Friday, February 11, 2011

Welcome guest blogger Marie Sexton!

Marie is taking over my blog today, welcome her if you will - she's the author of the Coda series, among other things, and her latest story, Putting Out Fires, will be released on Valentine's Day,  fittingly.  Today she's going to talk about writing, and getting through the third trimester. Comment for a chance to win a selection from Marie's backlist!

Does writing ever get easier?

It’s a question I find myself pondering as I struggle to finish my latest novel. For some reason, I keep thinking that it will. I want to believe that at some point, I’ll be able to finish a story as easily as I started it. But so far, it has yet to happen. So far, with the exception of The Letter Z, the one story that burst from my literary loins with barely a hint of pain, every single thing I’ve written has been harder than the one before.

To date, I have three novels and one novella published with Dreamspinner Press, all part of my Coda series. I also have a short story with Silver Publishing called One More Soldier. On Valentine’s Day, my short story Putting Out Fires will be released, and in April, my novella Paris A to Z (both are part of the Coda series). I have another novel called Between Sinners and Saints that’s in the process of finding its publishing home. And now, I have this latest book.

The working title is Oestend, although I doubt that will be what it’s called in the end. This book is a departure from my comfort zones in many ways, not least of all because it’s not contemporary. Not even close. It’s a quasi-fantasy, not-quite steampunk, old-west haunted house mild bondage tale. After much debate as to how to classify it, I have settled on the rather broad and ambiguous term, “speculative fiction.” If you had asked me about this book two weeks ago, I would have gushed about how excited I was. “It’s going to be amazing!” I would have said. But now?


Don’t get me wrong. It’ll be fine. Although right at this moment I’ll tell anyone who asks that this book is going to kill me, the truth is, this is all part of the process (for me, at any rate). This is a stage, and it’s a stage I’ve gone through with each and every thing I’ve ever written (except TLZ). It’s the stage where I I’m so close to the end, I can practically taste it. The finish line is there, in sight. It teases me in the morning and taunts me every night. I write and I write and I write, but I can’t seem to get any closer to the end.

I was whining about this yesterday to my friend Jane Kindred, and she said, “Yeah, it’s the end of the third trimester. It will pass.” And the analogy is so beautifully accurate, I felt suddenly enlightened. It is the end of the third trimester!

When I was pregnant with my daugher, I breezed through those early months. I think I had one day of morning sickness. I worked at an OB/Gyn office and the ultrasound techs would call me every time they had an open slot. I must have had twenty ultrasounds, and I never had reason to worry. “Everything’s perfect!” my doctor told me at each check-up. “You’re the ideal OB patient.”

I was happy. I was glowing. I was absolutely radiant with my fabulous maternity wardrobe and my cute little basketball belly. Until…


In a matter of days, I swear I grew from the size of a normal pregnant woman to something roughly the size of a killer whale. My face, my hands, my feet - everything became bloated and huge. Two weeks away from delivery, and not a single maternity item in my closet could cover my massive girth. My hips suddenly hurt, my back hurt, my feet hurt….

Well, you know. Many of you have been there.

I asked my doctor what to do to speed things on their way, and he said, “Walk, or have sex. But not at the same time.” (Ever practical, was Dr. Ludwin).

So I walked. I walked and I walked and I walked. Around the block, over and over with my mother at my side. Never mind that my legs and back were screaming with fatigue. Never mind that my feet, which were too fat to fit in anything but flip-flips, were so sore I thought I would cry (and sometimes I did). I walked. And yes, I tried the sex thing too, god help me. But mostly, I walked.

That’s where I am right now with Oestend.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I love my job, and in time, I’ll love this book again too. Once the first draft is done, things will fall into place. Then it’s revisions and edits, and I could do those all damn day! I’ll revise and edit ‘til the Oestend cows come home, and I may even whistle while I do it.

But first, I have to finish this #$%*$#$%# first draft.


So I will walk. With my flip-flips and my tired hips and my poor-me attitude. Eventually, I’ll look up, and I’ll be at the end. But until then, I’ll keep walking. And I dare say I’ll keep whining. Feel free to ignore me. Pat me on the head, shake your head and say, “Tsk, tsk.”

It will all be all right in the end.

Marie Sexton is the author of the Coda series, and One More Soldier. Her books can be found here:

One person will receive an e-book title of their choice from Marie’s backlist. Leave a comment to enter.


  1. I feel your pain. I was a killer whale the day my body found out it was pregnant!! I expanded in places I never knew existed untill they got bigger. Good luck with your book.

  2. Love this, Marie!!! Never thought of the connections before.

    Now, what is the "getting started writing" analogous to, for us moms? Sigh.

  3. That was a wonderful analogy. If you write fiction as well as you blog I cannot wait to try one of your stories. (If my too read list gets much longer I'll be able to publish it as a work of its own lol)

    Diane Adams

  4. Oh Miss Marie! To continue your "delivery" analogy, we'll pace the floor with you, provide warm soaks for your feetsies...cuz, lady, you have beautiful children!!

  5. Lovely. I'm so going to have to check out all these books. Anything to keep me busy during the days while the child is at school, and to procrastinate my own writing when I don't have photography to do.

    Enjoyed the read. :)

  6. @Margaret: I know exactly what you mean. Who knew those parts of our bodies could even grow, let alone to such frightening proportions!

    @Lisa: Thanks! I don't know what the first part of the process compares to. Not sex. It's not that good! ;-)

    @Dee: Thanks so much! We'll be giving away an ebook later, so maybe I can ad to your to-read list for free. :-)

    @SusieQ: Thanks so much! I appreciate the foot soak, and am glad you love my children so much!

    @Carebear: I LOVE those heavenly hours when my kiddo is away at school!

  7. Oh, I can so relate to this, on so many levels. Including the whining. Heh. Great read!

  8. @Phoenix: Thanks! I'm moving into edits and revisions now, which is a bit like labor - painful, and yet, at least I know it's getting me somewhere!

  9. Just your short blog brought me down memory a good author can often due with just a few words :) I'm sure it will be fantastic no matter what you name it in the end..just like a baby :)

  10. I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of your stories yet but I can't wait! A lot of my friends in the "Den of Sin" at rave about you and your writing.
    I enjoyed the blog entry today.
    Michelle B.

  11. @sweetiedtally: Pregnancy is definitely better in hindsight. Easy to be reminiscent about those damn flip-flips now, but boy I hated them at the time!

    @Michelle: Troy and I originally met via PBS. Such a great site! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Wow, I never thought of it that way, but it is so very apt. I do feel very much that way at the end of the draft, right down to the panicked "I don't think I can deliver this thing" to the overwhelming desire to do nothing but eat and sleep. Although, at least with pregnancy, you know there's a definite end date. A manuscript can kick you in the ribs forever, if you let it.

    And no pressure, but super psyched about the next Coda-related book, I so love that series.

  13. Elisabeth: That's true! Eventually you have to just declare the labor over and send your baby on its way.

    Glad you like my Coda boys! Matt and Jared's short comes out on Monday, and then Paris A to Z (which features all three couples) comes out on April 6th.

  14. Loved the Post. I love things that make me think like this. Birth is birth. Be it babies or writing/art. Glad Troy reccommended us DoS come check it out.

  15. @Ladystyx: Thanks so much! Glad you liked it. :-)

  16. Great blog. I never thought of writing like that but it's such a good analogy. It's also reassuring to know that other authors struggle with stories sometimes.

  17. @Pender: Thanks! It is nice to know we're all in the same boat, isn't it? :-)

  18. Thanks for sharing with us, Marie! Come back again some time! In a little bit, I'll announce the lucky winner of an e-book from your backlist and post it! Good luck to everyone who commented!