The Writing Process Blog Hop

Last week my Starcatcher & Lucky 13s sister Nan Dixon tagged me to carry on the Writing Process Blog Hop. Nan is a five-time Golden Heart finalist and has recently made her first sale to Harlequin SuperRomance. Southern Comforts will be published in December 2014.

So on with the blog hop questions:

What Am I Working On?

Jinn on the Rocks is the third book in my Jinn series, following Jinn & Tonic and Bathtub Jinn. Zee, the heroine of this installment, is a changeling, a jinn left in the mortal world as a baby a century or so ago. Curran, the hero, is a jinn cast into the mortal world by the breaking of his bottle—and not, it would seem, by accident. Together with a smart-mouthed goblin and a dog who probably isn’t really a dog, they are trying to figure out how Curran can return to the world of the jinn, who Zee really is, and, of course, the route to a Happy Ending.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

I write Funny. Well, I hope I do. I mean to. But of course humor is a terribly subjective thing, and not everyone will agree on what exactly is funny. If I tried to write vampires, they’d probably be allergic to hemoglobin, and my werewolves would likely have fleas. I can’t help it. I used to slip jokes into environmental impact reports for the Corps of Engineers. But just look around you—love is funny. Every romance needs a generous helping of humor if it’s going to last beyond infatuation.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

I write humor because, well, that’s who I am. I love to make my critique group chuckle. I love to read humor in almost any genre. I have written historical Wizard of Ozand time travel romances because I have some academic and practical background knowledge of nineteenth-century Texas. But mostly I write paranormal, and when I look back I realize that my favorite childhood books included the Oz series, Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Doolittle books, and Edward Eager’s Half Magic series. I started reading science fiction when I was about ten years old, and still love the genre. Am I escaping from “reality?” Maybe, but it’s always been a fun trip.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

Mechanically: all over the place. I’ve written longhand in spiral notebooks, on typewriters, gone through at least half a dozen word processing programs before settling on Word, and tried too many writing accessory programs to count. About a year and a half ago I fell in love with Scrivener, and now I useScrivener it for nearly everything (including blog posts).

Creatively: I’m more on the pantser end of the scale than the plotter, but that’s not really intentional. I usually have at least two or three chapters ahead plotted, maybe more. I plotted the second half of Bathtub Jinn in order to enter a contest that required a synopsis, and that synopsis allowed me to finish the book (just barely) in time to enter the Golden Heart—and final. But I’m not usually that disciplined. I tend to be a very linear writer (I keep hoping Scrivener will help me loosen up on that a bit), and I find it hard to predict what will happen a hundred pages or more ahead until I get there.

I don’t do character interviews or biographies, and I often have to write several chapters before I have any real idea who my characters are. Sometime I have to write, and throw away, several chapters before I know what my story is, or more to the point, where it starts.

A note on titles: My 2011 historical Golden Heart finalist, Paper Hearts, was simply “the newspaper story” for a long time, until the title popped into my head one day. But the Jinn books have all started with their titles—if you think of any good gin puns, I’d love to hear them. My next Jinn book may be hiding behind one of them.

The Dress ThiefNow I’ll pass the Writing Process baton on to my Firebird sister Natalie Meg Evans, who has promised to post her version next Monday. Natalie’s first novel, The Dress Thief, has just been published in the UK by Quercus Books, and is available from the Book Depository.


45 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mirandaliasson
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 09:17:55

    Hi Kay! I love funny and I love your titles.

    “If I tried to write vampires, they’d probably be allergic to hemoglobin, and my werewolves would likely have fleas.”

    This sentence alone makes me want to read all your books right now!
    You are clearly a multitalented writer and I can’t wait for your books to come out into the world!


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 10:27:07

      Thanks for stopping by, Miranda. I may get around to those flea-bitten werewolves someday, but in the meantime I’m dealing with a goblin who smokes cigars and reads Mickey Spillane novels he finds in the dumpster where he’s been living.


  2. ae jones
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 09:31:55

    Kay –

    Hello my fellow paranormal writer! I am so about the funny in my writing too and I agree with you on the following: “But just look around you – love is funny.”

    So true! Great post.



    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 10:28:54

      Hi, AE! I don’t know if I would have stayed married for 33 years if my late husband hadn’t made me laugh every day. I might even be tempted again if I found someone who shared my weird sense of humor.


  3. Nan Dixon
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 09:41:42

    Hey Kay!

    I do so love your titles.

    I tend to try and start out with what I think is a funny premise – and then I go all angsty. Can’t seem to help it. I so admire people who can write funny. I’m jealous!
    I do think you should write the vampire who’s allergic to hemoglobin. I’d buy it!!

    I keep seeing people who have begun using Scrivener – I have not taken that on yet. Guess I’ll stay with Word and Excel!


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 10:31:22

      Nan, I suppose my characters all have a bit of hidden angst, but they resolve it with humor.

      Scrivener definitely has a learning curve, but it’s been worth it for me.


  4. Talia Quinn
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 11:01:57

    Yay Scrivener! I remember when you were taking your first cautious steps with that program. I’m glad you’ve acclimated so well. :)

    And we seem to share a lot of book love. When I was a kid, I fantasized about meeting Dr. Doolittle and all his animals, and I adored Ozma. I didn’t discover the Edward Eager books until my son got to be the right age for them, and then we both devoured them.

    I love the tiny glimpses of your jinn and goblin world, and can’t wait to read more! I think there’s a real audience for funny paranormal, whether or not the publishers think so right now.


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 11:06:52

      Talia, last month I took Gwen Hernandez’ class on Compiling with Scrivener. Very encouraging in terms of possible self-publishing plans. I’m going to RWA to check out the indie workshops. Readers do seem more interested in my stories than agents and editors do.


  5. Tammy Baumann
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 11:26:10

    I’m like you Kay. I don’t like to plot and I write very linear as well. And I love a chuckle when I read. Thanks for sharing your process!


  6. Darcy
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 11:31:46

    Great reading about the insights and inspirations behind your writing, Kay! I think it goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of the funny. :)

    Wishing you incredible success with getting those fantastic stories into the world!


  7. Jackie Floyd
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 12:01:19


    I love the way your humor shines through here on your blog. I just got scrivener and can’t wait to get started with it. When you say you write several chapters and throw them out, I really feel for you. Sometimes being a pantser means some false starts, doesn’t it? I love puns and gin, too, so I’ll start thinking about titles for you now! Best of luck with this series, it’s so much fun!


  8. Sarah Andre
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 12:37:30

    Kay, in all the years I’ve known you, sat at your VIP table on Awards Night and cheered you on, I still have not read one word of any of your stories. This must be rectified shortly! Hope to see you Sat!


  9. Jo Anne
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 13:23:31

    YAY, Kay! Good blog post. And I’ve love your titles and your sense of humor. I love your fun characters and their adventures. Fun stories.


  10. Jo Anne
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 13:28:03

    Hey, Kay ~ Love your titles, love your humor, love your characters, and just plain love your stories. My process lately has been to avoid writing, but I hope to rectify that soon. :-)


  11. piperhuguley
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 14:33:02

    I don’t know what is wrong with the publishing industry, but I think we as writers do know more about what readers want. Funny is so hard, but valuable and I hope that you do what you must to get your stories out to readers, Kay. And your success with Scrivner gives me hope, because that icon is still taunting me to start a project on it after having it for two months now. I do hear the class is key…thanks for a great post Kay!


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:25:58

      Thanks for stopping by, Piper. Scrivener is definitely worth its learning curve. I don’t know when Gwen’s next class is, but her book, Scrivener for Dummies, is very helpful. So is an ebook by David Hewson called Writing a Novel With Scrivener.


  12. Heather Ashby
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 14:57:22

    I adore your titles, Kay and can’t wait to read your books! I can already tell how funny they must be, and I do adore “funny.” BTW, I LOVE “my vampires would be allergic to hemoglobin and my werewolves would have fleas.” I know the feeling of having to write several chapters to get to know your characters OR to find out the entire plot. Write ON, KAY!!!


  13. robena grant
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:03:30

    An enjoyable blog post, and nice to learn a little more about you and your writing, Kay. I love a taste of funny in romance. I don’t write funny at all. Wish I did. : )


  14. Sally Orr
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:46:23

    Yay Kay! Funny is hard, but well worth it. Best wishes on getting your stories to your readers. Also fab job on the Scrivener example. Although I’m not sure I want to see a graph of my progress–too sad. ;)


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 16:28:05

      Sally, I don’t even want to think about how long I’ve been “working” on the current WIP. But I love the little Scrivener target box that tells me my daily word count, since I’m often trying to do at least a set number of words a day.


  15. Leslie Lynch
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:58:51

    Kay, I SO wish I could write funny! I have a great sense of humor in person, but can’t seem to find it on the page. I, too, agree that readers are willing to take a lot of chances that publishers either can’t or won’t. I’m betting on readers falling in LOVE with your Jinn books! Me included!


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 16:30:07

      I’m coming to the conclusion, Leslie, that if I want to see them published, I’ll have to do it myself. I’m encouraged that so many of our friends seem to be happy on that path.


  16. Lark Howard
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:59:15

    I love your titles! Wish I could write funny or even come up with titles as good as yours! The series sounds like a lot of fun–can’t wait until they hit the streets so I can read them.


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 16:31:55

      Hi, Lark. The Jinn titles do seem to be memorable, considering how many people recognize my name because of them. I hope the series is as much fun to read as it is to write–when I buckle down and work on it.


  17. Sharon Wray
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 16:53:36

    Hi Kay,
    I am a huge Scrivener fan too and I’m so happy to hear you are all over the place like I am. I, too, am a fan of your titles and I’m looking forward to reading them one day. This world needs more humorous romances. :)


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:25:29

      Thanks for stopping by, Sharon. The first word processors I used couldn’t hold more than one chapter in a file–Scrivener is a whole different planet. (Somehow I got through grad school on a portable electric typewriter, index cards, and carbon paper!)


  18. gailhart
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:08:13

    I too love your titles, Kay! If I think of any more gin/Jinn puns, I’ll let you know.

    I bought Scrivener a few months ago but haven’t taken the time to figure out how to use it. I think I’ve been a little intimidated. But you’ve inspired me to change that.



  19. Rowan Worth
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:12:29

    Love, love, love Scrivener–Gail, check out Gwen Hernandez’s class & book (Scrivener for Dummies)–great ways to get started with it. Hadn’t thought to use it for organizing blog posts, but that’s BRILLIANT, and I’ll start that immediately. THANKS.

    I, too, LOVE the titles! What fun!! The descriptions are fascinating; I’m about to go check out the books!


    • Kay Hudson
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:29:48

      Thanks for visiting, Rowan. I wish I could offer you books, but right now they are only manuscripts. When I finish the third one (and make sure they are reasonably consistent–when I wrote Jinn & Tonic I didn’t realize I was starting a series!–I’m going to look seriously at indie publishing.


  20. Sandra Owens
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 19:14:38

    You come up with the best titles, Kay. (From all the above comments I’m not the only one who thinks so.) The title alone makes me want to read them, then there’s your blurbs, the ones I’ve read on other blog posts. They make me laugh, and anything that makes me laugh, I want to read.


  21. Jacqui Nelsonj
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 00:06:57

    Love your characters and your humor, Kay! You definitely “write funny.” After reading snippets of your Jinn novels, I absolutely can’t wait to read all of them!


  22. JF Owen
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 19:20:09

    What an interesting post! I’d love to read your books. Let me know when you’re ready to publish. I’ll be first in line to buy!


  23. natmegevans
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 02:40:18

    Hi Kay

    Your post cheered me up and I’m sure your books are waiting to take on that role in the world too. Would a vampire allergic to haemoglobin be forced to take the vegan option? Keep writing what you’re writing and I know we’ll hear a very LOUD announcement from you soon.

    Thanks for tagging me to appear next –




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