Everyone needs a break sometimes

I just spent a long weekend in lovely Portland, Oregon and I’m feeling recharged and ready to tackle anything. While I didn’t give up my daily writing habit, it’s so normal that it doesn’t feel like work, I did take a break from editing. As a result of a week long break from writing in the morning and editing most of the day, I’m feeling twice as productive now that I’ve had some rest.

I love writing and editing and it was hard to tear myself away for a few days where I didn’t obsess about it. What I learned was that breaks are really good for me. I explored a new city, got inspired, relaxed and ended up helping my creativity. Naps without guilt helped tremendously.

I was starting to dread sitting down to edit and my attitude changed entirely by the time I arrived home. I’ll be scheduling more frequent vacations for myself in the near future.

Is there anything that helps your creativity that you stubbornly don’t do enough? I’d love to hear about it in a comment!

❤ Scarlette

 

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Release Day! Alternative Choices

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I’m so excited to announce that Alternative Choices, book three in the Alternative Series, is now available on Amazon! As an added bonus, I’ve dropped the price for Alternative Desires down to $0.99 for this weekend only! It’s a great time to catch up on the series, and the prequel is always available for free here.

Agent Jaclyn Jacquin knows a case in need of attention when she sees one. So when she’s forced to set aside investigating a bomb threat on a women’s clinic she can’t seem to leave it alone. Instead she must work on a political witch hunt that leaves her wishing she’d never gotten her dream job back in the first place. Being forced to tail a medical student studying infectious disease because of his country of origin and a history of political activism leaves a bad taste in her mouth, and the investigation leads her in a direction that no one was anticipating.

Trouble continues to pile on as she and Agent Wesley Wexler take the step of dissolving their work partnership leaving her to be reassigned to work with someone else. Now she’s assigned to work with someone from her past and things only continue to get worse. Soon Jaclyn must decide if what she has with Wes is worth holding onto, or if she’s going to let Agent Logan Phoenix disrupt all of it with his sweet smile and their even sweeter history.

I hope you all enjoy!

❤ Scarlette

My hectic writing schedule

I haven’t written about what my writing schedule consists of, so I thought I’d lay it out for anyone that is curious.

My average weekday consists of writing from 8-10am, a break for breakfast then editing until about 2pm or 5,000 word, whichever comes first.

My writing block is often broken up into smaller sessions. I’ll usually write for a thousand words and then take a “short” break that might include twenty guilt filled minutes of Facebook and then back to writing again for another thousand words. I’m not perfect about getting back to work in a timely manner, but it’s usually not too much of a problem because I like checking things off my to-do list.

Editing is a bit harder and I’m still developing my technique for getting the most out of my editing time. I can edit about 5,000 words of next text a day with a new manuscript. This pace changes on the second draft which is broken down into pages. I usually work on 20 pages a day since the amount of corrections are smaller. Then the last read through goes fast. I can do all this in about three weeks, but I’m moving to a schedule that allows me four weeks of editing per book.

Weekends are a bit different. I actually wake up at the same time on the weekends, I just don’t go through my morning routine until after my husband wakes up at 8 o’clock. So I’m up and with the coffee pot at 5:30 or 6am. This suits me because 1) I’m an early riser anyway, 2) I like writing in peace and quiet (sorry husband but you’re noisy). I don’t do any editing on the weekends unless I want to for sanity purposes.

So there you have it. Nothing terribly complex, but it’s working and is evolving. What does your writing day look like? I’m very interested to see how others tackle this, especially editing since it’s my least perfect scheduling issue right now.

Also, I have a new book out, so check that out.

 

❤ Scarlette

Hey Word Warriors

It’s been a tough week in politics and I know a lot of people are not feeling all that great about the state of things, but I want to remind the writers out there that our job is twice as important right now. When things are hard people turn to their favorite distractions as a place to escape. While it’s tempting to put down our pens, or to pack up our keyboards, now is when the important work happens.

Remember that those of us who write fiction have a special duty to our readers to give them a story that can help them slay the dragons in their lives and remind them that they, the average person, has been carrying a sword all along.

I know turning on the news, looking at Facebook, or going on Twitter can really be a drain and sometimes it even makes me feel powerless. Yet, I always pause to remember that my power is in my words and in my stories. Our power is always in the words we yield and it can’t be taken from us. As long as we chose to use them.

So word warriors, write that novel, short story, non-fiction essay, that news expose, that journal entry, or that newspaper editorial. Get back to work.

We all have some fighting to do.

❤ Scarlette

P.s.

There is another thing you can do. If you need to contact your Senator regarding the new healthcare bill to express your extreme displeasure, and to request they vote no, you can reach them easily through the Senate switchboard.

You may phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

Source: https://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_correspond_senators.htm

 

The Introvert’s Guide to Protesting

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I’m not a protesting newbie. I’ve attended my fair share starting in high school and I would also consider myself an introvert. Protests leave me feeling frazzled and drained and in need of hiding afterwards, but I still think it’s incredibly important to show up.

So if you’re planning on getting out there for the first time, here are some tips to make your experience easier:

  • Dress appropriately. This is really obvious, but you want to make sure to wear shoes you can walk in for long periods of time and you want to prepare for the weather. Nothing will help your experience go downhill like feeling overwhelmed and being soaking wet.
  • Stick to the edges. If you don’t like crowds this is really important. Being on the edges allows you to step away if you need to and helps avoid any feels of being swallowed up in a crowd.
  • Go with people you know. I think this is a good idea for anyone attending their first protest or march because it gives you a built in support group. You can lessen anxiety by deciding where to meetup if you get separated ahead of time. Remember that your cell phone might not work in that kind of crowd.
  • Prepare ahead of time. Make sure you know where you’re starting, ending, and if at all possible know the route. Having confidence in what’s happening can ease anxiety or give you places to stop and rest along the way.
  • You don’t have to stay the whole time. I think showing up at all for introverts is a big extension of energy and I’m grateful whenever they make the effort to come out at all. Don’t feel bad about leaving early. In fact, if it helps keep you feeling good enough to attend again, please do leave early.
  • Spoil yourself afterwards. Go home, grab a drink, read a book, take a bubble bath or whatever you do to recharge.My post-protest/march routine is to go to a quiet restaurant and have a drink to help me unwind and then I go home to a quiet space. Self care is important.
  • You don’t have to go to every single protest. This is something that I’m reminding myself of a lot recently. It’s going to be an intense spring and summer for protesting and marching and we can’t let ourselves burn out. Take a break. Take a lot of breaks. Do whatever will make you a better advocate and will make you feel your best.

I hope these tips help. This idea came to mind when I was out at the Science March this weekend and saw that I was surrounded by people who would normally call themselves introverts. I hope this encourages some of you to get out there again, or even for your first time.

Protesting is an important aspect of civic engagement and has featured in at least one of my novels recently, but it’s not the only form of civic engagement. Do whatever you do best, but I still hope to see you out on the streets.

❤ Scarlette

P.s. You can get the prequel to the Alternative Series for free here.

Is there room for politics in romance?

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My simple answer is yes.

When I began to write this series it was to turn my post-election angst into something  that would take rough political feelings and turn them into story and to mold characters that could fight off the bad and fall in love. I think that now that the world is a little more terrifying we’re all looking for a happy ending. To me writing can help us remember that despite the fear that a lot of people are experiencing right now, there is still hope and love in the world. Romance novels in particular come with a happily-ever-after and are perfect for lifting spirits.

The reality is, the awful things happening haven’t stopped people falling in love. In fact, I think that tough situations like this can help push people together. Politics do play a part in our every day lives and political affiliations are one of the core values we might value in a partner. Politics, whether we like it or not, play a huge part in life and therefore can’t be excluded from romance.

Another reason that I think that there is a place for politics in romance is that there are real world issues in politics that the romance reading community shouldn’t ignore. We can’t in good faith have our sex positive heroines and our steamy sex scenes while turning a blind eye to things like birth control access. I also certainly don’t think we can feature romances with same sex couples if we don’t talk about the real issues of marriage equality.

Romance, from who we can marry, to how we plan our families, is inherently political.

Even if a good romance novel is our escape from the current reality, we owe it to ourselves and each other to not ignore political issues that affect us in this space. Romance novels are a largely woman powered industry: often with women writers and largely a female audience. I think that because this is a female dominated space, it is particularly ripe for showing our support for women’s rights and having a strong pro-woman political stance.

Whether you are a person that uses birth control, or a person that benefits from its existence, we need to be mindful to not ignore important issues. I am choosing to use my writing  to indirectly stand up for these things while still delivering a story that will leave you with good feelings afterwards.

I would also like to add, that I don’t think politics NEED to be a huge part of romance novels, I am simply defending my choice to include political issues as a large part of my current series.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I would love to hear others thoughts on this issue. Leave a comment below!

❤ Scarlette

P.s.

If you’d like to sample the series I’m talking about, you can always get the prequel for free here.