Monday, March 3, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour: One Writer's Way

This week I'm part of a Writing Process Blog Tour, so I figured I'd share my post here with our R8 audience as well as on my own blog at At the end of this post, you'll see that I tag three other authors who will post about their writing process next Monday on their own blogs, thus continuing The Writing Process Blog Tour! Please follow them as they tell their tales.

A   T H A N K   Y O U  T A G

Thank you to the talented Evie Owens for tapping me for The Writing Process Blog Tour, a tour where authors talk about their process and why they write what they do. Evie Owens writes paranormal romance set in the real world. She likes to create worlds where you actually believe the hot guy next door can speak to dead people. And she does it oh so well with a twist and flare all her own. Believe me, you don't want to miss her hot stories! The Psychic Detective, a novella that's part of the Once and Forever anthology is available now, and her YA paranormal, Witch Boy, will be out soon.

To learn more about Evie, read her post from last week at:

M A C K E N Z I E   L U C A S

What am I working on? 
I'm always working on multiple projects, because I get bored and need to switch gears often. However, since Essence my contemporary romance published with Soul Mate Publishing debuted in January, I've been focused equally on writing and promotion. Last week I completed a month-long virtual book tour. It was a fun tour, where I interacted with readers at every stop. And a few days after I finished that blog tour, I hopped on another to promote my Dragon Shifters of Derkesthai Academy series. The newest book out is From This Day Forward, also released in January.

As far as new writing projects go, I just finished final edits on an anthology piece called Matchmaker's Moon about a matchmaker who doesn't really believe in love but who is given a second crack at finding true love when her ex comes back to town.

I'm also editing my next full-length contemporary romance novel, called Every Heart Sings. It's the story about a rock star who's lost his way and the small-town community that helps him find his way back to the heart of his music. Bring in one heroine with an aversion to anything that smacks of the entertainment business and who is determined to run interference for her music-crazy nephew and you have enough trouble to keep everything hopping on this small North Carolina island.

I just started writing the first draft of my next category length (50,000-word) contemporary romance, Tricks. This is the story of a national snowboard champion who must face her biggest fear to qualify for the next Winter Olympics. Sparks fly when she encounters small-town police chief and SAR first responder, Eli Scott, when he's forced to rescue her during a freak blizzard.

Finally, I'm working on a new adult erotic romance called The Boy Next Door. When twenty-one-year old Gwen Sanders comes home, she wants only one thing . . . to get the attention of Brody Thompson, the boy next door, who she's secretly loved since she was sixteen. She'll do almost anything to find out what the sexy recreational sports tour guide does with his clients at his clandestine monthly Barn Bash. She's about to find out. One way or another.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
There's a lot of excellent contemporary romance out there. I love writing stories set in small-town communities where a quirky cast of characters gets involved in bringing two people together. My stories are also hot. I don't close the bedroom door. I love lots of sexual tension and steamy sex in my books. And, there's usually one protagonist who is trying to overcome or heal a past wound. Often, that protagonist's love interest is integral in helping him/her complete that process.

The tagline I've claimed for my brand is "contemporary and paranormal romance with heart and passion." Even in my paranormal romance, you'll find the same familiar contemporary romance tropes I employ in my contemporaries. There's a huge overlap. The only difference is that in my paranormal romance you'll find a touch of magical realism along with the small-town contemporary romance.

Why do I write what I do? 
I'm a small-town girl. Born and bred. I now live in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I miss the small-town way of life. It's amazing to me how much we crave community today. And I think that's why lots of readers love small-town-based contemporary romance. I know it's why I read it. I'm looking for characters who connect with their neighbors and learn how to navigate the sometimes sticky ties of dysfunctional family life. As always, I'm writing stories I want to read, because I always run out of titles and good authors to read.

How does your writing process work?
I’m what they like to call a Plan-ster. I do some initial planning, then I’m a pantser--I wing it. I know at least one character when I start out. I know the opening scene, and I know the ending. I usually plan a few high points between, but other than that, that's all I know when I get started. I enjoy the discovery process that comes for me during the creative writing of a story too much to worry about planning out every little detail of my book first.

So what I usually do is I come up with the core concept of the story and write a little blurb about it, combining a Michael Hauge and a Bob Mayer type of process. Once I have my short paragraph--maybe twenty-five or so words. I’ll come up with a list of plot points. Things I know need to happen in my story from beginning to end. It’s everything I know about the story. It can be in order, or it can be out of order, it doesn't matter. At times I've done this on the computer then printed the plot points out and taped them onto individual index cards. That way, I can shuffle the points around and move them as I need. These are the tent poles, as Jenny Cruise calls them--the plot points that hold up my story.

When I have my plot points written down. I sit and write an in-depth character sketch of my main characters, usually the hero and the heroine. So that I begin to get to know them. Understand their motivations and backgrounds and wounds. Something I've recently added to my process is that I write down each of their arcs. Where they are at the beginning of the story and where they are (usually emotionally) by the end of the story. This way, I know how they change. I may not yet know what changes them. But I see them at the beginning and the end. I've also begun to note the arc they have in their relationships with others beyond the main character. Say, for example, the arc my heroine has with her grandmother who is a secondary character.

Then, it’s time to begin writing in earnest. I open my word document (or sometimes Scrivener) and I begin … Chapter One. The beauty of my process is that it works for me (for now). Every book is a little different. And, sometimes, the process changes slightly. But I get down everything I know first. Then, I begin to write from one known point to the next, and as I do, fun and interesting things pop up to make my story richer and bring it alive. This is the part I love. It’s the dating phase. The discovery phase where we know each other well enough to go out and share a meal, but as we sit and have a conversation, we find hidden depths and fall just a little more in love with each other. So that by the time I’m finished with the story, there’s not a nuance I don’t know about the story I've just told.

T A G G I N G   T H R E E   O T H E R   A U T H O R S

Thanks for stopping by today to read about my writing process. Now it's my turn to tag three other authors to talk about their process and why they write what they do. Let's send The Writing Process Blog Tour viral, make sure you continue to follow these authors' posts next Monday--March 10, 2014--to learn more about them and find a whole host of new books to read! Here's who is up next:

 M I S H A   C R E W S

MISHA CREWS has been nominated for the Bronte Prize for Romantic Fiction and Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Book Award for her romantic suspense novels that perfectly blend romance and mystery while providing a twist on timeless tales of home and heart. She writes heart-warming stories set in small towns where intrigue and suspense intrude on her characters' lives. Her novels include: Still Waters, Homesong, and Her Secret Body Guard. She's written novellas for A Spirited Season and for At the Cafe and Other Stories.

Check out Misha's blog post on her writing process at:

M E G   M I M S

MEG MIMS hails from Michigan and is an award-winning writer of the western mysteries Double Crossing and Double or Nothing. She's one-half of the D.E. Ireland writing team, whose series of cozy mysteries will be published by St. Martin's later this year. Meg has also written two successful Christmas novellas, Santa Paws and Santa Claws.

Learn more about Meg's writing process by visiting:

N I K K I   H O P E M A N

NIKKI HOPEMAN writes a fascinating blend of horror and mystery. Her debut novel, Habeas Corpse, is about a zombie forensics technician forced to turn amateur sleuth when an alarming series of murders threatens his community and everything he stands for. She's also published an intriguing horror short story called "Blackbird" in the Mistresses of the Macabre anthology.

To find out why Nikki writes horror and mystery, check out her blog post at:

H O W   A B O U T   YOU?

So if you're an author, what's your process and why do you write what you write? If you're a reader, tell us what kind of stories you love to read and a few of your favorite authors, and why you love to read those stories!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great post, Mackenzie. I can see that small town girl in your work, but also that dazzling sophistication of the big bad world of reality. And Essence was really hot, and totally involving. Good luck with the new work. It all sounds great...and kudos to you for your productivity. I'm feeling lazy just reading about it!

  2. It's always interesting to find out how other writers organize their work whether you're a newbie or published writer. You gave me some inspiration on how to plan out my new book. Thanks!

  3. Emelle ~ You, my dear, are anything but lazy. You are a marketing genius. I'd give anything to have half of your energy! And your books (Secret Sister, Duets, and Molly Harper) are amazing! We all do what we can the best we can. Thanks for stopping by to comment today!

  4. Beth ~ Yes, I always find an author's process fascinating. I know we're all very different and each of us has a way of doing what we do that is specific to us ... but it's always nice to keep tweaking and adding to our process to make it better. I like to think of it as refining over time, like a good wine, it gets better and better!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. It seems we have very similar regimes. I, like you, know the beginning and the end and as I write the journey unfolds. I've recently stumbled across a program called Scapple and I've been using it to brainstorm on my current WIP. I think it might become a very effective tool.

  6. Diane ~ Yes, I think our process is similar. Scapple does look good. For those of you who have not heard of it, the software is put out by the same people who created Scrivener and it allows you to keep track of all the threads in your story to see the connections. It's a very visual program. Or can be. Looks like a very cool tool to use to brainstorm and map your story.

    Thanks for stopping by to comment today, Diane!

  7. How fun is this?!? I love to learn how writers write. Thanks, Mackenzie, for keeping the conversation going. And thanks to Evie for tapping you to be part of this fun tour! I can't wait to see Misha, Meg, and Nikki will have to say.

  8. Thanks, Nichole for commenting! Appreciated. Yes, it is fun to see how other authors do it, isn't it? Be sure to check on Misha, Meg, and Nikki next week! I'm sure they'll all have fun & interesting things to say, too. ;0)

  9. You're welcome for the tag, Mackenzie! But just reading about what you're working on makes me tired. :-) I need a nap now!

  10. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Evie! You know what they say about active minds ... need to keep them busy. Yeah, most days I need a good nap, too! ;0)

  11. Love this Writing Process Blog Tour! What a great concept!

    I write paranormal romance primarily because I like to explore what makes us tick as human beings. One way to do that is to examine how "human" paranormal characters really are. They have issues, wounds, triumphs. They love, hate, hurt, and forgive. For me, the paranormal "other" is a lens through which I can reveal the human heart.

    Plus, Mackenzie? The cover for From This Day Forward? Smokin'!

  12. Thanks, Keely. Yes, I do love knowing why authors write what they do. And I agree with you, writing paranormal allows you to expose the "above" normal of the human heart. Great insights. Thanks for posting.

    And thanks for the cover leer! ;0)