Monthly Archives: February 2008

Leap year – leap into a new book!

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In the BDSM lifestyle, Catherine Lanyard is an extreme submissive with serious baggage. For years, she’s avoided her pain and hidden dark secrets. Now, an experienced Dom has broken through her barriers and forced her to face her fear. Sex was always a give and take for Justin Travers. He’d always kept his “lifestyle” practices separate from real life. But when Catherine blurs that boundary, he must decide what he really wants.

BUY IT HERE

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Filed under reading, Relax with a book!

Romance? So who reads that stuff?


Ask many women and you will get a few different answers. For those that answer YES!! Great, wonderful, keep up the good work!!

Others will flat out REFUSE to consider reading anything associated with romance. This is a major pet peeve of mine. Personally, if you blindly refuse to read something because of it’s genre, then you are an idiot in my opinion.

Romance is in 90% of all fiction published. It accounts for more than 60% of all paperbacks sold.

It may not be at the root of the book but it is there, likely in the guise of a supporting element.

Of the negative responses, this is most likely what you will hear.

1) “NOT ME!! Those books are too trashy. ”

****Bull****

Granted some of the bodice ripper covers are beyond lame, but there are some damn fine stories out there no matter if Fabio is showing off his man titty on the cover. The less nekkid covers hide the same wonderful stories. If the cover art is all that stops you, then you’re probably the type that worries too much what other people think.  You wold be well reminded that a pearl is buried in slimey smelly oyster guts.

And what constitutes trash? One womans trash is another’s treasure.

2) “Intelligent women do not read *curl lip in disgust* Romance books.”

****Bull****

These ain’t your Gramma’s books where a helpless secretary needs the fatherly older CEO or Doctor to take care of her wimpy ass. Today’s women are strong in their own right. They are business women, professionals, those with well established lives. They don’t NEED a man, they WANT one. They do the rescuing sometimes and take charge of their own destinies. The stories are universal, reaching across race barriers, educational lines and economic holds. It is not as if romance reader’s can not understand War and Peace. On the contrary, romance readers, by and large, are very well read in many genres.

3) “They are mostly just soft core porn.”

****and this is a problem because…?”****

If you don’t want to read sex scenes, then there are different categories still under the banner of romance that will give you the touching story without the touchy-feely. There are inspirational lines and tamer avenues for those that prefer the bedroom door stays shut. It is all good.

But many women actually like reading about a passion exploding between two characters falling in love. And do you think romance books are the ONLY ones with sex in them?!? Ever read Stephen King? The Bible? Shakespeare? Sex is what makes the world go ’round. Penthouse Forum Letters are widely popular among men AND women.  Whether you prefer a kiss and a cuddle or explicit  descriptions, there is a book out there for your tastes.

4) I prefer Sci-fi/fantasy/chicklit/blahblahblah…

****Bookshelf Hindered****

Have you looked at the romance section of a book store lately?  The shelves are jammed packed full of every type of story available. Paranormals are huge, historicals abound, urban fantasy is drool worthy and the list goes on and one. From the ancient world to space travel to otherworlds and realms, romance crosses all bounds.   If you broaden your mind, you just may find something you like. You just have to be willing to crawl out of your comfort zone.

5) It is formulaic and predictable.

****Pot,kettle. Kettle, pot****

Raise your hand if you thought evil would triumph in Harry Potter? Raise your hand if you thought the Klingons would destroy the Enterprise in the final scene? Raise your hand if you thought the shark  was going to eat Roy Scheider? If your hand is up, you are a pessimist. And you were WRONG!

The HEA (Happily Ever After) has gotten a bad reputation.  It is not any less vital to story telling than any other ending. Folk stories and fairy tales, legends and morality plays all seek to leave the reader with something. Romance books leave you uplifted, if they are done well. That isn’t to say that we are all wearing rose colored spectacles. No, we know life doesn’t always ride into the sunset on a brand spanking new horse.  Escapism takes many forms. Take me away from what I can not control(My life) and leave me feeling better than when I turned to page one. Nothing wrong with that.

As for the formula aspect of it…Where can I buy a copy of that formula? Seriously, as a budding romance writer, I wanna know. I fail to see where romances have any other FORMULA than other genres They have an antagonist, a protagonist, a plot line, a building period, a climax, a  resolution. Hmmm. Apply that to almost every book out there. It fits. It is not some grand literary conspiracy. It is called a STORY.

Bottom line. Don’t knock it if you ain’t tried it.

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Filed under Inez

My Struggle as a Writer

Ever since I can remember, writing has always been a part of my life.  My mom is a published poet and words were always big in my household.  It wasn’t until I was about 12 or so that the idea of being a published writer really kicked in.  I started writing short stories and including small segments of stories I sent to my pen-pals.  Everyone I knew said I should get them published, but I laughed at them.

 Now as an adult, being an author is my ultimate goal.  If I could finish a book and get it published, I honestly can say I’d die happy.  My ultimate goal in life would be satisfied and I’d die knowing I accomplished it.  So, why is it so hard for me to write?

 I have a job, a life (kind of) and “real” life always seems to intrude.  I also suffer from anxiety, so that can also make life very, very annoying.  All of those little things make writing very difficult for me.  I have millions of ideas floating around in my head and I know I’m a good writer, but have I really and truly decided that being a writer is what I really want to do?

I can say I’m a writer.  In fact, when I get asked what I do, that’s the first thing that pops into my head.  But, if I were to be completely honest, it’s not 100% the truth.  Writing for me is very sporadic.  I don’t write all the time.  I should, but I have a horrible time getting what’s in my head down on paper.  It is a major struggle for me to even write one word let alone a whole story.  How on earth do I plan on being a published author if I can’t even finish a single WIP?  Is there something wrong with me?

How do I go about becoming that serious writer?  So many authors say that they have a designated area or a designated time.  I can’t really establish an area since I basically have a small room to call my own.  My work schedule is sporadic enough that half the time I’m not even sure when I’ll be working.  On top of that is worrying about finances, paying bills, life in general.  How do I take writing from the – to being the thing I focus on the most?  Any suggestions?  If you’ve got them, I’d sure like to know.

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Did someone say cookies?

1:08 a.m., Tuesday, February 26:

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These are different from AJ’s…chocolate chunk, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter and sugar with M&Ms, enormous and rapidly replacing the 13 pounds I lost between New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day. It’s totally killing me – I was doing so well. Today I start yoga (signed up for it last week). I was in the groove, man…

and then I made myself a promise to have my current (very long ongoing) project finished by February 29. I said, “Self, you could get up early and go to the gym…or you could throw yourself into finishing this book.” I changed my diet commitments to yoga twice a week and trying to eat reasonably healthy. The eating isn’t going ideally, but it’s limping along with a small degree of satisfaction. More important, though, is this temporary hold on life is getting me through the book. It’s at 24,000 words now. The target is 30,000 words. I’m sure I’ll add a scene or two, subtract a scene or two in revisions, but right now I’m feeling SO CLOSE to the end and it’s glorious. I have this big breath of relief hanging out in my chest, just waiting for the moment I type t…h…e… e…n…d.

I’m looking forward to this as more than the completion of a project. For me, this end will also be a fresh start – life wise, health wise, writing wise. Everything will be back on a schedule that I command (more or less). No contracts for work pending, no APS (Author Panic Syndrome, thank you Teresa), no “but I should do this instead of hit the gym.”

I’ll still be writing (I’m more eager than ever to write) but I’ll be the one driving the car, not a (many times missed) deadline. This is a great time for a new start – it’s almost spring.

Guess I have to throw the cookies away and get to the gym Tuesday morning. 🙂

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Filed under Emily, writing

TMI alert

Okay, I think I’ve crossed the point where writing has over consumed my life. But in order to explain I have to enter the realm of TMI, so brace yourself.

Yesterday I was engaged in marital relations (I’m trying to be circumspect here) and after I had my…cookie (Is this code working?) my mind sadly wandered. I’ve been married almost a decade people. And I started thinking about a story I want to write. I was mulling over my characters names. I needed a certain kind of name for the hero. I wanted it to be old fashioned. Bill? No, that was the name of my a$$hat ex-boyfriend. George? No, that’s the name of my a$$hat brother-in-law. Hmm, how about Henry?

So now I’m digging on Henry and my husband is doing his thing up there my mind moves to last names. I need a common last name that might be confused with other people. Jones. Perfect. I say Dr. Henry Jones in my head and realize that’s Indiana Jones’ name and that isn’t really going to work. Smith! Dr. Henry Smith.

If I had had an unexpected second…cookie I would have probably screamed, “Dr. Henry Smith!” and then I never would have heard the end of it. Luckily I wasn’t paying enough attention to…relations to run that risk.

So then we’re lying around in post-cookie coma mode my mind moves on to the heroine and I actually start asking, “What names can Nan be short for? Nanette, Nancy?” He had to know that my mind wasn’t on matters at hand. But that’s what you get when you marry a writer I guess.

Ever had any experiences like that? Are you ever just too much of a writer?

AJ

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Filed under AJ, writing

Forget the snow, have some FAIRY DUST

We’re looking forward to a nasty weekend weather-wise, here on the East Coast. Reports of snow and wintery mix. What it means for lots of people is time at home to relax and enjoy the cocoa. What it means for me is time at work to take lots of calls from folks not coming in for their lessons because of the weather. 🙂 Before I go to bed tonight, I’m charging up my Palm so I can sneak an e-book to work tomorrow – help me while away the long hours. If you’re snowed in and can’t get to the bookstore, don’t forget that e-books are a click away – like this one, by Nita Wick

A colony of faeries lives among the lush green forests of Roscommon, Ireland near the Arigna Mountains. Their lives would be peaceful were it not for the humans who live in the area with them. The humans dislike faeries and their magic, and the two races are often at odds. But faerie or human, love makes no distinction. And both will soon find that love is the greatest magic of all. Conall may be human, but he is Aisling’s life mate. She’s certain of it. After all, a faerie knows these things. Can her magic end the feud between their families? And just how is faerie dust made?

Available at The Wild Roses Press 

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Filed under Emily, reading, Relax with a book!, writing

It was a dark and stormy night

Such a corny beginning, isn’t it?

But beginning any project is the hardest part. Cleaning your house, going on a trip, even getting out of bed on a rainy day all takes effort. It is easy to let it slide, wait for some one else to pick up the slack. Riding on some one’s coat tails is a smoother path. But a much less fulfilling one.

So how does one become a Writer? Technically, I learned to write my ABC’s before Kindergarten. I started writing stories when I was eleven. But I was not a Writer.

See that first letter there? The big W?  That makes the difference. Writer (with a capital W) signifies to the world that you are serious about your craft. The lower case version applies to casual letters, the odd recipe, maybe even a birthday card or two. But to make the leap, the first step, towards claiming that ‘W’ is hard.

Do I have the time? Am I talented enough? How can I take time away from my kids or my job for just writing? What if I get laughed at? What if I get rejected?

Those are questions that form in any Writer’s mind. Daily,  in my case. But you have to step beyond those fears and …well, step.  Step into the unknown.

Mentally, that step is nerve racking. It ranks right up there with accepting a marriage proposal. It is a life long commitment. Once you have that ‘W’, there is no turning back. You are headed down a path that has no U turns. Even if you only write one story, you ARE a Writer.

Okay, you made that step. Whew! Good job. Now what?

Write

Sounds simple but there is nothing more frightening than a blank page. You have ideas and words and characters living in your head. Getting them out is hard work. It takes dedication and drive. And lots of caffeine.

So you write. And you write some more. You feel pretty good at times, crappy some other times.  But you plug on through and BAM! Story done.

Now what?

Now you find a willing reader. First,  pick some one who loves you. Let them shower you with praise. Float on a wave of pure bliss.

Then find a critique group. A real one. Not your mother’s bridge club. Other Writers. And let them tear your baby apart. You will cry, get mad and feel like a failure. Congratulations, you are almost there! Take what they say and learn from it. Digest it, mull it over, and be honest with yourself. Nine times out of ten, they are right. It is just hard to hear.

Then what?

Write some more!  Reshape your original idea, implement what you learned, adapt your thought process. And start over. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Each time your work grows. You become stronger, faster, better. Bionic. (Just kidding, kinda). Then one day, a newbie will come in and post something for critiquing. And you will see mistakes that YOU NO LONGER MAKE! You have a opinion and it is good. You are a Writer.

Now, you are ready to move on.

The next step? Who knows. It depends on you. Will you submit to a publishing house? To an agent?  Will you self publish? The door is wide open. And that journey begins with one little step.

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Filed under Inez, writing