Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day 2018

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful Dad. He was the one who read to me when I was little. The Little Golden book version of The Gingerbread Man was a bedtime favorite. He would change up the story as he was reading to me to see if I would catch on to the silliness. I was a sassy pants from the start, and I would give him the skeptical eye whenever he'd change up the story. And he would totally get a kick out of being caught. Such great memories!

It was moments like this that fostered my love of reading and storytelling. Later, in my early teens, I would get into my Mom & Dad's book stash and read all Dad's Stephen King, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Dan O'Bannon novels. 

My dad has always been there for me, and for my cousins, and for my friends. He was the "dad of the neighborhood" when I was growing up. The guy being the dad to the village, so to speak. He was the one who took us to the park, tossed us around at the lake, fixed all our bikes, assembled and filled up our plastic swimming pool every summer, and grilled all those burgers and hotdogs. 

I still get emails and posts from friends I grew up with asking about my dad, wanting to know how he's doing and so forth. There have been so many who have said that he was the only fatherly influence they had in their lives, and that it made a difference. That's very special to me. I don't think my Dad realizes the number of lives he's touched or the difference he has made. I'm blessed and grateful to have him in my life. 

I try to honor the immeasurable impact he has made everyday, but I often fall short. Just know that I will forever cherish your presence and guidance. I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Writer's Block and Revision Tip

I actually wrote this back in January, but wasn't able to access blogger without my comp crashing. Then I forgot about the post entirely until I needed to use the techniques again.

I thought it might help others who are either struggling to get words down on the page, or who need help revising a piece. I began doing this toward the end of my revisions for Chasing Moonlight, around the time I began to suspect I'd never get it finished. It helped me pick up the pace and complete the revisions much faster. I continued to use this method from the beginning of the revisions for Dominant Territory and it greatly sped up the re-editing process.

The Revision Hump

I have the worst time revising scenes with sex in them, and I tend to save those scenes for last when editing, because I know they're going to be a headache. In addition to that, I also have this general hangup with revision, this fear that I will tinker with a paragraph or some specific element of the story and bork it beyond repair. Is it even possible to revise a story beyond salvaging? Cue the anxiety attack. It's a part of my process. Just kidding, sort of.

Anyway, I have tried copy and pasting text from my manuscript over and over into a cluttered mess of word documents. It's really too much to keep track of, and the anxiety of ruining something vital in an otherwise good story is still there. To get around that, when rewriting or revising troublesome story sections, I've taken to writing those sections in long hand on foolscap (yellow legal pad) or construction paper in large scented markers.

Why Markers?  Why colored paper?  

The markers are colorful and messier to write with, so it is impossible to get all weird and perfectionist while writing long hand with them, the way I would by writing with pencil or pen on lined paper, or with a transferred section of text I'm editing in a word document. The markers and colored paper are a cue to my brain that now is the time to get creative and messy.

I print up a couple of paragraphs I want to focus on in my manuscript, and I rewrite them in longhand on junk paper in colorful marker. Oh, and I write it out fast, in BIG comfortable letters. Front side of the page only. Write to the end, grab another paper and keep going. No trying to write nice and neat. Mistakes and corrections are going to be made here. If something isn't working, cross it out, grab another sheet and write it out again until you like what you read. Once you have it to your liking in marker, it's ready to be typed back into your manuscript.

Doing this has stopped me from overthinking the process of writing and revising, and I believe that's because it's impossible to look at mark up with markers on foolscap or construction paper and see that as a final draft. It takes away the pressure of creating a clean copy on the first, second, third or even tenth try.

This is especially helpful with tough scenes. When I'm finished rewriting in long hand, I can then take those pages to my computer and type them in with confidence, print them out, and reread them. If I find something that is still not working, take that small section and go back to using the markers and colored paper. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

This process of revising or working through tough sections of a story might not be for everyone, but I thought there might be someone out there like me who has had a difficult time finding everyday, working advice for revisions.

Using markers and construction paper also works for breaking a creative block when drafting. The only difference when working on a draft is that you're writing from scratch. If you reach a stuck point and don't know where to go next, or you do know but you're not sure how to phrase it, take a break from the computer and reach for the markers and colored paper. As messy as you like, and as fast as you can, jot down whatever you can think of to connect to the scene you're stuck on. Maybe something like this:

I want Anna to go from the bakery to Mark's house, but I'm not sure how she should get there. By taking the bus or she runs into him when walking home and he offers her a ride in his car. I like the idea of the car ride. A red Mustang pulls up beside her on the street and the window rolls down, "Anna?" Startled, she looks in the window and sees Mark. He says, "What are you doing out in the rain? Get in." She hesitates for a second, glances toward the corner, considers taking her chances carrying a heavy bag of groceries, but with a sigh, she gives in and reaches for the door handle.

From there, you have the basis for your "missing" or stuck scene. It's not perfect, but it is something to build on. If you don't like that one, you can set that page aside, grab another and jot down a quick alternative, fleshing it out in a breezy way that can be expanded on later.

Either way, it gets your characters and story moving again, breaking the block. The worst thing about writer's block is that you're sitting idle, not creating, waiting for an epiphany or lightning to strike. Who has time for that? You don't have to put yourself through that kind of worrisome struggle.

Step back from the piece, take out your markers and colored paper and play around with your words instead. Be messy. Make mistakes. Cross words out and throw them away. Try again. Do that until you find something you like, until something moves you forward and you pick up the flow again.

The sad truth is that if you stop once you're blocked, the "writer's block" (double entendre intended) just sits there bungling things up until new words are actually flowing onto the page again. You have to chip away at it word by word.

Okay. Back to using the markers and colored paper for the revisions. A last little tidbit. I probably wouldn't use this method for full scenes that are like, 20 pages or something, unless I broke them down into much smaller chunks. But for shorter, focused areas that need work, it has been a life saver for me. The same is true for breaking blocks. Focus on manageable chunks.

Once again, I'm out of time! There are some other things I want to talk about here on the blog as soon as possible, some of them are probably controversial, but what isn't these days?  Look for future blog posts touching on the topics:

  • being your authentic self and setting personal boundaries online
  • knowing when it's time to leave a writing group
  • not everyone is going to like you and how to deal with that fact 
  • navigating social media as a writer in an increasingly political landscape
  • knowing when to walk away from a project that isn't working and how to cut your losses
  • the fairy tale method of getting a down a basic synopsis or outline for your story
  • and a list of my current favorite writing help books. 

Oh! One more thing before I close. I received another newsletter signup request yesterday. I no longer send out newsletters and I haven't for some time. I'm very sorry for any inconvenience. If you want to know when I've released a new book, I recommend following me on Smashwords and subscribing to my author alerts. It serves pretty much the same purpose, and you have better control over the mail you receive. The author alert email is the closest thing I have to a newsletter right now. I do sincerely thank those of you who want to connect with me over there or elsewhere.

Now I better skedaddle before the puppers have an accident. They're wanting to go out and trying their best to be patient about it. #gooddogs Have a blessed Sunday, y'all!   

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Life Updates, Mostly Boring

Image Courtesy of Open Clip Art
I'm happy to say I've been dwelling in the writing cave for the past two months. I spent most of May studying, planning birthday parties, and working on an extremely detailed outline. The stuff of life. I'm now finally getting around to the actual "writing" part of the writing. The draft is coming along nicely, and it seems to be working up faster than if I had not prewritten it in expanded outline form. That's a perk.

Plus, the detailed outlining has helped me get past that annoying mid-book collapse point where so many writing projects go to die. Any tool that helps keep a beloved story idea out of the boneyard of dead writing projects is worth its weight in gold to me. So, yeah. Detailed outlining is awesome. You can quote me on that.

Social Media Updates:

Onward to another topic, I've had friends searching for me lately, asking where I've been, and I've received quite a few questions about where I'm hiding out online these days. My health is doing much better, but I'm not active in the usual writing circles anymore. That being the case, here's a quick update for where to find me online.

The top spot: My blog is still alive even though I don't post here as often as I used to. If I'm not posting, it's because nothing much is going on.

Second is my website. It's there. What else can I say about it?

More places? Okay.

If you don't often visit blogger but you want to see my new posts, they appear on google+ and Goodreads once they're published. If you're active on either of those sites, you can follow me/friend me, whatever it's called there, and my posts will end up on your timeline. You can also follow me on Amazon and Smashwords. My name is the same wherever you go.

I like to add the books I'm currently reading to Goodreads, and I do welcome book recommendations there that are not 100% spam or self promotion, but lately the app has been giving me fits on my ancient iPod. I have the app on my Kindle, but it functions differently, so we'll see how that works out going forward.

I don't go on Facebook often anymore. I had an issue with the privacy there before the story blew up about it. But it's more than that. I'm specifically talking about the type of people on your "friend list" who haven't spoken to you there for 10 years until one day, out of the blue, they see one of your posts they disagree with. Suddenly they show up on your wall, nothing good to say, and stick their opinion under your nose like a steaming pile of dog shit as if they genuinely think you will care what they have to say about this particular subject, no courteous preamble required. Make no mistake: I don't care. Period. That's not friendship and it's 100% not worth the cortisol or paroxetine. I've culled my list down from a little over 5000 (yes, the system lets you go a little over 5000) to around 400, and now I avoid the place 99.9% of the time, unless I need to get in touch with one of the ten or so people on there I'm actually related to or grew up with. Other than that, the cattiness and politics at FB completely annoys. the. shit. out. of. me. It doesn't matter to me if it's coming from a famous writer or someone's grandmother. Why put myself through that? When I started going to FB, I just wanted to connect with authors, see something cute, and find out what everyone was reading/writing. To be honest, if I didn't have so much crap tethered to my FB, I'd delete my account there faster than I did my old Myspace page.

I do have an instagram that I post to very infrequently. Feel free to follow me there, but know that I do not autofollow back, especially accounts that are meme-heavy rather than photography. It's nothing personal. I don't care at all about follower/friend numbers. It's just that I can find memes anywhere, with any search engine. I'd rather see your pets, family vacation, socks, missing tooth, gold fish, bookshelves, broken dishwasher, new manicure, or whatever it is you're eating for dinner. I don't care if it's the same socks, dinner, or broken dishwasher from a different angle every day. I get more out of that than a snarky meme.

Lastly, I have a Quora account. I never post anything there, and I don't intend to. Instead, I eat popcorn and read through some of the crazier questions and responses, but that's usually on the rare occasion I have nothing else to do or I'm waiting at the doctor's office. Same with Gab. Those sites simply don't post enough about books, writer workshops, or cute pets for me to invest my time in it. Those accounts are pretty much parked. It is what it is. I'll try and abandon anything at least once. Meh. *cackles*

Alrighty, then. Before I settle down to work on my draft, I'm going to grab lunch and check on McBeast, who is out of school for summer break and at this very moment trying to set up a tent in the back yard. The free-range neighborhood cats are out there helping him, so he's in good hands...paws... mitts. All of the above.

That's pretty much it for now. OH! I do have this majorly rockin' writers block tip to discuss on the next post and it involves scented markers. You know you love scented markers. I do. I'm itching to share, but I'm out of time!

Happy Summer, everyone. Stay cool, drink plenty of water, avoid the mosquitos if you can, and always slather on the sunscreen. We'll chat again soon. xoxo

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dominant Territory - Reissue - Now on Smashwords

Dominant Territory is now available on Smashwords. 

The moment Libby steps into the Moonlight Run with her girlfriends, she realizes this is no place for a ladies’ night out. The backwoods bar is isolated for a reason—they cater to werewolves on the eve of the change. 

Drake never considered taking a human mate...until tonight. One look at Libby and his heart is lost. She entered his territory, and now he'll stop at nothing to claim her as his mate.

Format: epub
Genre: paranormal romance, erotic romance, erotica
Contains explicit sexual content and language, for readers 18+ 
*This is a revamped and reissued version of the 2007 Werekind series release.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Clear the Deck - A 2018 Celebration of Creativity

Back in December, I decided that for the new year, I would focus on creativity. That started
simply enough, by working on breaking the creative blocks I have. I've stuck with that
resolution, writing at least three pages every day. I began working on my creative blocks with
books like Write to Heal (Tom Bird) and The Artist's Way (Julia Cameron), and I'm still using those methods to let the words just pour out, whether good or bad. The point is to jot the words down as they come to me, then let it go. Write and release. Toss them down like origami birds, as Anne LaMott described in her book Bird by Bird.

Part of the process of breaking blocks has required me to clean out things I've been holding on
to. Physical things. Sentimental stuff. Junk and what not. I began clearing out the house,
throwing out old clothes, making donations of my past conference shoes and outfits that I
wore, like, all of one time. Old kitchen gadgets we never used had to go, too. Then I did that
with old paperbacks. Finally, I got to my desk and my old manuscripts, and that's when the
REAL clearing began.

By mid-January, when my writing blocks had begun to crack, I could see what a big difference
the physical clearing out really makes. So, I decided 2018 is going to be my year to not only
embrace my own weird brand of creativity; I'm also going to Clear the Deck of everything - specifically, old projects I've been hanging on to for one reason or another.

I look at it not only as an exercise in creativity (and a celebration of freedom in letting go), but as a creative purging process as well.

All of the backlist, all of the unfinished stories. It's time to sort through it all, see what needs
finishing or revising, see what needs trashing, and get the good ones published. No more
holding on to them for emotional reasons. No more worrying about whether they will be received
well or not. I can't control what people think of me or my work, anyway. So, in a nutshell, my 2018 Celebration of Creativity boils down to this: Everything old has to go in one way or another.

I'm clearing the deck so that, by the end of the year, I can sit down at my computer with a
fresh, empty slate. With no backlist to obsess over and no unfinished projects haunting me. I will
finally be able to start afresh and write about whatever it is I want to write about with none of
that old "don't forget you need to do that" baggage to distract me from the present.

I don't want anything tying me down.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day

Hubs is awesome. What a sweet guy. He brought me a box of chocolates, a fluffy pillow with hearts all over it, and a gi-normous triceratops stuffed animal for Valentine's Day. The triceratops has been officially named Dragon, and he makes an excellent pillow. He has that soft "blumaroo fur" as we call it. Part of our house slang, if you will. It's the type of plush fur I imagine a Neopet's blumaroo has. The really soft and silky kind. 

Now to go break into that box of chocolate!

Here's wishing you a sweet, sexy, romantic Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Chasing Moonlight reissue - In ePub on Smashwords

The reissue for Chasing Moonlight is now available on Smashwords in ePub format. More format are forthcoming ASAP!

About the book:
Blaze Logan can't figure out why Shelby keeps avoiding him, especially since he's sure the shy beauty is his mate. When she breaks one date too many, he goes to her cabin to call her out, only to find her in the throes of a painful transformation.

Shelby's secret is out. Unable to control her inner wolf, she is at the mercy of the moon. Determined to help her gain control no matter what it takes, Blaze is going to have to act fast in order to help her. She’s chasing moonlight, and the full moon is only days away.

Genre: erotic paranormal romance 
Contains graphic sexual content 
NSFW, Suitable for readers 18+

Chasing Moonlight is part of the Werekind Series, and the original story has been expanded in this edition. It was originally published in 2009. Or 2010? I can't quite remember. Anyway, Blaze's big brother, Drake, is also featured in my 2007 CP bestseller, Dominant Territory.

The ePub format reissue for Dominant Territory will be available later this week on Smashwords. I'll link to it here on the blog once it has been uploaded.

The reissue edition of Crossing Borders is on the table right now. The book is curently undergoing a revamp and expansion. I'll post more about that book when it's closer to release.

New stories featuring Seth and Austin and members of the Ravine pack are also coming this year as part of my 2018 Clear the Deck creativity celebration.

Speaking of Clear the Deck, that is my personal mantra for 2018. Getting caught up on my backlist and pushing forward several new releases is my goal. I'll be posting more about my writerly creativity celebration later on in the week. That post will discuss some of the insights I've stumbled upon since August 2017. It's a fitting time to do so since the eclipse on February 15th (Thursday) is supposed to be a manifestation of energies that took off during the eclipse in August. Fun stuff, right?

That's all for now. I hope you have a lovely Tuesday. Best wishes, and thanks for dropping by!