About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Conference Time

Writing by its very nature is a solitary activity. So it’s really nice to be able to get out and spend time with other writers face to face. Although for some, the larger gatherings can be overwhelming.Red Hearts Blank Small It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a writer’s conference. I’ve been before, as a participant, a speaker, and a volunteer. So the drill is familiar. Comfy shoes, business casual, and a little extra room for books.

As you are reading this, I’m in San Diego, at the RWA conference. I know people have mixed feelings about this organization, and I respect that. I have mixed feelings as well. But I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends, making some new friends, and talking with other like-minded folks about the state of the publishing industry.

It looks like there will be some interesting workshops, and some fun. My goal is to come away from this experience having found those nuggets of information about writing that ring true for me. We’ll see. I’ll let you know how it goes next month!

Do you enjoy conferences, or do you prefer a small group setting?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

What Inspires You?

In April I had a birthday and for that birthday, The Man gave me a gift that I’d wanted for years, but didn’t really think would ever happen. He gave me a weekend at Inn Boonsboro. I’ve wanted to go there since I first heard about it in 2007. It’s been a long time coming.

It tends to book quickly so we weren’t able to go until last weekend. I just have to say, “Wow.” It was beautiful. And amazing. Everything from the service, to the rooms, to the food was impeccable. And I find myself incredibly inspired.

Every evening there is a wine and cheese gathering where the guests can snack and meet. We (well, okay, me. But The Man did trot out his good manners and make conversation.) had a great time talking about books. It’s what seemed to draw everyone there in the first place. Things that make a good story, along with people’s likes and dislikes of plots, settings, and authors.

A lovely bed.

A lovely bed.

Raspberry cheesecake for two.

Raspberry cheesecake for two.

I felt like I could just stay there, in the library forever. And write. Except that I can’t afford to go back there anytime soon. But it’s okay because I have the sensory memories to savor. It’s also renewed my hope that sometimes dreams do come true.

Romance novels are about the romantic journey, but for me they are also about finding that special someone who ‘gets’ you, in all of your crazy glory, in whatever direction you are going and discovering the things you want to share with that one person. Through stories I want to pass that along. Not only finding love, but finding hope.

If you do something that inspires you, we’d love to hear more about it in the comments!

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Moving Forward

Life certainly has its ups and downs. The last year and a half has been a down time for me, and I had no choice but to step away from the writing world. A change in jobs, a move to another state, the unexpected death of one my beautiful bonus children, the sale of our dream home, and the passing of our beloved feline all kind of served to knock my man and I off of our proverbial pins.

Red Hearts Blank Small

The one constant throughout this time has been our love for each other. Thankfully that never changed. It gave us both strength to weather every storm life threw at us. It’s no secret that time and distance from painful things will clarify your perspective and help in the healing process. And that’s where I’m at.

While I was taking care of things that I needed to do for my family and myself, I considered whether or not I should continue writing. There were moments when I didn’t think I could ever write again. But I simply can’t imagine my life without writing. So I’m moving forward. I don’t have any projects complete yet, but I am writing and very happy to be doing so. It feels really good. And right.

My heartfelt thanks go out to the lovely ladies here at Through Heart-Shaped Glasses for being patient with me and not kicking me to the curb. They are awesome that way.

For now I just wanted to pop in and say hello, and see you next month!

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Writing to Word Count – Yes, You Can

The question I hear most often from new authors: “How long should my book be?”

My answer: “Long enough to tell the story.”

That may not seem like a great answer, but it’s my personal belief that it’s the most honest one. As writers we tell the stories of our hearts, the tales that live inside our minds, birthed by our soul and shaped by our life experience. We each have a story to tell, and each one is as unique as leaves on a tree. Nope, I can’t bring myself to use snowflakes. I just can’t.

Writing doesn’t come easy as most of us know. It forces us to grow in ways we never imagined. And one of the ways we grow as writers is to learn to shape our work into a particular format. Book bundles are big right now. A group of authors write short stories as a sampling of their work to invite readers to try them.

I love these. I’ve found many a new favorite author this way. In these collections the story usually has a recommended word count, say five or ten thousand words. As an author how do you make your work fit this word count?

The answer is simple. Editing. As writers one of the biggest and best things we can do for our work is also one of the most difficult. We must look at our work objectively. If you’ve written a story for inclusion into a bundle with an 8k word count and your story comes in at 12k, you need to cut some words.

“But my story will suffer!”

No, it won’t. Step back, think on it overnight or a week later if you’ve got the time. Look at the details. Character, setting, and dialogue. Does each item move the story along? Are they necessary or are they just taking up space? If they are space invaders, cut them.

The same goes for writing short. I struggle with this. If there’s an 8k word count, my story will be 6k more often than not. So I need to look at where I can add details and fill out areas that are sparse.

Read over your story to make sure the conflict is strong enough and the plot flows coherently from beginning to end. Then read it to make sure everything your characters are doing makes sense for the story line. Are their motivations believable? Review it for details, and lastly read through for those pesky adverbs, filler word, echoes and general grammar.

Part of being a professional is meeting a goal. Not making excuses for why you didn’t meet it.  As writers, we are not weak. We are strong. We tackle the hard stuff.

It takes work, but don’t shy away from the challenge, rise to it. With polish, your words will shine.

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

The Beginning, Again

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. By this time I’ve had enough of winter, and this year like so many other people, I’m suffering from winter overload. Warm and sunny can’t come soon enough.

And this year for the first time since I started writing, I’m contemplating a new series. Although the details haven’t been laid out yet, it’s exciting just mulling the possibilities. What kind of series should it be? One based on setting? Or a particular group of characters? In a certain time period or unique  location?

When I look at my bookshelf, there are some stand-alone stories which I love. But most of the books are series. The BDB of course, which takes place in the same setting but each story features a different couple. Then there’s Eve and Roarke, Kay Scarpetta, Anita Blake, Stephanie Plum and of course Claire and Jamie. This tells me I really like a series that stars a main group of characters. As we go on we get to experience their personal growth in a much more detailed manner in book after book. And there are so many books!

This is where my insecurity as a writer raises its ugly head. I’ve been reading these writers for more than ten years. They are my idols. In no way does my experience equal theirs, yet I’m driven to still write my own stories. And once again, I’m at the beginning. Where do I start?

For me, reading a series is like sitting down with an old friend. A comfy chair, a cup of tea, and hours of enjoyment. And I would really love for my readers to have the same experience.

Do you have a favorite series that you look forward to reading?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Highly Unlikely

February is the Red Hearts Blank Smallmonth for romance. At least from the view of retailers, and all those guys who are not so with it the rest of the year. Whether you’ve found the man of your dreams in real life or not, for us romance fans, there’s a hero just waiting for us in the next story we choose to read. Although he may be digital or between the pages of an actual book, one thing is fairly certain. To the heroine, he’ll be irresistible. And sometimes her polar opposite.

Opposites attract is one of my favorite tropes. For me when the sparks fly and the personal growth happens to a couple who are so different, and yet they manage to find a way to reach a middle ground really works for me. There are so many that have become my favorites over the years. Too many to list here. But my favorite of all time, and one I never get tired of reading is Nora’s Eve Dallas and Roarke.

The straight-laced, uptight cop, who mistrusts people so much she’s almost backward with it, and the charming devil-may-care, Irish con-man, who made the bulk of his fortune illegally. A perfect match!

Ms. Roberts has done a masterful job of weaving personal and relationship growth into every book, keeping their love fresh and entertaining to the reader. Although some of the story lines are serious, there’s plenty of humor to go around. As a reader, it’s pure entertainment.

Do you have a favorite unlikely couple that you enjoy reading about?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous 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, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.