Elise Manion

Author of Contemporary Romantic Fiction


July 2017

Thank you to Camp NaNoWriMo

It wasn’t until I forced myself to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 that I realized I’d begun writing my current WIP two years ago. So much had happened in such a short amount of time that I’d forgotten all about my baby.

Let’s take a look back; in February of 2015 I resigned from my job to pursue a writing career. I was in the revision phase of writing Jarod’s Heart when I realized that I had other characters and stories that needed my attention. It was my husband who’d said, “Quit.” So, I did. After that, I finished the second novel in the King Brothers trilogy and immediately began writing Josh’s story.

By October 2015, I’d been hired part-time (Yay!) and also been called to serve on a grand jury for eighteen months (Boo!). I was sidetracked by short stories that were begging to be written, a very controversial Presidential Election (Holy Cow!), and then my only son decided to move three states away. Two weeks after that, my father was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that eventually took his life. Tuck in the passing of my 95-year-old grandmother and you’ve got a whole lotta life changes going on there!

Josh had most definitely been forgotten.

When the dust settled after the funerals (or celebrations of life as some like to call them. A spade is a spade, though. Whatever you call them they still hurt like hell.) I realized that I had some unfinished work to do but I had absolutely no idea how to get it done. I spoke with my publishers about a game plan, sat down and … stared at a blank screen.

The words were just gone. Nothing, zippo, nada. I had half a story written and couldn’t get the rest out of my head. It was like My Muse had died with my dad. It was a truly scary moment because my maternal grandmother had been placed in a senior care facility for dementia, something that probably runs in our family. Oy. Vey!

As summer approached, I looked forward to time off. My part-time job is with the local school district so I have the students’ schedule (again Yay!). I didn’t think about writing. I thought about how my closet needed cleaning out and how the carpet in my living room and office needed replacing. My Man and I had discussed replacing it months before my dad got sick. Now is the time to act! I thought, and so we did.

While my house was in complete disarray, I was trolling through social media and Camp NaNoWriMo kept showing up in all my feeds. Some old cogs that were dusty and rusty inside my brain began to squeakily turn. I’d written Jason’s Princess on a whim during NaNoWriMo back in 2013. I loved how freeing it had been to just “vomit” my words on the page without worrying about grammar, punctuation, and all the other rules of writing that seem to slow a storyteller down. I investigated Camp and discovered that there was no 50,000 word rule, that I could set my own goal of words to complete within the month. It’s all very cute, too. They put you in a “cabin” with other writers who offer each other encouragement and advice, all while trying to meet their own goals, either it be word count, line count, pages written or hours spent writing.

I sucked it up and set a word goal. I am happy to report that going this route woke up My Muse and Josh’s Challenge is twenty thousand words longer than my other two books! Of course, I added more words so that I could edit and revise as I need to (it’s vomit after all), but the point is that I finished!

I discovered something else during my awakening. I have more stories to tell, more to write and in different genres as well. The King Brothers trilogy is a contemporary romantic suspense set in rural Nevada, but the others working their way out range from historical, to women’s lit, to paranormal.

So, THANK YOU Camp NaNoWriMo for encouraging me and other authors of all levels to write and to keep writing no matter what is going on their lives.


Scene-Inspiring Music

You’ve been scared of love and what it did to you
You don’t have to run, I know what you’ve been through
Just a simple touch and it can set you free
We don’t have to rush when you’re alone with me” – I Feel It Comin, The Weeknd

My Muse is active! Hip hip hurray and she’s been inspired by the lyrics above. I’m currently writing Josh’s Challenge, the third installment of my King Brothers trilogy. In this story, Josh has fallen hard for Melissa, an awkward veterinarian that he’s secretly crushed on all of his life. He’s Timbisha County’s favorite bachelor and could never figure out why she wasn’t attracted to him.

Melissa, better known as Missy to her family and friends, has secretly crushed on Josh all of her life but her awkward social anxiety – and an over bearing diva sister – have kept her from expressing her feelings. She’s finally come home to Timbisha County to begin her career in veterinary medicine but, unbeknownst to her, she’s brought a stalker home with her.

I Feel It Comin is one of many songs I’m collecting for Josh’s playlist. Other artists on the list are Ed Sheeran, Sarah McLachlan, Five Finger Death Punch, Stone Sour, Steven Tyler, Zac Brown Band and Maroon Five. For a romance writer, most people are confused by my eclectic taste in music, especially when it comes to hard rock and metal core. Honestly, the emotions evoked in this genre of music helps me dig deeper into my characters’ psyches, especially when I’m digging into the minds of  schizophrenics, psycho and sociopaths, and even the awkwardly shy.  Love-Hate-Sex-Pain by Godsmack is a prime example the song title alone.

For me, music is the ultimate inspiration, but conversely I cannot write while it’s playing. If the radio is on, I’ll be sucked out of my story and into the love, hate, sex and pain pouring out of the music and lyrics. Therefore, I write when it’s quiet and when the muse is tired I put the music back on to speak to her so she can refuel for the next day.

Music is food for My Muse, nourishment for my characters, and fuel for creativity.

What kinds of  music fuel you? Let me know in the comments or on any of my social media pages. I’d love to swap songs with you!

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