Research

One of the most valuable tools in the writer's arsenal is research. Come on by Skhye's blog today where I'm sharing a little about my research.

Knock, knock

I’d been up half the night with a sick toddler intent on emptying her stomach, repeatedly. Needless to say, I was a bit tired by the time I got the rest of the kiddos off to school. I did a little writing and when munchkin woke up, I took her to the living room couch to watch Dora while I tidied up. I was a bit surprised when my doorbell rang. I glanced at the clock. Too early for the mailman, so… sales man? I opened the door and froze.

There on my doorstep stood a man who put the G and the O in gorgeous. Clean cut, intelligent dark eyes, romance-cover worthy features, dark suit and a briefcase that screamed expensive Italian leather. I’m pretty sure I stammered hello while I fought not to wipe my mouth in search of left over √©clair chocolate, and stood there cursing my lack of make-up, my pj bottoms and huge sweatshirt. Oh, and my ex’s too-big slippers that I use when I take out the garbage. (which I’d just done)

He smiled and said. “I’m looking for *insert neighbor’s name*”in this slightly accented voice that would have sent shivers down any hot blooded woman’s spine. Melt-in-a-puddle divine. I managed to tell him that she was next door *lucky !@#@$*, smiled, said you’re welcome to his thank you and shut the door. But you see, I’m a romance writer, so it wasn’t as simple as that. In the 10 seconds it took to complete the entire interaction, I’d created half a dozen scenarios, even deciding on what kind of heroine would be best for the part. God knew he was already the perfect romance lead. Sigh.

The moral of the story? Put some make-up on and brush your hair, you never know when inspiration will knock on your door?

LOL. No. No moral, but a guilty secret, this guy will end up in a book somewhere, I’m pretty sure. You see, I have a guilty little secret, sometimes live vicariously through my heroines. Do you?

Witty Wednesday

I had something else planned for Witty Wednesday and then my friend sent me an email I just had to share. You're all familiar with the way my brain works, right? Then it won't surprise you that I found this laugh-out-loud funny.

NEW FORD



Renault and Ford are working on a new small car for women. They are mixing the Clio and the Taurus, and calling it the "Clitaurus." It comes in pink, and the average male thief won't be able to find it, even if someone tells him where it is.

Monday's Pick-me-up

Just a little eye-candy to start your day out right!

Book Review: BINDING VOWS by Catherine Bybee

With strong writing and stronger characters, Binding Vows introduces the reader to a world of druids, witches and time-travelers.


Duncan MacCoinnich is a strong rugged Scotsmen from the sixteenth century who mets Tara McAllister at a Renaissance faire. The attraction is immediate and strong but in saving her from a danger she can't quite comprehend, has Duncan driven a wedge between them forever?

Catherine Bybee takes you through a landscape of love, danger and suspense, finally proving that love can conquer all, even time.

This story is sweet, spicy, and will leave you sighing with satisfaction and wanting more. Binding Vows is everything you could ask for in a romance.


Blurb:
Duncan MacCoinnich’s task… Travel to the twenty-first century Renaissance Faire, deflower the Druid virgins, and go home. Only his job is not so easily accomplished with the virgin in question, Tara McAllister.
Time is running out. The evil is closing in on them both.
Tara finds Duncan irresistible after what was supposed to be a mock Hand-fasting binds them.
When Duncan whisks her to his home in Scotland she could accept that. But, can she forgive him for taking away her modern life when she finds herself in the sixteenth century?
And is it love they feel? Or something else?

Excerpt:
“A lady is not safe out here by herself.”


She stopped again. This time he didn’t stop in time and fell into her.


Hands at her sides, her chest thrust up next to his, she gritted the words between her teeth. “A lady isn’t safe around you, either.”


“Now, Tara.” He tried pleading with her.


“Oh, don’t you even, ‘now, Tara’ me.” She stepped to the side and started off in a different direction. Walking in circles.


He let her walk for several minutes before attempting to talk to her again. “I would be happy to escort you on a walk, but we need to get you more properly dressed.” He knew the effect watching her walk was having on him. He could only imagine what his men must have thought when she had stormed the courtyard in her shorts.


“You’re a bastard, you know that, MacCoinnich?”


He wanted to counter what she said but cautioned himself against it. “Still, we need you in more fitting clothes. If someone were to come along, questions would be raised which would be most difficult to answer.”


“You should have thought of that before you brought me here.” She waved a hand in his general direction. “Right now I don’t give a crap what questions you might have to answer.”


“I told you how necessary it is for secrecy.” He turned to the Keep and noticed some of the men watching to see what would happen. He needed to put a stop to this and soon.


“Bite me.”


A completely inappropriate image of him doing exactly that popped in his head. A slow lazy smile inched over his lips.


Unfortunately for him, Tara read his thoughts.


BINDING VOWS is available now at the Wild Rose Press.

To find out more about Catherine Bybee and her books, check out her website.

Witty Wednesday



Ouch.

Monday's Pick-me-up

Better late than never, right? : ) Well, I have a treat for you. If you follow me on twitter, and if you don't why not?, you'll know that I have a brand new crush. I haven't had a crush, well, since shortly after high school so it's kinda refreshing. So I figure, why hide it? I've learned most of you already know that Jared Leto is an actor as well as the lead singer to 30 Seconds to Mars, and a lot of you had a crush on him in My So Called Life, but I'd never heard of him. I loved the vocals to 30 Seconds but never looked past the music until very recently when my daughter pointed him out to me in a video. (I have however watched the entire first-and only-season of My So Called Life since then.)

Without further ado: Jared Leto.

Yes, I like the rocker boys. Always have.


Would you look at those eyes?!? You'd know if they were looking at you. : )



Sigh


And barefoot. Don't you think he has nice... feet?

The lean story

Although I didn't start out, or even plan, on publishing short stories, I think doing so has helped me with my overall approach to writing.

You see, in a short story, especially an erotic short story, you need to characterize in very few words. Let's face it, erotic shorts are all about the encounter. Okay find, enough with the euphemism, they're mostly about the sex. They have to be, but they aren't porn. In other words, the reader needs to be invested in the characters. They're not faceless people having sex. You care about them. It's my job to draw the reader in using very few words and if I haven't made the reader have an emotional connection with my characters, then I haven't done my job.

Translate that into a full length or even novella length story. Here I have room to spread out, to explore characters in more depth, however, the techniques that I've used in writing my shorts are priceless. I've lost my tendency to be wordy. My sentences are cleaner, they cut to the chase more succinctly without falling short of detail.

All in all, because I've learned to cut out the chaff, even when I have a longer story to tell, even in rough draft, I tell it more efficiently. Less fluff, more muscle.

My newest ms is still going to need a lot of editing, but it's nice to be able to look back and notice an improvement in my writing.

How has your writing changed over the years?

I'm getting spicy with Emma

And I don't mean paprika. Probably revealing more than you ever wanted to know about me, ; ) today and tomorrow, I'm venturing to the spicy side with the talented and wonderful Emma Lai

An idea whose time has come

Not too long ago, I was speaking with a friend about writing contests, cover contests and the like. More accurately, how I knew absolutely nothing about entering or even where to find them. I'd love to enter my work in a contest or two, but quite frankly, I'm clueless.

I'd thought then that what the writing profession needed was mentors. You know, someone to show you the ropes; someone who had the inside scoop on which publishers to submit to or which agents to query; someone who has walked the path to publication and knows a thing or two, and, most importantly, is willing to share.

Well, today I was in Romance Diva's chat room and guess what? RD has a mentor program.

So if you'd like a mentor, or to be one, apply at Romance Divas. You do, of course have to be Diva. This is a three month, serious commitment with a small fee but way, way worth it.

And just in case you thought I forgot, here is your Monday Pick Me Up.

You can’t judge a book by its cover?

Oh, yes you can.

When I browse the book aisle or a website selling books, it’s the cover that catches my attention first. You could call it he bait on the hook. I then read the blurb on the back and if I like it, chances are, I’m going to buy the book.

I realize some awesome books are hidden under not so great covers, but chances are, unless they come highly recommended, I won't read them.

A cover must capture my imagination. It must make me curious as to what’s behind it. Color is also important. Too pink? Won’t read it. Yellow… um that means hazard. I once didn’t read a book because the cover model looked nothing like the man in the blurb. Nothing. Not even close.

If it’s this important to me as a reader, my book covers are a thousand times more
important to me as a writer. Most of you know a writer has very little say in picking the cover of his or her book.

After you’ve written the book, it’s been contracted and you’re working on galleys, the big day finally comes: You receive an image of your book cover via email.

I remember the anticipation and trepidation I felt as my finger hovered over the ‘open’ button like it was yesterday.

So far I’ve been lucky. Angela Anderson has done both of my book covers and I love them.

- David’s happy trail is missing on the cover of AFTER HOURS, but really, that’s a minor detail.-

But not every author is so lucky. Cover Caf√© had a ‘Worst Cover’ contest. The covers in this blog are number two and three. Here is the winner:



Have you ever read a book that was far better than it's cover? What made you look past to the pages withint?

A blog award



I have been honored not once, but twice! (And I really suck because it's taken me so long to respond) The wonderful Cari Quinn and Emma Lai have chosen my blog for the Kreativ Blogger award.

Now I get to pass on seven facts about myself and pass on the award to seven Kreativ Bloggers.

1~ I really am addicted to coffee. I've been drinking it since I was two. My mom thought it would calm me down.

2~ I love to garden. There is something almost mystical about growing, harvesting and replanting... even if that harvesting means picking flowers.

3~I'm Native American and Irish. A potent combination. : ) Slow to anger but you really don't want to get me mad.

4 ~ I'm a neat freak, with the habits of a slob. Really, really frustrating. ; )

5 ~ My dream job is to own a bookstore/coffee shop near the ocean, where I can bake, write and read to my heart's content.

6 ~ I went to college to be a teacher.

7 ~ My oldest daughter and youngest sister are two of my best friends. (They're only 19 months apart)

Okay, that's it, nothing life-shattering or shocking. I suppose I should have tried to shock you, a little. ; ) So here's a bonus 8th: I used to sell sex toys.

And now to the blogs I'm nominating. By the way, I'd totally nominate Cari and Emma, but they've already done this.

So here goes.

Kaily Hart Always encouraging, clever and funny posts about the journey to published (and beyond, I'm sure).

Jennifer Leeland for some Redneck Romance and a talented writer telling it like it is.

Lia Slater Excerpts, interviews and common sense. Lia's blog will add to your TBR list.

J.A. Saare Jaime's Random Musings also tell it like it is. Another excellent writer's blog.

Catherine Bybee Another talented writer and awesome woman.

Helen Hardt Helen's Heros will keep you coming back for more, and more. ; )

Crystal Posey A beautiful blog with heart-felt posts.

Monday's Pick-me-up

To start the New Year off right, here is one of my favorite Monday Pick-me-ups!



This guy is seriously sexy.

HAPPY NEW YEAR




MAY ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!