Happiness is Finishing a Book

I love finishing something because I so rarely do. Very good at starting things, finishing not so much, which is why Bob Mayer is a godsend. He finishes EVERYTHING. Of course, now I’m moving into OMG-is-it-any-good????-territory, but still. Rocky Start is finished and that’s a huge relief.

What made you happy this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, July 4, 2024

For those of you in the US, happy Fourth of July. For those of you not in the US, be grateful. We’ll have more idiots setting themselves on fire today than any other day of the year. Plus loud noises. Because loud noises are very patriotic. Just look at Trump. You know what would be a good way to celebrate American independence? Sane legislators and justices. I loved Australia and New Zealand when I was there. Maybe it’s not too late to move. That might explain why, instead of reading anything other than the three books we’re writing, I’ve been rewatching the Brokenwood Mysteries. Very comforting.

So what did you read this week?

Working Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Yes, I screwed up again, but at least this time it’s still Wednesday. I’m working on the last pass on Rocky Start–it is formatted and ready to go, thank Bob–and a structural and thematic edit of Very Nice Funerals, and organizing some of the brainstorming we’ve been doing on The Honey Pot Plot, so I am working. A lot.

What have you been working on?

Happiness is Not Sucking

The beginning of a book is fun. I write a bunch of different scenes and think I’m brilliant and have all these IDEAS, and Bob writes stuff and it’s great and gives me more ideas and I’m just flying. And then we get into the weeds and I panic because we’re writing two different books and I have NO idea what my part is about and I don’t have my character yet and my stuff is all flat no layers and I tell myself I suck as a writer and Bob’s going to have to get us through this. And then he talks me off the ledge and we keep going and then, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth and despair of spirit, I can suddenly see the book. And it’s good. And that’s when I start glomming on to details and adding more, and finding the layers. There’s a whole book there, but there’s so much more that I didn’t see before that’s suddenly just blatant, and the book is wonderful, and Bob is a god among men, and MY GOD I’M GOOD AT THIS.

Happiness is getting close to the end and realizing you don’t suck after all.

How did you find happiness this week?

Writing the Second Book in a Series OR “Previously on . . .”

One of the many things that’s difficult about writing a series is that each book has to stand alone, so you have to set up the stuff from the first book at the beginning of the second. But you can’t just lay it out there, that’s boring for the reader who HAS read the first book. The opening of the second book in the Rocky Start series begins with my heroine being significantly annoyed with the hero because he’s leaving her, which of course he has every right to do. Or as she puts it, “You know what I hate? I hate being mad at somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong. It makes me look bitchy.”

And that’s a worry for me, too, because she’s repressing a lot of anger in the first two pages (as she recaps briefly what’s gone before) because she knows she shouldn’t be angry BUT SHE IS. Nobody likes a bitchy heroine. So here’s the first paragraphs of Very Nice Funerals. Tell me in the comments if you think she’s too awful or if you think the recap is too heavy handed.

Continue reading

This is a Good Book Thursday, June 27, 2024

First an apology about Working Wednesday: I didn’t realize it WAS Wednesday until too late to post. So I’m putting GBT up early and it can be a twofer: working and reading.

And then Good Book Thursday: I have read nothing but miscellaneous stuff on the net and my own (and Bob’s) prose this week, so I have nothing to share except that Terry Pratchett never fails, Ben Aaronovitch is always a good bet, Martha Wells’ Murderbot is fabulous, Michael Gilbert never wrote a bad word, without Georgette Heyer Bridgerton would not exist, Dick Francis is always a winner, Elle Kennedy owns New Age romance, Mhairi McFarlane is the way I want to fall in love in London, Loretta Chase is the belle of the book ball, Anne Stuart for dark heroes, and Bob Mayer is the best in thrillers. Except for the zombies.

What do you recommend this week? (Or not.)

We’re Romancing the Vote, 2024

The Romancing the Vote folks are putting up their 2024 auction July 1-5 (that seems right, they’re working to guarantee voting rights for all), and they asked if I’d critique again. The person I critiqued for last year did not like the feedback I gave her–I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but sometimes I lack tact–so I figured a new approach might be in order.

Yes, Argh, I’m making Bob Mayer collaborate with me on the critique this year. Here’s what we’re doing:

“NYT Bestselling authors Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer have written six novels together (and many more apart) so by now they know how to analyze a work of fiction and discuss it in detail. That’s what they’re offering here. Each author will read the manuscript and do a short written critique outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Then they’ll go into a chat room and talk about the book in depth, analyzing it and possibly changing each other’s minds about their critiques. (It happens.) The writer will get two short critiques and the exported discussion of the book which will probably be lengthy. Please be warned: Bob is a fiend about plot and Jenny lives or dies on character, so the critiques will be vigorous and soul-destroyingly honest (they suggest drinking before reading) and their conversation about your book will be equally frank and tactless. If you are a sensitive plant, this probably is not for you.”

Starting bid is $100 because we’re arrogant enough to think we’re worth it.

So . . . this should be interesting.

Oh, and there are a TON of other great things up for auction, book baskets and crafts and yes, critiques by other writers. That’s July 1. Go and bid on something for democracy, it needs all the help it can get in this election. Thank you very much.

Happiness is Sending Really Good Gifts

There’s an entire set of Terry Pratchett hardcovers that have the most beautiful covers, and my grandchildren, who are of course brilliant, love Pratchett, so I hit my savings and sent the entire set to them. Mollie sent a picture of Emmylou unpacking them, and she was so beautiful and so happy and it made me so happy. I have boxes of gifts I have to send to Krissie and Bob, too, and while Bob will not be as enthralled–Bob doesn’t enthrall–I know Krissie will chortle once I finally get everything to her. That’s actually better than getting gifts. Other people chortling when they open boxes from me makes me happy.

What made you chortle this week?