Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guest Blog by Loucinda McGary - and a Giveaway!

Please help me welcome Loucinda McGary to Books and Needlepoint today. Her latest book, just newly released, is The Treasures of Venice and is a captivating read.

My Writing Process

Yesterday, I got an email from my good friend Sue who said she was just passed the half-way point in my latest release The Treasures of Venice. Like any true friend, she told me how much she loved the story thus far and then she asked, “How do you do it? How do you come up with all these characters, the plot and all the details?”

My friend JoAnne had a similar reaction when she finished reading my debut release The Wild Sight. Her first question was, “How did you come up with all those words?”

When Kristi very generously asked me to do a guest blog here on Books and Needlepoint, it occurred to me that more than just my two friends might like to know some answers to the ‘how,’ ‘what,’ and ‘why,’ of my writing process. So I’ll attempt to answer those and a few other questions. For me, writing is a lot like any other skill (like tennis or knitting), the more I do it, the more I want to do it and the better I get at doing it.

I am NOT a morning person. My optimal writing time is between 1 and 6 PM so that is when I write. Okay, I also like to go out to lunch with friends, so I often don’t get started until 1:30 and sometimes I’ll sneak in another hour or two after dinner. But my writing routine generally consists of doing emails, blogs, and other correspondence in the (late) mornings. Then every afternoon, Monday through Friday, I write from about 1 until 6. Saturdays and Sundays I am not so disciplined, but I often do revisions and critiques on those days. If I am ‘on a writing roll’ or I have a deadline, I’ll write on Saturday nights, often into the wee hours of the morning.

I am what we writers call a ‘pantser,’ which means I write by the seat of my pants. The opposite of a ‘pantser’ is a ‘plotter.’ This is someone who lays out everything before they write one word of their story. Heaven knows I have tried to be more of a plotter. I went so far as to write an eleven page outline of The Wild Sight before I started writing the first draft. Unfortunately, my characters had other ideas, and by the third chapter, I’d gone so far astray from the outline that it was useless!

When I wrote The Treasures of Venice, I was totally ‘pantsing’ the whole thing! I knew who my characters were, that the jewels had been stolen and somehow they must be found again. But I didn’t have a clue how. Part of the beauty of being a ‘pantser’ is that my sub-conscious is constantly working on my story whether I am writing or not. I distinctly remember I was in the middle of writing Chapter 6, when one morning I woke up and BAM! I knew the ending! I knew exactly where and how they were going to find those jewels. I felt great!

If only my writing process always worked that way, but unfortunately it doesn’t. Sometimes I write myself into a corner and I have to stop working on the story, go away and do something else for awhile and let my sub-conscious sort things out. Luckily, within a few hours it usually does. And then there are the days when I’m on that ‘writing roll’ I mentioned. Those are the days it is truly wonderful to be a ‘pantser!’ The words just flow and I almost feel like I am ‘channeling’ my characters. I love those days.

So, in a nutshell, that’s how I do it: Show up everyday, give my sub-conscious free rein, and hope that my characters take over. I’m not exactly sure why this works, and I definitely don’t recommend every writer try it. I only know it works for me.

Are any of you writers? Do you have a routine? Or if you’re not a writer, are there certain things you have to do during the day to make it feel right?

About the Author
Loucinda McGary took early retirement from her managerial career to pursue her twin passions of travel and writing, and sets her novels of romantic suspense in the fascinating places she has visited. She was a finalist in the 2006 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest in Romantic Suspense. She lives in Sacramento, CA. For more information, please visit http://loucindamcgary.com/.

If I were a writer, and I am most definitely not, I believe I would be a "plotter". I have lists and reminders and calendars all over with the things I need to get done or where I need to be. It is hard for me to fly by the seat of my pants - or probably more true - it is hard for me to REMEMBER all that I need to do if I don't write it down! But to answer one of her questions above - "are there certain things you have to do during the day to make it feel right?" Even though I have lists of things to do, there have been times I have been none to ignore them all and the day feels just fine to me, so maybe I can fly be the seat of my pants on occasion!

Now for the giveaway! Danielle and Sourcebooks are giving away one set of Cindy's two books: The Wild Sight and The Treasures of Venice! This giveaway is open to U.S./Canada only - no PO boxes. It will end on Sept 29. All you have to do is leave a comment below with your email address to enter. For an additional entry, please visit Cindy's website or blog - Aunty Cindy Explains It All and tell me something you have learned about Cindy or her books!


Jane said...

Congrats on the new release. I know that Aunty Cindy is an avid traveler.
janie1215 AT excite DOT com

Valorie said...

I would LOVE a chance to win!


Kira R. said...

Count me in!

kirar59 AT yahoo DOT ca

Renee said...

thanks for thie giveway.


Beth said...

This would be a fabulous prize to win- thanks for the chance!

Beth said...

Loucinda is going on a 10 day cruise to Mexico on Sept 20th to recover from her blog tour!

Anonymous said...

please enter me in the giveaway.

Something I learned about her is, she had poems published in magazines after college.


Anonymous said...

What a great contest! I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

fredamans said...

Thank you for the entry.


Brenda said...

I would love to read either. I checked out Cindy's blog and although many call her Aunt Cindy, her name is really Loucinda which is an unusual spelling.

I'm follower through google reader

I posted a notice to my blog dancealertreads.blogspot.com

dancealert at aol dot com

pixie13 said...

Would love to win either book. Thanks for the chance!


clenna said...

I love stories that incorporate history and suspense. These books sound awesome!

clenna at aol dot com

clenna said...

I learned that Lucinda is a lefty burt can knit and use scissors with her right hand!

clenna at aol dot com

scottsgal said...

Love the cover - sounds like a great read

msboatgal at aol.com

scottsgal said...

I learned that in high school, between history and algebra homework, Cindy wrote stories featuring herself, her friends, and their favorite movie and rock stars.

msboatgal at aol.com

Razlover's Book Blog said...

Hi Aunty Cindy,

Congrats on the new release!

I would love a chance to win!



Razlover's Book Blog said...

I know that Aunty Cindy discovered and joined Romance and Writers in 2001.

Thanks for the great contest!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Everyone!

Thanx so much for your interest in my books. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I hope I didn't make my writing process sound too painful. I actually LOVE it! Esp. when my characters are 'talking' to me. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


Looks like Aunty doesn't have many secrets left!

I suppose I'll have to create some new ones during my cruise to Mexico. LOL!

Anyone find out what my third book from Sourcebooks is currently titled and when it will be released?


Margay said...

I have been following Aunty Cindy around the web for so long, she's probably getting tired of seeing my name! But what I have learned about her is that she is a fascinating person and from fascinating people come fascinating stories.


Margay1122 (at) aol (dot) com

Sheila Deeth said...

I really enjoyed the Wild Sight, and I'm sure The Treasures of Venice will be great too.

sdeeth at msn dot com

Helen said...

Waving Hi Aunty Cindy

This blog tour is so good I am still learning so much about you and the way you write and I gotta say again I loved The Wild Sight and am so looking forward to reading TTOV this weekend YAY

Have Fun

flchen1 said...

Just wanted to say hi, AC! Thanks for the post today--very fun to hear more about your process :) Not a writer, but I don't think my day would be complete without some reading :) We're still adjusting to the new schedule now that school's back in session--I'm hoping there'll be more time to read, although that might be wishful thinking! Loved The Wild Sight and am very much looking forward to The Treasures of Venice!

Jenny N. said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win this book.


Jenny N. said...

One thing I learned about Cindy was that her book The Treasures of Venice was a 2006 Golden Heart finalist.


Janel said...

Please enter me! I've wanted The Treasures of Venice ever since I first saw it. Thanks!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Margay, Darlin' girl!
You know I NEVER get tired of 'seeing' you!

Same goes for you, Helen! And Fedora and Sheila and Jane and all the rest of you who have made this blog tour so much FUN!

Good luck in the contest and I hope you all enjoy The Treasures of Venice!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jenny N and Janel,
So nice to 'see' both of you here too! Best of luck in the contest!


mariska said...

Hi AC!
You are such a brilliant writer! I've been following you around (again) to get my chance to win The Treasure of Venice. I need to complete my 'treasures' from you ; )
cuniquas at gmail dot com

throuthehaze said...

count me in please
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

stacey said...

congrats on your book looks great.would love to when one of your books and get to no you better.

Crystal said...

Great post and these books sound really good. Please enter me.


traveler said...

Thanks for this lovely giveaway. Aunt CIndy loves to travel. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, ladies. I'm dropping in to say thanks to Kristi for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book.

Cindy, I hope to meet you at RT or something one day. I think you'd be fun to hang out with.

Anonymous said...

Two wonderful reads. I'd like to read both or either. Thanks for the opportunity.


etirv said...

I would love to be entered! ToV is a novel that I would really read! Contrats, Cindy!


etirv said...

Cindy calls her books “romantic suspense in exotic settings." And amazingly, she has been to the places she wrote about. A real jet setter!


lag123 said...

Please enter me..

Marie said...

These look like great reads, I would love to be entered!


CherylS22 said...

Would love to win these books - please count me in!
Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

CherylS22 said...

I learned that Cindy is blessed with the gift of "Irish Blarney".

DarcyO said...

Great giveaway! Count me in!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

DarcyO said...

I learned that Cindy will be going on a cruise to Mexico after her blog tour. What fun!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

Dawn M. said...

These sound like some really good books. Would love the chance to read one. Count me in, please! :0)

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

heatherzilla said...

Sounds like a good book. Please include me in the giveaway.

Maureen said...

Please enter me!

I learned that Cindy is quite the traveler.

mce1011 AT aol DOT com

bridget3420 said...

Count me in:)


Cherie J said...

Please enter me in the giveaway. Would love to win these books. Thank you!


Cherie J said...

At Cindy's website I learned the following"Blessed with the gift of 'Irish Blarney' Loucinda McGary (everyone calls her Cindy) became a storyteller shortly after she learned to read."


Beth said...

This looks fun! Please enter me!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

cqueen2 said...

sounds great


wadesherry@hotmail dot com

Belinda M said...

Please include me in your giveaway

Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/


Beth said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

mindy said...

these look wonderful thanks minsthins at optonline dot net

Deedles said...

Would love to add these to my book collection.

Brooke said...

Would love a chance to win both books.. I was never able to plot out my stories either.. All my short stories were written as the characters wanted...

budletsmom said...

I would love to win these books.

budletsmom at yahoo dot com

Holly said...

I'd love to read these. Awesome giveaway!


lag123 said...

Please enter me. This sounds really good.

lag123 said...

Cindy lives in Sacramento


teabird said...

I dream of going to Venice someday... and (per the website) I share Loucinda's love of tiramisu!

teabird17 AT yahoo DOT com

(great giveaway!)

Belinda M said...

Please include me in your giveaway

Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/


Sarah Z said...

Love finding new authors!
believedreamcourage (at) gmail.com

Anita Yancey said...

These books sound really good. I would love to read them. Please enter me. Thanks!


Edna said...

You are a new author to me and I love to read new material. Each author always has a different way of explaning things even sometimes they are about the same experment. As the Amish it seem now there are so many authors writting about them but they are all different. I sure would love to win one of your books.
May God bless


Jaime said...

would love to read
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Cindy said...

Please count me in the this great giveaway!

I learned a lot about this author. She sounds like a wonderful person!

I learned that Cindy donated books and a personal critique to Brenda Novak's online auction to benefit diabetes research.

I also learned that I have some things in common with this author - We have the same name - Cindy

Her name was a compromise of names from her mom and dad - mine was too - my mom wanted to name me Candice and call me Candy. My dad said no because he thought it would sound like a stripper name. LOL So, I was named Cindy instead.

And, we are both left handed! Aunty Cindy is better with her right hand, though, than I am!

I loved this author's website and blog so much that I signed up to be a follower.

Thank you so much for this great giveaway and for telling us about a really neat author too.


enyl said...

I learned that Aunty Cindy is in search of a name for the hero of her upcoming novel Wild Irish Sea.


catss99 said...

Please enter me

Bingo said...

I would love to win the books. Thanks for the giveaway

kdhaney AT gmail (DOT) com

Bingo said...

I found out that Cindy say she is Full of the Blarney and has an adorable puppy!


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