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Co-Authoring A Book

If you’re a TEB author or reader, you probably know by now that Alexis Fleming and I are friends and that we’ve coauthored a book or two…or three or four. I’ve lost count. We’ve been asked several times “HOW do you DO that?” – and here’s my take on it.

For me, it was a simple progression from doing an anthology with a friend to writing with one, as a dual yet single unit. Summer Devon and I had already done an anthology together prior to the development of “Who’s Your Daddy”, and I’d had such an enjoyable experience working with her that it was only natural to include Lex next time, because we’d been best buds for years. Therefore, when my mother came up with the idea of a sperm donor story, I asked Summer and Lex to help write the anthology.

Then came the idea of coauthoring a book, and this time it was Lex’s scheme.

Her daughter Kelly is an author and had some interesting ideas for a fantasy series that she herself didn’t have time to do—at least, I think that was the impetus for our writing the Sexy Mythconception series for TEB. I’ve slept since then.

How we handled the process was pretty simple. For years, probably decades, I’d always been the go-to girl, the one who had ideas and started projects for others to latch onto. Lex, on the other hand, was used to cleaning up other people’s messes. That’s just the way things worked in our private worlds. I came to writing not as a writer but as the one who scheduled programs, planned conferences, set up book signings for other authors. Lex had zillions of ideas but never enough time to implement all that she wanted to do. So when we started writing together, it was a shock to my system to find that Lex wanted to start the books and have me jump in once she’d developed the characters and settings. To my amazement, I actually liked this process – lol.

Our arrangement was put to the test was back in February, though. We’d been working on a contest entry for a publisher, and the deadline was end of the month. My brother, my only sibling, died on Valentine’s Day. (more on it in my Feb blog archives if you’re interested)
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He had two funerals, one in the state where he lived, another in the state where he was buried, and he and I had been very close. By the time I got home a week or so later, I was physically and emotionally drained, and Lex and I had less than a week (February was a short month, remember) to complete the damned book. Lex nudged me gently, reminding me that it was the busy season for her and her husband, who own a motel in New South Wales, and that our intrepid heroine hadn’t been laid yet.
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Me: Say what? Sure she has. I distinctly remember giving that heifer an orgasm before I left.
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Lex: No. She never actually had sex.
* * *
Me: So a climax doesn’t count? I re-read what we’d written and started swearing. (I’m the potty mouth of the two of us.) Well, fucking hell. So she hasn’t.
* * *
But I didn’t want to write a sex scene. I didn’t want to write at all.
* * *
I also knew that I’d drop the ball if I didn’t, and I couldn’t do that to Lex. Like a maniac, I wrote in a frenzy, got the heroine laid, played with, screwed, rued, and all but tattooed within a couple of days and fired it back to Lex. Somewhere during that time, I found my muse again, kicked her in her arse, and got my bearings. I doubt I’d have been so quick to get back in the game if I hadn’t had deadlines and a critique partner who knew me well enough to force my hand. She didn’t hand me a guilt trip – she even went so far as to say “Oh, well, we’ll do something else with it if we don’t finish on time.” But we did, largely thanks to Lex.

March wasn't much better for me emotionally. I actually walked out in a snit after a family altercation, wearing my thin cotton pajamas and a coat, sat on a park bench fuming and smoking and flipping off strangers until I cooled down. This was close to midnight, and, of course, Lex and I had deadlines THEN as well.
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If you're sadistically inclined and just want to laugh at my dumb ass, you can find that post in my March archives for the 16th of the month.
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For those interested in writing a book with someone else, I have two simple suggestions.
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#1, the focus needs to be on the book with absolutely no egos involved.
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#2, TRUST is implicit and unwavering. Lex and I have been through the wars together, and she already knew what I was thinking from halfway around the globe. I’d trust her with my life, my son, my money, my personal peccadilloes, and my secrets, so why not with my writing?
* * *
In fact, when I moved across state lines a couple of years ago, I told one of my publishers (who Lex didn’t even write for) that if I had edits that HAD to be done before I was settled and had a phone, they were to let her handle them.
* * *
If I had a 3rd suggestion, it would be to have an editor who knows both of you well enough to tackle the job. Michele is fabulous anyway, and I haven’t polled her to ask if she could tell which of us wrote what parts (I’m sure if anyone could, it’d be her). I doubt either of us writers would be happy if our only writing outlet was coauthoring, but for me this form of publication is inspiring – it’s an adventure that gives me pleasure and the initiative that I need to write every day.
* * *
That plus eating and paying bills and going to conferences, and…that sort of thing.
Being able to jump into someone else’s dream and help it become a reality is a challenge, but doing so for and with a friend gives me a real sense of accomplishment. Lex’s daughter and one of her beta readers can’t tell which of us writes what, which makes my day. To me, that shows that we’ve done our job.
* * *
Anyway, some of you had asked, so there’s my take on how to work it if you wish to brainstorm an idea then see it through with a friend you trust.

**by the way** When you click on my photo for today's post, (photo doesn't exist for some reason today), it'll take you to Augustin's TEB page - LOL - so by all means click away. I'm sure she's better looking, and it won't hurt you to check her out. :)

ANOTHER the posts for today. You'll see that Jude & Jamie are ALSO a writing duo. So be looking for THEIR joint effort sometime in the near future.

Happy Writing, Everyone!

Look for Book #1 in the Sexy Mythconception Series...

Hit And Miss
By Alexis Fleming & Lyn Cash
Publisher: Total-e-bound
Genre : Contemporary/Light Bondage/BDSM
ISBN : 978-1-906590-03-1

Book #2, "Pandemonium" will debut in June!


Ashley Ladd said...

You guys rock. I've tried co-writing books 2 or 3 times with good friends and the best we could do was to write separate stories that went into a joint anthology. We could never agree on the hero, in particular, but we couldn't agree on a lot of things.

Lyn Cash said...

Hi, Ashley! Lex spoils me when she starts the book. She comes up with the characters and setting after asking me what I think, and then I just come in like it's fan fic - lol.

The joint anthology thing is pretty sweet when it works, too.


Jamie Hill said...

I've just started co-authoring a series for TEB with a good friend. It is much more challenging than writing on my own, but I agree with you that it's inspiring! Makes me want to kick things up a notch, so to speak.

Thanks for the great post!


Alexis Fleming said...

Moooom, Lyn's telling tales about me!



Sam said...

Fun, fun, fun!! I think co-authoring is fun. I did it once with Ciarra Sims, and we had a great time. I wish we could get together again - I think it takes a good idea though, not just two willing authors. Sexy Mythconseptions sounds like a terrific idea!

Lyn Cash said...

Thanks, Jamie & Sam!

:P ~~~ LEX

Jude Mason said...

Fantastic post! I'm the author Jamie Hill is working with on our first, but hopefully not our last, book as co-authors.

What you said about trust is, in my opinion, the most important thing. You have to trust your co not to run away with the plot, or kill off one of your characters, or refuse to work with you. And that's just the first couple I could think of. Jamie, and I hit it off the first time we 'met' online, and have realized it's a good thing we don't live close. We'd be in each other's house way too much. *G*

Cross your toes that our efforts come out as good as we think they will.

Congratulations on your success!

Lyn Cash said...

omg, I've always wanted to say this...HEY, JUDE! *grin*

You'll have to let me "interview" the two of you. When is your first book coming out (and who is it for and what's the title)? You can post that HERE - and then get my email addy from Jamie and say hello. I'd love to help you guys out when you start promoting yourselves. :)

Ashlyn Chase said...

I'm writing my first co-authored book now. it's almost finished and I'm so psyched because I really enjoy working with a good friend and I love the product! It's so much richer for her input.

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother, Lyn. I lost mine too and it sucks. Be good to yourself!


Lyn Cash said...

aaw, Ashlyn, thank you - and I'm sorry for your loss as well. It really does suck.

Catherine Chernow said...

Great post!

I actually co-authored a holiday read with three other authors. It turned out pretty darn good, but it's so much work. And like you say, trust is so important.

: )

Catherine Chernow

Lyn Cash said...

wow, Catherine! - you wrote a book with 3 others? - lol - I did well just to write with ONE other author. But's Lex.


Thanks for stopping by today!