Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Happy Halloween!

In celebration of the creepy holiday there are tricks and treats (and giveaways) going on all over the internet.

Head over to Dreamspinner Press to get 20% of all new releases for the rest of the day.

Kim Fielding is hosting a giveaway on her blog for her book Good Bones. All you have to do is leave a message with your answer to this question: If you were to dress up for Halloween this year, what would your costume be?

Anel Viz is hosting two different giveaways. You can win copies of his two horror anthologies Horror, Dark & Lite. Volume 1 is available to win here and Volume 2 is available to win here.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Puppy Pick Me Up

I have to say that I am definitely, 100%, completely a cat person. I appreciate the things about dogs that dog people love, but I just couldn't convert. Love the kitties too much. This collection of photographs made me laugh though. Almost-peed-my-pants-laughed.

Check it out.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Knocked on my Ass

After working with kids (a.k.a. germ mongrels) for years and being married to a guy who spends more time in hospitals than anywhere else, I would have thought that by now I'd have contracted and subsequently developed an immunity to every cold/flu virus on Earth, but those bastard viruses keep mutating and attacking.
And I am not one of those people who handles being sick well. I don't get little sniffles and carry on. My eyes water and swell until they're red and half-shut. It's hot. Really.
So that's what happened and I've been a whiny, drippy mass of ick for the last few days and not been productive at all, which makes me angry because I really really wanted to finish the first Hope Cove book by the end of this month. Looks like that probably won't happen, but c'est la vie.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

More Procrastination...and FREE Books

Who doesn't love free books?
HundredZeros.com is an updated catalogue of books that are available for free through Amazon
I haven't had time to look around too much, but it seems as though the free stuff are the books that are shown on the main page. I did a search which came up with lots of results, but none of them were free. It would be a good place to check out every couple of days though and see if there is anything that interests you.

Last Day for DSP Sale

Today is the last day of GRL, and so is the last day for you to get 25% off of all books written by authors attending the GayRomLit Retreat.

If you haven't checked out the huge list of authors, head over to Dreamspinner Press to take a look at all the discounted books today. There are too many authors to count, and this is a great opportunity to pick up new books at a quarter off.

Sweet Procrastination

I got some writing done...about 3000 words today so far, so I thought I'd take a little break. I came across this, and I think it's so great, so I wanted to share.

Dear Customer who stuck up for his little brother...

Read it. First you'll be really angry that there are still ignorant assholes out there who do not deserve to be parents, but the end will make your day.

A Little Inspiration

I started an account with NaNoWriMo yesterday. What was I thinking? November is going to be the busiest month ever for me. I will be starting school through distance ed, and wanted to get the course finished as soon as possible. I was counting on doing a large portion of it in November. November is also the husband's 30th birthday. I'm throwing him a party. A big one. Which I am also catering, and hostessing, making the decorations for, and there is a ton of prep needed too.

It's also right before Christmas. Oh fuck, Christmas. The time of the year where I run around like my ass is on fire. I usually try to get most things done in November because December is so fucking hectic.

I am on the cusp of finishing my second book right now, and was hoping to wrap it up before the end of this month so I can start early planning my NaNo if I ever hope to finish by the 30th, which means I need to get my ass in gear and get writing.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Solutions - Day 4

16. Not Knowing What Your Theme/Intent Is. Theme was something that I always had trouble with when I was in school. I could never figure out what theme was. Then, one day it just clicked. I finally realized that all I start with is a theme...the feeling I have about the story, the overarching idea of it all, and then I build around it until what I have on paper matches what's in my head (or at least a close approximation).

17. Not Knowing Who Your Audience Is. This is a little tough for me, since technically I don't have an audience yet. My audience is me. But up until now, I was the target audience for many other writers. I think people might like what I write though. I hope so. Only time will tell. DSP seems to think they might, and as much as the self-conscious thirteen year old girl inside of me keeps pestering that I'm not good enough, I trust DSP. They put out good books. I like their books. A lot. So if they like me, then I must have done something right.

18. Playing Out Your Personal Demons on the Page. I think that every author leaves a piece of themselves on the page. How could you not? But leaving your mark on your work and blatantly psychoanalyzing your relationships in thinly veiled characters is something completely different. My life is pretty dull. I know that. No one would want to read about it. Ever. Not even me. The editing alone would be painful.

19. Not Having a Hook. Oh God. I am having horrifying flashbacks from debate. I get it though. I do. Be interesting, or no one will get past the first chapter.

20. Telling, Not Showing. This is yet another problem I am working to overcome. The telling is so much easier than the showing. I like the telling. The actions are much more difficult for me to write. The exposition, and background information just flies from my fingertips, but dialogue and actions are a struggle akin to Wesley pulling Buttercup from quicksand. Difficult, but necessary.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

70 Solutions - Day 3

11. Not Managing your Time Correctly. How very appropriate that this lesson falls on today (or rather yesterday). Yesterday was crazy. Once a month, my husband and I do a day trip to Washington to spend the day together. Usually it is just a day trip. We get breakfast or lunch in the old part of Bellingham, we walk around for a while, we buy the world's greatest chocolate milk and then we head home. It's a nice little tradition we started about two years ago. It gets us out of town, away from our phones and besides all that, the old part of Bellingham is beautiful. If you live nearby and you've never been, go. You won't regret it.
The day before yesterday, unfortunately, some whack job in a white car decided to drive through the Peace Arch border crossing and shoot one of the female border guards in the neck. Thankfully, she is in stable condition, and even more thankfully, the shooter is not. He shot himself. I'm not usually so jaded about loss of life, but I think in this case, exceptions can be made.
Anyways, I was afraid our trip over the border would take much longer than usual, so we left extra early (which for me, is never fun, as I am anything but a morning person). We got back, and I headed to work while the husband went for dinner at our friends' place. I was supposed to finish work at 5:30, but alas, it was not to be.
Anyways, long story short (well, shorter anyway) I didn't get home until 8:30, and by the time I sat down to write I was way to tired and what came out was muddled garbage, so I decided to call it an early night and start tomorrow.
So no, I do not manage time very well. I would love to be one of those people who can adhere neatly to a schedule, but I am more of a roll-with-the-punches-as-they-come kind of girl. I fit the writing in where I can, which means some days I write -67 words by going back and taking out a section I'd already written, and some days I write 8,398 words. Depends on the day and my motivation.
Perhaps I should try to schedule in my writing. I'll pencil that in for later.

12. Failing to Learn from the Masters. Mayer talks about picking up other authors' successful work and looking at the mechanics of what she has done; to look at the how instead of the what. He recommends reading something you in a genre that you don't particularly like so you don't get lost in the story, and instead you see the structure of the writing. Maybe. I could try. I'm not picky when it comes to book. I'll read almost anything, but I'm not usually very good at getting though books I don't like once I've started reading them. I have ADD when it comes to reading, and if I'm not drawn in right away, I'll put it down for later and never end up coming back to it. It might be worth a try though. Can anyone recommend a really horrible, well-written book for me to read?

13. Not Having an Idea That's Different Enough. I don't know if this tip necessarily rings true in the world of romance. Yes, there are about a billion stories of gay cowboys that fall in love despite all odds. There are a billion for a reason. Cowboys are hot. Gay cowboys are hotter. Gay cowboys that get all angsty for each other? Yes please. Every time. As long as you're not directly plagiarizing someone else's work, I think that for the most part, if you would read it, other people would too.

14. Not Doing Enough Work Prior to Actually Starting your Writing. This is part of the learning curve for me. The first time, I started with the first word of the introduction and moved through the story one chapter at a time until I hit the end. I made it up as I went, and if I didn't like something later, I went back and changed it. This time, I actually took the time to write out a tentative outline. I made a collage like I did for Buffy's Angel when I was in the sixth grade. I know everything there is to know about these characters, their families, friends and what is going to happen to them next. It has made writing easier this time. I have direction; I know where I'm going. It turns out that my high school English teacher was right about writing outlines. They help.
That being said, everyone is different. I was curious how other people write, so I asked on the DSP forums. Turns out no two writers do it the same way. Everyone has different things that work for them. Most of them said they make it up as they go. I find the outline helps, but then again, I have the memory span of an amnesiac goldfish. True story.

15. Not Being Able to Succinctly Say What Your Work Is About. This one I don't think I have a problem with. I have a million ideas for new books, and they are all written in one sentence on a scrap piece of paper. Too succinct? Is that a thing?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

70 Solutions - Day 2

I'm back today for the second day of Bob Mayer's book. I'll dive right in.

6. Not Breaking Rules. I'm not all that good at this one. Once, in the third grade, my teacher accidentally gave me two candies when everyone else got one. I actually stayed after class to return the extra candy. What third grader does that? Me. That's who. And the honesty was rewarded. I got to keep both for telling the truth. Since then, I've always played by the rules. I understand what Mayer is saying. Playing too safe means that you will never stand out. Never breaking the rules means you are the same as everyone else, and getting noticed is one of the most important parts of being a successful author. I think this will come with experience and practice. Most of the authors I've read, however, get noticed by producing consistently well-written stories. The world of romance novels, especially with HEAs, can be somewhat limited. There are only so many directions you can go in. In terms of breaking the rules in romance, I think it might be more of rule bending than breaking that will ensure success.

7. An Unwillingness to Learn. I am guilty of a lot of things, but this is not one of them. I love learning. I will soak up any information thrown at me (whether or not I retain that information for long periods of time may be another story) but I am not naive enough to think I know everything there is to know about writing. Not even a little.

8. Letting your Ego Run Amok. I would hope I'm not guilty of this. Mayer warns against getting too caught up in the results of your writing -- book tours, signings, parties -- rather than writing for the sake of writing. Maybe I'm a little guilty of this. Since this is my first book, I have no idea what it will be like to be published. I somehow doubt that there will be people lined up around the block to hear me read a couple of paragraphs. I do hope, though, that I am able to make it to a couple of conventions, and that I meet a person or who likes what I've written. If not, then why bother trying for publication? If I didn't want to meet people who enjoy what I do, I could just write for myself and receive the obligatory praise from friends and family. I understand what Mayer is saying, I just don't know if I believe that looking forward to reaping the rewards of your effort is totally ego.

9. Not Understanding the Difference Between Craftsman and Artist. I am still working on this one. I would definitely still qualify as craftsman. Craftswoman? Craftsperson? Anyways, I'm still new. I'm still learning. A lot. I think that the experience of this is one of the things I'm looking forward to the most. Don't get me wrong. I love writing. Love love love it. But I have a lot to learn, and even just these last few weeks of being able to say "I am going to be published", I feel differently. It's a nice feeling.

10. Waiting for the Mood to Strike. I am totally guilty of this. When I first started writing, I would only do it late at night, with my living room lit by candles. (I know, I know). Even now, it's hard for me to force creativity, but I tried it yesterday. I didn't feel like writing. I told myself "just 100 words". I wrote 1600. Not too bad. Mr. Mayer says that writing is an emotional business, and it is, but I found that while the emotion drives the action, alternatively, the action can evoke the emotion.

Well that's all for today. I'm going to ignore the mood and write for the next 45 minutes until I have to go to work.

Monday, 15 October 2012

70 Solutions - Day 1

I am a new writer. Brand new. I've started what feels like millions of writing projects in my life, but thus far, only one has been completed and submitted to a publisher. I feel pretty lucky that my first attempt was accepted, but I am not naive enough to think that I am a perfect writer. I have a long way to go, and a lot to learn. I am also lucky that I will have such great writers to learn from and bug with incessant questions.

Anyways, in an effort not to annoy the hell out my my fellow writers, I have picked up a couple of writing books to read. The first one is 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer. He's sold more than 40 million copies of the more than 50 books he's written, so I figure he's probably got a good idea of what to do/not to do.

If you're interested, you can see the book here: http://www.writersdigestshop.com/digital-download-70-solutions-common-writing-mistakes

I thought about tackling one per day, but the idea of it taking more than two months to get through the thing was not all that appealing to me. I am far too impatient for that. Instead, let's try five per day and see how it goes (although I am famous for starting out a project all hung-ho and losing steam halfway through (just ask my sister)).

1. Not Starting. Okay, simple enough, and done! Go me. Do you ever make lists and include things you've already done, just so you have something to cross off and you can feel productive. I totally do that. This is a little like that for me. Perfect. I've started. To quote Mr. Mayer, I've "opened a vein and started bleeding on the page".

2. Not Finishing. Well, I've finished my first one, but historically this is a problem for me. I have a whole folder of half-written work. This is definitely something I need to work on. I'll start immediately...or in a minute...

3. Misusing Writer's Groups. I've never actually used a writer's group, but after I signed my contract with DSP, I was able to join their online forums, which has been amazing. I am totally starstruck by the names of the people posting in those threads. Amazing, and I've already made use of their knowledge and expertise. It's been quite valuable to far.

4. Forgetting the Reader. I may or may not be guilty of this. I'm not really sure. I seem to forget a lot when I'm writing. Things like eating, or sleeping. I started writing for me, and submitted my writing because I thought other people might like what I like. So in a way I write for us both.

5. Thinking You're the Exception to the Rule. Mr. Mayer explains that following the rules is important, especially for writers who are just starting out. I believe it. I will follow them gladly. Writing is so subjective that it is nice to have some guidelines to follow.

Alright, so the first five are done, and I think it's so far so good.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Happy National Coming Out Day!

There is still a long way to go before civil equality exists worldwide, but we are taking steps in the right direction. Celebrating National Coming Out Day is a 24 year tradition that brings awareness to this very important -- and for many people, very personal -- issue. Whether you are gay, bisexual, transgender or straight, show your support in any way you can.

In honour of this very important day, two talented authors, Ariel Tachna and Jamie Fessenden, are hosting giveaways on their blogs.

Ariel is giving away a copy of Once in a Lifetime and Stolen Moments. Visit Ariel here for details!

Jamie is giving away a copy of either his novel By That Sin Fell the Angels or his novella We’re Both Straight, Right? Visit Jamie here for details!

Home Alone Again

My husband is a paramedic and works at a station that is about 2 hours away from where we live. He is only home a few days a month, and he spends the rest of his time sleeping in cramped quarters with five other guys (or girls) in an ambulance station in a somewhat remote area.

This is probably one of the reasons I chose to be a romance author -- being alone so often leads me to have a rich fantasy life. I really do enjoy it though. As brief as my writing career has been up until this point, I have yet to meet another author who does this for any other reason than pure enjoyment of writing. It's therapeutic, cathartic, fun. I just feel so lucky that someone thinks my writing is good enough that other people might actually want to read it.

He'll be home in a few days though, and in the meantime, I want to try to get some decent progress on my next book before life gets too busy again. Luckily (for me anyway) the weather is starting to turn. Yesterday was foggy and cold -- the perfect day for my favourite hazelnut hot chocolate -- but I love the dreary weather. My darling husband teases me that it's because it's in my heritage to be drawn to rain and fog (my whole family is from England). Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that I love fall, and it's beginning to feel decidedly like fall. Perfect weather for cozying up inside and indulging in some seriously hot fantasies.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A Good Month

The past six weeks have possibly been the most exciting weeks of my life. I got married to a wonderful man in one of my favourite places on Earth. It was beautiful, magical, and for once after a big party, I didn't have to clean up the mess! The next day we jetted off (after a four flight delay in a crappy airport) to beautiful California to spend a week in honeymoon bliss at one of the nicest hotels I have ever seen.

We got back a couple of weeks ago and were just beginning to settle back into the mundane when I received an email from Dreamspinner Press. They want to publish my book! I am over-the-moon excited. I think my friends and family are a little less so, as I haven't shut up about it since.

This is my first experience with the publishing world and I'm not entirely sure what to expect. All I know is that I can't wait to get started, and that the six month road to publication will be exciting, nervewracking, way too long, and way too short.

Wish me luck!