Laura Haley-McNeil

2/12/17, Valentine’s Day

Hello, Everyone!

Just two more days, and the day that became my favorite day of the year after I married, Valentine’s Day, will be here. I hope you have something wonderful planned, even if you don’t have someone special in your life. When I was single, I rarely kept track of this holiday. Even though I sometimes had a date, unless I was with someone truly I cared about and wanted to invest some time in, the day didn’t have a lot of meaning for me. Of course, it’s nice to spend the day with someone, even if it was a girlfriend or my parents, but being married and celebrating Valentine’s Day with my husband is wonderful. I hope that you can say the same thing. I had hoped to release a Valentine’s Day novel or even a novella, this year, but my current book is taking me longer to write than I expected, so I hope to release that Valentine’s Day book next year. Stay tuned. My books tend to take on a more serious tone, with a dash of lightness thrown in, but I’m hoping this book will be fun and merry. Now the ideas are starting to churn. I better write down some of these thoughts while I’m thinking about them.

Did you watch the Super Bowl last Sunday? I don’t follow football. Because I still have a day job, I use the weekend for writing. Sundays tend to be a quiet day for us. We take a walk along a canal near our home and then I plop myself in front of the computer and write until I’m too tired to think. Even though I didn’t take the time to watch the game, I was curious about the progress and switched to an internet site that showed the score. The Falcons were ahead by 18 points. Not even a close game. I didn’t see any point in checking the score again. There was no way the Patriots could close that gap. I wrote until about 10pm, then checked the score again. The Patriots had won and in overtime! I had no idea what transpired to motivate the Patriots to win the game, there was plenty of discussion about the game on the news and at work. I read some of the writer’s loops and there were some pretty ecstatic writers celebrating the victory. I felt sorry for the Falcons and their fans. How disappointing to be ahead and then lose. There’s always next year. Isn’t that what they say?

In the meantime, I have my nose to the grindstone as I plow through my editor’s notes. It’s easy to correct the grammatical errors, though I still catch some that she missed. The content errors can be a different story. Something that happened in the book on Page 100 doesn’t coincide with the plot point on Page 200. I have to make changes and sometimes those changes involve several different parts of the book. My brain feels like it’s about to explode. I want to fix the problem at that very moment, but I know if I do it will frustrate me. All I can think about is that I made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, but I hate it when I do. Are you like that, too? I have to stand up, walk around the house, or, if it isn’t too cold, I walk outside and wander around the yard. I can’t go too far, because my mind starts to think of a solution and if something acceptable pops into my brain, I have to rush back to my computer and write it down before I forget my idea. Probably half the time, I can’t remember exactly how I wanted to change the problem so I work through it until something acceptable occurs to me. This can take a few minutes, or more. I like to think that what I’ve written is better than my original idea, but I can’t confirm that since I may have forgotten the original idea. The best solution for me is to keep working. I know eventually, I’ll get through the manuscript, and then I’ll send it to the proofreader. While the proofreader is checking the manuscript, I’ll go back to the first draft of the next book I’ve written and work on that until the proofreader returns the manuscript to me. It’s nice to have a break from a book and work on another project. When the manuscript is returned to me, my mind is fresher and I believe I can take a step back and review the manuscript more openly. Sometimes, I can catch what I meant to say, but didn’t explain clearly. And then sometimes I’ll change a scene completely. I have a file of deleted scenes from Book 5 of the Crystal Creek series, which I’ll post on my website. The file is over 200 pages. Yes, I had a lot of plot changes. I outline my books beforehand so I have an idea of where I want to take the story, but sometimes a better idea comes along and I click those little scissors in the top left hand corner of my computer screen and clip away.

I hope you have a wonderful week and a wonderful Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have someone special in your life, but want that someday, I hope your wish comes true. And if you’re happy celebrating Valentine’s Day with a group of friends or your children or your parents, or alone, that can be wonderful, too. Just don’t forget the chocolate!