Author, Journey, Networking, Uncategorized, Writing

Recap of #AuthorAugust22

I recently participated in an Instagram “Meet the Author” event and thought it would be fun to share the posts on my blog with those who don’t follow me on social. It is also a good way to post where I am at to date, considering that I am just over 8 years out in my writing career.

So much has happened, and so many more things to come! Excited to see what is next on the horizon!

I’m so excited to participate in #AuthorAugust22 and to make more author and reader friends! I’m D.A. Henneman and I write Fantasy & Paranormal Romance with a side of Mythology Retellings. My stories all include an element of Magick, something I think we could use a big dose of right now. If you head to my website http://www.dahenneman.com, there are a few promotions that you might be interested in for Romance Awareness Month that will give you a feel for my writing style. My free ebook, The Jinni’s Wish, is always available when signing up for my newsletter.

I am a breast cancer survivor, a retired floral designer, and adore musicals. Halloween has been my favorite holiday for longer than the Sanderson sisters were a thing, and just like Winifred, I won’t hesitate to break into a show tune if the occasion warrants it. As you can see, I recently channeled one of my book characters for a signing, which was a blast! If I have the opportunity to dress up, I’m doing it!

My writing journey started later in life, but I like to think that I am making up for lost time now. I have had some amazing mentors and continue to meet fantastic #Writers in the community who are extremely supportive. Thank you @mariahankenman for hosting, and hello again everyone!

Still finishing this story and in the very rough stages but I love this scene between Athena and her newfound friend. This story has been a Challenge not only for Athena but for me as well. Ready to finish it this month!

 #AuthorsOfInstagram #WritersOfInstagram #AmWriting #RomanceAuthor #Bookstagram #AuthorIntro #Romancestagram #AllAuthorsAreValid #EmbraceTheJourney #Mythologyretellings

Reese nodded. “I do. I find that I prefer it that way. I’m not comfortable around people.”

Athena laughed, causing him to look at her with a question crinkling his brow. “I don’t mean to laugh, but you seem to be doing just fine with me.”

He shrugged. “Well that’s because you’re different.” He turned back to his task of preparing lunch as if his comment made complete sense.

Athena’s defenses rose and she tried not to let it bleed into her tone. “Different how?”

He turned and took two steps to the table. His hands were splayed in apology. “I meant that in a good way. Most women are only interested in sizing me up as a mate, and most men want to come to blows. I am interested in neither, I just want to be close enough to make my observations, yet far enough that I’m left alone. You seem to be very much the same.”

She nodded with a smile. “That I am,” Athena agreed. “ I have plenty of reasons to keep my distance, and most of the time I’m too busy to make friends.”

“Yet here we are,” Reese smiled. Athena couldn’t help but be excited about the potential.

“Yes, here we are.”

Athena’s Challenge – D.A. Henneman

These are only the ones I have actually started, the others are reduced to a few lines here and there in one of the multiple journals that keep my scribblings safe. Athena is from my Goddesses In Love series, Violet from my Supernatural Mystery series (querying), and the chick in the middle just won’t leave me alone so she is getting some screen time in 2023. Once I am far enough in a project, I really find I need to finish it before I can move on to the next thing. That is especially true if I am writing one project in 1st person and the other in 3rd. Switching gears takes a hot second for me. What about you? How many projects do you work on at once? Let me know in the comments!

I can’t help myself, my Muse leads me by my fingers. My primary lane is fantasy romance but I write with a blend of paranormal and supernatural elements, with a dash of mythology tossed in to keep it interesting. What I can promise you is that you will always get a HEA or HFN (even if it takes me 6 books to get there) and that my books will always include an element of magick. I adore writing empowered heroines that don’t always start out that way and love the found family trope, which has made it into more than one of my stories.

I am a genre hopper when it comes to my #reading habits, and often have multiple books going at a time. I read Fantasy, Mystery, Memoir, Thriller, and Suspense, along with any writing craft books I can get my hands on. One of my all-time favorite authors is Stephen King, and while I need to catch up with some of his newer stuff, I find that his older books stand the test of time. They can still keep me up at night, lol.

 How about you? What do you like to read?

I am so happy to report that I have actually added new words to this WIP this month, with the plan to finish it by 9/1! It’s been a long time coming and it is so nice to make #Writing the priority again!

I know this may seem strange for someone writing romance, but Stephen King had a huge impact on me as a teenager, and even to this day I feel is one of the most gifted story tellers of our time. His ability to weave a story was one of the main reasons I ever took pen to paper, and I wrote several (and awful) pieces when I was younger, only to find life getting in the way of my writerly ambitions. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with cancer that I decided there was never a better time to chase my dream.

From a writer’s standpoint, I found his memoir, On Writing, one of the most inspirational things I could read as I started my own journey. He is definitely at the top of the list of authors I would like to meet one day.

Didn’t need to think super long for this one, although I really needed to whittle down since I want to do ALL the things! Whatever I do, I ultimately want to be sitting on the beach, listening to the waves, and reading (or writing) an amazing story. Not too much to ask… Other goals: New office set-up & bookcases Find an Agent/Editor for Supernatural Mystery Less Day Job, more Writing Time Stay Healthy and Limber Travel somewhere I’ve never been each year

What are some of the places I should visit? Let me know in the comments what I should be checking out in your area!

I absolutely loved The Queen’s Gambit, and while I am a horrible chess player, I am fascinated with the skill that it takes to stay several moves ahead of your opponent. Athena would be a natural for a game of strategy, but this scene shows never to underestimate your opponent, especially if he is distracting to your senses.

“And what brings happiness?”

He made his final move, sliding his queen in place. “I have yet to find out,” he said lifting his glass to take a sip. “And I’m anxious to do so, especially in my current company.”

Athena laughed, and tipped her queen over ending their game. “You don’t seem to worried about happiness since you just beat me at one of my favorite games. That makes me unhappy.”

“Then why are you smiling?”

“Perhaps it because it is the first time I’ve enjoyed the process of losing so thoroughly.”

Athena’s Challenge – D.A. Henneman

For me, it depends on the project. Early on, I do remember foisting my writing off on anyone who would read it so I could make adjustments. I have since gotten better at listening to my characters and letting the story wind its way as I go. I do still talk about sticking points in the story with writing friends in order to work them out, but for the most part, no one sees my work until I have the second draft done. The first draft is me telling myself the story, and you sure don’t want to see that, lol.

I wrote a lot about my process and how I work through things on my blog, which has a lot of writerly resources I have found along the way as well. You can find it under the Writer Resource tab on my website http://www.dahenneman.com Let me know how you tackle things! Are you a plotter, pantser, or someone in between? I like the term Discovery Writer coined by Joanna Penn. That is so me!

I touched on this on yesterday’s post, and while I started out flying entirely by the seat of my pants, I have definitely leaned into the plotting aspect of writing in the last few years. I am a Discovery Writer (heard the phrase from Joanna Penn) which to me means that I have a general direction where I am heading, but I like to allow the story to unfold as I travel.

I believe that with a series you have to have some sort of plotting mechanism in place, or at the very least have something to track eye colors, etc. I learned this the hard way, and I am sure wrote a blog post or two about it. What I have found is that everyone has a different process, and all of them are valid. If at the end of the day you get the book done, then however you get there is the right way for you.

How about you? Let me know in the comments? If you are a reader, do you like to learn about your favorite author’s processes?

As much as I would love to say I write every day, I can’t. I squeeze it in as time allows, which isn’t much lately. The phrase “When the Muse strikes” cracks me up since she inevitably hits me with inspiration in one of the 3 shown instances. She’s nice, but not nice if you know what I mean… I think of myself as a binge writer. I often times find myself writing the story in my head for weeks or months before I actually get as far as writing things down. Generally at that stage, it comes pouring out, the quickest of which was a novel in a month during NaNoWriMo a few years back. Not for the faint-hearted, but so far it’s how I roll.

Word count check-in or status update. I am so happy to report that I’m working on smoothing the final scene in this book! It came pouring out of me and I couldn’t be happier!

Oh, such a good question! There are about 5 that are significantly started that I would consider “projects” and there are countless others that are ideas or tidbits that may or may not be investigated at a later date. The scary part is that my brain doesn’t always know the difference, which is when I end up with the #flitter effect. It is honestly a really big deal for me to ever get something to the 100% point, so when I do, there is a big celebration!

My answer to this is Yes!

Early on in my writing journey, I was invited by a friend to take part in a writer’s group that ended up being the best thing I ever did for myself. The ladies were all writers at various stages of their journey, and each had a unique perspective to share for all the chapters we would critique for one another. Even though they didn’t read or write romance, I was able to take what they shared as an unbiased reader and apply changes to make my stories stronger. I owe a huge amount of my growth as a writer to the Muse Crew (shown center). After starting my 2nd book, I realized I needed to network with writers that were producing works in the same genre of Romance, which is when I connected with the Greater Detroit Romance Writers. They have seen me through every book since Winds of Change and continue to be my support system on almost a daily basis. Some of the ladies took a selfie in New York during a conference, which is one of my all-time favorite photos. We had a blast that night!

I can’t thank GDRW enough for all of the love and support they have given me over the years. It is an honor to be your President! And a special thank you to @DanaNussio for being the voice in my head that keeps me going. You have been an amazing mentor and I love you! For anyone that likes reading Romantic Suspense… she is an amazing writer and you should check her out! Lastly, yes, I do work alone as well. This is a recent picture at Spring Fling in Chicago that one of my friends shot of me. Even when writing in groups, I tend to have my headphones on to drown out the noise. I need to have it quiet when I write, nothing to distract my thoughts such as music or a TV. Over the years, I have trained myself to work in all areas of the house, on laptop/PC or by writing in a notebook, with noise or without, and have even toyed around with the hours of the day. The exercise taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of feet to the fire. I think it is good for you to have an answer ready when someone asks, how long will it take you to write that book?

When I start one of these projects, I tend to listen to my Muse. She generally takes me down a ton of rabbit holes, most of which end up uncovering some pretty interesting things. I had no idea that Athena had connections to the olive, which is one of my all time favs! Tying it into this story hasn’t been easy, but so far I like the direction it is heading…

#AuthorsOfInstagram #WritersOfInstagram #AmWriting #RomanceAuthor #Bookstagram #AuthorIntro #Romancestagram #AllAuthorsAreValid #EmbraceTheJourney #Mythologyretellings

By the time she had finished chopping the tomatoes, Reese had given her some olives and green onions to do as well. She started chopping those and adding them to the bowl, while popping an olive in her mouth every other chop.

“There will be hardly any in the dish if you keep doing that.”

“I can’t help myself, they are so good.”

“I shall forever think of you every time I eat one of those.”

“That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. I like the idea of that.”

Reese flushed as he placed a plate of sliced bread in front of her, then turned quickly back to his task at the counter. “I can’t imagine it is the nicest thing,” he said quietly.

Athena’s Challenge – D.A. Henneman

Umm….. yup! But is it my focus right now… nope. I believe for me, that the best thing I can do is take each project at face value and decide early on what it needs. For instance, I knew from the beginning that the Power Of Four series was something that I was going to hone my craft on and that in order to have complete control of the end product, I needed to go the Indie route. With my supernatural mystery series, I believe the project may be better suited for Mass Market, so I’m giving it a shop. At the end of the day, I will make the best decision I can when the time is right… in the meantime, I am concentrating on learning all I can about all of the places my IP can be sold, and meeting folks along the way that can help guide me. It has been a ride!

Oh man…. This had me thinking. Would I love to land a 5-book deal and retire on my earnings? Of course, but I also need to celebrate the small successes along the way. So while some of these items are ones I have obtained, I feel strongly that I need to give myself some kudos for achieving them.

Finish the Book – this was huge for me. When I finished Sea of Dreams, I wept.

Pitching your Ideas – Do it so often that it comes naturally.  I am still working on this.

Finding your Author Voice – It took writing 3 books to get there, but when I did, it was a game-changer.

Making Writing a Priority – Still struggle with this, but I’m getting there.

Connecting to Readers – Finding people who love what I do is always a win!

I’m sure I have a ton more, but these are the ones that come to mind:

Quiet – It is either silence or ocean waves/rain sounds for me. Anything else is way to distracting for me.

Morning – Seems to be the time when I am most creative, so if I am working on something new, I write in the morning. The afternoons are best for other types of writing such as social posts and/or blogs.

Peach Mango – I hardly go anywhere without my water bottle with the addition of a Peach Mango packet. I generally have one at the ready at all times.

Reading – Before I go on in a scene the next morning, I always need to re-read what I wrote the day before. I allow myself to go back a Chapter, but no more, or I would never finish a thing!

Finished and sent it off to Betas for some input! I am glad to have that off my plate for now!!

Nope. I find it way too distracting, however, I do read outside my sub-genre which is pretty easy to do since I know so many amazing authors! I enjoy (and admire those who write it) Regency Historical Romance, as well as Contemporary Romance, which I find can pretty much cover anything you are in the mood for. I also like YA and Adult Fantasy with romantic elements, although if the story is solid enough, I hardly miss the pining if it leans more full-on Fantasy. Because I write in a few different sub-genres, I can generally read Paranormal, if I am working on Mythology, and vice versa.

I would say top of my list is not having enough time for the actual writing, although I try not to be too hard on myself about this since you need time for all aspects of the process. I recently went through a long dry spell since the majority of my free time was spent between fun stuff and working on Admin tasks. I am making fun stuff more of a priority in my life and trying to make time for friends and family more now that my first series is complete. Both the publishing and relaunch of that series took a lot out of me, so now I try to give myself a little Grace. The frustration seems a little less pressing when I have a beer in my hand and I am laughing with friends. 😉

This tidbit is after the dark moment, when Athena is feeling horrible about a decision she had to make, which crushed the heart of our hero. It is challenging to show a huge growth arch in such a short story, so having characters from other stories pop in to have things move along is something I tend to do. This scene is Athena giving Medusa a “call” and chatting things out.

“I’m not sure why, I have only caused you misery.”

The image of Medusa gasped, the snakes writhing from the sides of the shield. “Okay, what is going on. You and I both know you had no choice. Having Perseus obtain the Gorgon head was the only way you could save us both, and allow for your to be a more effective protector to your people.”

“Yes, but there could have been another way, why did I have to lie and then take the one thing he was most proud of? I could have found something else to challenge Poseidon with, why did it have to be the one thing he named after the person he thought I was.”

“Apparently, we are not on the same subject,” Medusa murmured. “Thea, who is the “he” in this scenario?” The image on the shield smiled warmly and the eyes softened. “Have you met someone?”

Athena’s Challenge – D.A. Henneman

When I started to think of this, I realized that there were just too many to count. The first one was when I finished my first book, printed a proof copy, and held it firmly in my hands. The most recent is when I finished Book 1 of my Supernatural Mystery series and sent it out on submission. Everything in between has been a milestone, something to be celebrated along the way. They all build upon one another and make me so proud of what I’ve accomplished! Images were just a few of the highlights.

 How about you? What are some of your proud moments? Would love to hear about your wins!

Absolutely! They have been with me every step of the way and continue to be my biggest supporters! The genre may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they show up for me when I need them, and that speaks volumes!

I had not thought of this at all, but now that I am my head goes to the movie Old Guard, and I believe the only one that could play Athena adequately is Charlize Theron. For Tiresias, Joseph Finnes comes to mind, since his character in Shakespeare in Love really made an impact on me for this WIP.

I still need a Medusa, who do you think would be good in that role?

Finalizing the second draft! So excited!

Already did it, lol.

Insurance Rep

Wedding Veil Designer

Florist

Business Owner

College Graduate

Technical Writer

Still on my list to accomplish … Retiree!

Oh boy… I would say at least a dozen, unless you count legal pads and post-it notes.

Athena has been such a pleasure to get to know better, she is, by far, the most level-headed of those on Olympus. In my mind, she has everyone’s back at the expense of her heart.

“You love him enough to let him go?”

“I love him enough to let him walk his own path. Whether that leads to me is something he has to come to on his own.”

Athena’s Challenge – D.A. Henneman

Athena’s story is done!


As always, thank you for sharing this journey with me, and for taking the time out of your day to read my thoughts. It means a lot. For anyone interested in what I write, please feel free to stay awhile and poke around on my website. I have a ton of content I’ve been developing over the years and I would love to get your thoughts on it.

For my Power of Four series, the best link is:

For my Mythical Creatures posts, head over to:

For more Soundtrack of my Life posts:

And for my Shorts and Tidbits:

As always, I hope this post finds you happy and healthy. Until next time! XO

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