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Elise Manion

Author of Contemporary Romantic Fiction

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Independent

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

No, not Christmas Silly! SUMMER!!!

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Summer break is when I get the most writing done. Even though my summers lately have been a lot shorter – I’ll explain later – I can still cram a lot of writing into that timeframe by bumping up my daily word count goals. And, wanna know the best part? My office changes from the cute space I set-up for myself last summer, to my back patio under the Big Umbrella, to the front porch when the late afternoon sun drives me into the shade. By changing my surroundings, My Muse is nudged in different ways, making the ideas and characters move in directions that even surprise me.

Speaking of muse-moving inspiration, I haven’t talked about my experience at RT Booklovers Convention earlier this month…

Surprisingly, I was excited about it, which is saying something since I’m really not hip on crowds. Yes, I’ll make myself go to AfterShock every year, but that’s different. There’s lots of booze… (Just kidding… sort of) and the music is another Muse-driver. Anywaaaay, I met some incredible people (Hi Rae! Hi Rebekah!) and hung out with fellow writers from Reno (Hi Lynda! Hi Laurel! Hi Rene!), as well as authors from around the country. I was a bit star struck by some, but the best part of this convention? THE READERS. SO MANY OF YOU! 

E0E42642-5493-4BF3-B669-6C41448B9099We kicked off the Con with an Indie Soiree where independent authors (those either self-publishing or working with an independent press) gathered to mingle with readers from all over the globe. We talked about books, travel, and what you like to read. We gave away raffle tickets for readers to enter to win one of the prizes donated by the authors. It was so amazing to meet everyone and we had a lot of fun.

nhik7cfhsgal4szch6knya.jpgThe downer to the whole thing (why is there always a fricken downer?) happened the next morning when it was announced that after 35 years, this would be the last RT BookLovers con. Talk about a bummer, but I’m so glad I was able to participate in their “fair well” convention.

Which brings me back to inspiration and summer writing. I learned so much, and met so many of you, that the scenes are coming so fast I hardly have time to write them down. My Man and I have two vacations planned this year. Our first will be to Colorado Springs to see The Boy and partake in some of Colorado’s activities, like visiting the Stanley Hotel where The Shining was filmed. I’m sure to get a few hair-raising ideas if I don’t run screaming from the building. Our second vacation will come at the end of July when we visit My Man’s family in the beautiful state of Washington. My MIL is an amazing cook but she has the biggest green thumb I’ve ever seen. Her flower garden is ginormous and I’ll be posting pictures on social media for sure. When we return, it will be the first day of school here, so my summer writing time will be over as I will go back to real-world work. That means I have only a few short weeks to write, write, WRITE before my daily writing time is cut in half!

So HAPPY SUMMER to all of you! I hope it will be as fun as mine (yes, writing is fun!) and I’ll be checking in from time to time on Instagram and SnapChat to see what you all have been up to.

~Elise

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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.

Don’t Shame Me For Wanting “The Feels”

Paul McCartney asked this question: Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. What’s wrong with that?

I say there’s nothing wrong with that, Paul. I am a junkie for all things silly and romantic. I’ve got a sweet tooth for the sweet stuff. Give me a good laugh, a good cry, maybe even a steamy love scene and I’m happy, just as long as it all works out in the end. I think we all want a little happily ever after in our lives. I see nothing wrong with that.

Unfortunately, there are those in some circles who try to shame us silly-little-love-story readers for our choice in literary entertainment. You know the ones, they’re usually sitting around a table at the local Starbucks embellishing on Little Johnny’s latest achievement, or arguing over who’s daughter has the largest bra size…jasons_princess_fb_banner_release Click here to read more.

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