About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Finding Great Ideas ~ #LynnCrain #PCers

desktop-1

Many times I have been asked where I get my ideas. That question can be asked at a book signing or a conference and can come from a reader or another writer. My ideas have been considered outside the box and many times an idea will sit in a file until I can either use it or keep it until the right time. Most of the time though, I am quite happy to tell people I have a great imagination but there are times when I will take something that is known and twist it to my own ends.

Still, those germs of imagination have to come from somewhere so here are my top five of where I get my many, many ideas.

1 ~ I am a voracious reader ~ Most authors would agree that they will get some ideas by reading stories by others. Frankly, you can’t be a great writer unless you’re a great reader. It just doesn’t happen. I’ve been reading novels since I was in second grade. Sure, they were little kids’ ones but they were much longer than the standard book.

The one thing I do as a writer is not read in the genre I’m writing. Meaning, when I’m writing sci-fi romance, I read regular romance. When I’m writing fantasy romance, again I will read some form of regular romance. No writer wants to find out they’ve ‘accidentally’ used something from their favorite writer and one needs to be very, very careful there.

2 ~ Science Magazines ~ Being that sci-fi anything is one of my favorite genres to write, I constantly look over the many science magazines online. They can be a fount of information and I’m always game for twisting the currently known and making it my own. It’s where I found my first holographic display, where I noticed that the nanites were getting smaller and smaller. Anyone can use magazines to find out the current trend in the world then figure out to best use it in their story, no matter what the genre.

3 ~ Music ~ How many times have you listened to a song and wished there was a full story behind it? Add a music video along with that and sometimes it just clicks. Of course, you’d have to change it to make it your own but it does give you that germ of an idea for the ball to start rolling.

4 ~ TV Shows ~ This is the easiest one for me because there are times I’m a very visual person. You can watch a scene then think to yourself, ‘What if I took it one step further?’ And again, the ball starts rolling. Another thing I’ve done is watch a totally contemporary story and wonder what it would be like if it were set 200 years in the future or in the past. Some shows keep the ideas flowing for days.

5 ~ Be an observer of people ~ This is the best one. I used to go to airports early while waiting for my husband because I loved watching people. I would try to figure out their stories and then wonder if I could make it my own. Many times I’ve been caught in a restaurant booth where I overhear a conversation that grabs my interest. Of course, I know you don’t get the whole story that way but I realize I can make it my own. Think of the many times you’ve seen people and wondered just what was going on or what their story was.

One thing to remember is to be very careful that whatever method you use, it’s totally new because it’s from your mind and your perspective. It is never cool to take a story from somewhere else and claim it as your own.

For the ideas I don’t use, I keep an idea file that is sorted by genre then by type. If I’m ever at a loss for what to write about, I will pull out that file then scan the contents. Sometimes I will use one I’ve previously done or it will trigger a totally new idea and I’ll go off on a different tangent. The one thing I do know is that I have more ideas than I’ll ever write. At last count, my idea file had over 180 ideas in it. Now if I could just write a story a day…and that’s what makes writing so fun…it’s never boring!

See you all next month!

signature-lc-2

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Write Or Die ~ #LynnCrain #Productivity #amwriting #PCers

Yes, the title of my post this month is Write Or Die. And no, I don’t have a death wish but I’m in the last throes getting a project done and I needed something to help me with my productivity. Don’t we all need a little of that?

This is a very cool program and will help you to reach your goals if you use it consistently. You can find it here. On my regular desktop, which I still haven’t set up yet ~ bad me, I purchased it and love the program. There is also a web version that you can use anytime you want. Here’s a picture of the dashboard you’ll see:

write-or-die-50

The thing I like is that I can set my own goal, my time limit and I can tell it how I want to warn me when I’m not writing up to my potential. There are different types of modes as well as what you have it do to jolt you back to productivity. While this can be fun, it can be very frustrating as well. Especially if you’re like me and hooked to the internet all the time.

There are just some days one has to unplug themselves from the world and get a project done. I used to have little tricks to help me. Like locking my office door.  Then I got older and realized that I would have to answer if there were broken bones or blood involved. Such is life when you only have boys.

So, I decided to find something that would help me concentrate for short bursts of time thus making those short bursts very productive. I found this program years ago when I had more deadlines than I do today. It has helped me through many days where I needed to keep to a minimum word count but for some reason, my mind would wonder. I’d want to do research then continue doing research even though I had enough to produce the story.

Writing can be a struggle but for something who used to be a regular gamer, making it fun again can be important. Therefore, I’ll use this program until it’s no longer useful. Or who knows…maybe I’ll grow up and not need these little kicks…LOL!

If you all struggle with productivity, check out this article from Jane Friedman. She has all the latest and greatest to keep you on track.

I’d love to hear from you on what you do to keep yourself productive…see you all next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

When Characters Are Snarky…

I had to set up another home office in my Nevada house. While we still haven’t decided just what to do with it, we know that we’ll be here off and on for the renovations at the minimum, add to that author things, family things and we have a very full agenda in Nevada.

Now this isn’t a surprise but what was is the fact I actually had to create my own space here. See, I have a lovely office that my husband built for me early in my career. It has a fabulous desk with a huge picture window that allows me to look out at the world. It was one of the things I really, really missed five years ago when I moved to Vienna.

Today it’s being occupied by my son and his significant other as they build their fledgling Amazon business. They are doing quite well but there isn’t a corner in the room anymore which is mine. Their stuff is spread out over two rooms of the house and right now, my old desk is their command center.

Again, I tried to use the dining room table and again, I couldn’t. It’s big enough but the chairs are old and this time, there was another problem. When I did start to write, I found my characters were not only belligerent but downright snarky at times.

Harry-#2---ResizedSnarky used to be a term I only applied to Pup Harry. I mean, can’t you see the snark in his eyes? His ne’er’do-well smirk. He even has a blog named Call Me Snarky Boy from when we first got him. And now, my characters are behaving in the same way?!?

At first, I couldn’t believe it but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it wasn’t because of me not having a desk. The only really thing I’ve ever required when writing has been a desk in a quiet spot as I found out I was more productive that way. When I have no distractions, I can pound out the stories. Yet, here my characters were telling me they weren’t talking.

With two novellas due in the next month or so, an edit and another proposal to get to my agent’s desk, I understood I needed to do something and fast. Thank goodness for Amazon as I went shopping. After going through page after page of desks and not finding something I really wanted, I decided to look at the local consignment and antique stores.

I thought I wanted what is called a secretary desk with a pull down surface. Finding one immediate that I loved for the intricate detail, I excitedly talked to my husband who is currently in Vienna. He wanted the youngest to look at it to make sure we could do the repairs. Once the youngest saw it, he nixed it immediately because he thought if I put any weight on it at all, the whole thing would end up in my lap.

Not good. So we looked at two tables. One I really loved the wood but it had some damage too and while it didn’t matter to its purpose, it was more than I wanted to pay. Walking through the big pieces one last time, I spied a thin cherry table with two drawers. Calling my son over, I had him test it and we both liked it. I offered the owner a price I thought fair and was happy he took it.New-Desk-Picture-Resized

My son picked it up later that day and it took me about an hour to set up as it won’t hold much. Just a computer, some papers and it will be a charging station for all our phones and tablets. The drawers will hold pens, paper and the ever necessary post-its. I was ready to go but still I held back. Would my characters continue to be snarky? Or would they finally open up?

And I’m happy to report, they are singing like the birds! Thank goodness.

What about you? Do you ever have moments as a writer when the characters won’t talk to you? And readers, do you ever see characters that you wished were better written and more talkative?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…see you all next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

A Funny Thing Happened…@oddlynn3 #LynnCrain

Last month I talked about us getting into our new home and the things we’d have to do. But a funny thing happened on the way to that event and I didn’t give you an inkling or a clue about it. I just kept mum.

And it wasn’t as if I was really trying to do so. No, I just had so much on my mind. The house closed late, not until July 12, and that was nearly two weeks past the date we had planned. My Dear Husband decided, he wasn’t going to say anything to the movers because it might change again. While that strategy worked, here we all nearly two weeks late on getting any furniture and are ‘camping’ in our new home.

We’ve got a lovely blowup bed and everything we could carry from our Nevada home in two cars. We also brought two of our pets with us, both dogs, Pup Harry and Jasper because it was time. Jasper was so down trodden every time Harry got to go somewhere with us, I told the DH, no way this time. We had to stay in the hotel for 3 days, then moved everything into the house.

I took the time to set things up the best I could, then off to the store for supplies. While I was gone, the dogs took exception being alone in a strange place and proceeded to tear up a few things to tell me how angsty they were. And the stories go on from there.

However, one exciting thing happened during all of this and I had worked my tail off trying to make it happen since I ended up being a formatter for this endeavor. You know about my story, Sealed With A Kiss, that was for presale at the end of June. I was, and am, really excited about it because of a couple of things: it’s the first story I’ve had out in three years and it’s the start of a new series call Time Travel Bureau. But more on that one at a later time.

My story is in an anthology called Letterbox Love Stories and it’s with an amazing set of authors that somehow found me or maybe I answered an invite. We released our story to as much fanfare as we could, doing Thunderclap and HeadTalker campaigns, putting ourselves out there on blogs, on Facebook and Twitter. We also purchase ads at many, many places. After all, there are nine of us and each of us has a slightly different audience as well as a different take on advertising.

About the middle of the month, we reached an Amazon ranking of #298 or so in our category and we were happy but wanted more. Another round of advertising, appearances and a Facebook party. And we were still dropping like a rock. So, this week after much thought, I decided to splurge 2 months’ worth of my promo budget on seeing if we could get a higher ranking. I picked some high profile places and got dates for this past week.

First ad hit, and we rose a little, then started falling again. Second ad hit and again, we rose a little more but this time, we hovered around the same number for a couple of days. Third ad hit, and nothing but we didn’t move then we dropped, once again, like a rock. Today was our last ad and I had already decided not to watch today as we were doing reno stuff. Something told me to brace myself for the fact we might not make the goal we’d started with: make it into the top #100 Amazon ranking in our category.

After all, this was the first time this group of authors had ever been together. We didn’t know each other that well when we started but do now. We were all very happy that we’d made in down to the #200s. We were already talking about the possibility of a second anthology and again, the goal of getting into the top #100. We know we can do it because we’ll just take the lessons learned and apply them to the next time but only better.

I informed my colleagues that we had the special ad all day and to tweet it or share it sometime throughout the day. I didn’t mention I would not be looking very much, if any during the day, but I did sneak a peek before I started the reno today. Our rank was somewhere in the #1300s. I had a sad moment then decided not to worry about it, there was work to do and other books to write.

I decided not to check the rankings again but when I did, my eyes nearly flew out of the socket. We were ranked at #114 in our category! I let everyone else know but found that they’d been watching it plummet for most of the afternoon. Now, while I was really jazzed, I still thought again that maybe we were at the lowest ranking we could achieve.

We started to have dinner with a chip and dip appetizer and I decided to look one last time. And I’m glad I did otherwise, I might have missed it. We were ranked at #99 in our category! OMG! OMG! I was jumping around like a kid and the DH wondered if I had won the lotto or something. I then explained the whole thing to him and he just smiled and said, “About darn time.” I’m sure my frown carried no weight as he went back to cooking. Here’s our moment in time:

07242016 Amazon Rankings at Approx 2130 MST

And the book that made it happen:

LetterboxLoveStories400x600

I can now officially claim that I am a bestselling Amazon Author. It only took nearly ten years. LOL! Boy and I am jazzed as this was unexpected. It is just what I needed in a sea of projects and things that take me away from writing. The excitement will carry me for days.

Anything exciting happen this month to you? Any new books ~ reading or writing? Drop me a line and I’ll enter you in my monthly drawing for a $10 Amazon gift certificate and one ebook from my backlist. Don’t forget to include your email.

See you all next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Getting New Things

Today is one of those interesting days where I can look back at the month and be really grateful for all that life has given me. I know I’ve mentioned looking for a new home and trying to get more writing done before. Well…this month…I made both a reality.

We have been blessed enough to have the ability to have two homes and it’s lucky too since my dear husband will be working in both these places. Both homes are rather modest in size and what they have but the fact that one is in Nevada where it’s hotter than hades right now versus the more temperate climate of New Mexico at 7300 feet, makes me jump for joy. Trust me, mountains are the way to go.

It couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve recently discovered, if I get too hot, I just might pass out. Frankly, I think that comes with the territory of getting older…which is another thing that I did this month…and on summer solstice too. It was 115 degrees here that day and boy, I just couldn’t wait to be gone from this summer heat. It’s really sad to realize your childhood home isn’t good for you anymore. But we just might want this place to escape a cold winter in New Mexico, so we’re holding on to it.

The new house will be more of a project as we’re turning a duplex, that had been a single family home at one time, back into that single family home. I have some great plans for it and once my DH heard about them, he was amazed what I felt we could do with the place. Think master bedroom retreat and you’ll get the picture.

Front of HouseWith 2000 new workers coming into the New Mexico area we’re moving to and only 144 homes on the market when we were looking, our choices were limited. We lost our first choice in a bidding war to find the one we learned we were approved for just last week. What is awesome, it’s the same floor plan as the other home but we have to add a driveway and a garage.

Not a small feat but something that we know is doable. And the home ended up cheaper, with more updated items and a seller that was willing to realize his baby needed work. Unlike the home where the owner tried to convince those bidding for it that none of the inspection fixes really needed to be completed. Here’s the house in it’s present state. We’re making a front porch by connecting the two small ones and will be stuccoing the home with the flat type normally found in northern New Mexico for a more farm-style look.

LetterboxLoveStories400x600And as if a house wasn’t enough, I have a new story that just hit the pre-order stage on Friday. I am really excited about the story, Sealed With A Kiss, as it represents a few things for me. First, there’s the fact that this is the first new story I’ve had out there in 3 years. Second, it’s in a genre I totally love and that’s time travel. To find out more about this wonderful anthology that I’m a part of, just click the picture to be taken to the Amazon page. What’s even more exciting…it’s on pre-order sale of just $0.99…but that’s not going to last long with the price going up to $2.99 on July 11.

What exciting things have happened in your life this month? Read any new books? Write any new ones? I’d love to hear all about your adventures…see you next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

The Truth About Deadlines and Life

Woman-Reading

I’m on deadline right now and for me that is awesome. Why? Because it’s been nearly 5 years since I’ve been on any kind of deadline as most of my writing was on hiatus due to me being in Europe. Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t write. No, it was quite the opposite. While there I finished 4 self-published works, got an agent and did proposals galore.

What happened was much more subtle in the fact that I’d never went to my epublisher and said, ‘Give me a deadline’ because I hadn’t sent in anything new, proposal or otherwise, for the whole time I lived abroad. I’ve often asked myself why and I realize there is no clear cut answer. I guess I just didn’t want to be boxed in or something in a country I was having a hard time adjusting to at the time.

So, when a group of friends of mine were planning to do an anthology this year, I asked to be a part of it since I wanted to get used to having deadlines again. Oh, lordy, what was I thinking? Our planning started in February when the packers came to box up my office and shut me down. I had a tablet that wasn’t good for writing and though I’d packed composition books and pens galore, there was never a good time to do anything with them.

Then we arrived on the east coast and the planning was still going on in early March. I put in my two cents, I agreed to all the deadlines and once all the relatives were visited, we arrived home with my new Surface computer. ‘This was it’ I told myself and waited for inspiration to hit me. Nothing. I went to a convention or two, met my agent and one of my BFF writing friends, Gini Koch, and felt a little of the inspiration I so desperately craved.

Then remember last month when I said that we weren’t sure where we were going to live? Well, we basically got our marching orders to move to New Mexico. I went for a visit and we saw approximately fifteen houses, yes – it was three long days of great houses, bad houses and some that we needed a plan for making it our own.  Then we found one we fell in love with and wanted it.

We lost it and went two houses down the street, to one with the exact same floor plan, less land but a lot of the fixes already done. It was $25k less than the first, so we immediately put in a bid even though it has a bunch of things that need to be done to it. Thank goodness we got that second one because I don’t think I can go through this whole thing again. Keep your fingers that it will all work out.

Fast forward to last week and my looming deadline. Notice I said looming. This story that I’ve been loving and plotting and planning to get done is in the final throes of getting a few beta reads and a final edit. The bad thing is that I need to have it all turned in by tomorrow night midnight and I’m not sure I’ll make it because life has got in my way over and over again.

Everyone has been so wonderful about the fact I decided to do an international move and this at the same time while planning yet another move. Since Monday, I’ve wondered if I’d lost my mind committing to something while life is so stressing. But a funny thing happened that I’d forgot all about.

Even though I am very stressed, my writing is thriving. It’s like I’m hyper focused on it when I’m writing and I see nothing but it. The words are flowing like never before, meaning I’m doing the 1800 words an hour thing again. I am getting a chapter done in an hour instead of a day. I’ve got the plot all in my mind and it’s getting laid down like bricks on a path. The pantser in me is coming out again and suddenly, all I want to do is write. What’s even better is that I’m doing it well.

Life has a way of making sure all we want happens exactly when we need it to happen. No sooner, no later. Yes, I’m more stressed than ever but look at what that stress is helping to produce.

More stories than I’ve seen in five years. And it’s a good thing for me to realize, a little of the right stress never hurts.

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

  • Our LATEST Buzz!

    Cyn D. Blackburn's Wrapped Up in You releases on November 13. *** The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series were released in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous was released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, A PROPOSAL & PUMPKIN PIE is on sale for .99 through Thanksgiving.