Writing Process: Me, Me, Me!

I’ve been tagged! Tagged, that is, to participate in a blog hop for writers, which I think is actually supposed to be called “My Writing Process.”  But, you know, what fun is that?

Every Monday authors blog about their own writing process, using this format. This is definitely a multi-genre hop–so I feel like I fit right in!

(Except for the part where I somehow wasn’t included in the blog hop links, so…I guess I’m on my own.  But I did the blog, so I’m doggonit gonna put it up!)

PS We retrospectively figured that out!  Thanks to Susan Holmes, who did the hop a few weeks ago.

What am I working on?

Scent of DangerWhat am I NOT working on?  There’s a mystery just released in new tradepaperback and ebook formats–Scent of Danger, #2 in the Dale Kinsall & Sully Beagle series.  I’ve got #3 in the planning stages.

A hunky veterinarian, his irrepressible beagle pal, and a quiet Navajo colleague who keeps him guessing about her heart…what could be more fun?

c.lynx.destiny.SMI just delivered a Nocturne to Harlequin: ALPHA ENTANGLED, from the Sentinel series–it’ll be a quickie turnaround, and will be out in October.  And I’m currently developing a new series for them, the Querecho Wolves.  Shoot, I guess I’d better get up a web page for ALPHA! I don’t have a cover yet, so here’s the cover to February’s LYNX DESTINY.

Holly Faulkes has hidden from the Sentinels all her life–and now that they’ve found her, she can think only of escape from Lannie Stewart, the man assigned to bring her into the fold.  But only Holly can save the Southwest Sentinels from a clandestine new enemy–and only Lannie Stewart can keep her alive long enough to do it.

Reckoner RedeemedOther than that? I’m so, SO happy to be back to work on RECKONER REDEEMED, the third book in the Reckoners trilogy.  Originally published by Tor, the first two books were quickly orphaned, and now I have the rights back.  I’ll be presenting the trilogy with Author’s Cut versions to THE RECKONERS and STORM OF RECKONING, and thanks to the magic of Book View Café and The Knight Agency, will release RECKONER REDEEMED right along with them!  (That’s the currently planned cover…I’ll start working on the other two soon!)

“Ghosts, aliens, danger, romance, and a non-cat.  As Lisa McGarrity might say, what’s not to like?” –Anne Bishop, author of The Others series

Otherwise, I’ve got a big streamlining project under way in the office.  After seventeen years, I’ve withdrawn from web work so I can focus more tightly on my indie and traditional writing projects.  For the same reason, I’m in the final stages of withdrawing from the Backlist eBooks project.  Ooh, I loved both of those things!  But it was just too many different hats.  And I’m delighted to discover this all means I can downsize my office hardware…I’m making plans right now!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Early Morning Tracking

Early morning tracking (with invisible dog in the brush) in the Southwestern low transition desert

I think it’s all about where I’m coming from.  My background as a naturalist–in training, in log cabin living, in camping and hiking and dealing deeply with the natural world on an intimate level–means that I approach my fictional worlds not only with a deep respect for worldbuilding ecology, but in the practical aspects of life in ecology I’m building.

The other thing is the animals.  Because I’ve worked with them professionally and personally, I have an ongoing familiarity with them.  When I write horses, I’m not guessing what it’s like to ride for miles each day, and what it takes to keep the horse in shape, and all the small things horses do because they have their own minds; they aren’t cardboard cut-out creatures.  When I write dogs, I know the various breeds, how they behave, and how to make them real.  Because I’ve studied ecology and the natural world, I’m solidly grounded in the behavior of the wild animals–and shapeshifters–I write.

Other than that, I write eclectically.  The Nocturnes are very sensual books; the mysteries are not!  The fantasies have elements of suspense, lots of action, and more subtle underpinnings to their relationships.  Most of my work is filled with sly sense of humor (or occasionally an outrageous sense of humor) and strong female characters.  Wolverine’s Daughter, anyone?


Why do I write what I do?

Because I can’t NOT?  No, seriously.  No matter how many times I think I’ll write a book without animals, a cat or dog sneaks in.  Old Cat in the Kimmer books, Ciobaka in Kodiak Chained…never mind that I’m writing about shapeshifters in the first place!  And no matter how many times I go exploring other settings, it always comes back to a deep love of the wild parts of our world.

I write fantasy because I love the way I can create elements to shape my characters’ journeys.  I write romance because of course I do.  Life is about relationships, whether romantic or platonic or antagonistic; it would hardly be realistic if a book didn’t represent the spectrum.  (And yes, I have gay characters in my books.  It’s usually never a plot issue–it’s just part of life–so I’m usually the only one who knows.)  In the end, my books are about people finding themselves and finding each other; I just use different genres to provide different lenses for those journeys.

How does my writing process work?

c.e.dun.ladys.jess.200It depends on the nature of the project.

If it’s a completely self-generated project, then it starts with a moment in time for a character and a “what if.”  Or a sense of a character, and then I figure out how they became who they are–what events took them to that place. (Touched by Magic…)

Or else it starts with a dream.  (Dun Lady’s Jess, Barrenlands…)

If it’s an editor/market-generated project (because sometimes editors put out the word that they’re looking for this-n-that in a book), then I put the basic concept in my brainstorming machine and watch to see what comes up.  Ideas flitter around until I see one and stop everything and go YES.  THAT.

The process depends on the publishing journey, too.  Left to my own devices, I fiddle around with disparate pieces of background and plot (maybe), and then I sit down and write the book.  JESS, for instance, is something I simply wrote from front to back, completely discovering it as I went.  But other books–like Touched By Magic–have a lot of plot planning and noodling.  So I’m really neither pantser or plotter…I just do what the book demands.

But writing on contract can have different demands–synopses, chapters, etc.  So I write a synopses that’s as vague as I can make it (I don’t quite try to get away with “Interesting stuff happens here” but I’d try it if I thought it would work…), plunge into the first chapters, and then walk away to work on something else while the project is on submission.  This, I freely admit, is a really difficult process for me.  Once I immerse myself in a story, I want to keep discovering it!

(This is the part where I wrap up the blog with links to the next folks in line, which used to be a lot more graceful in presentation, but then I was dropped out of the loop and got rid of that stuff, and then I was pulled back into the loop so here it is, doggonit–Eva Pohler’s blog will be up on Monday March 24–and check out Mona Karel!  Hope you’re enjoying it all, even the obvious chaos!  [SmileyFace!] )

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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7 Responses to Writing Process: Me, Me, Me!

  1. Mona Karel says:

    Well dang if I’d known you would be so enthusiastic I would have asked you! Especially since several of my potential recruits haven’t been able to commit
    So much fun to read about your process, and about what’s up next. My answers will pop up soon, in response to another bloggers request. I like this idea enough to try to make it a weekly, what do you think? Now if I can wade through the steps for this to post!

    • Doranna says:

      I think a weekly would be fun, but…whew. Given how this one worked out for me, I’m not sure how that would go!

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  5. Mona Karel says:

    I just re-read Lynx. Sigh. Call me obsessive, and be done with it! A thought came to me, again, that the Sentinels need ‘seekers’ since they tend to lose track of people who fall off the radar. Is this what Holly’s going to do?

    • Doranna says:

      Nope, but it certainly seems like someone should, doesn’t it? La la la

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