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Turn Out the Lights ...

The ending month for 2010! But what a year it's been!! The thought of endings makes me think of those two words we slave toward when we begin to write a book ... THE END!

That means the hero and the heroine have successfully jumped every hurdle we've thrown in their way, made it over every speed bump and road block we've put into the book and even lived with a bunch of ornery secondary characters that often gave unsolicited and unwanted advice. They deserve their happy ever after, by golly, after all we've put them through.

It's been a fantastic year starting back in January with Getting Lucky, the last book in the Lucky Series. In June the Honky Tonk Series hit the ground running with I Love This Bar, followed by Hell, Yeah in August and a double whammy in October with My Give A Damn's Busted and Honky Tonk Christmas coming out the same day and closing out the year.

On my blog tour for the last two books someone at the Lady Scribe's Blog Site asked me to write about how I juggle writing so many books at one time. That blog seems to fit with the idea of THE END so I'm using bits and pieces of it today.

A therapist would love to get me all stretched out on his little sofa and ask me how I juggle so many books in a year. He'd forget about visions of sugarplums and go straight to an olympic sized indoor pool complete with a cabana when I answered: I have tunnel vision. Because he would know beyond a shadow of a doubt he could wrangle a thousand visits out of those four words as he tried to cure me of the dread disease called tunnelopticalmyitis.

It's most likely because Momma didn't make me eat Brussels' sprouts at the right age or else it had something to do with my brother who spoiled my only child status. But there is no known cure for the disease. Not even high powered antibiotics will cure it. Neither will chocolate or donuts!

Truth is that the tunnel vision serves me well in the writing world where I live.

When Daisy and Jarod's story (I Love This Bar) began there was just a pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel. But it kept me going ... getting the story down while ignoring dust bunnies, laundry and knee high grass in the back yard. The light got bigger and bigger until one day the story was told and behold there was THE END at the finish of 300 plus pages. WOW! They had their HEA and rode off in the sunset toward Oklahoma to live in wedded bliss. And I was ready to sit down and have a whole dozen chocolate donuts to celebate. But when I glanced over my shoulder there was another sliver of light at the other end of the tunnel ... alas, the donuts had to wait.

Dammit! Travis was headed for Cathy, Daisy's cousin and the new owner of the Honky Tonk, with intentions of kissing her as the clock counted down for a New Year. (Hell, Yeah). Lord, I hadn't even introduced them yet so I had to do some fancy footwork to get to the Honky Tonk before Travis did. It all started again. Dust bunnies grew under the beds. You could hide army tanks in the grass out in the yard. Fast food became a way of life because I couldn't see anything but the story. When THE END was typed and Cathy and Travis had their HEA, I sighed and reached for a donut! Before it got to my mouth, I heard a screeching noise behind me and Larissa was braking hard to keep from crashing right into the back of Hank's pickup truck (My Give A Damn's Busted). There was nothing to do but toss the donut at the cabinet and try to keep up.

I really thought when I typed THE END and Larissa and Hank had gone to the ranch up in northern Palo Pinto County that the Honky Tonk Series had come to an end. But Deb called and asked if I'd be interested in writing a Christmas book. And I said, "Hell, yeah!"

You see, Sharlene was in a big pout because she wanted her name in the bright lights and sure enough there was a light back at the other end of the tunnel. She had a fantastic story and really needed a HEA, what with all those nightmares about her secret job in the Army while she was in Iraq for those two tours. So I sent Holt to remodel the Honky Tonk with the hopes that he and Sharlene would hit it off.

So the answer to the question about juggling books is that I don't do so much juggling as just plain writing. Characters tell me enough about their life to interest me, and I have no choice but the write their story. While I'm writing it, I'm in that tunnel where I see very little except the next scene and the light growing ahead with THE END glowing in neon lights.

So my Honky Tonk Series comes to an end. It's closing time at the Honky Tonk just like it's closing time for 2010! See the mistletoe that Sharlene hung up on the ceiling? Kiss that cowboy goodnight and let's go home. My feet hurt from dancing. I'm plumb out of quarters for the jukebox and Willie Nelson is singing about turning out the lights, the party is over.
Turn 'em out Luther (he's the bouncer), the party is over at the Honky Tonk.


(I just looked over my shoulder and behold
there was a neon light at the end of the tunnel
flashing Spikes & Spurs ...
2011 is lookin' good!)


  1. I think I suffer from tunnel vision, too, and if I didn't have someone cut my grass, it would be waist high. I get my head stuck in a story and I procrastinate on everything else. Or at least the stuff that should be done, like dishes and laundry. I still manage to find time to shop. I have a hard time explaining that one to my husband.

    Congratulations on a very successful year. I hope next year is even better.

  2. The great thing about writing the end, Carolyn, is that it's time to write another beginning!! Congrats on all the releases and happy writing trails for the new year!!!

  3. Anita: Thank you ... tunnel vision takes in shopping as well as writing. That's why therapists love to see a person afflicted with it on their appointment calendar. It doesn't do much for the grass or supper ... it's strange that way. I think all the Casa Gals have had successful years so I'm raising my coffee cup to us all this morning .
    Terry: AMEN, Sister! You are singing my song. And thank you! May 2011 be good to all of us at SB.

  4. Congrats on all those releases, Carolyn, and a very merry Christmas to you too!! Yeehaw!

  5. Catherine: Thank you! May YOU have a yee-haw, memorable Christmas, that takes your breath away!

  6. Sometimes an ending is actually a new beginning, which is why I never write THE END when I finish a story. You just never know....

  7. I really loved reading your blog today, Carolyn. How amazing and awesome that you have tunnel vision and the time to write more than one book a year.

    May 2011 be filled with wonderful characters and HEAs for them all!

  8. Having written only one HEA (coming up fast on the second; the follow up to TASTE ME, CHASE ME, is almost done) I'm operating largely on instinct here. Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into your process, Carolyn.

  9. Cheryl: Yep, you are definitely right ... don't you just love it when The End really is just a jumping off point for the beginning of the next one!
    C.H.: I'm very fortunate in that I gt to write full time and do not have to hold down another job. I also have a very understanding husband who doesn't mind those dust bunnies or fast food.
    Tamara: Love that TASTE ME, CHASE ME title. It might need to be marketed with drooling bibs!

  10. Really enjoyed your post, Carolyn! I decided long ago that the reason I write is to avoid housework. Now I can say it's a disease instead of just an intense dislike for all things domestic. Thanks for the scape goat!

  11. Olivia: Yes, ma'am ... it's a disease with NO cure! And it's not even painful! LOL! Enjoy it and keep writing those ultra HOT books!

  12. Carolyn, it sounds to me like you have a ton of fun when you are writing and I can't help but think you are having so much fun with your books that you feel just a wee bit sad to be writing "the end".

  13. Congrats on the releases Carolyn! I'm head down and almost to the end myself. Looking forward to a new beginning too. Happy Holidays!

  14. Amelia: You got it, darlin'. The day it isn't fun anymore, I'll hang up my spurs, finish my contracts and stop. No chance of that in the near future ... it's still fun! If it wasn't for that NEW BEGINNING on the next one, it would be a wee bit sad! So let's hear it for new beginnings!
    Robin: Way to go! Have a wonderful holiday season!

  15. Sounds like you've had a great year of writing! Here's wishing you many more fun writing adventures for us all to enjoy!

  16. I'm in awe of your productivity, Carolyn! I wish I had your disease. ;}


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