Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hard work pays off.

Tis the season - to be busy! With so many projects on the go its hard to keep things organized and on track. However, when you've got the motivation it can be a rewarding experience. Recently I began writing a western novel that I had hoped to get published via a New York publisher. I've revised that idea - not because its hard, or an out of touch idea but simply because at this stage in my career I don't feel confident enough to win an agent over to my talents.

Having said that, I don't think my writing is poor quality - I wouldn't get published if it didn't hold up to industry standards. No, I simply have come to the conclusion that the smaller publishing houses are a good experience and will help me create my name before I launch into a larger market so to speak.

If you get the chance, I highly recommmend you read the book The Career Novelist by Donald Maass. It's an excellent read and it will help you figure out where you want to go. Having a plan for your career is invaluable and necessary. You wouldn't start a business without a game plan, and your writing career is the same.

As an author you're making a product to sell to the consumer. It's a business plain and simple. Does it keep a person busy? For sure. Edits, rewrites, research, all take up time that you, the owner/author, must manage. I don't believe that it should consume every waking minute but a good five hours a day shouldn't be unheard of.

Am I guilty of spending more than that on the computer? Yes, I'm afraid so. What do I have to show for it. Three contracts ( The last came in yesterday for a full length western), my novella has been released, and the production on Master's Mistress - my Viking romance - has begun. That however is a tale for another day. I'm learning how to manage my time, how to juggle being a full time mother, wife, employee for another company, business owner - I do my own craft thing - and writer with a bit more finesse.

Its not always easy but it is rewarding. When I hear back from a fan that my work has touched them, that they've enjoyed what I've written I'm grateful that I've been able to do that. I'm touched that as an author, my work is an inspiration to others. Busy - yes, insane - probably...regretting it? Not for a moment.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yeah! IT's now available.

My christmas Novella "Christmas for The Cowboy" has come out - just in time for those still shopping for X-mas presents.

Warning: May contain material that is steamy - read at your own risk! Feel free to leave a comment:

An Excerpt from the Novella:

“And now for those ladies who haven’t got a date. We have a treat. All the way from Hornbow ranch, we have a real live cowboy.” Tanya waved a hand at the curtain as it pulled back to reveal the shadowed figure of a man.

Holly swallowed, her gaze soaking in the sight before her. A dark felt Stetson sat at a rakish angle over his features. His broad shoulders flowed down into a chiseled torso; a matting of darker hair followed a familiar line down his body to disappear into the low riding Levis he wore. The long, tight jeans were threadbare in places, conforming to leave little to the imagination. Her mouth went dry as she noticed the way he was ‘dressed’. The faded lines of the denim flowed down along the ridge they hid, to the edge of the frayed spot near his upper thigh. With each step he took, she could see the muscles flex and ripple beneath the material. A large championship buckle sat in the middle of his lower abdomen, the edges of his flanks visible as he pulled the pants down with his thumbs in the belt loops.

A pair of shiny spurs embraced the worn black boots on his feet. Each step sent a faint but distinctly metallic jingle through the air. The tall man stopped at the end of the runway. He lifted the toe of one boot and rocked it back and forth in a slow, beckonin’ motion.

“Starting bids?” Tanya paused, a smirk on her face as she cast an appraising stare at the man standing beside her. “How about two hundred? Anyone with two hundred, that’s a real championship buckle, ladies. He was the bronc riding champion of 2007, as well as came in the top three in bull riding. Gals, this is a man who knows how to stay in the saddle.”

“Two hundred!” a voice rose from the back of the room.

“I have two hundred.” Tanya called, “Two twenty?”

“Three hundred,” another voice chimed in.

Holly smirked into her glass as she watched the other women in the room wave their cards about. With each bid that rose higher and higher, she risked looking at the man standing silently. His expression hadn’t altered, his stare scorched through her dress to kindle the desire that was never far away.

“One thousand dollars,” someone called. He didn’t move a muscle, just stood there silently, his hat pulled low. The faded denim of his jeans hugged the strong, hard length of his legs as he altered his stance to tempt her just a bit more.

Holly shifted, uncrossed and crossed her legs. She noted the way his pale eyes followed the movement and adjusted her dress a bit to reveal more leg. With each movement he swallowed, his body tensed and he shifted slightly in an attempt to hide his reaction.

“Twenty-five hundred dollars.” Holly waved her sign when he stuck his hands deep into his pockets. The swelling along her dress line started an ache deep within her, and she wondered idly if anyone would notice a damp spot on her dress. Her breasts tightened her nipples hardening to poke at the slinky fabric of her gown. Unashamed of her arousal she stared at him; her gaze followed his tongue as it licked at his lips.

A shocked hush fell over the room as everyone turned to stare at her. Slowly, murmurs began to swarm around the room. Speculation flew as the other women assessed her. She merely sipped at her drink, her gaze steady as she stared at the cowboy on display.

“Any other bids?” Tanya asked weakly. The silence fell over the room as she searched for any other bidders. Finally, after a few moments of stunned stillness she brought the gavel down. “Twenty five hundred dollars it is. Sold to the lady in gold.”

Holly smirked to herself and stood. She collected her wrap, clutch, and auction card. A young man with a clipboard appeared beside her, a smile on his face.

“Could you fill this out?” he asked softly.

Holly took it, filled everything out, and reached into her reticule. “Cash okay?”

“Cash, ma’am?” he croaked as she pulled a wad of bills from her purse.

He watched bug-eyed, as she counted out twenty-five hundred dollar bills and laid them atop the clipboard. His eyes followed her movements as she pulled out another five and tucked it into his pocket. “Would you be so kind as to ensure that I get a receipt, please?”

“Yes, Ms. Walker, I’ll leave one for you at the front desk. Are you checking out tonight?”

“No, I’ve booked my room for a few days,” Holly explained, and sauntered off. She paused at the edge of the stage and winked at her ‘date’ before putting an extra swing in her step and leaving the ballroom.

The elevator ping’ed its annoying sound as the doors swung open and she stepped inside, aware of the silent man standing inches from her bare back. Careful not to catch her stiletto heels on the edge of the track, she turned to catch her date’s lust filled gaze. His shadow loomed in behind her and she reached for the panel. Her long-nailed finger pressed her floor number and she peeked upwards, her body abuzz with sensations, desires, and she wondered if this time would be any better than the others.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Upcoming Contest and Release

Yeah! With only a handful of days left before my Christmas Novella comes out, I thought we'd celebrate.

So I'm holding a contest. Pop over to Blade's site and look through my excerpts of the novella. To win, simply answer the following question:

What was Ty wearing at the auction?

On December 3rd when Christmas for the Cowboy comes out from Blade, I'll be drawing a name from those with correct answers to win a copy of the novella.

From the remaining names I'll be drawing four to win a special 'surprise' gift as well as a promotional package.

Good luck, and happy reading.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Spooktacular Contest

Hello everyone, in the spirit of halloween I'm holding a contest. If you've got a short story 400-1000 words in length about a shapeshifter, vampire, ghost, goblin or anything halloween submit it to me via my contact information.

Submit a link to it if you've got it posted on your blog, or send me the entire story. I'll be posting them. Everyone will have a chance to vote on them and select your favorite. They will be entered to win a spooktacular gift basket!

Have fun with them - but keep in mind anything that is above the PG 14 rating will have to be flagged and I may only post an excerpt from it, simply to keep it family oriented. Thanks and hope to see everyone come out to participate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Please welcome Amoda Ni Cormac from Ireland

Welcome to everyone, I'm glad you could join us. Today we'll be having a short chat with Amoda Ni Cormac from the lush green of Ireland's shores. Welcome Amoda.

Thank ye for having me.

PB: My readers have been wondering about you. You're not the typical 'slave', you can read the written word, speak several dialects, and follow two independent religions. Where did you learn so much for someone so very young?

AC: Tis the truth that I am educated, a rarity amongst slaves in Brattilhid. In fact none of the others I met spoke more than their master's tongue. But I was not always a slave, when I was very, very young I was stolen from my home by the Gaill King Tyr. Thrust into the darkness of my captivity, my learning was my only escape.

PB: You refer to Tyr as a Gaill - what does that mean?"

AC: Gaill is a celtic word that means invader. In the dialect of my people, Vikings were considered intruders, foreigners. It is a term we have always used.

PB: Your teacher, Rognvalder, forgive me if I miss pronounce it, is hardly one I would think to be a teacher for a young child.

AC: Its pronounced Rog Val Dr. Nay he is not a suitable instructor in anything clean and decent. I have often felt the disgust turn my own stomach and I have known him a great number of seasons.

PB: With so much upheaval in your life, how can you be so calm, so accepting of the man who is your Lord?

AC: The Gods had long ago written my fate, it is a rarity for a mortal to tempt them with his cunning. Mykyl is a good man, a fine leader - and his loyalties do not lie within his own family. He has given me much, how can I do less for him?

PB: If there was one thing in this world you could alter what would it be?"

AC: There is nothing I could change. Were I to change my family being murdered, I would have been wed to a Tuath from a neighboring clan. Change the darkness and horror of growing within Rognvaldr's house - I would not have learned to heal. Nay, there is no room for change. I would but erase a shadow or two but even then, Nay, nay. There is one thing I would change. I would fight for my lord, I would not run from him with such fear as I have done.

PB: What was your impression of the woman King Tyr selected as a bride for Mykyl?

AC: Humours laughter - A hollow stone. Frail and weak. She would never have survived here. Nor would she have been woman enough for a man of such passion. 'Tis better that she went back whence she came.

PB: How do you feel about the conflicts that have plagued your homeland for so very long?

AC: I have never known peace so what is war? It is necessary to rid the green fields of the vermin that slink about through it. I would but wash my lord's kingdom clean with the blood of his enemies, but alas, I cannot.

PB: Thank you for your time, with a small babe it is rare to have a few moments of peace and quiet.

AC: Aye, 'tis true. But my son and my daughter are both delights to me and my lord and husband. I would give him a houseful before I am finished.

Please join us next week as we talk to her husband and the Lord of Woodstown himself. Until then, thank you for joining us and take care.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Interview with Kelly Thompson

1. What was your inspiration to begin writing and when did you start?

When I was a kid I spent hours writing stories; besides reading, that’s what I loved to do. Life as an adult kind of pushed that aside for many years. I tried for a while when my kids were young, but it just didn’t work. A couple of years ago, I read a really good book. Okay, I’ll even name it. It was A Date With the Other Side by Erin McCarthy. It was laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, with characters who felt real. And I wanted to do that. Combined with the fact that my kids are getting older and I actually have some time to myself, I decided instead of sitting in front of the television every night I would do something productive and give writing a shot again.

2. When you write, how do you go about it? Are you a pantser or plotter?

I began totally as a pantser. I sat down with characters in my head and wrote my first story. And although I’ve never submitted it anywhere, I think it actually isn’t bad in terms of plot. (The writing is a whole other story!!) But in my last few books I’ve been trying to plot more. I can’t figure everything out, but I try to identify what my turning points will be, my crisis, climax and resolution. And I think about some possible ideas for the plot. But if I’m coming up blank, I find the best thing to do is just start writing and the characters make things happen! It amazes me the things they do!!

3. What do you find to be the most difficult about the craft of writing and why?

Definitely the “selling” part. Sending query after query after query is tedious when I’d rather be writing. Then the rejections are all discouraging. And then even when you do publish, the promotion work is hard for me. I’m not a hugely outgoing person and while I want people to read and enjoy my stories, I wish I didn’t have to tell them about them all by myself! Like, I’ll be sending out an announcement to friends and family and I was going to add at the bottom “Please don’t feel obligated to buy and read this book.” What kind of selling is that???

4. What's your favorite thing about the genre you write in?

I write contemporary/erotic romance and I have to admit I love hot love scenes. I like reading them and I like writing them. But to make them “hot” there has to be an emotional connection between the two (or three!!) characters, also between the characters and the reader. That’s what I strive for.

5. Why did you pick the publisher you went through?

I picked Samhain because they have a great reputation in e-publishing and they publish some fantastic authors, ones I know and like. I’m really proud to be a Samhain author.

6. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication - the highs and lows?

It’s like a roller coaster, isn’t it? Writing the book excites me. I especially love it when I solve a plot problem - I just feel exhilarated! I love it when I go back and read something I wrote and I think, damn that’s good! Then I send the queries and wait and wait and then the rejections come and I think, damn I guess that wasn’t so good. It’s hard not to get discouraged at first. I also had some discouraging experiences with critique partners who weren’t supportive at all, and was very close to quitting. Then – a sale! That first sale is definitely a high! I actually made two sales within a week of each other – major excitement! That gives the confidence a boost, which is good because that’s not the end of the rejections! Those just keep coming. It was a real low when my second submission to Samhain was rejected. That really hurt, but I did sell that story to someone else. And now I have made a second sale to Samhain, I’m happy to say!

7. Your cover art is amazing; do you believe the artists captured the essence of your stories?

Yes I think so. I know they’re working from stock images and are limited with what they can do, but I also got feedback from the artist at Cobblestone Press that she had an easy time because I put so much detail into my cover art form, so by the third time I had learned the more information you give the artist to work with the better. She got it exactly right. A cover is so important, but as a new author, any cover with my name on it is thrilling!

8. If someone were to ask you for advice on writing and publishing a book, what would you tell them?

Just do it! (As Nike says!) Many years ago when I first gave writing romance a try, I thought I’d send out queries but not bother writing the story unless someone was interested! Very efficient, except you only learn writing by doing it. Even though I’ve written so many books nobody will ever read, each one was a learning process. So write, write, write. And learn wherever you can. Take on-line courses, read and study books about writing, and find a great critique partner.

Thank you Kelly, if you have a comment or question for our special guest please leave a response and she'll do her best to get back to you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kelly Jamieson's "Love Me" Is OUT!

Congratulations to Kelly Jamieson on her release this month.

“Love Me” by Kelly Jamieson

Read An Excerpt OnlineGenre: ,
ISBN: 978-1-60504-194-0Length: Short StoryPrice: 2.50Publication Date: September 16, 2008Cover art by Scott Carpenter

How far does she have to go to get his attention?

Melina Wenham is worried and frustrated. Lately, her boyfriend of six months seems to have lost interest in her. Yes, she knows he’s stressed about his big project at work, but jeez, it seems like he’d rather go solo than have sex with her. Sexy lingerie, a Brazilian…nothing seems to get his attention.

Gavin’s frustrated too. He’s under enough pressure at work, without feeling more from Melina every time he gets home.

Another night, another party, and Gavin is off talking to the boys. Feeling ignored yet again, Melina confides her troubles to an acquaintance, Abby, who suggests shaking him up by flirting with another guy. Hmm. Not a bad idea, except there are no flirt-worthy guys at this party.
Then Abby suggests a different tack—flirt with her.

Could a little girl-on-girl tango be the match that reignites romance with Gavin? There’s only one way to find out…

I read the excerpt and have to say - this is well worth the time to check it out! Congrat's Kelly.

Kelly will also be appearing during this week to talk about her writing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Interview with Holly Walker star of upcoming Novella

Welcome, today's guest is Holly Walker, the heroine of Christmas For The Cowboy due out Dec. 08 through Blade publishing.

Hello Mrs. Walker, its a pleasure to have you with us today.

Holly: "The pleasure's all mine. I'm glad to be here."

Interview with Holly Walker

You’ve been involved with rodeo in some capacity all your life, what got you hooked on rodeo?

HW: I started riding when I was six, my grandfather got me started. I competed in 4-H for two years before I got the competitive bug. By the time I was nine years old I’d been touring the show circuit. When I went to the local rodeo and horse show my friend dragged me with her to watch the cowboys. After watching the speed of the barrel racers, the skill, the horses I began to think I’d like to do that. When I was ten I signed up for my first rodeo and never looked back. You could say the cowboys got me hooked.

Do you ever wish you’d done anything other than the rodeo?

HW: I’ve done a lot of different things. I’ve done rodeo, shown, you name it I’ve done it. But I’ve also got a lot of other skills that most people who see my buckles don’t know about. I’m a qualified seamstress; in fact I run my own sewing shop from the ranch. I run a bed and breakfast, and maintain the ranch by myself because Ty’s constantly away from home.

When did you meet Ty?

HW: I met him at the local rodeo the second year I was Pro Rodeo. I’d seen him before then, I knew the name, the family – you don’t walk in the rodeo world more than a day and not hear about the Walkers but a formal meeting didn’t come until I was a teenager.

What was it about Ty that’s kept you with him so long?

HW: His love. We were kids trying to live in an adult world and by the time we realized what was happening we’d already gone too far. Things haven’t been the greatest for a couple of years but I love him too much to just abandon him without trying to save our marriage.

How has the rodeo affected your marriage with Ty on the circuit 50 weeks out of the year and you at home?

HW: It’s put a strain where there wasn’t one. I love Ty and I know he loves me. But no marriage can survive weeks, months of separation without some connection. I don’t regret giving up the rodeo; I just wish that Ty would realize that he’s more than the rodeo. Doubts, lonely nights, fears, they’ve created a gap between us. He’s young, sexy as hell and there are a lot of temptations out there that no man in his right mind would be blind to – I just try to support him and enjoy the moments when he’s at home.

What made you come up with the Christmas Getaways?

HW: The rode is full of temptations and buckle bunnies who would be only to happy to crawl into bed with a winner. For me the Christmas Getaway is my way of giving Ty a chance to explore his fantasies, his desires for sex outside of marriage and still be faithful.

What’s different about this year’s getaway?

HW: A few things. An unexpected, unplanned pregnancy for one. I’m excited about the baby but I’m scared to. I don’t want to raise a child alone; I want to have my husband with me. This year that may not happen. When he learns of the baby, he may not choose us. When this week is over, our lives have to go back to some semblance of normalcy, and I’m not prepared to have an absentee father and husband any longer.

Thank you Holly, for sitting down with us today. Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your first child.

HW: Thanks so much for having me. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Interview with Ty Walker

Welcome, today's guest is Tyson Walker, the hero of Christmas For The Cowboy due out Dec. 08 through Blade publishing.

Hello Mr. Walker, its a pleasure to have you with us today.

Tyson: "It's just Ty, and the pleasure's all mine ladies.

PB. You’ve been involved with rodeo in some capacity all your life, what got you hooked on rodeo?

TW: Rodeo is in my blood. It’s who I am. My father is a two time world champion Bronc rider and my mother is a world class barrel racer. I was born into the circuit, and didn’t know anything else. Growing up I was encouraged to follow my dreams, to experience the full range of the rodeo. I guess you could say, the rodeo’s excitement was bred into me.

PB: Do you ever wish you’d done anything other than the rodeo?

TW: No. Like I said, it’s a part of me. Wasn’t until I was a teenager that I really understood there was more to life, and by then I’d already gone pro. It’s pretty hard to stop being what you’ve always been just because something new appears.

PB: When did you meet Holly?

TW: shifts in his seat, crosses his legs. “I met Holly when I was eighteen at the final regular season rodeo on the curcuit in a small town in British Columbia. She was competing in every event a woman could. Joking around with a couple of the other bull riders and I hear a horse snort. Glanced up and it was like I’d been stomped by a bull – there she was, sitting atop a sorrel gelding waiting for her run.

PB: Do you remember your first date with Holly?

TW: That night. I watched her go into the arena, her body moved like poetry with her horse as they ripped up the cloverleaf. I followed her back to her trailer after her run and asked her out. We went to the Rodeo dance together. I remember our first dance; they were playing a Garth Brooks song. “Shameless.” She wore a green silk shirt with white on the collar, and a snug denim skirt that brushed the tops of her boots when she walked. I danced every dance with her, walked her back to her trailer and said goodnight.

PB: Where were you when you proposed to Holly?

TW: I proposed in July, on the last day of the Calgary Stampede, right in the middle of the award ceremony. With thousands of fans and officials, as well as other competitors staring at us, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. More exciting than any ride I ever made.

PB: How has the rodeo affected your marriage with you on the circuit 50 weeks out of the year and her at home?

TW: When we traveled together wasn’t a problem. When she retired to the ranch, it put a strain on things. She knew about the temptations and ‘bad’ habits that are out there for riders, men and women. You have to understand that there are going to be women who go to the rodeo just to rope a cowboy for the night – and they like a winner. There’s the booze, drugs, it’s like any sport really. A rough stock rider doesn’t have a very long career; it’s too hard on the body. When you face death in an eight second whirlwind, it’s not uncommon to try and find ways of dealing with the lows that come.

I never cheated on her but there were things that made her question my commitment. Fears that I never faced, worries, thoughts, doubts that I struggled with on a day to day basis. Wasn’t until this past year that we really got to know just how strong our love was. There are moments when I regret being gone so much – but she never tried to force me to be different, to not be who I was. In a way the rodeo gave us each other and it nearly took us away from each other. It’s a lesson we can’t, we won’t forget.

PB: What made you come up with the Christmas Getaways?

TW: My folks have been married a long time, Holly’s folks were married for thirty-five years before her Dad died. We came up with the idea of having a week long romantic holiday as a means of keeping the relationship alive. It was a way of stepping outside of the boundaries of our sex lives, of our marriage, without cheating on the other person. We decided to do it on our honeymoon. It would be our greatest Christmas and anniversary present since we got married Christmas Eve.

PB: The news about the baby was a shock, but having had a few weeks to digest the information how do you feel about it?

TW: I’m excited. I always knew Holly and I’d have kids, but I didn’t want to her to have to go through a pregnancy by herself. One of the reasons why I always used protection. Got so used to having it on me that I think she started to question my faith in our relationship. I was shocked when I found out that she was pregnant. Not because I didn’t want a baby – but because deep down I was terrified that I couldn’t be the father I wanted my kids to have.

It made me sit up and take stock of my life. A bull riding is a dangerous profession, one that you know you’re gonna get hurt doing. This baby made me really think, and it opened my eyes to what I truly want. And what I want is rather simple, comes down really to one thing. I want Holly and the family that we’re making.

Thank you Ty, for sitting down with us today. I hope you have much success and congratulations on the upcoming birth of your first born.

TW: You're very welcome, glad to have been here.

PB: Come back next week when we'll be talking to Ty's beautiful wife Holly Walker.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back in the Saddle - so to speak

It seems so unusual to have nothing to say - to write - when you've got that dreaded curse of writers block. Still, many suffer it, work their way through it. For some of us its as simple as our brains agreeing to work.

You're probably laughing at that statement but it's the truth. I'm extremely prolific - I've always got two or three things on the go and for me to have nothing - is uncomfortable. We had guests, as I've mentioned, they stayed for two weeks and I didn't write a single word. Thought it was because I wasn't on the computer -but it wasn't that. My brain - and my muse - had decided that I had enough on my plate. I was, admittedly, stressing a bit about the edits for my Christmas novella, about my company, family problems, and then work. For me my writers block wasn't about not having anything to say - it was simply my brain's way of telling me to relax, to become stress free.

So, now where I am? Well I'm elbows deep in writing again. Pumping out two chapters a day, except for yesterday when I did two and a half, researching Spain and Australia circa 1850's, looking up names from 9th century Ireland for my next Viking Saga book (Which doesn't really have a viking in it other than as a secondary character), doing interviews, planning a book reading for September, scheduling photo shoots, and taking care of two boys besides my own. Busy? Mmm maybe, but at least when I sit down to work on my books there's something flowing. My fingers are typing away faster than my eyes can read and I'm once again comfortable in my skin.

It may seem strange, unusual, or just plain odd but I found that if I let my 'inner writer' have free reign not only am I typing out quantity but quality. So for everyone whose having one of those days that nothing seems to want to flow, where you're constantly second guessing yourself and your writing, have faith. Your muse, creative juices, or what ever you call 'em will kick back in and when they do you'll be back into the full swing of writing.

Until then, take a moment to breathe, to wallow in the experiences that you're going through. To contemplate what you want and how you can get it. Until next time, have a great day and a great weekend!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The first steps

Firstly, allow me to apologize for being absent. With my internet down until I could get a repair person out it made it difficult to get online. And I have had several full weeks with company, writing, and 'work', but I'm back now and hopefully will be able to post a little note next time I'm to be away.

Today I want to talk about something that I think everyone needs to know. There are many talented writers out there who have both the skills and the talent to write - what most don't have or have little experience with is the overwhelmed feeling when your career suddenly springs into full gear and you're standing there go "Huh?".

I was invited to participate in a very interesting and exciting series through one of my publishers and I'm delighted to do so. It was an unexpected honor to be asked and I wasn't prepared with anything more than a summary of the story I'd intended to write before I learned that it was 'invitation only'.

So now I'm learning how to walk the tight rope of self-imposed deadlines on not one but three novels! Yes, I said three. I've got a novel in the works for a submission call, the one I was invited to do, and another one that is a prequel to my Viking romance due out in March.

This means that I'm spending my time researching, writing, and when taking care of my family. Its also a good indication that I've taken the first steps to building my writing career and that my perserverence and dedication to it have paid off.

For those of you still taking that first step - submitting to a publisher, do it. One cannot learn to walk without a few fumbles. Believe in yourself and you'll see that you can do anything you want. There's always going to be someone there to help you while you're learning to walk, even if its a fellow author you've never met in person.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recharging the battery

Everyone has moods, good ones bad ones, they affect our daily lives and allow us to have an individuality that is unique. However, they can also affect us in ways that we never consider. This past week was, for me a hard one, I couldn't wrap my mind around my writing. Picked up a pen wrote three words and that was it. Maybe its the realization that I've got a lot on my plate right now. I'm not entirely sure what the problem was, I did however know that at the end of the week I have nothing to show for all the countless hours spent in front of my computer.

I've managed to accumulate pages of research notes, ideas, character charts and outlines - but no writing for the fourth novel. It's a difficult task to force ones self to write but it is necessary. How can you successfully have a career writing if you can't write? How can a person get past their writer's block?

For me its as simple as stepping back and thinking about it. I'm working on developing a system to help me - even if its just writing something different. It's far from perfect - I miss as often as I hit but at least I'm trying.

I know there are a lot of people out there who are sitting there going my 'muse' has abandoned me but it isn't true. A muse, like a human being, can be affected by mood, by stress, desire, illness - they are inheritantly a part of us and therefore must be nurtured. Having said that, I'm throwing out this challenge to all writers. Turn off the computer, put down the pen, and step back - open your heart and your mind to more than just the endless clatter of keys and let the creative batteries be recharged. Take yourself out for a date, go somewhere that will enspire you, somewhere that will allow you to get in touch with that tiny little voice in your head that writes when you're sitting at the computer. You'll find with your batteries recharged and in touch with yourself that you'll get farther ahead with that project than if you'd struggled to write one page all week!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Promoting awareness about the plight of the Mustangs

Normally, I'd be promoing and author or editor or publisher or talking about my journey through publication but today I thought I'd touch on something else. As everyone is aware, I'm a member of several fan fiction groups. One of which is dedicated to writing about a television western that was on in the late 80's early 90's (An episode was actually interrupted when they announced the first gulf war).

Recently they announced they were hosting a blogathon to raise funds and awareness for a worthwhile organization. Wild Horse Rescue Assoc. has recently come into another 120 head of mustangs. (I've enclosed a link at the bottom of this blog to take you to the sites) and its a startling, and rather saddening predicament.

Humanity is not kind. For thousands of years, human beings have been the alpha preditor, and even now when we've become 'civilized' we still maintain that. To know that animals that have run wild for centuries are now a problem saddens me. Europeans brought the horse back to North America, and from those few Spanish horses the Mustang was born.

Tough, hardy, quick minded, these animals are a vital part of American history and yet, they are rounded up by the thousands and taken to stockyards where they await their fate.

For some it's an adoption into a loving home where they are cared for and respected. For others their fate is to be humanly put down. I read an article recently about wild horses and the budgeting programs that are run by the federal governement which means that because of a legal loophole they can legally put them down.

For more information you can follow the following links and see news coverage and several organizations that are trying to change this scenerio.

Feel free to comment or voice your opinion. While there are facts within this, some of it is strictly my opinion.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Blade's Newest Submission Call

PAWS For Thought Submission Call

Do you find it hard to resist a man or woman who loves animals? If so then keep reading.
We are looking for stories where the hero or heroine is some how involved in the daily care or rescue of animals. We are open to any story ideas, from a fireman whose popularity exceeds no other when it comes to cat rescue, to a vet who takes care of un-identified paranormal creatures.

There is no requirement of heat level nor does there have to be a happily ever after. If you write young adult and have a story in mind then we would love to read it. Young Adult acceptances will go on our sister site, Midnight Press, which is currently under development.
Stories should be between 30,000 and 35,000 words.

The first PAWS For Thought novels will be published in the first part of 2009, so in order to be considered for one of the debut releases, submissions should be received no later than November 1, 2008. Once royalties are paid the remainder will go to charity, unless of course the author chooses to donate his/her royalty as well. That will be up to the individual authors.
We are very excited about this new charity project and working with Michael to create a safe haven for the animals they rescue.

*Permission to forward granted*

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Upcoming Workshop on Erotica

Am I hot or not? Erotic Romance VS. Erotica. Q&A with Liquid Silver Acquiring Editor, Tina Burns.All day July 12th at Romance DivasFeaturing:Tina BurnsHow do you know if you’ve crossed into the Erotica zone? Get a professional’s opinion. It will take place at the Romance Diva Forum. All are welcome. To get access to the forum you will need to register. The workshop will be in the “Steamy” section of the forum which requires permission from the admin. Details are HERE.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fan Fiction A Mod's Tale

KellyAnn Bessa AKA Devil Doll (DD) has a BS in Management from Cardinal Stritch University, and currently works as a human resources consultant for an investment firm. She has been in fandom for nearly ten years as a writer, mailing list owner, community moderator, and webmaster.

In addition to running several archives, she hosts and maintains websites for a number of fan fiction writers. One of her first childhood crushes was Batman, and she still works several hours a week at her local comic book store, and participates in the online feminist comic fan community.

One of those fandoms is X-Men. She currently runs the Woverine and Rogue archive, where I personally have over a hundred of my stories posted, as well as several yahoo groups, a livejournal, and not to mention her work with the OTW.

She's an incredible woman who has managed to create a place for the fan fic author to post their work. Devil Doll has for the past couple of years also provided a home for the Reader's Choice Awards on her WaR archive. She's won with no surprise The Best Mod category twice and is understandably proud of her accomplishments.

I personally have submitted works to her for a four or five years now and have gotten a sense of what she looks for as a moderator. Tough but fair, DD as we call her, is one of the most level headed mod's out there. She's answered my questions, given advice freely, and hasn't treated me with disrespect. When I created the Reader's Choice Awards I have to admit and I'm sure she'd agree that the first year was a minor disaster. What had started off as a chance to see if the interest was there snowballed. This year however, DD came back with some awesome suggestions, tips, and rules that I never even thought of.

For us mere writers, having a moderator like her is a great bonus. She's allowed me and others to develop skills and to give and get feedback that is constructive without demeaning. Personally, I firmly believe that anyone who does what she does deserves an award. I don't think I could handle all the bad attitudes people have when they don't get what they want.

To find out more about Devil Doll, see the upcoming July issue of the newsletter. She's talking openly and candidly about herself and her work with the OTW. Until next time, happy writing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pro-active means success

When I first got the idea to send something to a publisher after years of writing for myself I had this grand idea in my head. You get published, your book comes out, you get a cheque and move on to the next project.

While that it what happens there is a lot of behind the scenes work. There's editing and rewrites, working one on one with a mentor to polish the polished manuscript until it shines like a diamond. There's promoting the book on line and in stores. The Publisher will do its share but for anyone to be successful you have to be pro-active in promotions.

I've created a solid presence on line with my blogs, my newsletter/group, chats, and forums. That's the first step now comes the hard stuff. Keeping that presence alive, keeping folks aware of me, aware of my work and not giving up.

There seems to be this grand illusion from those who aren't published or don't even write that once you've written and published one book you can sit back collect your royalties and not have to worry about real life. That's not how it works in real life. It takes a solid effort on both the part of the publishing house and the author to keep awareness alive.

I've made myself a network of places and people that I can turn to to help me build awareness. Bookstores, clubs, forums, all are solid marketing tools that can and should be used. I want to be successful, and that means that I have to keep things moving.

While my book isn't due out until next year I've already contact local bookstores, merchants, libraries, about booksignings, and carrying the book when it comes out in print. Most of them don't mind me putting up a poster or bookmarks in their stores to encourage folks to be aware of the book in its e-book format.

The local manager of a huge chain bookstore has already given me authorization to come up and put my work in their store. They can't order directly from the publisher because they are a chain but they're happy to carry my work on consignment. That means that they'll help me promote it. If it proves to be a big enough seller I may be able to expand, put in other stores even online bookstores such as Amazon.

However, that's in the future - its not a now thing. Right now its focusing on building awareness, on creating a network of groups and people that will be lined up waiting to purchase the work. Its now that the real work begins, because the writing of it was easy compared to this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Real Life and Your Dreams

For the past few months I've been a stay at home mom. My days were filled with housework and taking care of my son. Then when I got the great news that my book Master's Mistress was to be published life hit fast forward. I didn't know where I was going or how I was getting there, the excitment and adrenaline were pumping through my blood faster 'n a Nascar Rally.

However, reality has set in. Yes my books coming out next year which means that when the time comes I'll have plenty of edits, rewrites, tightening, and such to do before I can really focus on the things I want to. This hasn't dulled my enthusiasm at all, in fact it's only made me want to do more. So here I sit, one manuscript that I've finished and are doing edits on, and two that I've barely started. I'm waiting to hear back on my Christmas novella - on pins and needles I may add - and all this must be done in my spare time.

Finances and time have come to a parting of the ways. So, to keep a steady income coming in I've had to reassess my stance. That means going back to work. I must admit I cheated - I'm working from home, providing day care for two boys. They get along well with my son, and we don't have any issues.

What does this mean for my time? Well it means that the time before I'd spend writing I have now to watch the boys. Time I could spend in teleconfrence or on the computer doing research means that it's field trips to the library. It does not mean that I've stopped writing - I've just prioritized to include the boys.

When real life intrudes on your dreams it can lead to dismay and discouragment. I won't let that happen for two reasons. First of course being that writing is a part of me. I can no more stop writing than I can spread wings and fly. To lose that would mean giving up a part of my identity. And the second reason is of course, its good for me. I'ce come to realize that I can't spend 16 hours a day on the computer - its not good for me, for my family, and quite frankly I think it would kill the love I have for writing.

If you're thinking that you can't mesh your dreams with your reality think again. Prioritize, set limits, and above all don't give up. Keep the faith you have in yourself and in your dreams. Be it a single leap or a series of tiny steps the path that you follow to reach your dreams has no difference, it simply means that you're following that tiny voice within you that belongs to your heart.

Good luck and have a great day.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fan Fiction - Real or Not

With the upcoming interview with the moderator of one of the fandoms I write in, I thought this week we could touch on a topic that is as controversal as it could be. I've heard every argument out there about fan fiction being a copyright infringment, about it being a useful tool to a writer, and everything in between.

Being an author of fan fiction I have to admit that using another person's character to write a story is a harmless tool. I don't see the difference in borrowing a well known character to write a story and borrowing a pattern to make an afgan. As long as the writer/creator doesn't make a cent what's the harm? Personally, if people are so enamored of a character or show that they're willing to spend their free time (Something that there isn't much of in today's world) writing about it, take it as a compliment.

A fictional character is just that a piece of imaginiation by some really intelligent, creative people. Stan Lee is one of the most renowned super-hero creators of all time and with good reason. He's come up with some of the most famous characters of all time such as the X-Men and many many more. Each of his characters belongs to him, but should the public have a right to play with them? That's the million dollar question that has caused some serious debate. Fan Fiction borrows a character or a place and lets an author explore it before returning it. No harm in that, I say.

However, fan fiction is just that - fiction based upon an imaginary person. It's when it goes the other way that it becomes an issue in my humble opinion. Now there are certain lines I agree should never be crossed. For example I've started to read some fan fiction and stopped before I'd even finished the first page because the author has drawn the real person into the story. We're all exposed to the gossip and rumors of the tabloids and the celebrities, but really we don't know them as a person. How can anyone say that John Doe would do this dispicable thing or that good deed if they don't know him personally.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Upcoming Anthology

fantasy, science fiction

Star Stepping: An Anthology of Fantasy & Sci-Fi Tales

Written by VariousStories Included:

Beneath and Beyond by Debbie Mumford

Archaeologist Erin Carstedter is a no-nonsense kind of gal. If something can't be defined by scientific method, it doesn't exist. Erin's beliefs are about to be tested by a ruin beneath the polar ice cap. What Erin discovers in those icy depths will challenge her thinking...and change the world.

Read excerpt.

That Old Sweet Smell of Deception by Martin Owton

An ancient dragon tempted out to war for the first time in centuries finds the world greatly changed and dragons a rarity. Does an enemy wizard hold the key to saving dragonkind?

Read excerpt.

Fatal Wager by Andy Heizeler

Read excerpt.

A Pixie Story by Joe Miller

Miike awoke to find himself in a strange land. To then find himself surrounded by a whole hoard of pixies, each one with an arrow aimed at his heart, one could hardly guess how things would turn out.

Read excerpt.

The Honorable Lady by Kim Knox

Royal officials are vanishing and Evia-ben-Thiak doesn't intend to be one of them.

As a high-ranking member of the court, she fears for her life. So, she takes the only option open to her. She hides on a boat sailing to her home-island.

However, the boat is not the sanctuary she hoped for. A friend from her childhood, the now-feared sorcerer, Makovik is also onboard. To be seen with him could end her career; have her thrown in the deepest dungeon. But more than that, she finds he has a plan.

And his actions will change her life forever...

Read excerpt.

Wakinyan's Valley by Debbie Mumford

In a post-apocalyptic world, Mark Whitehorse and his friends search for a safe haven where they can raise their families. When they stumble across a hidden valley, they believe their search is over. But the valley is already inhabited. Will the band of survivors find refuge...or something else entirely?

Read excerpt.

Storms of Light and Shadow by Patrice Sarath

Some gifts are better left unopened.

Read excerpt.

Under a Full Moon by Tom Fowler

A weretiger wizard immune to the lunar cycles suddenly finds himself caught in a painful transformation -- one he suspects was caused by someone else. Can he stop it before he becomes a rampaging monster, and can he find the man who did this to him?

Read excerpt.

Casey by Noelle Sterne

An ordinary junior high school boy, Casey suffers the trials of a teenager until one day his life is changed forever.

Read excerpt.

Bastet by R. S. Pyne

Captain Kai Brenhin Righa of the corsair fighting ship Raven is quite happy not being human. The transition came without warning, a blessing from a stowaway with the face of an ancient Earth Goddess and a strange sense of humor. Now Bastet is back and she needs a favor.

Read excerpt.

Nana Genevieve by Julie Nordeen

As science creates robots that behave more and more like humans, how will we know when they cease to be our creations and become self-aware beings of their own? Nana Genevieve knows. And she'll make sure the world understands...if it's the last thing she ever does.

Read excerpt.

The Tie That Binds by Debbie Mumford

Twin brothers Cameron and Kyle McClellan have always shared a psychic bond. Though the adult men lead very different lives, when career military officer Kyle is wounded in Iraq, Cameron's ability to decipher their special link may mean the difference between his brother's life and death.

Read excerpt.

Genre: Science Fiction/FantasyBook Length: NovelPrice: $5.95Buy it here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Heat Wave Contest

Heat Wave IN PRINT-Big Contest!
Midsummer Night's Steam stories are now available in paperback from Samhain or Amazon to enjoy at the beach. The stories are bundled in several anthologies including HEAT WAVE which features three of the Erotic Muses authors.

To celebrate the release, the HEAT WAVE authors are having a contest. The prize is a tote bag with summer items: suntan lotion, a beach towel, a baseball cap, sunglasses and a margarita glass. All you have to do to enter is stop by EROTIC MUSES blog every day this week (May 26-30) and learn about these great stories! Leave a comment Tuesday through Friday for a chance to win.

To clarify: YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT ALL FOUR DAYS-TUESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE. The winner will be announced the following Friday, June 6, giving latecomers a chance to enter.

If you don't find out about the contest until the second week, that's okay...go back to the previous week's posts and drop a comment. This week each of us will profile our books, including Jamie Craig, the author of Liaisons in Jubilee. The other stories in the anthology are Blackberry Pie by Bonnie Dee. Second Wind by Dee S. Knight and Hunk of Burnin' Love by Veronica Wilde.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Newbies and Learning the Craft

Do you remember the thrill you got the first time you picked up a pen? The butterflies in your gut, the dry mouth, sweaty palms? Remember the tremble in your fingers as you stared at the page before you?

If you've answered yes to any of these questions than you're on the right track. Regardless of whether you've written a year or ten years, if you're dedicated to your craft but don't feel any emotions when you begin to right something is wrong.

I've been writing for years, and I still get butterflies every time I start a new project. Does that mean that I'm a green-horn with no skill? Does that mean it takes me weeks to come up with a plot that's believable? No. Not even a novice is like that. It simply means that writing is for me as much of a rush as bungee jumping for the next guy/gal.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who asked a lot of questions and it got me to thinking. What does it mean to be a novice? How do we as writers develop our skills? Some say practice, others say our work writes itself. But while neither is right, neither is wrong.

Despite my experience writing I consider myself relatively inexperienced. Why you ask? Because unlike authors like Heather Graham or Judy Garwood or even Louis L'amour - I haven't been around the world and back again. There are authors out there that spend years researching for a book. They travel the route their characters are bound to take, they experience their hero/heroine's life for themselves (within reason - you can't experience being a vampire or a ghost) before they ever put their thoughts on paper or feel confident enough to submit it.

For each of us, learning to write a good novel or novella - I will differentiate on these at a later date for those who don't know the terms - is a matter of baby steps. No one has ever sat down and said here's the equation for writing that NY Best Seller. Write what moves you. Write about love or hate, passion or boredom. Fact or Fiction has to be who you are.

If you've got an idea then write it down. You have to learn to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. I believe everyone who has a soul can be a writer - and I hope that those who read this article come to learn this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Writing Environments are Key

With the recent blog I did on Deadly Vixens it got me to thinking of how the writing environment is so crucial to us. For each person there are little things that they need to write successfully. Some write better in natural light, others can write by a candlelight, still others require silence, myself - I prefer music in the background and the clutter of my life about me.

My office is by no way spotless. I have stacks of binders, folders, papers all about me. My printer is hidden by papers and notes. My computer desk has barely enough room for a cup of coffee. Not to mention the clutter of the floor but its got a comfort about it that I crave.

I don't write so well with pen and paper simply because it takes too long and my thoughts like to flow as fast as I can type. Still if I get an idea I generally go with it, be it writing on a scrap of paper or a binder, or even the back of a receipt.

Each person has a special way of doing things. We like to think that a writer's skills are nominal and that the life they lead is boring, and you starve. But it isn't. The fact is that for a writer being surrounded by their ideal environment is key. Even now I have my music playing softly, my son is still sleeping, and the window next to my desk is open a bit. Am I in my comfort zone? Yes, am I in a writing mood - you bet your boots I am. Will I finish the manuscript I've been struggling with - I believe I'll be finished the first draft today. Now, does that mean that all the things around me are key to my writing? Maybe. Maybe not, but at least I can say with complete honesty that the environment has played a key role in my success. So, find your niche, your nook or cranny and write away!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Guest Blogging on Deadly Vixens

I just wanted to share this with everyone. I was fortunately enough to be a guest blogger on Deadly Vixens this week. Here's the link to take you to the interview:

Feel free to comment or ask questions and I'll try to answer them as best I can!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Importance of Creating An Identity

As people we always assume that we have an identity. Our name is who we are but its so much more than that. Anyone who writes can relate to this. Many author’s use a pen name or their initials. That identity is part of us, its another shade of our colors. However, for many people they don’t see that.

With any good thing there are bad points. For example, I’ve written fan fiction for years to go with my own original works. I’ve gotten good, bad, and indifferent reviews. I’ve also gotten a couple that were beyond bad, they were scary. But I didn’t take them personally. Why? Because the person that wrote the story, the identity that created that plot line wasn’t me. Wasn’t who I am in my core. My pen name got the review, the flame, the stripped down to nothing blast of fury from an irate reader. Did it hurt, darn right it did.

That pen name is still a part of me, but I didn’t let it affect me to the point where I gave up everything. I stopped writing in that genre for a month, posted things that I’d finished earlier, but nothing new. My muse had abandoned me. When I started writing again I was extra careful, but then I thought about it. I was able to seperate the event within my head because I was able to seperate my identity from my pen name to my real name.

You’re probably wondering what the point to my rambling is - but I’m getting to it. Regardless of whether you write fan fiction, short stories, poetry or technical columns for instruction manuals - you have to be comfortable within yourself. My original works are under my real name simply because I like the ring to it. However, I’ve had to build an identity around that name for those who don’t know me. To do that I’ve utilized the tools at my disposal with care and consideration.

Tools? What tools? Simple, this weblog is a tool. Blogspot is a tool, bebo, Myspace, chat rooms, forums, groups in yahoo and google. They are all tools. The trick is to spread yourself throughout them without spreading yourself so thin that you neglect some, or just plain forget about them. I try to touch base with each of my chats, forums, and websites at least once a week. Sometimes I can do more than that but that’s the minimum.

If you’re serious about writing, if you’re serious about developing your craft then you have to realize that at some point you’re going to be published. When you are, you have to look at marketing your book. Before all that though, you have to market yourself. To do that successfully and thus make yourself known to both publishers and readers you have to create that all important identity.

It’s not easy in the sense that you can stick something on line and say there you go. You have to be willing to work at it. There is no post today and leave it for six weeks or a year. People forget, time passes, and if you aren’t pro-active then you’re going to lose out. So think about that. It’s better to create one truly great site and promote it than to create a dozen cheap imitations and leave them hanging out there.

I’ve googled my name before and come up with several hits. Some attached to sites that are unrelated to writing, others to publishing houses, it all takes time and patience and a willingness to work your a** off. With that thought I shall leave you. Have a great week and I’ll see you soon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Non-Fiction Anthologies

For many writers we create worlds within our minds that we turn into fiction. Fan fiction or not our brains build on bits of fact and our experiences. I know a lot of people through several forums who research a great deal for their stories and in the end they have this fantastic fiction story and piles of notes from books, experts and others in the 'know' as it were.

So what do you do with them? I said in an earlier column about taking your notes and putting them into a non-fiction paper. This is sorta of an expansion of that idea. While I was reading an interview Kissa Starling did on her blog, I got to know a bit about a new publishing company that's attached to an older, larger one.

This interview and editor peeked my interest so I did a bit of digging around and found that Jupiter Gardens Press has several imprints. Now Jupiter Gardens is a an alternative spirituality Fiction/nonfiction publisher. However they do have several other genres that their imprints publish. Pink Petals does Romance and Kittyhorse Publishing does animal anthologies that they donate proceeds to various charities.

The imprints looked good and I contact the publisher of one and spoke to her. She was enthusiastic, professional, and I felt comfortable discussing the idea I had with her. So if you've got a true story about an animal in your life, your cat, dog, horse check them out.

The links to them are:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Man O War

He was my greatest love,
never to be labeled a gentleman
A magnificent creature the likes I never thought,
Could exist to us mortal souls.

How wrong I was,
he was alive, he loved, he hated.
Above all he ran,
for his spirit was ever free.

Like a man driven,
A shadow chased by demons,
Like a breath of wind
a chestnut devil on a cloud.

He was my inspiration
my reason for living
Now alas I am alone
Like so many times

Yet I do not grieve,
for he lives in my heart, in the wind on my face.
He still races under me
his hooves pounding the turf

My inspiration, my hopes,
I still hold them close
For he has given them to me,
That great Thoroughbred, Man O' War.

Patricia Bates 01/03/96

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fan Fiction - an escape or a tool

Many people say that fan fiction is simply a copyright infringment and should be dealt with harshly. Still, others say it's a valued tool in their arsenal. I can't speak for everyone, but I do know what I think.

I've written original pieces for years, and fan fiction right along with it. I currently have not one but two full pages on two different fandoms and a smattering of other stuff elsewhere. When I'm bogged down by plots and character problems, or hit by that dreaded thing called writers block, I have an escape. I can simply go to another file, another world and write. I don't have to pick at every little detail, I can simple throw the characters around and let my muse flow.

It recharges those creative batteries that we all have and I know for a fact that we need them, I need them. In the time I've written fan fiction I've learned all about plots, about how to build a character from nothing. I've also created a support network of other like minded people that is frankly astounding.

When I went to both groups I'm associated with and said, "I'm writing an original historical romance I'm going to try and get published" the outpouring of support and well wishes was astounding. It humbled me to realize that in the years that I'd been writing and posting what so many discount as unimportant crap, I'd been building friends along the way.

You may have an opinion on fan fiction, like it or dislike it. Think its valid or invalid it doesn't matter to me. Either way, I believe quite strongly that Fan Fiction is a tool - and the men and women that write it are as valued and creative as those who write original pieces and have never tried it!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Forums and Friendships

For many of us having a blog is like having an extension of ourselves. We stop off chat, log in, log out, leave a comment, put up a picture, and carry on. For some of us though, a blog is part of our daily lives and has a great many uses.

I blog every day for one reason, I enjoy it. However, having said that a lot of the time I'm online is not on my blogs, my sites, or anything else. It's busy chatting with and getting help from professionals on different publication forums.

I'm a member of approximately 6 - I'm not on my computer so I don't have the list in front of me - but I'm active on all of them. I do online workshops, research, question and answer periods, you name it I've found it on there. During the process I've also learned alot about writing, about the skills and desires of others, and myself.

I've also made a few friends along the way. I have contacts in the editorial world who are very good at what they do, critique partners who aren't afraid to ask a question or point out a problem, and have touched base with some pretty amazing authors.

So, if you haven't joined one yet, find a forum that you like. Be it romance, sci-fi, or whatever, you'll be amazed at what you can find!

The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.~ Raymond Chandler

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Something a bit more fun

Since my mind is on overload with all I have going on I thought today I'd skip the heavy thoughts and instead post something I think is a lot lighter on the brain.

Doing research for a novella that I've written to cover such things as senusal oils and such I got some really great tips from the ladies over at Romance Divas. One of them had said something about whiskey flavored oils so I took it upon myself to do a bit of digging. Now she may have been joking but it piqued my curiousity so I phoned around.

I'm going to insert my disclaimer here that I have not tried this, I don't recommend doing anything that is unhealthy or unwise. If you choose to use this recipe please do so at your own risks, I will not be responsible for the after affects!

This is what I found. To have an oil that smells or tastes like whiskey, or any other spirit is relatively easy. You don't need much of the booze, a few drops works. Now depending on if you want the buzz of alcohol or not you can do this two ways.

Take your base oil - be it almond oil, olive, whatever. Now you can add a few drops of your expensive (Not the cheap stuff -its disgusting) liquor and enjoy. Remember this does have alcohol in it so be careful where you place it unless you plan to remove it immediately.

Have fun with this and enjoy - please tell me if it works for you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Review for Candace Morehouse's Golden Enchantment

“Ms. Morehouse has created an outstanding tale that takes you to the old west in New Mexico. With artist touch, this author described the area and time with vivid clarity. Interesting characters and an exceptional plot keeps this story moving at a steady pace. I loved how the author keeps you informed; yet could still surprise. Carefully woven all of this together then add the sensual romance scenes and you have the perfect historical romance, that we all know and love. A dynamite read.

WateenaReviewer for Coffee Time Romance”

Excellent read that I would suggest to anyone! Congrat's Candace!

The Little Voice Inside

In doing the workshop Artist’s Way I’ve come to a rather startling realization. For so many years I’ve always hidden my innerself from others, from myself. Those of us who are taking part in the workshop have to do what Julia Cameron calls morning pages. Bits and pieces of ourselves that have no rhyme, no reason, drabble, thoughts, a tangled web of things we don’t like to think about.

I find these incredibly difficult. I sit in the morning and stare at the pages like they’re a coiled rattler about to strike. If I put down whats in my head, if i face my inner demons than there is noone else to blame. I can’t say oh well I didn’t do this because so and so said it wouldn’t work. I will have to face the things that I’ve allowed to sabotage myself throughout my life. Bad relationships, bad habits, self-destructive tendencies, vices, all those things I’ve tried to bury.

Now I can’t, I have to face them. Looking the pages I find a mass of jumble ideas, of thoughts, and feelings that I’m not happy about. Anger, doubt, fear. All the things that my inner voice, my inner artist, uses to speak to me. They are not the results the are the tools. Facing them is something that’s difficult but to grow as a person and an artist its a nesseccity.

What’s are your inner voices telling you? How are you punishing your inner ‘artits’? take a few minutes today and clear your head. Listen to what you’re telling yourself and I promise you’ll be amazed.

Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.~ J. P. Donleavy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shelli Stevens on Straddling the line of Intimace scenes

Two Scoops of Vanilla Please

I remember the first book I wrote. The determination to write an entire manuscript and not just a few pages. The excitement, the fever, the absolute lack of writer’s block.
Until I hit a wall. A big old wall called: Shelli’s first sex scene. Ever. I remember typing the build up to it...

(Build up to sex in Ain’t Misbehavin’)

“You know, forget it. I wanted you and had the crazy notion you wouldn’t mind getting me into bed, but apparently I was wrong.” She almost made it to the door when he grabbed her by the waist and spun her around. “Oh, I want you all right,” he said, his voice low and thick. He lifted her so her legs wrapped around his waist. “I just had to make sure you knew what you were doing.”

I typed that little bit above, stared at the computer. And completely froze. I couldn’t do it. Write sex. I stood up, paced the house, sweating and muttering to myself. I had to psyche myself up to write the love scene. How do you write that kind of intimate moment between a man and woman? It’s so personal. Writing that first sex scene is a bit like losing your virginity, just in the literary sense.

I knew I just had to blow through it (no pun intended). I didn’t set any rules for myself on how long or hot it had to be. I’d use the zillions of love scenes I’d read in other books, and my own personal experiences. So I grabbed a beer and went back to the room and locked the door. Two hours later I emerged bright red (partly from being hot and bothered, but I’m sure you didn’t want to know that!) waving the pages for my roommate to read.

What I soon learned, from my roomies and critique groups, is that I write hot. Hotter than what tended to be on the market. Some suggested I tone it down because it was so hot. But I kept it the way it was, because that’s what I enjoyed writing. That’s the heat level I thought my characters demanded. And since then my writing seems to have found a home in the world of erotic romance.

But since my first book came out, I’ve straddled the line or erotic romance and highly sensual romance. Lately, I think the bar defining erotic romance has risen. What once was erotic, isn’t so much anymore. And after a couple of years of feeling out where I fit more, I’ve fallen more into the sensual side. For the most part I don’t write BDMS, ménages, or big time kink.

Granted, there are a few books you’ll see of mine that are still scortching (one I may have to take another pen name it’s so dirty!), and every once in awhile I still like to write something with a bit of kink.

It’s actually a hard place to be at, because my books are still hot enough to offend the mild romance readers. But those who want it hot hot hot! might tend to wrinkle their nose at my love scenes.

But I think as a writer you need to be true to your natural voice. A reader can tell when you’re writing something you’re not comfortable with. So here I am, Shelli Stevens, an author who proudly writes really hot vanilla sex. Or is that...vanilla with chili flecks in it? Hmm.... *Grin*

Shelli Stevens, Greater Seattle RWA President A little bit of laughter & a whole lot of spice Tempting Adam, Available Now from Samhain Publishing

Monday, April 21, 2008

A New Release by Aislinn Kerry

Psyche, by Aislinn KerryAvailable April 22nd from Loose IDAfter months of text messaging, Psyche has fallen in love with a man she's never even met, so when she finally gets the chance to see him face-to-face, she leaps at it. However, their meeting doesn't turn out quite the way she expected. E hides in the dark and refuses to let her turn on the lights. Psyche's startled at first, but willing to overlook a few idiosyncrasies while they get to know each other in person. Their relationship flourishes--until the night Psyche's curiosity gets the better of her. Light reveals that E is Eros, the Greek god of love and desire, and he is furious that she broke her word. She begs for forgiveness, but he won't give it. In breaking her word, she broke his trust. She must seek help from a goddess and brave the dangers of the underworld in order to prove herself and win back the man she loves. Read an excerpt!
All that Glitters, by Aislinn KerryAvailale April 22nd from Samhain PublishingKynan Pritchard has come to Paris to start a new life, one free from the gruesome nightmares--and the accusations of insanity--that have plagued him from childhood. He's used to a hard-luck existence, but when a stranger comes to his aid, he thinks maybe that luck is changing. Aneirin is strong and brave, everything that Kynan wants to be. And Kynan falls for him. Hard.But Kynan's nightmares are about to become reality, and not even Aneirin can protect him from the monster who's stalked him across the continent. The gwrach-y-rhibyn threatens everything--Kynan's life, his sanity, even his love for Aneirin.To defeat her, Kynan will have to risk becoming the very creature he hates. Read an excerpt! --------------------
Aislinn KerryPassionate romance ... spellbinding stories


I briefly touched base on this book I'm ready by Julia Cameron yesterday and feel strongly enough that I may continue with inspirations I've gotten from it througout the week. I sat down and read through another chapter last night entitled Recovering a Sense of Identity.

I was amazed at the words that I read. It was like this woman, whom I've never met, knows me. She's seen inside my head, my soul and pulled out these tiny bits and pieces that frankly I'm ashamed of.

All my life I've surrounded myself with people who are drama stars. They need to have something to feed off of to make themselves feel important. This is something that is very unhealthy and its a habit I have to break. Any artist be it physical or verbal is in some way blocked and therefore a drama star. (I'm paraphrasing here - and putting my own spin so please note that these are not Julia's words.) It's a cycle that we each need to break. I need more than to allow my self doubts and lack of self-confidence to become self-sabatoge. I am a person. I am an author!

I firmly believe that this woman, understands and has lived with this herself enough to know that she can help me overcome my own blockage to allow me to be a better author. If the workshop comes up again, I will let anyone and everyone know because I believe everyone can benefit from this book.

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you outght to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finding your inner muse

I've been a writer for most of my life. It's something that I've never really thought about, I've always been able to create worlds, to take a single idea and make it into something bigger. More lavish, something that draws a person in.

Having said that, I know what it's like to sit and stare at a computer screen with a blank slate. No ideas floating around in my head, at least none I can put on paper. Then it's a matter of finding that inner voice, that spark of creativity to jumpstart the process.

This is one of the reasons that I decided to take the workshop over at Writer's Retreat called The Artists Way. It's goal is to help me get in touch with my inner creativity and allow me to develop further as an artist and a novelist. I got the book and started reading it. What Julia Cameron has to say is both enlightening and scary.

Her words make a person really focus on who they are, and what they try to deny. Its about building an identity, about capturing your spirituality. Something that I'm sure most people have missed over the years. While not what I would call a light read it's not a heavy one either. So my suggestion for you today is simple. Go out, get the book The Artist's Way, A spiritua path to higher creativity by Julia Cameron and read it. You'll be amazed at what you find out about yourself.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A bit of personal poetry from my highschool days.

The Cowboy and the Bronc, written December 1995 This is a repost of an early blog that was damaged.

They stand looking at each other,
Each silent as death.Lost in their own thoughts,
they judge the other in ways we cannot understand,
they speak silently.

One is first to turn and walk away,
the silence unbroken.
Soon enough they will duel,
in a circle of dust.

The metal bars clang, the sweat rolls down his back,
He stretches and climbs the bars.
spurs upon his boots jingle, his leather chaps flutter,
His dueling parnter moves about restlessly.

The tension is high,the rope is taut,
His hat sits on his head as he settles in
His head bobs up and down.
The gates open and out they fly.

Nearly a ton a waged against a couple of hundred pounds,
In a malestrom of fury and sweat,
man vs beast
the battle rages on.

Overcoming your discomfort

When you start writing the epic novel most people have an idea of what they're going to put down. Some do a full length outline, or write a novel that covers the novel plot. but regardless of what you write most of us have at one time or another taught ourselves to write a scene that squicks us out.

Yes, it does happen. For example I write romances. I'm comfortable in the genre, with the warm, sensual love scene. However, to challenge myself I set a goal. I decided I'd write a novella, one that's hot, and sexy. I don't do erotic - I don't feel comfortable with writing it.

So, now I have a challenge, a goal that I've set for myself and I'm having find a way to do it. Now you may think there's no difference. It's easy. Just get on with it. But let me put it this way, pick one thing that you know you're uneasy doing. Be it writing an explicit sex scene, or bungee jumping, or riding a bike. Now, focus on it. What exactly do you feel? Nervous? Scared? Nauseous?

If you've answered yes to even one of those questions you'll understand my viewpoint. To overcome my discomfort and fear I set small goals. I write a scene as I'm comfortable and then go back and change it up. Spice it up if you were. Sometimes its as simple as using a different word, other times it's rewriting an entire paragraph.

The point is, baby steps. If you take the small steps you can succeed. So today, go out and face your fear. I don't mean do something that is dangerous, but do something you've always hesitated to do. Color your hair, read a different book, try a different flavor of coffee. Something that you've always been unsure about or thought wouldn't be 'you'.

Until next time, here's to overcoming your smallest fear!

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host.But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.~ Maya Angelou

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Over Used Words

One would think with so many words in the English language it would be nearly impossible to reuse the same word over and over again. How wrong we are. If I've learned anything in the past weeks and months its that I and I'm sure many other author's find a word that works for us and use it till it's dead.

For example, glance. Seems to innocent until you actually read over your work and find six uses of the word within the space of a few paragraphs. It's been a challenge to find other words, terms, descriptions that can assist in creating the scene without slaughtering one word.

So I'm offering a challenge today: Come up with three words that you use frequently and then for each one find at least five others you can use.

IE: Blue - cerulean, saphire, aquatic, baby-blue, cornsilk Good luck and have fun!

I think a little menace is fine to have in a story. For one thing, it's good for the circulation.~ Raymond Carver

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Creativity is in us all

I recently decided to take a workshop held through a forum I'm part of. It's one to help build creativity within us all and I of course went out and got the book that goes with the workshop. I sat down and began reading it and was amazed to find that the author understood exactly what I believe about myself.

Julia Cameron wrote the book, The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity about what she does. She teaches people to be creative. How you ask? Well, I really can't go into all the details in the book but what I can say is this. She doesn't teach us how to be creative, she teaches us how to let ourselves be creative.

Yes there is a difference. No matter how dull or drab you feel you may be you are at some level creative. The housewife who feels boring or out of date is creative in the meals she prepares, the items she stitches so lovingly. Creativity is not something that has to be brightly broadcast, rather it's something we as human begins embrace.

I highly recommend you partake of the book if you have a chance, it's a bit of a heavy read but it's well worth the time and money you'll spend.
The thought for today is this: Follow the dreams that lead you, ignore the nightmares that haunt you, and you shall be given a gift. - Patricia Bates

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Prolific People

All my life I’ve never just done one thing. I’ve always had several things on the go be they items that I’m working on for Rescue Dolls, or my writing, showing horses or working. I’mone of those disgustingly busy people who even when they can relax can’t.

In the evening I watch television, work on my writing, talk on the phone, and most of the time I’m doing it all at once. Even when I’m focused on my writing, I’ve got a web page open, my music going, and I’m up and down doing house work. Disgusting isn’t it?

I’m learning how to prioritize my time. To set limits, to deal with one thing at a time so that I’m not left with partially completed tasks all the time. I set myself small goals, small priorities that must be completed and so far I’ve had results. I won’t say its a success because I’m still doing three things at once but at least I’m learning to finish something before I add another project to the mix.

Being prolific isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does take getting used to. You have to develop the skills and the mental strength to follow through. Sometimes you have to train your brain to focus. I’ve learned that most prolific people (Not all - and I am in no way shape or form an expert here) have a touch of ADHD. I’ve spoken to professionals, talked to experts, researched this, and found that yes it is a common trait in women who have ADHD to be prolific multi-taskers.

I think it’s something worth thinking about. Until next time then, have a great day! Lets see what you come up with, see how you respond to challenges - and today’s challenge is simple. Finish one thing you start - even if its that morning coffee!

Any Reviewer Who Expresses Rage And Loathing For A Novel Is Preposterous He Or She Is Like A Person Who Has Put On Full Armour And Attacked A Hot Fudge Sunday Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, April 14, 2008

The start of my contest.

Good morning to everyone,

Today is the day that starts the countdown to the release of my newsletter. I will be placing little clues in my blog throughout the following days until the end of the month. A draw will be held on May 1st to reveal the lucky winners of some awesome prizes so come out and subscribe to the newsletter.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Samples of my artwork.

None are to be reproduced without my written consent. All banners connected to X-Men are not to be shared, or used. They are stricty for entertainment and not meant to infringe upon any copyright laws. I do not own the X-Men, nor do I profit from these simple artistic adaptations. is to be credited with the scenery in my Borderline Sin bookcover. All rights reserved.

Carpe Nocture by Tawny Taylor!

New Collection:
Carpe Nocturne by Tawny Taylor $8.99(vampire menage-a-trois)
Now Available from
One determined entrepreneurTwo seductive vampiresA brutal murderer……and a bar where every vampire knows your name.Gives new meaning to the expression “Thrilling Nightlife.”
Burke Langton is on the run. Wrongfully accused of murder, he’s just one step ahead of the Excoluni -- the law enforcement arm of the United Magical Nations -- trying to track down the real killer. When the murderer strikes again, this time at Club Carpe Nocturne, Burke learns the owner, Sylvie Durand, is not only his Origo -- his mate -- and she may be the murderer’s next victim.
Miko Dvorak, a high-ranking officer of the Excoluni, is assigned to bring Burke to justice. But that’s no easy task, for the two share an Origo. Should he be caught protecting Burke from the Excoluni, his career will be over. Sylvie’s determined to convince him to take that risk.
Together the three must conquer a madman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, clear Burke’s name, and shatter the chains that bind them to their own private demons before they can achieve the blood-bond they must have to survive.
Purchase Carpe Nocturne before this week's new books release and use the discount code"Carpe Nocturne" to receive 5% off your entire order.This collection contains the previously released novellas:Carpe Nocturne 1: Dressed To Kill,Carpe Nocturne 2: Kiss Me; Kill Me,Carpe Nocturne 3: If Looks Could Kill. "Tawny Taylor blew me away with this series... I love anything Tawny writes because she has a gift and is able to draw you in to her stories from beginning to the end."-- Nicole Harvey, ParaNormalRomance (PNR)"If you haven’t yet read the Carpe Nocturne series, I urge you to do so immediately!"-- Tara Renee, TwoLips Reviews

Contest and Upcoming events

Announcing the upcoming contest to celebrate the release of my newsletter Of Ink And Quille.
The rules are simple. From April 14th through the end of the month I will be placing some writing themed trivia, graphics, or quotes throughout my blog.

To participate simply check in each day, and read through the entry. If you see the item in question, post a comment or email me at with the header “Of Ink And Quille” Contest.

At the end of the month the three people who have the most clues gathered will be entered to win three fabulous prizes! Good luck and come out and have some fun.

Etiquette Lessons

Being a new player at the publishing game means you have to learn more than just the sentence structure, plot holes, and technical aspect of writing a novel. It means you also have to learn the basic principles of etiquette in business.

Don't laugh, business etiquet is a vital part of any publishing deal you make. Say the wrong thing and you're looking like a dumb novice. Write something that you aren't entirely sure of the details and suddenly you're being questioned about your research techniques.

When it comes to publication there are moments when a little white lie is acceptable. I learned this myself not that long ago. I had a publisher that I'd been talking to about a contest send me an email wondering how things were going.

Being the dumb, inexperienced novice that I am I was bluntly honest with her and told her if the publisher that has it now refuses it, I'd send it to her. Of course I haven't heard back from her and don't expect her to actually be willing to publish anything of mine for a long, long time... a lesson painfully learned.

Today, I thought I'd share the experience with anyone out there so that you're not making the same mistakes as I did. You can be polite, tell a little fib, but don't make the publisher feel like they're second best!

Let me know what you think is the proper etiquette for dealing with anyone in the business world be it a publisher, editor, or agent. How do you deal with a situation where you're not comfortable being brutally honest? Let me know!