Nothing Makes you a Better Writer than Writing

Hello, welcome, and thank you for stopping by!

I had a blog post all prepared, when I realized that my posting date was Cinco de Mayo, or Mexican Independence Day! But then, being the writer of historical fiction that I am, I want to start looking things up.

Bad call.

My internet is still out after a week. To post this blog for you, I am currently at the Waihi Public Library in town. My little Main Street Town of Waihi, in New Zealand. So please leave comments for me, just be aware I may not get to answer it for several days! My apologies, but they’re redoing the whole internet tower, as we speak. 🙂

So, in honor of Xavier, Aleksandra and the rest of the Argüellos, and all of my Mexican friends around the world, happy Cinco de Mayo!

So, back to the title: Nothing makes you a better writer than writing.

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? It’s easy to get stuck in the writing conference-, workshop-, and course- mode. Don’t get me wrong, they are essential, but nothing, NOTHING, will substitute for your time getting words down on the page. I was reminded of this recently, in a way even I couldn’t miss. Read on, for a giggle or two, at my expense.

The good news is that my writing has improved over the past three years. The corollary to that, is The Long Trails series Book 3, A Sea of Green Unfolding, is not ready for release on 1 May, as planned. Trust me, you wouldn’t have wanted to read it in the state it was in.

‘Sea of Green’ began its life as my 2013 NaNoWriMo project. It was my first NaNo. I won, and boy, was I excited! My first novel, A Long Trail Rolling, had been handed to my beta readers. Through that November of NaNoWriMo, I wrote faster than ever before. More importantly, that month, I taught myself to get words down out of my head, and onto that page, rather than mulling about writing and rewriting and never finishing a story. Always a useful thing, if one wants to publish more than one book.

The news coming back from my beta readers was good, despite the fact that most of them were readers of anything other than the genres encompassed by my first novel, they liked it. Pshew, what a relief!

However, independently, two of them were of the firm–FIRM–opinion that another novel was needed between Book 1 and its then-epilogue.

I blinked when the first one beta reader said that, and blinked even harder when the second one uttered the same comment.

Independently.

They didn’t even know each other.

To both, I shook my head.

 

It Wasn’t going to happen. Book Two, A Sea of Green, was nearly complete by this time. Contemplating another book in between would mean of Sea of Green wouldn’t be out for over a year, maybe more

Inconcievable

(Yes, I love The Princess Bride.)

I tried to avoid their recommendation. After all, I was head down, bum up, working to complete Book 1 and learning how to self publish. A steep learning curve, for a veterinarian and teacher. Photoshop, Scrivener, Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, copywriting, Ingram-Spark. Between workshops, conferences, writing books, and life (oh yes, and a teaching degree and teenaged sons), I managed to avoid thinking about intervening book. And then I was talked into becoming secretary for the Romance Writers of New Zealand. Another steep learning curve. In the back of my mind still niggled, very quietly, this idea about inserting a book into the sequence…but I kept working on Sea of Green.

As time went on, one of my beta readers, previously my friend and medieval fencing instructor, became my love interest.

Now I was stuck. He asked about this intervening novel from time to time, one brow raised, with ‘that look.’

Things got busier…then I became president of Romance Writers of New Zealand…a good move for the club, not a good move for my writing.

I managed to squiggle out of any conversations about the now-interloping book…that is, until that fateful day at a local RWNZ Chapter meeting, where the splendid writer Sheryl ‘B’ handed all of us tray upon tray of materials, with which to create our storyboard masterpieces.

I got all excited! I would do one for the book I’d just finished, or maybe one for Sea of Green! I studiously avoided looking at Matt.

He sat down beside me and gazed out the window at the lovely view from Sheryl’s huge window. Finally, he turned and looked long and hard at me.

“So what book are you going to ‘storyboard’ today?”

My mouth suddenly wouldn’t work, and I averted my eyes.

“Book 2,” I mumbled. “Sea of Green,” I almost whispered, turning away.

That look again. I caught it from the corners of my eyes.

“There really is another book in there,” he said, and got up to collect his creation materials. He’s a master of subtlety. He knows anything else would’ve gotten my dander up.

I sat at my place, tears filling my eyes in frustration. Surrounded by ribbons, chips of coloured glass, feathers and glittering papers, something within me answered.

With a deep breath, I began assembling bits and pieces from our hostess’ primary-teacher treasure trove of goodies and glue sticks and let the creative juices drag the story out of me.

Today, I sit before the lovely storyboard I created that day.

 

It became the inspiration for The Hills of Gold Unchanging. Once the storyboard was done, I was keen to write it.

I chuckled beneath my breath. I’d write a quick novella to get the two betas off my back, and get back to Sea of Green. How many pages could I possibly write about the wee gap between A Long Trail Rolling and its two-page epilogue?

Well, it seems…a few. Quite a few—certainly more than I’d smugly planned, that fine summer day in 2015. That book, The Hills of Gold Unchanging, published at 510 pages or so, this February.

Hence, my long ramble to get back where we started today. After I published Hills of Gold on 18 February, 2017, and announced to all and sundry (printed it in the back of the everlovin’ BOOK, for chrissake…), that Book 3, A Sea of Green Unfolding, would be released on 1 May. I would leisurely complete the beginning (as that had changed) and the end (hadn’t quite discovered yet how it was going to end) of Sea of Green, finish the covers, and get it published on time. Yes, 1 May of this year.

We have a saying with the Tui Beer ads down here…

“Yeah, Right.”

I’m rolling my eyes, as we speak.

Wrong.

I went straight to work on the beginning. Thankfully, the research had been…(exhaustively? Pedantically?) done, even if it was four years previously, and I only needed to refamiliarize myself with it. Just a short beginning—a few hundred pages or so. Well, ok, it took longer than I’d thought.

Then onto the end. I wrote most of that, but until two weeks ago, I struggled a little with the finale.

Yay! A quick edit of the main portion, already written, then I’d be done.

Uh oh.

I read page after page of the original, (2013!) manuscript, my heart sinking deeper with each word. There were eighty thousand of them. I thought I might never get air again.

It didn’t need a light edit, it needed a bulldozer.

I have yet to complete this portion. It showed me, however, that my writing has indeed improved, since I wrote the first draft of my now-Book Three.

This draft also gives me some great practice copy to use for participants in a workshop on editing for deep POV, POV full stop, and info dumping via the use of excruciating dialogue.

Oh   My   God.

LOL.

No matter how bad, however, writing 500 words of another book has helped me. This will be a better book for it. I shudder to think of how it would have turned out if I’d written Sea of Green first? At least after I finished the tome of The Hills of Gold Unchanging, I could edit the crap out of the first half of the book. J

So, long story short, A Sea of Green Unfolding will not be ready by 1 May (clearly…). This book is a baby of my heart. It covers territory I know and love—the trails I rode as a youngster in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, and special places in my new home of New Zealand. It also speaks of issues here in Aotearoa, the ‘Island of the Long White Cloud,’ which have been buried for a century and a half too long.

I hope you’ll think it’s worth waiting for.

When will that be? (I say, twirling the end of my long hair…)

When it’s done…

…but now I’ve decided it’ll be released 27 May. J Let’s hope so, because it’s available on for preorder on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, at least, in digital for that date.

Best get back to it…

 

If you subscribe to my newsletter at my website , you’ll be the first to hear!

in case the link fails, it ‘s a  http://lizzitremayne.com

Then it’s on to finish the first in my new series of contemporary-girl-horse-vet stories, which will be part of the Authors of Main Street’s Christmas Boxed Set!  Keep an eye out here for the details!!!

 

 

Below, you can find preorder links, where to find Lizzi, blurbs for A Sea of Green Unfolding, awards for The Long Trails series, more about Lizzi, and an excerpt from the book!  Enjoy!

A Sea of Green will be released on 27 May!  Preorder it until 27 May 2017 for the special price of only $3.99 USD at:

Amazon         Barnes and Noble      Kobo      Smashwords

 Find Lizzi at: 

Lizzi’s Website   Lizzi’s Blog    Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page    Instagram

 A Sea of Green Unfolding:

1862, Rancho de las Pulgas, San Francisco Bay

Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly-found paradise on their California Rancho de las Pulgas. Von Tempsky invites them on a journey to a new life in peaceful New Zealand, but change is in the wind. When they reach Aotearoa, they disembark into a turbulent wilderness—where the wars between the European settlers and the local Māori have only just begun.

BOOK THREE IN THE LONG TRAILS SERIES, FOLLOWING THE HILLS OF GOLD UNCHANGING.

In the multiply-awarded A Long Trail Rolling, Lizzi Tremayne told the story of Aleksandra Lekarski, a trapper’s daughter who finds herself alone—and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret.

The third story, A Sea of Green Unfolding, finds Aleksandra and Xavier in California.

 

AWARDS FOR THE LONG TRAILS SERIES

This is the third novel in the series of historical romantic suspense sagas following Aleksandra and Xavier from the wilderness of 1860 Utah to Colonial New Zealand.

With Book One, A Long Trail Rolling, Lizzi Tremayne was: Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings; Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award; Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel plus third in Koru Long Novel section; and finalist in the 2015 Best Indie Book Award.

 

A Sea of Green will be released on 27 May! Preorder it until 27 May 2017 for the special price of only $3.99 at: Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo Smashwords AUTHOR LINKS: (website, FB, twitter, blog, etc.) Find me at: Lizzi’s Website Lizzi’s Blog Twitter Facebook Pinterest Goodreads Amazon Author Page Instagram

About Lizzi:

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis and practiced in the California Pony Express and Gold Country before emigrating to New Zealand. When she’s not writing historical romantic suspense, veterinary nonfiction and fiction (pending), Lizzi practices equine medicine, teaches, farms, rides and drives horses, swings rapiers and shoots bows in medieval garb. With her first novel, Lizzi was awarded Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings, Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award, Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel plus third in Koru Long Novel section, and finalist in the 2015 Best Indie Book Award.

Here’s an Excerpt!

Aleksandra took a deep breath, and looked around them, into the first rays of sun, shining across the sea. In its path, the barque lay silhouetted–mainsail gone, the other two masts forlorn in their nakedness. There was movement on board, but Aleksandra couldn’t make out what was happening. She turned back to the shore. In the rapidly growing light, the beautiful white sand beach arced away in a long bay. A short distance away, a wide river mouth opened onto the beach, coming from a big valley in a wall of steep mountains. The beautiful sea of green that started at the shoreline seemed to go on forever, as far as the eye could see.

“Well, boy, how about some fresh water?” Aleksandra managed a smile and took a deep breath. “I don’t know where we are, but if Jacob’s right, this should be the East Coast of New Zealand, our new home.”

Dzień flicked his soggy ears, shook the rest of the sea water from his coat, and together they headed for the river.

There was so much green, green upon green, it dazzled the eyes. There was no sign of habitation. The massive trees were unlike any she’d seen before. Some were like the ferns in the redwoods of California, except that they were not bushes, but big trees. Fern trees. Amazing. Something moved to her left amongst the trees, and her hand slid to her hip, but her shashka was gone.

Her heart pounded against her ribs, before she remembered it was in her pack. She reached back to check it was still there. At the feel of its outline through the canvas, she broke out in a cold sweat.

She glanced skyward.

Thank you again.

Aleksandra slowly let out her breath.

A small stream crossed the beach ahead of her and she followed it toward the trees. She parted the bushes and peered into the darkness.

“Oh,” she breathed.

From over the sea, the sun’s early rays slipped inside the edge of the forest and caught a tiny, perfect, waterfall. It flowed from a stand of ferns, high up in a wall. The water glittered, as it tumbled from rock to rock, until it reached the stream at her feet.

She’d never seen anything so beautiful.

She scooped up a little of the water, drank a handful, then offered some to the old gods of the place. She bowed, then with one last backward glance, turned to go.

Dzień took advantage of her absence to browse on the bushes beside the beach.

“Let’s go find that river,” she said, and continued on until they came to the wide river. Untying the waist strap, she slid out of her knapsack. Dzień drank while she stripped off her wet clothes, shivering in the early morning air. Aleksandra followed him in, gasping at the temperature, then ducked all the way under and came up giggling. She slid under again, and rubbed her hair until it was cleaner than it had been for their months at sea. She never thought she’d be so happy to smell clean water, and feel clean herself.

Opening the pack, pulled out her wet shashka and bow, then extracted an oilskin-wrapped bundle. Her packed clothes were dry, as were her knives. Her hat was a little worse for the salt water, but it would do.

After her sodden garments, the soft warmth of her buckskins and her sequestered weapons were familiar and welcome. Dzień nearly inhaled the handfuls of corn she put into her hat for him and she repacked her bag, slinging it on again.

“First things first, pony.” She rubbed his neck, as they walked up the trail beside the river. “We’re looking for a needle in the haystack here…somehow, we need to find Gustavus von Tempsky.”

Something niggled at the back of her mind as she rambled on to the horse, but her brain wasn’t clear enough to grasp it.

“I think we’re in the right country, but I have no idea where we are, nor if there are any people here, nor how to find the—”

Aleksandra’s heart froze and she stopped dead.

The trail beside the river. With footprints.

In an uninhabited wilderness…

It wasn’t uninhabited, either.

Before her on the trail was a pair of bare feet. Big ones.

Slowly, heart pounding in her chest, she lifted her eyes to meet those of what could only be a native of this land.

She gulped.

His dark face and body were covered by swirling tattoos—and very little else. The massively muscled, taut warrior, for he could be nothing else, held in his hand a big, heavy club, carved from a glossy green stone…

and he wasn’t smiling.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Until next time, or hasta luego, as my hero, Xavier, would say!

Xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

 

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About Lizzi Tremayne

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, practiced in the California Pony Express and Gold Country before emigrating to New Zealand. When not writing, she's swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding, driving a carriage or playing on her farm, singing, or working as an equine veterinarian or science teacher. She is multiply published and awarded in special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.
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10 Responses to Nothing Makes you a Better Writer than Writing

  1. E. Ayers says:

    I love the comment about needing a bulldozer! I have a few such manuscripts on my hard disk that, to be brutally honest, would be too much work to clean up. I’ll let them die. I consider them training for the real thing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. susanrhughes says:

    I want to hear more about the medieval fencing!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. jackiemaurer says:

    I love The Princess Bride too, Lizzi! Congrats on the upcoming release of A SEA OF GREEN. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Carol says:

    LOL I’ve taken a bulldozer to a couple of my books also. As a matter of truth, I’m in the middle of one now! Have three books going at once. Tis the season for edits, rewrites and new storylines. You have quite the interesting storyboard. Congrats on your upcoming release!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Carol! WOrking hard at it! xx
    L

    Liked by 1 person

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