Desiree Holt, has achieved a goal that many authors, myself included, can only regard with envy. With the publication of her latest book, Downstroke, she now has 100 works of fiction available from Ellora’s Cave. Yep, you heard right 100 works of fiction—quickies, novellas and novels. To celebrate, she asked a few friends to select and read one of her offerings and then publicize it on their blog along with the directions to her special contest. Since I love paranormal romance I chose Lust by Moonlight. Set in the southwest, this novel neatly combines the elements of shape-shifting, sizzling sex, mystery, and for those of us who live in other area, the introduction of the Chupacabra, a scary creature that no one wants to meet on a dark night.
After reading the blurb for Lust by Midnight take a peek at her hot new cover for Downstroke and then find out how you can win a fabulous prize as part of her celebratory contest.
Congratulations, Desiree! I can’t wait to see the 101st book.
Book 2 in the Night Seekers series.
As a shifter, Mark Guitron is uniquely equipped to search for the devil beast, El Chupacabra, and stop the horrible killings. Hunting one night by moonlight, he spots another wolf whose aura tells him she is also a shifter. When he’s visited by an erotic vision of her in human form, he knows he must find her and make her his own.
Chloe Hanson is searching for a friend she’s convinced is a victim of the devil beast. When she meets Mark, she feels a primal tug that tells her they are meant to be together. As they join forces in the hunt, they soon learn that sex between them feeds a need, rather than slaking it. The multiple orgasms barely satisfy their lust for each other, and as they draw closer to their prey, their fiercest coupling is yet to come.
As part of the celebration, Desiree is giving away a prize every day of one copy of one of Desiree’s novels of the reader’s choice from her backlist. Names will be drawn from those who post comments. At the end of the month, one lucky person will win a grand prize of a refurbished Netbook with digital DVD drive. After you (the reader) post here, go to Desiree’s web site at www.desireeholt.com and enter to win the grand prize of the netbook at the end of the month.
Today I have Wing’s author, Karen Hudgins (who also happens to be my big sister from St. Louis) as a guest. Congratulations on the debut of your new book, Best Man. As an author I always have questions that I like to ask other authors, so here are a few for you.
What first inspired you to write a book?
My inspiration for writing a book grew out of first loving stories and learning creative writing, which led to discovering I had it in me to write books. When people liked what I wrote, I just kept at it—for 20 years and counting.
What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl? How do you stay focused?
When I’m producing pages for my next project, I write as often as possible and whenever, which maximizes my effort and time arranged around my day job. So you can find me writing at any hour of the day (when home), on weekends, and holidays. My current book, Best Man, was written mostly in the evening, often late at night. Story immersion pulls me in deep, practice at shutting things out, and determination to finish are what keep me focused.
Do you have any favorite books on writing or a list of music you use as you write?
In the beginning I read whatever I could about the craft of fiction writing for the mass market. There are many resources for aspiring authors. I had used some standards: Dwight Swain, Stephen King, articles in Writer’s Digest and The Writer, along with many articles in other trade journals/mags, like RWA’s RWR. I especially like Chris Vogel’s, The Heroes Journey and Deb Dixon’s, Goal, Motivation and Conflict. I can listen to rock music while I write…but I can’t watch a TV show due to the dialog, which interferes with writing my own.
Today, writers need not only write great books, but be great promoters of their books, too. What kinds of things do you do?
When a new book comes out I “talk it up” to everybody. I give away books. I go to Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, meet readers and promote, and appear at the Book Fair. I get reviews. I update my website. I pass out my business card. I attend writing organization meetings, give talks, and take everyone’s interest seriously. I answer many questions, network, and share lots of what I’ve learned. I use FB for promoting and sharing personal tidbits. I support and defend the romance genre. I also do some advertising, not as much as I’d like to because it’s costly, but important. When I research topics, I share why I’m doing it– “For my next book…” I give credit where due and genuinely appreciate my readers. I provide bookmarks and personalized pens, as they are useful items. All of which is promotion in one form or another—and doesn’t happen in one day.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
First, love writing and enjoy books. Commit yourself to it. Learn mostly the craft at first, and then the business. Keep reading in the genre you’re writing and also things in which you’re interested. Take some workshops and enter contests. Write with your heart—just let it all hang out. Seek constructive criticism and learn its benefit. Don’t give up. Trust the process; it won’t fail you. Realize writing one book often takes many people. Enjoy your accomplishment when you’re done
You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it. Yes, and thanks for asking! Best Man, a single-title contemporary romance, is set in Missouri wine country. When the hero and heroine meet in a polo clash, they are pulled into the vortex of attraction and soon love. They struggle to surmount their differences, and how Doug was part of what almost ruined Geneva’s career. He’s country, loves the rich soil, and his slope filled with grapes at his family’s vineyard, and she’s a townsie, daughter of department store family, keeps things tidy, loves fine things and creating beautiful bridal wear. He’s the best man in the heroine’s current client’s wedding, and she wonders furiously why he can’t seem to apologize for the pain he brought her. But she can’t demand an apology for fear of rocking the boat with her client. He, on the other hand, can’t figure how the polo game turned ugly so fast, and why he couldn’t pull out of the tight squeeze. Eventually, good reasons surface for his lack of apology, and by then the heroine has saved his life and began her forgiveness as her love for him grows. However, as more is revealed to him in memory flashes, his guilt rises. After the wedding, he sends her away, claiming this could never work. While she’s gone an investigation reveals truths to him. He finally feels worthy of her, but is it too late to reclaim her heart?
Short blurb: After a polo accident a wedding couture designer tangles with her client’s Best Man, a vintner and polo player, who ultimately becomes her best man for life.
As Geneva reached for another pearl from an acrylic box, her cell phone pinged. She placed the needle in its cushion and removed her thin, white cotton gloves. Tucking them into her smock pocket, she padded across the room to a cluttered work table. A button tap connected her to Ellyn.
Geneva greeted her cheerfully enough. “Has our appointment arrived?”
“Not yet, luv. It’s a tad early, but the seamstresses’ hours are tallied. We have new spools of silk thread, and I’ll be leavin’ shortly for fresh scones.”
“Could we have cranberry?”
“I’ll give it a go,” Ellyn said.
“Wait,” Geneva said, tightening her fingers around the phone. “Mr. Abbott didn’t leave a message, did he? I mean, he’s still coming?”
“Tch. Tch. Not a word to the contrary.”
Geneva began to relax her grip, and Ellyn gently reminded her, “He’s only an appointment…among many.”
“Not quite,” Geneva said faintly.
“True. He’s more handsome than most.”
“Well…yes, he’s that, but you know what I mean.”
“I do,” Ellen replied. “And you’ll manage him fine. I shan’t be long.”
Geneva thanked her and hung up. She laid the phone down, stepped away, and sighed in a sudden rush. All that had to be finished for Cherie sped through her mind. Despite Geneva’s five-week set-back, work for the bride remained fairly on target for completion.
Geneva’s crew and Ellyn deserved kudos for that. The bride, maid of honor, three bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids, and one darling flower girl had returned as needed several times since Geneva had accepted this commission.
However, this sterling progress wasn’t true for the groom’s side. What Geneva and her helpers needed to accomplish for Tom Abbott and his party was missing the mark. Custom vests and ties for seven men also required time to make.
But if all went well today, she could begin outfitting Doug with a proper vest and tie and mark him off the list. Yet, a question that had nothing to do with wedding wear lurked in her heart. Will he remember me, or even know who I am?
Geneva’s wrist suddenly ached. For sure, Doug had helped cause her hardship. She still awoke from a deep sleep, hearing and fearing the thunder of those sweaty, thoroughbred polo ponies bearing down on her.
Frankly, with all due respect to her beloved Aunt Phoebe, time was just not passing fast enough for Geneva to be able to forget or forgive. Doug might be used to sustaining injuries from sprints at full gallop for his weekend sport and folly, but she was not. Although he couldn’t change the outcome, she felt he owed her at least a polite apology. Or an inquiry as to her well-being. Yet, to her surprise, nothing of the like had come forth.
For now, timing couldn’t be worse for a confrontation. Cherie and her family would catch wind of it. “Clients get pesky over much less,” she murmured as she stepped to the windows. The cooler, northern wind blew down-river again and fluttered the gauze curtains. Often it brought downpours into this hilly wine country. She could smell the ozone in the air from the approaching rain in the air and latched the three creaking windows.
Geneva stepped over cotton sheeting. The pink cloth separated her slippered feet from the polished oak floor in this part of the long room where fashion creativity and finery were fiercely protected. Cherie’s strapless, full-skirted gown with its scalloped sweep train dominated the room. Her illusion tulle veil hung in the cherry armoire.
Reaching the radio, Geneva turned it on. She returned to Cherie, put on her gloves with their pretty crocheted edges, and got to work. She already felt better, despite the rain that tapped the windows. Minutes drifted into a place where creativity erased time.
When Geneva finally looked up, she started. Douglas Abbott gazed at her from the doorway. Solid, good-looking, he filled her view. He’d traded his polo shirt and jodhpurs for jeans and a tan Abbott’s Vineyard shirt. He nodded at her and sauntered into the Bride’s Loft. Large, damp shoe prints on the sheeting followed him in his wake.
Geneva widened her eyes in disbelief.
“Stop! Right now! Please!” she cried. As she jerked her hand up, a rude prick jabbed her thumb. She dropped the tethered needle, leaving it dangling from a rose. She tightened her frown as the visitor slowly halted in front of her.
Half his smile faded, but he proffered his hand for a shake.
“I’m Doug Abbott, and I—”
“Yes, of course….you are. Excuse me…but didn’t you see Ellyn?” Geneva asked, keeping her hand to herself. Her thumb throbbed.
He hiked an eyebrow. “I’m not sure who you mean.”
Geneva cleared her throat. He was more than handsome. “She’s our office manager. Downstairs.”
Doug studied her intently, and she him. Pushing him away and pulling him in at the same time, like the surf on a beach in a maddening rhythm. Ellyn, bless her, was wrong. He was already difficult. Her only recourse was to talk.
“Hmmm…she should’ve been back by now, and was to let me know when you arrived,” Geneva went on. “I would’ve come down to meet you in our lobby.” Hastily, she moved between him and Cherie’s gown. Moving her hands to her hips, she tried to block at least some of his view. “It’s the way we do things here,” she said. “Mr. Abbott, do you realize where you are?”
The best man withdrew his unmet handshake. Straightening his mouth, he raised a forefinger for her to wait a minute and plucked a BlackBerry from his pocket. He tapped a button and read aloud, “One thirty. 15 Lark Street. Geneva Pembrooke, Fine Wedding Couture. Weekdays Nine to Five. Weekends by Appointment Only.”
Looking up at her, he added, “I’m also eleven miles east of Abbott’s Vineyard, and three blocks from the Country Store. Tom’s looking over the place this afternoon for the owner.” He repocketed the palm device. “Tom’s the groom, and I’m his older brother.”
Geneva stared at him. She’d never seen such blue eyes in a man, but was he usually this bothersome, this insolent?
Karen Hudgins grew up loving stories and in mid-life began writing them. She enrolled in a novel writing program at Rice University, attended conferences, joined organizations and groups, organized a critique group, entered contests, judged contests, shared her learning through giving talks, and chatted with many fellow authors and readers, read for techniques, and absorbed all she could about writing. Authoring was given a top priority in her life. She has written five romantic fiction novels, and the first one took almost five years from front to finish for first publishing in 2001. She writes romance because the genre offers her more creative routes to take within the stories. For her next novel, she’ll return to her Fantasy Men series with Summer Night With Sinbad. When not writing she enjoys digital nature photography and rock music. She currently lives in the St. Louis area with her husband, dog and cat, and chats often with her grown-up, newly-wed daughter.
Ellora’s Cave author, Kathy Kulig is my guest today. Her erotic science-fiction novella, Dragon Witch will be released today. This is her first foray into science fiction so I asked her to share with us some of the authors who influenced her and how she came up with the idea for her story.
Thanks, for inviting me, Kathy.
I remember my interest in the paranormal and SciFi started in the third grade. As most writers, I loved books from an early age. Two books stick in my mind from my third grade class: The Dark Side of the Moon and Secret Cave. After that, my bookcase in my bedroom was filled with books like: Strangely Enough, 1001 Ghost Stories, Twilight Zone, etc. And later, books by Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov, many others.
Few books stay in my mind because I don’t have the greatest memory, but I do remember reading a number of Anne McCaffrey’s books and her Dragon Riders of Pern. Maybe that’s an old memory that finally sparked an idea for this story. I can still imagine Ms. McCaffrey’s world, see the dragons flying and the dangerous thread shooting down from the sky. It’s every writer’s dream to build a world and write a story that readers remember. I’ve always wanted to write a science fiction book but never thought I had the skills. Back then I didn’t. So Dragon Witch is like a dream come true.
Blurb: Biologist and witch, Jaida Chel combines nature magick with herbal science to protect Kai, the last shapeshifting dragon on her world of Somerled. But when Captain Brayden Stokes reenters her life not only is Kai’s life at stake, but so is Jaida’s secured position in the colony. Brayden and Jaida can’t resist the sexual heat between them, even though she knows a relationship would be doomed. Fleet pilots don’t stay planetside for long.
Jaida is torn between Brayden and her dragon and companion, Kai. When Kai morphs into a human twice a year, his sex drive is ravenous. He must mate for twenty-four hours or die. Unrestrained passion between Kai and Jaida temps Brayden into a forbidden encounter. With Jaida’s sassy, wicked ways, the three cross boundaries, exploring eroticism beyond their imagination. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, Brayden must risk everything for one last chance at love.
The jungle and marshy ground became dryer and less dense with vegetation. After passing several trail markers, something pungent assailed his nose. “What’s that smell?” he asked. “Kai setting something on fire again?”
“Mineral springs. We’ll stop here for the night.” Jaida dropped her backpack on the ground and approached a small pool of steaming crystal water.
“Can we jump in?” Brayden asked anxious to get the dust and sweat off of him.
“Yes, but in a minute. I need to do a ritual.” She still seemed pissed. Taking her wand out of her backpack, she drew symbols in the white sand next to the steaming mineral pool.
“Shhh.” She sat cross-legged beside the pool and took several breaths, then leaned forward and gazed into the water.
Brayden started walking toward her, but Kai dropped down in front of him, blocking his path. His wings spread wide as if in a challenge and warning not to go farther. “Okay Kai, I get the message.”
The dragon seemed to understand because he lowered his wings, but didn’t take his piercing green gaze off him.
Brayden saw a flash of movement and heard Jaida mumble something. She leapt to her feet, still staring into the pool. Then she picked up a pebble and tossed it into the water and pointed with her finger. Her lips counting silently. She frowned and made a fist, then picked up another pebble and tossed it in, then again began counting. And two more pebbles. She swore and spun around and headed into the dense growth of palms and pine trees.
“Jaida, what’s wrong?” Brayden charged after her and caught up in a few strides.
She continued the march, ignoring him. “You’re not staying the full year. You lied to me.”
“How do you know that?”
“Water gazing and water spell. I saw you leaving and I counted the rings when I tossed in the pebbles. I asked if you were staying the full year and counted an even number of rings—a no.”
He shook his head, confused.
“A form of divination. Forget it,” she snapped. “I should’ve known things wouldn’t change.
She’d tossed in four pebbles, what else did she ask? And how accurate is her magic? “Maybe the Fleet will reissue my license sooner. If they need me, it’s possible. I could leave sooner.” He really wasn’t lying to her, just not being completely honest. Hell, he was lying.
Again, what choice did he have? “C’mon, Jaida. Don’t worry about this.” He picked up his pack. “We can get in a few more miles before it gets dark,” he said cheerfully.
She shook her head as she started to unpack a small tent. “No. We’ll camp here for the night.”
Was she deliberately delaying their trip?
As my special guest, I have author, Tina Gallagher whose book Tupelo Honey was released by Phaze ebooks today. Congratulations on your latest book, Tina. I know I was fascinated learning about how the title came about and I bet my readers would love to know the story too. So tell us how you came up with the title.
Thank you so much for having me, Kathleen!
When I wrote Tupelo Honey, the story didn’t have a name. This is strange for me, because titles usually come to me pretty easily. But this one was tough. Since my hero, Tim O’Brien is a hockey player, I tried to think of something along those lines, but nothing came to mind. I finally asked for help from the women in my writers’ group
I believe it was my friend, Terri Prizzi, who said, “Tupelo Honey. Oh my God, you have to name it Tupelo Honey. It’s perfect!” I mention in the story that Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison was Tim and Cassie’s “song”. After Terri’s statement, I agreed. Tupelo Honey was the perfect name.
So now the story is named I have people asking, “What does that name mean?”and “Is the girl from Tupelo, Mississippi?” Telling them that it’s name of a song doesn’t usually cut it, so I’ll go on to explain that Tupelo Honey is actually a type of honey. Since I’m from Northeast Pennsylvania, most of the honey we see on our shelves is Clover honey. And I suppose unless you’re a honey connoisseur, you might not realize that there are different types of honey and that they’re named based on the type of tree or plant from which the bees draw nectar. I only knew this because it saw it in a movie years ago.
Out of curiosity and also so I’d have some information to give people who ask about my title, I did some research on Tupelo Honey. Here’s what I found out.
Tupelo honey is produced from the Tupelo gum tree which grows along the Chipola and Apalachicola rivers of northwest Florida. This river valley is the only place in the world where Tupelo Honey is produced commercially.
Real Tupelo Honey is light amber in color with a greenish cast. The flavor is delicious and distinctive. Good white Tupelo Honey, unmixed with other honeys, will not granulate.
In order to get fine unmixed Tupelo Honey, bee colonies must be striped of all their stores just as the white Tupelo bloom begins. The bees are then given clean boxes with combs in which to place the fresh Tupelo Nectar. When Tupelo production is over this new crop must be removed before it can be mixed with additional honey sources. The timing of this operation is critical since the Tupelo bloom is short, lasting as little as five days or less. Like any other specialty honey, Tupelo Honey sells at a premium price.
But like I mentioned before, my book doesn’t have anything to do with the actual product Tupelo Honey, the story was named after a song. But now you have a little honey trivia in case you’re ever asked.
In-between softball, basketball, and music lessons, Tina Gallagher and her best friend would create their own “happily ever afters” for their favorite soap opera couples. After a while, the soap operas lost their appeal, but the writing never did. She continues to use her imagination to weave stories about heroes and heroines who share deep, lasting relationships and hot, steamy sex lives. Visit Tina’s website to find out more about her available and upcoming work. www.tina-gallagher.com
Cassie Evans never got over her high school sweetheart, Tim O’Brien. She thought they had the perfect relationship and even when he received a professional hockey contract, she believed things would be okay…until she decided to surprise him one weekend on the road and got the surprise of her life. She found him in his hotel room being serviced by a “puck bunny”.
Fifteen years later, Tim gets traded to his hometown team and has made it clear he still wants Cassie. She tries to stay strong, but it’s hard to resist a hottie hockey player who has love on his mind, especially when she still has feelings for him.
This story is available at www.phaze.com
I noticed something recently, first in my spring novel writing course and then again at a critique session at the writer’s retreat I attended in early May. Since it cropped up more than once, I think it deserves mentioning. The scenes I was reading had fascinating hooks, snappy dialog and engaging characters. But something was missing. They were all lost in space. Despite all the positive attributes, it was a struggle for the reader (me) to figure out where or when the scene was taking place. In writing terms, the scenes needed to be anchored.
I became aware of how vital anchoring is when I attended a workshop by Alexandra Sokoloff. After years as a successful Hollywood script writer, she changed direction and turned to writing thrillers. Her earlier years writing for TV and movies weren’t wasted. She shared a lot of writing tips she learned as a script writer that now help her to craft her novels. One of them is to make sure each and every scene in your novel is anchored. Anchoring is akin to the establishing shot film directors use to let viewers know when and where the action on the screen is taking place. Often it is an outside shot that moves inside or a distance shot that moves closer to the action. Sometimes text is added, such as: two hours earlier or 1 week ago to further clarify the time of the action.
Writers need to do the same thing when starting a new scene, without the benefit of a camera to do the work for them. The trick is to do it smoothly without interrupting the pacing and without allowing too much description to creep in. There are several ways this can be accomplished.
- Use a date/place line like they do in movies and on TV. Something like: New York City, 1898 or Philadelphia-July 4, 1776-12:00 noon. Datelines work well in thrillers to show how the clock is ticking. Jonathan Maberry uses this technique to great effect in his most recent novel, Dragon Factory. An extinction clock is set at the opening of the novel and as each scene progresses the tension builds as the clock ticks down to the zero hour. The TV show Fringe uses this same device to good effect.
- Tell the reader in the first 1-2 sentences where the scene is set. In Dan Brown’s, The Lost Symbol, Chapter One starts with the sentence—the Otis elevator climbing the south pillar of the Eiffel Tower was overflowing with tourists. Clean and simple and no room for confusion in the reader’s mind about where the action is located.
- If starting with dialog weave 1-3 sentences into the narrative portion to ground the scene as soon as possible. Again, using Dragon Factory as an example, Maberry first uses a date line at the top of the page. He plunges into the story with dialog and action showing Joe Ledger right in the middle of being accosted by four government agents of the NSA. He then anchors the scene again by the use of 1 sentence — “We were in the parking lot of Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore.” Adding a few more sentences he makes it perfectly clear to the reader where and when and even why he is at this particular place.
Learning to do this with the ease and craftsmanship of a popular author may take some practice. After taking Sokoloff’s workshop I began to pay particular attention to how different authors anchored their scenes. Try it your self with the book you’re reading now. And the next time you begin a scene, don’t let it drift away—toss that anchor overboard.
Contrary to what most of the pictures show, RT is about a lot more than just fantastic parties. It excels as a place to network with other authors, readers, agents, editors and booksellers. And the workshops aren’t too shabby either. So what did I glean from this year’s conference? Well here goes…
Carina Press is the place to be. Harlequin’s ebook arm launches this month. At the moment, they are seeking everything except YA. As they like to say “”no great story goes untold.” With the power of the Harlequin machine behind it, authors can expect good editing and strong company promotion. Although a digital first company at the moment, I have no doubt that it will shortly go to Print on Demand.
Swag’s purpose is not to sell books. So why should we invest in all those bookmarks, key chains and post cards? It’s all about branding. We need to get our name out there in as many ways as we can so that readers begin to connect with our name and the sort of stories we write. Once they do, they will seek us out.
Men are invading. More and more male authors from mystery, to thriller to science fiction are beginning to attend RT. Why? Well, it seems, some of them at least, have figured out that women make up the biggest market share of readers regardless of genre. Where else to connect with this market than at a romance conference? Successful and savvy male authors have also caught on to the fact that romance controls the largest market share of books sold each year. These men are coming to find out how we do it and why romance consistently sells. So what’s the answer? There were a great many reasons proposed for romance’s continuing success. I have a theory of my own…
Romance is about hope. It comes as no surprise to any of you that life is difficult. Jobs come and go, children grow up, friends move away, loved ones die. But pick up a romance and you can be assured that despite all of this anything is possible. Love does indeed conquer all and happy endings are possible—for all of us.
After reading the blurb for Palace of Dreams, a fellow writer suggested I join a new group forming to promote science fiction romance, a growing niche market. I took him up on it and now belong to the Science Fiction Romance Brigade (http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.com/), a group of science fiction romance writers dedicated to getting the word out about them and their books.
A child of the 1950s, I am a fan of both science fiction literature and movies. I huddled in my seat when Godzilla attacked Tokyo and they hunted the sewers of LA for the giant ants in Them. And who can forget The Day the World Stood Still or my personal favorite, Forbidden Planet?
My mother, who was an avid reader, introduced me to H. Rider Haggard, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clark. I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and a host of other great sci-fi writers all by myself.
Female readers have long been dipping their toes into the sci-fi pool as writers and readers and interest in science fiction romance is on the rise. Actually, there have been science fiction novels available for quite some time with feisty, intelligent female protagonists that include their quest for love right along with their quest to explore alien planets, battle evil overlords on their home planet or deal with encroaching black holes. It’s just that now both the demand for both quality writers and books is growing into a sizable niche market.
For those of you who may be hesitant to try something new, Ellora’s Cave has an erotic futuristic romance line called Aeon. Those of you who like hard science fiction might want to give Linnea Sinclair a try. It’s a brave new world, so go for it. And for those of you who write or are thinking of writing a science fiction romance, check out the SFR Brigade.
The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, Write Stuff Conference was this past weekend. I had a wonderful time networking with other authors and attending sessions on both the business and the craft of writing. After re-reading all my notes, I thought I’d share a few of the most important tips I picked up. Here they are in no particular order:
- Stickiness, the concept of enticing people back multiple times to check on you, is the new buzz word in media. For writers it means providing interesting, engaging content on your blog, website or Facebook page.
- Know your premise. Now this may not be exactly what you think it is. Usually when thinking of premise, one thinks of a short summary of the story idea outlining the major goal, motivation and conflict. Author James M. Frey puts a bit of a different spin on the word premise. He describes it as 1 – 2 lines that express the arc of the story starting from where it begins to where it ends (sometimes interchangeable with the theme of the book? It looks like this: Love leads to insanity (Othello) or Alcoholism destroys love (The Days of Wine and Roses) An author then proves the premise by setting up a step sheet outlining the steps required to move from the beginning to the end of the premise. This provides the author with a mini-outline as a guide.
- Also from James Frey, 3 of his rules for authors: 1.Read, read, read. 2. Write, write, write. 3.Suffer, suffer, suffer. He had other rules, but I didn’t go to the pre-conference workshop so I can only share those three.
- Tell your story with passion. As an author, write stories that you feel strongly about. That passion and enthusiasm will communicate itself to agents and editors and will likely get them to look at your work.
- Send a book out at least 184 times before hiding it in that box under the bed. Wow! Are there that many publishing houses? Anyway, I think the point is that often we give up way too soon.
Ponder these tips and then go write something. Or send something out to one of the 184 publishers that you missed.
My special guest today is author, Macie Carter (aka Mitzi Flyte) whose erotic novella, Teasing the Muse was released today by The Wild Rose Press. Welcome, Macie. Tell us a bit about yourself and your story.
Kathy, thank you so much for having me as your guest.
After being published in short stories in various genres, I never thought that my first work with a major electronic/print publisher would be an erotic novella. Writing erotic romance was a stretch for my writing muscles, even though I’d once regaled my writing friends with a very sensual short story called “Dara and the Dragon.” I wanted to see if I could do it again and once done, could I find a publisher.
In writing erotic romance, the author must pull from her own experiences, what has given her pleasure and, just as important, what has she done to please another. So I started writing with some hesitancy. I decided that “Macie Carter “would be a pen name—a persona—that I would use for this genre.
Teasing the Muse began as a “what-if” idea . What if a famous writer of erotic romance went through a terrible divorce? What if she gave up on men? What if all of that affected her writing?
The first scene came to me while remembering the many writers’ conferences I’ve attended over the years. “Sit in the bar” is the mantra for those conferences—you never know who you may meet. So I imagined my writer’s editor talking to her while drinking a Cosmo at a hotel bar during a writers’ conference. The story seemed to take on a life of its own after that.
I have to thank Tess Gerritsen for the Cosmo idea. I happened to see her (in the bar, of course) with this lovely pink drink at the last New York RWA National and instead of telling her how much I loved her books, I stupidly asked her what type of drink it was. Nuh-duh… So the Cosmo in the opening scene is dedicated to her.
I knew the story would involve an older woman and a younger man because of the market I was targeting. I’d dated younger men years ago but I’d always been more attracted to men a bit older than myself. I had to imagine what it would be like for a woman of forty to find herself drawn to a man much younger. For erotica the answer is easy—it’s the sex. But for the romance, there had to be more, much more. What would bring these two people together and then keep them together? I hope Teasing the Muse shows that sexual attraction can be the beginning of a lasting relationship and that love and passion are, indeed, ageless.
I’m working on my second erotic romance novella, tentatively titled When in Rome, and continue to write short stories and paranormal romance.
Blurb: Teasing the Muse
Popular erotic romance writer, Page Burns, seems to have lost the “hotness” in her writing, or at least that’s what her editor informs her. Is it because of her self-imposed celibacy after a bitter divorce, or because she’s forty and just not interested? When she meets a handsome young stranger at one of her book signings, she decides what she really needs is a muse–in her bed. Fantasizing about the young man is just enough to revitalize some of her sizzling words. Can a forty year-old woman bed a man ten years her junior? Should she even try? But what Page doesn’t realize is that she’s not the only one fantasizing about teasing the muse…
Teasing the Muse – Erotic Romance – Cougar Club – The Wild Rose Press
Was the empty space in her bed and the new celibacy of
divorce causing her to lose her ability to write her own genre? Should she turn to inspirationals or even those Amish books that covered the racks at every turnpike rest stop?
“I don’t want to become one of the divorce crazies—the women who hop from bed to bed just to prove they’re still desirable. Sex with the faceless stranger. Hell! I even wrote about it.”
“Your first book. I remember. You wrote it when
you were happily married to Mark.”
Page didn’t say anything. She was thinking about how much Myra had helped with that first book. Page stared at her new manuscript inundated with little yellow slips of paper.
Myra patted the stack of papers. “It doesn’t need
a lot of rewrite, Page,” she said. “The plot and the
characters are strong—your usual. It’s just the…Well, that’s what the stickies are—areas I’ve marked for changes.”
“I get it. I get it,” Page said more upset with
herself than her editor. “I have the hotel room for
two more days. I was going to meet my college roommate after the conference but she called last night to cancel. Story of my life. Good thing I didn’t check-out. Hotel room with room service—so no distractions. I’ll sit in the room and rewrite and rewrite and…”
An hour later Page was in the hotel’s large banquet room. Twenty long tables had been set up, each table had four authors and stacks of books. Page and three other “name” authors had their own smaller tables. Page’s books sat on either side of the basket of candy kisses and prophylactics she always had at her signings. She no longer needed chocolate and condoms to lure potential buyers to her books, but tradition was tradition and it was her way of promoting safe sex.
She had just finished signing for one flustered
octogenarian when she looked up into a pair of dark green eyes. A man stood over her, a book in one hand and a hard hat in the other resting on his hip. Page took in his blue work shirt and dusty jeans. His dark hair was long and curled around a handsome face, a face that hadn’t seen even thirty years.
Macie Carter is the pen name of award-winning author, Mitzi Flyte. Teasing the Muse, to be released from The Wild Rose Press on March 26, is Mitzi’s first erotic novella.
Mitzi received her first rejection when she was twelve, many years ago; however, that didn’t stop her from writing and submitting. A member of Romance Writers of American, she’s been the President of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and the Pocono Lehigh Romance Chapter of RWA. When she’s not writing, Mitzi’s the Vice President of Nursing for a nursing home management company. She lives in Allentown, PA with two feline companions who have yet to critique her work.
Mitzi helps Macie with her website/blog www.maciecarter.com because Macie is basically lazy and makes Mitzi do everything.
I completed my blog tour for Palace of Dreams at author Autumn Jordon’s blog. I’m not sure yet how successful the tour was, but I had lots of nice comments and learned how the whole thing works for future promotions. Later this week I’ll be hosting guest author, Macie Carter whose erotic contemporary, Teasing the Muse will be released. I hope you’ll stop by and visit with her.
The spring equinox issue of my newsletter Hopeless Romantic is now available. It includes a short article on the Language of Flowers and a yummy recipe for peanut eggs for those of you who might want to make your own. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by going to groups.yahoo.com/group/Hopelessromanticnewsletter/
The arrival of spring heralds the arrival of the annual spring conferences. This week I’ll be attending the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group’s Write Stuff Conference. I’ll have a chance to network with some of my writer friends and promote both Threads of Love which is now in print and, of course, Palace of Dreams
In April I’ll be off to the Romantic Times conference in Columbus, Ohio. Since it’s only 7 hours away, I’ll be driving out and rooming with Wild Rose Press author, Tina Gallagher. This is Tina’s first experience with this large and fashion heavy conference, so I’ll be acting as her guide. We’ve already gotten our outfits for the Ellora’s Cave, Paint the Town Red Party, something for the Fairy Ball and the Vampire Ball. With all the suitcases and boxes of promo items, I’m hoping there will be a place for us to sit.
The blog tour may have ended, but the journey continues.