Words Escape Me

thCAKDAQNYI’ve stopped writing. It’s not a joke. I wish it were, but I can’t think of a freaking thing to say. I’ve frantically read the posts about writer’s block, but seriously, they don’t pertain to me.

I’ve never considered myself to be a writer, so the advice doesn’t apply. Not an honest to God writer like, Norah Roberts or some of the other famous well-known romance authors. I DABBLE with words. They poured out of me when I could write. Not necessarily in a way that made sense, but at least they flowed through my fingers and ended in some makeshift form onto a page. Now, all I have is a blank screen. It’s been that way for weeks, and it’s beginning to freak me out.

Writers tell you to write every day. Sorry, but I’m sick of writing grocery lists or things-to-do lists. Does that count? Is it writing? It’s barely two-hundred words, certainly not the minimum twenty-five hundred words they recommend. I don’t have twenty-five hundred words in me.

Deep down, I knew this would end. I was an accountant. Accountants don’t write. They understand numbers, not words. At least now I have a cause for my dried up brain.

My writer friends try to encourage me. “Write anything,” they say.

“Like what? I can’t think of anything. That’s the problem,” I counter in despair.

“Write one sentence. It will come.”

“Okay.”

I open a new word doc and write, ‘Mary loves John.’ . . . I DON’T THINK SO.

“It’s not working,” I lament.

“Then read. It will inspire you.”

So I read. And I read. And I read. Great books and not such great books, but I read. All day. All night. I read until, my eyes blur, and I fall asleep clutching my Kindle.

It doesn’t help. I hate the authors. How dare they flaunt their talent in my face?

“Trust me, you’ll get it back. One of these days, it will be there.”

“Shut-up, you wench.”

I hear laughter. My friends find this amusing. They’re laughing at my distress. They are so not taking me seriously. But it’s better than the ‘tut-tut’ of sympathy.

“It’s back,” I lie. “I’m writing.”

“I knew you would. What’s it about.”

“It’s the best writing I’ve done, ever. It’s a secret.” More lies.

“Can’t wait to read it.” The ‘pat’ response to any writer. I’m beginning to see how fake some of these phrases are. No one can read that many books. Not even me, as I devour at least six a week; more if I don’t fall asleep.

“How’s it coming?” My concerned writer friends ask.

More lies. Always lies. I pretend I’m about to unveil the greatest book since the Outlander series took the romance world by storm. Instead of Mary loves John, I should start with; Claire loves Jamie. Maybe that would inspire me.

I disappear for days. Not literally disappear, but I am absent on social media and messenger. My lies begin to get to me.

I gradually make my way back. I miss the quizzes. You know, like; which house should you live in? Castle, if anyone is interested.

“Hi.” What else can I say? I throw it out there hoping they haven’t forgotten me.

“Hey,” I was worried about you. I called, but you didn’t answer. I thought you were probably deep into your manuscript.”

Oh, God! I must confess. “I scrapped it.” It’s better than saying it didn’t exist. A half-lie.

“Why?”

Outlander has already been written.” I start to laugh. Hysterically. Losing it.

“Oh my God! You need help. Write a blog.”

So I did.

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Book cover 9313 029Patricia Hudson was born in Wales, U.K. As a young girl she moved to America with her family and currently resides on a small horse farm in central Illinois, with her husband, David, two dogs, and her beloved quarter horse.
She has written seven books: Stolen Hearts released in 2013. The Call, Love on the Double T, Love’s Deception, and The Exchange to be published in 2014. Also in production are Bear Run and Jana Morgan, PI.
Join her on:
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPHudson
Tweet on http://www.twitter.com@AuthorPHudson
Read her blogs on https://patriciahudson1011.wordpress.com

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The Writer’s Angst

0511-1103-0212-0510Angst is a powerful word. I prefer it to worry, anguish or torment. It sounds like a word that belongs to the struggling…you fill in the blank. I can’t use angst to describe my emotions when I write. That word belongs to much loftier writers than I will ever claim to be. James Joyce was the king of angst. He spent days anguishing over just the right word for his sentence.

Regardless, I do suffer from angst, not while I write, but the minute I type The End. Angst attacks and invades my brain like a possessive demon. I totally fall apart. First, my angst questions the worthiness of my manuscript. It’s not good enough. No one will read it. Trash it, all thoughts that rage in my head. That’s when I turn to my critique partner who assures me that it’s great. Not great, as in the next great American novel, but great enough.

My next bout with angst comes when I submit my first three chapters to my publisher. Four weeks after my submission, I expect to hear back asking for the entire manuscript. I have a timeline. If they don’t meet it, I’m thrown into the depths of hell. “I knew it. They hate it,” I wail to my critique partner. An entire week of cake and cookies has passed, feeding my angst. I finally get the request for my manuscript, only to have angst strike again when I think they’re going to pass on publishing my work. I hate that phrase “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to pass at this time.” Does that mean they’ll take it next week? My angst doesn’t end until I have the contract in hand.

It’s over you say. No. It’s only begun. My next bout begins as soon as the final edit is returned to the publisher. I’m beginning to hate this book. Marketing…this is where angst grows to mammoth proportions. Selling myself is not high on my like-to-do list. I feel like a prostitute beating my drum for readers. I won’t even say it’s limited to Facebook because I’m all over the place. I stand on the corner of Twitter and WordPress if anyone’s interested. I do everything that’s required. I attend book signings. I tweet. And I blog. All creating greater angst.

And then, we have the rankings and reviews. Hours, days are spent dissecting these dreaded author haters. I stand in judgment as they strip me of my confidence. It’s only when I get a good review that I can raise my head and stare the beast in the eye.

The worst is when a friend or family member informs me that they’re reading my book. Angst goes through the roof when I hear this. I feign a contagious disease to avoid the holiday dinner. Anything is better than listening to them dissect the book I bled over.

Writing is a roller coaster of angst. It’s a good thing I like the word.

First published on Southern Writers Magazine: Suite T

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Book cover 9313 029Patricia Hudson was born in Wales, U.K. As a young girl she moved to America with her family and currently resides on a small horse farm in central Illinois, with her husband, David, two dogs, and her beloved quarter horse. She has written seven books: Stolen Hearts released in 2013. The Call, Love on the Double T, Love’s Deception, and The Exchange to be published in 2014. Also in production are The Circle, and Jana Morgan, PI. Join her on http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPHudson Tweet on http://www.twitter.com@AuthorPHudson
Read her blogs on https://patriciahudson1011.wordpress.com

Falling Out of Love With My Manuscript

Yikes! I pushed the send button. What was I thinking? It’s not ready. If I read it one more time, I know I can improve it.

Do all authors think these thoughts when they submit a manuscript? I do and more. Some I can’t share on a public blog site.

I’m what they call an early sender. I have to be. If I read my manuscript one more time, I’m going to send it to the trash bin. I’m sick of the characters, sick of the plot. What I knew was good after the third read, is now a boring mish-mash of uninteresting characters whom I hate. I really don’t care anymore if Ian and Gwyn get back together or if Bronwyn ever falls in love. Let them figure out their own problems.

It was suggested that I do a sequel. I laughed hysterically. “That means I have to read the bloody book again. I don’t remember the details.” I quipped to the person who knows me and my fickle nature.

I did end up writing a sequel. I loved the book for as long as it took me to write it. But like all the others, I fell out of love.

I’m very unfaithful. I’ve written nine books in two years. Thank goodness my personal life isn’t as chaotic. I assure you, I’m happily married and have been for thirty plus years. My infidelities only happen on paper.

I envy the writer who remains faithful to their novels. The author who remembers every detail, every kiss, every word spoken between the heroine and the hero. My CP can recite passages from her works. She remembers in detail what they wore, how they looked, how they felt.

If I’m asked about my books, I have to struggle to remember the names of the main characters. I often get my characters mixed up. Sarah is the horse trainer, not the Behavioral Psychologist for the Chicago Police Department. Her name is Kate or is it Angharad. No, Angharad is the witch.

Maybe, I should write sequels, the names would be easier to remember. Alas, that isn’t true either. I wrote the sequel using the wrong name for the antagonist and had to do a search to change the name when I discovered my error on the third read through. I wrote the wrong name fifty-one times. By then, I was clenching my teeth and rooting for her.

Today, I sent it off. Ready or not. It was either send or trash, and I chose send. The thought of Ian in the trash still hurt a bit.

I hope I’m not alone. I never hear anyone talk about their books in anything but the most loving terms. Don’t get me wrong, months later, I can remember them with fond, if not vague, memories.

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPHudson
http://www.twitter.com/AuthorPHudson
http://www.wordpress.com/patriciahudson
http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-patricia-hudson/

Books:
Released 2014
Stolen Hearts:
To find Stolen Hearts on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Hearts-ebook/dp/BooE3LMF71
Coming in 2014 by SoulMate Publishing:
The Call April, 2014
Love on the Double T May, 2014
Moody Gallery Summer, 2014
The Exchange September, 2014
Jana Morgan, P.I., The Case of the Mississippi River Murders

The ‘Write-aholic’ Intervention (1st Publication by: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com)

My family says I’ve changed since I’ve become an author. Not in the sense of becoming overly confident or proud. They say I no longer clean my house.

Ashley, my youngest, said to me over the Christmas Holidays. “Mom, Jennifer is very worried about you. There’s dust on the cabinet in the upstairs hallway. And cobwebs!”

Me:  “There’s cobwebs upstairs? I hadn’t noticed.”

Ashley: “That’s the point. You’ve never had cobwebs. You’ve never had dust. Maybe you should get a cleaning lady to clean your house.”

I look around at my home. It’s not that bad. Maybe a bit of dust here and there, but it’s presentable. Isn’t it? I’m retired. How do I justify a cleaning lady? When I worked as a Controller for a corporation in St Louis, I didn’t have a cleaning lady. My husband would think I’d lost it if I suggested I needed help to clean my house now that I’m home every day.

Me: “I don’t think that’s necessary. I’ll assign a day to cleaning.” That should take care of it.

Ashley: “You need to cook dinners for Dad once in a while.” She couched her words carefully. Maybe my husband was wondering if I was ever going to leave the computer.

My face fell. My husband comes home from work every evening and cooks dinner. I always offer to help just as soon as I finish the scene I’m writing. By the time I type the last word, dinner is on the table.

Me: “You’re absolutely right. I’ll cook every Thursday. It’s your dad’s late night.” I beam at her as if the one night solves the issue.

Ashley sighed and went on. “Maybe you can help him with the laundry.” My poor daughter was obviously uncomfortable, but had taken on the job of opening my eyes to my overzealous dedication to my new career.

Me: “Your dad likes to do the laundry. He’s always done the laundry.” By now, shame is written on my face. I hate to do laundry. Maybe there’s another trade-off. “I’ll do the grocery shopping.” I’m satisfied; it’s a good compromise.

Ashley: “Dad likes to do the shopping. He likes to buy things for the kids on his Sunday morning adventure to Wally-World.”

Me: I sigh. “He does, but he also likes to do the laundry.”

Ashley: “Maybe you can mow the lawn once in a while.”

Me: “I can’t use the zero-turn. I’ll mow down his trees.”

Ashley: “Mom, he bought you a riding lawnmower. It’s sitting in the barn.”

I have no answer for this. There is a miniature riding lawnmower sitting in the barn. The grandkids drive it around when they visit.

Ashley:  Adding a positive note to my write-aholic intervention. “Well, he is happier now that he doesn’t have to take care of the horses every day. At least you did that for him.”

Me: “Yes, he is. I’m glad I gave in and sold them and sent Juno to the trainer.”

Ashley finally stops talking. I know she’s beside herself having to be the one to give me the talk, but who else will do it. She’s the closest. She doesn’t intentionally want to make me feel like a horrible person, but I am a horrible person. At least when it comes to neglecting my family and squirreling myself away to write. And I’m married to a Saint. For years,   I thought I was the Saint, but who was I fooling. No one, but myself.

I promise to do better. That evening, my husband comes home, and I tell him I’m going to be a better person. I’ll cook and clean and mow the lawn.

Husband: “When are you going to write?”

Me: “I’ll fit it in.”

Husband: “Don’t be silly. You love to write.”

Without my husband, I wouldn’t be able to write as I do. I’m able to spend hours at the computer typing away, spinning dreams, creating heroes, but the biggest hero in my life walks through the door every evening and cooks me dinner.

To find Stolen Hearts on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Hearts-ebook/dp/BooE3LMF71

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPHudson

http://www.twitter.com/AuthorPHudson

www.wordpress.com/patriciahudson

http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-patricia-hudson/

Books:

Released 2014

Stolen Hearts

Coming in 2014 by SoulMate Publishing:

The Call    April, 2014

Love on the Double T   May, 2014

Moody Gallery   Summer, 2014

The Exchange   September, 2014

Writing the Love Scene or Not

How do you prepare to write the big love scene? Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who finds it easy. No inhibitions to hold you back. No pent up emotions or repressions. Free thinking parents who always called body parts by their real names. Parents who explained that love (sex) was a natural part of life. If you are, then I’m jealous.

I remember saying the word sex at the dinner table and my dad, who was the most loving father in the world, choked on his cup of tea.

My mother, also an adoring parent, never mentioned specific body parts. She would just point her eyes to that part of my body until I got what she was talking about.

When I heard the words spoken by friends, you can imagine my distress. They’re descent to Hell was a big concern.

Are you beginning to understand my difficulty?  Now here is where things really get weird. I am a CP for a wonderful writer of erotica in addition to her other genres. I hear you laughing. I didn’t know she wrote erotica until we’d bonded, and the thought of losing her was traumatic. She’s the best CP, ever.

She obviously knew my difficulty with love scenes. After all, she’d listened to me lament about them for hours. “Do you want to CP my book? It’s okay if you don’t. I understand.”

Maybe this was an answer. If I read graphic sex scenes, I’d build up a tolerance. A type of immunity to the chilling words. I’d read somewhere that if you do something over and over, you become desensitized.

I agreed to CP her book. I secretly thought I could skip the sex scenes and concentrate on the story. Erotic books are all about sex scenes. Did you know that? I was able to muddle through it and even give some good suggestions. She actually changed some of the scenes that didn’t make sense to me.

Now, to write my own scene. I was armed with knowledge, a blasé attitude, and the will to succeed. I can do this, I said with great determination. Right! Wrong.

Reading someone else’s sex scene is not the same as writing your own. My hands shook when my fingers tried to type the dreaded words. I really wanted to write a sexy scene. I put on some music. Michael Buble has some very sexy CD’s. I poured a glass of wine and gulped (not sipped) while I wrote. I made myself type the words. I sat back with a satisfied and tipsy grin on my face. Well done, I said. I’ll read it tomorrow with fresh eyes.

“April, I’ve written a sex scene, a real one.”  April is a pro at this. It always confuses me, because she is very shy. How does she manage to type the words and describe the act in such detail? I mean excruciating detail.

“Let me read it. E-mail it to me.” I copy and paste the best scene I’ve ever written into the body of the e-mail. I write that tongue-in-cheek.  I read it for a tenth time. It’s very sexy, I think, proud of my accomplishment. My finger clicks on the send button.

I wait, and I wait, and I wait. What’s taking her so long? Does she think it’s as great as I do? She’s probably stunned because I wrote such a graphic scene.

My computer dings. I have an e-mail. I can’t wait to hear her praise.

“It’s cute,” she writes. Cute, cute! What does cute have to do with a hot and torrid sex scene? Sexy, hopefully… Sensual, of course… but cute. Cute and sex do not belong in the same sentence. Even I know that. My head drops to the computer.

I let myself go and write the hottest scene of my writing career.

The next day I couldn’t wait to read my scene. I knew it was going to be sexy, romantic, and hot. I scrolled to the scene and began to read. My heart raced. I felt the flush creep up my body until my face burned with embarrassment.

Dear Lord, I can’t publish this. My fingers went wild deleting. What was left were two paragraphs of mish-mash.

I rewrote the scene.  Sigh, I doubt I’ll ever reach the level of sensual or hot.

 

To find Stolen Hearts on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Hearts-ebook/dp/BooE3LMF71

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPHudson

http://www.twitter.com/AuthorPHudson

www.wordpress.com/patriciahudson

http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-patricia-hudson/

Books:

Released 2014

Stolen Hearts    

Coming in 2014 by SoulMate Publishing:

The Call

Love on the Double T

Moody Gallery

The Exchange

My Breakfast With Emily

It’s six-fifteen in the morning and I crack open my left eye… just a bit. My granddaughter Emily is standing next to my hard, uncomfortable bed staring at me. I’ve spent the night at her house because we have Breakfast with Grandparents Day at her school. I want to know who scheduled a breakfast at seven-fifteen in the morning. Didn’t anyone tell them we’re old folks? Why not Mid-Morning Snack Day?

“Meme, you need to get up,” Emily says.

“I am. Just five more minutes,” I answer.

“Meme, are you awake?”

I lower my eye to just above bed level to see my grandson, Finnegan, staring at me. His dimples are deep which means he has a beautiful smile on his face. I can’t see it because my right eye refuses to open.

“Will you turn Jake on for me?”

“Where’s your mother?” I ask

“She telled me to ask you.” Finnegan answers.

I throw back the covers and sit up. Emily is dressed, but what is going on with her hair? It’s sticking out every which way. Her hair is curly and has a mind of its own. “Did you go to bed with wet hair last night?” I ask

“Mommy said it was bedtime and I didn’t get a chance to dry it completely,” Emily answers. “Yours looks the same,” she tells me.

I hurry into the bathroom and look in the mirror. It’s true. My hair is sticking out every which way. I run into the living room and turn on Jake for Finnegan. Emily and I stand in the bathroom running a wet brush through our hair. The result is not pretty.

My daughter appears at the door. “You need to get going, it’s seven o’clock.”  Where did the time go?  I run into the bedroom to throw on clothes. I’d brought my cashmere sweater and black slacks to wear. I didn’t want to embarrass Emily with my sweatpants and tee-shirt.  I pull them on and we run out the door. As I drive to the school, I pick off dog hair from my clothes. I touch my hair, which is damp and plastered to my head. Hopefully, it’s not a big turn-out.

I can’t find a parking spot. I watch dozens of grandparents, impeccably dressed, walk with their grandchildren into the school. I look down at my beautiful granddaughter who looks up at me and smiles. We both look like we’ve been caught in a rain storm.

There is a long line that winds down the hall. Emily and I stand at the end holding hands. She gives me up-close-and-personal stories of each kid that walks by.  There are a lot of interesting kids in Emily’s school. She’s going to be a writer and has learned to observe.

We finally reach the food. What food? We take our bowl of donut holes and juice to Emily’s classroom. Where’s the hot tea and bagel covered in a thick layer of cream cheese?

I pull up a tiny chair to her desk and sit. The grandmother opposite is decked out in her knit suit and pearls. Her hair is perfectly done.  Where did she get a life-size chair? She smiled at us and I grin back.

“My grandmother is an author,” Emily chimes. I pop a donut hole in my mouth.

The woman looks at me with new eyes. “Published?” she asks.

“Lots of books,” Emily brags. “She’s published.”  I look at my beautiful granddaughter and smile. In the tiny chairs, we’re at eye level.

Emily’s teacher comes over. “I’m so excited to meet you. I’ve never met a published author before.” Emily took my non child-friendly book to school to show her.

“I hope Emily didn’t get into trouble bringing my book to school.” I say.

She smiles. I like this teacher. “No, she told me she wasn’t allowed to open it.” I feel Emily’s hand slip into mine and I squeeze.

“Emily, why don’t you show your grandmother the library,” the teacher suggests. We get up and thread our way to the door. Along the way, we hear whispers, “She’s an author. She’s published.”

We walk into the library which is filled with spill-over grandparents all perfectly dressed.  I groan. Emily takes my hand and drags me around to look at the books. The librarian stands at her desk looking formidable. “This is my meme. She writes.” Emily announces to her.

“That’s nice,” she says. I can tell she thinks I write emails. I smile.

“She writes books.” Emily says.

The woman raises an eyebrow. “Published?” She asks. I nod. She peers at me and my crazy hair. “Please excuse the mess. I know some of the books are out of order. The children….” Her words trail off.

I’m not a librarian,” I console.

People are looking at Emily and me with our messy hair that sticks up every which way, but we smile at them. They stop us on the way through the library to ask about my books. Emily stands next to me looking up at me with shining eyes. I hold her hand.

It’s time to go and tears fill Emily’s eyes.  “I wish you could stay, Meme”

“I wish I could stay too, Emily.” I run my hands over her crazy curly hair and look at my beautiful grandchild. “I’m sorry my hair was a mess,” I tell her.

“That’s okay, meme. You write books.” She kissed me and walked into her class.

My heart is full.

 

To find Stolen Hearts on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Hearts-ebook/dp/BooE3LMF71

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPHudson

http://www.twitter.com/AuthorPHudson

www.wordpress.com/patriciahudson

http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-patricia-hudson/

Books:

Released 2014

Stolen Hearts    

Coming in 2014 by SoulMate Publishing:

The Call

Love on the Double T

Moody Gallery

My Roller Coaster Ride with Amazon

Do you have an Amazon author page? If not and you enjoy roller coasters, I suggest you get one. I count my pulse rate whenever I visit. It’s a great way to get the heart pumping.

There are days when the roller coaster is at the bottom of the incline and my heart plummets.

“I’m doomed,” I whine to my husband who is my greatest fan.

“Check it tomorrow.” We go through this once a week. “It will be better tomorrow.”

The next day I check it again. I know I shouldn’t. It’s barely moved.

“I’m flat lining!” I wail to my greatest fan when he comes home that evening.

“You are not dead,” he laughs. “It’s not going to change that quickly, unless you sell two hundred books in one day.”

I laugh hysterically at such a silly thought. “You’re right. I’ll wait for three days.”

The next morning I’m busy writing, but my fingers feel the itch. Just a quick peak, no, I’m waiting three days, I vow.

Somehow I survive the wait. My heart flutters in my chest. I pull up Amazon and follow the trail to my author’s page. There it is, taunting me, the tab for rank looming on the page. My mouse hovers. What if it’s lower? What if it hasn’t pulled me out of my near death limbo? I move the mouse away.

Maybe I’ll wait another day…who am I kidding? It’s a damn miracle I waited three! My hand creeps back. My finger presses the left button. I close my eyes before a graph appears. I visualize my ranking. I’m in the top one hundred! I burst out laughing at the insanity of my thought.

With my eyes closed, I push away from my desk and go to the kitchen to make tea. It seems cold in the house, so I check the thermostat. Apparently it’s just my lack of blood flow because it’s not far from 80 degrees in my house. The tea kettle whistles. Carrying my tea, I return to my desk. I can’t close my eyes or my tea will spill and scald me.  I try not to look, I really do. And then I buckle up for the ride, the dreaded ride.

My heart surges. That line, the one that brings me pain and joy is climbing. Yippee! My graph is moving! Sigh. I’m not dead. It’s adding another mountain to the drawing of the Alps I’ve got going. I’m on my way to the peak again.

“It turned,” I say to my husband as he walks in the door. No hello, how was your day, just, it turned.

“You knew it would. How many times have we gone through this?” How sweet. He said we. He shares in my pain.

For the next few days, I can check my Amazon page.  I know the routine. It will clamber up the mountain, and bring a smile to my face and a flutter to my heart.  But I know what’s coming. It will reach the peak, and you all know what follows. It takes the downward spiral to the depths of hell. And so it goes my roller coaster ride with Amazon.

To find Stolen Hearts on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Hearts-ebook/dp/BooE3LMF71

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorPHudson

http://www.twitter.com/AuthorPHudson

www.wordpress.com/patriciahudson

http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/meet-patricia-hudson/

Books:

Released 2014

Stolen Hearts    

Coming in 2014 by SoulMate Publishing:

The Call

Love on the Double T

Moody Gallery