Writing Through Chaos #writingadvice #TaraLain

Hi all — 

I just hit 50,000 words on a new book.

I will admit, this book will need more editing and revision than most of my books do after first draft, but i should explain. I’ve spent the last two months living in a hotel with my honey and a dog, the house i thought i was going to buy proving to be an impossible money pit and out of reach financially. That took a month to determine. Then everything i own was delivered by the van lines and had to be put in storage — while we kept living in a hotel. Then we thought we’d rent a house, but that was more than difficult at this time of year. Instead, we ended up putting in an offer on a different house — but that required another 30 day escrow. Meanwhile, our lender was wacko and asked for documentation in dribs and drabs, between 5 and 15 documents per day in a seemingly never ending process. During this, i’ve been doing my day job from a tiny desk and a plastic box, on my cell phone with my husband trying to do his work from his cell phone while the dog barks at every person who walks down the hall.

And i wrote 50,000 words. Not at my usual pace, but still writing. How?

That’s a question many writers ask me. How do you keep writing — during distraction? When life happens? When all you want to do is scream and sleep from frustration? During chaos?

The answer i guess is  that’s when a writer’s discipline shows. The discipline is best established when crap has not hit the fan — during everyday life.

  • Figure out how many words you want to write per week. Make it doable. I suggest doing NanoWriMo a couple times to push yourself and learn what you can do. Divide that total by 7. Or 6 if you need a day off. LOL.
  • Establish a minimum number of words per day that is your bottom line and you won’t go lower. For me that’s 1000 words.Whereas i like to do 2,000 or more ( i work full time at another job 3 days a week and i write for that job too!) i tell myself i need to do 1,000. Have i missed that any days during this weird patch in my life? Yes. (Like on the day i drove 12 hours from southern California to southern Oregon) But most days i’ve made it.
  • If you miss your minimum words one day, try to make them up the next.
  • Realize there’s only one kind of “muse” — the feeling of butt in chair and fingers on keys. Writing is its own inspiration.
  • The only way to write a book — is to write a book.
  • Starting is easy. Finishing is hard. Force yourself to the end. Completion is the key to success. Do it once and you can do it again and again.
  • As a friend of mine used to tell me, remember it’s not a hobby, it’s a job.

Writing is hard but also immensely fun. When life is in chaos, writing can be the one thing that helps establish order — and gives joy. I’m still not in my house, though i hope to be this week. Meanwhile, I’ll make that 50,000 words grow, hopefully into something worthwhile. Wish me luck!  : )

Disney and #RWA17 and Animals, Oh My! Tara in Orlando.

Hi —

RWA17 is over. I stayed  an extra day in Orlando for a visit to Animal Kingdom, but after a short park stop, I got rained out and spent most of the day writing. The week has been  educational, exhilarating and exhausting. Add fun to that list. I got here Tuesday evening and on Wednesday there were only a few workshops, so i thought I’d walk over to Epcot Center and play a little then return to the hotel. I was meeting friends in the afternoon, so i thought i’d return later. Instead, i had such a great time, i never left. I went on all the Epcot attractions, and wandered around with my tea in hand. Yes, it was 97 degrees, thank you, but i still had a ton of fun. I had a Chinese lunch, walked through the World Showcase, went on Soarin’ andSpaceship Earth, saw the dinosaurs fro the last time (they’re going away), then met Kc and Chudney and we splurged on a delicious dinner in the French restaurant. It was fabulous. I got back after walking 19,000 steps at 8:30 at night.

The next day, i got down to work, and Thursday and Friday literally went to a workshop every 90 minutes. Fantastic topics on why series sell, how to use tropes to create high concept. the French market for romance, creating deeply dimensional characters and much more. I was also representing my OCCRWA chapter as President, so i attended the RWA annual meeting and the Leadership breakfast. Then we had the big Literacy signing which was very successful. I saw lots of friends. I even managed to squeak in a few thousand words on my WIP and finish edits on two books.

Today, Sunday, was my last day in Florida, and, as predicted, it rained a lot (although not as much as i expected). I got to take the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and walk through the Gorilla Trek before the rain really started. Then i had to come back to check in on my transportation for tomorrow, so i stayed in the hotel and got productive.

It’s been a fun and worthwhile trip, although i could definitely sleep a couple straight days! Tomorrow is my flight home then back to work on all fronts!

I want to tell you that my next new release is coming in three weeks — Fool of Main Beach. This is one of my fave books ever. Check it out HERE. Talk soon. : )

Inciting Incident to 3rd Act Twist! 5 Top Plot Points #amwriting #writingcraft

Hi welcome. Many writers, like me, structure books quite intuitively, sensing when twists and turns are needed to keep the reader engaged. But there actually are rules and pointers for plot structure that can help us. Below is a particularly fun rundown on the 5 top plot points that apply to both books and movies. I hope you enjoy it. My upcoming new release, Return of the Chauffeur’s Son, takes my hero from yearning for the same guy since he was 11, to almost getting his heart’s desire only to discover it might not be what he wants, while uncovering something even more desirable — that he might have given up because he was too blind to see. You can pre-order it HERE.

Here are those Top 5 Plots Points!

Thank you for coming by!

Doing Fathers Right! Happy Day!

WolfinGucciLoafersLGHi everyone–

For those in the US, Happy Father’s Day! One of the great things a writer gets to do is create families the way they would like them to be. While i didn’t have the easiest childhood, i get to write fathers and mothers that embody what i would like to have seen as a child. One of those is in my recent book, Wolf in Gucci Loafers. The character is actually a grandfather and i love him. He revealed himself on every page to be just the kind of Pop-Pop we would all love to have. Here’s a scene honoring father’s and grandfather’s everywhere. I was blessed with a fabulous grandfather and a wonderful father-in-law who is still robust and doing great at 91. Here’s to them!

Socialite Lindsey Vanessen wants someone to love who will love him back—an impossibility for a gay, half-human, half-werewolf. Too aggressive for humans, too gay for wolves, and needing to protect the pack from human discovery, Lindsey tries to content himself with life as a successful businessman. But when someone starts kidnapping members of wealthy families, Lindsey meets tough cop Seth Zakowsy—the hunky embodiment of everything Lindsey wants but can’t have.

 Seth has never been attracted to flamboyant men. What would the guys in the department think of Lindsey? But intrigue turns to lust when he discovers Lindsey’s biting, snarling passion more than matches his dominant side. It might mean a chance at love for a cop in black leather and a wolf in Gucci loafers.


“Lindsey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, sir. I’m doing well.”

“Come talk to me.” His grandfather turned and walked into the living room.

Did he want to talk? He’d have to be careful, but yes. Pop-Pop was a smart man. He walked down the stairs and into the large, comfortable room. His grandfather sat on a love seat at one end of the room, so he took the identical seat across from him. He leaned back and crossed his legs. Look relaxed.

Pop-Pop sat forward. “Romantic troubles?”

Wow. The old man had a way of diving to the truth. “Not exactly.”

“I heard you had a date with the Westerberg son. Your mother’s doing, I believe.” The old man could have been talking about a date with a girl, he was so comfortable with it.

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you like him?”

“Well enough.”

“Ah, so he’s not the issue.”

Lindsey grinned. His grandfather was enjoying the guessing game.

“So if it’s not exactly romantic troubles, what exactly is it?”

“I guess you could call it unrequited romantic interest.”

He rubbed his hands together. “Now this is interesting. I’ve seen you with many men over the years since you returned from school, but none of them lasted more than a few dates, and none of them ever sparked what I would call romantic interest. How odd that you should affix your affection on one who doesn’t care about you. Have you considered it might be a form of self-protection? Only wanting the ones you can’t have has a way of keeping you single.”

Lindsey grinned. “I guess that’s possible sometimes, but not in this case. He’s just highly inappropriate. A tough cop I met while helping Dave with the kidnapping issue. Dave asked if I would take him to the polo match to give him a chance to investigate among people we know without being too obvious. So I did it.” Lindsey shrugged.

“And got caught in your own trap.”

He smiled, but it hurt around the edges. “Yes, I guess. I found him attractive from the start but assumed he was straight, so it was just a harmless flirtation. After the match, I found out he’s gay, so that made the vast expanse between us more real.”

Pop-Pop frowned. “It’s not like you to discriminate based on class.”

“Nothing like that, sir. He’s the one discriminating, I’m sure. I’m simply not at all his type. A bit too lavender silk for his black leather, shall we say.”

His grandfather steepled his fingers and stared over them. “You’re not just one thing, Lindsey. I’ve know many men in my life and you’re one of the very best. Smart, decisive, action-oriented, kind, and basically good. Unlike your father, I might add. You need a man who sees that. But you’ve got good judgment, so if you think this cop is romance-worthy, then my bet is there’s something there worth pursuing. Ride him down, son!” He laughed that big robust sound that had comforted Lindsey since the day he was born.


I’m really excited, because i’m starting the third book in this series this week and i’ll get to enjoy Pop-Pop and a lot of my favorite characters again in new situations! Can’t wait! : )

How This Author Get’s It All Done


I recently had some folks ask me about my daily schedule and life so i jotted it down. Here’s what it looks like:

Like many writers, I work full-time at another job as well. In fact, I own my job. I’m a partner in a small ad/PR firm which I helped found many years ago. Unlike many writers, I don’t hate my day job. Quite the contrary. I think both professions feed each other. If you know what my day job is, you understand better why I’m such a passionate participant in social media and why I actually enjoy blogging. I have promotional and marketing instincts and training, so I do more promo than many authors. I’m also a fairly prolific author. My first book came out in January of 2011 and I’m now writing book 23. I’m also a huge believer in reasonably healthy living, so exercise and a balanced diet have to come in there somewhere. I’m married to the love of my life, have a house, a family and a my soul-dog.2013-01-18 12.30.53

It’s a balancing act.

5-6AM — Get up, check and answer email and social media for my author life. If time permits, do some writing.

6:30 — Take off out the door with my dog for a mile and a half walk which includes a stop for wheat grass juice and veggie juice and ends with a trip to the coffee shop for tea and dog treats. (Alternatively, do a complete Pilates and Yoga routine.)

7:45 – 9:00 — Check and answer business emails and Tara Lain emails, make soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, shower and make the 1 minute commute to my home office

9 – about 12ish — Work my butt off doing strategic planning, program development and copy writing for clients

12 – 1ish — Lunch — often raw veggies with tahini sauce, some raw nuts, and a piece of string cheese. Write on my WIP

1-3ish — More client work

3-3:30ish — WIP and social media

3:30 – 5 — Clients, conference calls, etc.

5-6 — WIP and social media including blogging

6-7 — Dinner and some TV

7 – 9:30 — A mix of family time, TV, and writing.

9:30 — head for bed, read and sleep

On Fridays, I have more writing time and, of course, big chunks of the weekend are devoted to creating books. I also blog almost every day. Because I work at home, I generally see emails come in for both my lives and can respond to something urgent very quickly, so I’m extremely lucky.

The secret to getting it all done to me is being able and willing to do small bits at a time. I don’t have to have hours to write. Got 15 minutes? Pull up the WIP and go to work. I figure if i write 1000 words a day, i’ve created 365,000 words a year. That’s a bunch of books. Of course, many days i don’t reach 1000 and many more days i do 2,000 or more words. I’m also a big believer in spending one-third of my writer time doing promo of some kind, so i plan for that every day.  As Nike says, just do it. Doing, doing, done. : )