Archive for January, 2008

DESPERATION FINALLY HIT

First I did get a wonderful green 2001 Dodge Neon. All the doors open! YAY!

Anyway, on to the post…Friday night I couldn’t take it anymore. I cleaned my house. Every single room. I scrubbed. I mopped. I folded every piece of clothes I found. I made my 3 bedroom apartment look like a show place. When every surface gleamed I had to face down my computer. *shit* I opened In Time and sat, and sat, and sat. It’s true inspiration doesn’t hit you when you do this.

I couldn’t avoid the blinking cursor taunting me with each blink. But that blank page gave me the shakes. I poised my hands over the keyboard and then stuck them back in my lap. *shit,shit* Writer’s write. I’m supposed to be writing. Somehow I’ve lost all my focus. I’m doing challenges so I haven’t completely stopped writing, but I can see the end.

And that’s when it hit me. I was in chapter 4, and I still didn’t know the ending to In Time. I have nothing to write towards. Nada. My self imposed deadline is coming fast and I don’t know the freaking ENDING. There isn’t even a vague notion. Dear baby Jesus. I’ve no clue how the main characters are going to get their HEA, I don’t know if the woman kidnapped is going to live or die. I don’t know. So, I’m writing to the end of every chapter, and I see plotting in my horizon. Double dear baby Jesus.

The amazing thing about desperation (to not plot) I got down 1700 words, but there is still no end in sight. It’s a scary writing world out there folks.

Tell me what do you do when you don’t have an ending in mind. Keep writing? Plot? (please don’t say plot.) Pray? Badger your muse(s)to give up the goods? I need to know.

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January 30, 2008 at 2:39 pm 10 comments

WRITE QUESTIONS: Emma Sanders

This week’s interview is with romantic suspense author Emma Sanders. Without futher ado…

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing off and on throughout the years. I started in grade school, tried to write and submit a complete manuscript only a few years after high school, and gave it up for ten years. I started writing again, seriously, about five years ago.
What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start writing a book?
It was close to the beginning of the year. Another year gone by and none of my dreams coming true. I actually spend a long weekend watching a movie marathon, and the stories and the characters of the movies were just one of the pushes life gave me to start writing again.

What made you take yourself seriously?

I knew I would never be happy if I didn’t write and pursue publication. I had long talks with myself and it just seemed the right time to do it and not give up this time.
What have you learned about writing that shocked you the most?
It’s hard to write and to keep going It’s shocking to discover how many people want to do it, but don’t.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

I love romantic suspense. I’ve been doing a few contemporary novellas, but romantic suspense is my first love. The mystery of falling in love, the action in the storyline that keeps the characters away from each other, that brings them together. The danger element. I just love staying up late at night crafting a moment that is terrifying, but eventually works out.

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

I live by the advice to not give up. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, and dreamers, writers, people must not give up. Your success may not be as big and powerful as you first dreamed, but sometimes things work out in a better way, even if it is a different way than you imagined.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

Don’t give up It takes self-discipline to write a novel, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices. You’re going to face heartache and doubt, but it all builds confidence and character. Find someone who can inspire you to live your dreams, even if it’s a writing buddy online.

What’s your writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

I used to write in the evenings, weekends, and sometimes in the morning, but my process has changed because my job has interfered a lot lately and I haven’t had the time or the energy to write everyday. I hope that will change soon, and I try to remind myself that I just finished my third 100,000 novel, so I should give myself a break. But I write anywhere and everywhere I can without feeling guilty if I don’t write that day. I’ll use my computer, write on a notebook, in the bathtub, using a voice recorder or index pads. I never leave home without my Alphasmart and a notebook, and I have done a lot of writing just being the passenger in a car. I love baths, and a lot of times I’ll write partial scenes there. Sometimes just getting away from the everyday routine is a great process, though a routine is ultimately the best.

Also are you a plotter? Panster? Hybrid?

I used to be a panster, but I’m trying to plot more. I’ll usually pant through the first few chapters, plot a few, pant my way through and eventually end up finding my way to the end.

What keeps you writing?

The love of writing, the love of the characters, the stories they have to tell.

Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

I do have a support system. My family is very supportive, but I wouldn’t give up the few valuable writing friends I have, many of them I’ve never met. I belong to several online communities, but I live too far away to commute to writing groups. Many of them are there for me when I feel my lowest. Writing can be hard, stressful, lonely, and sometimes (despite all the positive aspects we try to give it) it’s just downright miserable and terrifying. My friends always get me past that in a way family would never understand.

Define success for yourself?

My successes are that I have published my two novels, and I don’t believe in failures. Setbacks, maybe, but not failures.

What’s your comfort reads?

I love to reread Kathleen E. Woodiwiss for comfort. And every few years I’ll bring out Gone With The Wind.

Who are you reading right now?

I just picked up a Christmas anthology from The Wild Rose Press, but I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

Any book by Sandra Brown. I love her, I hate her. I want to be like her, I fear I’ll never write as well as she.

Plug Away… Emma Sanders’s books:
Holding Fast
One Wrong Move
Christmas Bells
Hope,Love, and Treats

You can also find her at: http://www.emmasanders.com or http://www.emmasanders.blogspot.com

January 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm 3 comments

I’M GEEKING

I would like to say I had this fun and witty post to write today. I don’t. And what I have to share with you guys is not writing related, so if you’d rather click to someone else’s blog who does, then go on. I won’t be mad, because today I’m GEEKING!

No, this isn’t about cute nerds. I’ve got my tax refund. And for me that means I’m going car shopping. This is a momentous occasion. For the past two years I’ve been driving a ’92 Ford Mustang.

It’s a Mustang you say, what’s the problem?

Let me list them for you:

1. I’ve got two kids and the car I have is the size of a sardine can.

2. The passenger side door doesn’t open. It can, but you have to kick it while holding the door handle, and while someone stands on the other side of the door holding THAT door handle.

3. The check engine light has been on mysteriously for a year and a half.

4. There is a crack in the windshield.

5. The fan doesn’t work, so that means if there is a long line at the drive thru window then I’m safer going inside, because my car will overheat.

6. No, this list of problems isn’t done yet.

7. The taillights have been stolen because of the make and model of the car.

8. Both driver’s side tire’s, bolts, and rims have been stolen because of the make and model of the car.

9. The radio has been stolen. And the person kicked the dashboard to pull it out. So the radio I have in there is hanging by a thread,because of the huge crack in my dashboard.

10. Lately the back passenger side tire keeps going flat.

11. No, this list isn’t done yet.

12. If I don’t allow the car sufficient time to warm up, it won’t stall, the car won’t cut off, the damn thing will just stop moving. I’ve got to rev the engine then a very hard jerk will follow then I can drive.

13. The trunk doesn’t stay open, so if I’m feeling frisky and want to use it I have to hold the trunk up and have my daughter throw all the bags in the back. If it’s something too heavy for my daughter to put in the truck I have to get creative. There have been a many of days I was “this close” to losing a hand.

14. Needless to say it’s a Fix Or Repair Daily. I’ve bought a new solenoid, starter, replaced the transmission filter twice, replaced the muli-function relay assembly, had to hot wire the fan so it’ll work, but then that wire blew out and killed my car for a time. I’ve had to have this suckered towed to my house twice, because it died on me.

15. In two fours years this sucker will be considered a classic. It’s more than half my age.

I’m SOOOOO done with this car. I love it. I will always remember it fondly. I may keep the car(of course get that damn tire fixed) just in case. But folks, I’m geeking, because I’m going to get a new car. A NEW CAR! YAY! Wish me luck.

January 25, 2008 at 2:17 pm 8 comments

WRITER’S BLOCK

Some people say it doesn’t exist. They say it’s a myth. I’ve seen this beast with my own two eyes, I know it exist. The only way to cure it is to write. So desperate to completely break out of my writing funk, I joined a challenge. A small one, because I know a big one would only feed that beast. I started Monday and I now have a first draft of a story. I now need to revise. Me! Thank You God!!!

What challenge helped me through this miraculous recovery,you ask?

Romance Divas, thank you for helping me defeat the beast. I’m not sure if you have to be a diva to join, but its a great opportunity to get your name out there. It’s also something you can put on your blog or website to give people a feel for your writing.

Anyway,soon I’ll have be putting up a link to my free story here on my blog and on my website. (Yay, I finally finished writing something)

But here’s a sneak peak of The 16 Year Itch:

Morgan Stevens took in the pink and red heart-shaped balloons, the rows of endless chocolate in heart-shaped boxes, the heart-shaped greeting cards, and her stomach clenched. “You know, I really hate this holiday. It’s not even a week from now and everything is…ugh.”

Alan, her best friend, laughed. “Only because no one has ever asked you to be their Valentine,” he shrugged. “Could make anyone grumpy.”

Morgan took in the atmosphere again. She missed the naked babies armed with heart-shaped arrows. Oh, and the array of pink stuffed animals. It was like pepto-bismol on crack. “No, I don’t think so.”

January 23, 2008 at 2:07 pm 5 comments

WRITE QUESTIONS: Aithne Jarretta

This weeks interview is with Aithne Jarretta. It was an absolute pleasure to read her answers. There is such a passion in each answer and I’m sure that bleeds into her writing. Without further ado…

When did you start writing?

I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t start writing paranormal romantic fiction until December 2004. At first I dabbled in the world of fanfiction just to teach myself the mechanics. Although I’d always been an avid reader, I never imagined putting a whole story together myself. In fanfiction the characters are already there for you. You just put them into story situations. I learned a great deal from the experience.

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start writing a book?

I had invented an original character and played with his personality and experiences within the boundaries of fanfiction. But he wouldn’t leave me alone. His story, life purpose and family became attached to me. That story kept growing, extending outward until he grew up (in my mind) and a young woman appeared in his life. That’s when I knew ”this is a book.” (or three . . . ;o)

What made you take yourself seriously?

The insatiable urge to share my stories with anyone who sought them out. One day I sat here looking at my computer and realized I had finished my book. Now what? I wanted to share it. That’s when I understood this was serious. A new process began. Learning the next phase in a book’s creation. I began submitting my first full length novel and also my short Faery Rosette, In a Heartbeat. The Wild Rose Press contracted In a Heartbeat, Faery Rosette. It is due for release December 19th. Concentric Circles, my first full length novel, is currently under consideration. (Perhaps by January 21 st we might know something.)

What have you learned about writing that shocked you the most?

The length of time required to produce a book from the point of contract signing and actually have the book in your hands. Okay, so I was naive about this. It still rattles my brain a bit.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

My writing voice is consistently slanted toward the paranormal romance sub-genre. I tried to write a strictly historical time travel once. Alas, my villain turned out much too wicked and deeply magical. Although the story still has a strong historical background with the element time travel, the wicked witch steals the show. ;o)

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

Write everyday. This may seem simplistic, but it helped me through a recent (and only bout) of writer’s block. Even if it’s just a paragraph or two because each word written opens the mind for more to come through.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

I’d say the same as above, but would add that when you are a new writer to follow your muse. It also doesn’t hurt to have more than one WIP if that assists you. (Don’t feel guilty if this is your case.) Don’t worry about how much comes in each sit down session. Just go with the flow. One day you’ll write 250 words, another day 1600. Enjoy the process. ;o)

Someone told me once ‘you have a very distinctive voice.’ That was the first time I realized the existence of such a wonderful gift. Each writer has their own special voice. The more you write, the better it is expressed. Voice can’t be “taught”,it comes from within each individual which makes it a true treasure.
So to a newbie, I’d say that’s important advice. Follow your inner story voice to the highest expression.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

I prefer to keep things simple. Any notes about a story are made in a small spiral notebook. Sometimes I use them sometimes not. I do keep unused notations because they may work in another story. The actual writing process I use has been referred to ‘flying in the mist’ or ‘pantster.’ (I personally prefer the paranormalist approach ‘flying in the mist.’)

It’s called that because the story unfolds as I type. For example one of my characters likes to drink Earl Grey tea. I didn’t realize this until after the words were already on the computer screen. These tiny little nuances of a character are like a writer’s gift when they pop up. It’s actually another reason I enjoy writing. The little surprises.

What keeps you writing?

An excellent question, it makes me laugh, shake my head and roll my eyes. I tend to think that writing helps keep me sane. ;o) That’s because my characters grow to such an extent they often become pesky if left in the closet too long. I write that statement for you as I laugh.

Lisa Unger, a local writer of suspense over here on the southern west coast, spoke at a writer’s group here after her novel Beautiful Lies had been published. Someone asked her why BL was written in first person. Lisa replied, “Because that’s the way Ridley (heroine) dictated it in my mind.” So, I would say that sanity is one aspect of why I keep writing. (Writers and hearing character voices. lol)

Another is the fact that my characters desire their story to be told. Frequently they dictate, sometimes it’s more subtle and other times the story comes through the paranormal mist. A higher power; muses, the universal mind or which ever name someone prefers, has given me the pleasure of presenting these stories to readers.

How can I not write?

Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

Aside from the fans in the fanfiction realm and all the weekly encouragement they provided in the very beginning, I was lucky enough to find an excellent critique partner early on. Lisa taught me more about writing while not suppressing my story voice. I owe her so much.

The Florida Writer’s Association has helped me by presenting local writers as speakers. It gave me the chance to see some of the ‘action’ involved within the publishing field that otherwise would have been unavailable to me.

They also published a short flash fiction piece, Flashpoint, in their quarterly magazine Florida Palm summer 2006 issue. (No payment offered, only the pleasure of seeing my story in print on a shiny magazine page. Which was pretty cool. Here’s the link to one of my pages if you’d like a magical moment.)

http://aithnejarretta.com/Flashpoint_Arsi_index_2.html

I’d say the most important lesson I learned from FWA is that writers write. It doesn’t matter if you are published or not, if you spend time writing then you are a writer. This fact encouraged me. It’s been three years and I finally will have a story with a world-wide online publisher. The Wild Rose Press will release In a Heartbeat on December 19th. Wow! What a feeling. But I’ve still been a writer for three years.

Define success for yourself?

I like to define success in little things. Finishing a scene that may have proved challenging to write. Learning a new promotion tip for when my work will be published and ready to launch. (I’m very new to blogging and interviews. Melissa, you are my first interview. And book trailers, what an adventure!) I’d like to get the word out there about my stories and each new tidbit is a beautiful success.

I just realized that learning came up again within the context of my answers. At the end of the day if I’ve learned something new, not just about the writing, but something about our world then that’s also a success. My stories take me to places and show them in ways I only discovered when reading as a child. History plays a big part in everything I write so learning more about our world and people leads of a feeling of accomplishment.

What’s your comfort reads?

Anything Diana Gabaldon and J. K. Rowling. Time travel and magic. Is it any wonder?

Who are you reading right now?

I just finished Sky Purington’s Fate’s Monolith from The Wild Rose Press. Loved it and can’t wait for the sequel, Destiny’s Denial.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

I love and respect J. K. Rowling’s broad spectrum of imagination and talent. But Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is the work that makes me want to be a better writer. She utilizes all five human senses as she weaves a story world and draws you in. There’s a partial line in A Breath of Snow and Ashes that completely blew me away. (I had to set the book down and walk away because it became clear to me that I had much to strive for.)

. . . the windows open, and the sun came low through the trees to make shifting patterns on the wall and linen sheets, so that we floated in a bower of murmuring shadow leaves. (pg. 109)

That line came after a delicious love scene between the h/h and made an awesome orgasmic finish.

Will I ever be able to have a reader pause and think about something in one of my stories? I certainly hope so. Thank you, Melissa for this opportunity and interview. Good luck with your writing. ;o)

Plug away…
Short Bio:
Currently a resident of the west coast of Florida, I love being so close to inspiring ocean waves. Books have always been a world of adventure and exploration for me. My stories grow from life experiences, ideas gleaned from world history and a deep appreciation of nature. Love and romance binds them all together with endearing energy, weaving them into inspiring folktales. It is my greatest desire to share my stories with the world. Soon this will happen when In a Heartbeat, Faery Rosette is released on December 19, 2007 from The Wild Rose Press.

In a Heartbeat back cover blurb:

Haunted by his past, Malik rushes through a tempest filled Florida night toward an unexpected meeting with destiny. Harboring a soul that longs for unity with his mate, he tries to understand the shallow dating experiences up to this moment. He is positive there is someone with whom his heart beats in tandem. Where? He doesn’t have a clue.

Wyndy, Tempest Tamer Faery, has waited lifetimes for the return of her soul love. Tonight, at last, he will come home. Their meeting, heralded within Florida’s stormy coastline, brings together an ageless love bound into eternity.

View my book trailers:

http://aithnejarretta.com/Kissing_Santa_Book_Trailer.htm [Kissing Santa is a FREE ebook give-a-way]

http://aithnejarretta.com/In_a_Heartbeat_Trailer.htm [In a Heartbeat, Faery Rosette due for release from TWRP December 19th.]

January 21, 2008 at 4:31 pm 2 comments

CONFESSIONS OF A ROMANCE AUTHOR: 2

First the winner for my first contest eva is….Amber.

YaY!

Tell her what she’s won…

My debut novel How Much You Want to Bet? Amber e-mail me (melissablue84 (at) yahoo (dot) com )and I’ll send it to you PDF form. Hopefully, you enjoy reading it as much I enjoyed writing it. To every one who reads my blog don’t feel cheated, all next month, to celebrate the release of my debut novel, I’ll drawing names every Friday from every single comment made on my blog. Yup, it’s a leap year so it’ll be 4 winners (I think) Tell all your friends and family.

Really all of them.
…………………………………………….

Now to the actual blog post. This time I’m going to confess to phrases or words that makes my eye twitch from reading or writing them.

1. “She writhed from pleasure.”

I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I think it deserves a second reminding. Just cut this word from your vocabulary. It’ll make the world a better place.

2. “She was aflame with desire.”

Dear God. Do I even need to explain myself? Nope. Self-explanatory.

3. “Their gazes met.” or “She met his gaze.” or “He met her gaze.”

*hangs head in shame* This phrase is my weakness. I cut at least 15 of these out of my books. I don’t cut all of them which means I should be burned at the stake. This phrase is overused, has lost it’s luster, and should never be used again. But it’s just oh, so, tempting to put it in.

4. “His cock twitched.”

Send the man to the doctor. Something must be seriously wrong if the man’s penis moves on it’s on accord. Just don’t write it. I don’t want to read how a man’s penis has epilepsy. It is not attractive. Trust me.

5. “She cried out from her release.”

Yes, I may be guilty, but still this is BAD. Save a reader from an eye roll.

6. “She narrowed her eyes.” or my favorite, “Her brow raised.”

I’m GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY of overusing these. I’m hell on a character eyes and eyebrows.

7. “Their lips met in a chaste kiss.”

GUILTY. You know how a child gets teased because of their name, I can see a million ways to change the wording of this phrase and it’s just damn comical.

“Their lips met in a chaffing kiss.”

8. “His velvet shaft.”

Really, no further explanation is needed.

I think that ends my segment, because really I just think if his shaft is velvet wouldn’t it tickle?

Tell me some of the words or phrases that you wish could be banned from romance.

January 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm 16 comments

THE PRESSURE TO BE FUNNY


This is the third post I’ve started with the intent to pubish. I swear I’m going to do it this time. But on to the post title…

This is the main reason why I’m posting for the third time(as you’ve noticed the other two aren’t published). I started the other two and thought, “God, I’m bored with writing this.”

Then it came to me, I’m trying to be entertaining, informational, and FUNNY. That’s damn hard to do when you’ve been posting for two years. What subject have I not blathered on about? How many times can you write about the writing process and make it sound funny?

Then I started racking my brain. I don’t knit so no funny yarn jokes from me. I don’t exercise, even though I need to, so no funny pilates gone bad stories. My kids are only funny to me, because I know I’ve already damaged them by giving them my genes. I see extensive therapy in their future for the poor little guys. I’m single…sorry that’s just too painful to joke about.

Then I started to think funny is subjective. What cracks me up may not make some else’s mouth even twitch. So what do I have for you since you’ve bared with me through this painful post? An excerpt. I know, I know, but the good news if you COMMENT you have a chance to WIN a free e-book. CONTEST!CONTEST!CONTEST!(sorry, I always wanted to do that.) The free e-book is mine of course. Come on you know you wanna. I’ll annouce the winner on Friday where the post will be funny. I promise. Okay, I’ll stop now and give you the excerpt.(copywritten, blah, blah, publication page to prove it, blah, blah.)
…………………………………………………

She didn’t bother to get dressed before heading downstairs. Gib was leaning against the porch post holding a thermos and two mugs.

“Don’t you look chipper.”

“Why do you feel the need to wake me up?”

“You’re a breath of fresh air, and I want to start my mornings with you frowning at me.” He lifted the thermos. “I brought gifts.”

“It better not be espresso.” She stepped back to let him in, but not before she realized she hadn’t combed her hair. Vanity aside, a bird’s nest was a bird’s nest, no matter what you called it. He settled on the loveseat, looking comfortable and as if he didn’t have a care in the world. He looked right sitting there and, because he did, Neil said, “Why are you being the bane of my existence?”

“But I brought coffee.” Gib grinned at her before pouring her a cup. She didn’t want to be at ease around him. Ease led to other things, and those things led to worse things, like companionship and someone to lean on. Neil stayed by the door. “It’s not poison. Are you cold?”

“It could be Spanish fly. And no, I’m not cold.”

Gib sighed. “You know there’s this saying, if a woman protests too much…”

Neil narrowed her eyes. She could handle this situation two ways, and unfortunately neither option involved cement shoes. She accepted the lesser of the two evils and sat down on the couch across from him, accepting the cup he offered.

“What’s your angle, playboy?”

“Getting chummy with the worksite manager.”

“It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a woman who doesn’t fall at your feet?”

She missed his answer, because she was melting into the couch after her first sip. It was black and strong. The rich taste blossomed on her tongue and it took everything in her not to groan in pleasure. “Did you come straight from Columbia with this stuff?”

“I have it delivered and I grind it myself.” The grin was back, and Neil tried to ignore it. The coffee was bad enough. “I could have sworn we had this conversation before.”

“I believe wholeheartedly in beating the dead horse just so everyone has an understanding.” She took another sip. “Hush for a moment. You’re ruining the coffee.”

“If I’d known…”

She glared at him. He chuckled and leaned back in the chair. His hands ran down the side of the material until he placed them on the edge of the armrests. As she watched his hands, it felt like he was touching her, caressing her skin. She glanced down at the cup. It had to be Spanish fly in this stuff. She cleared her throat. “I think we need terms.” Otherwise, he’d lace her coffee every morning until she gave.

“Terms?”

She noted he hadn’t poured himself a cup. “Yes, for this work relationship.”

“Relationship.” He paused.” I like the sound of it.”

“You missed the word ‘work’ then.”

Gib shrugged. “Semantics.”

“Delusions.”

“You like me.”

Neil took another sip of the coffee. She’d told a number of lies over the years, and she wasn’t about to add to them. As Gib leaned forward in interest and she noted the way his forearms flexed, she started to feel incredibly warm for a cool spring day. She glanced back down at the cup. Definitely Spanish fly.

January 16, 2008 at 4:42 pm 19 comments

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