Private Dancer wins!

Private Dancer2014_EBook_WINNER-smGreat news!  Private Dancer won the Erotic division of EPIC’s 2014 EBook competition.  EPIC is the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition, and their competition if open to all published ebooks.  EPIC has been “the Voice of ePublishing since 1998.”

Thank you very much for the award, EPIC.

When the Writing Cave Stops Working

Writers spend a lot of time getting their writing areas just so.  We make them comfortable and pretty.   We post calendars with deadlines and maybe magazine pictures of settings or characters.  Some writers want to look at inspiring views outside their windows while others want no distractions.  We try to make everything as conducive to creativity and productivity as we can.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t work.

The chair suddenly isn’t comfy or the sun shines too brightly.  The Internet becomes too distracting or the heater is too loud.  Whatever the problem is, you’ve got to find your way around it.  My saving grace lately has been my AlphaSmart.   It’s a no-frills, sturdy little plastic word processor that runs on batteries.   Anyone who isn’t a writer laughs at the simplicity of this device, but most of my writer friends own one.  There’s something about seeing only four lines of text that keeps you moving forward.  The keys are loud and sticky, but they signal progress.  There’s no access to email or YouTube.  The only thing you can do with it is write.  And write and write and write…

It’s the little things in life that make a person happy, and the best part of working with an AlphaSmart is hooking it up to your computer and watching the words upload, one letter at a time.  Word count is the name of the game, folks, and my little Alphie is helping me get them.

alphasmart

Happy New Year

It’s that time of the year again, a time to start fresh and look forward with big plans.  Like most people, I start out with the typical resolutions.  The problem is that these resolutions always seem to fall by the wayside.  Why do New Year’s resolutions always seem to be about fixing oneself?  We’re all human.  Nobody can be perfect.

That’s why this year I’m going to switch it up.  Instead of trying to organize my life down to the last minute, I’m resolving to do something different.  My resolution this year is simple, but in some ways very difficult.

I’m resolving to have more fun.

I’m the type who gets so wound up in the hustle and bustle that time slips by.  This year, I’m resolving to make more friends, explore new hobbies, read more, travel or just stop and do a crossword puzzle.  The chores and deadlines will still be there, but there’s something to be said for down time.  It rejuvenates a person.

Times are crazy enough as it is.  It’s time to step back and enjoy them.

Holiday Craziness

Writers are like everyone else.  We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.  I’ve been running around, fighting the crowds, trying to get everything ready for Christmas.  I’m exhausted.  Something had to give, and it’s been my writing.  I had to take a few weeks off or run myself into the ground.  So blogging went by the wayside.  Manuscripts have been sitting, waiting for me to come back and see what shines and what is dreck.  I’ve tweeted a little.  Thank goodness for that 140 character limit.  It makes things so quick and easy.

I plan to enjoy the holidays, but I’m looking forward to things slowing down and getting back to normal after that.  I think the break from writing will be good for me.  I’ll come back refreshed and, hopefully, with new inspiration.  First thing on my list will be my winter newsletter.  If you haven’t signed up yet, you have time.  Just fill out the form here!

Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers out there.  I just wanted to take a quick time-out from family festivities to let you know I appreciate you.  I’m thankful for the readers who buy my books, the people who post reviews, and those of you who tell others about my stories.  I”m grateful for my writer friends who know what a tough business this can be, and I’m grateful for my publishers, editors, and cover artists.  It’s all of you who make the long hours at the keyboard worth it.

When a Setting Becomes a Character

Solace_In_Scandal_webWhen I was writing Solace in Scandal, an interesting thing happened.  The first half of the story is set at Wolfe Manor, a secluded estate in rural New York.  The hero and heroine are trapped on the grounds by the paparazzi.  It’s primarily Alex and Elena — and the setting.   The grand old mansion and its grounds were so key to the story, in essence they became another character.

The mansion itself is old and stately, rigid and cold.  It very standoffish as Alex and Elena first meet.  The lake house is much warmer and cozier.  Accepting.  Yet the grounds were what really came alive.  At times the woods and lake could be beautiful and inspiring.  When trouble lurked around the corner, those same woods could be dark and menacing.  The lake took on a foreboding quality.

With the autumn season in full force, the weather and settings were able to magnify the relationship brewing between Alex and Elena.  At times it’s stormy and dangerous.  At others, it’s secluded and intimate.  With few other characters to play off of, the setting had to step up – and it did.  Big time.  I don’t think the love story could have stood out so much if they’d been trapped in a penthouse or free to come and go.

What do you think?  Do you like “forced proximity” romances?  Do you think setting is important to a story?

Interview questions

So I did an interview and a blog for my recent blog tour, but the content didn’t appear on either of the sites.  So guess what?  I’m using it here.

What do you wish men understood about women?

In most cases, the current fad of full, mountain-man beards is NOT a good look.  You may think it makes you look manly, but women just think about how hot and itchy it must be.  And if it’s unkempt?  Blehck!  When Princess Leia told Han Solo that she’d rather kiss a Wookie, she was being sarcastic.  We want to see your handsome faces.  Unfortunately, with No-Shave November upon us, the situation can only get worse.

Do you work on only one book at a time?

Yes.  When I’m deep in a book, the plot and its characters, it’s very hard for me to back out and jump into something else.

Who is your favorite fictional couple?  I can’t narrow it down to just one, but I can name a few off the top of my head.  Wolf and Mary from Linda Howard’s MacKenzie’s Mountain, Batman and Catwoman, and Mal and Inara from Firefly.  I like the yin and the yang.

Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?  I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to answer this question until I looked up and saw the poster that hangs over my desk.  It says “Destiny is not to be waited for: it is to be achieved.”  I think that sums it up pretty well.

Do you set daily writing goals?  Word count?  Number of chapters?  Do you get a chance to write every day?  I have set goals when I’m coming up against a deadline, but normally I don’t.  It makes writing feel very mechanical to me, which isn’t a good thing.  I also need to have a chapter or scene fully plotted out before I sit down to write.  I can’t plot and write at the same time.  My brain doesn’t work that way.

What do you like better, Twitter or Facebook?  Why?  Twitter.  It’s fast and easy, and they don’t do all the creepy prying into your personal information.

The Power of Sleep

I’ve been having trouble figuring out how to end a chapter in a book I’m currently writing.  I’d been mulling this over in my mind for days.  I’ve got the entire chapter plotted, but I didn’t know how to close it in a way that would drive the next scene.  I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was fighting with it so hard.  Then this morning, I woke up and BOOM!  There it was, a line spoken by another character.  It wasn’t the person I was trying to make speak, and now I know why she wouldn’t talk.  It’s because this line is perfect coming from the other character.  It matches the motivation and sets up an interesting turn of events.

Yay!  I love how sleep works.  And that makes me want to get back to the Dream Wreakers and all the interesting research that comes along with it.  Soon, I promise… very soon.  It’s next on my writing calendar.

I’m goin’ hoppin

I’m goin’ hoppin next week.  Where thing are poppin’…

I’m doing a blog tour for Solace in Scandal starting next Monday.  Click on the poster and you’ll see where I’ll be appearing.  Drop by the various sites and ask questions or let me know what you think about the story.  I’ll be giving away this pretty begonia cascade indoor fountain to one lucky poster.  Hopefully, it will bring someone some solace.

 

Solace-in-Scandal-fountain prize