Brighton Walsh, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author

My Writing Process: Blog Tour

First and foremost, a special thank you to Liza Wiemer, whom I just had the pleasure of meeting in person last weekend, for tagging me in this blog tour!  You can find Liza’s post here.


Liza Wiemer’s YA debut HELLO? is about five Wisconsin small town teens, whose lives intertwine when a grieving girl calls her dead grandmother’s old phone number. In an innovative use of free verse poetry, screenplay format, narration, and drawings, five narrators tell a story of hope, friendship, and redemption, to Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill Contemporary, by Stuart Krichevsky of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency.

Find Liza on:
Author Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram |WhoRuBlog – book reviews, author interviews, giveaways

Liza has had two adult non-fiction novels published,  A graduate of UW-Madison, Liza is a Badger fan and a die-hard Packer fan! To learn more about Liza, check out Liza’s “About” page.

And now…for me!
My Writing Process 


I just turned in CAPTIVE, the New Adult for St. Martin’s Press, last week, so I took a few days (four) to not do anything. And it was glorious. Today, I’ll be diving back into the second book in the Caged in Winter series, and I cannot wait to get back to those characters. It’s a much lighter tone than CAPTIVE was, so it will be nice to switch gears.


I think this probably boils down mostly to voice. You can give two authors the same prompt to write about, and you’re going to get two completely different stories. As an author, I bring me to my books–my experiences, my preferences, etc–and I think that makes a world of difference.


The simple answer is because I love love. I love reading about it and I love writing about it and I love living it. As far as why I chose contemporary romance over paranormal or historical, etc, I like writing something that readers, hopefully, could see happening to themselves. And it just makes me happy.



I tend to write in floods. When the words are flowing, they are really flowing. CAPTIVE was a tough one for me (or it felt like it), which took about three months to draft. Especially when compared to CAGED IN WINTER, which took 31 days to draft. But I approached these two different ways, and it helped me learn a few things about me and how I work best (and most productively):

1. I need to outline. Extensively. I am not a pantser. At all. I outline the shit out of the book. Initially, I like to outline to about the half way point, then write write write and reassess when I get closer. Sometimes the outline consists of a line or two per scene, sometimes it’s a bit of dialog, sometimes half of the scene will come to me and I’ll write until I get it down. (fun fact: I write my outlines and scene snippets in third person, even if the novel is written in first person.) 

My outline may change (probably will change, at least a little), but if I don’t have a specific direction to go, I stare at a blank doc while my mind plays Choose Your Adventure with my novel, going every possible direction and never actually settling on one. 

If I get stuck during my outline process (or at any point in the book), I have people I talk it out with–my beta readers, my critique partner (CP) or my Plot Whisperer™ , who are all super fabulous and keep me from losing my mind while I’m drafting (well, every day, if I’m being honest).

2. The more I know my characters, the easier the book is to write. The way I get to know my characters is by doing a character questionnaire. I have three different ones that I use (one of these times, I’ll compile them all into one master one and get rid of the duplicate questions), and by the end of it, I have several thousand words in my character’s voice about who they are. This helps me really get a feel for their personality, and it sometimes also gives me direction within the story. I blogged about how I do this a few months ago over on Adventures of a Book Junkie, if that sort of thing turns your crank.

3. I write best on a tight deadline. If there is no end, no due date, I’ll let that shit drag on infinitely. This is why the NaNos (National Novel Writing Month and all the spin-offs) have been so effective for me. I have goals! And cheerleaders! And fellow writers doing the same thing! I also learned that November, like I suspected, is not the ideal time for this. NaNo was a fail. I rocked the shit out of JuNo, though.

Once those things are met, I’ll (hopefully) come out on the other side with a completed manuscript. Then (hopefully again) I go through edits–how extensive the edits are depend on how much time I have until the due date. Ideally, I look at content, flow, arcs, etc, but I also look at grammar, punctuation, garbage words, duplicate phrasing, etc. And then (even more hopefully) I’ll have time to send it to my beta readers and my critique partner, get feedback from them, and implement the suggestions that resonate with me. 

From there, it depends on what the book is for. If it’s already been sold, it goes to my agent and my editor. If it hasn’t, straight to my agent for feedback, then I dive in for edits, if need be. 

Then, of course, there are publisher edits (content and copy), where you read over your manuscript approximately twelve thousand times, want to burn it all twelve thousand of those before you eventually love it again, just in time for it to be published!

So that’s me and my writing process. That…took a lot longer to describe than I thought it would. I didn’t realize how detailed it was until I actually tried to write this out. Writing processes are as different for everyone as stories there are to tell. Follow the rest of the tour and see how everyone else does it!

Next on the Tour:


Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’4” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Her debut New Adult novel, MAKE IT COUNT, will be published June 3, 2014, from William Morrow/HarperCollins. She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Find Megan here:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Jeanette Grey started out with degrees in physics and painting, which she dutifully applied to stunted careers in teaching, technical support, and advertising. When none of that panned out, she started writing. In her spare time, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog. She lives, loves, and writes in upstate New York.

Find Jeanette here:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

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Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong families are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing. A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations. She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much Food Network with her amazing husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

Find Rachel here:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads 


It’s Cover Day!

The cover! It is here! *jumpy claps and squees*

I am thrilled with the final cover for my New Adult coming out this fall, CAGED IN WINTER. I love the gritty feel of the font, the closed off expression on the cover model (who just so happens to be a near perfect match to Winter), the winter reflection in her sunglasses… Pretty much everything.

So you tell me…what do you think?

In this emotional and sexy New Adult debut from Brighton Walsh, the only thing more frightening than commitment is hope……

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response…

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want….

And, hey, lookit there–this baby’s on Goodreads!  Annnnnnd you can also pre-order the paperback via Amazon or pre-order for Amazon Kindle! 


Make Mondays Suck Less Giveaway: FANGIRL

You guys. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome my week was. It was so awesome, I don’t even care that it’s Monday. I know, right?

So last week I said I had some exciting news I hoped to share with you soon, and I caaaaaaan! I mentioned in this post that I finished writing a full length new adult novel, and I was done prettying it up and I was diving into the trenches of querying agents. Well, I did. And two weeks ago, I got my first offer. 

The week following that first offer was crazy. I was full of nerves and excitement and anxiety. By the end of the week, I had four offers–all from amazing agents I would have loved to work with. While I was busy trying to decide the all-important choice of who to work with, I had many friends and fellow authors telling me to go with my gut. The problem was, my gut was telling me they were all super great, and I needed to work with all of them and how could I possibly mesh them all into one person? And then I got the final call from the final agent to offer, and my friends were right. My gut, which was previously very tight-lipped and wishy-washy, perked up and told me it was her.

I’m so thrilled to say that last week, I signed on with Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Agency, and I am OMG SO EXCITED I can’t even tell you! She is the exact balance of everything I was looking for. Plus, the first day I was “officially” her client, she sent me this gif in an e-mail, so, you know… MTB.

So now that I’ve shared my exciting news, let’s see who won last week’s giveaway of UNBREAKABLE. Congrats to Christine! Thanks for playing. 

This week I have one you are going to really, really want. If you haven’t had the pleasure of being introduced to Ms. Rainbow Rowell’s work, well…where the hell have you been? I haven’t had a chance to read FANGIRL yet, but I read ELEANOR & PARK and immediately fell in love. FANGIRL came out earlier this month, and you can win an ARC of it by doing your thing with rafflecopter. See you next week!

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


Plus One is off to Production (aka: it’s really happening!)

I’ll be honest. From day one, this entire thing has felt surreal. Sometimes I think, did I really get that call that said I was going to be published or was it all just a dream?

In the long months since I decided to take the step and do this, I‘ve sort of stumbled my way through this process. The submitting and querying and editing and editing and more editing. It’s been scary, but amazing. I didn’t know what to expect and fell into that tiny spot between a rock and a hard place of not wanting to ask too many questions and not asking enough. Or worse, not knowing what questions to ask in the first place.

Fortunately, I’ve had Jeanette with me the whole way. She’s held my hand and answered my (admittedly overdramatic, frantic) texts at midnight about one thing or another. Thank God for friends who have gone through this before me (and ones who don’t judge my freak-outs), that’s all I can say. 

Walking into this blindly, I never realized just how long of a process this is. I queried Plus One a year ago, got the call of acquisition nine months ago, and started edits six months ago. Yesterday, it was sent off to production. That is a lot of time. And a whole lot of hurry up and wait, like I was told would happen in the very beginning.

But. But. Did you see where I said it was off to production? MY BABY IS GETTING PRETTIFIED! *muppet flails*

It still doesn’t quite feel real yet, and I suppose it won’t until I can walk my fingers over to Amazon or B&N and buy that baby. Though, I’ll be honest, seeing the cover will probably help. 


I Survived the Edits (aka Quit Being a Pansy)

Well, as it turns out, I was freaking out for nothing. My first round edits? I made it out unscathed! My editor was lovely and gave positive, constructive feedback on how I could build my MS to be the strongest piece it could be.

See? Awesome.

I flew through the edits, getting them all done and managing to stay ahead of schedule by almost a full week (I’m not ashamed to say I strutted my way around my bedroom several times). The majority of the edits were small things–a word used too many times, or close repetitions of sentence structure. The most difficult part of the entire process, though, was tweaking small details that carried through the entire piece.

When you write something for the first time, the story unfolds and evolves along with you. You watch the characters grow as you document their story. When something isn’t quite right, or doesn’t quite work and the need to alter comes into play, adjusting things so slightly that everything still flows beautifully is much more difficult than I would’ve thought. The smallest detail change in chapter 1 can affect a major outcome in chapter 13. Which was why I read through this sucker four times just in case.

I went through and tweaked and altered and changed and nitpicked until I remembered that I’d have to do this all over again after line edits.

The good news? The goal is to have the final piece to the copy editors by the end of August (!!!). And after that…more waiting.

But then comes the fun things like…spilling the beans, for one thing. And cover art. And promotions. And teasing snippets. Can I say how excited I am for all of that? Cause I am. Ridiculously so.

Next post? Hopefully some of those beans I need to spill…