Friday, December 25, 2009

Just a Quickie...

Just wanted to wish everyone happy, relaxing holidays!

And to remind all that I have another copy of The Temptress to give away this month, so if you haven't posted a comment yet do so...and you'll be entered for a chance to win!

Friday, December 18, 2009


So, today I was thinking about the support that I have where my writing is concerned. I have a lot of people in my life who care about me and support my writing "habit" because they love me and want to encourage me: my parents, my husband, best friend, friends, etc.

I'm lucky enough to have all of that support and encouragement during all of my ups and downs, streaks of self-consciousness, bouts of sheer joy...but I also have something super special; I have a cheerleader.

My cheerleader is my cousin, Leslie. She is my Alpha reader; she is my first editor, she is my biggest fan. She bolsters me when I need it; she's enthusiastic and realistic at the same time. She doesn't sugar coat anything, and she gives me what I need when I need it.

I also have my agent; my second cheerleader. I knew that I needed to find a second Leslie in the agenting world and I have. Alisha really believes in me and I am grateful for that.

Every writer needs a cheerleader. Do you have that special someone who keeps you writing? Someone who gives you the strength and support that you need in this crazy world of writing? Who is your cheerleader?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Were you born with it?

I find myself having these strange conversations lately with people who get quite heated over the various points of view that are being expressed. Last week it was writing groups, this week it was whether or not a person is born with writing "talent".

Now, this topic is one that I've flip-flopped on over the years. When I was younger, and very much influenced by those around me, I remember being told that good writers are born with talent and no matter what a bad writer does to try to improve, they never will be able to. Why? Well, because they just weren't born with it.

And I believed it then. Which probably helped with giving me a not so healthy dose of self-consciousness and harsh self-criticism when it came to my "talent" as a writer. I have always been my own worst critic.

I do believe that some people are born with the need, drive, instinct to commit word to paper. I do believe that some people are born to be writers in some form or other. We are pestered with this nagging sense of duty to write, write, write. I remember having this urge from the time that I was a young fact, I wrote my first novel when I was six. I still have it. It's called The Fuzzy Wuzzles. It doesn't make a lot of sense, there is a plot, but the spelling is so terrible that I can hardly figure out what I was trying to say. There are some pretty crazy pictures to go with it as well! So I've had the need to write since I was very young.

Do I believe that people are born with talent?

I don't really know. I know that there are some writers who really appeal to me as a reader and some who do not. It is a matter of preference and perspective.

I believe that some people may need to work at it a little harder than others and some people come into their mature voice and "talent" at an earlier age then others. I also believe that practice is essential to improve one's writing ability and that persistance, perserverance and drive are necessary to make it in the publishing world.

What do you all think? Are you born with it or can you work at becoming a "talented" writer?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Writing Groups

I was having a discussion today about the pros and cons of writing groups and realized that a lot of people (or at least, a lot of people I was talking to today) are very much opposed to the idea.


Well, the main reason seemed to be that everyone thought their work and ideas were unsafe in a writing group. What I mean is, almost all of the people I was talking to insisted that I was crazy for participating in writing groups because they felt that I was opening myself up to having someone steal my work! Needless to say, none of these people are members of writing groups!

I was truly shocked by the level of passion and conviction that these people (some fellow writers, some not) had regarding the threat of theft within writing groups. (Some also could not see the benefit to having others critique their work...but that's a whole other argument altogether!) But not one of them could cite a concrete example of a writer having their work stolen due to being a member of a writing group.

Now, I 'm quite new to the whole writing group idea. I just recently joined an on-line writing group this fall and am enjoying it (and getting a lot of great feedback). I was welcomed right away and have felt like I'm part of this great writing family. A family that is getting to know my writing quirks. Not once have I felt that my work was in danger of being stolen. In fact, the whole conversation today made me a little uncomfortable...I couldn't imagine my group abusing my trust, or anyone else's for that matter.

And the pros to being in a writing group are very clear to me. 1. I am surrounded by like-minded people who have the same passion for writing as I do. 2. I am getting valuable feedback and fresh eyes to look at my completed projects. 3. I am using my own skills to give feedback and offer my opinions on other writers' work.

On the other hand, I know a few writers who vow never to join a writing group because they feel that it is a waste of their time. They don't feel the need to have others critique their work. At times, I think that too much feedback from too many people can make more work and be less effective, however, I do value the opinions that I am lucky enough to get from my group. And some writers argue that it's too much of a time commitment. This is something that I have struggled with myself actually. Being in a writing group is a time commitment, not only because I need to prepare something for critique but because I need to be available to critique. So when I committed to joining a group, I chose one that was on-line and therefore I can critique when I get a spare minute anytime during the month. It works well for me.

So, I put it to you, are you in a writing group? Do you see the value to participating in this type of group? Do you have any fears or concerns? Do you have any great stories of support?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Michelle Muto!
Congratulations Michelle, you've won an e-copy of The Temptress.
Send me an email so that I can get some details from you.

As for the rest of you...the contest resets as of today. Post a comment this month and enter for a chance to win a copy of The Temptress!

Friday, November 27, 2009

What's new...

I'm keeping myself busy with work (my day job) and writing. I just got some beta edits back on a short story I'm working on, so I have some editing to do and I'm in the process of putting the final touches on the first draft of another short story.

I'm also reading a few books at the moment, well, two books and a play actually: Veronica Wolff's newest, Lord of the Highlands...which I will finish tonight, it's that good, Drood by Dan Simmons, which is about my favourite author, Wilkie Collins and finally, Macbeth by, well you know who.

I know, an odd mix but I find that three things on the go where reading is concerned is comfortable for me. I have a book on every floor so that when I get a minute or two I can sneak a few pages here or there. I'm an addict, I know, books are my drug and I know I'm not alone. I just hope that one day I can feed the cravings of some readers with my novels. That's the dream anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there. Hope the turkey is delicious and the shopping is stress free!

Last chance to get your name in the draw for a copy of The Temptress. You have until November 30 at midnight to post a comment!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Type A

Okay, so I thought I would talk a little bit about my Type A personality trait since I have been labelled as an anomaly by one of my close friends. I have this need, drive, instinct, whatever you want to call it to do things NOW! Not later, not next week, NOW! When I get a form to fill out, I do it now. When I am asked to do something by my boss, I do it now. When I get a round of edits from my agent...I do it now!

So this week, as you may have picked up on the hint, I got my edits from my agent and completed them in one night. (Well, one night and a bit of the next day for checking over my changes) My agent told me not to kill myself, which I didn't, you can't kill yourself when you're the type of Type A that I am. I can't sit on a job, I have to do it immediately. Which is what happened with my edits.

I didn't rush it, I'm not one of those people who get the job done at the expense of the quality. I just work very, very efficiently. It's weird, I know, I recognize this and embrace it; I am an anomaly and I probably scare people a little.

That's not to say that I don't procrastinate on the occasion. I can talk myself out of writing quite easily in fact...which is really bizarre since I do love writing! That's why I have to set quotas for myself. Word counts for the week so that I have a goal to work towards. I never miss my quota.

So, I'm wondering, are you a Type A when it comes to your writing? Or do you procrastinate?

P.S. There's still a contest for everyone who comments, you are entered for a chance to win a copy of The Temptress at the end of the month!

And....yes, I did go on submission this week! In Canada anyway...U.S. is next week!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Writing Sex Scenes and Romance Novels

As the title of this post suggests, I thought I would write about those darn sex scenes that always seem to push their way into my stories.

I have to admit, writing sex scenes was not my most favourite thing to do when I first started writing novels with romantic elements. No way! I could think of a million things I'd rather be doing. It was way too uncomfortable and I didn't really know what to say. And why would I want to write romance anyway? Romance wasn't for serious writers!

How naive I was!

After reading many, many romance novels over the years I discovered something very sells and many romance writers are truly gifted storytellers when it comes to the unmentionable aspects of human interaction! And then I discovered another truly amazing thing, I wanted to be one of those talented storytellers.

Despite my initial reservations with it, eventually, obviously, I figured it out, got comfortable with it and have been inserting my, words, into sexually charged scenes quite effortlessly...well, almost effortlessly. I find that I really have to be in the right mood to write sex scenes, if I'm not then it doesn't seem to work.

Another issue is that there's difference between writing sex scenes for romance and writing them for erotica...a huge difference. So it takes another kind of mood to write the hard core stuff as opposed to the lighter stuff.

So I guess the key is to know your audience and do what makes you comfortable. Know that if it's a path you want to be on then keep going, push through the discomfort and practice writing scene after scene after me, it does get easier.

I'm working on a short story right now that I'm aiming for an erotica audience and I know already that I'm going to have to spice it up which is on the agenda for this weekend.

What do you all think? Do you find it hard, easy, a non-issue, when you're working on sex scenes? Is there anything that really makes you uncomfortable? Do you try to avoid it until you absolutely have to write about those intimate details or do you dive right in?

Reminder: posting a comment until the end of November will get you a chance to win a copy of The Temptress.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Short vs. Long?

I'm currently working on a short story, another erotic that I hope to submit to Cobblestone Press in the near future. Up until a few months ago I didn't really enjoy writing short stories, could never get it what's changed? I can't really say for sure. I used to write short stories a lot as a child and teen but something happened as I grew older and I just couldn't seem to get things done in a short amount of word count. Maybe my problem was that I was thinking of short stories in terms of pages...micro stories, two, three pagers, I mean. Now that short I would still have trouble doing. But writing 30-50 page short stories is working out for me. It's enough space to get a good plot going, as well as quite a lot of action for my hero and heroine, if you know what I mean.

I've written four novels, all over 80k and didn't sweat I'm working on another short story and find that I struggle to get the right words down, to get the point across in an interesting way. Everything I write counts, every action needs a purpose, every thought, piece of dialogue, description must move the plot forward in some way. It's an interesting challenge and I am enjoying it. What really counts is that I'm able to flesh out some characters who have been bugging to get a voice and develop a's a great test to see if they will work out for a longer piece. Will I want to devote 80k to them or dump them after I'm finished the short? Only time will tell I guess...

What about you all, do you prefer writing short or long? Can you flip between the two?
What works best for you?

Oh, and if you post a comment'll be entered to win a copy of my short story, The Temptress...I'll draw at the end of the month.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And the Winner is...

Well, actually, winners...

I've decided to give away two copies of The Temptress this goes to Susan x and one to Tracey D....from the posts at Mistress Bella's Reviews...Tracey, I will email you shortly and Susan x...could you email me so that I can send you a copy?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Author Interview

I have another author interview and another contest starting today....If you hop on over to Mistress Bella's Reviews and post a comment after my interview your name will be entered for a chance to win my short story, The Temptress. You'll have until Friday Oct. 30 to post a comment and enter for a chance to win!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And the Winner is...

Deidre Durance, Congratulations!

I've contacted you via email with some information! Hope you enjoy my story.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and kind words...I will be running another contest in the next few days so keep checking in for another chance to win!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My First Author Interview

Hi all and thanks for dropping by.

I'm hoping you're here because you read my author interview at Michelle Lauren's Review site

Please leave a comment to this blog and you will be automatically entered to win a copy of my first ever release, The Temptress!

Of course, The Temptress is for adults only, so please only leave a comment if you are 18 or older.

Be sure to leave an email address so that I can contact you...or check back in here in 72 hours when I will announce the winner!

Thanks for reading my interview!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inspiration - new ideas

I recently completed an author interview for my short story, The Temptress, that is coming out next week and one of the questions was about where I get my ideas from. I think that this must be a common question that most writer's are asked because it keeps coming up in my conversations so I thought I would write a post about my methods of finding ideas.

The whole concept of new ideas and finding ideas is very interesting to me. I remember as a teenager never having a problem coming up with new ideas...probably because I wasn't bound by any rules or laws that would stop me from dreaming and a teen I had endless ideas, and the more bizarre the better as far as I was concerned...who cares if it didn't make sense or wasn't logical or possible...if it worked for my story (which were almost always about witches or vampires) then I wrote it.

Once in university reality seemed to step in...the world became too real and the ideas stopped flowing. I just couldn't come up with a plot to save my was true writer's block to the extreme but at the time I didn't care. I had been denied entry into the Creative Writing program at my university...they didn't take genre writers...and I was neck deep in literary essay, I had convinced myself that I probably wasn't very good I simply stopped writing. FOR FIVE YEARS!

But the nagging feeling never went know, that feeling that you get when you leave your writing for too long...for me it's like someone is constantly poking me in the arm, reminding me to get back to work. Essay writing seemed to dull the constant poke for a time but eventually I knew that I needed to get back to writing had been too long. I was terrified to start because I simply did not have the ideas anymore...I didn't know what to write about.

After I graduated and moved on to the real world, the ideas started flowing again and the stress of searching out the story, the plot, vanished. I can pick up ideas from where ever...sometimes it's a conversation I overhear, sometimes it's something on the news or a fantasy or scene that pops into my head that just won't leave. Sometimes it's a what if question that presents in The Temptress...what if a boring lecture could be transformed into a sexy story about a college boy who falls in lust with his professor...who happens to be a vampire?

You know, things like that.

So when I start a new project it's usually as a scene...I write out the scene as I see it and then build the story around it. For example, the short story I'm working on now started as a scene with a vampire hunter who finds herself coming out of unconsciousness to be asked by a vampire if she can fight...he gives her her sword to do so...

So I wrote and wrote and wrote and then realized that I really didn't have a plot for this story...I wasn't sure what would happen to my heroine and my hero. I let my mind stew over it for a few days (which is what I used to do while in university when I needed a thesis for an essay...I would let my mind stew for a while) and suddenly it just appeared for me...a whole plot popped into my head while I was eating dinner...and why? Well, because I asked myself...why does he have to be older than her? Why can't the hero be younger, less need of help? And there it began.

So in other words, I work a little strangely. I realize that it is not a reliable method of writing and I probably should be a little stressed about it, there could come a day when the ideas stop flowing again. But it seems, when I comes to writing, eventually my brain figures it out for me...because I truly believe that our brains never stop thinking about a problem, even in our sleep, our brains keep rolling it around and around until a solution presents itself. So when I have a writing roadblock, I remind myself of it everyday. I keep it in my focus, on my mind...I think to myself throughout the am I going to do that? and then suddenly my brain works it out. It is very mysterious and wonderful and I hope that never stops.

What about you? Do you have a method for plotting your ideas? Do you have an idea bank that you pull from...or are you more like me and work on the fly?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How exciting!

So, just as a follow up, I did meet my agent on Saturday and it went extremely well. She is very enthusiastic...but not so much that I question her sanity. It was quite a bizarre experience for me, like I was in some other dimension where everything was going my way and where this lovely lady was telling me everything I've always wanted to hear about my writing. It's hard for someone like me not to feel a little apprehensive in the believing it department. I'm not the most positive of people...I prefer to think of myself as a realist as opposed to a pessimist though.

In any case, the meeting went really well, Alisha and I hit it off, but I knew we would...that first phone conversation was enough to tell me that much. What I wasn't expecting was the weird feeling of disbelief that kept washing over me...I kept staring at her thinking "Oh my god, you really think you can sell my book to actual publishers!" It was very strange and for a brief moment or two, I actually found myself thinking, "Holy cow, this could actually happen for me!" But it's dangerous to get overly excited or to anticipate too I'm back to let's wait and see. Although I must admit, it was awfully nice to hear someone of importance in the publishing world say things like..."My editor friend at -blank- is going to love your book."

So, she's going to get me edits in the next week or so and wants to try to get my book out on submission by the end of October...which is very quick...and very exciting. Now I find myself thinking, every so often, that in a few months, I could get the email that could change my life as I know it....tamp down the excitement...tamp it down!

Anyway, on another note, I did get my cover art for The Temptress (to be released October 23 at Cobblestone Press) and I think it looks really dark and sexy...just perfect for the story.

I've got two author interviews lined up in the next couple of weeks...more details to follow. As well, I will have some contests for free copies of The Temptress...stay tuned for that info.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oh my...

Well, I don't have a lot to talk about but I do have some updates. First...I have a release date! Yippy! My first publishing release date on my short story, The Temptress, is October 23 at Cobblestone Press.

The Temptress is a wickedly erotic tale about a young college student named Kyle Roberts who falls madly in lust with his English lit. professor, who also happens to be a vampire!

This short story is meant for mature eyes only!

And news number two...I have a meeting with my agent tomorrow. My first face-to-face meeting! I have a list of questions. I think I'm ready. I hope I will sleep tonight...yikes!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My very first blog post!

Well, I know that no one is reading this yet...but hopefully I will have followers at some point!

I thought I would start things off by talking a little bit about the editing process. Not the editing process we do as authors before sending our babies out to agents. No, I'm talking about the editing process after you've signed the contract with the publisher and are on your way to publication.

So, obviously up until a few weeks ago, I'd never experienced this before. Now that I have a short story coming out at Cobblestone Press, I'm in the midst of it and boy, it is a humbling experience!

When I got my first round of edits back I was slightly shocked by the fact that almost every single line had a change! And for the most part, with a few exceptions, all of the changes were relevant and necessary! And I thought my story was near perfect. I can't help but think what a miracle it is that I was offered a contract to begin with. The cliche of finding a diamond in the ruff comes to mind.

Thank goodness for Word and track changes, it made the whole process move quickly. But gosh what an eye-opening experience for me. I find it truly amazing that another person, a trained, expert editor, can take my words, switch them around slightly and produce a sentence that is a million times better then the original. The skill with which my editor altered the flow of my sentences for the better is an amazing thing.

Of course I thanked her and did my side of the work as quickly as possible, but I found myself wondering if editors ever get credit for the amazing work that they do. I mean everyone knows that they are there, behind the scenes, doing reading, rereading and changing but do we actually give them credit for their hard work? Probably not enough credit, that's for sure.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that there should be an editor appreciation day...thanks for all the hard work and keep it coming! You all transform our stories into the diamonds that they are, so thank you again, and again, and again.