Hi everyone! And a big thanks to Terra and you all for having me here today. At the moment I am writing this it is actually almost two weeks before it will appear on the blog. I just finished the first draft of an erotic historical romance that will be out next year (under my Jess Michaels name, where I write erotic historical romance for Avon’s Red line). I just got back from Detroit, Arizona and New York City (in that order and with very little time in between).
In short, you are getting me at a moment where my brain hurts. So I went through all the emails I had initially exchanged with Terra to see if she had any thoughts about what I could write about because at the moment the topics I had in mind included “Sleeping is Fun” and “Why is Delta Airlines so Evil?” These are not things that would likely interest anyone else. One of the things she had mentioned was the idea of the rituals each writer has (and more specifically, the rituals I incorporate into my writing process).
I admit, the first thing I did was dismiss that idea out of hand. You see, I’m not really a “ritual” sort of girl. But as I stood in the shower, still wracking my brain for what to write, it started to hit me. My Anti-Ritual IS my ritual. And I also started really thinking about all the rituals I DO employ either in writing or in the publishing of my books.
Some writers have to write in the morning, others need to have music on, some need the door open… or shut. Or they have to write in Starbucks every morning from 9-11 while they drink half-caf, vanilla lattes with exactly two shots of… whatever. These writers are not me. I’m not knocking their rituals, by any means, I just don’t write like that.
I don’t listen to music while I write (in fact, I can’t… which I suppose makes the act of not listening to music a part of my “ritual”). I have two cats who get mightily pissy when the door to my office is closed, so it remains open mostly so I don’t have to get up and down to deal with them. I do like to drink Vanilla Coke Zero while writing, but I also drink it while watching tv, eating dinner and pondering my navel, so that may be more in the “addiction” category than the “ritual” one.
So I poo-pooed the whole notion of my own personal rituals… until I started thinking about the way I actually WRITE a book. Not where or when or what I have to wear, but how. You see, I almost always start with character sheets. If I don’t know my characters, how can I plot? Then I do a synopsis. Then I get completely ritualistic by writing elaborate “scene sketches” that are essentially a short-hand version of the book by the time I’m done. That’s when I start writing. If I run out of scene sketches, I can’t continue until I write more. So I guess that makes it a real-life, bona fide… RITUAL!
Startled by this revelation that I did, indeed, have writing rituals that I hadn’t acknowledged to myself until now, I started thinking about the day this blog would be publishing. While you’re reading this, my book, Her Notorious Viscount, will likely be trickling onto shelves all over the country and abroad. Its official release date is tomorrow, March 31. And I most definitely have some “release day” rituals.
First, there’s the nail biting. There’s the constant checking of Amazon rankings. And of course, the traveling out to all the area bookstores to sign stock and see my book, my real book, on the shelf for the first time. Because until I see it, I still feel like this is all some delightful dream. Even though I’ve had the dream 12 times now (ten with books from Avon).
So what about you? Do you have any rituals as a reader or writer? Do you have any anti-rituals? I’ll choose a winner from the people who comment today to win a signed copy of my last release, Lessons From A Courtesan.
Oh, and if your ritual this week could include running to your local bookstore and picking up a copy of Her Notorious Viscount… well, that would be a ritual I could really get behind!
The corner of Stoneworth’s lips lifted, but it made more of a snarl than a smile. “And who are you?”
Jane lifted her gaze to his, startled. “Oh, yes. I apologize. My name is Jane Fenton.”
“No, not your name. Who are you?” He tilted his head. “I don’t think we’ve met before. Although you do look… familiar somehow.”
She nodded, thinking of the brief way he had looked at her earlier in the evening. Trying not to think of the shameful thrill his meaningless perusal had given her. Now he didn’t even recall her face.
“Y-You might have seen me tonight at the Glouchester ball,” she explained.
“In that gown?” he asked, tilting his head to the side as if he were examining her serviceable, woolen frock.
More heat flooded Jane’s cheeks, but this time it was angry, as well as embarrassed. “Your cravat was crooked and you haven’t shaved for two days, at least. You have no room to judge-”
She caught herself, swallowing back the rest of her heated response to his jab. When she was pressed, Jane often had the terrible habit of letting honesty get in the way of tact. Her father had sometimes joked that she got her temper the moment she inherited the ruddy highlights in her otherwise plain brown hair. Now that “red-headed temper” might have cost her dearly.
She held her breath as she awaited Nicholas Stoneworth’s reaction.
But when he moved even closer, she found he was smiling at her. Something a bit more genuine than the feral snarls and false smirks she had seen him exhibit tonight.
“It seems I have hit upon a sore spot for you,” he said with an exaggerated bow. “I do apologize.”