ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

Hashtag Happy!

I went to a presentation a few weeks ago by the talented and knowledgeable Susan Spann, who writes mysteries in which her lead detective is a sixteenth-century ninja. And you can read all about her here: http://www.susanspann.com/

Anyway, she was presenting about social media. And I know, I’m not very active here sometimes; some days there’s just too much to do and not enough space. But I’ve decided to start using more hashtags in my social media postings.

I’ve only done one so far, on my writer’s page on Facebook. And I have learned that people like pictures! And they like hashtags!

So I’ve been trying to choose my three “areas” for things I post about. Two were easy; writing life, interesting WWII stories with an emphasis on women’s stories especially if they involve combat, and…


You know, when people post some passive-aggressive meme that is aimed at some particular Facebook Frenemy but don’t actually have the balls to take that person on directly?

I thought it would be fun to collect them and use them to entertain people. To be content that I provide.

So, watch this space! In blogging I suppose you just use tags. But look out for #writinglife #vaguebook and #scouts in the rest of my accounts!

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Embracing the writer you really are

Colorado Gold with Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers!  I laughed!  I cried!  I drank!  I met lots of really cool people!

Including an editor!  WHO WANTS ME TO SEND HIM THE BOOK!

So that was pretty exciting, but…let’s just say the rest of the weekend my interactions with him suggested that he wouldn’t like the book I was sending.  He told me that he didn’t see a lot of New Adult that wasn’t romance but he was intrigued by the sorority girls being the heroes.  So, after a whole lot of soul-searching and existential questions, like “Is it still art if everyone’s structures are the same?” and “Was it even art in the first place?” and a talk by William Kent Krueger who said that he was a much better writer when he stopped trying to be Ernest Hemingway…

I’ve decided that I’m a romance writer.  Or that this is a romance story, anyway.  Which I have to be if I want to write about this age group–and get the book into the hands of readers.  Because honestly, in the first drafts of this book the romantic story kept trying to take over.  Which doesn’t mean that I was falling into plot traps, or that I wasn’t as good with my characters as I should be.  It just means that I wanted to write the romance all along.

All my musings led me back to the question of why I wanted to be a writer at all, and why I wanted to write this particular story.  It was to tell the story, and it was to talk to young women.  Not in a preachy sort of way, but in a meeting of equals way.  The same way I parent, you know?  Parenting is a two-way street; it’s not something I do to them, it’s something parent and kid do together.  It’s not about imposing my needs on them; it’s about recognizing their needs and teaching them to be civilized people too.  I used to be a young woman.  And now that I’m a less-young woman, I want to explore the themes of making mistakes, and learning to trust again (including yourself), and in the end being who you really are.

So that means for the next few weeks I’m restructuring this manuscript, adding back scenes that I thought were too romance-oriented, and writing two serious (gulp!) sex scenes.  I’ve already written some serious foreplay scenes with these two, so how hard can it be to get everyone’s clothes off?

I know.  I just have to jump in and do it.

At least my shoes were comfortable this time.

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September mornings

Ahh.  After the long weekend the kids are back at school.  And I’m doing my last prep for Rocky Mountain Gold.

Well, I wish it was the last!

They don’t tell you what editor/agent you will meet with beforehand.  So I’m doing three separate packets based on posted submission guidelines.  I figure that if I don’t meet the other two I can still use the package.  So I’m writing my synopses today.  I’m almost finished with the six page one, and then I’ll cut it down to three, two, and one.  Next I need to write one more query letter and print out the sample pages each requests.

I can’t decide if I should print off a complete manuscript.

I think putting the manuscript of the first book away for a while was a good decision.  I’m re-reading it now as I write the synopsis and it seems fresh and new.  Also, it’s still funny.  And it’s still a good book.  Maybe the strangest thing is that the scenes leading up to the They Have Sex scene are better than the actual sex scene.  I’ll have to think about that.  Meanwhile, this is a good book.

Today I’m sitting in my sunroom admiring the new sound wall.  It’s almost finished and they’ll put in a gate and I’ll have my alone space back.  I can’t really decide if I need to be alone (no kids or husband around) when I’m writing, but I definitely work better when I don’t have a back yard full of construction workers!  There’s plenty of yardwork I could be doing, but first:  Colorado.

The other writing news is that I’m working on my second book.  I’ve written around 25,000 words, and have rearranged scenes and story so that I have finished the first act.  I’m workshopping that material Friday morning.  Also, after a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to have the second book of the series as a dual viewpoint between Brooks and Kit.  Her voice is so well-developed that sometimes it narrates my real-life adventures.  I don’t have a real handle on him yet, but expect it will come.

All right, back to work with me.  And you.

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