Paperback Writer Chats Withe Bronywn Storm author of Ethan’s Choice

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About Ethan’s Chase

Still wounded from a disastrous love affair, advertising executive Ethan Phillips has spent the past five years outwitting Cupid with a series of dekes and fakes. Who knew the tricky cherub would get wise?

Rather than piercing Ethan’s heart with an arrow, he douses it with amaretto-flavored milk. A quick visit to the drycleaner and a stern lecture on the dangers of gorgeous, charming women, and he figures he’s made another clean getaway. But when the sexy woman turns out to be Chase Logan, his new systems programmer, Ethan’s got nowhere to run. Suddenly, the man who spent his time running from Cupid, is now looking to borrow a few arrows. Ethan’s ready to give chase and pursue love.

Will he catch the heart of his programmer or just be left catching his breath?

Read the Excerpt!

Ethan sighed. In trying to make things better, he had effectively made it worse. The phone now lay under her, and vibrated its digital heart out. His jaw brushed against Chase’s hair as he wrapped his arms around her. He lifted her, peering over her sleeping form, trying to find the phone. She stirred, murmured something, then cuddled into him. His heart boomed and dropped, banged against his ribs and tried to fly on injured wings.

“Ethan?” She whispered his name.

“Yes, I’m here. It’s all right.”

Her sigh content, she snuggled against his chest. He bent his head toward her, fighting emotions quickly transforming themselves from protective to provocative. Chase’s fingers stole along his chest adding fuel to the fire burning within him. She sighed his name; her warm breath fanned against his neck and made his nerve endings sizzle. Her body molded to him, soft, giving, and erotically pliable. Ethan’s hand moved from the small of her back and circled her hips. They pulsed into his touch. In the whisper of his name, Ethan heard her desire and surrender.

Give us an example of a typical writing day.

I wake up anywhere from 5 or 6 in the morning, and stumble into the study, cup of tea in hand. Check emails, look at last night’s writing and wonder what made me think the pages were any good.

 Keep writing.

 Have breakfast.  Try to keep food away from the cats and dogs.  Cave-in and share my toast/cereal.  Try not to look at the pages I’ve just written.

 Keep writing.

 Have second breakfast—try to convince pets that they’ve already eaten and it’s not fair to come after my food. Cave in. Share snack with them.

 Check emails. Give into urge to re-read pages.   Weep at how horrendous it all is. Email writing friends. Ask them what made me think I could do this.

 Have snack. Eat fast, because the furry gods are sleeping and I can have the food all to myself.

 Get emails from writing friends threatening me with a horrible fate if I stop working on my manuscript.

 Keep writing.

 Have lunch. Share with the four-footed co-workers.

 Keep writing.  Realize it’s not going well at all.  Email writing friends.  Resist urge to burn pages.

 Have snack—by which I mean, eat chocolate. Not sharable with furry ones, give them animal treats.

 Feel despondent.

 Have another snack—by which I mean, eat through 3 chocolate bars.  Eat fast, so furry ones don’t realize I have food that I’m not sharing.

 Get emails.  Friends are going to take my chocolate if I don’t reach my day’s goal (5 pages/day).

 Keep writing.

Wonder what made me think I could do this.  Check job sites to see if McDonald’s is hiring.

Get emails from friends. They’re on to the McDonald’s plan and threaten to take away my Columbo DVDs if I stop writing.

 Keep writing.

 Eat enough chocolate to induce diabetic coma.

 Wait for husband to come home and make dinner.  Keep writing.

 Husband comes home. 

 Shut down computer for the night.  Tell husband about trials of the day. Let him convince me that tomorrow, the pages will be better, and I really can write this book.  Spend night with the furry ones, who convince me that even if my career as a writer doesn’t make it, I’ll have job security as a belly-rubber…

 (I know what you’re wondering, is that really true?)

Baaahaaahaaa.

Of course not.

I never shut down my computer.

Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?

Heck, some days, I don’t even work with a brain. 

Don’t laugh. It’s so true. Some days (eek. Most days), I’m amazed I’m not being followed by men in white coats…

When it comes to writing I use pen, pencils, computers, paper, and markers. 

So, I have a notebook that I scribble notes, stuff like “what if a first impression wasn’t always right?” I put those in pen.

Then, when I decide to turn that thought into a book, I whip out my binder and loose leaf paper. I start compiling more notes (“Hero’s last relationship was a con artist. He had to charge her and send her to jail, and it killed him to do it.”  “Heroine’s a computer programmer with major problems with her competitor, then lands a sweet contract…with her competitor’s biggest client, and now things are going to get worse.”). For this, I use pencil, so I can erase and make changes.

Same thing when I’m jotting down lines of dialog—use a pencil.

Then it’s off to the computer for writing the drafts (I do about ten by the time it’s all said and done…and usually, drafts 1-3, I hate. I’m convinced it’ll never work, that this is the book that will do me in.  By drafts 4-7, the fatalistic feelings start to ebb.  By drafts 8-10, I actually feel like it’ll work. People will like this story. I won’t be pelted with rotten tomatoes…).

Back to the pen and paper when I’m looking at the synopsis and blurb.  I use markers here: important stuff (plot turns) in red, funny stuff/voice/character in blue.

When that’s done, go to the computer.

Do you work from an outline?

Yes.  God must have given my muse to someone else, because I rarely if ever, get inspired.  Sure, the first idea is heady and intoxicating, but actual writing can be as fun as watching paint dry (or cleaning a room with a toothbrush). 

When it comes to my plotting, I have a three-stage process:

I do big points (they’re rough and point form): i.e. Chase and Ethan meet; it doesn’t go well; she becomes his client; he has to make a choice about her; the car; the elevator; the vending machine.

From there I go to a sentence: As Chase rounds the corner, she’s not looking where she’s going and slams into the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen.

From there, it’s a paragraph: As Chase rounds the corner, she’s not looking where she’s going, and slams into the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen. She hasn’t dated in forever (owning a computer programing company means long hours and no life—especially since one of her competitors has decided to make her life hell by spreading rumors to her clients and harassing her), but this guy is yummy, so she tries to pick him up.  It does not go well.

And from there, I can actually do some writing:

The cloying smell of almond syrup skittered along the tendrils of mist rising from Chase’s cup of steamed milk. She snorted in disgust. Either the server at the coffee-shop had given her amaretto flavouring when she had asked for hazelnut or, distracted with her thoughts of work, she’d grabbed the wrong cup. Searching in vain for a garbage can, Chase rounded the street corner and collided with something hard and solid—a wall, or a door. Then she realized walls and doors didn’t come with cashmere coverings, nor did bricks possess that spicy, masculine smell that tickled her nose.

I like this method because I don’t always wake up, brimming with prose and knowing how to get my characters/plot from point A to point B. If I plot, then it’s a bit like marking a route on a map. I can still take detours and pit stops, still stop off at the diner or the lookout point, but I also have a guide and a way to get to my destination.

Biggest Career Surprise

That it’s not enough to write a good book.  I thought that was the key to making it in the industry, but I didn’t understand how much business went into selling and buying books. I was prepared for rejections because people thought my work was crap, but I never expected to have agents or editors telling me they enjoyed my work, that I was talented, but there was no place for my book in their company.

I think it’s really important for authors to understand the business side.  Books are a product like anything else, and it’s important that publishers and agents know how to sell your work. If they can’t see enough sales for your book, it’s fiscally irresponsible for them to take it on. They have to survive.  You can’t take it personally (though you are allowed to cry, drink loads of wine, and stuff yourself with chocolate).

Where do you write from? (location and description).

I always write in my office.  It has hardwood floors, and a cream-colored rug, and the walls are painted ochre.  We did it with two types of paint so it looks distressed and old.  My desk is scarred and marked, and Murphy (dog) always sleeps under it. Milo (his brother) sleeps behind me, his face buried in the curtain.  Gus (cat) curls up on the chair behind me and Remus (cat) snoozes by the door.

I’m so used to having my furry coworkers around me when I work, that when I travel, it’s hard to get into writing. I keep waiting for Gus to jump on the desk and try to steal my pen, Remus to sleep on the pages I’m editing, Murphy to scratch at my toes (his way of saying, “Take a break, mom, and rub my belly.”), and Milo to jump on the chair and shove his cold, wet nose in my face.

I always have music going in the background (with a special fondness for ’80s pop), a cup of tea on my desk, and chocolate hidden in tins.

Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?

One, because I couldn’t see a realistic external conflict (though it’s still in the back of my mind for a free read for my website). The others, I always go back to…I’ll call it quits once, but only once.  I’m too afraid to let more than one book go…I mean, if I can find a reason to drop one, then I can find a reason to drop three or four…then how will I ever finish anything?

Plus, it’s a HUGE rush when I actually push through the block and get pages down.  I get through that and I know I’m that much closer to being able to write “the end,” and that’s an awesome feeling.

Thank you so much for hosting me!  If readers like, they can head to my website: www.bronwynstorm.com, for free stories, event news, and contests.

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This article was written by Rebecca

Rebecca is a book coach and editor. She guides aspiring writers, coaches, entrepreneurs and speakers to become self-published authors so they share their expertise, knowledge and passion. Thinking about writing a book? Contact her today to start writing your book.

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