As you may have gathered, this month’s theme is “What am I working on?” Easy peasy I thought when I read the topic. Ha! Nope. You see I’m buried between editing Slow Ride Home, Book 1 of my upcoming trilogy The Grady Legacy, and finishing writing book 2, No Accounting for Cowboys. Okay, technically I’m between edits on Slow Ride Home right now—I just finished the main edits and am now waiting for the copy edits (the punctuation/grammar/consistency edits) but I expect them back any time. Which means I’m busting my butt trying to get as much of NAfC done before they arrive. Oh and did I mention book two is due to my editor by the end of the month? So yeah, Leah’s been going loco lately.
Part of starting a new series is building the world, and then remembering all these new names and places. I’m at that age where my memory isn’t what it used to be when I was 30. So to stop me from having to scroll back to remember what “whatsisname’s” name is (yes, I actually write it that way in my first drafts) I write the detail down and stick it to a foam core board I’ve got hanging near my desk. (I had to change up a lot of them when both the hero’s name in book one changed from Tyler to Ben, and the entire family’s name changed from Montgomery to Grady. Of course both those changes happened after I’d written the manuscript so I still find myself accidentally typing the wrong name.) There are also notes about names of the ranch’s pastures, nearby (fictional) towns and bars’ names, oh and I’ve pinned inspiring photos (um, yes, there may be a few hunky shirtless cowboys) to that board too.
Then there are the colorful notes stuck to my monitor and my desk’s hutch. Those ones are filled with my favorite southern sayings like “Bless her heart” or “fixin’ to” to remind me how a southern character might think or speak as opposed to my Canadianisms.
There are more hand-written notes covering multiple pages of a flipchart behind me—I use those a lot when I’m first plotting character growth/arc, and the storyline. (Yes, I’m a die-hard plotter.) And I’ve jotted yet more notes on the white board behind my office door. (Though those tend to be more about the promo side of writing.)
To keep me in the Texas frame of mind, I play a lot of country music and have created Youtube playlists specific to each character–and discovered lots of new names, including Canadian country stars like Chad Brownlee and Jason Blaine. Did I mention my collection of cowboy hats mounted on Styrofoam heads staring down at me from on top of my hutch? (Although, while I love my hats, the heads are creepy when I’m working late at night.)
Oh, what’s The Grady Legacy trilogy about? They’re contemporary western romances – not erotic romances for me this time, though Angela James assures me Slow Ride Home is still sizzling hot.
When Slow Ride Home releases on November 11th, you’ll get to meet the eldest brother, Ben Grady as he struggles to save his family’s 71,000 acre Bulls Hollow Ranch with the reluctant help of Allie O’Keefe, an old high school flame who hates his—and his family’s—guts after her reputation is destroyed. In book 2, No Accounting for Cowboys, younger brother Jake Grady hooks up with Paige Reynolds, a motorcycle-riding bookkeeper who helps him get through tough times after more family secrets are revealed. (I can’t tell you much more about him yet without giving away secrets. But I’m loving his story.) And Wrangling the Past, book three is their half-sibling’s story as they come to terms with their new found family.
In the meantime, if I’m not around on Twitter or Facebook much, it’s because I’m buried in deadlines. And sticky notes.