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Live Blog: Editing Palm Springs

I had to google “live blog” to make sure it wasn’t a term I made up in my head.

So, cool, I’m not crazy. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do. This week I am editing Palm Springs for publication (June 21st) and I thought it might be fun to document a behind the scenes look at what goes into publishing content when you are a self-published author. If that’s not your cup of tea and you’re just interested in the interesting stuff, I’ll be sure to highlight it in some sort of interesting color so you can scroll straight to those parts. BECAUSE….. I’m going to be updating this post throughout the week, adding things here and there like how many chapters there are, whose POV we get to read through, spoilers about the little cliffhanger at the end of the book.

Um… I’ll come up with a color key to highlight where there are spoilers, just in case anyone is precious about that kind of thing. I understand. Really, I do and I’m very honored you feel that way. Let’s start the live blog!

Tuesday, June 11th

Number of chapters……………….. 12

Word count………………………..25,824

So I’ve been chipping away at the first few paragraphs of chapter one and already having to triage some things. I remember I had a difficult time starting Palm Springs, since I was branching out from the excerpt that appeared at the end of Contested Heart in order to flesh it out some more. The first thing you read in any book should be something that grabs your attention and just sucks you in right away. I could probably spend all night trying to get it just right. If I can manage to fill in some gaps here in the narrative then I’ll be set. Chapter one opens with Natalie and her POV. In fact all of the story is through Natalie’s POV.

Whenever something is new, I’ll highlight it blue.

Oh hi, Amelia. Natalie’s assistant is one of my favorite side characters. (Did you know is a regular character in Fading Dusk? I started that book as a sort of spin-off to the whole Bidden series, featuring a handful of Bidden characters (like James) and then just incorporated it into the Bidden world. It ends on a cliffhanger but honestly, I don’t know if many people have read it because of the way I initially published the book.) Amelia is one of my favorite characters. I especially enjoyed writing her initial appearance in either Beyond Ruin when Frankie interviews her for the position of Natalie’s assistant. Still makes me LOL to this day!

Where is everyone?

Quinn is on leave from Gallo Harlow and Joe is taking meetings in New York. Audra is also in New York… possibly with a certain Rachel Maddow-esque television journalist who most recently made an appearance in Contested Heart. But did you know she appeared before that in The Other Woman? OMG Crystal you’re like, so into your own book trivia. Yep.

Wednesday, 6/12

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted today. I didn’t get much sleep last night on account of staying up to watch America’s Got Talent, then reading the second Throne of Glass book. Work was nearly a full day of grammar correcting clinical content. So I’m not sure how long I’m going to last live blogging the Palm Springs edit tonight. But I’ll press on! Let’s see… where did I leave off? I think I only got through chapter one. Right. So chapter two starts with Natalie driving up to Montecito to pick up Frankie from Celine’s house. This is the first time Celine and Natalie have interacted face to face like this in a really, really long time. I think the third book? No, the second…. no that took place in Vegas. *facepalm* Let’s move on!

I just realized that this is the only, if one of just a few books in the Bidden series where I haven’t referenced conversations or text from past books. But I just spotted the perfect opportunity to include this gem from Beyond Ruin.

The estate that dominated the land around them was not anything like the house in the hills. It wasn’t merely a house, but a declaration of wealth and intent. It was not the home of a single man but of the first generation of a family yet to come.
James was the first to speak.
“I wasn’t going to show you this place yet,” he started, speaking quietly. “In fact I can’t show you most of it. At least, not today.”

Natalie swallowed deliberately with the hope of moistening the dryness that had overtaken her mouth and throat. “Why are we here, James?”
He looked up to his left, eyes cast upon the Eastern-facing front of the home. “Because I want to tell you about the second floor terrace off the master bedroom.”

The quickening beat of Natalie’s heart reverberated inside her chest in bursts of pressure that she could feel in every part of her. “Okay…”
“This house and the land its built on is called Villa Montecito, and as far as dream homes go it sets the bar quite high. You couldn’t want for anything here. Eight bedrooms. Ten bathrooms. Two bedroom guest house. Pool. Pool house. Tennis court. More than I can even list in one breath. All of it on three and a half acres of land with the most beautiful views money can buy, the best of which are on the second floor terrace off the master bedroom.”
Natalie looked at the short balcony hanging high above the gated front door and tried to imagine where on the property this other balcony was. Indeed, it all looked like something out of a fantasy. Real people didn’t live in places like Villa Montecito, surely.
“From up there you can see almost the entire property as it stretches out toward the horizon and ends just below the line where the Pacific ocean meets the sky. Of all the property I own and the places I’ve visited, there is nowhere that can even touch the beauty of that terrace or the land it overlooks.”

Natalie slipped her sunglasses off her face and turned her attention again to James, whose own attention was still on the dreamy edifice. “Why are you telling me all of this?” Her voice came out in a tremble, but she hoped it was too soft to notice.
“Because on Thursday I made an offer on Villa Montecito, and yesterday the owners accepted it. In less than thirty days this house will be mine, and when I have the key in my hand I’m going to bring you here. I’m going to take you up to that second-floor terrace-” James turned to look at Natalie, his blue-green eyes burning with an intensity that could render her speechless. He never looked more determined, more sure of anything in his life. “And I’m going to ask you to marry me.”

Beyond Ruin, chapter 11
Atmospheric vibes are a thing

A confession…

In addition to making soundtracks for my stories, I also make closets for my characters. So since this is a weird thing I’m doing anyway, let’s take a look at what the characters are wearing right now. Chapter two is the meeting with Celine and Natalie. Can you guess which one is wearing which outfit?

Just wrapped up chapter two. Most of this I’m going to end up doing over the course of this weekend. May have to split this into a part two. If you’re enjoying the live blog so far, please feel free to leave me a comment below!

Thursday, June 13th

this song is stuck in my head at the moment

Good evening! We are continuing our journey of editing Palm Springs. Let’s get started with chapter three. What’s happening in chapter three? Frankie is asleep. Natalie is packing. James is trying to convince Natalie to do something other than pack.

Natalie kept her breath held until James collapsed beside her, hands scrubbing over his tired face.
“I knew that was bound to happen sooner or later. I was hoping for later.” He sat up in the bed, staring down at Natalie with her arm draped dramatically over her eyes. “What, you never walked in on her your parents when you were a kid?” he smirked.
“First of all, if I ever did I have since burned it out of my memory. And second of all,” Natalie panted, sitting up beside him, “do not tell me some story about how you walked in on your parents having sex the very day I am meeting your mother. Please?”
James kissed her cheek before climbing out of bed, phone in hand. “Welcome to parenthood, Red.” He slid on a pair of running shorts and a tee shirt. “I’ll talk to her. Make sure she hasn’t been scarred for life.”
“Okay. I’m just gonna shower and pretend that didn’t just happen.” Since we won’t be finishing what we started, Natalie added to herself.

Palm Springs, chapter 3

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