So, I’ve been stalled. I wasn’t really sure why. Besides the paltry words I’m doing for my word goal loop (which is great that I’m writing every day, still …)I’m not getting much done. I’ve fussed and futtered and tried to figure it out. (And perhaps shouldn’t say it out loud) But I’ve come to a conclusion…
I’m tired of sex.
No, not the way you’re thinking. I am happily married after all. And let’s just say all is good there! (Our kids are mostly out of the house! Yay empty nest!) Anyhoodles …
I’m stuck on how to describe my characters doing the horizontal mamba in new and exciting ways. Ya know, so it comes across fresh, hot, and well … a turn on. And this is baaaad! An erotic author shouldn’t hit this wall. Not when the story and character development happens as much in the bedroom as the crime scene.
I didn’t expect to be here. I’ve had to type “hawt sex here” in a couple of places in my manuscript just to move my writing forward. I’m laughing. I never expected to feel this way. I love my characters. I usually love it when they find themselves fumbling for buttons and throwing clothes to the floor. But … I’m just not feeling it.
So I’m throwing it out there. I can’t be the only one who can’t find a new way to describe the lovin’ in my stories. I’m calling all erotica authors out there to share your secrets. Cause right now … I’m plain stuck.
I spend hours upon hours on the internet. Checking on writer forums and blogs. I email constantly throughout the day. And still I get through weeks and realize there are places I had wanted to go and people I wanted to visit.
It amazes me how my world has opened up and brought some wonderful friends into my life. I’ve had critique partners, Caron and Angela who have helped me develop my writing, but whom I hardly speak to anymore. I miss them.
Then there are the blogs I used to find time to peruse. Mima, Catherine, and Scorpie. I love those blogs. Enjoy making the connections with the people. I think of them, but rarely squeak out a minute to run over and say hello.
Then of course there’s the Romance Divas forum. The ladies and gents over there are funny and supportive and I could spend all day posting on that forum and “talking” with the writers there. Sometimes the discussions are very intimate and heart wrenching. It’s such a supportive community. And then there’s the Liquid Silver family that I check in with and visit. Wouldn’t want to miss any of the crazy antics happening there.
And there are the people walking around my house who ask every once in awhile that I pull my head out of the internet and pay attention to them. Funny how that works.
I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be writing when I’m at the computer. But all these friends and family call to me. I’m a relationship person. When I meet someone I like to know who they are and what makes them tick. I care. That’s why all this is driving me insane. With this huge circle of people who have come into my life, I don’t have time to find out how everyone is doing. I don’t like it. If I had my druthers … I druther the writing happen on its own and let me spend happy hours surfing around visiting my friends and family and catching up on what’s going on in their lives. Celebrate their accomplishments, share their worries. It’s what I do best. Ask anyone who’s met me. I love to talk! (Stop laughing family.)
Anyway, I’d love to hear how everyone is doing. If you’re a lurker take a minute and drop me a comment and tell me how it’s going in your corner of the world. I’m dying to know what’s happening in you life.
It’s Saturday. And I’m actually home! It’s wonderful and it’s sooooo overwhelming! I’m blogging because I’m trying to ignore the mess of clothes spilling out of my suitcase from all my traveling last month. And the boxes of winter clothes sitting on my floor full of long sleeve shirts and sweaters that I now need to wear instead of the cute t’s I’ve been hanging out in over the last few months need to be unpacked and repacked.
Then of course there’s the dining table that’s full of mail I have yet to sort through and the checkbook that’s so messed up from neglect that it may take a foresic accountant to decipher the numbers. I don’t know if anything but starting over will pull it out of its disaster.
You see, all this has happened because I’ve spent alot of time (not efficient … just a lot) writing. And well it’s all good for me to plunge into my fantasy worlds and create and torture my characters (as I’ve been known to do) it’s not so wonderful for the real life going on at a break neck speed around me.
It wasn’t always like this. I’m a total control freak. Ask my family. I want everything to pretty much be laid out and to know how it’s all going to unfold. But this writing venture has thrown a wrench into all that. I’ve been neglecting things until the very last minute when someone begged me to pull myself out of my fantasies and back into real life.
Well no more. Well, I hope … no more.
I’m trying to find a comfortable cadence for writing and living. A balance that is productive for stories and doesn’t leave the house around me in total chaos. That means less time futzing around on the computer and more time paying attention to the living people. It means writing with goals in mind and no more floating around on the internet playing.
I mean, I will continue to do that, but within limits. Marketing is necessary in an author’s world. Marketing means being out there and promoting my books. But I can’t market books I haven’t written. And there’s the quandry. Writing to make a living rather than living to write. Anyway, I’m seeking new balance in my life.
It’s been three years of making bad habits. I don’t expect to be able to fix this this month. But I’m going to work on it. And hopefully feel a little more in control rather than feeling like FEMA cleaning up after a disaster. (Oh, but that’s another whole blog right there. 😉 )
And I am curious how other authors manage. I don’t even have a full time job I’m juggling with this career. I don’t have babies or elderly parents I’m trying to take care of. I’m not teaching workshops or online classes. This shouldn’t be that hard. But if anyone has any suggestions … I’m all ears!
When people interview me one of the questions that always seems to pop up is “why do you write in different genres?” The question surprised me. I thought, writing a story is writing a story. But then I started reading marketing advice for writers. Branding is a word that continued to be bantered around.
Did I have a brand if I was supposedly bouncing all over the spectrum of erotic writing? I panicked. Who was I?
Then I stepped back and looked closely at the stories I’ve written.
The Healer’s Garden – Takes place in a future earth where a man and a woman are trying to find their way in a world that doesn’t believe they should be together. But riding on that relationship is some mystery that carries through the story.
Blind Love – A contemporary romance about two people discovering who they are and falling in love with each other. But the heroine is working to unravel the mystery behind her friend’s death.
Love’s Bounty – Centers around drug running up the Maine coast, but in the thick of it, two people discover love.
Arranging Love – An engaged couple discovers love isn’t always enough and fights to hold their relationship together. But a stalker infiltrates their lives and threatens everything they’ve become together.
Blue Moon Rising – A woman with a battered heart isn’t looking for love, but she finds it with a man who claims to be a wolf shifter. When a slaughtered body is found on the property where she’s vacationing, he has to wonder if she’s somehow involved.
I relaxed. Those aren’t different genres in my opinion. The thread tying them together is the mystery/suspense part of the plot. I’m all about the puzzle. Weaving the story in such a way that hopefully the reader falls in love with the book while the main characters fall in love with each other. But on the coattails of the romance is something that keeps the danger up, the questions running through the reader’s mind…the mystery if you will. And of course there’s the added heat of the sex. *g*
Not different genres. The same genre with a change of characters. It doesn’t matter to me where the story is set. Future, present or past. (Nope, haven’t done an historical yet … but I’m thinking about it.) The occupation of the character changes, but I can’t see how it matters if my hero is a breeder, a modern day piano player, wolf-shifting cop, or my current … a vampire firefighter. Isn’t it all about the sexy guy falling for the kick-ass girl next door and the life and death situations I throw them into?
So, what do you think? Should an author brand themselves and stay within one genre … say paranormal? Or do you mind picking up books by the same author that have different flavors to them?
Cause now I’m curious.
Yes, it’s true I always have an opinion. I mentioned on more than one occasion that I can’t understand how people can get uptight about how others are dressed.
I had the discussion again at my recent writer’s retreat. Mostly because it was just our chapter and we’re all friends. I know they’re professional writers. How they choose to hang around at the tables we had set up at the conference is up to them.
But now I need to qualify. *sigh* That’s my way of saying … I’m wrong. Gosh, that hurt!
So I mosey into the bank on Friday. Friday is dress down for hunger. All the employees donate money and they can wear casual clothes. I’m good. I don’t care if they have dress pants and skirts … they can still move my money around very efficiently. (Not that it takes much … there’s not much to move!)
Two of the tellers had on faded blue jeans. One of them was younger and had frayed bottoms on her jeans (like many of the young adults have these days) and a wind breaker. I must admit, she looked like she ran in from the garden. Even casual, it didn’t look right in the bank.
The other ladies had on khakis and cargo pants or colored jeans. Casual, but neat. That’s it! The woman in faded blue jeans looked somehow unkempt. Now, if I had seen them at the grocery store after work, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But I did a double take in the bank.
So now I must qualify. When I say I wear jeans to be comfortable, I always wear colored jeans and a dressier top to writer’s meetings and conferences. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but obviously to my eye … it did.
So, tell me I’m all wet. Tell me I have a double standard. Tell me you all were right, that clothes do matter and quit nannering about it and just live with that fact!
I just needed to admit I was … well, I already said it once. Twice would kill me.
So I’m extremely happy to share with you the review from Night Owl Romance for The Healer’s Garden. Lisa at NOR gave it a 4.5/5 and said this:
“This wonderful fantasy culture where women are dominant and men disrespected is a very interesting twist and carries a strong plot well. Strong characters, their struggles with ethics, justice, and morality, coupled with excellent dialogue and attention to detail, make this book a fantastic fantasy read! The sex scenes were very well written – so hot, Hot, HOT!!!! Get the air coolers running!”
But even more exciting is that she gave it a Reviewer’s Top Pick rating! w00t! w00t!
So that’s some wonderful news that I needed in the middle of my week from h**l! This is the week I’ve been dreading for months. And things seem to be chugging along. Clothes are being sorted for my trip and last night Little Boy Blue and I went through the packing list and got the bulk of it done for him. Yay! Today… I pack.
Notice in the middle of all this I haven’t mentioned writing.
Sven isn’t very happy with me. If I’d been doing what was recommended I would have already written approximately 40,000 words since beginning this challenge. Ummm… you’re kidding me right?
I’m not sure I’ve even reached the 5,000 word mark. (Of course I think you’re supposed to count editing which I’ve been through 90,000 with the Tilling Passions Series, but I’m not counting editing… seems like cheating. 😉 )
But everything is a learning experience. What works for some doesn’t work for everyone. Sven is supposed to make you accountable for your writing. But all it has done is make me feel bad. And that is just not right.
Having other people looking over my shoulder (which they’re not really doing) isn’t motivating me to sit at my computer and work on my novella. For some this works, just not me.
What is going to push me through is the fact that by the end of this month two other authors are expecting that my novella will be finished and all three of us will be going into edits. I hate to let people down. So it will all come together. I’m not really stressing about it. But my story is the last thing on my mind when I fall asleep and the first thought filtering through my dreams in the morning. And this I’ve discovered … is how I write books.
I think it was Hemmingway who said “writing is 90% thinking and about 10% actual typing”. Or something along those lines. It definitely applies to my own writing journey. Cole and Jada (ohh, I just found her name… I’ve been wrestling with this) are going to tell me their story at their own pace and not Sven or his cronies are going to make that happen any faster.
Sweating with Sven is wonderful for some people. He just doesn’t do anything for me.
So what motivates you to get something finished?
Okay, Mother Nature. Enough is enough. Yesterday we got another foot of snow dumped on us. I’d like to say this picture is what I’m looking at out my window, but I have to thank Google for providing this image. But it’s so close to my back yard I couldn’t resist posting it here.
Annoying? You betcha!
The snowbanks are so tall (6-10 feet depending on how it’s piled) no one can see around them. Pulling out of a road is like a house of horror… you never know what’s coming at you. The towns are essentially running out of money, sand, and salt… so plowing isn’t done until the last flake falls. The roads have become a permanant white ribbon of hard packed ice, perfect for a horse drawn sleigh ride, not so hospitable for my little Honda.
Poor DH worked his usual 12 hours yesterday, schlepped home and spent about 3 hours snowblowing the drive. And of course, I can’t do anything more than stand in the window and cheer him on.
We have 4-5 feet of snow on the ground. More snow than we’ve had in the last 3 years combined. And… oh, fun! more snow is coming in all weekend (as in 3 days worth). I’m going to be buried until June!
Snow, snow disappear
Don’t come back for another year!
You’re cold and wet and not much fun,
I’d rather be basking in the sun!
But enough about the weather. This whole thing has made me wonder about the location of my stories. 5 novels into my career I realize I’ve set all but one of my stories in Maine. Why wouldn’t I? It’s what I know.
I did have one editor reject my novella saying that the story was good but the location didn’t pull her in. Huh. Got me to thinking. Do I read a book and pay attention to where I am or do I get so wrapped up in the characters that the location doesn’t matter? I didn’t used to read that way… now I do.
Now I understand that some stories like Sandra Brown’s Fat Tuesday (which is the first story that turned me on to her writing) need to be set in a specific locale. Her novel takes place in New Orleans and the location becomes another character. The heat and party atomosphere of Mardi Gras affect the story. It matters where they are. The plot is driven by the characters including the location.
But take Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook. Another winner. Love the book, love the movie… but I couldn’t tell you exactly where it all took place other than somewhere in the south.
So, do you care where the story is? Reading (especially romance) is a fantasy… I get that. It’s an opportunity to be drawn away from your world into some place new, exciting, perhaps a little scary. When you pick up a book do you want to be carried away to exotic places or is it the people that draw you in? Perhaps a balance of the two?
Because now, I’m curious.
Okay, I can’t post today without first making note of what a tragic ending Heath Ledger had to his life. The man was only 28 with a young child. News reports state that he is best known for his role in “Broke Back Mountain”, but I fell in love with him in “10 Things I Hate About You” and “A Knight’s Tale”. Both are wonderful, fun, family movies. Though I’m not a star-watcher, I do find it sad and a little disconcerting that young people in Hollywood seem to be imploding at an alarming rate. How and Why he died will be the fodder for entertainment programs for years to come. Somehow I think they’ll miss the fact that this man grew up with a family in Australia and there are parents and siblings mourning his passing. It’s just such a tragedy. I’m just saying…
Okay, shake that off.
So, I’m working on Meghan’s story and delving into new territory that has me scratching my head. I dont mind this. It means a little diversion from writing to plunge into research. Yay!
Did I mention I was a geek in school? I love learning. (I have a head full of useless information that isn’t quite broad enough for Jeopardy! but certainly can raise eyebrows at a dinner party.) So doing research is right up my alley. I’m not very efficient at maneuvering the internet so I often take wrong turns and end up spending time reading material meant for doctoral thesis research… no seriously. I’ve done that before.
My CP and I argue… I mean have lively debates… on whether research for crimes or historical facts is more time consuming. But a reader can get pulled from your story just as quickly whether you’ve put your heroine in the wrong undergarments in medival times or your cop hero does something at a crime scene that just wouldn’t happen.
Now history was never a subject that tripped my trigger, but I loooove reading historicals. I take for granted that the information the author is feeding me is accurate.
But throw me into a science fiction story where the science is wrong and I’m like… unh unh… don’t even go there with me dear author. I’ll give them one pass, but if it persists, the book goes back to the library unread. (I refuse to watch “Little Nemo” because it is filled with inaccurate information… and I’m not talking about fantasy stuff… I love Disney’s talking animals… actual stuff that just doesn’t happen in nature. But I digress…)
Which then made me wonder. How many times are you willing to suspend belief of fact in a book, before you throw in the towel? (And I’m not talking about two strangers falling in love in 20 pages… I write romance people… allow me to keep that fantasy.) I just wondered how important is it that the author has done her research? or is it something you simply take for granted?
What follows is a frank discussion on writing erotica. If you are easily offended or not over 18, you should stop now and find another blog. Otherwise, onward…
Okay, it’s on my mind. I’ve been trying to avoid this blog. But I can’t. I just have to know what people think. You see, I’m into research. I love learning… about anything. And as a former biology teacher, and now a published erotic author, as you can imagine… nothing is off-limits.
My latest research is taking me into the realms of male/male sex and BDSM. Okay, I know some of you are blushing, but hey, as an erotic author I’ve learned to type these words without hesitation or embarassment. (I can even talk about my books to acquaintances without my cheeks turning to red orbs of fire. As I blush at the drop of a hat, this both surprised and intrigued me.)
The fact is, good writing in the erotic realm requires not only great characters, emotion, and a story line that carries you through the entire novel, but the ability to strike a cord in the hearts of your readers during the love scenes. Hence my foray into some interesting research.
Fortunately, I belong to an online group of erotic writers. Nothing is off limits. We have frank discussions about all aspects of sexuality (as well as writing and the publishing market). It’s wonderful. I’ve asked some interesting questions about pushing limits and actual experiences of other writers. What I’ve learned has amazed me.
Mostly, I was surprised by the fascination of female readers to pick up books involving what I would have previously considered stories for gay men. The m/m storyline. Hmmm… it made me wonder why women would find this such a turn-on. So I asked.
Mostly I got embarrassed giggles and lots of “I have no idea why it trips my trigger”. But then one reader was able to explain the role-playing aspect. Putting oneself in place of one of the the heros. And it was this total, slap on the forehead, “aha” moment. Because isn’t reading romance all about getting caught up in the fantasy… being taken away to another place… another moment in time… another relationship? Allowing yourself to believe that all is right with the world and in the end, love will prevail, and the lovers will overcome all and get their happy ending?
So, now my research is stretching my writing; making me look at relationships differently; taking me in new and very interesting places. I’m not sure where exactly the next “what if” will take me, but I’m thinking Kara’s writing will be taking a backseat for awhile, at least until Nina has had an opportunity to explore more indepth these new dircections.
So let me know, what do you like to read? And in this case… I’m not just talking erotica!
I know it’s November. I get that. But come on! Winter arrived with a vengence before it’s official start date. Isn’t there some natural law against that? Al Gore’s been sharing the woes of global warming all over the world, but I’m thinking Mother Nature sort of missed the boat with Maine.
For two days a storm has been hovering over the state leaving snow, ice, and cold in its wake. A friend wrote a wonderful letter recently about how snow put her in a good mood. She loved the flakes drifting down like powdered sugar, coating the trees until their bows bent low with the weight of it. How in the morning, the sun glistened off the pristine flakes to glitter like so many diamonds.
Oh, it makes for wonderful prose, but the reality ain’t so pretty!
Reality: Shovels breaking from overuse (today). Scrapers that can’t cut through layers of ice on your windshield (yesterday). Stubborn snowblowers that balk because there’s one hundred feet of snow two feet deep between your car and the plowed street and the engine hasn’t even cooled from the last two feet it cleared. (And let’s not even get into the four foot snowbank created by said plow.) Bulky coats, boots, gloves, scarves, and hats that make you feel like sausage filling as you squeeze behind your steering wheel. Never mind the cars that groan out complaints when you turn the key or skate through intersections.
My friend is completely mistaken. Snow is bad. Very bad. It comes too soon, lasts too long, and is just plain messy when tracked through your kitchen.
Global warming? Not here in northern Maine! So what’s it like where you live?