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So, You Want To Write A Novel

So, You Want To Write A Novel

What Is NaNoWriMo?

I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo so long, it surprises me how many people out there have never heard of it.

nanowrimo logoThe name stands for National Novel Writing Month. It began as a challenge hosted by the Office of Letters and Light to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. The key was, kill your inner editor and just write, and was intended to spur a lot of wannabe novelists into becoming actual novelists. It’s a no holds barred, mad dash take on novel writing. It’s terrifying the first time you do it, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating, but absolutely exhilarating to win at.

A lot of people ask me, so what do you win? And I say, “At the end I have a first draft of a novel; that’s what I win.”

2 Ways Camp NaNoWriMo Is Different From Regular NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo happens in April and July and embraces the same breakneck approach to noveling with little more leeway. Here are the two ways Camp differs from November NaNo:

  1. Pick your project: Camp Nano is open to more than just novels. You can write a script, a picture book, book of poetry, etc
  2. Variable wordcounts: You can pick the standard 50k or you can set yourself a more personal word goal (from 10k-999k)

2014-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Why Should You Try NaNoWriMo?

Back in 2012 I told a friend of mine about Nanowrimo, partially so that she would keep me accountable. At that point I’d been trying to win nano for years without ever succeeding, but this was the first year I tried it during the summer and I hoped that with a less hectic schedule I might succeed.

Anyways, my friend looked at me and said, “I’ve always thought I’d like to write a novel. But I don’t have time.” (She’s a full time teacher and November is a terrible month for adding on extra projects.)

I said to my friend, “Why don’t you just try nano with me? We can keep each other accountable. And then if you win, you’ll have finally written a novel and you can stop saying you want to write one.”

The Duality Paradigm by Lia CooperShe agreed to my proposal and so in the month of June (this was when they were trying June/July as a camp combo) we met regularly, brainstormed, tossed ideas off one another, nagged each other about our word counts and eventually, finished writing 50,000 words each. Neither of our novels were actually complete but this marked a milestone for both of us. We weren’t just people saying we wanted to write a book, we were two people who had written books (or most of 2 books. I have since finished my original nano novel, which became The Duality Paradigm (available on Amazon), and my friend went on to write another children’s books the next summer.)

Camp NaNoWriMo is a great way to ease yourself into writing, especially if November is a bad month for you like it is for my friend.

I’m a firm believer that you can’t wait for the muse to inspire you. That may work in the ideas stage of writing, but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of putting a whole novel on paper, you’ve got to be disciplined enough to sit down at your keyboard every day and write. Nanowrimo is a great way to teach yourself how to do that. If you’re just starting out, 1667 words a day sounds like a lot and, believe me, it is a lot. But the feeling of reaching your goal every day and being able to type The End on a 200 page manuscript—well, that’s the whole reason we say we want to write, isn’t it?

The Road To Camp 2014

In March I’m going to be talking about the preparation that goes into writing a novel and getting ready for camp. Then in April, I’m going to share with you updates about my progress. This year, my April camp goal will be 85,000 words and I’ll be writing the third Blood & Bone novel. I’ll also be editing the second book (The Convergence Theory) in anticipation of releasing it in June.

I hope you decide to stick around and see how my progress goes and I hope that if you’ve ever said “I want to write a novel” you take this chance as the kick in the pants to make good on those words.

Planning to write something for camp? Tell me about it in the comments! Or follow me on twitter to chat and stay up to day.

Call For Beta Readers, The Convergence Theory

Call For Beta Readers, The Convergence Theory

So, peddle to the medal, I’ve been pushing myself to finish writing Blood & Bone Book Two: The Convergence Theory (the sequel to my debut novel The Duality Paradigm).

When I was writing TDP I had a hard time finding beta readers because very few of my irl friends read M/M fiction–scratch that, NONE of them read it :(((( But it occurs to me that there might be a few of you who read this blog who, you know, DO like M/M fiction and may be here because you read TDP and enjoyed it?? maybe?

So, I’m going to put out an open call for beta readers for Book Two, to read during April/May, and offer feedback/concrit, chat with me about the book, and write reviews if you felt so inclined.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in participating in, fill out the form below and I will get back to you 🙂

Lia’s WIP Corner: A First Look At “The Convergence Theory”

Lia’s WIP Corner: A First Look At “The Convergence Theory”

If you follow this blog you might have noticed my (many) posts about The Duality Paradigm, a book I published at the beginning of February (my debut novel!!). Duality is the first book in the BLOOD & BONE Trilogy, which is my focus this week in Lia’s WIP corner.

Wolf_Canis_lupus_laying_in_grassThe Blood & Bone Trilogy takes place in a not-too-dissimilar Seattle where magic and the supernatural rub elbows with the mundane. The protagonists, Detectives Ethan Ellison and Patrick Clanahan, could not be anymore opposite. One is a magician, one is a werewolf—one is an unapologetic slut, the other is waiting to find his soulmate. But a human murder in disputed werewolf territory means that the two have to work together to find the killer before the story leaks to the general population and all manner of hell breaks loose. It isn’t long before sparks fly between the two and nothing in their lives will ever be simple again.

You can read the first chapter of The Duality Paradigm here on my blog.

First Look: Blood & Bone Book Two

The second book in the BLOOD & BONE Trilogy—The Convergence Theory—follows Ethan and Patrick as they try to deal with the emotional fallout from Duality while investigating a series of break-ins, grave desecrations, and murders. The full chapter will be posted to this blog on April 1st so check back for that. In the meantime, I’m going to give you a sneak peak:

A wizard is a self-contained unit. These pagans will try to fill your head full of balance and nature and threads. They’ll try to tie you down with their tree hugging morality. Don’t let them. Your magic is here, between your eyes, and in the strength in your hands and under your tongue. It is inside you, not in anyone else.

~ Alexandre Pelletier to his son Ethan, age 5

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Branches snapped, bones crunched and then were ground underfoot. Blood, which is a very precise science, sprayed out like water from a garden hose. And it was difficult to tell, as the mud churned beneath their feet, where one furry body turned into another. Where he should grip and aim and kill. He was terrified to get it wrong.

Panic: a helium filled balloon that rose up in his throat and choked him.

Yelps, barks, and snarls rang out but he was frozen in indecision.

Power surged through him and fizzled when he cut it off, held it back. He screamed in his own head at his own indecision, but he didn’t act.

He didn’t act.

And the wolf’s back broke.

But that’s not how it happened.

##

For people who have read The Duality Paradigm, you know that I promised the sequel by Fall 2014. This is a very conservative release estimate. My hope is actually to have it ready for publication this summer with a mid-summer release of the third book. I know I left you with a cruel cliff hanger so I’m working hard to get the rest of the series written. If you have any questions about Duality, please feel free to ask them (here on my blog, through goodreads or amazon) or email me.

Lia’s Upcoming Book Projects

My novella The Source & The Wire is temporarily on hold while I focus on the Blood & Bone Trilogy but I’ll be getting back to that story hopefully by the end of the summer.

Burne-Jones-le-VampireI also have a series of connected novellas I’m going to be working on this fall. The collection is tentatively titled A Date With The Night and will feature 3 stories about complex relationships between humans and the supernatural, D/s kink, and seduction. The first story will follow a series of one night stands between Henrik—a vampire hunter—and Isabella the vampire queen as they struggle against their mutual attraction and their instincts to take one another out.

2014’s Publishing Schedule–More Details To Come!

  • Blood & Bone Book Two – June 1st

  • Blood & Bone Book Three – August 1st

  • The Source & The Wire – September 1st

  • A Date With The Night #1 – October 10th

  • A Date With The Night #2 – October 30th

  • A Date With The Night #3 – November 15th

  • ADWTN Omnibus – Early December

Quick Reminder

My short story Ava, Sublime is FREE on kindle today and tomorrow! So, if you’re looking for something short, tense and hot to read over the weekend, check it out 😉

Lia Cooper’s 10 Reasons To Love Scrivener

Lia Cooper’s 10 Reasons To Love Scrivener

Scrivener is a program created by the folks at Literature & Latte for and with writers in mind. Let’s look at the Top 10 Reasons I love Scrivener and why you may love it too.

*click on any of these images to see a larger version

  1. Scene Construction—Scrivener rethinks how we create written documents. You’re probably familiar with how Microsoft Word (and just about every common writing program) formats documents: linearly. If you write books or short stories, you know that they are generally not one continuous scene, they’re composed of many scenes which are perhaps grouped together by chapters and further grouped by parts. Scrivener embraces this structure by turning scenes and chapters into discreet units all within the same document. Click on a scene and Scriv opens just that scene in the main view window, click on a chapter and view every scene in that chapter in a continuous scroll. This allows you to navigate through your story much more easily and quickly than you can through a Word document and lets you rearrange scenes or chapters as simply as dragging and dropping them into order.Scrivener Binder Scrivener Binder
  2. The Binder—This feature (generally the default column on the left when you start up Scrivener) lets you organize your manuscript, characters and research. The manuscript folder is generally listed first, this is your main writing folder in the project. Underneath it you’ll find other folders for Characters, Settings, and Research notes, which allows you to easily navigate around your manuscript and between the main story and your notes.Scrivener Scenes and Chapters
  3. Project Targets (Project >> Show Project Target)—I’m a visual person and I love Project Targets in Scriv. Set the project total, give yourself a deadline (Example: November 30 if you’re doing NaNoWriMo), and set your daily word count goal. There’s nothing quite like watching that progress bar turn green to motivate you to meet your daily goal!Scrivener Project Targets
  4. Active Statistics Bar—This word count and page bar found at the bottom of the main view screen adjust depending on what you have opened in the main screen. So if you’ve selected the entire manuscript it will show you your total word count and then if you click on a single scene it will adjusts to show you the pages/words for just that portion of the book. As someone who often likes to regulate the ebb and flow of my word count across chapters and scene for pacing this feature saves me having to highlight portions of the story to check word counts.stats bar
  5. Revision Mode (Format>>Revision Mode)—I just started using this feature a couple months ago when I began working on a second draft of The Source & The Wire, which requires several extensive rewrites and a lot of tense corrections. Click the revision (my screencap shows revision in red for First Revision) and then start editing your document. Everything you change or add to the document will now show up in red so you can see and track the changes you’re making. You can also assign different revisions different colors. Once you’re satisfied with all of your revisions click Remove Revisions and everything will turn black.Scrivener Revision Mode
  6. Corkboard—There are 3 primary ways to view your Scriv document: Scrivenings (this is a composite view of all the text files), Corkboard and Outliner.viewtypes

    The Corkboard view breaks down the parts of your story into notecards which you can arrange visually and write summaries for. This is a great feature if you are used to outlining by hand in real life.

    Scrivener Corkboard

  7. Outliner—Outliner is another way of getting an overview of your story. You can click a drop down menu (see screencap) to pick which pieces of information you need for each chapter/scene. I usually just pick Word Count Total so that I can monitor how many words are in each chapter and in each scene within the chapters.Scrivener Outliner Mode
  8. Page/Layout View—One of the things I hate about Google Docs is how it’s one continuous document and doesn’t split things up into pages visually. I have a hard time typing into a continuous white space that fills an entire screen. Toggling page view (found in the Default Menu Buttons at the top on startup) lets me switch the main view screen to breakup my document visually into how it would look on a printed page. If this kind of view doesn’t work for you, you can leave it on its default setting.Scrivener Page Layout View
  9. Split View—Have you ever needed to write a scene while referencing a different scene or conversation that appeared earlier or later in the document? In Word it’s a pain in the butt to scroll between two different portions of a document. In Scrivener you can split your screen (View >> Layout) horizontally or vertically and set each window to a different part of the manuscript (or your research) and type into either window.Scrivener Split View
  10. Compile—Last, but not least, Scrivener comes with a basic built-in compile feature that lets you export your Scriv file in a number of formats. It also gives you many many options for how you what that export to look. You can use Compile to turn your document into epubs and mobi files with working table of contents, front matter, basic meta data and even covers. This is great if you want to self-publish.Scrivener Compile

These are just a few of the features in Scrivener—there are hundreds more. But I can tell you I use just about every single one of these features every single day when I’m writing or editing. Scrivener was designed with novel writing in mind and I think if you give it a shot, really embrace its scene and binder structure, you’ll realize just how powerful and intuitive it is. I would never go back to using Word or a similar program to write.

Do you use Scrivener? If so, what’s your favorite feature?

Interested in trying Scriv? Check out the free 30 day trial and let me know what you think of it!

Disclaimer: I’m not getting paid to say any of this or rec Scrivener; everything in this post is just my opinion.

Free Book 1 Day Only (Contemporary erotica)

Free Book 1 Day Only (Contemporary erotica)

Quick announcement to let you all know that my new novellette Ava, Sublime is available for free on Kindle February 14th (and February 14th only!).

Free book by Lia CooperAva, Sublime is a complex short that navigates a critical moment between the heroine, Ava, and the two men she is sleeping with.

Blurb:

It isn’t always easy to know what you want and what you need.

Ava Novak thought she had her comfortable life figured out. She had a job roasting coffee that she loved and a simple sexual arrangement with Brenden and Patrick. What more could a woman want? But a change in their dynamic sends Ava down a path of serious soul searching while she tries to come to terms with how much of herself she’s willing to give.

Get it FREE!

Excerpt from Ava, Sublime (New Short Contemporary Romance by Lia Cooper)

Excerpt from Ava, Sublime (New Short Contemporary Romance by Lia Cooper)

Read an excerpt from my new romantic short story Ava, Sublime.

It isn’t always easy to know what you want and what you need.

penrose tiles
Penrose tiles are constructed from shapes related to the pentagon and hence to the golden ratio.

Ava Novak pulled the first aid kit off the wall and opened it. Mismatched bandaids fell out across the counter, some of them getting wet from the puddle of water there. She extracted the can of burn spray, shook it, and pointed the nozzle at the lobster red webbing between the thumb and forefinger of her left hand. She flapped her hand to make it dry faster and put away the kit. It smelled like aloe and chemicals. She squinched up her nose at it.

“Oh, excuse me.” Angela lay both of her hands against Ava’s back and waist and slid past her, into the drive through where they kept the Oasis machine.

“Everything okay?” she threw back over her shoulder to the sound of shaved ice falling into the blender.

“Yeah,” Ava mumbled. “It’s fine.” And she dropped her hand to her side.

Read More Read More

New Release! AVA, SUBLIME (short contemporary romance)

New Release! AVA, SUBLIME (short contemporary romance)

Ava Sublime by Lia Cooper

Short story description:

It isn’t always easy to know what you want and what you need.

Ava Novak thought she had her comfortable life figured out. She had a job roasting coffee that she loved and a simple sexual arrangement with Brenden and Patrick. What more could a woman want? But a change in their dynamic sends Ava down a path of serious soul searching while she tries to come to terms with how much of herself she’s willing to give.

DISCLAIMER This work contains language and sexual content that may not be suitable for readers under 18. This work contains EXPLICIT FEMALE/MALE/MALE CONTENT. Not your cup of tea? Don’t read it. Otherwise, please enjoy.

Genre: Contemporary romance, f/m/m menage, short story

Purchase: $0.99 on Amazon

Review Copies Of The Duality Paradigm

Review Copies Of The Duality Paradigm

Do you read/review ebooks?

Do you enjoy m/m paranormal mysteries?

Are you looking for a free book?

Here’s The Deal:

The Duality Paradigm by Lia CooperI am offering 5  2 free copies of my new release The Duality Paradigm to anyone interested in reading and revieving it. You’ll get a copy of the book and all I ask in exchange is that you write an honest review* (on Amazon, on Smashwords, on your blog, on Goodreads, it’s up to you!).

The Duality Paradigm is an m/m paranormal-mystery-romance. It’s got some sex, gore, violence, UST, and men who have difficulty expressing their feelings 🙂 If this sounds like your cup of tea fill out the contact form below!

*I’m not looking to buy reviews. Whether you loved the book or hated it, the key here is genuine reviews 🙂

Breaking News! Book Launch: The Duality Principle

Breaking News! Book Launch: The Duality Principle

I decided to bite the bullet over the weekend and release my debut novel into the wilds of Kindle.

Description:

Lia CooperEveryone knows magic users and werewolves are intrinsically diametrically opposed…

Seattle Police Detective Ethan Ellison, born into a long line of Quebecois magicians, leads a fairly unassuming life working Theft and consulting on magical misdemeanors. He’s spent eight years building a life for himself in Seattle, far from his father’s shadow. He works hard, lives under the radar, and fucks whoever catches his eye.

Detective Patrick Clanahan, beta-heir to Pack McClanahan, is a tightly wired bundle of rage and guilt, still trying to come to terms with the murder of his last partner.

When a human woman is murdered in werewolf territory under suspicious circumstances, Ethan is reassigned to worked the case with Clanahan in the hopes that he’ll be able to balance out the wolf’s rougher edges.

Too bad they mostly just rub each other the wrong way.

This is the first of three books in the BLOOD & BONE TRILOGY.

Genre:

M/M romance, urban fantasy

The Duality Principle (Blood & Bone Book One) available for $4.99 on Amazon and B&N Nook