Monday, November 1, 2010

3 months of READING

Although I haven't been able to write over the past three months, I HAVE been keeping up with my reading! There have been some fabulous releases, and as I may have mentioned (several million times), I'm a fan of audio since it allows me to do what I need to do while being entertained by a book.

Anyhoo, thought I'd give a list of everything I've devoured the past while. In no particular order:

- Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter
- Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter
- Jinxed by Inez Kelley
- Kiss of the Rose by Kate Pearce
- Edge of Heaven by Rhiannon Leith (aka RF Long)
- all 7 of the Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning
- all 4 Fever books by Karen Marie Moning
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- finally read My Sister's Keeper
- On These Silken Sheets by Sabrina Darby
- Naked by Megan Hart
- Coming Clean by Inez Kelley
- Animal Instincts by Gena Showwalter
- Books 2-8 of the Argeneau Vampire series by Lynsay Sands
- Pleasure to the Max by Cami Dalton
- Dark Peril by Christine Feehan
- Night Fall by Cherry Adair
- Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
- Room by Emma Donoghue
- Tangled Up in You by Rachel Gibson
- Crave by JR Ward
- Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
- Jack & Jilted (a HQN Blaze)
- The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
- Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
- Switch by Megan Hart
- Sin Undone by Larissa Ione
- Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
- Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I'm currently reading Torment by Lauren Kate. Not convinced I like it yet. I have Crescendo and Beautiful Darkness on the slate next, in between some erotic romance ebooks I've had tucked away in a folder :D

What have YOU been reading?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Doing "it"

To motivate myself, I've decided to enter Touch into the Some Like It Hot contest.

Since the beginning is definitely not the hottest part of the story, I can't say I have high hopes to make it far; however, the chance to get critted by EC editors and authors is too good to pass up!

Update: So, I questioned a couple of things about this contest, and it seems that the story has to be completed, or almost completed. Touch has about 2-3k of work to do still, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but as slow as I am at writing, that may not get done until next year!

I plan on taking Saturday, November 6th, to write, so we'll see how much I get done!


Seize your opportunity to write for the Cave with Tawny’s Taylor’s “Some Like It Hot” writing contest!!

Starting October 25th, 2010, Tawny Taylor will be hosting a writing contest!
The final judge is an editor from Ellora’s Cave.

The Prizes? Read on!

All SubGenres of erotic romance accepted, including:
~Contemporary~Fantasy~Futuristic~ Shapeshifter/Vampire~BDSM~

*You may submit one chapter--not to exceed 5000 words. Stories must be complete and unpublished.

*Each Monday, two stories will be selected by an Ellora's Cave editor who is actively acquiring. At the end, six weekly winning authors will submit a partial (first three chapters, last chapter and synopsis) to the final judge for ranking.

The first place winner will receive ...

A critique of the full winning manuscript by EC editor Grace Bradley!

The second place winner will receive...

A critique of the partial manuscript by EC editor Grace Bradley (first three chapters, last and synop).

The third place winner will receive...

A critique of the first chapter by EC editor Grace Bradley.

Details at: http://www.tawnytayl...ingContest.html

Monday, October 11, 2010


You know, I can't help feeling disappointed with myself lately.

I had really hoped/planned/wanted to have a submission ready by the end of September. Now, here we are, a third of the way into October, and I haven't written a darn thing since August.

Most of this time has been well spent - I've made a major change in my position at work, and am just now back on a shift that makes sense to me again (i missed you, nights!). I also helped a LOT with my friend's wedding, but that was on September 18th. Almost a month ago.

I can't pinpoint what's holding me back, except being overwhelmed, maybe? I'm the kind of person that, when faced with a lot, will rally and dive in. But if faced with TOO much, will sit in a catatonic state and do absolutely nothing because I can't wrap my head around where to start.

This happens in all aspects of my life, except for work, because there I'm judged on my performance and that's a huge motivator for me. At home though - yikes. Writing, cleaning, landscaping, painting, laundry, craft projects... it all just.. gets ignored. LOL

Anyway, regardless of what happenED to make me stop writing, I need to get a grip on what's happenING.

I want to write. That's definitely not the issue. There's lots of little bits of Tori and Kass and Finn and Drew running around in my head... but I think that until I get some of the other stuff done, I'll feel too guilty to concentrate.

I have a half-formed plan, though, to get me back on track. For each step completed, I think I'll be able to sit and write for a couple of hours, guilt-free, starting tonight, hopefully.

So, here's the unlikely Step One of The Grand Writing Plan:

Outdoor adventures: mow the lawn, learn how to start/run the snowblower & winterize the gardens

(for the record, doing the gardens scares the bejeezers out of me. there's been a bit of an earwig issue this year, and the damned things like my Black-Eyed Susans)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

At the risk of repeating myself...

So, I've been thinking lately.

Scary, I know.

Although I haven't had the the opportunity to write in FOREVA, I have been listening to audiobooks while I go about doing all the stuff that life's been asking of me. This is how I keep up with my reading.

I'm a huge fan of series, but I get frustrated when there's only 2 or 3 books so far. As such, I tend to wait to start a series until there's at least 4 or 5 books, sometimes more. I just finished all 7 of Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series (wow, Darkfever makes so much more sense to me now) and have finished book 5 of Lynsay Sands' Argeneau Vampire series.

When I listen or read a series all in a row, I can really get into the author's Voice. BUT, and this is a big BUT for me, any repetitive phrasing becomes extremely obvious. I find it exceptionally annoying, actually, to have different characters described in the same manner from book to book. To the point that the words seem to reverberate in my head and I actually cringe or huff.

My favorite examples to use when explaining this peeve of mine are Christine Feehan's "black velvet voice", which is used to describe every male Carpathian character (with the exception of her latest, and I was quite surprised), and Lora Leigh's spasming wombs. In fact, I'm so sensitive to wombs clenching and spasming that any use of those words (together or even separately now) in other author's books makes me halt, blink a few times, and then try to carry on.

Which brings me back to my main point here. I've been pondering the difference between having "Voice" and simply writing the same phrases over and over.

Voice is one of those elusive things that's infinitely difficult to define. In my own humble opinion, it's how a writer pulls together the entire package: dialogue/syntax, internal dialogue, flow, description, etc. Let's face it - there isn't a generalized plotline out there that hasn't already been done. Voice is a big part of what makes or breaks a story to a reader.

I may not be the best at picking out a specific author just by reading a couple of pages, but I do know what I like or what doesn't turn my crank. I don't like Fern Michaels, for example. Her style makes me grit my teeth while reading, and I gave up trying a long time ago to like it. She's a best-selling author, so it's obviously just my taste, but I digress.

Call me temperamental (which I totally am) but it annoys the crap out of me to read/hear the same words over and over. Wait... am I repeating myself now? ;)

Admittedly, there are only so many ways to describe an orgasm. In a book I'm listening to right now, the author uses the term "coming apart in his arms", which is a nice way of putting it. It shows the author has a bit more creativity than the standard "she exploded" or "shattered", etc. To me, that's a hint at the author's Voice.

Still, I'm pretty sure it's not necessary to use that exact phrase 3 times within 25 pages.

Dude, that's just repetition.

So, for all you writers out there, be aware of getting in a rut and using the same descriptors. Expand your thinking and vocabulary, get creative and develop your Voice!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Real life has taken over my much preferred online life.

Someday, I'll make another intelligent post on here!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Somewhere out there...

Because I write contemporary, it's not inconceivable that somewhere, at some point, the story I'm spinning has already come to pass, is happening right now, or will come true soon.

That theory just blows my brains if I think too hard about it, but in my mind, be it consciously or subconsciously, when I put my fingers to keyboard I really believe I'm telling someone's tale.

Sure, the names and settings are different, and each conversation runs a slightly different course, but somewhere out there in the big, bad world, there's a Liam telling a Tori to fuck off before stalking out the door.

There's a Kari living the best life she knows how while looking over her shoulder because there's something bad following her.

And there are Finn's and Kass' having explosive sex all over the place (hopefully!)

I really, truly believe that this conviction adds an extra spark to a writer's work.

True, I don't have the ability of changing the course of those people living parallel to what's in my imagination. It twists me up a bit that not everyone has a Happily Ever After like the characters I'm writing about.

But it's that bit of "real" that resonates with a reader, and makes them cheer, even for the assholes on their way to redemption.

So, next time you sit and put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, think beyond the story you're telling to the real people out there living it.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I have another post planned for today, but I just got woken up out of a dead (dreaming stoopid plot bunnies) sleep to this delivery:

I haz a happy!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Total Meltdown.

Almost, at least.

You know that really sick feeling you get when something important to you is lost? You can picture that item, in perfect clarity, and superimpose that image everywhere you think to look.

Well, I wasn't feeling that when I couldn't find my notebook last night/this morning. Call it a sixth sense, but I always know when something is just misplaced, or really and truly lost. I could picture it, that blue cover with Happy Bunny saying some snotty comment, but I wasn't feeling sick. I knew it had to be in the house somewhere.

I searched and looked and actually lifted stuff up to look underneath (usually a surface scan is all the effort I put into finding something) but no notebook.

Finally, I got desperate enough to start checking under the furniture. I admit, I was starting to get a little worried I'd left it at work and someone would get curious and open it up.

Whooeeee... they'd be in for an eye full, let me tell you.

But then I found it. Waaaaay under my bed.

I think it's safe to assume who the culprit was, judging by the state of the cover and binding coils.


*forehead smack*

It's also safe to say the poor book will never be the same after his loving attention.

He's my "speshul" cat, and is constantly doing dumb shit like this. At 10 months old, I am still holding out the hope that he'll develop some sort of maturity; however, I will admit to a little niggling doubt.

Oh, well. That's what makes life with him so interesting.

Tuning In

I don't know about you, but music is a huge, and I mean HUGE! part of my daily life.

It's always on at the house, in the car, and more often than not I have my earphones stuffed in at work, grooving away to some tunes.

Now comes the don't-make-fun-of-me part - I loooove dance music. Adore it. House, Trance, cheesy-ass techno.. if it's got a baseline, I'll listen to it (at least once).

Don't get me wrong, I like mainstream, too. One Republic and The Script have spots in my playlist, but I'm much more interested in Tiësto's or Guetta's latest releases, and checking what's hot on's charts.

As a result of the constant soundtrack in my life, it comes as no surprise that I find a lot of plot bunnies being born of lyrics. I guess this isn't an unusual phenomenon in the writing world.

I thought it would be fun (for me at least) to share some of the songs that pushed the direction of my stories.

And YES! they're dance-ish tunes. Get over the bass and listen to the melody and lyrics, I tell you!

One of my very first stories which I allude to every so often but will never speak of in detail was born of this song:

(Disclaimer: the video sucks. I just like the lyrics/melody)

Keep the Fire Burning by The Outsiders

In particular, the spot that starts about 1:45 into the song. <3 it. The thought of someone pushing hard to restore your faith in love, and standing right behind you, even through what feels like the end of your world, just speaks Romance to me.

For my current works, I don't have a particular one for Touch, so I'm skipping that one, but when I started writing DiD, there was one song in my playlist that had a lot of influence:

Dancing Into Danger by Novaspace

Um.. notice the title? LOL Yeah. The story ended up being called Dancing into Danger, although that may change. For now, though, it's DiD.

Although the lyrics in the song aren't all that deep, I just kept picturing some chick at a dance club, boogying her little behind off, and watching over her shoulder for The Bad Thing.

In the case of my story, The Bad Thing is an evil little bastard Kari calls The Perv. Dun-dun-dun! *cue dramatic music*

Okay. Moving on.

About a month ago, I heard a song on the satellite that I thought was pretty cool, and it stuck with me, although nothing immediately came to mind.

Then, almost 2 weeks ago, I decided I wanted to hear it again, so I pulled up the video on YouTube.

I sat there for probably 10 minutes after the song ended, a glazed look on my face and my mouth hanging open, while a vicious plot bunny scampered around my brain.

It's moments like that one that make me very glad I live alone. I'm sure I looked like I'd been poleaxed.

But I digress. So, VOILA! The catalyst for Forgiveness:

Touch by Natasha Bedingfield

The story is a lot darker than either the song or the video; however, the entire concept of how one life can unknowingly influence another is exceptionally intriguing to me.

And thus, Forgiveness was born.

I also thought it was hilarious that I'd been working so hard on a story named Touch, and a video of that same title spawned a whole new plot line.

Sometimes, I also find some lyrics making their way into my books. Altered, of course, to my own voice; however, the jumping off point may have been a word combination that got my mind or heart racing.

In the spirit of sharing, I'm going to post a couple of lines from DiD influenced by song lyrics. But first, I need to find my notebook where I have it written down. Cue hyperventilation, since I can't find it. (ack! check back later for the post, unless I really can't find it, in which case I'll be in full-blown panic mode)

Update: Found it, as per the post after this one. But, as I mentioned, I'm sharing a line of story that was a direct translation from a song lyric.

From John O'Callaghan feat. Sarah Howells - Find Yourself (beginning at :30 if you're interested)

"Bright lights on a starless night burn a hole in the dying day. Lookin' at life through a loaded gun..."

We stare at the blossoming stars, just beginning to burn through the burgeoning twilight.

"I feel like, no matter what direction I turn, I've got a loaded gun pointed at me. Do you have any idea what my life is like, Drew?"

To close, I love the fact that 20 different people can listen to the above songs, and come up with about 50 different plots to write. That's the real magic of music to me - it never affects two people the same.

If you're so inclined, I'd love to know what songs influenced or embody your writing!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Plotting or Pansting?

Any writer will tell you that they're either a plotter or a panster, the latter being fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writing.

The very first story I wrote, I pansted the whole thing, and it was kind of a cute, trite, plot.

The next (DiD), I tried the same. It's now stalled out because I can't figure out where to go with it. Sure, Kari is pretty mouthy and I'm constantly writing bits and pieces on this story, but it's mostly emotion, no forward action.

I tried a combination on the next one. Did up a brief outline, loosely followed it and wrote. I got about 75% of the way through it before I figured out I wasn't very good at paranormal stuff, so I tried the combination again on the next one.

Didn't work.

Of course, one must always factor in the frustration that comes during any story-writing. Apparently a common occurance, I ended up bored of the story and hating it.

So, I went back to pansting for Touch. hmm.. that may be why I'm floundering about with it so badly.. LOL

This time, with Forgiveness, I'm plotting, outlining, plotting, and doing more outlining.

I've heard, from both faction of writers, how much each method kinda sucks.

Pansters complain that plotting takes the soul out of the story. Creates boredom because the excitement of discovering where the characters are going and who they're going to be is gone. It was all spent on the outline, rather than in the writing.

Plotters tell me that pansting makes for a chaotic storyline, that stuff is thrown in here and there willy-nilly and that the flow doesn't feel right. A lot of pansters find themselves written into corners with no way out (see DiD) or with plot-holes that a Mack truck could drive through.

In either case, I think it's the ability and responsibility of the writer to add the essence of excitement or patch up those plot holes in edits.

What do you think?

In the meantime, for me, plotting seems to be going well, this time at least! Only time will tell, I guess!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Must. Read.

OooooOOOoooooo... some of my favorite authors have had recent releases! Time to talk reading...

First up is an author I've mentioned a few times - Kate Pearce. She's got a Tudor Vampire book out today, and I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on it!

First in a sexy new series that takes a bite out of the court of King Henry VIII

Desperate to defeat King Richard III and gain the English crown, Henry Tudor made a pact with the Druids that bound him and his heirs to the Druid’s deadly struggle against the Vampires. Ever since, the Llewellyns, an ancient Vampire slaying family, have been in the permanent employ of the monarchy.

Now Henry VIII is on the throne, and his father’s bargain has almost been forgotten. Until corpses drained of blood start turning up in the most inappropriate of places, including the king’s bedchamber. But are these people the victims of the Vampires-or of the Druids?

To save the king from a nameless assassin, Rosalind Llewellyn, Vampire hunter extraordinaire, must form an uneasy alliance with a known Druid slayer. Sir Christopher Ellis hails from a family that has protected the Vampires for centuries, yet Rosalind has no choice but to rely on his help. And with her life threatened and her loyalty tested, Rosalind may even have to acknowledge the unthinkable. This sworn enemy may be her soul mate.

Click here to purchase. For more information on the author, visit her website or blog.


Next up is RG Alexander's debut NY release (i.e. paper) POSSESS ME!

In the Big Easy, there's a legend women long for: a sexual voodoo spirit who can fulfill their darkest fantasies. And in these three steaming-hot novellas, he helps two New Orleans couples achieve the ultimate satisfaction...and may even find it himself.

In Release Me, Allegra heads down to New Orleans to heal her wounds, but she never expects to lose her heart to such a quiet, troubled man as Rousseau. She's even less prepared for the scorching, sexual spirit within him-and what he can do to her...

In Reclaim Me, Ben has loved Michelle as long as he can remember. But his beautiful artist has a way of running away from life-and what the pair could be. Leave it to the infamous spirit to help Ben prove to Michelle where she belongs: in his embrace...

In Redeem Me, it's All Saints' Day, the one day the voodoo spirit can walk the world in the flesh. When he bumps into Bethany, she might just be the reincarnation of a girl he once loved. Passion ignites, but can the couple overcome past mistakes and have a real chance at love?

Click here to purchase. Visit R.G.'s website or blog for all her latest news.

Who could resist that smokin' hot cover? I'd let him posses me any time... *fans self*

And to drop backwards a bit, here are a few others that have come out recently that I think you should pick up. Right now.

TALK DIRTY TO ME by Inez Kelley & Ginny Glass
NAKED by Megan Hart
LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater (This is Young Adult)

If you're in the mood for a short (or, too short in my opinion), check out Changling Thumbelina by Emily Ryan-Davis (available at Freya's Bower publishing)

And while you're at it, if you want a ridiculously addictive paranormal series that leaves you with a cliffhanger ending until the next release (JANUARY! gah.) then check out DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning. Loves it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What the hey?

Um, did anyone else notice something weird?

It's August, people!

I think I may have blacked out for a couple of weeks or gone through a time-warp for most of July. Where did it go?

Maybe it's just that I didn't accomplish the things I'd wanted to that makes me feel like time skipped ahead by leaps and bounds.

Or, maybe I just really suck at time-management?



Anyway, I'm determined to kick this writing stuff into high gear, so I hope you're along for the ride!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Around the bend...

I took the whole day to myself to write or plot or putter on Divas... whatever the heck I felt like doing, so long as it was somewhat writing related. Still, writing was calling my name, and I was determined to spew out a chunk of words on Touch today.

I had high hopes at the start of the day, with my pot of coffee and background-noise play list. Then I went back to review comments on the WaW excerpts, thinking to integrate the ideas (where applicable).

Total brain freeze.

I wrote NOTHING today. Well, except this blog post and a whole lotta posting on Divas. Lets face it - while Divas is fun, educational and feels like a family most days... participating in the threads does NOT increase the wordcount in my WsIP.

Still, I can't help feeling like I turned a corner today in both my story, Touch, as well as in my skills as a writer.

First, I participated in a fun exercise yesterday meant to flex my 'underpainting' skills. This is a term used to describe the process of description. Painting that picture in the reader's mind of the people and places in your story by using BODY, ENVIRONMENT, IDEAS and EXPERIENCE.

The facilitator gave a few lines of pretty stilted dialogue between a man and woman, and I was to take that dialogue and build a world and characters around it.

It was a lot of fun, and I have to admit I was pretty happy with the way mine came out. The other folks did a fab job as well, and although I knew that this was something that was required to bring a story to life, it's an entirely different matter to define the concept into something my brain can process.

As such, I feel like a whole new writer today. Like I know what I'm doing, even as my storyline for Touch fell completely apart...

And that, my friend, brings me to the reason why I got absolutely nothing actually written today. I spent a lot of time pondering, sorting, and discarding ideas on heightening the conflict with this little story.

I've been struggling with the balance between the motivation/conflict/actual story and the naughty, fun, sex stuff.

I *think* I've worked it out :D but, and it's a BIG BUT (no, I'm not talking about my big butt!) it involves a whole lotta deleting and rewriting.

Upwards and Onwards, right?!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Instinct or Learning?

I'm involved in an industry that relies heavily on understanding instinct.

Horses are creatures driven by it. In the wild, they herd to confuse and confound predators, move constantly to find better grazing and water, and the mares know to stick with the biggest, baddest stallion. Out there in the big scary, when confronted by danger, they have one basic decision: flight or fight.

These drivers are still prevalent in domesticated horses, and training methods revolve around them. It's a struggle, sometimes, to overcome that flight or fight instinct. Something as simple as stepping into a puddle of water becomes a battle of wits - we all know who would win if it came down to strength!

In turn, I firmly believe that there are individuals who have an instinct for working with horses. We call it 'feel', and IMO, it's not something that can be taught.

There are varying degrees of feel, but one can always see the riders without that natural ability - 15 years of steady lessons and their elbows are still flapping like chicken wings, or they still balance on the horse's mouth via reins and bit instead of using their seat. They don't ever 'get' the timing of leg pressure or learn to read their horse's body signals that they're about to leap sideways because there's a mouse rustling in the grass.

Sure, a coach can help hone it, and it takes practice to bring it to the forefront sometimes, but that innate ability to read body language, time your own movements and give reward has to be there from the get-go.

It's this instinct that makes a talented horse-person. They ride better. The horses perform better because their handler is speaking the same language. They win in the show pen. And they can make a living in an industry that's just a huge money-suck for the majority of participants.

It's usually these folks who make the best coaches, although that's a special talent all on it's own. A good coach will focus on the natural abilities of a rider and make the rider think about them in a way that brings acute awareness. That awareness usually leads to another epiphany.

Every light-bulb moment illuminates another point of instinct, and those pinpricks of light accumulate until the person is one big ball of glowing talent.

Yeah, yeah. A little dramatic, I know.

You're probably wondering why I'm rambling on about horses when this is supposed to be a blog about writing, right?

I do have a point. No, really. I do!

It is the following:

I believe that great writers must have natural instinct.

Okay, maybe it's not exactly the same as seeing a horse's ear stick out sideways and know they're about to bolt. But knowing when to go into deep point of view, when to end a scene, or even when to have the hero and heroine meet is instinctual.

Again, there are varying degrees of this special talent, and it translates into different aspects of writing: dialogue, sex scenes, conflict, flow. All the stuff that makes a great story. Some writers can do humor, some gut-wrenching emotional journeys. Others make you want to chew your nails off in suspense.

A naturally talented writer can make a heroine sitting alone in her car during 5 o'clock traffic completely enthralling.

They'll also have the ability to know what isn't working, admit "that's crap" and clip, trim, and shuffle words until it does work without losing the original intent.

Let's use me as an example, because I like to talk about me. (kidding! sort of)

I do not have a natural talent for dialogue. I struggle with it. I can make it work, but it's not something that just writes itself onto the page for me. No one will be able to teach me to write dialogue, because it's one of those things that will never be the same. It comes down to the author's voice, the setting, and the characters' personalities.

Telling me to make conversation "engaging" and "interesting" doesn't tell me WHAT people find engaging and interesting. That part's instinct.

Um, you may have already noticed that grammar isn't a particular talent, either. I lubs my commas.

I do think I have flow, though. That ability to order a sentence, scene or entire story, even, into a smooth entity that keeps your eyes and thoughts moving forward.

Based on feedback from others, this has pretty much always been the case - from personal emails to work correspondence and now in fiction. I developed this skill as a young'un, and have been honing it ever since.

I'm proud of my flow. Yo.

I've worked with people, training them to write (not fiction, which I'm still new to, myself), and have noticed time and time again this phenomenon of natural ability. I can give 5 people the exact same (precise) outline of how to write a piece of correspondence, and 3 out of the 5 will get it wrong. Every. Single. Time.

I can see it. They're reading what they just typed out, and their eye stops. Backs up. Travels over the paragraph again. There's a pause. And then a mental shrug because they can't pinpoint what makes it read weird. Then they continue.

To me, that's an obvious stumble in flow that needs fixin', but they plow ahead regardless.

Oh, I'm sure a lot of folks will argue with my theories and beliefs about this subject, citing that one can learn to write.

Sure. Coaching will help, and some will learn to fake it, mimicking other writers who get fabulous results. They'll do good. But the ones who have that "je ne sais quoi" will be GREAT writers.

I believe it's really important to always work at improving craft skills, to bring those natural abilities to the surface so they can be nurtured. Workshops, craft books and most importantly, reading other people's work are all pivotal to sparking one of those light-bulb moments.

There's nothing wrong with basking in the glow of a really great talent, as long as you're using their light to take an inward look at your own strengths and abilities.

Maybe, if I keep working at it, I'll learn that, while I don't have talent for dialogue, I can write mind-blowing emotional discovery.

What's your instinct?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Expansion of the mind

As I've mentioned, I'm working towards a first submission with my story, Touch.

What a lot of folks, myself included, never realize is the almost overwhelming amount of work that's needed AFTER the birth of a story.

Sure, writing the darn thing is of utmost importance; however, I've discovered that I needed to have a publisher in mind almost before I'd started that process.

Do I want to aim for ePublishing? Submit for actual paper publishing? Do I reach for the stars, and sit on my hands for up to a year, by sending my manuscript to a BIGNAME publisher, or dip my toes into the industry with a smaller one where I have a better chance of getting accepted?

Then, I have to make a list, based on the order I want to submit to, of all the publishers, and read their guidelines to make sure the formatting is right, etc.

Writing a synopsis is high on the to-do list, too. This is a complete summary of the story - opener to 'The End' - but has to be written in a way that grabs the editor immediately. Boring synop = no reading of the MS.

Before they even GET to the synopsis though, you have to grab them with your query/blurb (that's the part you read on the back of the book before you buy it at the store).

Some places will accept simultaneous submissions from authors, some I can sub to them, and only them, until they get around to reading it.

Once I've got that all done, providing I still have hair left and a functioning brain, I've got to consider the fact that I'm most likely going to get an "REJECT" notice. This may take anywhere from a couple of days up to a year, depending on the publisher, but apparently most are within 4-6 weeks.

Commence gnawing on the fingernails.

There's a possibility that they'll send an "R&R" though, which is a Rewrite and Resubmit. Cause for joy! They like the premise enough to want to consider it, but there are parts that don't jive so they have to be redone. Like the ending. Or the entire middle section...

If, by utter dumb luck, I've gotten the blurb, synopsis and actual book right, I may get accepted.

This part will involve lots of jumping, screaming in happiness and public announcements, so Don't Worry; you'll know if I ever get accepted.

But then I'll have to think about contracts. And promo. And a cover, and editing! *gulp*

Promo might mean trailers, will definitely mean pimping the upcoming release on websites/blogs and will require me to get a website set up - not just this modest little blog.

After it's released, and hopefully some sales happen, I'm going to have to think about income tax ramifications, and all that sort of stuff.

*deep breath in, deep breath out*

And then write my next story.

So... wanna know what part I'm at?

Step 1: Picking a Publisher

Um. yah. Going to write now.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sneaky Peeks

Sometimes, when I'm just about to fall asleep for the night, I have flashes of a scene from the stories I'm working on. If I'm lucky, I'm still coherent enough to switch on my bedside lamp and scribble down the details in my ever-present notebook so I remember it in the morning.

This is one such excerpt of a scene from Touch, which I thought I'd share because it makes ME giggle every time I read it.

Call me over-confident, but I just love this story. :)


Cripes, she was waffling.

Do it. Don’t do it.

She’d never been a waffler. Quick decisions were her specialty. She did like waffles though, and now that she was being one, she couldn’t help but wonder if Finn liked maple syrup with his waffles or would chocolate do? Because they didn’t have any maple on the bedside table.

Or, maybe he’d rather whipped cream. Scratch that, they only had spray cheese.

An image of herself, laid out on a giant plate like an offering, while a tall, broad, faceless man blasted her nude body with goopy cheese in a can flitted through her brain. She bit her lip, hard, but the breathy, slightly crazy sounding giggle escaped anyway.

Holy shit, she was going insane. What was wrong with her?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mystery of time.

You know, I often wonder why it is that when I'm dying to do something, it's never at a convenient time.

And when the minutes or hours ARE there, they aren't available at the RIGHT time - I have to be doing something else entirely. Like laundry.

Case in point, I want to write. NOW. So I'm sitting here wishing I could delve into my fictional worlds of Karma and naughtiness. But alas, I must be off to work for 8 hours of writing not what I'd like.

What divine creature orchestrates this, anyway? Because, IMO, it occurs way too often to be happenstance.

Or, maybe, in a twisted way, I did get my wish?

If so, I obviously need to be more specific when I make my wishes, and let the great divine know it's FICTION I'd prefer to be writing, not answering people's questions at work... yes?

Although, I must admit that there's a distinct possibility that I'm procrastinating on going to work, and my mind is frantically making up lists of things I'd rather be doing instead.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Well, the first couple of days are behind me with the WAW round-robin critique, and I've stopped dreaming about it.

I was on Diva Chat talking about it, and I mentioned that I'd dreamed about getting a ton of warm and fuzzy crits. Someone (Hi Em, even though I highly doubt you'd ever read my tiny little blog!) said that it may not all be warm and fuzzy, but I'd at least get petted. She assured me there'd be no slapping.

My first crit was no such a happy occurance. There was definitely no petting... but no slapping. So, Karma remains my un-petted, yet un-slapped WIP.

The comments were helpful to the extreme though. It's abundantly clear that I need to outline that this is NOT a guardian angel story from the prologue. And come up with a name for what the heck the hero is.

And then I experienced some heavy petting. It was loverly.

I have had a mixed review on Touch, and a positive one. Again, all of the comments were useful to me - I have visions of how to strengthen the story, even if I have no time to apply them this week *pout*

Two happy readers with DiD, for which I'm both grateful and guilty about.

See, the thing is... I have no plot.

Well, let me qualify that. There is a plot. But it's totally transparent, the ending sucks, and there are so many holes it would sink in about 2 seconds flat. What it does have is a wonderful heroine, IMO.

Kari is... a spitfire.

Ok, she doesn't like that word. How about... highly opinionated and self-sufficient with little-to-no filter on her mouth.


She doesn't like that description either.

To which I reply, "Suck it up, yappy-face. I'm writing the damned story."

Friday, July 2, 2010

I haz a happy! and a nervous.

Wow, I'm neglecting this blog already. Bad me.

I've been working pretty steadily on Touch, and am quite pleased with how things are going on it! I'm probably the worlds slowest writer, so adding a couple of thousand words over the past week is really good for me. I'm feeling more confident with the dialogue, which I struggled with for quite a while, and my segues into the different parts of the story are meshing much better. Flow is so important for a smooth reading story, IMO. So, yay for happys!

In the meantime, RD is having a We All Win workshop, which is a round-robin critique. I anonymously enter up to 3 snips of 1,000 words each, and in exchange of having folks crit them (aka publicly shred my self-confidence) I crit 6 other snips. At the end of the month, I can claim my snips.

I picked a section from Touch, DiD and Karma. They're such completely different stories that I doubt anyone will connect them, so MAYBE I'll just claim the best received one? LOL


I'm looking forward to having opinions on what's good an bad about each of the stories... although, I get almost sick to my stomach the first couple of read throughs... sometimes, what's being pointed out is SO OBVIOUS that I'm utterly humiliated that I hadn't picked up on it before.

You know me, Miss Perfection.

So, that's the nervous part. I'm hoping I don't get laughed off the forum.

Wish me luck!


In the meantime, I've been reading up a storm with my new eReader. Inez Kelley's Salome at Sunrise was beautifully written, and such a fabulous story. *insert song of joy* <- that's me singing it's praises!

I'm also eating up Kate Pearce's Simply series. Whoa, hawt. hothothothot. Not for the faint of heart, though. You've gots to like menage and some m/m.

Disappointed with Lora Leigh's Breeds series. They're meh IMO.

I've also read Gena Showalter's The Darkest Passion - I found the heroine not to my liking so the story didn't jive well with me. I'm reading her latest The Darkest Lie now, but just started. I can only hope that Scarlet doesn't annoy the snot out of me like Olivia.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm delusional.

And here I thought I'd have plenty of time to write while on vacation!

Um, no.

That's alright, though - I'm getting lots of other stuff done AND I finally sorted out my eReader dilemma. Needless to say, I'm catching up on some reading!

I'd originally ordered a kobo from Chapters, but it wouldn't format my previously purchased PDF/ePub ebooks.

I returned it, and ordered the Aluratek Libre instead, and I'm LOVING IT. No, seriously, this thing is great!

I did like the screen on the kobo a little better, but this one handles formatting my PDF, ePub, etc, flawlessly. Highly recommended!

As such, I'm also recommending that you read Kate Pearce's historical series, Simply (starting with Simply Sexual and you need to be prepared for multiple partners and other assorted naughty stuff) and Voirey Linger, and Inez Kelley (Myla by Moonlight is wonderful, but I haven't hit Jinxed yet).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Despite a hectic week on the home front and at work, I've managed to attract the attention of a very persuasive plot bunny.

I succumbed without much fight, and am now happily feeding and nurturing the persistent little thing into a bright, glittery, new story.

Touch is not on the back-burner per say (I have picked away a bit here and there when there's time), but ideas for this new story just keep popping into my brain randomly, and I can't resist jotting down notes.

Next week will be just as busy I'm afraid, with no real time to sit and write, but I think I'll give this bunny free roam in the caverns of my mind in the meantime.

Hopeful outcome - another short/novella that explores the intricate repercussions of actions and thought -it's Karma, baby!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wonderful Word Count!

Yesterday, I had an awesome day writing. I sat in my living room with music on the satellite and wrote in my little notebook. It was just me, a pen and the paper. And my imagination.

Oh, and the cats, who thought it was very, very odd I was sitting in THEIR chair. But eventually seating arrangements all got sorted out and we were all happy.

I wrote for about 2 hours sitting there, which went by a lot faster than I thought it would.

Then, later, I tried to transcribe what I'd written onto my computer. (cue music) Duh-duh-duh...

If you may recall, I have a small attention span problem and am easily distracted.

I got about 3/4 of it done, and then I was off in virtual la-la land - chat (which, ironically enough, was supposed to encourage me to type more), ebay, facebook, forums... the list goes on.

Still, my wordcount got bumped by 1,000 words, and I can't complain about that!

Here's a little info about my WIP:

It's an erotic short called Touch (so far), and it's about a woman who craves physical connections with people. She finds sex particularly satisfying to her need to be touched, but has a hard time finding men who aren't all about groping. Tired of not getting what she needs, she accepts an invitation to explore her carnal side for one night only - in the dark, and with a stranger.

The man she's paired with is just coming back from a heartbreak and is pushed into accepting the invitation by his buddy. Still, he's ready to get over it, and have a night of fun with no strings attached.

They, of course, have lots of naughty, dirty sex.

So far, it's been a lot of fun to write, and I am not allowing myself to go back and edit before I get the whole thing drafted. This is tough for me. I'm very much into instant gratification (it's all about results) so the temptation to go back and polish this baby up in certain parts is very, very hard to resist.

So, I think this is why writing in my notebook and then transcribing is working so well this time around. I write draft crap, and then as I type it out, I get to embellish, cut or do some switching without getting into an in-depth edit. It's keeping me happy :)

I'm just over halfway from my target word count. Now that I've reached the top of the hill and am on the downward slope, I hope that things roll along a little faster, because I'm anxious to get it to the awesome gal who's agreed to read it!

Tonight, after I get some other stuff done, I'll pick up my pen again and see where it takes me. I can't wait!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting snowed under...

Seriously, I have NO CLUE how all these annoyingly organized people stay so put together. Their productivity instills such a sense of envy in me. How do they manage to stay on track?

I'm pretty sure I don't have AADD or anything of that sort, but I am so easily distracted it's unreal.

I sit down to write, then decide to take a quick look at Facebook, and suddenly it's 500 minutes later and I've played 75 games of Bejeweled Blitz, grabbed about 10 cups of coffee, laughed my butt off at CakeWrecks and then... oh, look! Shiney.

Before I understand what's happening, it's mid-afternoon and I'm bolting for work without having gotten more than 50 words done for the day.

Maybe that's why long-handing in my notebook works so well. Absolutely nothing but my pen, the paper and frantic scribbling to get all of those skittering thoughts caught into something tangible that will eventually, hopefully, become a story.

I also have a big issue of not finishing what I've started because of said state-of-constant-distraction. Yet, that's not to say I don't have productive hours and days and weeks.

Still, sometimes I'm clipping right along, all accomplishing and proud, so I decide to take on just one more thing. Just that one small shift, and my precarious pile of projects teeters.

It's like that tiny glob of snow that gets knocked loose at the top of the mountain. Something starts rolling away, totally out of control, and then other crap gets stuck to it: things I can't finish until something else is done, a promise I forgot about, anxiety and embarrassment that I'm being so flaky...

It's an avalanche of tasks that collects and fuses around me until I'm utterly suffocated and immobilized, and my head is spinning from the wild tumble. Everything's such a mess I can't decide what to work on, so I do absolutely nothing. Sometimes that nothing turns into days at a time.

And because I'm feeling so guilty about all the other things I need to do, I can't write anything on my stories.

So then I make a list.

Lists are my friends.

I love using lists to get the rock-tumbler in my head organized. When I find myself writing the same item on my To-Do over and over, I know it's time to kick up my heel, connect with mine a$$ and just DO IT.

And really, all I need is just ONE thing to get done. It inevitably leads to a clean sweep of the list.

Afterward, the sense of relief is like taking a deep breath right after you've brushed your teeth. Clean and tingly and invigorating. It's as though a magical crevice has opened up, and all the clingy snow has melted away, leaving me free to start something new. Or many, many somethings new.

And, the best thing of all happens - the voices of my characters break through and words just start flowing again.

Sadly, this past week has felt more like the avalanche than the melt. Maybe there's hope for tomorrow?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Once Upon A Time...

... there was a pushing-thirty yr old chick who loved romance novels so she thought she'd sit down to write one.

Cue me.


Helloooo, cliché.

Well, without further adieu, welcome to my new blog and my new beginning!

I find myself most comfortable with contemporary romance, but some (lotta) times I take meanders into erotica. I like it hot. And dirty. With a bit of humor. And a lot of steam.

There are currently 3 projects on the go, 2 novels and a short, and I'm hoping to finish up and polish the short to submit it for consideration within the next 2 months (gotta put a deadline on my goals or they tend drag out into oblivion).

Thanks to some wonderful Diva support (holla!), the process will be considerably less painful than if I'd greened it on my own.

I can only imagine the magnitude of the inevitable trip up: a slightly chubby chick with crazy eyes and fly-away auburn hair pinwheeling backwards through the "Reject" door, where she promptly curls up in the fetal position to die of utter embarrassment.


Pretty, ain't it.

Which brings me to my point. I think. Anyway. I know getting the big "R" is a right of passage, blah blah blah, and I know it's going to happen (and lots), but before I set myself up for failure, I'm going to absorb every little iota of advice from anyone who will give it to me.

Enter frequent visits to Divadom.

I don't deal with failure very well.

*shifty crazy eyes*


Oh, right. Point.

This blog will be dedicated, like so many others before, to the journey into finding the magical Emerald City where a story is given the stamp of approval and a writer gets to squee publicly about her pretty cover. Although, let's be upfront - I'm not promising that there won't be plenty of straw-brained and fraidy-cat days or that I won't seize up and stall out occasionally.

So, let's take the trip.

PS: I'll tell you right now that Ima bit of a flake, and will prolly forget to post blog updates more than once or twice a week, but I'm giving it a shot so I hope you bear with!