Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Interview with King of the Orgulocks! Oooh-La-La!



Hey all you Wicked Blog Hoppers! I'm working on deadline this week so I had my good friend step in for me today. See you next week! ~Alisha

My name is Sha-Sha Snow. Thanks, Alisha for giving me this opportunity to blog at Wicked Thorn and Roses today. See, I’m an avid reader too and I love to interview my favorite characters. I’m in London now, sipping latte on a sidewalk café, interviewing Special Detective for The Metropolitan Police, Vex Savaker, featured in Alisha Paige’s Nocturnally Vexed.




Sha-sha: Good morning, Mr. Savaker. You have a rather interesting ancestry.

Vex: Good morning, Sha-Sha. Call me Vex. I’m King of the Orgulocks, originating from Xurath.

Sha-Sha: Orgulocks? Xurath?

Vex: *deep chuckle* Aye. Xurath is a black planet, void of light, in another dimension. All blood suckers and shifter-rapts were created there by two lesser gods, Folog and Garmut. My clan, the Orgulocks are hybrids, half blood sucker/half shifter-rapt.

Sha-Sha: But haven’t the blood suckers and shifter-rapts been at war forever?

Vex: They have, my lady, but my father, Cole was captivated by an orphaned shifty, my mother, Zephyria. She’d been banished because of her uncommon beauty.

Sha-sha: So, the pairing resulted in the Orgulocks as we know them today?

Vex: It did indeed. My father was a very powerful blood sucker, the leader of his clan. They’re union changed everything on dark Xurath.

Sha-sha: Let me get this straight. You’re a vampire AND a shape-shifter?

Vex: Absobloodylutely! Except the correct term is blood sucker and shifter-rapt. Vamps and shapeshifters are only found in fiction.

Sha-sha: And you’re not fictional?

Vex: You’re here talking to me, aren’t you? Do I look real enough?

Sha-sha: Hmmm…can I touch?

Vex: *Laughs out loud* Go ahead.

Sha-sha: Mmm…nice biceps. You feel pretty solid to me.

Vex: *Sniffs the air* Good, you’re safe.

Sha-Sha: I beg your pardon?

Vex: From Jack.

Sha-Sha: Jack?

Vex: Aye. Jack the Ripper.

Sha-Sha: Whoa! Wait! Jack killed over 100 years ago. Are you saying he’s back?

Vex: He’s back.

Sha-Sha: You’re a man of few words, Vex. Good to know but how can you be sure I’m safe?

Vex: I sniffed ya. You’re clean…er…were clean…actually you’ve been sullied up a bit..no offense, miss, but I can tell you’ve…er….had men.

Sha-Sha: *Laughs nervously* Are you saying you can smell my virginity or lack of virgin snow, rather?

Vex: *Nods and grins* Orgulocks have ultra sensory powers. A most useful tool in dark Xurath. Here too. The law enforcement agencies love the services we offer. That’s why I’m working on the modern day Jack the Ripper case. I think he’s a shifty.

Sha-Sha: That would explain why he eluded the authorities all those years ago. Is it the same guy?

Vex: We know it’s the same guy. We have DNA evidence to prove it. He left a hair in the wax he sealed a letter to the police back in 1888 and we have DNA from his recent killings. They’re one and the bloody same.

Sha-Sha: Wow! But I still don’t understand why I’m safe.

Vex: You’re not a virgin. Jack is after virgins this go around.

Sha-Sha: Virgins? But he killed prostitutes in the 1800’s.

Vex: Aye. I believe he’s doing the exact opposite this time.

Sha-Sha: In order to fool the police?

Vex: Either that or for his sick kicks.

Sha-Sha: Just one more question before you go, Vex. And it’s an icky one.

Vex: Shoot.

Sha-sha: Do you feast on humans in order to survive?

Vex: I’m no blood sucker. I’m no shifter-rapt. I’m an Orgulock. We have evolved into greater creatures, keeping the better qualities of each species, honing our skills in order to survive and thrive, both here and on Xurath. Sometimes I do feast on female humans, though.

Sha-sha: Oh?

Vex: Only if they ask me too.

You can find out more about Vex and the Orgulocks by reading Nocturnally Vexed!


Click Here to View the Trailer for Nocturnally Vexed

Alisha Paige

Monday, March 30, 2009

Why would you do that?

I’m in the middle of revisions and I’m having difficulty with characters doing things that don’t make a lot of sense. Why? Because, they’re confused. They don’t know why they’re doing these things. They’re basically just doing what they’re told to do, because I made the mistake of interfering in their lives. I’ve led them to do what I wanted them to do, instead of the way it should be, them leading the way and me following along. Why? Because, I didn’t get deep enough into their characters to know their real motivations. 

I wrote this story over a year ago. I really had no clue about motivation at that time. I’ve learned so much since then, yet I know I still have a long way to go. So, today, I’ve decided to blog about motivation. Not only do I hope this will help you, but I also think it will help me get a clearer picture in my head. 

People do things for a reason, even if they don’t know what that reason is. Everything we do, we do it because something inside us is guiding our actions. We all have needs. Some are more important than others. For example, if we’re starving, we’re not going to worry about our love life. We’re going to worry about finding food. You have to meet your basic needs before you can worry about others. This is the basis of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I’ve included a basic diagram below to show which needs are the most important.
 


As you can see, the lower level is the largest, and the most important. You have to have this foundation before you can move up to the higher needs. Without it, the pyramid would collapse. 

So, why do I have my characters doing things when really, they should be doing others? Because, I didn’t follow the rules. I haven’t met the more basic needs first. No, I don’t have my characters starving, but I do have them worrying about things that are less important to them at that particular time. No wonder they’re confused. I would be, too. 

I have to step back and find out what their goals are. Once I know that, I can find the motivation behind it. If their goal is to keep their job, then I need to know what motivates them to reach that goal. Why do they want to keep their job? Is it because they need it for food, bills, living expenses? Well, yes, to one degree that’s why we all work, right? But, why this job? Why can’t they just find another job? There are other jobs out there. Okay, I’m not talking about the economy here, I know it’s bad, but that’s another story. Why do they need to keep this particular job? Maybe it’s a job with the family business. They don’t want to let their family down. That’s a higher level need, and as long as they’re basic needs are met, then they might worry about that. As long as there’s food on the table, then these other motivations can be important to them. 

So, my character wants to keep her job. Her motivation isn’t that she’s starving, but that she fears it. She grew up without her most basic needs being cared for. She never knew if they would be met, or not. So, she fears being without. That’s one motivation. 

Right now, though, those needs are being met. So, why this job? It provides her with respect, something else she never received at home. Could she find that at a different job? Yes, but not as quickly. She’s worked her way up through the company. If she loses this job, she’ll have to start over, which means she’ll lose the respect she’s already gained. She doesn’t want to lose that. That’s another motivation.

Okay, so she has two motivations, which one is more important? The first one is, because it’s a basic need. She’s not going to worry about respect if she’s too concerned about needing food. If she leaves this job to find another, she might lose respect, but she might also make less money. She’ll have less for food and bills. That is more important to her than the loss of respect. In tough times, we have to do what’s most important to us at the time, even if it does cause embarrassment. We have to forgo our pride to meet our basic needs. 

My hero, on the other hand, wants to solve a crime. Why? Because that’s what he was hired to do. Why this particular crime? His motivation isn’t as basic. He doesn’t worry about needing food or lodging. His motivation is also a respect desire. He wants to be respected for his work. After becoming injured in the military, he was unable to pursue his dream of becoming a cop, like his dad and brother. So, he has to win respect as a security specialist. He doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to measure up because he doesn’t wear “the uniform”. So, solving as many crimes as possible gives him the self-respect he wouldn’t have otherwise. Even though his family doesn’t look down on him, he looks down on himself. And, he thinks maybe they don’t respect him as much as they say.

His motivation isn’t as strong as the heroine’s because it’s not as basic of a need. The stronger the need, the stronger the motivation. The stronger the motivation, the better the story. If both of their motivations were weak, the story would fail. Nobody wants to read a story with weak motivations. We read to escape. If the problems faced by the hero/heroine are less than mine, why would I want to read about it? They need to be facing difficulties strong enough to makes me root for them. They need to have a strong enough motivation to get through those difficulties. Otherwise, why would I bother to care?

What do you think? Would you care about characters whose motivations are weak? How do you get deep into your characters motivations? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kernels That Go Pop!

All right, I'll admit it, parts of this post I have written on other blogs, articles or given in lectures, but the information is so important I think it bears repeating.

Where do you go to find your story ideas? For me they come from snippets from dreams, documentaries I watch, news stories. There is nothing out there that is sacred or off-limits as far as subject matter that might show up in a book. Granted, I'm not going to listen to a friend's confession of a sorted affair and then turn the details into a novel about love gone wrong - I do employ a high level of confidentuality in that arena. However, the same conversation overheard in a restuarant between two people I've never met- fair game!

Case in point. During a snack break at work one night, I was sitting alone enjoying a cup of soup and looking through a women's magazine. There was an article about a couple who went to celebrate their wedding anniversary. During the dinner, the husband decides to confess he'd fallen in love with another woman, to the point he'd asked the other woman to engage in an affair with him. To his shock, this woman was living with her lover...another woman. Yes, the object of his affection was indeed gay. (I can't help it...at that point in the story I started to laugh. It served the asshole right. Really it did.) - However, I felt so sorry for the wife. The article goes on to say that she stood up from the table and told him that she was glad he got that off his chest, but now it was over. Their marriage. Good for her, says I. Imagine my shock, horror and shaking of head, when she lost weight and took him back. (His complaint was that he didn't find her sexy anymore - well, boo fucking hoo!) The part that continues to ring in my head is that SHE TOOK HIM BACK!!! - Oh, yeah. I really needed to rewrite this story with a less namby-pamby ending and a heroine with at least half a spine to her.

Enter the Cougar Club.

Wild Rose Press has a line in their Scarlet Rose catalog that has cougar themed stories. What a perfect fit for this rewriting of history? I decided my heroine would go through a similar experience, but instead of taking her husband back, she hooks up with a hunky man 7 years her junior who is in all respects a sex God. <---See how one idea gleaned from an article gets morphed into a story that can be placed with a publisher's established line?

And the fun doesn't end there.

Pick up any copy of Scientific American, Archeology Times or Fate Magazine and you'll find a plethora of ideas leaping off the page, waiting to be plucked, stewed and ready for reader consumption. And the wonderful part about using media for ideas is that you can tweak, twist, turn, torch, tickle or torque any idea to fit any genre your little heart desires. Any genre.

Take an article I read in a science journal (I beleive it might have been JAMA or one of the other medical journals hanging around the hospital where I work) that had to do with articial hearts and prostethics that have sensors that can sense heat, and the differences between carpet and concrete. Fascinating. That same article placed in different authors' hands can become a romantic suspense, thiller- either industrial, medical or other, change the parts from microprocessors to gears and you have steam punk, change them from chips to nanotechnology and put it on a space station and you have futuristic or sci-fi. One kernel...many possibilities.

As for dreams, they too can have impact on what we write. A few months ago, I woke from a dream heart pounding, eyes darting, looking for the car that was heading straight for me. Yes, folks, I dreamed I was about to be in a head-on collision. Yikes! The details of the dream were so vivid they wouldn't let me go for the rest of the day. In it, I (or at least me as main character because the person did not resemeble me in the least nor did they live anywhere I even recognzied) was at a party where she got into a fight with a couple of really big men about another man. Now, in the dream I didn't get a sense of who the man was that the fight was about, but that's not important now. So, my dream self left the party and was driving down a dark, windy country road at night (cue tension-inducing music)there was a car coming down the road in the other lane. Suddenly a van behind the first car, swerved out and started heading for my car. At the last minute I swerved the wheel and ended in the ditch.

Scary kids!!!

Later that night, I was in Romance Divas chat room and started chatting to the regular crew about the dream and how I thought it really needed to be exploited and turned into a romantic suspense. In a few hours, that one rather disjointed dream turned into not one, but three stories set in the same town featuring two families and a whole lotta trouble. I plan to turn it into a series to pitch to either Harlequin Intrigue or Silhouette Romantic Suspense. One kernel...three ideas.

I often joke that if I never got another fresh idea again as long as I live, I already have enough material to keep me busy for four liftetimes. As a matter of fact, I think I have too many ideas. (That's not a declaration of open-season on the ones I've shared here. They are mine. Mine. MINE!!!) It's just proof that ideas can be found anywhere, anytime and any place and they can be prolific in scope and genre. And sometimes, if you're really lucky, you can hear them go..POP.

-Kate

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fanfiction

Fan Fiction…It’s all over the web. Open up any television series forum and it is there. Okay, there is probably more, but this is all I’m familiar with. There are some really talented writers out there writing fan fiction. So, tell me…what do you think about it? Do you write it? Have you ever written any of it?

Until last summer, I scoffed at the idea of writing fan fiction and reading it. It felt strange writing about characters someone else had created. In some ways it felt like theft even though I was crediting the creator with their creation. Basically, it had me feeling gauche even though I would have felt honored if I had affected someone so profoundly that they wrote fan fiction based upon my characters.

So, this past summer I found myself entering a fan fiction challenge. I’m still trying to figure out how I got prodded into doing it. Awkwardly I stepped into the role of writing canon characters and adding my own characters to the mix. I had a mission and an ultimate objective, but it was my creativity that had to find the resolution not based on canon rules. I wrote my first piece and discovered that it was a hell of a lot of fun! Imagine my surprise when I realized that my fan fiction wasn’t complete as I had thought. It was missing something.

Background. History between the canon characters and my characters. Okay, now it was getting more awkward. How presumptuous of me to want to write more, right? Well, I did and without the loom of a challenge hanging over my head. I wrote a beginning to my story, blending the beginning with the challenge I had already written. The beginning shaped a comprehensive history between my characters and the canon characters. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I wrote more. Picking up from the ending of the challenge story, I wrote about what would happen if their journey together continued. By this point, I decided I had lost my mind and, more importantly, I was/am too obsessed with someone else’s characters.

But through this insanity, I learned a very valuable lesson. By writing fan fiction I was able to get into the head of my characters—not the series canon characters, but my characters—and I was able to stay in their heads because I had created distinct lives for them before I ever started writing.

Wow! That was and still is a defining moment for me. This is not how I had ever written any character since putting the first words down on paper. I’ve always been a pantser, letting my character muse guide me wherever she/he wanted to go. And while I still do not think that’s wrong, lately it has created distinct problems for me. In the last year, I have started two novels and halfway through I’m bogged down with the reality that I still do not know the basics of at least one of my main characters. Nothing is working, nothing sounds right, the personality is blah, so boring it is bringing me to tears, and it would be easier and less painful to bang my head against the wall. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the action is worse than watching grass grow and the romance is so tepid I would run screaming if the hero/heroine looked in my direction with a romantic bent. If my muse doesn’t want to visit them often enough to write about them, then how can I expect a reader to want to read about them?

So, I find myself in this unique position. I’m inspired and eager to write fan fiction because I know the characters. Not just the canon characters, but my characters that I have created. The main point is I KNOW THEM and I want to keep revisiting them even though there is no real romance left, everything is resolved, but still they keep fighting and begging for more storyline. Frustrated, I was thinking WHY when I needed to do some “real” writing.

And then it hit me. I’ve already said it more than once, but I KNEW these characters from the inside out, everything about them. There’s real passion in them, charisma, depth, shallowness, flaws, life and death challenges, all of it I see and realize clearly in my head. While they may be just characters in my head, they are as real as any flesh and blood person beside me.

Then I got to thinking about the novels I had set aside. What did I know about those characters? I was stunned to realize that even though I’d written half of their life, I still did not know who they were, what they stood for, or even what made them tick. This is what I need to know if I want to give them personality and breathe life into them. So, my goal is to revisit them, write out specific goals, characteristics, personalities, traits, all the things needed to make a character crackle and pop with vitality and life…just like the characters I created for my fan fiction.

Basically, I think writing fan fiction has helped me realize some of my weaknesses as a writer and has further developed and honed my writing skills. It certainly has made it clear how important it is to flesh out a set of characters before going in depth with their lives.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A shout out for what’s to come!

Hi everyone!

Since my brain is so scattered right now to come up with a topic about writing, I've decided to blog about what is coming to our blog. No, not the tax collector but guests whom I believe we'll all benefit from. Oh, yeah. And I'll share my latest news as well. Maybe the part about me is not as exciting, but hey, I'll share the news anyway. :D

Here we go.

• April 3, 2009, Friday ---Lancer Kind, SCi Fi Author whose work appears in several anthologies such as Ruins Terra (ed. Eric T. Reynolds), Speculative Realms (ed. Sasha Beatie), and Teacher Miracles (ed. Brian Thornton) will be blogging for us.
This author is so knowledgeable and rich with fantastic ideas on speculative fiction stories I am sure Sci Fi enthusiasts will enjoy his blog. Oh yeah, he'll be mixing love, sex and what's out there in his topic so be sure to check him out.

Lancer lives the Pacific Northwest with his lovely wife Shelli and their imaginary rooster Jimmy. Hmm... I think I want to meet Jimmy.

If you want to check him out now here is the link to his site: http://lancerkind.com/


• April 6, Monday ---Lori Perkins, author and NY literary agent will be our guest. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Lori is a literary agent and part owner of Ravenous Romance. So, make sure to come back on April 6 to find out more about Lori. Leave her a comment or ask her questions. Being a journalist and newspaper/magazine editor, she possesses a broad range of experience and perspective that she will definitely share with us. How cool is that? Yeah! So come back and meet her. Don't miss this opportunity.

Lori Perkins blog: http://agentinthemiddle.blogspot.com
Visit ravenousromance.com


• About Me! This is the promo part. Hey, being a Wicked Thorn and Roses member, I am entitled to use this site to brag, right? :D Anyway, recently I sold my novels, Wicked Night: Tristan and Where My Heart Is to Red Rose Publishing. Yey! No covers yet. I will share that part later as soon as I have the covers ready. Also, my books To Trust a Wicked Man and Three Christmas Kisses are both available for purchase at Fictionwise. That's it. Not that boring, eh?

Tierney's website: http://tierneyomalley.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TierneyOMalley

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My First Time

I’m going to talk about firsts today. Nope, this isn’t going to be crass or me blathering on about naughty bits like I did in the previous post. This ‘first’ is about my experience involving me getting published.

So…my first book accepted for publication was “Call of the Hunted” a m/m fantasy novella. I was thrilled to pieces to get the email with the contract attached to it, let me tell you. I had been trying and trying for years with no success.

In fact, I was so thrilled I had ‘hit the big time’ and could now afford those dinners in Paris *chuckle* that I had to call my Mum. Unfortunately, I don’t remember phone numbers as such. People I call are just a single numbers on my speed dial. Mum is number 3.

I had pressed number 2 by accident without knowing.

So here’s me jabbering on about how great I felt that my book would be out soon and that I had been accepted and it’s a male/male romance blah, blah, blah! There was then silence and I couldn’t figure out why. It’s not like Mum to not say something. She would have been happy if I had tied my own shoes back when I was living at home. To hear of me having a book published should have sent her into a fit.

“Hello, Mum? You there?” I said, rather cautiously at this stage.

“Sir, I don’t think you have the right number,” a squeaky pre-pubescent boy’s voice stuttered.

“I don’t?” By this stage I could feel a wave of embarrassment wash over me. Who was this young lad who had answered my mother’s phone? And more importantly, I hope said young man understood I only write homoerotic fiction and I wasn’t coming onto him in any way shape or form.

“This is (insert pizza company name here). We only make pizza here.”

Oh darn! It clicked. I had pressed number 2 on my speed dialler and got the pizza shop by accident (You can see my priorities right away now, can’t you? Number 1 on my speed dialler is work, then the pizza shop, then Mum…LOL)

I then ordered pizza. What choice did I have? The poor boy at the pizza shop probably thought I was a raving lunatic…But there you go. That’s the life of a writer.

Mind you, eating pizza and downing a couple of beers is a great way to celebrate an upcoming publication, isn’t it? Cheers everyone. Hopefully next acceptance I don’t press number 4 on my dialler by mistake…that would be embarrassing *giggle*




*hugs*

Mark Alders.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top Five

I go to a critique group every Sunday that meets in a Barnes and Noble. After we meet, I go browsing through the store. Bookstores are one of my most favorite places to be and am often tempted to buy reference writing books. As you probably can guess, I have quite the collection of reference books. I decided to share my top five!

1. My most favorite reference book is Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus. I use this book while I write every single book!

2. How do you name your characters? I use The Writer's Digest Character Naming Book by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The book is divided by nationalities and even gives name meanings, tips on naming characters, and offers some surnames as well!

3. I write romantic suspense so I have to have the HOWDUNIT Forensics book. It's a guide for writers and includes a wide variety of information from gun shot wounds to poisons.

4. Have you ever wished you had a quick list of the topic you were writing about? A wonderful reference for writers is the Descriptionary by Marc McCutcheon. I have two editions of this book! Let's say your character is into archery. This book lists terms under that topic. Easy to use and lots of info!!

5. My last one is great. It's called Careers for your Characters by Raymond Obstfeld and Franz Neumann. It's divided by different career fields. The book tells what the day is like in the career, who to contact for more information, buzz words, job descriptions, tools of the trade, and so much more. It even includes books and movies that contains the career. Interesting book to read and it's one I actually use! It doesn't just sit on my bookshelf!

So what's your favorite reference book?

Book Signings...the Good, The Bad and the UGLY!


I'm getting ready for a big book signing this weekend with a very cool writer friend of mine. He's one of those writers that always has the coolest book signings while I'm stuck at a back table at Borders or B&N. They might as well put a sign that says "Information" on my table because that's generally what I do at signings. I can't tell you how many people ask me where the dang bathroom is located or what books I can friggin recommend. Duh! How about the one I'm signing? RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE?



I'm not much of a sales person or too pushy. Makes me uncomfortable...like those carnies at the Fair, "Come on over, see the amazing fat woman!" Yeah, maybe I should try that? Hey, that would have worked when I was signing books with my buddy, Rita, aka Regina Carlysle at the WORST EVER West Texas Book Festival signing from Hellllllll (see pic above)! We were the only authors there NOT selling a cookbook or Bible hymns. And the youngest....and hey, we aren't spring chickens. I was about to bust in my 7th month, looking like a beached whale in the Texas heat of September. Good Lord! Not pretty. Yeah, the fat lady line might have worked that day...snicker. I even had some old curmudgeon from across the aisle (this guy sold creepy old westerns) tell me that my book wouldn't sell because it was too short. Uh, it's 90,000 words. Thanks for the advice, bub. I was selling a paranormal that day, my werewolf romance. I got all tingly inside when this lady wearing a wolf shirt walked up to me. She picked up my book and read the back blurb. Her nostrils flared. She looked down at me, over her little spectacles. Her husband said, "Your cup of tea?" I thought I'd melt right then and there...from the heat of her church lady stare and the Texas humidity put together..."Nooooooooo!" she bellowed as she slapped my book back down.

The best book signing I ever had was a multi-author signing I did to benefit literacy last year. Brace yourself....I had to...I was seated next to freaking SHERRILYN KENYON.....I'm not worthy...I'm not worthy! Very cool lady!!!! Thank God, her 3 thousand mile line trickled to me FIRST..WOOOO HOOOOOOO...thank you, Sherrilyn...and thank God I was signing a paranormal. The lady selling the Inspirational book next to me...not so good. Poor thing. I know how she feels. It all depends on who is in the book store on that particular day. (That's me and my daughter with queen of shifters and vamps!)





And hey, if you sign books in Dallas, don't do it on a Sunday. If the Cowboys are playing, the world shuts down here. Go grocery shopping instead. No lines. Not kidding either. It's like nuclear fall out when the Boys play. Oh and I did a signing during a damn ice storm for Valentine's Day too. (See the pic below. That's me on the left. Can you tell I'm bored and miserable?)



My girlfriend showed up with her annoying military husband...thank God she doesn't read this...please, Lord...anyhow, I've told her this to her face and she still laughs about it..I digress...anyhow, do you think I've had enough coffee today. Not yet. I'll go on...military man shows up..this is a multi-author signing...and he starts asking me why I haven't come by lately. "Well, I did just have a baby," I say. "So what? Are you her friend or not?" Huh? I try to whisper to him. "Um, the baby isn't bottle fed. It's hard for us to take long outings." He scrunches his face up and says, and not in a whisper, mind you...."Hell, I've seen titties before. Bring a blanket." Nice. Very nice. That's my book signing experiences. Thank you, Sherrilyn for giving me one good one..snort!

So, back to my book signing this Friday. I latched onto my good buddy, Jason leary after his first signing and begged him to do one with me. No book stores, no questions asked about how to navigate one's way to the powder room, no annoying, bored girlfriend's husbands showing up to torture me. We're having a wine tasting/book signing. How cool is that? And I love wine. I get nervous at these things too. I NEED to drink. And I don't know where Jason finds all the damn people but they come in droves. Again, I begged him to sign books with me. "Uh, do your friends read romance? Tell them to buy it for their mom or their wife or their lover. Whatever." He laughs at me and my stupidity and says, "Sure. It'll be fun."



And I know it will. I can't wait. If anyone's in the Dallas area, I'll be signing books and tasting wine at Wine Styles in Grand Prairie this Friday, March 27th from 6 to 8:30. Go to alishapaige.com for more details and directions...to the signing, not the bathroom.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Finding the right fit.


In response to another writer who was wondering how to find a good critique partner, I decided to dedicate my blog today to the wonderful world of critiquing.

How to find a good partner…

• Join writer’s groups. Online or in person, either way you feel comfortable doing it. You’ll learn so much from a fellow writer, especially one with more experience than you have. But, don’t just join, join in. It does you no good to join a group if you don’t participate. People are much more helpful once they get to know you better.


• Ask your friends/family to read it. They may not be the best with grammer or punctuation, but they can sure tell you what they like and what they don’t. Just because they’re not writers, doesn’t mean they’re not readers.


• Get to know the writer’s you meet. You never know if they or someone they know is also looking for a partner. The best way to find a partner you click with, is to get to know them personally before you start exchanging words (MS’s that is).


• Join a blog group. You’re blog partners can become some of your best friends and partners, in more ways than one. Remember, a good critique partner is all about the relationship. You never know if a member of the group is looking for a partner as well.



What makes a good critique partner?


• Honesty. You don’t want someone telling you your writing is great if it’s really not. That’s not going to help you improve and it won’t help you make the sale. If something needs improved, you need to know about it so you can fix it.


• Knowledgeable. If they don’t know what the rules are, how can they help you? As I said earlier, they can still be helpful, by telling you whether or not they like it. But, you need someone who knows the rules of grammer to help you make it shine.




• They tell you what’s good about it, as well as what needs fixed. No one wants a critique partner who only tells them the bad points. Although, the advice may be useful, there will be too many hurt feelings for the critique to be taken seriously. If they tell you both the good and bad, you can learn where your strengths are as well as your weaknesses.


• They are specific. Misunderstandings aren’t helpful. If there is miscommunication, it helps no one. A critique partner should be specific about what exactly is wrong, and hopefully, a good way to fix it.


• They are objective. If it’s not their cup of tea, they might not be giving you the right advice. Just because one person doesn’t like that style, doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of people out there who do like it. If they aren’t objective, they may bring their own baggage into the crit, which can be more hurtful, than helpful.


• They are patient. Writers are busy people. For the most part, writing is their second job. Usually, it takes a long time before they can make enough at writing alone to pay the bills. And, when they do finally make it enough to quit the full time job, that means they’re selling, a lot. So, they have deadlines to finish. That’s a good thing to remember before sending multiple emails asking where your chapter is.


• They give as well as they get. They are a real partner. They don’t expect you to crit for them without doing their part. It is a two way street. Work should travel both roads, in and out.



Good websites to check out…


http://www.zanzjan.net/writing/give-critique.html


http://www.writingforward.com/writing-tips/how-to-give-good-critique


http://people.aapt.net.au/~thefinalchapter/critique.html


I hope this was helpful and informative. What do you look for in a critique partner? Do you have ideas I haven’t expressed? If so, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say. Good luck to everyone in their writing adventures!



Sunday, March 22, 2009

What Now?

If you're like me you set daily, weekly or even yearly writing goals. At the beginning of each year, I usually say, "This year I'm going to finish all the half-started books on my hard drive and find them a home." - I did that again this year, with a tiny caveat. "I'm going to finish some categoy length books to submit to Harlequin and Silhouette." - Well, things have been going along swimmingly. The romantic suspense I've been writing to target at Silhouette is gelling quite nicely and I'm getting the work done pretty quickly. I figure, I'll be ready to submit it by summertime.

Not so fast, lady.

BAM...out of nowhere, a friend of mine who works as a distance reader for an agent says she can get me a read through of one of my dark paranormals for an agent in her office who is HUNGRY for them. Um...yeah. That's great. The only problem is, I've been working on other novels lately, and haven't really been working on any dark paranormals that could go to an agent - the one I'm working on currently is a sequel for my editor. The good news is I do have a dark paranormal outlined and three chapters completed. I mentioned this to my friend thinking the agent wanted something immediately. Well, she wants to see my book...in three months.

Begin panic-mode sequence.

Yes, I'm a fast writer, but damn, this is ridiculous. I have so many other projects that need my attention. So, I quickly rearrange my WIPs pile and pull out my dark paranormal Allegory to begin reworking it and getting back into it. - That's when I get an email from an editor I have a romantic suspense submission with. The book just so happens to be the first of a five part series about a government agency who protects and acquires artifacts. The editor wants to know both my real name and when the second book will be done. - Um...I have it outlined. So, I sent the information and a possible completion date. That was two days ago, I haven't heard back yet. Now, I'm worried. Do I need to rearrange my completion calendar again? Meanwhile the sequel I've been working on for my editor is getting pushed farther and farther back on my WIPs list. - Strike while the iron is hot, says she. I'm trying to, but the characters are giving me fits, and the plot is incohesive.

I see my plans falling apart around me. Now, each time I sit down to write I stare at the screen because I really don't know what I'm supposed to be working on. But let's talley it up, shall we.

1. Dark paranormal for an agent - 6K/100K completed - with a three month deadline looming.

2. Dark paranormal for editor - 32K/90K completed - due before summer, so...three months?

3. Romantic Suspense for editor - 0K/70K - due date unknown.

Well, I'm not exactly sitting in a corner and drooling yet, but I think I'm getting close.

And here you all thought I was together and organized.

-Kate

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Interview with Gracen Miller

First off, a big THANK YOU to the bloggers of Wicked Thorn and Roses for allowing me to join their home on the internet. I look forward to getting to know all of you.



Tell us a little about yourself.

*straight faced* I’m a self-made millionaire. *laughs* Okay, okay, you got me, that’s my dullest fantasy. My spiciest fantasy is…Tsk..tsk…tsk…I am so not sharing that with you. *grins* Seriously, I’m an obsessed writer and a part-time paralegal masquerading as a mother to two very active boys. Both my boys are black belts in Tae Kwon Do, so I’m not a soccer mom, but a karate mom and all the other sports in the rainbow that involve hitting someone (i.e. basketball, football, karate and I think that’s about it, but that’s enough, right?). Basically, I’m a shuttle bus between sporting events. I’ve been married for 16…no 17 years to my best friend from high school. Yeah, corny, but true. Anything else you want to know, just ask. I’m pretty open, so long as it’s not about my spicy fantasies. ;-)


Please list places we can find you online…websites, myspace, facebook, blogs, etc.

My publisher: www.firedrakesweyr.com
My website: www.gracenmiller.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/gracenmiller
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?id=1219953540&ref=profile


Is there anything your family or friends pick on you about?

*coughs* No. I’m perfect. *looks around innocently* What? No one ever believes me! *grumbles no one told me I was going to be confessing everything here* My husband and two sons are always cracking blonde jokes about me. First off, let me mention I am NOT a blonde, but my husband and both of my sons ARE blondes. The “why” they make blonde jokes, well…um…*cringes*…must I really confess that—Look! There’s a purple elephant in the room with a green monkey cart-wheeling across his back! *laughs* Did I distract you away from the question? *grins hopefully* Guess not. Okay! I admit sometimes it takes me a moment to process stuff. My defense…they’re all guys and they speak “guy lingo” and sometimes that’s a bit confusing for the lone non-blonde girl in the household. So, maybe they’re speaking “blonde guy lingo”. Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it! =)


When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since my elementary English teacher (sixth grade) forced us to write a story. I went home grumbling that night about the homework. How dare she make us use our imagination! *gasp* Shocker! We had to broaden our minds. *another shocked gasp* It had never been required before. I wrote about an evil race rising up from Atlantis determined to take over the world. *laughs* It was horrid stuff, but what I discovered was so much more important and life changing. No, I’m not being dramatic. I found a world of open-ended possibilities. Pardon the analogy, but writing is little like playing God. I live through them, I maneuver their lives…er…okay my muse is shouting that SHE maneuvers their lives, so basically I’m just living through them and being the muse’s puppet. I can create and become characters that I would never dream of being outside my mind. I can be gusty, bold, deadly and really, really passionate to name a few. Writing helps me find the peace of being whomever I want, whenever I want and it is the best escape from the overwhelming realities of life. For me, I don’t need drugs to create euphoria because there is nothing better than the high I get from writing.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Sometime in high school I realized I wasn’t just a student, I was a writer. At that time I was writing lots of sappy and dark dreadful poetry. Also a girlfriend and I would create characters and write about their lives, passing them back and forth. Typically, she and I were sisters in the stories, but we would meet that special someone, fall in love and have babies. *rolls eyes and gags self* When one storyline was exhausted, we would start another set of characters and follow the same theme. By the end of our writing together, we had five different storylines. Really, I’ve always been a romance writer. I just didn’t realize that until later.


What inspired you to pen your first novel?

I knew by my senior year of high school that I wanted to write books for a living. I just got sidetracked by life and jobs. My first novel was written during a particularly difficult time early on in my marriage. We didn’t have kids, I was bored to death with life, with jobs, and I wanted some excitement back. All my husband and I ever did was sit and watch television after work and I was bored to tears. So, I sat down at the computer and started writing. I still have the novel. It’s horrid, but it was my first accomplishment and I’m proud of that. It also saved my marriage. Strange thinking, yeah, probably, but it is true. Writing that novel gave me the excitement I needed to be happy again with my marriage and with my life. I’ve learned over the years, writing keeps me happy, keeps me ground and believe me, you don’t want to be around me when I’m going through a long dry spells in my writing. I become demon possessed.


What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I love paranormal and it’s easier for me to get into the evil/dark spirit of things when writing paranormal. I grew up reading and watching everything horror genre I could get my hands on, so I am a dark girl in a lot of ways. I’m not a comedic writer. I wish I could write comedy, but my sense of humor is so dry, what I find funny others do not. And what others find funny, I’m rolling my eyes over. So, paranormal is my comfort zone.


What are your current projects?

Well, even though I love paranormal, I just subbed a sci-fi romance novel, based upon warring races and what was necessary to create peace. My girlfriend that I wrote all those stories with in high school challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and actually gave me the idea. So, I don’t have any idea how well it really works, but we’ll see when I hear back from subbing it. *bites nails* I’ve got two other books I’m about to sub as well, both in the paranormal genre. And I’m working on two different books, Demon Eyes and Dragon Blood. Obviously by the titles, they’re paranormal. Did I mention that I like the paranormal? *winks*


What are your hobbies?

Hobbies are not listed in order of preference: Writing, family, chatting with friends on forums and watching Supernatural on Thursday nights. I am obsessed with that show. It gives me my paranormal fix and it has two dreamy guys. *sighs*


What is one thing you could never live without?

Oh, wow! This question is so limited. My first thought was writing. Then my second thought was, “Wait! Sex!” Then I felt all guilty because I didn’t think of my family first. *kicks air* I am SO not letting my husband read this. *laughs* Actually he might approve of the second thought. *winks*

If anyone wants to know something about me, please ask away. I’m an open book just waiting to be read. :D

Friday, March 20, 2009

Featured guest, Margay Justice on Nora's Soul

“The path to publication has been a long, winding, and often broken road.”

Margay Justice, author



For as long as I can remember, I have been writing. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a notebook and pencil as my constant companions. For some years, I was able to pass it off as homework – until some savvy friends figured out that what I was doing was extracurricular. From that moment on, they tried to get me to show them my writing but in the beginning, it was a very private thing for me. It took some time before I felt comfortable enough to allow anyone to read the words I had written. But with time, I did grow comfortable with the idea, especially when my work was praised, and eventually, I entertained the idea of becoming published.

The path to publication has been a long, winding, and often broken road. In the beginning, I didn’t have the self-confidence needed for submitting to publishers and one rejection sent me back into the realm of writing just for my own pleasure. But in the back of my mind, the possibility of seeing my words in print still lingered. In time, I tried again, this time taking an unconventional route. I decided to test my ideas in the contest forum first. I thought this would be a great way to gain exposure and test reactions to gauge if I had what it took to be published. At the time, I had only one book that was suitable to submit – a little book called Nora’s Soul. This book idea had come to me one night in a pair of interconnected dreams and stayed with me over the course of some years and many ups and downs in my life. Still I wondered if it was good enough to publish – and if anyone would be interested in it if it was.

Enter Gather.com and their First Chapter contest. As I had hoped, this contest proved to be a grand testing ground for my story. The response was encouraging and I met a group of authors with whom I formed friendships and a mutual admiration society. Although none of us won the contest (some did come close), we gained the greater reward with our friendships and started a critique group to help each other stay the course on our road to publication. Well, somewhere along the way, the idea was tossed out that we should start our own publishing company so we could all be published and one of our members, the incredible Mike Simpson, took the idea and ran with it. Within months, he set up the company Second Wind Publishing, LLC and invited all of us to submit our stories to him. Just a few months after submitting Nora’s Soul to him, I had the privilege of seeing my first book in print.



NORA’S Soul

PhotobucketWhen angels of light and dark collide on earth…
Once he held a favored position in the heavens. But one moment of weakness casts Dante out and now he is cursed to walk the earth, collecting the souls of vulnerable women to buy his way into hell.
All hell breaks loose…
But standing in his way is Peter, an angel of light. Peter is everything Dante is not. Pure, above reproach. And determined to prevent Dante from achieving his goals. Peter will stop at nothing to protect the souls in his charge, even if it means achieving the impossible – leading Dante back onto the right path.
And no one is safe from the fall-out.
Nora Kendall believed in angels. Once. But then she lost her brother to cancer despite all of her prayers – and she lost her faith in all things angelic. Now, she is a lost soul who wanders through life like a sleepwalker, playing it safe and leaving the risk-taking to others.
Kyle Cameron is one of those risks. Burned by a bad marriage, his only concern now is providing a stable life for his children, who are left motherless by the unexpected death of his wife. This means working overtime to grow his architectural firm into a viable business – and leaving the care of his children to the care of someone he trusts. Despite his past connection with Nora, Kyle isn’t certain that she’s the right person for the job. He also doesn’t want to reconnect with her and repeat history.
But fate – and the machinations of two angels – has other ideas.

Nora’s Soul, by Margay Leah Justice, available now at Amazon.com

Visit Margay at:
http://margayleahjustice.com
http://www.amazon.com

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let's Talk About...

Well, here I am again. It’s the second week and therefore this is my second post. There have been some excellent thought provoking posts by my fellow bloggers so far. It’s great to be in such company. I feel so humbled.

Will you get such intellectual content with me?

You can be the judge of that. Let me just say I’m going to get down and dirty this week. So if you’re offended by naughty words and ‘erotic’ content, then perhaps you shouldn’t read on…

Okay…now that I have the attention of those that can handle a bit of spice, this week I’m gonna talk about the words writers use to describe certain body parts that cost a fortune to cover up (I really think underwear shops are way too pricey for the little bit of cloth you end up getting for your money).

Over the years romantic writers have been accused of being way too creative when it comes to describing male and female genitalia. So what do you call your characters bits and pieces in your own writing? What’s acceptable? What’s not?

Remember, each character will have their own language, background and culture, so the descriptions you use will naturally have to fit in with the characters and what the prose style can handle. What I talk about here in this article is a generalization only.

So let’s start with the male, shall we?

First there’s the correct term ‘penis’. Yep, penis. Sounds okay? Well, say it three times and see. There. Now you know it’s a terrible word, isn’t it? It sounds so nasally and quite frankly…wimpy.

Imagine (if you’ll bear with me for a moment) that your perfect lover has come into your bedroom late at night. He’s naked and ready to give you his undivided attention *nudge nudge wink wink* He’s a man that’s all rippling muscles and no talk, just the way you like it. As he looks down at you, his smile is inviting and his eyes are deep and soulful. He reaches out to grab you with his strong hands. You’re all his, utterly and completely…Then you look down. There it is, magnificent and oh, so ready…his penis. Say what? What a silly little word to be putting in such a deeply emotional moment. Surely, there’s got to be a better word?

So how about ‘prick’ then? Well, following that logic, you’ll probably be writing something like: “He pierced me with his prick.” No. Not romantic at all. Sure it’s animalistic and may be appropriate for some scenes. But not for the one I’ve created above.

We need a word that’s powerful and masculine, yet not corny or makes you want to burst out in laughter. Laughing at your man who’s in the mood for love is not good for his ego or other parts of him…trust me on that one. Also, words like ‘wang’ or ‘schlong’ or ‘love stick’ are to be avoided at all costs, especially in a romantic scene. They evoke all the wrong things. Period. I mean, it’s almost like when a man names his own dick and then says so at an intimate moment. Imagine him saying: “My big Johnny wants to get all wet and warm, Baby.” LOL That’s seriously wrong and not exactly a turn on, is it?

I think in this case ‘cock’ would fit as the word to describe his penis. It’s short, sharp, sexy and describes exactly what you want without being overly so.

So how about the ladies then?

You know, I really feel it’s more difficult to find the right word for the vagina. To find a word that sounds sensual, sexy, feminine and again doesn’t make you want to roar with laughter as soon as they are spoken isn’t easy. Nothing makes me giggle more than a woman saying “Oh give it to me right in my snatch.” Besides sounding absolutely crass it would really make me laugh and therefore kill any mood that may have been built up at that point in time.

The real word ‘Vagina’ is too clinical, in my opinion. It’s the word you whisper to your doctor when you need to tell him/her something personal about ‘down there.’ In fact, it’s a word that’s only ever been used if it’s absolutely necessary.

So how about ‘pussy’? Well, that could work. It’s a word that’s used more often than not in most cases. I mean, it does conjure up warmth and softness and is quite feminine, which is what’s required for sensual scenes between lovers.

But is it the right word? Are any of the words I have mentioned right? Sometimes finding the right word is a matter of discovering which one works for your writing at the time of it being written. An 18th century lord/lady would use different terminology than a 21st century blue collar worker for example. Just remember, avoid purple prose if you can.

So whether you like to write about the naughty bits or not, one day you’re going to have to describe them, especially in the romance genre. In my opinion that’s when the fun begins. Experiment. Have fun. That’s what it’s all about anyway.

Thanks for listening to me dribble on. I’ll talk to you all next time.

*hugs*

Mark Alders.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

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Happy Irish Day, Everyone! I wanted to dedicate my blog day to the Irish everywhere and celebrate their rich history! Enjoy!

Blarney Stone
Blarney stone The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence. The legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly. It's difficult reach the stone. Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward or downward, holding iron bars for support.


St. Patrick's Day Pinch
School children have started a little tradition of their own. They pinch classmates who don't wear green on this holiday. Wearing green is strictly a U.S. custom, as the color green is not popular in Ireland. Green is connected to the old green flag and a time when Ireland was not free. Green is also a color connected with hope and nature.


Toasts
Here's to absent friends and here's twice to absent enemies.

Here's to the light heart and the heavy hand.

Thirst is a shameless disease so here's to a shameful cure.

Here's to a wet night and a dry morning.

May we always have a clean shirt, a clean conscience, and a bob in the pocket.

May you be across Heaven's threshold before the old boy knows you're dead.


Superstitions
Moon, moon tell unto me,
When my true love I shall see?

What fine clothes am I to wear?
How many children will I bear?

For if my love comes not to me,
Dark and dismal my life will be.


This verse, recited by a maiden as she gathered special herbs by the light of the first full moon of the new year, could reveal a future husband and cause the girl to have a true dream about the man--if she first complied with certain requirements. With a black-handled knife she had to cut out three pieces of earth, bring them home, tie them in her left stocking, and secure the bundle with her right garter. The completed package then had to be placed upon her pillow.


When yawning, make the sign of the cross instantly over your mouth, or the evil spirit will make a rush down and take up his abode with you.


It is unlucky to offer your right hand in salutation, for thee is an old say, "A curse with the left hand to those we hate, but the right hand to those we honor."


If the palm of your hand itches you will be getting money; if the elbow, you will be changing beds.


Breaking a mirror brought seven years of bad luck, while two people washing hands in the same basin at the same time courted disaster.



Sayings
A man that can't laugh at himself should be given a mirror.

A man takes a drink; the drink takes a drink; the drink takes the man.

A narrow neck keeps the bottle from being emptied in one swig.

Morning is the time to pity the sober. The way they're feeling then is the best they're going to feel all day.

You can lead the horse to the well, but you can't make him drink.

Better the coldness of a friend than the sweetness of an enemy.

Be nice to them on the way up. You might meet them all on the way down.

If a man fools me once, shame on him. If he fools me twice, shame on me.

Let your anger set the sun and not rise again with it.



Irish Humor
What do you call an Irishman who knows how to control his wife?
A bachelor.


***


Definition of an Irish husband:
He hasn't kissed his wife for twenty years, but he will kill any man who does.


***

Courtship is a time during which the girl decides whether she can do better or not.

***

Dinny was standing in the street the other day when an English chap came up to him and said,
"I say old chap, could you show me the way to the nearest boozer?"
Says Dinny, hopefully,
You're looking at him."


***

An Irishman who had a little to much to drink is driving home from the city one night and, of course, his car is weaving violently all over the road. A cop pulls him over.

"So," says the cop to the driver, "where have you been?"

"Why, I've been to the pub of course" slurs the drunk.

"Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening".

"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.

"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms across his chest, "that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"

"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."


Irish Coffee

Mmmmmmmmmmmm.......how about an Irish nightcap?


1 shot Irish Whiskey
1 tbsp Sugar
6 oz. Coffee
Whipped Cream for garnish


Pre-warm a stemmed glass. Add the whiskey.
Add the sugar and stir in the coffee.
Float the whipped cream on top.
Drink the coffee through the cream.
Do not stir after adding the cream.

I'd like to thank the folks at Marvelicious St. Patrick's Day Page for all the cool St. Patty's day information!

Marvelicious St. Patty's Day Page

May you find a four-leaf clover and a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow today!
~Blessings and Happy Reading!
Alisha Paige

Monday, March 16, 2009

10 Reasons Why I’ll Always be a Writer

10. It makes it okay to have voices in my head. :D Yeah, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. We writers like it, mainly because it’s true. We take our characters with us wherever we go. We mull them over in our minds while we shop, run errands, cook, clean, etc.

9. It’s very therapeutic to me. When life gives me crap, I can take it out on my characters. Not saying that I’m not crabby sometimes, I am, I admit it. But, if I’m in a bad mood, as long as I’m left alone to my writing, only my characters need to suffer. :D

8. The hours are great! That is, if you are lucky enough to make your living as an author. Now, I can’t speak for everyone. This is just for me, but I can write when I want to and not write when I don’t feel like it. If I have a migraine one day, I can take the day off and not have to worry about it. I can make up the lost time another day.

7. It’s something ingrained in me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Not just stories, but I’ve written poems and non-fiction, as well. When I was in grade school, I can remember writing small articles for the local newspaper at the request of my teacher and principal. They weren’t much, just little paragraph or two articles about what was happening in our small school. There were other things as well. We had a small newspaper (if you can call it that) that one of the teachers had us write stories, poems, or whatever we felt like. I really enjoyed doing this. In high school, there were more opportunities for writing. I took creative writing classes, and absolutely loved them. I was also on the yearbook staff. That was a blast!! Anyway, the point it, I’ve always written, and I always will.

6. I don’t have to get dressed. I can even stay in bed, if I want to. Just pull out the old laptop and type away. Pajamas are the most comfortable uniform ever!

5. I’m not stuck in a cubicle. I can write anywhere, anytime. I can write at home, in bed, at the park, in my car, at Starbucks, etc, etc, etc. You get the idea. Scenery change is nice, not just in books!

4. It’s my excuse to be on Romance Divas practically 24 hours a day. LOL, well okay, I do sleep sometimes. And work pulls me away, but I do spend an awful lot of time there. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

3. I meet a lot of great friends. I’ve made a ton of friends online in various writing groups, social networking sites, and just all over the net. Lots of readers and writers! It’s so great getting to know people from all over the world. I love it!

2. I can’t not write. I’ve done it, for long periods of time, but I always come back to it. No matter what happens, I can never give it up completely. Life always manages to get in the way and stops my writing in its tracks, but regardless, I always return to it. Hopefully, I’ll never have to go through the not writing phase again, but that’s just a pipe dream. Even if it’s just for a few weeks or months, we all have spells of not writing. I just try to read more or work on editing, if I can during those “off times”.

1. I get to kill people (and it’s legal)!! Come on, you know you’d like that, too. We all get aggravated at people, nothing new there. But, sometimes we get so angry, we want to strangle someone. Well, I can. I can turn them into a character and do it, fictionally, of course. Now, I’m not saying I’d use someone I know in a book and kill them off (not saying I wouldn’t either), but it makes you feel better even if it’s just for yourself. Word of caution, if you are going to use them in your book, make sure you make them unrecognizable. Don’t want to be getting sued by someone who recognizes themselves as your victim.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Writing Organically

It seems nowadays you can't watch television, read a magazine or shop in a grocery store without seeing the words "organic" plastered in the typeface of ads. Personally, I like the organic products in my local store. Being able to pick up a package and recognize every ingredient is comforting in the age of fillers and preservatives. Simple, fresh and real tastes pretty damn good if you ask me. So, how do we apply this same back-to-basics approach to food to our writing? Glad you asked.

It might, at first, seem like a wide divide between the two topics, but not if you look at the growth of a story from that first kernel of an idea to its final product. We writers start with a few little seeds and sprinkle liberal amounts of love and concern. We talk to our characters to nurture growth. We weed out the bad parts. Apply fertilizer where appropriate. All this helps to let the story build naturally to its conclusion.

Pushed characters and situations never flourish. An editor or agent will look at the plot points and know on sight that the writer manipulated the prose to do what they wanted, not what the story demanded, or characters needed. We've all read books where we've come across a situation we consider unbelievable in the context of what we know about the character because of what's come before. That kind of red flag is a signpost that the writer didn't let the story grow naturally, that the actions of the characters were forced.

Writing organically is easy to do if you listen to the rhythm of the story, the natural progression of the characters' growth.

-Kate

Saturday, March 14, 2009

TreSart L.Sioux...sexy, hot...wicked. Read on.

TreSart L.Sioux is an author of seven published books through Renaissance. She also has two short stories that will be for sale in April along with a story in the upcoming Swing! book. She is currently working on three new books that will be released this year.

TreSart also has been creating non-erotic articles for future publication. Her other passion is her art. The mediums ranges from pen and ink to sculptures. You can find TreSart here: http://www.angelfire.com/art3/eroticatre and http://www.angelfire.com/movies/artist

I Hardly Knew You: A Tale of Lesbian Lycanthropy


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Starting with a scene of violent, passionate sex between two women who are strangers to each other, this amazing novella quickly moves into scenes of sapphic lycanthropy that vividly delineate how little we know of the other in relationships, and the way love makes us consume the object of our "affection".







Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE
* * * * *
The sun was setting as I traveled along the isolated road.
Winding higher into the mountains.
What was I doing? I had just met this woman at the local lesbian watering hole, and now had agreed to spend the night with her, way out in the boonies.
Also, what was up with the motel name? Sunset Falling? Guess it wasn't your local Motel 6.
What was even stranger was the name of the bar we met at. Sunset Rising.
A connection? Freak accident?
Hell, I don't know. What I did know was something wasn't right, but my sexual needs and desires took over.
* * * * *
By the time I reached the roach infested place, my eyes were tired from an excruciating day at work.
My legs were weak from the long drive, but there was part of me that was awake...fully awake.
The desire to be fucked by someone I hardly knew.
* * * * *
You ever have one of those moments that you just don't care anymore?
Man, I had plenty of them, but seemed to tip my head above water, avoiding the horrific drown of every day life.
Still, I wanted more.
I expected more.
Deserved.
Hmm, ask and you shall receive.
I arrived at the motel.
Tree frogs sang in the distance as I walked into the dusty lobby.
An old man puffed on his blunted cigar stared at me intently as I signed in.
"She's in room 5."
"Pardon me?"
He grinned, displaying minimal teeth.
"I said, she's in room 5."
"How the hell do you even know who I'm looking for?"
"Trust me, we always know."
I stood for a second in shock. Beads of sweat slid down his face, finding a resting home in the many wrinkles from heavy smoking.
His shaking hand held out the key. Quickly I snatched and headed towards the rancid room.
Seedy motel: sluttish bitch.
Pure Heaven.
Pure Hell.
The key easily slid in, along with the creak from the door.
"Welcome."
Her voice was inviting and soft.
I could see her silhouette as the sun finally went to sleep.
The full moon rose and shined brightly. Awake and ready.
"Do you mind if I turn a light on?"
I reached for a lamp, her hand shot out, stopping me.
"Not now. Let me feel your energy. Feel all around, make sure you are the one."
Okay, a little strange, but I hadn't traveled so long for nothing.
"I'm the one."


Buy link: http//shop.renebooks.com/

You can read TreSart L.Sioux's books at http://www.renebooks.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dull words per page keep the readers away.

Have you ever picked up a book that you could not put down? And while you’re still reading the book, you are already planning on buying the authors previously published books?


After publishing two books and selling four more, one would think I now know how to avoid using dull words for my stories. I wish.


Right now, the book I am writing is deader than a doornail. My verbs aren’t leaping the way they should be. In short—boring. I suppose writing with vague verbs is a common writing fault. So what should a writer do to keep their stories from going flat?


Frustrated, I started rummaging through my old writing, notes, and comments my English instructor gave me. I found my scribbles about active and descriptive verbs—the handholds. Words that change dull words to something interesting. Goodie! I thought. But reading about finding the verbs (you know the one that convey the action performed by subject) I nearly fell asleep. I already know about the stinking verbs. But do I really? If I did, my story wouldn’t be so boring and my characters would be clearly described.


While reading, something occurred to me. Maybe even seasoned authors go over their books looking for dull verbs and changing them into leaping action ones. Seasoned authors must have nailed the use of verbs that’s why they write fantastic stories. It may sound basic but verbs are the colorful icing on the white cake. It helps liven up stories. LOL. You must be thinking, “Geez, Tierney. We already know that.” Well, in that case, good for you. But to those of us who have a bad habit of using dull verbs, we need this reminder and perhaps a little help.


So if you are like me, share a line/s in your book that you think is dull. Leave it in the comments box. Hopefully, readers, authors, editors, or everyone who happens to visit will show us how to change the line/s into a colorful one. Or share how you change your vague lines to a more interesting one. Share! :D

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hey there all,

I’m so glad to be a part of the “Wicked Thorn and Roses” blog. But what does that mean? Well, let’s break it down, shall we? According to dictionary.com ‘wicked’ means:

wick⋅ed /ˈwɪkɪd/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [wik-id] adjective, -er, -est, adverb
1. evil or morally bad in principle or practice
2. mischievous or playfully malicious
3. slang: wonderful; great; masterful; deeply satisfying.

I think wicked can mean so much more than what the dictionary states, especially when it comes to writing and being an author. That feeling I get when I’ve placed down a choice word or phrase, or I’ve completed a manuscript, ready to send out into the big wide world is wicked. I think wicked can cover that sort feeling and so much more.

When characters I’ve created come to life, take over and have thoughts and dreams and hopes and love just like they are really living it is amazing. That’s why I love writing so much. I can create anything, go anywhere, and above all, put my characters under so much that I become compelled by how they react and concerned with how their story will end.

So yes, I am a ‘wicked’ writer and pleased to be a part of the Wicked Thorn and Roses blog. My writing centres around the fantasy and sci-fi genres, with a male/male twist…well, okay, there’s plenty of male/male action, you got me on that! Lol But the true essence of what my stories are about is the character. How the character reacts or doesn’t in some cases is paramount for any writing in my opinion.

So what does the ‘Thorn and the Roses’ part mean? Well, that’s simple really.. I’m the thorn (being the male, of course…although one would hope ‘thorn’ didn’t relate to a certain body part. Mine’s waaaayyyy bigger than that *grin*) and the five other authors I share this blog with are the beautiful roses, always in bloom. Naturally.

Anyway, enough of me blathering about what I write. Why not see for yourself. Comment on my post and you could have a chance of winning a free copy of my latest release “Call of the Hunted.” Yep…you heard, for free!

Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you all next time.
*hugs*
Mark Alders.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hounding the Pavement!



The local pet store had a Saint Bernard for sale for a long time. I have wanted a dog of this breed for years. Even if the dog didn't have such a hefty price tag, I wouldn't have been able to get him anyway. The kids and I would go over to visit with him every time we were shopping in the area of the store. He was just so darned cute! One day he was gone and I just hope he went to a good home.


I recently met Judi McCoy and heard about her Hounding the Pavement series. For the first book, all of her royalties are going to the Best Friends program. I thought it was wonderful so I got to interview Judi so I could share it with everyone I could!



Blurb for Hounding the Pavement:


The newest dog-walker on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has a talent—she can hear what her canine clientele is thinking. So when a dog’s owner turns up dead, Ellie must bone up on her sleuthing—and perk up her ears to find a killer.


Me: Can you tell us about your charity for Best Friends?


Judi McCoy: Best Friends is located in Kanab, UT. They are the largest no-kill shelter in the US. They also run a television series called Dogtown (Friday nights after the Dog Whisperer) They recently accepted 22 of Michael Vicks pit bulls for rehab and adoption. All animals they accept live on the ranch for the rest of their lives (if not adopted out) they are generous, giving, and wonderful.

Me: The characters in Hounding the Pavement seem dear to your heart. Why are they so special to you?

Judi McCoy: Rudy is MY boy. I wrote the books with him in mind because I knew he was getting older and didn’t want him to be forgotten. He passed away in January, and I’ve cried every day since. But one thing good did happen. The day after Rudy passed I received word that Publisher’s Weekly gave Hounding the Pavement a STARRED review. I’m confident my boy is in doggie heaven, making all the good things that I receive in my writing career happen.

Me: How did you come up with the idea for the Dog Walker series?

Judi McCoy: Actually, my agent called one day and said she thought it was time I did ‘something different.’ I told her I’d always wanted to write about a dog walker who communicated with her animals and she suggested the mystery series (instead of a single title) I had a long talk with my sister Nancy and we decided I had to do it.

Me: When you are not busy writing, what do you enjoy doing?

Judi McCoy: In the past, I’ve judged women’s gymnastics, but it’s become too time consuming. This year is retesting, something I dread, so I decided to hang up my judging clipboard and dive into the dog walker series fully. I also raise orchids, play bridge, and I teach writing at a few venues around the US during the year.But the dog walker books are my main concern.

Me: Where can readers find more information on Hounding the Pavement or any of your other books?

Judi McCoy: I have a gorgeous new website: http://www.judimccoy.com/ and it tells all about Best Friends plus gives excerpts from my past books. Rudy writes a blog and there’s a contest running. It’s very cute and informative.


Me: Thank you, Judi, so much for telling us about Hounding the Pavement and Best Friends.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Slang and Urban Speak...Gotta Love it!


I came across a very cool website while incorporating slang into my latest novel. Okay, grab your pen, all you writers out there. You'll want to save this page as a favorite and make sure you sign up to get the Slang Word of the Day..snicker. Feels like the joke of the day to me. Some of the craziest words and phrases are added to this website daily. Anyone can add a word. It's a great place to get the latest, trendy speak.

http://www.urbandictionary.com

Urban Dictionary Direct Link

Here's some of this week's words. Enjoy!
Happy Reading and Writing! ~ Alisha


inbox rot
~ To neither accept, nor decline a friend request from someone on Facebook or Myspace. Used in situations when you don't want to accept someone's friend request, but you also don't want to be rude by declining them.
Dude, that asshole friend of my girlfriend just sent me a friend request on Facebook. He's getting the inbox rot.



Flee-Mail ~ E-Mail typically used at work to get out of work or justify absences.
Typical Flee-Mail sent at work: "I have a (Doctor, Dentist, etc) appointment", "I'll be out of the office on (Vac, Personal day, Sick Leave, etc", "I'm taking a Late Lunch.." "I'll be leaving the office due to a personal emergency, etc..."


Strand-up comedy ~ The way one's hair can look first thing in the morning, sticking straight up in all directions.
When Bob woke up this morning, his hair looked like a strand-up comedy.


sexsuade
~ To convince someone to agree to, accept, or do something, usually by using the promise of sex (explicit or implicit) or by withholding sex until you get your way.
Girl 1: My bf won't take me out to dinner.
Girl 2: You need to sexsuade that man!


dejabrew~ Much like deja vu dejabrew is when you start to remember things you did last night while drinking an excessive amount of beer.
I remember now standing on the bar stool pissing into my beer mug while laughing at anything and everything. Oh my God, dejabrew! I won't ever be able to face those people again.


I-Peeper
~ eye-peeper(noun); a person, usually in the workplace, who looks at someone's IPOD screen to see what it is they are listening to and then comments on it, or uses that information later for some other purpose.

"Joe I-peeped me yesterday when I was listening to Black Sabbath, and then during lunch, joked to my boss that I listen to 'the devil's music'".

"Hey, I don't mean to be an I-Peeper but I see we have a mutual Clay Aiken thing going on."


Cheat Chain ~ When one kid copies answers from a smart kid in class, then another kid copies from him/her, and the someone copies off the kid who copied off the kid who copied from the smart kid, etc.

Eventually having everyone in the cheat chain having the smart kids answers, ideal for desks set in rows.
I'm really glad we organized that cheat chain on Friday, I actually have a chance of not failing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Star Struck in Blogland

Have you ever chatted with one of your favorite authors online?


Sweaty palms, lump in your throat, the urge to run and tell every person you know (and some you don’t) that you were lucky enough to chat (ok, online, but still) with one of your all time favorite authors. Have you ever experienced this? I have.


Recently, on a message board I’m a member of, a new author was excited that one of her favorites had left a comment on her blog. How exciting! She was, of course, thrilled. Who can blame her? I was the same way when I had my experience.


Last year, I had started another blog with a couple of other authors. Trying to build it into something that readers would enjoy, we promoted it and asked other authors to guest blog and/or give away copies of their books for our contest. I sent out notices to all my friends on Facebook, MySpace, etc, trying to drum up some prizes. When I received a response from one of my favorite authors, I was thrilled. Seriously, dancing through the house, screaming with elation, big, fat grin on my face thrilled. This was a NY published author of a series that I’d read and really enjoyed. Anticipation and excitement filled me as I dug out a copy of her paperback from my many shelves of books. I carried it with me, showing everyone I knew. I’d spoken with her and she’d agreed to give away copies of her books for my blog. MY BLOG! Ok, yeah, so I was star-struck. I admit it, I’m not ashamed.


Just reading the excitement in my friend’s message brought a smile to my face. Ahhh, yes. Been there. It’s a fond memory I’ll never forget. I’m sure she won’t, either.


One of these days, maybe that will be one of us. Some new author might be excited to see our comment on her blog. Wouldn’t that be exciting? Of course, how would we know? I guess if you get big enough, you just know. :D But, it’s something to strive for. When someone asks me what my goals are, I’m going to have to tell them that I hope someday to make a new author excited that I posted on their blog. I think that’s a good goal to reach for.


So, how about you? Have you ever been star-struck by the opportunity to speak to one of your favorite authors? Share your stories with me. I’d love to hear them!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Frantic State of Being

Open with a bang.

That's what I always say. Now, whether that is an actual bang from gunshot, explosion or door slamming really doesn't matter, I like to come in shooting. Literary speaking of course, I myself am scared to death of guns, even though I have shot one.

I've written books-several-where my hero or heroine are pinned down by gunfire, being chased by armed men, or in the midst of a bad landing in a hostile atmosphere in the first line of the book. My characters are truly tortured in the worst sense of the word.

Take my latest romantic suspense for instance. My poor heroine wakes in a hospital with no knowledge of the accident that landed her there, being told by plain-clothes police that her soon-to-be ex-husband was in the car and killed in said accident. Really now. That's quite the shocker to wake up to. But instead of having the old cliched heroine who can't remember her name or her reason for being with Mr. Ex in the first place, I have narrowed the memory loss to the few days before the collision. Thus the mystery begins.

This is what I call an emotional bang. Instead of starting out of the block with the car hitting the brick wall, I moved the action to the pinpoint of light she sees when first opening her eyes. The reader then gets to journey with her and her quest to fit the peices of the puzzle together. A much more interesting take than to spoon-feed the reader the information beforehand. (I'm not a big fan of spoon-feeding, if you haven't guessed.)

The problem comes about when trying to sustain the action at a high level throughout the manuscript. And what about the love scenes? The developing relationship between hero and heroine? All must move along in a reasonable fashion, while not bogging down the action, or dragging the plot down.

Not an easy task.

Well, I've managed to successfully do this in sci-fi and futuristic novellas for some reason. Why then, moving the time period to the present and setting the New Jersey Pine Barrens instead of a space battle outside a station light-years away, is it so difficult?

My characters are universal in emotion and experience. Not saying they are all the same, but there are certain hallmarks of the human experience that are universally recognized. Depending on the culture, these things may change in order of importance, but are usually found on the list of needs. (Remember Maslov?)The way the characters go about obtaining or fulfilling the needs can add to the action and keep the plot from bogging down.

So, the big bang opening gets to ripple out like a pebble on a pond. The physical danger bleeds into the emotional and sexual danger. The characters are poised on a knife's edge wondering whether they are going to be alive to see the sunrise, or die in a hail of bullets tonight. And all the while wanting each other with a desperation that keeps the tension high.

Oh, yeah. I believe in opening with a bang- and keeping my characters guessing as to what peril I'm going to place them in next. What about you?

-Kat
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