I come home after work and write (and don’t stop writing) until I reach my daily goal of 1600+ words.

And…before I forget…Chapter Eight is now online! Go to my Nanowrimo 2012 page and you can continue following Laney’s story.

Nanowrimo Update Day 23: I passed the 38K mark and Chapter 7 is now online.

Yesterday turned out to be a good day, despite starting off with not feeling well. Sometime around midday I was beginning to feel like my old self again and that’s when I began answering work emails and writing. I took a break at around 2 PM and had a very late lunch and forced myself outside (and out of my pajamas) to get some fresh air. I took my MacBook Air (it goes by the name of Zuzu, just like George Bailey’s daughter in It’s a Wonderful Life), went to a local café and wrote a bit more. When I came home, I wrote while cooking dinner. I wrote while watching True Blood and New Girl. And then it happened–by 9:30PM I’d finally crossed into the land of 38K. By 10PM, I’d written 38,416 words. I am now less than 12,000 words away from completing Nanowrimo.

So, with that in mind, I bring you Chapter 7–the one with the clunky beginning. Heck, maybe the entire chapter is clunky. As I reread all of the chapters, I see the things I need to fix. It’s the same with this one, but I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

To my American readers, belated Thanksgiving tidings! Hope you stuffed yourselves with plenty of turkey, candied sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. I will enjoy my turkey tomorrow and Sunday. 🙂 And don’t get pulled into the Black Friday hype unless you really think you’re getting an exceptional deal. Usually, those very same items are on sale again in a few days at roughly the same price. Trust me, I know. I used to work in retail in the US.

Happy reading (and writing)!

 

Nanowrimo Update Day 20 & Chapter 6 is online

Yesterday, I crossed the 35,000-word threshold! I can hardly believe it myself. When I first began writing Maybe Baby, there were days when I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to cross the 10,000 or 15,000-word mark because I was exhausted from putting in a full day at work and my brain just felt mushy. Yes, there were days when my brain was more akin to a bowl of polenta. And it wasn’t pretty.

This is when I should coast into the final 15,000 words. Technically, I could take it easy and not really care about tying up loose ends. I could leave Laney in limbo and just shelve this until the spring or summer, but I won’t do that at all. I want resolution for Laney. I want her to make her decision. I also want Eddy to figure out how to solve her romantic problems. Besides, you’re probably wondering if Niklas is going to be a little more proactive about trying to get Laney to choose him. Or if Mads will do or say something that makes Laney decide he really is the one. Or maybe she chooses neither,  suddenly decides to alter her plan and  get artificially inseminated and be a single mother? Well, how would we ever find out if I coasted? So no coasting and no shelving. I will write this to completion and then revise.

By the way, Chapter Six is online now. Chapters 1-5 are also still available.

Happy reading (and writing)!