Welcome to the Writing Process Blog Tour. My name is Maureen Fisher, and I write sassy romances with kick-ass heroines and smokin’ hot heroes.
Ottawa mystery author, Robin Harlick, invited me to participate in this blog tour. Eons ago, before either of us got involved in the writing world, Robin was my manager when we worked together for an international consulting firm. Subsequently, we became good friends. Now Robin is writing her 7th book in the acclaimed Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of Quebec. To read about her writing process and to learn more about this author and her books, visit her website. You can also visit other authors on this tour by following the different links their blogs. Enjoy.
And so to continue the tour, I will answer the four questions.
1. What are you working on?
I’m currently three-quarters of the way through Cold Feet Fever, sequel to Fur Ball Fever, this time featuring the charming bad-boy brother Sam Jackson (also his charming bad-boy dog, Rex). I describe the books in the Fever Series as romantic crime mysteries that tickle the funny bone. Here’s the “elevator pitch” for Cold Feet Fever:
One for the Money (with steamy romance) meets The Sopranos
A notorious playboy nightclub owner and an undertaker-turned-event-planner join forces to fight crime in a Goth night club. Vandalism, disappearing corpses, a goofy dog, bungling thugs, and the threat of live cremation create chaos for the couple. They soon learn that they must put the past behind them in order to create the life they want.
To read an excerpt from Cold Feet Fever featuring charming bad-boys Sam and Rex (the dog) and heroine, Katie Deluca, check out this blog post.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
All my books are romantic suspense novels that tickle the funny bone. Whether I write a paranormal romance like The Jaguar Legacy, which deals with serious topics such as reincarnation, murder, and ancient evil, or a romantic crime mystery like Fur Ball Fever, where lives, fortunes, and futures are at stake, my writer’s voice tends to gravitate toward humor. Here are a couple of examples:
The Jaguar Legacy:
Kincaid spun on Colin. “You mean you let her go to the cave alone after what happened last night?”
Have you ever tried to prevent Charlie from doing something she’s got her heart set on doing?”
The two men shared a look of deep commiseration.
When he finished pacing Kincaid sat down beside her again. He said, “Sorry. The whole idea of reincarnation takes some getting used to. I’m working on it.” With a little effort he stretched his lips into a reassuring smile.
She slammed her brows together. “Work harder.”
Fur Ball Fever:
The dog bared its teeth, squirmed, and gave a feral growl. Oliver stroked the rat-like head. “Hush up, Pepita. Nick’s a friend.”
Nick examined the dog. A severe underbite thrust out the animal’s lower jaw, creating a truculent expression. The dog was not only savage, but butt-ugly to boot. He could damn near see its intestines through the translucent skin.
“Beautiful animal, Reverend,” he said, taking care not to cringe.
“Yes, she’s quite lovely,” Oliver agreed with a smile that displayed an impressive quantity of white porcelain veneers.
Pepita glared at Grace, and bared a mouthful of itsy bitsy fangs.
The distraction was all Grace needed. Pushing aside her aversion to nocturnal dips, she lunged toward the stern.
Too bad she hadn’t factored a vengeful Chihuahua into her escape strategy. She was half-way to her goal when Pepita launched herself. Needle-sharp teeth adhered to black fishnet stockings. Strings of drool flew through the air.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write my sassy romances to entertain and relax the reader. Critics of the romance genre call my type of book “pure escapism.” I hope they’re right. That would mean I’ve achieved my goal of transporting the reader into another world—a world full of romance, fun, and adventure. And always one with a happy ending.
My love of escapism started when I was a child and my parents dragged me, kicking and screaming, to Canada—a traumatic event for a shy and lonely seven-year-old with a strange-sounding Scottish accent and no sporting inclination. As an antidote, I immersed myself in books. When I reached my late teens, my parents’ marriage, never happy, had started to disintegrate. I didn’t realize it at the time, but alcohol, depression, and prescription drugs had taken hold. Suffice it to say, our home was not a joyous place. During those dark times, romance novels opened up a whole new world for me. Love and happily-ever-after were possibilities. Eventually, the bad times ended. I hit my stride. But to this day, a good romance novel is still my ‘go-to’ book in times of stress.
4. How does your writing process work?
I’m a plotter (as opposed to a ‘pantster’). I create tools such as character charts, GMC (goal, motive & conflict) grids, and plot outlines, bringing order out of chaos. I update the content frequently to accommodate new plot twists or character quirks, but these tools serve as the framework for my book.
For me, creating the first draft is downright painful. I keep trying to remember that no one will see this version except myself. Trouble is, my perfectionism rears its ugly head. I want to write as if targeting an invisible editor, even knowing I will trash much of my prose in subsequent drafts. It’s a struggle for me to leave a chapter that still sucks.
The next step, my personal favorite, is to take a break (Stephen King recommends a 6-week break to regain objectivity). After that, I read the manuscript from start to finish, in one pass if possible. At this point, I examine the story at a macro level. I try to resist making editorial changes at this time.
Next, I re-write the manuscript to produce my second draft. I add new scenes, plug holes, fix inconsistencies, enhance characters, strengthen conflict, chop and cull ruthlessly. The second draft is still as ugly as the first, but it (hopefully) is in shape for the final edits.
Then the fun begins. I edit using a layering approach. This involves examining each scene, one by one, using a series of filters, and making the appropriate modifications, including: heightening of mood, strengthening conflict, setting, timeline, characterization, (mannerisms, keep everything in character), use of five senses, clothing, humor, dialogue, ramp-up of heroic qualities, POV, tightening and improving prose, and many more.
As a final step, I read the entire book aloud. That way, I hear how my words sound and catch awkward turns of phrase.
Thanks for this opportunity to talk about my writing process. If you would like to know more don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
Next Stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour
Now let me introduce the next three authors on this tour: Regina Duke, Amanda Rosko, and Sandra Nikolai.
Regina is a USA Today Bestselling Author living in Northern Nevada with three charming little dogs and hundreds of imaginary characters compelling her to write more stories. She writes sweet romance, and her bestselling series Colorado Billionaires is now available in a boxed set. In May she released her first paranormal, My Vampire Wedding. Regina’s books are full of humor and always have a happy ending! Find her Writing Tour blog here.
Amanda (Mandy) Rosko
Mandy lives in a fantasy world and doesn’t like leaving it for anything. Real life isn’t always as fun as the books she reads and writes. She’s a big fan of paranormal romance, M/M, and is dipping her toes into the erotic genre. With her upcoming series she’ll be doing a little of all three. Find her Writing Tour blog here.
Sandra graduated from McGill University in Montreal and worked in sales, finance, and high tech before devoting her days to writing. She is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and has published a dozen short stories online and in print, garnering honorable mentions along the way. False Impressions and Fatal Whispers are the first two novels in a mystery series featuring ghostwriter Megan Scott and investigative reporter Michael Elliott. When not plotting mysteries, Sandra shares her thoughts and experiences about the writing world on her blog and has been a frequent guest writer on other websites. She lives near Ottawa with her husband and is currently at work on her next mystery novel in the series. Find her Writing Tour blog at this blog site.
In conclusion, I hope you’re enjoying the Writing Process Blog Tour. Be sure to put June 9th in your schedule so you won’t miss the next blogs. And don’t forget to check out Rie Charles’ writing process blog, and work back in time to the other blogs. You’ll discover new writers from many fields and revisit familiar faces.
THE JAGUAR LEGACY: (Hot Paranormal Romance, Hot Jungle Love)
A reporter on a mission to salvage her career and save her mother’s life …
With her reputation in tatters, acclaimed journalist Charley Underhill invades a remote archaeological dig, determined to unravel rumors of an ancient curse. If it means avoiding hairy, hungry predators or lying to a charismatic archaeologist with a sexy Scottish accent, brilliant scientific mind, and gaudy Hawaiian shirts, she’s up for the challenge. She needs the money to pay for her mother’s life-saving treatment.
An archaeologist determined to protect his history-changing discovery …
Hell-bent on guarding the secret of a ruined Olmec city hidden deep in the Mexican jungle, Dr. Alistair Kincaid fears a premature press leak will destroy his last chance at success. He won’t let a snoopy reporter, even one with a quirky sense of humor, smarts, and a heartwarming smile, ruin his career. Or steal his heart.
But ancient danger stalks the jungle on velvet paws …
Secrets collide as strands from past lives intertwine with the present, drawing Charley and Kincaid into a legacy of danger and murder, shape-shifting and mysticism, romance and redemption. Is history doomed to repeat itself or is a new path possible?
FUR BALL FEVER: (A Romantic Crime Mystery that Tickles the Funny Bone)
An impulsive pet spa owner loses her client’s prize pooch …
After a lifetime of impetuous mistakes, Jersey Shore pet spa owner Grace Donnelly outdoes herself when a client’s prize poodle, a shoo-in to win the annual Fur Ball, goes AWOL while in her custody. With money, careers, and lives in jeopardy, Grace is not afraid to strap on the leather to go undercover in a fetish club looking for clues. Too bad her helpers consist of an aging hippie aunt, a renegade schnauzer, a drag queen, and a dominatrix or two. Worst of all, the only man truly qualified to help is her former flame, the most domineering male on the eastern seaboard.
A smokin’ hot bodyguard with his own agenda …
Texas-born security specialist Nick Jackson faces his worst nightmare when Grace’s amateur investigation nearly blows his covert operation. Unless he nails the con-artist who scammed his home-town’s seniors and whacked a witness, his homicidal granddaddy will take justice into his own liver-spotted hands. To salvage his case, his sanity, and his ex-lover’s velvety skin, Nick joins forces with the sassy crusader who rubs him the wrong way–and so many right ways too.
Together, they weather an explosion of murder, mayhem, mystery, & smokin’ hot romance …
Action bounces from the upscale Shore community of Saltwater Estates to a beach harboring washed-up corpses, a fancy yacht no honest preacher could possibly afford, and the bawdiest nightclub in Atlantic City. Hazards multiply like bunnies, culminating in fun, danger, romance … and a Fur Ball extravaganza the locals will never forget.
I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment, let me know you’ve read this post, tell me what you love to read.
In closing, my wish for you is that you have a wonderful summer, filled with love, peace, and joy.