Michelle Rowen

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How is it December already?

So, it’s apparently December. Yes, this is news to me too.

What have I been up to, you ask? Well, let me tell you….

Yesterday I hit page 220 of my THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC first draft, a  nice healthy number. I usually aim for about 350 manuscript pages. That’s roughly 85K or so. Anyway, I just hit 50K which means that I completed Nanowrimo successfully…ten days late. Oh well! November was more of a brainstorming and ramping up writing month and I really couldn’t push myself and write salvageable prose. December is when I’m bringing this puppy home. My personal 1st draft deadline is next Sunday. I think I can do it. Then I’m revising a spec project (ie: something I’ve written without a contract or any guarantee of publication just because my muse is pushy) between Christmas and New  Year’s and starting the second draft of TOBM in January.

Tomorrow is the holiday social for Toronto Romance Writers and marks the last month I will be President for this chapter. After that I go back to being a general member with no responsibilities…until I get bored and volunteer again, of course. ;-) It was definitely interesting and rewarding to be a board member for two years and I’d recommend it to anyone associated with an RWA chapter. It’s a great way of feeling involved and getting to know your chapter mates. I took on the reins as prez for two reasons, 1) because I wanted to give back to an organization I believed in, and 2) because I knew it would help me work on my confidence when it comes to public speaking.

It definitely got me started. I now feel rather confident when I get to be bossy and order people around and call attention to myself. :-) I love doing panels and answering questions and having a conversation with a group of like-minded people. I’ve realized what I don’t like to do is give speeches, talking AT a crowd, especially when I’m ill-prepared to do so. I need to feel extremely confident about the presentation and my subject matter before I get over my stage fright. As a writer I know if I’m in this for the long-term, I will inevitably be called upon to speak publicly, so I’m easing into it the best I can.

Next year I’m doing two workshops, both with my wing-gal, Eve Silver. She, unlike me, is endlessly excellent at public speaking, having previously been a teacher. But I’m learning. And now, after a year as President and the previous year as VP, I feel like I’m a little farther ahead than I was before.

Hmm. Wasn’t going to talk about that in this post, but there you go. Michelle Rowen is facing her public speaking fears and stomping on them like doubt weasels. Good times.

Anyhooo… the writing on THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC is going well. Things are always a bit shaky in the first draft and I have to continually remind myself that I always feel this way (stomp that doubt weasel) and that a first draft doesn’t have to be PERFECT right out of the gate. I love the movies that show the novelist sitting down at her desk, pen in hand, and writing with a smile on her face. Yeah, not so much. Some days are great and the words flow, but other days…it really feels like work. Which is exactly what it is. Once you start doing this gig for a living, it becomes less of an expression of art and loveliness, and more of a job. And nobody likes their job, everyday, do they? No they do not.

People are sometimes astounded when they learn how many books I’m producing at the moment (currently, it’s approx. four a year…next year’s looking like it could creep up to five). Quite honestly, that’s a bit more than I feel comfortable with writing in the long run, I think I’d feel really happy with 2-3, but when you’re writing for eight plus hours a day, sometimes seven days a week, you’re going to be producing pages. Lots of them. Currently I have very few distractions in the Rowenverse, which is good because I’m currently booked (Ha! A pun. Booked), through 2011 with contracts.

Following TOBM, which is due February 1st, I need to immediately start writing NIGHTWATCHERS #1 (specific title forthcoming), my exciting new YA for Harlequin Teen. On its heels, after it’s due May 1st, I’m jumping right into BLOOD BATH & BEYOND for NAL, which has been moved up from 2013 to have a nice, cozy Summer 2012 release date, which I’m extremely happy about. That’s due July 1st. Seems like a while off, but that’s a whole lotta books purging forth from my imagination on a rather tight schedule. Plus promo for the books I have releasing, editorial revisions, copy edits, galley proofs…. dude, this is a full time job. And then some.

And I’m totally fine with that, believe me. Obviously, I’m working this hard because I’m focused on having a book come out bigger than previous, hitting some major lists and helping take my career to the next level, and every decision I’ve been making lately (well, most of them) is with that solidly in mind. I’m really hoping that 2011 will take me closer to this goal, even taking the current dire state of publishing into consideration. Here’s hoping!

So I have lots of books on the burners, which is awesome, but I have three specific categories that I’m trying to adhere to so I don’t get too scattered and distracted. Who me?? Yes, me. I tend to get several ideas for new books weekly, so I need to keep myself focused.

My game plan:

1) Darker urban fantasy with romantic elements (allegedly very marketable at this time in the publishing world, plus this is my preferred genre for reading) — like NIGHTSHADE.

2) Young Adult urban fantasy with romantic elements (because I honestly LOVE LOVE LOVE this genre and I’m extremely determined (pigheadedly stubborn…say what??) to keep writing in it, thank you very much) — like NIGHTWATCHERS.

3) Light Paranormal Fiction (this, actually, is my natural voice, that fun and humorous women’s fiction feel that I love to write best of all and feels like home to me, but also with an edge of mystery and danger to keep it interesting) — like BLOOD BATH & BEYOND.

Unless my ideas fit into one of these categories, I file them away and try to ignore their siren-like call. TRY TO. I still have that sexy space romp that begs to be finished one day. Um, no. Not right now, dear.

Plus since I think always in continuing protagonist series — as opposed to different hero/heroine in each book — I need to structure my writing so the books are still individually satisfying. I’ve made the mistake once now to end things with a lot of questions left unanswered, with new books in the series not guaranteed. I swear on all that is holy I will try to never let this happen again. We live. We learn. We twitch.

So there you go. That’s what I’ve been up to and where I’m headed. And I still, quite honestly, can’t believe it’s already December…..

13 comments to “How is it December already?”

  1. Ash'o
     · December 10th, 2010 at 7:30 pm · Link

    Hey Michelle,
    It’s good to hear from you. It has been way tooooo long from your last post.

    I hope you have a nice Christmas.

    Ashleigh Whyte xx

  2. Tez Miller
     · December 10th, 2010 at 11:14 pm · Link

    I still have that sexy space romp that begs to be finished one day. Um, no. Not right now, dear.

    Damn, I would’ve wanted to read that!

  3. Michelle Rowen
     · December 11th, 2010 at 11:09 am · Link

    Tez… you and about a dozen other people would be the enthusiastic audience for that right now. Too bad. I love futuristic and sci-fi. Hopefully it makes a comeback in adult fiction one day soon.

  4. Ash'o
     · December 12th, 2010 at 12:02 am · Link

    After reading “The Demon in Me” I’m totally getting the second book of the series.

    Thanks for your awesome books and sexy characters. I’m dying to read more of your works. Have a nice day.


  5. Michelle Rowen
     · December 12th, 2010 at 4:51 pm · Link

    Thanks Ashleigh!! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  6. Ash'o
     · December 15th, 2010 at 8:07 pm · Link

    I’m totally looking forward reading “Nightshade’ and Bloodlust” just wondering are you planning to write the third book in the series.


  7. Tori
     · December 16th, 2010 at 3:22 pm · Link

    Michelle- I would also like to know if you have anymore plans for the character’s of Nightshade and Bloodlust. I remember you have that novella that takes place inbetween the two books….but is there any hope of a third book? Or is it too early to tell?

    Another thing: I’m in love with Eden and Darrak. Seriously, I’m loving it even More than Sarah- and that is a huge accomplishment because I never thought you’d be able to write characters I could care about even more than her, and yet, you have. I know you are writing the third book in the series…will that be the final book for their story? Will you be expanding with other characters? Say…a certain demon overlord? *evil wink here*

    I know, I basically asked the same question about two different series….but I just love your books so much!

  8. Tori
     · December 16th, 2010 at 3:23 pm · Link

    Oh, and sorry about having such a tight shedule…but only a little because the more you have to write….the more books by you I get to read:)

  9. Michelle Rowen
     · December 17th, 2010 at 1:53 pm · Link

    Ash’o and Tori… to early to tell on either of those. Of course, I would love to write long series of each of them, but it all depends on reader response and how popular a series becomes once it’s released. Currently, Eden will end at three books with an extremely solid ending, no cliffhangers. A side character (demon overlord? Mebbe. ;) ) seems very keen on having a couple of books to call his own, so we’ll see about that. Bloodlust also ends solidly, but with some questions left unanswered. I will definitely be writing a proposal for more Nightshade books in the next month or two but only time will tell if my publisher wants more. Fingers crossed! :)

  10. Ash'o
     · December 17th, 2010 at 9:33 pm · Link

    Well I do hope that Nightshade would be a series. Fingers crossed.

    Ashleigh Whyte

  11. Tori
     · December 20th, 2010 at 2:16 pm · Link

    Well, I can’t wait to read them either way:)

  12. Ash'o
     · December 20th, 2010 at 6:22 pm · Link

    I can’t wait either.
    Michelle is my number one favourite author. I loved her work. She never disappoints me.

    I hope everyone has a great Merry Christmas and a happy New Year :)

  13. Shelley Michael
     · December 24th, 2010 at 2:19 am · Link

    I’m totally looking forward reading “Nightshade’ and Bloodlust” just wondering are you planning to write the third book in the series. Ashleigh

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