Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ellipses...A Dirty Friend

Ellipses, you know, those dot-to-dots...

They are my friend.

Recently, while editing my latest WIP, I nixed a whole kit and kaboodle of these dots. Even I realized I overkilled with ellipses. Better for me to take care of this blunder now than wait for my editor to remind me again that ellipses are not my friend.

So, I guess the question is, when and how should ellipses be used? Simply put, because we have become text and social networking addicts, people use these dot-to-dots to show informal speech, or rather, a pause. In formal writing, and the appropriate usage, it's to show omitted words from a sentence. For instance, if someone said to me, "I want to run away and live wild. I want to read romance novels and play in the sand and ocean everyday," and I wanted to shorten the quote, I could write, "I want to run away and live wild...I want to play in the ocean everyday." Make sense?

With that bit of grammar how-to, journalism and book writing are different. In writing a book a writer doesn't want to leave anything out. Readers want words and description, not dots. After all, I've been told at least a dozen times by editors, "Don't leave anything to the reader's imagination. Fill in each and every blank." We should be careful not to use ... implying that a character has more to say when in reality they don't.

I've also noticed that people use dot-to-dot to show distress or uncertainty. I see it a lot in email messages. Or a trailing of thought, which is okay.

Using dot-to-dot is okay, but as every editor will tell you, use them sparingly otherwise it becomes annoying. With that being said, remember to use them correctly. An ellipses is three dots. Never two. Never four. Only three. That's probably the most important lesson here...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Enough to make you sweat Saturday: Inspiration? Look at this. Need I say more?

Sexy Guys (76 pics)

this would certainly get the writing juices flowing...

Definitely one of a kind...

he can play with my cat any ol' time...

Pinned ImageNice :)))) he can light my fire.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Separation Anxiety with Characters

For the first time in 12 books, I have experienced separation anxiety. What was I attached to? The characters to my latest project--Roark's Dark Request.

Let me give you the quick 411 on Roark's Dark Request. It is the first fantasy erotica that I've written. I didn't have a clue I'd enjoy writing this genre as much as I did. In fact, I loooved writing it. Who could blame me when it is packed full of bad things like: kidnapping, torture, wolves, humans, sex, murder. Exciting, eh? It was for me. My characters are one of a kind. They are, well, downright rude to one another.  How can bad be so good?

I polished my baby and sent it off, and that's when the separation anxiety started. I missed my characters. For those who write, you will understand what I'm about to say, but for others you may think I'm just crazy. Characters become human. They live, breathe and continue in the world we have created for them. And then we must say goodbye to them as we create another world with new characters.

I found myself not sure what path, or storyline, to travel down next. My mind was preoccupied with Roark and Bronte. I always have a story waiting inside my head, and a few that have been written but are need of polishing. I just couldn't seem to inspire to move on. So, I had to force myself.

That's when I rummaged through some other projects I'd written and decided to take on one that had been a challenge from day, or word, 1. I started editing and immediately I realized that taking a break from Second Ride Cowboy (A sequel to Second Chance Cowboy) was the best thing to do. I also realized  why I love Duke and Lila. They are similar to Roark and Bronte, but in a different location. Duke and Lila are amazing characters. They are tough, witty and damaged. Yes, I did mean to say damaged. If you know my writing style then you have to realize by now that my characters have flaws. Duke is not only emotionally damaged, but he's physically scarred too. I can't give away the details on how he got this way, but just a hint, "You'll need a firefighter's suit when you start reading this story."

In the meantime, I'm seeing a few more fantasy eroticas in the future. I gotta write what I love. I hope you'll check out my work.
Dreaming IvyDouble DareSecond Chance CowboyDelaney's SunriseCastle's Fortress

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Headless Angel

Everyone needs inspiration. Mine comes by way of a headless angel.

Christmas morning of 2011, I opened a gift from my 6 year old. It was a glass angel. My daughter had a twinkle in her eye as she proudly told me how she found it at the school's annual Christmas Shop. She said, "I found it and I knew you'd love it." And I did...and I still do. I kept the angel on my table. It seemed like she was always smiling.

A few weeks later, while I was eating dinner, I looked at my angel and noticed that she had a chipped piece around the bottom. I examined her closer and realized her head was glued back on. I looked at my girls and before I could say one word, my wee one broke out into, "I'm so sorry, Mommy. Sissy and I were fighting over her and broke her head off." As the story continued, it seemed they had found glue and, working together, they'd fix her head back into place.  They'd agreed to keep it a secret.I believe their punishment was severe enough. They were in tears as they told the story. I told them it'd be okay. However, good ol' school glue doesn't work on glass, yet I didn't have the heart to tell them.

Over the next few months my angel's head fell off six or seven more times. Each time, my girls would work together to glue her head back into place. With each application her face was becoming more and more covered in glue, and distorted. My wee one felt disappointed and would apologize accordingly.

I asked her to say a little prayer over the angel that her head would stay put. My wee one did. She asked God, "Please hold on to the angel's head until she is okay."

Six months went by. The angel's head didn't fall off. Probably because I placed her on a shelf where no harm would come to her and not due to the last layer of glue. Or, maybe it was the prayer ?!?!

Right around this time we started packing to move into our new home. I wrapped my angel in a cloth and placed her into a box with other fragile items. When we started unpacking at our new house, I opened the cloth and there was my angel...headless. My heart skipped a beat. Tears came to my eyes. I thought of how badly my wee one would feel that the angel's head was lost. And sure enough, it was gone.

I set the angel back on the table, wondering when the girls would notice the headless angel. A few days later I asked my wee one, "Have you noticed the angel? I'm sorry about her head." She answers, "It's okay, Mommy. We did our best in trying to save her. God knew it was time to let go."

The angel still sits at the table--headless. She is a reminder of hope, love, caring and effort. And most importantly, letting go when necessary, even when one has tried so hard.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Love Everlasting.

I've always been a romantic. I've always been fascinated when two people come together and something within that moment is powerful enough to stop the universe. Love is grand and stimulating. For those who have known true love, they can't explain the emotion for there are no words to describe the feeling. For those who've never experienced it envy those who have and strive to witness it within their heart. Some have held true love in every breath they breathe and in every beat of their heart, and they have lost. One must then somehow survive, to let go, to move on.

As a romance writer it's obvious that I would be the first to say, "I believe in love." With each sentence that is created I must acknowledge the passion of love. In this career, it's not just words, it's belief. I believe in love at first sight. I believe there is such a thing as soul mates. I believe two people can love so deeply and with such magnitude that they lose sight of where one's heart begins and where the other's heart ends. They become one.

Here is an inspirational love story:

"Eung-Tao" A 16th-century descendent. In 1998, Archaeologists uncovered his tomb. There they found this letter addressed to him from his pregnant widow. 

To Won’s Father
June 1, 1586

You always said, “Dear, let’s live together until our hair turns gray and die on the same day. How could you pass away without me? Who should I and our little boy listen to and how should we live? How could you go ahead of me?
How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, “Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us?” How could you leave all that behind and go ahead of me?
I just cannot live without you. I just want to go to you. Please take me to where you are. My feelings toward you I cannot forget in this world and my sorrow knows no limit. Where would I put my heart in now and how can I live with the child missing you?
Please look at this letter and tell me in detail in my dreams. Because I want to listen to your saying in detail in my dreams I write this letter and put it in. Look closely and talk to me.
When I give birth to the child in me, who should it call father? Can anyone fathom how I feel? There is no tragedy like this under the sky.
You are just in another place, and not in such a deep grief as I am. There is no limit and end [to my sorrows] that I write roughly. Please look closely at this letter and come to me in my dreams and show yourself in detail and tell me. I believe I can see you in my dreams. Come to me secretly and show yourself. There is no limit to what I want to say and I stop here.

Below is a picture of a pair of his shoes woven with his wife's hair. Also found in his tomb.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Inspiration for Writers

Motivation is an important thing that gets books written. This combined with a creative mind and a great storyline is what makes a book stand out to publishing houses. As a writer myself, I'm not always motivated to sit down and create. Sometimes I need a kick in the pants to get the juices flowing. I compare writing to a fire. The more motivation and inspiration I have, which is the fuel, the warmer and sustaining the flames are. The motivators are the fuel.

So, the big question is, "What motivates a writer?"

Tip 1:

Know where your story is heading. I'm not suggesting that a writer should sit down and write every detail and aspect before diving into chapter one. For some, plotting works. For others, like myself, I like to jump in and take off. However, that doesn't mean that I don't have a solid storyline in my head and I use it as the core path on the map. Verging from this path is fine as long as we hop back on the storyline train every once in awhile. What a writer doesn't want is to lose sight of the plot. For instance, when one is making a pot of stew they know what the end result will be--stew. However, this is where writing style comes into play: one can add their choice of veggies and meat to come up with what suits their flavor. It'll still be stew no matter what you throw in. A writer never wants to have holes in their plot.

Tip 2:

Find your place of solace. I've always needed one thing while I write: SILENCE. No music, no TV, no noise. Another motivator for me is natural light. I sit by a massive picture window and it helps the creative juice start flowing. Chocolate is always welcome at my desk. I eat a candy bar a day while I'm in my writing/mental zone. One writer friend said she sits down and reads a chapter or two of her favorite writer and it sparks her competitive side. Another author told me he works out and writes better pumped.  Find what works for you.

Tip 3:

Stay true to yourself. Write what you love. The greatest joy in life is doing what makes us happy. Follow your instinct. I don't feel like any writer must stick with one genre, or sub-genre. Being a writer means creating. My brain is chocked full of story ideas and characters. I just happen to love writing romance, but I'm not chained to that genre. In fact, I see a children's book on the horizon for me. It could turn out to be the worst book I've ever written, but at least I'll give it a shot. The inspiration comes in bringing a story and characters to life. Nurturing them into believable people. Connecting true life to a fantasy world.

Tip 4:

Set goals and stick to them. Word targets have been a huge motivator for me. Each day I choose how many words I'm going to write, but am very careful not to aim too high. The idea is to reach the goal as inspiration. Once I reach my target it gives me the motivation to continue on. A few of my writer friends have word count challenges. They either set a goal of words and see who reaches it first, or they have a free-for-all and see who writes the most words in one day. All writers know writing books is a competitive field. It's not that we want to do better than another writer, we just like the challenge of winning.

Tip 5:

Join a critique group. When I first started writing I joined a wonderful group. During that time I learned more than I thought possible. Not only did I learn to grow a tougher, thicker skin, I also got the best advice from a diverse population of writers. The critters who helped me the most are the ones who didn't hold back with the blunt truth. It made me a better writer and a better person.

What is your motivation?


Friday, September 7, 2012

To use a condom or not?!?!

Interesting question, huh? As an erotica romance writer, I'm always faced with, "Will my characters use a condom?" Yes, as funny as this may seem, it is a serious question in the writing field of romance. If you've read any of my books, and I sure hope you have, you'll know that several of my leading ladies have gotten pregnant. That doesn't ncessarily mean that the hero and heroine didn't use a condom. As adults, we understand that condoms break. You'll just have to read all of my books and find out who wore one and who didn't. 

If I don't "use" condoms, my editor always leaves a side comment asking "where is the condom?" Some editors have been more stringent than others. Of course I'm not "forced" to have my hero oblige. Usually, my hero and heroine unwrap the foil package and roll one on. Does it take away from the heat that we so want to infuse into our erotica tales?  I don't think it does. Just like any conflict in writing, we can make about anything look pretty and juicy. That's our job.

It should be a personl choice whether or not a writer decides to use a condom. Truth is, there are some situations where whipping out the condom just doesn't fit or isn't suitable. If I must skip a hot, sexy love scene because I can't write in a condom, well, let's just say that skipping a great scene will never happen. And, please keep in mind, in most romance stories (at least in all of mine), the heroine and hero are only sleeping with one another and will have the romantic ending of happily ever after. In real life, I advocate protecting oneself in whatever manner one chooses. However, if I wrote real life you'd be bored. Unless you live an erotic tale everyday...

So, to use a condom or not. It's all in the hands of the writer.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Child's Bookshelf

The war of eBooks versus print books is still continuing. I'll agree, there's nothing like holding a print book in one's hands. The feel of the paper, the smell of the pages and especially dog-earing to save one's place. Yet, eBooks are taking over the industry. The convenience and cost is an advantage. In a society where technology holds great splendor, the newest e-readers can make even the deepest lover of print books salivate.

As an eBook author, I encourage the new technology. Save a tree. However, when it comes to children, I have a strong belief that they thrive on print books. Little hands should know the feeling of holding a book.

I started reading to my kids when they were babies. Honestly, they'd be breastfeeding and I'd be reading to them. As they grew older, I continued to read, especially at bedtime. There was nothing sweeter than snuggling in bed with the wee ones and reading until they fell alseep.

Now my children are reading on their own, which is a bittersweet accomplishment. All three of my children are avid readers. They each have bookshelves in their rooms, stuffed full with print books...and memories.

I sometimes go into their bedrooms and thumb through the memories (or rather books). Some of my faves are, Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, I Love You Stinky Face. Anything Curious George, Winnie the Pooh, Princess and Garfield themed are always a hit. I can't count how many times I've watched my children sitting on the floor, staring at each page as if their mind was a sponge spoaking up every detail before turning to the next adventure.

As a child I also loved to read. One could say I had a fascination with books of all genre. I remember feeling as if I were transformed into another world with each new book I'd begin. I could read morning, noon and night. I'd read books that I loved two, three and four times until I knew I'd etched the words inside of my mind. Maybe it was this fascination that led me into becoming a writer. There is nothing more fascinating than creating a story of adventure.

My chilren have an appreciation for books. They have an appreciation for the art of words. Each of them love to write their own stories, even my youngest who is only seven.  I've allowed my children to line their bookshelves with stories they love. In this I've also created memories.