Monthly Archives: January 2010

Fantasy Man Friday

Oh what a glorious day indeed! The week is over, it’s time for the NFL Playoffs…I couldn’t be happier.

Last week’s Fantasy Man got a lot of attention. He deserved it because he was one fine specimen of man-in-undies. Is it possible to top that? I don’t know. I don’t see each week as a need to surpass the previous week. Every man is beautiful in his own way, as far as I’m concerned and they all deserve a little appreciation.

Lately I’ve been reading historical romances. A LOT of them. What does that have to do with today’s Fantasy Man? Well…nothing really, but when I saw this picture, I immediately thought he looked as though he were a young rake just finishing a tryst where the woman who enjoyed his attentions left him after he so rudely asked her to be his mistress. What do you think?

Picture it: She ran out (stupid woman…I would make sure I at least tied a leash around him before I left), he’s trying to figure out what went wrong. They’d just experienced more pleasure than either of them had before, and when he asked her the most obvious question, “Do you want to make love to me whenever you want?”, she ran away! Now, he’s looking out the abandoned cottage’s window, watching her hustle away as though the fires of Hell are licking at her feet. What is he to do but let her go?

And make me that offer! Whoo-wee! What do ya’ll think? Would you take him up on the offer?

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There Be a Storm Comin’…A Brainstorm!

After I wrote yesterday’s post, I was sufficiently depressed to go to my BFF, Angie. Angie has been my brainstorming partner for years, even before I actually started writing.

I remember when we were in college, we’d go skating and discuss book plots we’d like to write. I couldn’t tell you about any of them since I spent most of the time in fear my nephews were going to wipe me out. They had this thing for watching me fall and thought it would be fun to come at me on their rollerblades. Hmph.

Anyway, Angie is the best brainstorming partner ever. Not only has she read extensively, but she’s also got a wonderful sense of irony. Awhile back, before the current plot crisis, I went to her with, “OMG! How do I force my heroine to listen to her parents?!” She sent back a reply, “Give her a sister.” What!! What!! Why didn’t I think of that! Sheesh, it was so simple, but I couldn’t see it. Now my heroine has a sister she’s never met before, but feels responsible for. Did I figure this out on my own? Ha! I was stuck in the face of my plot.

So of course, when I got stuck with the villain question and I was too impatient to read comments, I went back to the wizard. I put forth my question, and just like Zoltar she spit out an answer. I would say what her response was, but if I ever do get this published, I want it to be a surprise! Bwahaha.

Brainstorming is so much easier when you’re not in the story, I’ve found. Even when I was pantsing, I’d bury myself in the story and wouldn’t be able to see the most logical means of escape. I think that’s the true danger in writing. You have the plot and you’re writing, but you can’t see a logical solution to a problem. That’s when you start feeling overwhelmed, or write, but fear everything you’re putting to paper is utter crap. Having an outside source to help you brainstorm your way out of trouble, is a treasure beyond price.

Do you have someone you turn to when your writing hits a steel covered brick wall? Have you ever had your brainstorm buddy help you out and you think…’Well, duh! I should’ve thought of that!’?

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Manuscriptitis – Your help is appreciated

My manuscript is suffering. Yes, it is suffering from a lack of ending. I was so proud of myself last week and the week before because I could almost taste ‘The End’.

Now, however, I’m struggling. It isn’t that I don’t know how I want it to end. I do. It’s more of following a path not plotted out and finding myself in a new world. Just one little bend in the road, and now I have a mess on my hands.

Even though I plotted Lifestyles from start to finish, I didn’t want to set the story in stone and give myself no room to move around. I think I’ve done the absolute opposite though. I’ve given myself too much room! This wasn’t a problem in the first 30 chapters because the new angles strengthened the story. The end though. Oh yes, the end is problematic.

Noelani, my heroine, went from being a cold, passionless assassin, to a warm, loving woman. Except now that her revenge is at hand, she can’t seem to grab onto it. This is her crowning moment, the moment she’s been waiting on for over a hundred years and she can’t pull the trigger. Did I make her too loving? Too warm? Or is she where she’s supposed to be? If she’s where she’s supposed to be, how the hell do I get rid of the bad guy? I mean, c’mon, this guy needs to D-I-E! He’s the best villain I’ve ever written and I want him ded. You hear me? DED! (Rocky Horror Picture Show moment, sorry.)

Here’s the scene set-up: villain (a demon) has just taken out nearly a dozen Amazon warriors, he nearly killed the hero, and all he wants is for the heroine to be his. He’s been obsessed with her for centuries (that’s a long time, ya’ll). She has a special gun for demons aimed at him. But she can’t pull the trigger. Does my hero step in and end it for her? Do they let the villain live to face true justice? Does my heroine pull the trigger, thereby proving to one and all that she’s a cold-blooded killer? Help!!

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D. Avet, M.D., or OAI?

OAI would be overactive imagination.

I was sick all weekend. How horrible is that? If you have to get sick though, I guess it’s the best way to do it. You don’t miss work, but you do miss all the things you’d normally do on a pretty weekend.

I know my illness was probably nothing more than a sinus infection, or a cold, but to hear me talk about it…My aunt and cousin came for a visit. They asked what was wrong with me. I was running a fever, so I might’ve mumbled ‘Mumps, tuberculosis, SARs’. They found this funny. Especially since I didn’t mention Swine Flu. Really, Swine Flu? I knew better.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve diagnosed myself. It comes from having an imagination. Kind of like when I was 8 and I just knew I was allergic to burritos because the one time I had one, I was sick. Then, there was the time when I was in college. I had this perfectly round patch of dry skin on my face. I went to the doctor to find out what it was. The conversation went something like this:

Doc: So what’s wrong?

Me: I think I have monkey pox.

(pause)

Doc: Have you been to Asia recently?

Me: No.

Doc: Have you had contact with primates recently?

Me: No.

Doc: It isn’t monkey pox.

Me: Are you sure?

Doc: When did you get your medical degree?

I loved my family doctor. He was so funny! I honestly think he looked forward to my visits…and not just because I was paying to see him. It isn’t that I’m a hypochondriac. It’s more like…’if I feel this bad, there’s NO way it’s something common.’. I think this is what makes me want to write. There’s something comforting about taking what would normally be a boring boy-meets-girl situation and throwing it all out of proportion.

The imagination is a beautiful thing to waste.

So how about you guys? Do you find yourself blowing things out of proportion just to spice things up a bit? Do you dramatize certain things just to make things interesting? (When you’re not writing.)

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What’s True Romance?

As an aspiring romance author, I make it my purpose in life to think of things that are truly romantic. I’m not talking sappy romance. I’m talking about practical romance.

I remember when I was a teenager, my sister telling me how jealous she was of her co-worker’s husband (we’ll call the co-worker Jackie and her husband John). Jackie used to have to go to work before John. In the winter time, John used to wake up before Jackie, fix a pot of coffee, and then warm up the toilet seat for Jackie. By the time Jackie woke up, the toilet was warm, the coffee made, and she could go to work a happy woman.

At the time, I remember thinking, ‘God, that’s disgusting!’. Remember, I was a teenager. Now I’m in my 30’s and my ass gets colder faster. I’m suddenly conscious of a desire for my own toilet seat warmer.

You’re probably thinking this is a very strange post today, and you’d be right. However, isn’t that true love? Someone doing something out of love? Sure, warming the toilet seat might not seem like a big deal, and even disgusting to some people, but if you really think about it, poor John had to freeze his backside to do it.

Practical romance isn’t all flowers, and candlelit dinners. It’s a husband buying his wife snow tires before the first snow falls. It’s a wife who fixes her husband’s favorite meal just because. It could be the video gamer who gets his non-gaming girlfriend a game she can play too.  That’s romance.

Now, how does this fit in writing? I’m not quite sure where it’ll work in my current works, although I am thinking my hero might have to give his assassin heroine a box of demon killer ammunition. That’s romantic…to an assassin.

What’s the most practical romantic gift you’ve ever received? Did you realize how important it was when it was given to you? Do you have a sweet husband who warms the toilet seat for you?

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Fantasy Man Friday

It’s time for the first Fantasy Man of the year! With so much hope for the upcoming year, I had to search high and low (it was hard work, I assure you!) to find the perfect man to kick off 2010.

Of course he isn’t quite ‘perfect’. What man is? You know how most of them are. They scratch and adjust themselves in public, they drop their clothes wherever they happen to disrobe, they sit around in their underwear…Men! Why do we love them so?

Well, this might be why.

Look at that smirk. He’s practically daring you to take off his underwear…I mean, tell him to put some clothes on. Ahem. Really, if you came home from a hard day’s work, feet hurting, eyes burning, would you care he was sitting on your best chair in just his undies? I sure as hell wouldn’t! I might even go so far as to make it a requirement!

So what do ya’ll think?

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Going the Distance and Staying on Track

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The WIP is coming along swimmingly and I can almost see the end. Sure, I plotted this story from start to finish, but there have been deviations from the plot. I’m sure I’ll be upset when I go back and read what I’ve done, but overall, I’m pleased with the way it’s coming out.

However, now that the end is nearing, my mind is already burning gears to figure out my next project. I have, off the top of my head, at least eight stories waiting to be written. My problem is, which one to write next? I shouldn’t be thinking of this yet, I think, because I still have to clean up my 2nd MS and get to editing #3. But my mind doesn’t work that way.

Right now I’m torn between starting book 4 of the Veil series, and starting a new series. Veil #4 would be about a witch and an incubus. The incubus has appeared in the first two of my Veilerian books and I have a vague idea how I want to start the story. On the other hand, the next series I’m contemplating, has been scratching at me since November.

The second series would involve a whole new world, a whole new list of characters and problems. Instead of fighting a known evil, the heroes and heroines battle their own natures. I know who they are and what they want, I just haven’t found their counterparts yet.

Like I said, I shouldn’t be thinking about this just yet, right? I need to stay on track with the WIP, right? Well, I don’t know. Is it better to keep writing and edit when I can? Or should I just edit first? It’s a puzzle, one I think I’ll need help solving.

So that’s today’s question: What do you think I should do? Edit, revise, and clean? Or start something new to keep my creative juices flowing? If so, which one? The new series, or the old? Any advice is greatly appreciated, my friends, and to show that appreciation, I’ll be giving away a book to a random commenter!

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Give Yourself a Cookie

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m nearing the end of my 3rd manuscript. Considering I began writing seriously in March 2008, I’ve made amazing progress. I’m not patting myself on the back, mind you. Since I’ve made up my mind to pursue publication, I’ve been a machine.

With each finished manuscript, I reward myself with a nice dinner out. The last couple of times it was sushi. By saving sushi as a reward for good work, I want it more which means I work harder to reach my goal.

I think it’s important for writers to give themselves a reward system like this. If you have nothing to look forward to, then how can you keep up your momentum? It doesn’t have to be a dinner out, I’m sure there’s something you love to do but don’t treat yourself to often. A pedicure, a girls night out, a weekend away, the most decadent chocolate you can find, anything. It’s all about giving yourself kudos for a job well done.

The greater the goal accomplished, the bigger the reward. I don’t know yet what kind of reward I’d give myself if I got an agent or publisher, but it would have to be much bigger than a dinner. It’s something for me to think about. The desire to get that next cookie only fires me up to keep at my craft, to keep writing.

On the other hand, I don’t punish myself for not meeting goals. It’s a reward system, not a merit system. To be honest, I don’t need to punish myself with something horrendous if I don’t reach a goal. My guilt does it for me. If I haven’t written in a long time, I feel like the smallest, slimiest of slugs because I’m not fulfilling my bargain with my imagination (or muse).

Do you reward yourself at milestones, or do you wait until your story is complete? What kinds of rewards do you give yourself for completing your goals? What kind of reward would you/did you give yourself if/when you reached the main goal?

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Dr. Smellgood

I have a strange quirk. Or maybe it isn’t all that strange.

I love smell good stuff (as my nephews used to call it when they were kids). I actually almost obsess over smells. From the candles I sometimes burn in my house, to the dryer sheets I use for laundry, everything has to smell just right. This extends to my person as well.

There’s a sequence of scents I use throughout the day. In the morning, after I’ve showered (with LUSH ‘Honey I Washed the Kids’ soap), I apply peppermint scented lotion, then Pleasures by Estee Lauder. During the day, I use Warm Vanilla Sugar scented lotion. At night, I use lavender scented lotion before bed. The routine may vary depending on my mood, but those are constants.

I’ve also gone through scent ‘phases’ as I like to call them. When I was much younger, musky perfumes were my favorite. College brought me to fruit and vanilla scented perfumes and lotions. As I got older, I began to search diligently for the perfect perfume for myself. I found it in Pleasures. Le sigh. I still have rose perfume, and even a bottle of vanilla, but I rarely ever use them.

To me, scent is one of the most powerful senses we have. They can alter moods more quickly than anything else. Outside of my perfumes and lotions and dryer sheets (which I agonize over in the store), my favorite scents are the smell of rain. There’s just something so clean and primal about an impending rain.

When I write, I attempt to give each character their own unique scent. It’s one of the hardest parts of writing for me. Should this character smell spicy, or sweet? Should they smell like the forest, or the ocean? What flower would best be used as their personal scent? It’s a serious business as it would be strange to have an assassin smelling of lavender. Lavender is soothing, dealing in death isn’t.

Are you a scent aficionado? Is there a particular scent you love above all others? Do you give your characters their own scent?

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Monday Mehs & 2010 Plans

It’s the first Monday of the new year. I’m not impressed. Really. It’s Monday. Has there ever been a day of the week to inspire so much angst? Of course, if Tuesday started the week off, we’d all dread that day instead.

2010. It’s insane really. 10 years ago this month, I was entering my final semester of college. I’ll admit. I wasn’t the most studious senior. In December of 1999, I discovered an on-line game that sucked all of the attention out of me, not to mention I’d finally begun partying like the good little college student I was. I vividly remember getting ready for classes and crying because I just knew I wasn’t going to graduate. It was so bad, I even told my advisor I wasn’t going to be graduating. When I walked across the stage in May, she came to find me. She shook me vigorously and said, “I thought you weren’t graduating!” Yeah, it was that bad.

10 years later, I’m still not the most what’s the word…attentive person. I frequently lose myself in the fantasy world I’ve created. These days though, instead of picturing the virtual world my gaming character inhabited, I picture the fantasy world my characters inhabit. It’s always in the back of my mind.

My plans for 2010 aren’t highly ambitious, I’m afraid. I never make resolutions because I don’t believe in vowing to do something I could’ve done the year before, or could do any day of the following year. I make goals. My goals for 2010 are to complete at least 2 more novels, get my 2nd and 3rd novels edited/finished, and sent off to agents/editors.

So far, my schedule for the year is looking sketchy, but slowly filling. May will be my godson’s graduation *sniff*. June is my brother’s wedding. July is Nationals (which I’m determined to make for the first time ever!).

What are your plans for 2010? Do you make resolutions?

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