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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pinterest Pleasures with Guest Blogger Mindy Klasky

I confess--I'm still trying to figure out what the heck to do with Pinterest. I know a bunch of my author friends are starting to use it as a writing tool, but I wasn't really sure where to start. Luckily, my clever writer pal Mindy Klasky has been using it for her VERY cool new series, and volunteered to come tell me (and therefore you) all about it. (Hint: if you go to my Pinterest, you'll get to see a little something for the new novel I mentioned yesterday.)

First, to make sure I have your attention, I'm going to show you the cover for the first book in her new series (PERFECT PITCH):
Yep--I thought that would do it. Here's the cover blurb:
Reigning beauty queen Samantha Winger is launching her pet project, a music program for kids. All she has to do is follow the pageant's rules—no smoking, drinking, or "cavorting" in public.

That's fine, until D.J. Thomas—God's gift to baseball—throws her a wild pitch. He slams her in an interview, and the video goes viral. Sam's no shrinking violet. She parlays D.J.'s apology into a national T.V. appearance—and a very unexpected, very public kiss.

Soon, paparazzi catch the couple in a steamy make-out session, and Sam's music program is on the block. The blazing hot relationship is threatened even more when D.J.'s son begs to trade in Little League for music class.

Can Sam and D.J. sizzle past the sour notes and find their perfect pitch?
Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Here's Mindy to tell us how she used Pinterest to  help her writing.

You know how new social media platforms launch.  One online friend starts to rave about the Next Big Thing, and then a few others chat publicly about how much they're loving The New Thing, and then someone has Super Secret Access Codes but you're always too late emailing them to get one, and then everyone in the entire world is using the service and you're sort of wondering how you got left behind.

Or, ahem, maybe that's only me.

Four years ago, a new platform launched:  Pinterest.  A lot of my online friends were immediately taken with it.  They snapped up those Super Secret Access Codes, and they talked to each other about their favorite pins, and they collaborated on strategies, and they loved, loved, loved Pinterest.  I started seeing that script P on all sorts of websites, on blog posts, in the wild.

And I just didn't get it.  Oh, Pinterest made sense if I was renovating a kitchen – I could see using an online bulletin board to pin ideas for appliances and counters and paint colors.  And it made sense for displaying similar artwork – all the book covers created by a particular artist, or all the books published by a specific publisher.

But for me?  An author who can't draw stick figures and who has no money in her home renovation account? 

I shrugged and forgot about Pinterest.

Until I started working on the Diamond Brides Series.  My plans for Diamond Brides were audacious – I was going to write and publish nine short, hot contemporary romances in a single year.  I'd take the first three months to get some of the writing done, but then I'd be living in a sort of joyful chaos – publishing one book while editing a second while writing a third while plotting a fourth.  And just to make things interesting, I decided to publish the first three books in four weeks.

I needed to get organized.  I needed new tools for keeping track of all my writing details.  My usual go-to system, Scrivener, was up to the task of tracking all those words, but I wasn't sure I could use it effectively to handle all the images. 

Images?  You know.  An inspirational picture of the hero.  Another, of the heroine.  A picture of the setting, especially rooms in a house.  Clothes, food, all the assorted props in a 150-page novel.  With nine books coming down the production line, I couldn't afford to forget who had green eyes, who had hazel, who wore the backless red ankle-length gown, who wore the navy T-shirt.

And so I dipped my toes into Pinterest. 

I created a "Board" for each book in the series.  For Perfect Pitch, I prowled around the Internet, searching for images that resembled my hero and heroine.  I searched through hundreds of "shelter" sights (intended for people doing home decorating), to figure out what my hero's home would look like.  I tracked down images of county fairs and beauty pageants and music classes for kids.

I found pictures for every setting in my book, and I pinned them to my board.  At first, I used Pinterest as an experiment.  I figured I'd probably get tired of it in short order; there was no reason I couldn't run my searches over again to find characters and places.

But after writing the first chapter, I realized just how easy it was to click over, to check on a character's hair color or eye color, to see whether the refrigerator was against the left wall or the right one.  I started to use Pinterest as a writing tool.

Now, building my Pinterest board is the very first thing I do when I start a new book – before I outline, before I write a single word.  Sure, I change some things as I go.  I find better images of my characters.  I realize that someone's a vegetarian, so she really won't be eating that steak dinner.  I discover a better dress or better shoes or…

You get the idea.

My boards aren't very extensive – 15 pins or so for each book.  But Pinterest is letting me stay on schedule.  Perfect Pitch released on time on March 31.  Catching Hell will be out on April 13.  Reaching First will be published on May 4. And all the other books look like they're falling into place.

You can see my Pinterest board for Perfect Pitch here -- http://www.pinterest.com/mindyklasky/perfect-pitch-diamond-brides-1/  Do the characters look intriguing?  What about the settings?  Do you use Pinterest or other visualization tools when you write?

Mindy Klasky learned to read when her parents shoved a book in her hands and told her she could travel anywhere through stories. As a writer, Mindy has traveled through various genres, including hot contemporary romance. In her spare time, Mindy knits, quilts, and tries to tame her to-be-read shelf.


A note from Deborah: I just got my copy! Right now it is on sale at AMAZON for only .99 cents for the Kindle version! What do you have to lose? I love Mindy's writing, and I think you will too. Now, go ahead and say hi, and show her how friendly we are around here. Thanks for visiting, Mindy!


  1. Mindy - I love to visit Pinterest for inspirational images and I do create book boards, but it's too easy for me to get distracted to use for pre-planning. Love the tiara picture.

    1. I liked the tiara too! I think all writers should have them :-) And I find the pictures elsewhere and try not to get distracted as I add them.

  2. Beth - It *is* easy to get distracted, isn't it? I actually start my research on the "open Internet", using Google's Image search, specifically to avoid browsing Pinterest for days :-)

  3. Mindy, I love your writing! It's great to read how you use Pinterest; I've got a work in progress and one on the back burner and I'm still working on figuring out how to use Pinterest effectively for them. Thank you very much for sharing with us!

    1. I'm mostly using it right now as a place to store the few pictures I have of characters and places (and motorcycles and dogs).

    2. Skye - Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad I could help show one aspect of this tool that can be used in *so* many ways!

  4. Had not thought of using Pinterest in this format. I do all my planning/ pics/ etc in a scrapbook. My personal pinterest board is a mosh of lots of stuff I enjoy. But know I need to create an author one soon. Oh.. and I picked up a copy of Perfect Pitch. Thanks!

    1. I started out using it (or not) just to play around with. But as an author, I think it can be a great tool. Enjoy the book!

    2. Angela - I hope you enjoy the book! And if you're already using Pinterest for personal stuff, it'll be easy to make the transition!

  5. Carla's questions, which for some reason didn't show up when she posted it (sigh): Mindy, can you save your pintrest boards to your computer or print them or something so you'd know you'd have a permanent copy?

    1. I haven't looked for a way to save them outside of Pinterest - there isn't an easy "download" function from within the (very minimal) website.

      When I hosted my Facebook launch party for PITCH, I put all the pictures I wanted to use in Pinterest. Alas, I couldn't copy them into Facebook posts as cleanly as I wanted (they came in with Pinterest tags attached). Next time, I'd copy the individual photos into a folder on my computer, making a "permanent" copy of at least that board. (Permanent in quotes, because I can delete the folder whenever I want.)

      Make sense?

    2. I started out by copying pictures into a Word doc and then moved on to doing a board in Pinterest. I suspect I'll continue to do a little bit of both.