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