Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting to know new characters

Some days I know what to write. The words flow and it's easy to get out 2k in an hour. And then there are days like today where I just stare at the blank page. I know what it is... I'm starting a new project which means new characters. And I'm lost. I'm circling around and around, searching for those words I need but I just can't grasp a single one I like.

Part of it is research. I love it, but it's hard at times to know what to focus on when there's so much out there. For instance, I need to write about Greece. I don't know where to start. I have an idea but no real inklings. I know where the story will somewhat go, but until then, I need to get to know my new characters.

I'm thinking about interviewing Adrianna. Why? Just to pull something out of her. I've done it in the past, albeit, they were already characters with substance and had lived in my head for years. This character, she's new. So sparkling that it hurts just to think about her possibilities.

I know one thing for sure. She's mute. I need help because I don't think even I understand what I'm getting myself into.

So how do you deal with a new character? Do you sit down and chat with them? Interview? Do you do 20 page character sheets? Or do you let the character just come naturally as they will? How do you get to know them?

Friday, November 27, 2009

What I've learned this week...

...is that when you're at a past life workshop and everyone in the room is out of it... and the moderator begins to bring you out, and she touches your knee, to open your eyes because otherwise people will think you are in a living coma.

Ok so let me explain. I went to a past life workshop. I'm always interested in things like that (I won't get into my beliefs, this isn't the place to do so), so four of us decided we wanted to go and see what it was like. The woman was incredibly interesting. Not just everything she's done, but just who she is now. I would go back for more workshops.

So we went to this past life one and dimming the lights, putting on some white noise, she told us to close our eyes. It was like meditation, except you're picturing yourself going down a staircase and in fog... and going toward the moon or sun. Anyway, you're supposed to see a past life or have some vague idea. I'm not sure what I saw or what I believe. My mind's all over the place. I'm not sure how long we did it for. Just in the dark, eyes closed... picturing things. But anyway, it went on for a good bit of time.

And then she began to bring us back. Well, me being me (I'd make a GREAT cult follower because of it), kept my eyes closed. Why? She didn't say TO OPEN OUR EYES. All the way through, it was so instructive. Every step was drawn out for us. So I was waiting for that moment. I heard her snapping her fingers in front of others... felt her touch my knee. Still I kept my eyes closed. I mean come on, I figured that touch was just a sign to be coming back... and I didn't want to open my eyes and be the only one to. So I kept them closed. She kept on going on about coming out, moving figners, moving shoulders (And I could have sworn I did!). Apparently she was getting worried at this point and everyone was staring my way... and they were all looking for movement that I didn't give but thought I did. And then she pressed two fingers on my knees... followed by to my shoulders. When she said open your eyes... THEN I opened them. To see everyone watching me.

Embarassed? Yes that would be me. SO in other news... if you're evern in the same situation, open your eyes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nano realizations

Today I got to 50k. I've always enjoyed doing Nanowrimo and the adrenaline to punch out the words. I'll admit it's probably not all good. I'll be rewriting and changing things. But it's still 50k more than I started out with 20 days ago. I realized things along the way.

a. I am capable of shutting off that internal editor. The past week, I've been cranking out at least 4k a day. How? I shut it off. Using write or die, I completely shut that inner voice off and simply wrote. That's all. Crap? Some of it is. But there's potential and that's all I really wanted. The potential to be able to turn it into something worthy of reading.

b. write-ins are great for brainstorming. although it may not be quite as effective for getting in the words, major ideas pop up.

c. writing in order is like plotting and means instant blockage. Writing out of order is how I get things done.

This is why I love Nano. Yes, I may not have a full book (mine are usually longer than 50k), yes my scenes are all over the map, but I still end up with so many ideas and knowing more where it's headed than when I first started. I knew the major points, but Nano helped me to get there. And for me, that's a major win. :D

Monday, November 16, 2009

New release!

A Love Neverending
By Rowan Larke

Death took Jason from Clarissa, and she blames herself. Night after night, she throws herself into the arms of other men—men who abuse and pleasure her, but never take her far enough. She is waiting for the one who will take her over the edge and into death, so she can be reunited with Jason.

Death didn’t take Jason far enough. Every night, Jason watches. His immortal self is trapped inside the club Clarissa owns, and he longs to be with her once more.

Death is a dark angel. A handsome man. The promise of violence in his eyes draws Clarissa to him. Will a single night in bed with Death be all it takes to destroy Jason and Clarissa’s love neverending, or will it be just the beginning?



Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and content, violence, voyeurism.

(Authors note: This book also contains hot angels who sometimes do bad and/or dirty things.)

Buy it now at Loose-Id

Plot bunnies and new shinies

Nano count 33k

Ever get an idea that comes to you and you just get so excited that you're a bundle of energy/nerves all day? Yesterday was one of those days for me. An idea for a trilogy came along... whispering in my ear. What was I doing when I got this snippet? Watching the History channel. It was doomsday Sunday or something, talking about the Apocalypse and all the signs.

And although my idea has nothing to do with this, it still inspired a what if... and oooh that could be good. Only problem? It's time sensitive. As in... it needs to be done like pronto Toto. So after nano, I'll jump right in. I'll still work on my other projects, they can't avoid me that easily. I'll need to put down Fatal Temptations for a bit anyway to let it simmer.

I know many authors reccommend doing this, putting it down for at least a month. So I'll do that and work on this new idea.

But it does make me wonder some days how I get these thoughts. I mean, for the longest while it seemed as though the random thought would get through but nothing would stick. Lately my muse has been in overtime, doubling its efforts to pump out something that would resemble something interesting. Not that I'm complaining. At all. Indeed...

Those plot bunnies can come around whenever they want if they give me ideas like these...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A confession...

One thing about life is that you have to expect the unexpected. You have to expect that things aren't going to happen as you want them to and that you'll run up against roadblocks. I have faced one of these hurdles and instead of leaping with the agility of a gymnast, I've landed on my face.

You see, my wordcount for Nanowrimo has dropped. You may have remembered my deluded determination to write 100k. I've conceded that I may have been a bit foolish thinking I could. It's good to be determined but life happens.

50k, will be written but not 100k. I'm already at 27k, so a bit past half done but 100k will not be in the cards. I haven't given up, but I'm no where near where I need to be. High hopes clashed with reality and I was spun around. Delusions happen and I'm not quite sure what I was thinking. I wanted to push myself past my limits but at this point in time, I've realized that it just doesn't always work that way.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New release!- War Flesh by Kim Knox



Fina Brodie is warflesh. Enhanced by her government to bring ultimate pleasure, her negotiation skills secure anything her superiors want. The choice of pleasure she offers has always been hers. Until now. She’s not meeting Kian, Lord of the Tir, to negotiate for their mysterious spice-water. She’s payment.



And she’s not alone in bringing pleasure to the mysterious Tir leader. The man Kian has chosen to join them in the very sexual, very public spring festival has long headed her “never ever” list. Add the spice-water, which is rocket fuel to her already highly evolved libido, and it makes her reactions to Jonathon Raegh all the more dangerous.



But the Tir have a hidden agenda, and as the aphrodisiac qualities of the spice-water ignite long-suppressed lusts, all is revealed to Kian, Fina and Jon in the heat and passion of the arena.



Reader Advisory: Let there be no confusion. The spring festival is a sexual feast between two incredibly sexy men and one very lucky woman. Get the ice water ready!



Excerpt and buy link

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What do I know?

I'm always in a constant war with myself. I think with a scientific mind... I need to see the science of something. I mean I do have a joint degree in biology, but I digress. I'm a science-anthro article whore. I am always curious about the world we live in... maybe not the politics of it, but the hows and the whys. Problem with this... is that it is way too easy for ideas to come to me.

Problem #2, science is always changing. Therefore, my ideas are always changing. Evolving. I need to stick with an idea and ignore the fact that life and our knowledge is always changing. But that isn't always simple.

This also reflects in my writing because I'll admit that I often am so focused on what is currently thought that I forget to just tell the story and not worry on those little details that probably only a handful of readers would know. You know?

Fatal Visions for instance, is a story of my heart but bless its little plot, it's evolved so many times that in the beginning it was about a virus that gave telepathy... a virus found from Neandertal bones (because it was my theory in highschool that that was how they communicated). I thought that Neandertals were alive in what some would claim are Big Foots or Zetis... Abominable Snowmen, Skunk Apes, etc. And that reflected in my work. Do I still believe this? I don't know but my story has evolved past it into something entirely different and unrecognizable to that first seed of a thought.

My point to this is that things are always changing, no matter what. There will always be something out there. Ideas don't have to change because science has per say... or at least it shouldn't be the focus of it. A story shouldn't have to lose what it was once because of changing marketing trends or something like science. Just keep plugging at it. And that's something that I need to remind myself.

A few articles of interest that I've read today:

Meet the Ancestors

Who Killed the Honeybees? We Did
The Man Who Discovered What Killed the Dinosaurs

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting it down.

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” William Faulkner

This has been my mindframe I think pretty much the last few weeks. Or at least, it feels that way. I've been stressing to get to a certain wordcount by Oct 31, just before Nano and between editing and writing the short, I feel like I'm just trying to get anything out to make that count. Well, some is good. There's some moments I smirk at what I've written but there are still a few scenes where I just slap a hand to my forehead and wonder what I was thinking.

You know?

I know that they will change. That's what edits are for. I'm not perfect. I don't have any delusions that I'll get it right the first time round. And yes, I do have areas where I've placed "ADD ACTION HERE" in certain scenes, but I know that I'll get back to it. I just need to get things down... an outline of sorts. If I don't get it down, it won't get done. I'll either forget or... whatever. So I'm getting it all out on paper.

As much as I might sneer at some of the words written, at least I know it's down and it can be changed later. As is a famous quote, you can't edit a blank page.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Diva Release!



The Forbidden Chamber, from Samhain Publishing, Available today.

“Your life is forfeit if you open that door.”

All her life, Lady Isabel Colven has followed the path laid out for her, content to look neither left nor right for excitement. Her future holds a dutiful, passionless marriage to some nice young man, and she’s content…until the exotic and compelling Lord Rukh Hayle threatens her maidenly reserve. Rumor paints him as a wife-murderer; desire tempts her to look past his aura of danger.

Rukh refuses to let his family’s curse kill a third bride, but Isabel awakens the Raven within him, compels him to take her to wife—and to bed—despite the secrets that live under his skin. That lie is locked in the darkest corners of the manor, waiting to be unleashed. Their lusty union arouses the curse, entangling Isabel in an erotic tug of war that can only end in her destruction. There is no escape for either of them. Not from his family’s shadowy history. Not from demons imagined and real. And not from the choice Rukh faces to save his bride from a fate worse than death…

Warning: This gothic contains heady kisses that lead to ruin, passionate sex on a desk chair, a mysterious husband who may be a murderer, a cursed family of raven shifters, and an unspeakable evil hidden in the closet.



Read the excerpt.
The Forbidden Chamber is available from Samhain at MBaM.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New ideas that are old ideas...

They say that there are no original ideas anymore. Everything is reused...over and over again. It's the spin you put on it and your characters that make something that's been used before new/different. I have a confession to make: this is one of my worse fears. You see, one thing that held me back in the past was this fact. I would think my idea is my own... until I read something or watch a show that is similar. What do I do then? Rewrite. It was my answer to it everytime, as though that would change things and this new idea would be different... only to find more similarities.

I still worry about this. But at the same time, I know that it can't be changed much. There will always be something that rings like your idea. For instance, I'm writing a Halloween Full Free Read for Excerpt Monday (due to be posted on Monday) and although I knew my idea wasn't original (I mean it's a time travel idea), there are always similarities like Quantum Leap (which I had never watched or heard of really), and Sliders.

But this is an idea I'm excited about and really want to write. Sure, I could scrap it like my 3 other attempts at a short, but you know what?, I like this idea and it'll be the particular storyline/characters that will make the idea of going back in time and not being able to go back to their own time different. Now, I just have to finish it. Time is running out! Eeks.

Guess I must get to it! How do you handle ideas that are similar to yours? Do you abandon at will or try to twist it in some way?

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I've learned...

I've been writing for about a decade now, although I haven't been serious until just recently. I'll admit that it was more of a hobby than anything, a dream that I always found an excuse not to fulfill or try to do. Those excuses have included: well the plot sucks so it needs to be rewritten from scratch (4x), characters don't have depth so it needs to be rewritten (2x), I don't have the time (ok granted doing school plus writing seriously was out. I couldn't go to school, work then find time to write. There was no time). These were just some of them.

What changed? Events shifted in my life and made my dream reachable, even thought I know I will still have to edit more and probably send out over 100 queries. But that dream of being a writer, of one day holding that book in my hand, each word written, each sentence edited... each query sent, brings me that much closer to that dream.

I'm still learning. But I've learned a lot. I've realized that I'm a pantser. Plotting blocks me and I just...can't...get through. Where I used to think that I could only write at night, I've found through a goals group I'm in that I can write during the day. My muse, is finicky but I can make it work. Those characters that I thought were flat? I feel as though they are more alive and that I can flesh them out. Yes, I may still have issues with pacing and plotting but you know what? I can still DO IT. I can write that plot (even if it needs to be reworked). I can even rewrite if I need to without giving up. I'm stubborn. This is MY idea. MY story. Yes, editing is grring at times, but you know what? I can take it. I can even take the critiques. I can be flexible and be stubborn at the same time. For different reasons but still...it's possible. In the past, I might have given up. Heck, I have. I've given up 3 novels mid-write because of a new fancy shiny idea to tease and flaunt my way.

I set my novel aside for almost a month while I reworked the first 3 chapters recently. I just picked up the rest to edit and yes, there are still things to be worked out, but honestly, it could be worse. My writing has grown. And I'm proud of that. Yes, I still have issues, but they are easily workable.

I'm working on the second book in the series now. Yes, I know there will be rewrites. I can point out the issues (well some of them ;) ) and tell you right now that the one plot needs to be strengthened and added to. But that's all still part of the learning process. Either way, first draft is scheduled to be done Dec 1st. Wish me luck!

Finishing that first manuscript, joining RWA, going to the DC conference, getting critiqued, getting that first R... it's all just something that's an ongoing learning experience.

So I'm curious. What has your learning experiences been like? What do you still struggle with?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Autumn muses

There's something about this time of year when the leaves are just starting to turn colour that inspires my muse. Ok granted, I could do without the cold. Seriously, I'm not a cold person. I like heat. I'm like a lizard in that way. This year has been a bit of a disappointing autumn just because there hasn't been much of one to begin with. It feels as though it has jumped right into winter without the usual fall benefits.

For instance, I'm already wearing my winter jacket and a sweater underneath. If that's going to be an indication that I'll need another warmer jacket, then... um ikes.

But I digress. I do love autumn. Not as much as spring but autumn will do in a pinch as well. There's something about the crisp air that stirs the ideas in my head. If you haven't visited Excerpt Monday, for instance, we're doing a Halloween Full Read. I cannot write shorts. In fact, I get hives just thinking of it. I get writer's block almost. Why? It requires the one thing that makes my muses tremble in fear: plotting. I don't plot. I'm a pantser all the way and I'm sure I've done a post about it before but I just can't sit and write out those little points in detail before writing.

Characters come first. Plot second.

This is what happened with this Full Read. I knew the characters but do you think I could come up with a story? No of course not. Thing I'm debating now is... YA or adult. I haven't quite put this together yet. I'm thinking YA because it fits the chars, but honestly, I have no experience in it. I suppose we'll see what happens. ;) The idea just came to me this morning so we'll see where it goes. I can't wait to write it. You can read it on the 26th when it'll be posted here and for more, visit the Excerpt Monday site. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reading worlds vs writing worlds

When I read, I want to be swept away. Not just by the characters, but by the environment/world that they live in. For me, I don't need the exotic. Whether it's set in downtown... let's say Toronto... or in the middle of the jungle, if done right, I can get lose in whatever world the writer builds. This includes paranormals or urban fantasies. I don't need an exotic local, but it doesn't hurt. I will agree that it's always nice to get lost in a new world, one so vivid in its rules and detail. That world defines the mood. For me, exotic= dark. Take Christine Feehan's Carpathians for instance.

But I don't need it per say when reading a book. I can get just as absorbed in a book about a small town and I have great respect for those who can weave details of a town in that are easily recognizable.

Writing, is another thing altogether. For me, I'm not able to do those little details for a known town. I like writing isolated settings. For instance in my Fatal series, it takes place in the mountains. There's a small town but the story by no means takes place there. It's there as background information, nothing more.

What about you? Is there a certain kind of world you like more? Is it the same when you write?

Friday, October 2, 2009

New release!



Scent of Cin by Ella Drake

Death brought Cin her love, a sexy half-demon she can't resist

Half-demon Vedo resurrects the newly-dead Cinnamon Murphy, detective, bane of the Hellions — and all woman. Vedo needs her to find his son, product of a forced union with a powerful demoness, but Vedo gets more than he bargains for. Once Cin is no longer a shade, her scent becomes a lure his Nephilim nature can’t resist. Cin finds that being raised from the dead gives her uncontrollable cravings for heat, especially for the hot man who needs her help, a man she’s sworn to kill.

Before publication, Scent of Cin was the 2008 novella winner of the Stroke of Midnight Contest, sponsored by Passionate Ink.

This erotic paranormal romance is available at Cobblestone Press.
Excerpt and more information available at www.elladrake.com.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What comes first?

I've been slacking. *sigh* It's been hectic this past month or so. Although I've been busy, I've read a book a week. I make sure to. Most of the time I read on the bus and while I wait for the computer to boot up (because it's sooooooo slow). But I finished a book yesterday that I had to wonder just what made it so good that I finished it in two days. It wasn't the writing itself. That was quite... well, we won't get into that. lol. I mean it was good, but it just didn't have that spark and at times seemed a bit dramatic.

But the plot? OMG so good. I couldn't put the book down. It didn't matter that I wanted to smack a few characters around because they were so annoying. It didn't matter that there were some scenes I just wanted to skip. The idea behind the two chars and the plot itself, was great. And it had me flipping page after page with anticipation, wondering what would happen.

I can't say that this happens if the opposite occurs- that is, if the writing is fabulous but the plot is eh. I suppose there are some that hook me but for the most part, it doesn't grab me as much. Which is surprising because I am such a character driven writer/reader. I'm all for plot but it's the characters that I love or am more invested in. But for the most part, it's just not the same. I can think of a few books where the plot was horrid but the characters made me WANT to flip because they were soooo good, but I don't have many examples.

In one book for example, the character was tormented. He'd been through so much that you just WANTED him to find that HEA. He went through so much that although the story was a big disappointment, I could not put it down. I did, however, flip through the chapters that he wasn't in because they just didn't interest me. I wasn't there to read about the fluffy extras in the plot. I wanted to read about HIM and his heroine.

So what is the balance then? What comes first? Characters or Plot?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Organizational systems

Someone told me yesterday that she follows the 'the busier she is, the more she gets done' rule. This boggles me. I'm not sure I follow under that way of thinking. I have issues. I can juggle a fair share but I'm pretty much at my peak right now with the learning curve of the job and then editing/writing at the same time. My job is not a 8-4 kind of job. Yes, those are the hours in the office but it is not uncommon for work to be brought home. In fact, it's just part of the job. It's not something you can just shut off and walk away from because there are always files you can send yourself or synopsi to work on.

My friend has a family. Add that to the mix. I can't even fathom how she does it all. I honestly don't because her kids are doing so many interesting and great things.

I'm part of a group called the Accountability Goals (AC Goals)...group I suppose. Since I've joined, I've become a lot more productive than I was. I was a procrastinator (I still have my tendencies) and it took years to get anything done with my novel because it was always...'oh, I can do that tomorrow. I had a rough day'. And although that does happen where life does butt in and take over, most days, I'm getting more done. I have a daily writing goal (this week it's to work at least 30 mins a day on Fatal Temptations). Not too hard right? Definitely doable. I knew this week would be heavy at work so I adapted my goals. Some days it's to write 5 pages. Some days it's to edit. The second part is a daily writing life goal and blogging is one of those for the week, as well as write up queries and synopsi and crit. So many things fall under these categories.

I'm not a spreadsheet person. I've seen some very elaborate, very organized ones and I must say I am floored over those who can be THAT organized. My sense of organization or knowing what to do is more of writing up lists and going about things as what is the top priority and what isn't. I do lists... and I am usually fairly good at knowing what I need to do.

Granted, my brain doesn't always remember but 8 out of 10 times I'll remember something that needs to be done. We discussed this in AC at one point and some I remember set alarms... or reminders to come up on their computers. Others had the spreadsheets that just wowed me... or used calendars. It's hard because I don't HAVE a system. I do up lists and that's about the extent of my planning. But I'm always interested in finding new ways.

Do you have a certain system that helps you be productive? What makes you cross of things on your to-do list?

Monday, September 21, 2009

The many faces of a hero

My favourite heroes are not the easy kind. They aren't golden boys who get everything handed to them. My tastes in heroes run a bit dark. I'll admit that. I love a story with a tortured hero (I don't mean physically but there should be something that hardens him). Something unique that draws my attention. The most unique hero on tv right now is Dexter, a serial killer. Movies- I'll consider Severus Snape from Harry Potter here because I've always liked his character and although he's not the hero hero per say, he's still in my opinion one because of everything he's gone through. X-men: Wolverine. Supernatural: both Sam and Dean play a good tortured hero- one who has been to Hell and dealt with the horrors there, and the other who has to deal with being addicted to demon blood. Being addicted...brings me to House. How could one forget him?

They aren't neccessarily classical heroes... that knight in shining armor but they are more interesting because of all that they've gone through. And I really would not say no to being saved by Dean or Sam... just sayin'.

I was watching Dexter the other day and wondering why exactly he's so compelling. I mean, he kills people. Granted, bad people but still. It's bloody and cold and... some of his lines are just chilling. If I met someone like him on the street you bet that I'd turn tail and run. But on screen it doesn't take away from my liking him. Yes he kills. Yes, he doesn't feel. But he grows and changes and those transformations are fun to watch.

This doesn't mean I don't like the classical hero. I'd rank Ramses from the Anita Peabody here. Same with Roarke in the JD Robb, In Death series. Yes, they've gone through so much to get to where they are, but they are still a classical hero. This doesn't take anything from their appeal however and they are examples of those who don't need that twist to be compelling.

I don't necessarily think it's the Bad Boy Syndrome either. I could do without that kind of attitude. So what about you? What kind of hero do you like? And what does it take to chase you away from a "hero"? When does a character cross the line from hero into villain or jerk?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Monday the 14th is Excerpt Monday so I hope you don't mind a bit of pimping. This thursday 13 I want to talk a bit about EM.

1. Showcase your writing. EM is a great opportunity to:

2. Share with other writers.

3. Get new readership. Last month alone we had 40 participants. This doesn't include those who don't participate but are simply readers.

4. Network and get traffic to your blog/site.

5. Have a burning question about whether something works? Ask! I'm sure readers would be more than willing to tell you what they think.

6. Who can do EM? Anyone. Are you pubbed? Unpubbed? Aspiring? Do you have a new release coming out? Want to try out something new to get a feel of how your readers will take this change? Seriously, anyone can do this. We accept all ratings. We simply ask that you give us the rating of your entire site since we do have some PG writers out there and we wouldn't want their readership going to a NC17 by mistake. This is mostly why we rate the whole site, and not just the excerpt. Excerpts may be PG but if you have other posts or even images that aren't... it safest to rate the whole site for everyone.

7. What can you post? Anything. Fiction. Poetry. Be creative but the main thing is that you have fun. Seriously.

8. How long do you need to post? Really it doesn't matter. We've had people post a paragraph whereas others have put up pages. It all depends on how much you want to share with readers.

9. We've streamlined it to make it more user friendly. Like anything, things take time to learn and buld and figure out. There are learning curves to everything and this is no exception. We've stumbled a bit along the way but we're determined because Bria and I love this concept.

10. Soon to come we plan on showcasing our regular authors, hosting themed weeks, and a page for serial reads etc.

11. What do we need to set you up? Your penname, genre, site rating and the specific link where your excerpt will be posted. Excerpts should be posted 8:30am EST. Bria and I will then be going through links to make sure they are working and fix those that aren't. At 9:00 am EST Excerpt Monday goes live to readers.

12. Want to read a success story? Check out Jeannie Lin's story about her first participation in EM in which she received a particularly exciting comment from a stranger about her excerpt.

13. If you're interested and want to join us this month, please visit our site by clicking on the banner and checking out our guidelines.

Excerpt Monday Logo

Housekeeping

I realized the other day that I never did update about how I did on the Secret Agent contest. Not only did I get in, but I got some fabulous advice. Some, like anything, I'll take with a grain of salt, others, were more helpful. Although mine wasn't one that was chosen by the Secret Agent, I learned a lot (which is the main thing) and had a great time reading the entries of others. Will I do it again? You betcha. Why? Because there's no better way to get the thoughts of so many people all at once. Everyone has their likes and dislikes. There's another contest going on right now so if you're curious, please, check out the site.

Also in other news, Excerpt Monday is kicking off once again Monday the 14th so if you are wanting a chance to showcase your writing with friends, please do send us an email at excerptmonday@aol.com by Sunday the 13th. Bria Quinlan and I are always excited to come across new writers. Who can join? Anyone! Doesn't matter if you're published or non-published. Doesn't even matter if you write poetry or whatever. Guidelines have changed a bit so please check out the guidelines. The main point: have fun!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Addictions

I have an addiction.

There. I said it. I have an addiction and I'm not entirely sure where it started. You see, I have a problem with adventure style games like Final Fantasy or Age of Empires. It's one of those mindless games. Ok I'm sure others would disagree quite heartily but yeah, I can sit and just build the castle up and create troops... I started a game the other day. It's online and therefore free. I've joined an alliance and my castle is doing quite well.

Have I done much writing-wise? No, not really. I'll admit I've let that fall off the map a bit. I did however finish a scene today for Fatal Temptations. I'm quite happy about how it turns out, even if the characters aren't. Why? Because now I have more room and it sets the stage for more and I couldn't do that when they were all over each other. I needed a reason to separate them.

Anyway (I go off on tangents...you'll notice that I'm sure, if you haven't already), part of the reason I like these games... it's because it allows me to daydream and "plot" in the loose sense of the word. I'm sure I've told this story before but that's how I got my first novel idea, through playing Final Fantasy and Medal of Honour.

So here I sit waiting for my level 5 warehouse to be built (another half hour) and for my gold levels to get higher before I can upgrade my wall to a level 6. And what is popping up in my head? Oh yes, little plot bunnies... I want to write a medieval. Paranormal preferably. Time to slot that down in the ideas folder.

What about you? What addictions do you have?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thursday 13

I'm a how-to nut. I'll admit that. As a writer, because I don't know everything, I'll often google. I was in the wiki-how to the other day and thought I'd share some of their articles.

13 how-to articles

1. I'm actually surprised there are so many 'how to kiss, how to remove a hickey, how to know if a guy/girl likes you' articles
2. Get rid of fruit flies. I'll admit I searched this one. I got swarmed with them when I got back from vacation.
3. Hack a coke machine... just because never know when it'll eat your money.
4. Pick a lock and with household items. I suppose cracking a combination lock would also fall under this one. I've also checked this one out before when a character needed to break into a place.
5.Pass a drug test... another thing I looked up for a scene
6. Cheat a lie detector test
7. How to calculate PI by throwing frozen hot dogs (ok this one just amused me)
8. Ok this one also amused me: do nothing. Um... you need an article to know how to do nothing?
9. How to calculate your age by chocolate (ROFL!)
10. Start a fire with sticks (cause my chars are out in the middle of nowhere without matches or lighter)
11. How to tell if it's a two-way mirror
12. Because one of my chars does this... build a fish tank out of an old tv
13. Escape from handcuffs. Just cause... you never know when you may be in such situations... like two of my chars who are handcuffed together and are on the run from trackers in the isolated mountains...

What do you write?

I'm a rule breaker.

I don't like being held in rigid confines. I'll admit that and when told I can't do something for instance because I haven't done it before, it well frankly, brings out the stubborn streak in me. I wanted to talk a bit about genres today. I am a prolific reader. I'll read romantic suspense, mystery, thrillers, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and even some sci-fi/fantasy. I started out reading thrillers and horror but they are just not for me.

Not anymore at least. I like being scared... and I don't like being scared at the same time. It's a thin line that I always walk. I'm the one who will watch paranormal episodes late at night in a pitch black room and then once it's done, get freaked out and thinking something is 'there' and will want the tv or something on for a source of light. I remember reading these horror books in public school. A couple stories have stuck with me over the years and I remember them... so there are things like the basement (because there's no door to go down there) that I'll just wonder if there's something down there, staring up into the kitchen... or I remember vividly a story where this teen was showering late at night and some creature broke through the bathroom window and went off with her. Um...yeah. Those stories are still in my head. So could I write horror? I probably could. I have the imagination for it. But it's not for me.

Sci-fi/fantasy I read a bit of. Not a whole lot. I enjoy it at times but could I write it? No. There's too much worldbuilding even for me to create and there's too much freedom there. I don't like rules to box me in but at the same time, I need some kind of invisible lines to keep me in check. I love though that almost anything goes and you can create new worlds.

Mystery I also like reading. And I'm thinking about the Anita Peabody series here. LOVE that series to bits. Elizabeth Peters weaves a story that captures my attention every time. Could I write a mystery like that? No. I don't even fool myself into thinking that I could. The amount of detail that has to go into it... and the plot twists, not possible for me. I'd love to, but I know my limits and there are only so much I can keep track of. I also think that any forensic thrillers and historicals fall under this as well. I'd love to write it, but I couldn't.

Romantic suspense... now that's something I love and do plan to write. I have the stories. They're all bottled up in my mind, but at the moment, they aren't exactly on the priority to do list. I love the tension... how some of the great authors can build up the tension slowly and have it all spiral at the end and completely hooks me.

No, as a writer, I know what category I fall under. And I belong in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy realm. There are just enough rules to keep me on track, and enough freedom to do what I want. I love the what ifs... where else can you write shifters or psychics and even vampires? I may not write vampires, but at least there is the ability to be able to write them should I want to.

What about you? Do you fall under a certain category? if so why/why not?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Overediting or... something more?

I have a question for you writers out there... one that I would like to know the answer to. How do you know when your MS is ready to be sent out?

Seriously. I spent the weekend editing. Rewriting. And just doing everything to the first three chapters. I was done. Or so I was convinced. I live in my own little world because apparently nothing I am writing is making sense. Or so it feels. At this point, I'm seriously concerned that I am overwriting. Or overediting as it may be the case at the moment.

I was done. I was sure of it. And then I decided to take another look and chapter 2 suddenly didn't really make sense anymore. You have some 'splaining to do, Lucy! So what'd I do? I decided that I needed a prologue. Yes... another faux pas to some. Is it needed, I don't know. I thought maybe it did but now, I'm just not so sure. So what do I do? It needs to be reread. I can't see the forest through the trees anymore.

Objectivity? I don't have it. I don't even know what it's like anymore. All that I know, is that my words read wrong. It's me. Or I'd like to think it's just that nagging little voice in my head, whispering of mistakes and what ifs. I want to think it's not instinct telling me that it's not ready. I'll find out soon enough, however. But for now, I'm just sitting here, wondering now what?

I move on. I go through the rest. I write the next. But it doesn't make things less difficult.

So what do you do? Do you distract yourself? How do you know when you're done and are not on the verge of overediting?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Prologues: yay or nay?

I've heard different things over the years. Some agents/editors like them, some don't. I'm talking about prologues. Now, I know where I stand. I'm in the for prologue bandwagon. I like them when they are done right. But they have to be short and snappy and be relevant.

A rule of thumb is that usually you can put the information you have there elsewhere throughout the book.

Now, I had a prologue once. For years. And then I had readers tell me that I didn't need mine or that it threw them. They thought the story started at Chpt 1 and I do agree. However, and here is where I don't know what to do: in chpt 2, I have a scene that I've been editing and there's a problem. The information as is doesn't really make sense. I mean it does to a point and it's explained in more detail later on.

But right now, I feel as though the reader won't understand what is going on. So I thought that if I put in a prologue it might help with that. I'm not entirely sure yet. I figure that I'll write it. Get it done and then get a reader or two to go over and see if it works. At this point, I'm still debating. I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. I have an idea in mind of what the prologue would be, but I'm not exactly sure how to get those thoughts out on paper.

You know?

What I need, is a machine. Some machine or tube that will suck that scene right out of my head into the computer and onto paper. Just like that. Instant words. But until such a machine is created, I shall tap away at the keyboard until I get it right.

So what about you? Do you like prologues? Hate them? If a book has one, do you read it or skip right to chapter one?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

13 Strange Recent Stories

1. Is this the Loch Ness monster caught on Google Map? (looks like an octopus or squid to me)
2. Austrian town to hold Mozart urination festival
3. Stolen Lego giraffe tail
4. Flintstone marriage
5. Cocaine sewn inside turkeys
6. Man shoots at dragonfly...misses...shoots friend
7. Proposal written out with hay
8. ATM speaks in Cockney rhyming
9. Lip balm that apparently burns off fat
10. Town puts up Christmas lights... four months early
11. 90 year old man becomes ballet dancer
12. Man glued to toilet seat
13. Man dressed as monkey arrested

Monday, August 24, 2009

Distractions

I read a quote lately that I thought really got to the heart of matters. That quote?:

Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet.” Anonymous

It all comes down to discipline and not listening to little voices that work to tear your writing confidence apart or those that whisper about chores needing to be done or how your favourite show is on and it's the episode where...*insert plotline*. There will always be something there that needs to be done or you might prefer to do. I know I definitely don't always want to write. This weekend was proof of that. I had my moments of 'oh I suck' and 'I need another rewrite'.

Because yeah, that'd really help.

I listened to that little voice. I gave it substance and in the end, did I write? No. I was not writerly. What'd I do instead? I watched movies and surfed the net. The net as anyone knows, is a bad mind-suck. There's articles to be read. Forums to go through. People to talk to. I even downloaded a couple of games to play while I grumped about.

I did, however, figure out a bit of a plot for Fatal Temptations. While at my parents I'd written two scenes... that the computer apparently didn't save. I lost my words. I'm not sure how much of it got lost but I grumped over that fact. And then figured out where I was going to go and how scenes were going to line up. But I didn't write it. Not yet. Why? Procrastination tho art my enemy. It's an action scene that I'm at. Hero has to get attacked and heroine has to step in... and ultimately get hurt, revealing to him who she really is (Or I suppose 'what she really is' would be more appropriate).

What else did I grump over? The fact that there are no original ideas. Everywhere I looked this weekend I was seeing the main themes over and over again. I know it will be different because they are my characters and plot lines are different, but still. I got huffy and wanted to rewrite. Which is my enemy. I am the Queen of Rewrites.

Do you listen to those little voices? Do you let them lead you off the Writer Path? What do you do when you are procrastinating?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Rollercoaster ride...

If you're a writer, you know what I mean. Even if you aren't a writer, you probably understand. I'm not talking about the actual ride, but the lows and highs of a writer's confidence. It's a normal thing... and if you happen to be someone who doesn't have to worry about this I'm envious... but at the same time, I'm not sure I'd want that confidence all the time.

Because during the lows, that's when a writer learns. And learning as in everything, is something that is important. I know that when I'm sitting there and am not to confident about my ability, it's in these periods that I scope out the writing threads... and the agent/editor blogs. It's not a good feeling, to feel as though your writing is falling apart but it's something that every writer must and does go through. As hard as it is.

But it forces you to learn, to push through it all with determination.

There are no original ideas anymore but it still sucks and it can be quite disappointing when you see similar ideas all around that you thought you'd made up or whatever. But it's whether you push through it, whether you ignore that little voice in your head that says to change things and rewrite, that matters.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Win a 3 chapter crit!

Unsure about your first 3 chapters?

Over at Once Upon a Crime, GH finalist Cynthia Justlin is offering a critique of the first 3 chpts. She'll read any genre but erotica. To be entered into the contest, simply blog about the contest (spread the word!)and comment in the thread with a link to your post.

Winner will be announced Aug 24th. There's only a few days left to enter. This is something you don't want to miss out on. It's an awesome opportunity you don't want to miss!

Influences

Who influences your writing the most? Or maybe it's a what?

Recently I was asked this question. I can't say for certain that I've been influence per say by other authors. If I could, I'd want to have stories as memorable as Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series (seriously it's a great Egyptology series about a family and... I LOVED it. Those books are more worn than any other from use), characters as in depth as those by Nora Roberts (I swear her characters are real people. They are THAT 3D) or Nalini Singh (such a wide depth of characters and she can write an awesome series) and a written world of... heck any of the above.

I've always been influenced I suppose by authors one way or another but for the majority, I grab info from everywhere-- my anthroplogy and biology courses, the supernatural (psychic abilities in particular)... CSI (not the show but the real forensics).

I love sciences and humanities. And if I could write historicals I might have written one back in the ancient times of Rome or Greece or Crete...or Egypt. The way of the future is opening up new possibilities every day, especially when it comes to military devices. Even video games can give me ideas to use (as an aside: this is how I got my ideas for FV early on... through Final Fantasy and Medal of Honor). I can't say however that my environment does per say. My stories don't really take place right in town... but in isolation and that's the way I like it because then I don't need to get bogged down in the details of landmarks and readers recognizing locations.

It's hard to pinpoint any one inflence because there are so many. No matter what, I doubt I'll ever really be writing for one fad or another simply because everything is usually so convoluted anyway and it will have elements that don't fit in one particular category.

What about you? What influences you the most? Do you write for what is selling now or do you go off and do your own thing?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen... facts I didn't know

1 There went our best chance: In the ninth century, a team of Chinese alchemists trying to synthesize an "elixir of immortality" from saltpeter, sulfur, realgar, and dried honey instead invented gunpowder.

2 German scientist Hennig Brand stored 50 buckets of urine in his cellar for months in 1675, hoping that it would turn into gold. Instead, an obscure mix of alchemy and chemistry yielded a waxy, glowing goo that spontaneously burst into flame—the element now known as phosphorus.

3. "Zero” was first seen in cuneiform tablets written around 300 B.C. by Babylonians who used it as a placeholder (to distinguish 36 from 306 or 360, for example). The concept of zero in its mathematical sense was developed in India in the fifth century.

4. It is said that Abdülhamid II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s, had censors expunge references to H2O from chemistry books because he was sure it stood for “Hamid the Second is nothing.”

5. During the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, we’re actually farthest from the sun, receiving 7 percent less sunlight than the Southern Hemisphere does during its summer.

6. By the age of 14, the average American child has seen 11,000 murders on TV

7. Daylight Saving Time began as a joke by Benjamin Franklin, who proposed waking people earlier on bright summer mornings so they might work more during the day and thus save candles. It was introduced in the U.K. in 1917 and then spread around the world.

8. In the time of the dinosaurs, the day was just 23 hours long. This is because one second used to be defined as 1/86,400 the length of a day. However, Earth’s rotation isn’t perfectly reliable. Tidal friction from the sun and moon slows our planet and increases the length of a day by 3 milli­seconds per century.

9. Jupiter can have a triple eclipse, in which three moons cast shadows on the planet simultaneously.

10. The Chinese word for solar eclipse is shih, meaning “to eat.” In ancient China people traditionally beat drums and banged on pots to scare off the “heavenly dog” believed to be devouring the sun.

11. In the United States, when people first noticed oil, they didn’t quite grasp the energy angle. Instead they did what any industrious American would do: They bottled it, slapped a label on, and sold it as a health tonic. Several hundred thousand bottles of the stuff are said to have been purchased and, perhaps, consumed.

12. The Aztec word for gold is teocuitlatl, which means “excrement of the gods.”

13. Australian researchers have discovered microorganisms that “eat” trace amounts of gold within rocks and then deposit them into larger nuggets. Mining companies are looking to use the critters instead of cyanide to pull gold from ore, which would be much less environmentally destructive.

These and more were found: Discover

Monday, August 17, 2009

First contest...

This sickly, churning I'm feeling? Oh yeah, it most definitely is nausea. Why might you ask? I've taken a leap and have submitted my first 250 words of Fatal Visions into the Secret Agent contest. It's my first, real contest that I've entered, putting my stuff out there for the world to see.

It, I'll admit, is kind of a scary thing. I've been judged before, have had others read my work, but this time... I'm nervous. Not as nervous as the Pitch that I mentioned a few posts down, but still... the restless energy is there. Or perhaps it's the fact that I'm back to work today after having been on vacation and I just don't want to work...seriously how do you get back into work mode?

It doesn't mean anything. I may not even be one of the 50 contestants. I may have emailed right at 9am this morning, but there is no guarantee. I'll update with news as it becomes available but for the moment, even though I know that the contest doesn't really end for another 22 hours or so, I'm still doing the nervous click to refresh email that so many others have mentioned in the past.

Yep... I've been bit by the frayed nerves bug.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Firsts...

Do you remember your first? No not first love. Not even first lust at sight. I'm talking about your first romance book. Do you remember what it was like to first pick up a romance book? What about writing that first romantic scene?

My first romance was a Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag. The moment I'd read it, I knew what I wanted to write...and what I'd love. Before that moment, I'd been reading thrillers... Dean Koontz, Stephen King, etc. I did enjoy them but what I wanted was something more. In some of Dean Koontz's books there were little snippets, brief mentions of intimacy between chars. I wanted more but because my parents were strict about reading content and keeping me away from any thing regarding 'romantic interludes', I couldn't say that I wanted to read something more along those lines. So I waited... and then one day at Chapters, my mom came up to me and asked if I thought that Cry Wolf was interesting.

Not marked per say as a romance, it had to do with a serial killer. Curious, I got it and that was it. There was no turning back. The following years I kept up the facade that I was just reading suspense. I chose books with covers that didn't resemble anything romantic. Nothing with bare chested men or women half throwing themselves at him. Nothing that would give away what I was reading. And if they asked what it was about... it was about an archaeologist caught in a murder scheme or... whatever.

I had my lines ready.

I started writing romance soon after. I remember researching, and coming across a piece of advice that rubbed me wrong. I don't know who it was that said it, but it was essentially that if you haven't had sex yet, you cannot write it. Or shouldn't. Bad advice to a stubborn teen.

The first few sex scenes were... awkward. Paranoia was definitely up there on the list of what I was feeling. Paranoid that my parents would come across what I'd written, unsure of how others would think. But I loved the romance, the build up and every high and low in between until the end when it all turns out to be worth the struggle.

I suppose I kept what I was writing a secret for a good five years at least. It wasn't until after that I gave up and just didn't care. Ask me today and I won't hesitate in my answer. I write romance. Sex. Intimacy. It may not be the plot device that exactly drives the story, but it will always be there somewhere in the tangle of other struggles.

What about you? What were your firsts like?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: 13 books I'm reading...

I'm at home at my parents for the week. I love it here-- the open fields, the surrounding bush, the lake... the fact that it takes 20-30 mins to walk to neighbours. Pictures will come once I'm back again and am not on dial up, but seriously, I love it here. But just because I'm home, doesn't mean that I wouldn't have books on me. Some are mere research books and it will be oh so clear what topic. LOL. Others are for pleasure reading...

1. Sylvia Browne- Past Lives, Future Healing (Ok I admit I didn't actually bring this with me. My aunt had it and it has to do with cell memory and because it's something my novel has to do with, I decided to borrow it).
2.The ESP Enigma by Diane Hennacy Powell
3. The Science of Heroes: The real life possibilities behind the hit show by Yvonne Carts-Powell
4. The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios
5. PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena by Marie Jones
6. More than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement by Ramez Naam
7. Burning Alive by Shannon Butcher
8. Small Favor by Jim Butcher
9. Night Secrets by Cherry Adair
10. Bound by Honor by Colette Gale
11. A Drop of Red by Chris Marie Green
12. With Open Arms by Nora Roberts
13. A Perfect Darkness by Jaime Rush.

Single space or double? The quirky confessions of a writer...

I realized two things today.

A. I'm a single spacer.
B. I go bonkers if it's anything but.

I'm crazy. I'll admit that. I was editing today my chapters. Everything I write... or edit is usually in single space. I like it like that. It reads fine. But then the moment it goes into double... or exactly 25 lines, it's like it's a whole different manuscript in front of me.

I don't know what it is.

Really. I don't. But suddenly it is not the same, tight, ok reading manuscript but something that just reads stupid and doesn't deserve to be seen. I get twitchy. Honestly it's that bad. I've closed documents before because they weren't in single space and just read wrong.

So I made a comment on twitter. I asked if there were others out there who felt like this? Because honestly, it's a weird feeling. It'll be perfect one way and the moment it's in a different format... bam!... it's that thing in the closet that you don't want anyone to ever see. I wasn't too surprised. 3 preferred double. 1 preferred 1.5 (which I will admit isn't too bad. And this was my trick when my school essays were too long...). And then my 1 for single spaced.

Conclusion: writers are a weird, quirky bunch.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Pitch

The Pitch.

Yes, the point of most importance of the week... the moment I was nervous about all week, sick to my stomach until I woke that morning hyperventilating and so nauseous I could barely sit still. The Pitch that I'd studied and rewritten at least a hundred times... and memorized and rewrote again. Oh yes, that Pitch.

As a first timer, I didn't know what to expect. Would he be nice? Would he ask me questions I didn't know the answers to? What if I messed up and stumbled over my tongue? The last two were my foremost worries because it's what I do. I'm a tongue stumbler. I'm bad about it. I'll admit that I have a nervous way about me. If I'm going to be late I get nervous. If I'm meeting someone new I'm nervous. But I KNEW my story. KNEW the characters. The plot? I knew it but it's so complex, too much crammed in that I knew I'd end up stumbling messing up.

Which I did. I'll admit that. I sucked. I did bad. It wasn't a sparkling moment. So I got up early, showered, didn't eat anything at all with fear that I'd lose it (I'd heard stories before...). Kai walked down with me. Helped calm my nerves. Down in there, once I'd signed in we saw Chi and Lori. Lori was doing hers at the same as me so when our time was called, we lined up... and waited. It was one big room. One room with rows of tables and behind sat the agents/editors.

I had an idea who to go to. I'd researched and found a picture. But that doesn't mean anything when it all comes down to the wire and you're waiting your turn, just watching them at the tables. Nerves does not begin to explain the nausea I felt. I could have easily turned around and left. I told myself that. That I still had time to back down.

I didn't.

And when it came time, I went. I walked and shook. Oh yeah I was shaking badly. And then I was at the table. Sitting was more of a stumbling sitting, my hand shaking so bad as I shook his. The paper I'd brought with of my pitch was on the table in front of me. And I was prepared to read it. And then... the first words from my mouth, "Fatal Visions is a 90k word paranormal romance taking place in the rugged mountains." I stopped. "Have you ever watched The Pretender or Dark Angel?" Wait. He nods, "Well it's like that but with a bit of Mutant X thrown in for good measure."

That could have gone two ways. He could have not seen any of the shows. Luckily he'd seen them and he was interested in hearing more. My spiel went on reading a bit... then going off course and talking as I went. So yeah, I KNOW I messed it up. I KNOW I went off course.

In the end, he asked a few questions. I talked more. And that was it. I got up and left feeling incredibly glad that I took the chance I had to do it. I'm not a gusty person and that was... awesome. He was nice. Incredibly nice to put up with my nervous banter. Even weeks later that was a high point to the trip. Not just meeting everyone, but the pitch and feeling as though I've done something to put myself out there.

Will I do it next year? If I go to Nashville next year you can bet I will. And I will be better prepared. I will know more about what I'm doing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 3- RWA Conference

Day three started early. Up at 7, out by 8ish to head to the Rogue Digital Meeting. Kai and I stayed a bit then slipped out early to go to the Opening Session with Janet Evanovich. I've read a couple of her books, I'll admit I haven't read a lot by her but her speech was heart warming. She told us about how she was unpubbed for like 10 years... and had a crateful of rejections before she got a contract. It was here, when Kai and I were looking for a table that I noticed someone who look familiar.

Who might that Diva be that was passing right by us?

Sam! So of course we flagged her down. And might I say that she's adorable and nice? Because she is. Oh and this is just aside because I didn't put it in before but apparently sweet tea is what I usually know as Iced Tea... and ice tea down there is unsweetened blahness.

The three of us decided to go to the general meeting. Yes, we went, sat down to listen and show our support to RWA Change. Um yeah, that was a flop. Everyone expected it, were waiting for it but no one had the Resolution in hand. Genuine surprise amongst everyone on the board it seemed. So the meeting turned to regular questions... ten mins or so the Resolution is found, sent to someone's phone. Yeah... didn't go over well. Although it was read clearly, there needed to be a hard copy. In addition, it apparently needed to be handed in 120 days prior... and things had to be specified what they wanted to change. So yeah, no vote.

Lunch followed at the keynote luncheon with Linda Howard as the speaker. Can I just say that all of the speakers were awesome? Because they were and way too motivational.

2:00 started the workshops. Kendal and I took off to go to Honing your Pitch. It was great. We got some good information out of it that helped me when going into my pitch session on friday.

From there it was the Avon book signing and one thing I should have figured but didn't, was how many people would be crammed in a small room. And I don't mean authors. I got claustrophobic after so long of being jostled around and having no room to get around. It was... crazy but I got a lot of books and saw some authors I love, others who I've never read but sound interesting. At this signing in particular I noticed a LOT of historical writers.

Then up to the room Kai and I went cause it was changing time into evening dress clothes. Black dress. Strappy gladiator heels... We headed off site to go to the Passionate Ink party and then after that the FF&P party. The night didn't end there however, and soon we were headed off to a gay cowboy karaoke bar with the rest of the divas... where... there were drag queens putting on a show. I'll admit I didn't quite know what to think. I wasn't too comfortable when they went up into the crowd of people. Some divas got brought up on stage to dance. It was interesting. Upstairs was where a bunch of divas already were. And might I say divas can SING?! Cause yeah.

At 12:30am it was time to go back. I needed to work on my pitch because my appointment was that morn at 9 and I wasn't ready. At all.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

RWA Conference: Day Two

The moment the conference began, there wasn't much, if any free time. The only free time really was on Wednesday, with the Literacy Signing starting at 5. I was at Kai's still, worrying about my pitch. I was just getting around to what would be the first pitch revision. We left in time to gather a few things and do a bit of shopping before getting to the hotel to change and get ready.

Up in the room we were met by the lovely Cambria and the awesome Teresa. The six of us (Kendal, Chrissy, Cambria, Teresa, Kai and moi) headed to the lit signing, where we stood in line for what was like 30 mins or more. Probably closer to 40. In the meantime, while we waited, the lines gathered and gathered... and did loops around the room. And then... they let us in and the frenzy began. It was literally push and shove to get anywhere. At one point I was going to follow Teresa around but lost her in my fan squee moment at Cherry Adair's table. I had to get a book... and by then I had found Kai (who I then latched on to).

There was no cell reception. I knew that. I'd tried to text a friend, Maya, earlier about what books she was interested in and if there was a particular author she wanted one from. But it didn't go through so I knew if we all were separated and the fact that there was no reception... well yeah that wouldn't be good.

So I went around with Kai, getting some photos, finding Eden Bradley, Jax, Kate Pearce and a few other divas, as well as some members from my Toronto chapter.

After 3 hours or so it was time to leave and we headed back to the room to dump our books before heading off to Mediterra for the Diva dinner. When we first go there it was quite full as was. By 9 or so we had to add more tables to add in more divas. I met Lori there and ran around the table to see Chi and MG and... it was great to see everyone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday Thirteen



Back from conference. It was great. Awesome. I loved being there and meeting everyone and in the end, was sad to leave so I decided that this week, I would talk about the things I learned at the RWA conference.

1. When going to the Literacy signing, it will be packed. People will be jostling you everywhere because there will be NO room to walk. At all. No personal bubble allowed. Lining up, you will want to get there early. We arrived early but there was still a line up that'd already gone all the way down one hall. You'll want to bring a bag for your books. Although I only bought 4, a bag was still useful and after almost tripping and falling, the bag a random woman gave me was much appreciated (thanks to whoever you were!)

2. Expect line-ups for food in the morning at the little shop down below to have at least 50 other women waiting at 8am.

3. When meeting other divas, pouncing and screaming is sometimes appropriate, if not expected. Although I wasn't a pouncer, more of a stay in my quiet corner nibbling on my chicken and fries, it was amusing to watch everyone and meet them. I honestly, wasn't sure what I expected, but it wasn't the immediate bond that was felt. I -knew- these people, these awesome writers and friends. But I didn't know it'd be so easy to meet them.

4. Really, there is no time to see the city. I wanted to see the Smithsonian and whatnot but the moment thursday started, it was go-go-go from the get go. On the drive to karaoke, you may see China town... and that was interesting in itself, seeing Subway, for instance, spelled out in Chinese letters.

5. No matter how much I packed, I still didn't have enough tops. I ended up buying one shirt from the gift shop to wear on the drive back. Kai also was great and washed one of my shirts, thus allowing me to wear it saturday.

6. When there are drag queens dancing with the crowd, sometimes, they go right up to your face and get in thus personal bubble. Ok, I kept back. I'll admit it.

7. The divas can SING.

8. My friendly termed 'hooker boots' lasted about 4 hours before my feet started to hurt and I had to sit down. I think 6 hours or so in them is enough in any sitting.

9. Authors at their signings were awesome. I had some fangirl moments (Cherry Adair, Jim Butcher, etc). I didn't exepect them to be all personable. I mean Cherry Adair took time to talk to the ppl in her line about what they were writing and to tell them to email her when they were done with their book. A few others said similar things.

10. Janet Evanovich, Eloisa James and other keynote speakers could reduce a simple lunch to something motivating. I'll admit at times I teared up.

11. The workshops, while soooooooo interesting, the rooms were cooold so bring a sweater. And a good thing, is that the workshops were taped. Therefore, that gave more options, especially when book signings went on at the same time or when there were parties involved.

12. From what I'm hearing, you can go up and ask an editor/agent if you can pitch your idea to them. I didn't. I don't have the guts for that. I know they are there also to acquire new authors but it surprised me at how many ppl received requests from going up to an agent.

13. Agents/editors aren't all that scary. Ok, they are, in the 'we hold sway over what happens to you' kind of way, but they are there to find new writers as well. I worried about my pitch all week. I rewrote 10 times. I had panic attacks. What it came down to, was that the moment I sat in front of him, I didn't use what I'd written. I told him about my story and went on from there and eventually forgot what was going on. (The room btw, was huge, one room with like 20 tables with the agent/editor behind. No one pays attention to you because they are too worried about their own pitch to think about how you are doing).

And bonus 14: You will need to take breaks. It's a given. So take them. Don't put pressure on yourself to try and get everything done because you know what? It's not possible. I thought I could, thought I wanted to, but there are only so many things you can do and unless you can clone yourself, you won't be able to be everywhere. I'm not a bar person, but next time, I think I will hang out there a bit more to see everyone more. Be more social.

RWA Conference- Part 1

I've been debating how to go about this, not because it's difficult by any means, but because of the vast information that came out of this. It was crazy. I'll say that right off. It was overwhelming and go-go-go, and OMGAGENTS/EDITORS!, but in a nutshell, it was an experience that I wouldn't have turned away. It was great and near the end, did not want to leave.

We drove down on the tuesday (July 14). We being Kendal Corbit, Dayna Hart and moi. Kendal and I began our journey tuesday morning at around 9am. Leaving hedgie with her husband, we packed up the car and headed out to pick up Dayna (stopping first to grab breakfast at Tim Hortons). It was a two hour drive or so when we got to Dayna's home and met her adorable children and husband.

After one small detour (ok we took the wrong road and got briefly lost a moment) we were on our way and soon arrived at the border. This was the second time crossing the border for me, and my first experience hadn't left a dazzling impression, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Would they make us get out of the car? Would they take us separately and interrogate us about where we are going? Would they go through our bags? They did none of this. Nothing but ask us where we were going, for how long, etc. I felt relieved, even moreso when we crossed the bridge and was off through the interstates of New York, stopping in Pennsylvania at Arby's for lunch.

The drive had an amazing view of the hills and trees. All the way down. It was quite scenic and surprising but then again, we didn't go through the cities. It was nice and with TomTom directing us, we made it to Washington DC in one piece around 9pm. I'd like to say something eventful happened, but really, it was a smooth drive in which our discussions went all over from grammar to our pitches to what we expected would come out of the conference.

So we get to the Marriot Hotel. It's huge. Dayna meets up with Crystal and Kendal and I head up to our room. Our room 5-066. We expect to be coming into a double. But oh no, double doors. So we step inside and see a sitting area, plus a bar. This doesn't include the bedroom that is a bit off to the side with doors to close so that those in the sitting room don't bother those in the bedroom. It's huge. Apparently they double booked and our other roomie, Chrissy, managed to get them to upgrade us to a suite for the same price as a double.


The room, was awesome. Granted we didn't spend a whole lot of time in there except to sleep, but all in all, it was a room that made the whole trip just a bit more comfy. Hungry, Chrissy, Kendal and I went down to check out one of the small restaurants (Harry's Pub I believe). There, we are eating when all of a sudden a group of women approach and one of the women stops, looks at us, and asks "do I know you?"

At this point, I'm floundering. Um... maybe? The woman looks familiar but unsure, I go with a quizzical look and a "I think so? Not sure." Oh yeah, I'm so great with my words. I'm not a writer or anything... really. (add sarcasm) pffffffft.

Good thing her brain was working because she then asks if I am on the Divas (Romance Divas if you don't know). Um... yes! That woman was Diva Lisa or Eden Bradley for those who've read her books and although she looked familiar, I have a thing where if I'm not sure, I get this stupid quizzical look and don't say anything with fear that I'll put my foot in my mouth. Although I know I look just as stupid. Really.

With her was Christina Cross and Vivienne Westlake and another whose name, I apologize, escapes me. After dinner we all went to the bar, where we met other divas such as Jax and Kristen and Kat...etc.

That first night I didn't stay there. I went to a friend, Kai,'s house where I met her dogs December and Robin. Take into account that by the time we got there, it was about 1am. Suffice it to say, I still hadn't prepared my pitch. A pitch I was supposed to deliver on friday. More on that later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What's your clothing brand?

There's so much talk about finding your brand as a writer lately. I'll admit I'm a bit intimidated by that notion, because your brand as an author encompasses everything about how you look and present yourself at conferences, your website, business cards, Twitter, facebook, bookmarks... so many different things that need to be thought about. I keep hearing that your brand needs to work with your writing style and I can understand that.

At the Romance Divas chat last night, we were discussing at one point what to wear at conference and a wonderful diva and friend, Sela Carsen, pointed out how we should dress as we write. This took me off guard, I'll admit. But the more I thought about it, the more what she said made sense about what we write shining through to how we lean toward certain clothing attire and whatnot.

Therefore, if you write darker romance, suspense-like tones (like me), dark colours in clothing could work if it's a more classier sexier dark top. Your cards and website would also have a darker appeal to them. You may wear jeans and a ragged top or sweats while you work on your novel but how you present yourself at conference should be clean and professional. Perception is everything.

Interesting.

So how are you going to dress? What's your brand?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Ok Nats is coming up next week and yeah, I need to figure out everything I'm bringing. I'm kind of thinking I'm missing something so I'm going to do my Thursday Thirteen on 13 items I need to remember to bring.

1. Clothes: so far 4 dresses, jeans, capris, a few tops and a skirt. underwear... duh.
2. Shoes: 3 pairs (sandal wedges, gold heels, black strappy heels). Debating running shoes just in case. We'll have to see how much I can pack and let this be known that this is the most shoes I've ever packed before.
3. Passport. Can't forget this. Must. Not. Forget.
4. Toiletries: makeup, hair stuff, advil...etc. Hair straightener because I don't want just curly hair.
5. Camera! Cause I want to take a lot of pics.
6. Notebook: in case the muses decide to pipe up. And to jot down notes from workshops.
7. Remember the pitch! Note to self: WRITE the pitch!
8. US cash on hand. That said, must convert cash.
9. I know there will be books... but... a book to read on the ride there?
10. Phone and phone cord.
11. Emergency numbers. Cause you never know when you might need it.
12. Those recycling bags you can get at the grocery store to put books in.
13. ...anything I'm missing?

A voice unheard

I first noted this article circulating around Twitter. As a writer, it touched a spot in me because for a person to be a writer, you need a voice. You need your words. It makes you who you are, to be able to communicate and get out what you want/need to say. So when I read the article about Albert Borris, I had to wonder what I'd do in his shoes.

For those who don't know, Albert Borris is a debut YA novelist who this past December suffered a stroke that left him unable to communicate his thoughts, either vocally or written. Doctors told him that he was lucky to be alive, and he has since made a full physical recovery. However, one thing hasn't recovered yet and that his is words. They are there, but because of the stroke, he was left unable to get them out.

A group of friends and other writers (22 middle grade and young adult novelists) are now focusing to get word out about the novel, Crash Into Me. As a full time teen counselor, Albert Borris' work can clearly be seen in the content of his novel. It is not something light but a dark (possibly controversial) tale of teens finding themselves and figuring out if life is worth living.

Blurb:

When Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens mak e a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living--or if there's no turning back.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So what came first...

the writer or the characters?

I've been thinking about this lately. Why, I'm not entirely sure. (Just like I started to question the meaning of time, but I digress.) A lot of people, if you were to ask them would probably tell you they started to write early on, maybe even was born to write. Then there are others who started later in life, they decided they wanted to try it out and... there we go.

I was always a daydreamer. It's why I like silent vehicle rides because it gives me the chance to slip out of reality and dream up stories in my head. I can't recall a time when I didn't just stare out of the bus window, dreaming up scenarios of suspense and whatnot; and yes, romance. If someone were to ask me where these thoughts came from, I couldn't say.

I didn't start writing until public school, when I was in grade seven or so. Oh sure we had to do short stories (can't for the life of me write that short, btw!). I once wrote (with my mom's help) a story in grade five or something about a cat (Cue- modeled off our huge white male cat called Cue) that was catnapped. I can't recall if he was a show cat or something but either way, the story was spun out and I think the neighbour was the culprit but I cannot be sure now. Anyway, we had an author come in and he liked it and gave me my first praise. I remember thinking, oh, I can do this but I didn't do anything more. I didn't write.

I read. Oh did I ever read. But I didn't write.

Then grade six came along and we had to write a short story (I think 5 pages or so but mine no surprise, turned out to be a cramped 10). This story was spun on suspense once again where I was the main char and I was going off too BC to meet my cousin but the train derails and it goes from there about me finding my way back. Teacher read my story in front of class. I was...embarassed.

Still didn't write. Not on my own. I was too busy dreaming. Grade 8 would be the year I decided to put my pencil down on paper. I remember my friend writing. She had started a novel and for some reason, it clicked at that moment. It was a 'oh why didn't I think of that' kind of moment and so I began. I've always loved the supernatural. We'll talk about Diego (the ghost that up to last Christmas I thought was gone but...now I'm not so sure) another day. It wasn't a surprise that my first attempt at a novel was about a boy named Devon who was a telekinetic. He moved to a new town after his parents were murdered to live with his aunt and uncle and was just starting highschool. There he meets Kirby, who will then become his crush throughout even when the killers follow him and whatnot. Turns out his uncle was the killer and had done some psychic testing on the boy or whatnot.

I got 400 pages into the book (400 written pages that is) before I stopped. Why? Not because I lost interest. Oh I loved sitting in the chair by the window with my discman and writing in the sun. No, didn't lose interest in that story, but I had then started reading Kathy Reichs and so my love of forensic anthropology began...and thus, my muses. I started a story about a murder... and my main char an anthropologist. I didn't get far into that one.

I've been asked before where I got my ideas. In grade 9, I began writing Fatal Visions. Why? Not because of a book. Not because of a show. But because of a video game. I was hooked on my brother's playstation Medal of Honor game. It was about the war and it just...intrigued me. Add Final Fantasy with Squall and Rinoa to the mix and *poof* instant muses and J.C., Amy and Stefan were created. Really, aside from them and Broderick, no other chars from that time stuck. Gone was the doctor known as Josef. Gone was Karen, the motherly figure that tended to J.C. when he was little and when he broke from conditioning (another thing that changed). Gone was two baddies and a fatherly type teacher. Oh one other guy did stick, but his role changed, from bestfriend of Amy to baddie.

So what came first? Did the writer or the characters? I'm not really sure. To a point, the framework of the characters have always been around. But for me, I needed that push, the drive, the 'oh why didn't I think of that' moment to get me to put pencil to paper.

So where do you come in? Did you need a small push in the right direction or did you just 'know' and it was the only way to close off your characters' voices?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Not Going to Conference Conference

So, you can't go to the RWA conference this year? Well, don't fret for long. Romance Divas is hosting their annual NGTCC (Not Going To Conference Conference) and it's going to be fun-filled. Already they've got great guest spots lined up, including: Josh Lanyon, Rowan Mcbride, Jet Mykles and Shayla Kersten, Carrie Jones, Marley Gibson, Linnea Sinclair, Patti O'Shea, Ona Russel, Steve Hockingsmith, Joey W. Hill and Sasha White.

There will be workshops for just about every genre, from Young Adult to Erotic to Historical. Plus, a workshop on Deep POV, one on going from e-publishing to NY, and a Q&A on how avoid and deal with burnout. And there's bound to be a few surprises, too. icon_wink.gif

The NGTCC kicks off July 14th and runs until July 18th. If you're not already a member of Romance Divas, all you have to do is go to the website and register! Best of all--it's FREE!


NGTCC Banner

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thursday Thirteen


In lieu of Canada Day post, I decided to list thirteen facts about Canada for the Thursday Thirteen. In no particular order, thirteen facts:


1. Canada became The Dominion of Canada on July 1st, 1867. We officially became a country in 1982.
While Canada does acknowledge the Queen, (represented by the Governor General) and under law we need "royal assent' for our bills to become law - Canada is it's own country. We are a "Constitutional Monarchy" - that is we have our own constitution and we acknowledge the Queen as a figurehead - but that's where it ends. Canada makes it's own laws and it is in no way dependant on Britain for laws or governing the country.

2.
The National emblem is the maple leaf and has been associated with Canada since the 1700's. The flag of Canada has two red bars and a white center - within there being a maple leaf. It was adopted as the National Flag in 1965. (Before hand Canada used the Union Jack - the British Flag for its flag.)

3.
The name "Canada" is derived from the Huron-Iroquois language and means settlement or village.

4.
The National Anthem for Canada is "O Canada" - proclaimed on July 1st 1980 - a century after being sung for the first time. (Before hand Canadians sang God Save the Queen/King)

5.
Leading Industries: automobile manufacturing, pulp and paper, iron, steel work, machinery and equipment manufacturing, mining, extraction of fossil fuels, forestry and agriculture

6.
Leading exports are: automobile vehicles and parts, machinery and equipment, high technology products, oil, natural gas, metals and forest farm products. Imports are: machinery and industrial equipment, (communications and electronic equipment, vehicles and automobile parts, industrial materials (ie: metal ores, iron, steel, precious metals, chemicals, plastics, cotton, wool and other textiles) along with manufactured products and food.

7. Five pin bowling was invented by T.E. Ryan of Toronto in 1909.
Basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891.

8. Two words: Avro Arrow.

9. The lowest temperature recorded in Canada is -63 degrees Celsius at Snag on February 3, 1947. The warmest temperature ever recorded in Canada was 45 degrees Celsius.

10. The most extreme change in temperature took place in January 1962 in Pincher Creek when a warm, dry wind known as a chinook, brought the temperature up from -19 degrees Celsius to 22 degrees Celsius in an hour.


11. The total area of Canada is 9 984 670 square kilometres. Canada's area is the second largest in the world (after Russia which has a total area of 17 075 000 square kilometres).
With 2 Million lakes, Canada has the largest amount of freshwater in the world.
12. The Trans-Canada Highway length (using the Perth-Peterborough-Parry Sound route) is 7604 kilometres. It is the longest national highway in the world.

13.
The word Canuck originated in about 1850 as a term for French Canadians. During the Great War it was applied to all Canadians.