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“My Writing Process” Blog Hop   I was tagged to go next in the “Writing Process” blog tour by the lovely Laurie Sanchez, whose debut book, THE RED BIKINI, just released July 1st. (It’s a fantastic book people, you’ll love it!) The blog tour consists of only four questions, and should’ve been something I could […]

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“Writing Process” Blog Hop

Posted by on Jul 7 2014, 12:01 am

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“My Writing Process” Blog Hop


I was tagged to go next in the “Writing Process” blog tour by the lovely Laurie Sanchez, whose debut book, THE RED BIKINI, just released July 1st. (It’s a fantastic book people, you’ll love it!) The blog tour consists of only four questions, and should’ve been something I could knock out in a few minutes before I pass the baton on to the next writer. But when answers to these simple questions refused to magically reveal themselves to me, I read the posts from a few of the authors who have bravely gone before me, starting here: ( If anything, I learned we all do things a little differently to end up with the same result—a finished manuscript.


So let’s get to the questions:


What am I working on?


I’m a debut author, and after selling a book to Montlake a few months ago, I am now learning the joys of EDITING! You’d think if the book were good enough to sell, then edits should be no problem, right? Nope, not the case. At least for me, and please refer back to what I said earlier about all of us writers getting to the same end point in our own ways.

Now, when I panicked after seeing my three page edit letter, I was told by a few fellow authors that my edits were NOTHING compared to theirs, so I should just suck it up! I was also reminded that there is NO CRYING IN WRITING! (But my dear husband, who is not a writer, felt sorry enough for me to cook dinner until my edits were done, so I might have to whine the next time as well, just for form.)

Perhaps my edits were harder for me because I’m a little…goofy. I love to laugh and be entertained when I watch movies, or read books. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good old- fashioned love story that makes me cry as much as the next person, but sometimes I tend to forget to dig for emotion in my own books. My agent told me that any book I write, funny or not, doesn’t have to make her cry, but at least make her get teary-eyed at the end. So I was thrilled when she told me my story did that for her, but alas, my job was not done. I still had the beginning and middle parts to work on.

While I sighed, loudly, at some of my editor’s comments, I knew she was right.  So I combined equal parts of pondering and sweat, FORCING myself to dig deep down into that scary, vulnerable, shy part of me, and get those edits done. (The sweating part actually occurred, by the way, because I did most of my edits on my new treadmill desk!) And now, with legs a little more toned than when I started, I’ve just finished the second round of the three edits they do at Montlake before copyedits. (I worry about copyedits too, ‘cuz me and the grammar police aren’t always the best of friends! I’d like to blame my so, so, grammatical skills on moving all around the country as a military brat, but it’s basically just because I talked to my neighbor way too much in school. ;0)

I’m also working on the second book in this series and eager to get back to having fun with those characters. And yes, I have learned my lesson. I will add more emotion to this book, but probably after I type THE END but BEFORE edits next time, just to be a rebel.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?


This is a deceptively hard question. Genre fiction has certain basic rules one must obey in order to sell. The book I just sold, Best Kept Secrets, (title to change soon) is a small-town contemporary romance, and there are a ton of really good ones already out there. But, this is a question we need to ask ourselves as writers so we can stand out amongst the crowd.

If you’d asked me this question about my critique partner’s stories, I could have rattled off the answers without thought. So, of course, I wanted to ask them about my book, but then that’d be cheating. I refused to take the easy road and ‘call a friend.’ But, believe me, I was TEMPTED!

I’m sure my struggle with this question is also based a little bit in basic humility. I was brought up not to be boastful, talk about money, religion or politics. So for me to tell you my story is funny, which I highly admire in other authors, is difficult for me. I choose to use the term light-hearted, because I know many authors who make their readers laugh out loud. (Like the writer who is up next, Colette Auclair) My humor is more subtle. And when my agent suggested I write this book, she said to give it something unique. Perhaps by making the town a character.

So, I combined many tropes and made my heroine a former bad-girl returning home and ready to get it right this time, but hiding from the hero. Then I added a messed up family with a few characters who are pretty far out there. I set them in a fictional resort town in Colorado the heroine’s family runs/controls, but I made the town a celebrity hide-out. The two main clans in town can’t stand each other, a little in the vein of the Hatfields and McCoys, but in order to keep their town thriving, they all agree to keep the celebrity presence a secret from the outside world. And from the hero, who clearly sees the movie stars lingering about, but no one admits it’s really them. The townspeople make a gallant effort to hide the heroine as well, but had to fail, or I’d have a romance novel with the hero and heroine never on the same page. That’d make for a challenging love scene, no?

Then I added a few twists, turns and BIG juicy secrets that slowly become revealed before my heroine can learn to trust again and finally admit she still loves the man who’d deserted her while she was pregnant. (He had a REALLY good reason for leaving her, but can’t tell the heroine why—quite yet) You may rest assured that a happily ever after will ensue!


Why do I write what I do?

I write contemporary romance because I love to read this kind of story. Some call romance predictable, cliché, or formulaic, but I find comfort in knowing if I am going to take the time to know and care about characters, they will have changed for the better by the end. I really get annoyed when I go to a movie, or read a book that is teased as funny, then it ends in tragedy. That just sucks up all my joy, and life’s too short to pay ten bucks for that!


How does my writing process work?

I am a pantser (write by the seat of my pants) who uses a three act structure based on Michael Hauge’s teachings. I wish my process were more efficient and prolific, but I’m working on that. I have a day job, and would love nothing more than to be successful enough at writing to hand over my shares in the company to my partner and write full-time. But then, I wonder, would I get more done? Or would I just play more Candy Crush and fiddle around on the internet because I could? It’d be nice to find out.

Right now, I generally write in big stretches of time on the weekends. My kids are newly grown and MOSTLY self-sufficient, so weekends are when I have the most time to write. I’m addicted to reality shows like the Housewives of Anywhere, Survivor, and American Idol. I generally do light editing and tweaking while watching these shows on week nights after a long day at work. Due to the wonders of the DVR, if I miss a table-toss because I’m so lost in thought, or some looney-toon who throws all the rice their tribe has left into the fire, I can always rewind and watch those parts again. I don’t know people like these in my everyday life, so I enjoy seeing how the other half lives. I may or may not have stolen personality quirks of some of the most outrageous people I watch and weaved those traits into my favorite characters. Like a magician, writers never tell! ;0)


So that’s me. Next up is the always entertaining, Colette Auclair, whose books I thoroughly love. She’ll post on July 14th , here on the firebird blog and here:  I hope you’ll enjoy learning about fellow authors and their processes as much as I have.


Happy reading!





19 responses to ““Writing Process” Blog Hop”

  1. Hi Tamra

    Lovely post. I too love ‘small town’ romance, where you can embed yourself into a community and start to care for the people involved, and there’s always great tension in ‘bad girl goes home’ *knowing sigh*. Congratulations on your Montlake soon-to-debut and enjoy those edits, as they put the final burnish on a book. I’d love to know more about your treddle desk because my next Firebirds blog is on keeping healthy while writing. See you in SA,


    • Hi Natalie,

      I’m really loving my treadmill desk! Once you get going it’s easy to walk for 2 or 3 hours straight. Over this past holiday weekend I walked over 18 miles! Your feet just instinctively move while you go about your business.

      Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks! 🙂

  2. Kay Hudson says:

    Congratulations on your sale and forthcoming debut, Tammie. It’s so interesting to hear how other people work. As for full-timing it, I’m afraid my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m down to three days a week at the day job, and finding way too many excuses not to write–yard work, shopping, computer games. But it boils down to what works for you, not what works for anyone else. Good luck with the edits!

    • Thanks, Kay,

      I really do wonder if I’d get more writing done if I could ever do it full-time. I’m afraid I might find waaaay too many excuses to not write as well!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love “no crying in writing”! Ha! But you pulled through those edits, and now you’re moving on.

    I can’t wait to see what’s next in the great little resort town in Colorado! I love your sense of humor, and it comes out so well in your fiction — we’re in for a treat when your books start to come out next spring! 🙂

  4. Great post! And I have to follow this???? Oh, dear. 🙂
    As for that treadmill while typing, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea. It would seem to me that the motion of walking would keep shifting your hands about. And did you make the stand the laptop goes on or is it a special treadmill (if so…sigh…I doubt I’ll find it here in Budapest). Care to elaborate?

  5. Pintip says:

    Tammy, if your books are anything like your sparkling personality, I will love them for sure. Best Kept Secrets sounds amazing, and I am so looking forward to reading it! Thanks for sharing your writing process!

    • Hi Pintip!

      So very happy all went well and that you and Adisai (what a great name, BTW) are both healthy and doing so well! Thanks for stopping by, now go take a nap while you can!!! 🙂

  6. Jamie Wesley says:

    Great post! I laughed, especially about the looney-tune throwing rice in the fire. And you know you had me with celebrity hideout. I can’t wait to read it!

  7. robena grant says:

    Terrific post. Congrats on the soon-to-be released book via Montlake. Can’t wait for the read.

  8. Jen Gilroy says:

    Very helpful post, Tamra. As someone who also writes contemporary romance (small town too) you’ve made me think about how what I write differs from others in the genre. Congratulations on your first sale. I look forward to reading your debut release.

  9. Great process, Tammy! Thanks for sharing.

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