Time to Brag

Twenty some years ago when I first threw my writing hat into the ring, I knew a number of writers who had been published. I met them through Romance Writers of America. We were acquaintances, not really close friends. My close friends were in my critique group, and not one of them had yet been published. Continue reading “Time to Brag”

Back to the Book List

I advertise this as the list of books from the California Dreaming’ Writers Convention, but I am dipping in to all the workshops I attended as well. It’s very hard to separate them. And I am a total noob at conventions like this. Put me in a science fiction fantasy horror steampunk anime convention, and I know the ropes. But, well, things were in the brochure that were invitation only. One had to win a place in the sessions at the drawing held that morning. One event caught my eye, and even though it was scheduled late in the day, I went to the suite to hear M.A. Taylor sharing Cop Tales. Oh,yeah, this lady is who I want to be when I grow up! I crashed the event, but luckily someone who had actually won a ticket could not make it, so I was allowed to stay. I am not likely to ever write a cop story, but I may have a detective wander into a story. The most important thing I learned was that the San Bernadino International Airport is favored over LAX by many celebrities and sports teams. Continue reading “Back to the Book List”

When You Aren’t Writing, You Should Be Reading

At the California Dreamin’ Conference 2015 last weekend, wonderful and talented authors suggested books for attendees, both fiction and nonfiction. I pulled them out of my notes and made this list. And wow, some of these just knock me over. I loved the ones used by certain panelists to illustrate excellent use of descriptions, but all these are on my Amazon wish list. Continue reading “When You Aren’t Writing, You Should Be Reading”

Prince Charming Need Not Apply by Dara Young

PCNNACover2_med Today I am tickled to help a friend and fellow writer get the word out about her scintillating novel, Prince Charming Need Not Apply, including a sneak peek at the cover. Dara Young is “Lighting your fire with strong women…and the men who love them.” How cool is that? Or should I say, how hot is that? Well, here’s a little overview.

Reformed party girl and Chief Cosmetics Officer for rising star Swirl Cosmetics, Sabrina Calihan has sworn off men. But when she meets beauty industry colleague Max March, new head of the Christina Max beauty empire, she finds herself struggling to keep him at arm’s length.
Max is determined to have the sexy woman he first met on the red-eye from Los Angeles. Unconcerned about her professed vow of celibacy, he is ruthlessly determined to show her just how good things can be between them.
He wines and dines her despite her assurances that Prince Charming need not apply. But, as love begins to blossom on a personal level corporate issues bubble to the surface and threaten a happy ending. Now Sabrina must discover if she can win her prince charming back, or if all is lost.
I’m so looking forward to this book, and this excerpt adds to my anticipation:
Alone but for the music, they sat and sipped their wine. Despite knowing intellectually that Max would turn on the charm tonight, she could never have been prepared for this onslaught. His full court press was powerful. Seductive.
“So tell me, Sabrina. Why have you sworn off men?” Max threaded his fingers through hers and relaxed back in his chair.
She listened to the instrumental version of Unforgettable and weighed how much to share. “It’s a long story.”
“We have all night.”
“Longer even.” Her mouth dried up which left her tongue stuck inside it like a strip of beef jerky.
“I won’t be distracted. We’ll come back to that comment.”
“You are tenacious. Very well, you should hear the truth at some point.” She took a sip of her wine in need of both the moisture and the fortification. “I got tired of settling for Mr. Wrong-But-Very-Convenient. After a string of horribly shallow and often incredibly dumb men I had to bring it all to a halt. I called a hiatus to give myself some practice at being alone.”
The first course arrived.
“And that was six months ago?”
“Yes. I’ve been working on figuring out what I want.”
“What conclusions have you come to?” He ate his amuse-bouche.
“Abstinence is easy when you aren’t actually tempted.” And that made having dinner with him either the most courageous thing she’d ever done, or the absolute dumbest.
“No list of character traits you’re looking for in a future mate?” His throat worked up and down as he took a swallow of wine. She couldn’t have peeled her gaze from the tantalizing sight if her dress had caught fire.
“I’m a bit more fluid than that. I leave the strategies and obsessive list making to Elle. I’m more of the I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it type.”
“Hhmm…doesn’t give a man much to go on.”
“I don’t need a man who is trying to conform to a detailed list of requirements. I need a man who knows who he is and is willing to learn who I am. I need a man who can live with the realities those truths entail. Prince Charming need not apply.”
“Duly noted. So, what time do you turn into a pumpkin, Cinderella?”
“Midnight.”
Pre-Order Link for Amazon – Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

DaraYoungPicture

About Dara Young – I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, one of two children and grew up in Florida and Alabama. I later graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a BS in Political Science and a minor in History.
My mother once asked me what I would do with a poly sci degree. At that moment I happened to have a romance novel in my hand, the author of which was a poly sci major. I quickly held it up and said, “Well, I can write romance novels!” How prophetic!
I specialize in configuration management, and I pursue my love of writing romance in my spare time. I dream of one day commuting to my living room in my bathrobe for work.
I met my husband my first week living in New York City. While he does not share my love of books, he does support my writing wholeheartedly! We were married in November 2000, and now share a beautiful home in Southern California.
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Thanks for reading, mark your calendar for the release day, 10/12/2014, and I’ll be back on Sunday.

Formula Stories for the Win

Tropes and formulas are a part of the Romance world. Searching Google will give you lots of plots and arcs and Very Important Elements for any romance novel. Using these formulas might just earn you some criticism about tropes and writing the same story over and over.

You can blithely ignore those critics. At the Romance Writers of America (RWA) meeting I attended yesterday, those of us who were not lucky enough to go to the National convention in San Antonio just last month were treated so some Publisher Spotlight notes that not only made us more jealous of those who went, but gave us lots of important information. And I am going to share some of it with you today.

Harlequin single title lines are not easy to break into, but the Harlequin series, under the Spotlight title, is a little more understanding of both authors and readers. And they insist on the formula. Not the same story over and over, but the same elements. Think of it like a foot race. All the entrants have to hit the same marks to meet the race requirements, but they can do it at their own time, in their own way.

The readers drive the desire for these same elements. A tortured hero, a flawed heroine, a reason for them to work together, a reason they shouldn’t fall in love, and a way to overcome all of that for the Happy Ever After (HEA). Here is Harlequin’s “format” for the perfect story: http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1425&chapter=0

Larry Brooks, the Storyfixer, wrote a great blog a couple years back on discovering that Romance writers are as competent and motivated as any other writers, and maybe more dedicated than most.
http://storyfix.com/what-i-just-learned-from-a-room-full-of-romance-writers And I am going to buy a copy of his book, Warm Hugs for Writers, to give to all my Scribophile friends when they doubt themselves.

Shoshanna Evers posted this Secret Formula in 2009, and now is a published author. Wait, can it be a secret if you post it on the Internet? http://www.thewriterschallenge.com/2009/09/secret-formula-of-most-romance-novels.html

At the RWA meeting, we discussed a lot of what is hot and what is fading from view in subgenres. Personally, I am just going to keep writing what I want to write, and I will find my readers through good stories. But the next wave is Historical Romance, particularly medieval. And paranormal is on the way out, apparently. I am sure there are more readers like me who just realized the wealth of books out there about Alpha Male Wolf heros that make me a little melty. And even a lion shapeshifter has caught my attention, in Dark Age Dawning #3, Daybreak by Ellen Connor (who turns out to be two talented women!).

About Dark Age Dawning, I picked up a copy of the third book, and started reading it without the slightest intent of looking for the first two novels. Not only has that changed a few chapters in, I am going to find everything they ever wrote and read it. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8397035-daybreak

Dystopia worlds have been a big deal for a while, where magic makes everything dangerous and beautiful. The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones are big reasons for this trend. But the genre has been around for a long time. Animal Farm being one of the earliest, and The Handmaid’s Tale one of the best. Here is Julia Gandrud’s 8 Point Dystopian Plot Formula. http://writingreadingandlife.com/2013/11/29/guest-post-8-point-dystopian-plot-formula-julia-gandrud/

Think you need a little more help getting this formula under your belt? Look for your local RWA chapter and find out which workshops are available. You can take some of the on-line workshops from any chapter, if it suits your needs. There are also many other sources of learning, from community college creative writing to Scribophile forums, but some of those are not exactly Romance friendly. But here’s a great plot mapping idea from Tracey Montana and Adrienne Giordano at the Romance University (whose motto is R U Ready? Love it). http://romanceuniversity.org/2009/10/19/do-all-roads-lead-to-plot-mapping/

Like Adrienne says at the end of the blog, I’d love to hear how you use the formula, and how you map your plot! Maybe you’d like to write a guest post for me on the subject! Maybe we can trade posts! I know if I followed through on half the ideas I come up with, I’d be rich and have all the time in the world to write. See you on Thursday.

I’m Having Contractions

Here’s the saddest thing I ever discovered as a writer. Shakespeare did not write proper English! As a writer of historical fiction, I have been told several times that my characters should not use contractions. You know, I’m instead of I am, can’t instead of cannot, won’t instead of whatever it’s a contraction of. Yet Bill S. titled a play All’s Well That Ends Well and no one fusses. This was easily 200 years before the Regency period.

Anachronisms creep up in historical fiction now and again. One of my husband’s complaints about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is the out of place things that creep up. Particullarly the Monty Python reference when the show didn’t debut on the BBC until years after Claire – well, I don’t want to spoil things. It should also be noted that he’s on his second read through all the books, and complaining that the next book won’t be out soon enough.

I remember a published author who was the speaker at an RWA meeting when I was first a member. Even though she knew better, she had her Regency main characters meeting in Trafalgar Square. Yeah, didn’t get that name until 1830. https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/trafalgar-square/history

It’s a close call with the Yankee expression, Okay. You’ll find it in print by 1830, and that indicates a wide usage before that. I really like the Choctaw explanation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okay

As English is a living, breathing, chain-smoking, beer-drinking language, it changes a lot. Languages like Japanese have changed little in the past century. But English not only has changed, it’s colonized various parts of the world. These nifty graphs show the rise or fall in contraction usage since 1800.
http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/8900/were-contractions-less-common-in-olden-days

Here’s an excellent article on some of the influences on English: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/linguistics/change.jsp

The final word, of course, would be Miss Jane Austen. She uses contractions very rarely, but remember her writing went through publishers who had their own ideas of proper English. They no doubt filtered her words as they saw fit. But here’s one they missed:

It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Thank you, Miss Austen, and thank you, gentle readers. See you on Sunday for the next leg around the world in books.

Going to the Hop!

Look at me doing my first Blog Hop! I got into this predicament through the wonderful offices of Ms. Louise Redmann, an English woman married to an Italian raising their two boys in Switzerland. And if that isn’t a plot for a romance, I’m Marie of Rumania.

Amazingly, Louise finds time to write her blog and her romances, and to participate on Scribophile, where we met. Here’s her blog link: https://louiseredmann.com/wordpress/blog-posts/

And a taste of her fiction: https://louiseredmann.com/?p=339

So Louise tagged me, and I have to answer these questions. Then I get to tag two friends and so on and so on. Be sure to follow all the blog links, these are talented and prolific people.

1) What am I working on?
So many irons in the fire right now. My Regency Romance, The Viscount’s Mouse, was pitched to an agent and she asked to see the entire manuscript. So mad revision skills are I use. I started the sequel to that story, and hoped to write on it for the RWA Chapter Challenge, to set a goal of words written for the month, and then meet that goal. My goal is 40,000 words and I have written just over 4,000. Almost there! Plus I started a series of Regency Erotica, because I am months away from retiring from the day job, and will need a bit of ready income before that.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Overall, because people who read Regency Romances expect a formula of sorts, there are many similarities, but I have a sense of humor that comes out through my characters, sometimes at the worst possible moments.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Because I can! No, the real answer is I had no romance in my life except what I read in books. And as you may have heard before, some of those books were so poorly written I couldn’t start them, let alone finish them. I knew I could writer a good romance. In the middle of starting to write romances, I met my husband, got married, and had all the romance I wanted. But after the kids left home and retirement loomed closer, I decided to try writing again. Not that I ever stopped writing, I was just writing other stuff. Romance is what thrills me and inspires me.

4) How does my writing process work?
This is a really good question! Who came up with this question? I want to “thank” that person face to face. Ideas flow from my muse into my brain. When I get to a keyboard or have pen and paper, the ideas flow down my neck, through my arms, fingers, and keys until words show up. Then the words become sentences, the sentences become paragraphs, and viola! A story forms up out of the mass. Then, of course, I have to put the story on a table and ratchet it up to the roof until it’s struck by lightning. That is when the story comes to life!

In reality, anything I see or hear might inspire a story idea. The Viscount’s Mouse came to me in a dream. The second story in the erotica series came to me after thinking about a workshop coming up on bondage, kidnap stories, dominance, submission, and that bit of interests. How I get it on paper involves a rough sketch of the chapters, not carved in stone by any means, and a few days talking to the characters. When I realize the correct moment to start the tale, I begin.

I use Scribophile for critiques and polishing, and try to only work on one thing at a time. No more than three, by any means.

Well, if you made it through that, here’s your award! Two wonderful authors to follow.

Stella Williams is a Blogger and Romance Author, who lives in Montgomery, Alabama. She has a degree in Anthropology from The University of California, Santa Cruz. Her first novel, Xander’s Claim: Maura’s Men Book One, a paranormal romance, was published through Amazon late last year. She blogs at stellawilliamsauthor.wordpress.com. Her latest project is the second installment of her Maura’s Men Series, Claude’s Conquest, set to be published next year.

Stella Williams is the author of Xander’s Claim: Maura’s Men Book One. She blogs at stellawilliamsauthor.wordpress.com.

I’ve been privilege to read some of her work on Scribophile, and she has brought life to a complex world of paranormal characters in amazing and original situations.

Mika Jolie is also a Scribophile friend whose writing inspires me. She says: I’m a mother to two energizer bunnies, a wife, a writer, a graduate student and an analyst. In my spare, I enjoy hiking, jogging, working on my gardening and knitting skills.

I think I was about fifteen when I started reading romance novels and fell in love with the genre. I can’t believe how it has grown. Gone are the days when the MMC is 36 years old and the FMC is 18 and a virgin.

I am a soon to be published working on my first series called Martha’s Way. I write contemporary romance that reflects our diverse society. In my first novel, the Scale, book one of Martha’s Way series, the FMC is African-American and the MMC is Caucasian. Although they are of different race, it is not something that is focused on. It is mentioned once. I am currently working on the follow up novel titled Need You Now. I love the romance genre but I find it does not reflect our current society, a beautiful multi-culture melting pot.

I’ve been having some fun using my blog as my diary to getting my first novel published. Stop by at Mikajolie.com and join me in my journey. I’m looking forward to connecting with you.

And I will be back on Sunday!

Chance Encounters

I met my husband on-line. This was many years ago before the internet was such a big deal. We both belonged to a bulletin board system, a BBS, that specifically wanted people to get to know each other and make matches. I’d been on there for a couple years, and Mike had been on before that. He just happened to log on again, and we played in the nightly trivia game.

Many other things had to happen, and did, and we are still happy together, but I sometimes marvel that the chances of a moment brought us together.

I’m sharing most of the first chapter of my Regency Romance, The Dandy’s Wager. The chance encounter of Lady Elizabeth Underwood and Lord Robert Coleman in an old church yard sparks an attraction neither looked for. They are both there for a wedding, following which Elizabeth sneaks away in her quest for Roman artifacts and ruins. She is behind a hedge when Lord Robert and his friends come out to the yard. I hope you enjoy it.

The Dandy’s Wager

Voices from the other side of the hedge startled her out of her meditations. Smoke, too, drifted past the leaves. Some gentlemen had come out to the churchyard to smoke cigars. She shrank back to the wall, thankful for the lush coverage and concealment.

“Thank your brother for us, Rob,” one man called. “This wedding has inspired our mothers to push us toward parson’s mousetrap.”

A chorus of laughing agreement and ridicule followed. Then a different voice answered, “You know I tried to talk him out of it, Will. Being the last unmarried child, both my parents are on me now to settle down.”

Yet another man chuckled. “Perhaps we should just pick one of the pretty girls here today. None of them are hard on the eyes, and none too silly. If we have to marry, we can do worse than these, and we can make it interesting.”

A fourth man, at least Elizabeth thought this one had not spoken before, said, “We court then, wed them, and bed them–”

Shouts and comments interrupted him, mostly things she could not understand. Then Rob, the first speaker, said, “We must have heirs. Then our parents will be satisfied, and while the woman takes care of the child, we are free to return to normal life.”

“Gilbert, what say you? How can we make this interesting beyond the eventual bedding?”

“That’s simple. As long as we can each agree to which female we wish to pursue, the first one to marry will win the wager.”

Rob laughed. “A marvelous plan. Pick your intended bride and the first of us to wed will have twenty pounds from each of us.”

“Twenty pounds? And we still need to be leg shackled?”

“Indeed, Toby, a high price.” She thought this was the first speaker again, Will. “Surely 20 schillings would do?”

“Miss Twigg for me!” one of them called out. “And twenty pounds that she will marry me in three months!”

“Lady Elizabeth,” Rob pronounced, making her jump. “The only title in the bunch, and therefore my match.”

Elizabeth could not stop a gasp at this, but she covered her mouth in the next instant. The arrogance of the man!

“I will gladly try for Miss Sebastian. That leaves Miss Preston for you, Will.”

“She will do as well as any.”

A noise from the church put an end to this conversation. Elizabeth waited for the footsteps and comments to fade away. One more glance at the Roman well, and she hurried toward the gate.

She collided with something firm and unyielding as she rounded the end of the hedge. Her eyes traveled up several inches. Somber gray eyes studied her.

“Lady Elizabeth,” Lord Robert Coleman steadied her with a hand on her arm, but did not let her step back from contact with him. “You are in the habit of eavesdropping?”

“No! I wanted to see the well. Excuse me.” She managed to get her hands up to his chest and push herself away. She took a step back, and straightened her gown. Anything to not meet his disturbing gaze.

“If I promise not to court you, would you–” he hesitated and reached to take her chin in his firm grip. “Promise to not reveal what you heard?”

“I don’t know what you mean, my lord.” Elizabeth returned his look steadily. His hand, ungloved, burned against her skin, with heat and with steely strength. “But I vow I will not repeat a word of it, no matter what you do.”

He grinned and let her go. She walked around him, but before she passed the hedge, she looked back. A smile escaped her. “Perhaps I wish for you to court me.”

His eyebrows rose, causing a flutter in her chest, and giving wings to her feet as she hurried away.

***

The little vixen! Rob watched until the last flash of her peach muslin skirts were gone from his view. God, what a delicious pocket Venus she could be. Did she have any idea of the danger she flirted with?

He chuckled and glanced back at the well. Antiquities seemed an odd interest for a titled young woman. Intriguing.

Footsteps in the yard drew him out from behind the hedge. William St. James, his closest friend, had come back to look for him.

“Did you scare off the chit?” he asked, looking around.

“Apparently I did.” Rob clapped Will’s arm. “Come, let’s go wish the happy couple well and proceed to drink ourselves blind.”

They walked to the front of the old church. Rob’s brother, Viscount Miles Coleman, and his new viscountess Cassandra, nee Jennings, continued to talk to family and well wishers. The coach waited in the road, the flashy pair of bays showing signs of restlessness.

“Robert,” Miles flashed a strained smile while giving him a firm handshake. “Can you distract the crowd so we may leave? Cassie can’t stand much longer without collapsing.” He nodded amiably to William.

Rob looked at Will, smiling. “I don’t doubt we can think of something.”

“I know just the thing,” said Will, and he hurried off toward the church. He returned in a few minutes with his arms full of very young orange tabby kittens.

The women in the crowd sent up oos and ahs and moved in on Will. This shift opened the path to the carriage. Cassie smiled and took the arm of her husband.

“Thank you, brother.” She stretched up to kiss his cheek.

“I wish you both joy, sister. And if he does anything you do not like, be sure to send word to me. I will thrash him soundly.”

Bride and groom laughed, with Miles adding a low-voiced, “You would have to stand in line behind her uncles, you know.”

Rob managed a thoughtful look. “I suppose I will have to settle for thrashing whatever they leave of you, then.”

He watched them step into the carriage, watched the crowd realize the couple were making an escape, and watched the shower of flower petals follow the dust of their departure. An arm extended out of the carriage and coins rained down on the crowd.

William appeared, still clutching a kitten. “One left. Does she not touch your heart, Rob?”

He looked at the animal in horror. “Do you think I would allow orange fur on my black velvets or silks? Surely not!”

“I suppose I will take her, then. Perhaps Miss Preston likes cats.”

With a theatrical shudder, Lord Robert pulled a lace-edged handkerchief from his pocket and dusted the arms of his coat. But his thoughts turned to Lady Elizabeth and what sort of things she liked. With a surge of anticipation, he decided he would find out soon.

The Flow of Bonding with Your Muse

No matter what activity my physical body pursues, a part of my mind writes. I write in my dreams, plotting, exploring characters. I write while I drive, and have to back up the book on CD I listen to at the time when my writing muse went off exploring.

I imagine this flow of ideas happens to all writers. The actual advent of an idea entering the brain can come at an awesome time when your are ready to write it down. Usually, it comes when you are having your annual dental check-up and cleaning, and can’t spit, let alone write. Not even a voice recorder will help in that situation. Or when you are playing doubles tennis on National Television. You have to hope the idea stays around.

The best advice is, Don’t Worry About It. Worrying, as my oldest motivational poster reminds me, does not remove troubles from today, it robs tomorrow of strength. Worry about remembering the idea, and it will go look for a calmer spot to roost. Make your mind clear and assured of your good, and the idea is attracted back.

Ideas flow in an open, calm mind. Your muse collects them, and sends them down your arms and out your fingers. When you sit at your keyboard or pick up a pen, you plant the ideas on the screen or page, and they blossom into words, into pages, into chapters, and so on.

Now, you may have ideas that your characters disagree with. For instance, one of my heroes will be taking a bad fall, about 10 feet into the chamber of an ancient Roman something or other. The landing breaks his leg badly, and causes enough problems as it is, but then there is a cave-in and a flood. By the time he and the heroine are rescued, and this is 1817, medical science may do him more harm than good. My idea involved the amputation of his leg.

This young man demands that I find another arc to the story, as he is very happy with both legs, thank you very much. My muse and I shrugged at each other, and so the heroine will get to try some Ancient Roman medicine on him. Won’t that be fun? Vinegar, St. John’s Wart, and honey will save the day.

While this article is more for people who write short pieces on a nearly daily basis, such as bloggers, it’s a lot of fun. http://writetodone.com/21-unexpected-places-to-find-your-muse/ The young man in #6 looks a bit too much like my son, who always wanted to try free running. And #17 is right on. 8)

Here’s a quote about the Muses that I like: “This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

A site for daily writing prompts, this link contains lots of good ideas for getting your characters to talk to you. Apparently, that’s what they are supposed to do! http://thewritepractice.com/characters-lost/

This entertaining blog admits the secret, that your characters may not talk to you when you start writing. A new writer needs to put in hours and hours (and hours) of writing to be on a first name basis with characters. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/2010/06/10/getting-your-novels-characters-to-speak-to-you/ In the nearly 20 years when I put my fiction writing on hold, I wrote minutes for various groups to which I belonged, I wrote some Live Journal articles, and I wrote prompts now and then when I could get into a writing workshop. I think that helped.

Here are tips on getting the voice of your character just right. http://avajae.blogspot.com/2011/09/how-to-make-your-characters-talk.html I think I’m going to post that on my group in Scribophile, it sounds like fun and the result will be improved writing. My Muse will do the happy dance!

Then there are those who don’t or can’t believe in this character chatting stuff, and still manage to be excellent writers. http://www.blog.angelaaddams.com/2011/02/do-your-characters-talk-to-you.html Different strokes, I guess. Maybe the muse of these folks has retired or taken a very long vacation? I guess it’s better to not judge.

I hope there has been a touch of fun, a spark of the creative, and some bookmarked sites to go back to later. See you on Wednesday.

All In the Name of Research

Caution: This blog post contains Adult Themes.

Not only am I a late-blooming writer, I was late-blooming in the relationship department as well. I won’t bore you with the details, because I think I already shared some of them. However, the good news is I met, fell in love with, and married the man of my dreams.

And now that I am writing again, writing romance novels with some sexy bits, my husband helps me with research. He doesn’t even mind.

Sometimes when we kiss, I take mental notes: taste, textures, scent, sounds, eyes closed or open. Anything different this time? I knew I would love Mike the first time we kissed. He has asked me to tell him what exactly about his kiss made such an impression on me. I don’t do justice to the experience. He tasted and smelled fresh, clean, warm. He focused on me, whatever I felt seemed important to him. And he was really happy to see me.

We’re both very affectionate, holding hands, kissing while in line somewhere, touching each other every time we walk past each other at home. There’s not a lot of sexual tension any more, so I wouldn’t write a couple like us unless I planned to tear them apart.

I do my research between the sheets. A few things happened at about the same time to help with this. I lost a substantial mount of weight, and we women carry most of our estrogen in our fat. Along with that I began to walk and to be more active, and to write Romances with Sex Scenes.

I can be talked into sex just about any time, and anywhere private. Mike says I lied to him about being an extrovert, but that may have been back when I would have said anything because I had fallen in love. And we have been very happily engaging in sex since the second day we lived together. We were much too tired the first day. Over the years, our sexual urges and stamina have kept pace with each other.

Understand that Mike is currently one of those millions of Americans who have been ignored by employers after being laid off 4 years ago. We struggle to make ends meet, but more than that he struggles with depression and the resulting lethargy. But he is walking with me and losing weight as well. But I just have more energy than he does.

Not only am I writing some pretty hot and spicy scenes myself, I am reading the same from my friends and group on Scribophile. Good gracious! There are some talented folks out there, and they are getting published through many channels. In addition, my Romance Writers of America friends are advertising and blogging about the hot reads and chapters. There are classes to take on all these subjects. Wow. “Honey, I need to research something I read today. You busy?”

As if the words written aren’t stimulating enough, all the romances have sexy people on the covers. Since I think I may be self publishing at some point, I looked at a of couple sites for possible usable photos. Oh, my! http://www.hotdamnstock.com/ or http://illustratedromance.com/ “Really, I can’t get any more writing done until I work this out.”

I don’t know why more men don’t encourage the women in their lives to write romances. Or to write them themselves and ask for help. Of course, it’s awesome that the market for non-traditional romances is opening wide. Damon Suede is president of Rainbow Romance Writers, http://www.damonsuede.com/author.html a virtual gathering for LGBT Romance writers much like RWA. RWA does welcome and support LGBT writers, but one will often seek comfort from a gathering of like minds and bodies. And like the annual RWA Conventions, there’s Gay Rom Lit Retreat (GRL) http://www.gayromlit.com/ in Illinois.

Sadly, while Mike is game for many things, and he is definitely straight but not narrow, he’s not exactly keen about researching gay romances for me. He would be happy to help me with lesbian romance, so I’ll keep that in mind. And luckily, this is why I am a writer, because I have an (over)active imagination. I can imagine having sex in zero-Gravity, I can imagine a Roman orgy if need be, and I can snuggle up with my research assistant and imagine the happily ever after all my characters deserve.

See you Wednesday with more observations.