Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIP it Wednesday

I thought I'd do something a little different this time. Since I'm working on two WIPs at once, I thought I'd share a snippet from each of them LOL.

The first is from my book, tentatively titled PIN DOWN and it's coming along really well. I'm hoping to wrap it up really soon.

     A guy like Nash? He was probably used to women falling all over him, telling him how good looking he was, talking about how hard his muscles were, how hot he was and she’d be damned if she’d fall into that same groove. Even if she was thinking all of those things and more.

The second is from my 'secret project'. I started writing a paranormal story! This is a first for me, but I don't think it's that far removed from what I've already written. The hero is still mega alpha, the heroine has a problem only he can fix and it's still set in contemporary times. I think my voice is really suited to that. It is different from a paranormal perspective in that there's not a vampire or werewolf in sight! One of my favorite parts so far:

     He took a deep breath. He went as long as he could between women, until the needs of his body overrode his overpowering need for solitude, for privacy. But he’d needed this time, perhaps more than any of the rest. He’d held himself back with her, just like he always did during sex, always conscious of his size and his incredible strength, but it had been a near thing. He’d left it too damn long this time.
     "I mean it." She licked her lips. "It's been forever since a man has found me attractive, desirable, since a man has just...wanted me, really wanted me and I..."
     Seth clenched his jaw when her voice trailed off. That was all fine and good except...he wasn't exactly a man.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

So I Should Probably Give Away a Book...

So I will. Give away a book, that is :). From now through Tuesday midnight (EDT) anyone who makes a comment on my blog gets an entry. Winner can choose any one of my books.

So tell me...why do you read? What's the primary reason you want/need/have to lose yourself in a book?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How I Write - Point of View

This is the first post for my very new feature called, How I Write. I thought it would be useful to post once a month or so something about my writing process, focus on something craft related or simply provide a tip or trick I may use while I write. Who knows? Readers may find the insight into the creative process interesting and aspiring authors out there may find something useful to take to their own writing. At least that's my hope.

For this first post I thought I would talk about Point of View (POV) because it is so very important to a book. One of the key things a writer needs to do is to quickly engage the reader and ensure they relate to the characters. It's what keeps the pages turning because a reader needs to care about the characters, especially in a romance. The reader needs to relate to and sympathize with the heroine. A reader needs to fall in love (a little or a lot LOL) with the hero. A reader needs to be right there, hoping and wishing and yearning for the couple to ultimately get together. Writing in a particular character's POV (and doing it well) is a key way to achieve that connection with the reader. I recently wrote 2 articles about writing in deep POV for Savvy Authors. They contain some very basic things with examples that you can do to achieve more depth, not just for your characters, but for your book as a whole. Rather than provide all that information here again, use the links below to check out the articles for the detail if you like.

Article 1
Article 2

There are a few things I do during my creative process to assist with executing POV correctly, particularly those key times when you need to change POV from one character to another. Now, I'm not one for rules :). I like to do what seems right, what feels right when I create. I don't think much about 'writing rules' along the way. That comes later when I self-edit or my editor goes *tsk* *tsk*. Generally speaking though, you don't want to change POV within a scene. You need time for the reader to ground themselves with that particular character and what they're experiencing before jumping into someone elses head. I say "generally speaking" because I regularly read successful NY Times bestselling authors that blow this guideline out of the water LOL. When I first started writing, this was probably one of my biggest challenges to overcome. My problem was that in every scene I knew what ALL the characters were thinking and tried to stuff it all in there. Of course there are pitfalls of this head-hopping and it ain't pretty for the reader.

One thing I used to do to ensure I was balancing out the POV time between characters and make sure I wasn't changing POV too often was to use color coding. I would literally go through  my document and change the font color to pink for the heroine's POV, blue for the hero's POV. Yeah, I know not very original :). The exercise is very enlightening though and suddenly what you're doing with your character's POV is so much easier to see and work with. It really helped me with the process to go back and smooth over these switches.

I hope you find something valuable in these posts. If you do, please leave a comment so I'll know and continue!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Inspiration. It's a funny thing.

Writers get asked all the time where their ideas come from. At least I do. I've blogged about this a couple of times here and elsewhere, but I thought it would be fun to break down a book and share some specifics of just how ideas and some of the elements end up in books. Let's take my latest, PLAY ME.

The name Gabe - this has been in my 'names I like and would love to use in a book some day' file for a long time. It's one of those names that get mentally tagged when I hear or see it and know it would make a great character. Of course it helps that I think it's just plain masculine and hot for a guy!

Setting - PLAY ME is set in LA. It's not described in detail because it's not really critical to the story, but the beach area and Lily's house is one I used to walk, ride or drive past regularly. I loved living in LA. Of course, I could get to/from work and do all the activities I enjoyed by staying in my neighborhood and off the freeways. Also, living in LA you're constantly aware of the dangers of the city and those 'do not go under any circumstances' areas. It was always a fear of mine that I would take a wrong turn and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Again, I could have described everything about the setting in minute detail in the book, but it's not important to Gabe and Lily's story. It is important for me though when I write to be able to clearly picture the setting so this is why I often set my books in places I've lived. Luckily, I've lived in many wonderful, interesting and varied places and traveled to many, many more!

Ironing scene - I hate ironing. Actually I don't iron. I'd do anything to avoid it. I'll even not buy an item of clothing if it really does need to be ironed LOL. I have this wrinkle releaser product I use and try and fold everything directly from the dryer. That's how I 'iron'. I get a kick out of a guy ironing. Sorry :). Just me having some fun while I was writing.

Panties Gabe wants Lily to wear - Shhh, don't tell anyone but I have these pair myself LOL.

The 'declaration' scene - I had written this scene, but it just didn't 'feel' right to me. I tweaked it. It still didn't sing. I polished it some more. It was missing something. I was browsing a Victoria's Secret catalogue and BAM I had the element I was looking for for that all important scene. For those who don't know, Victoria's Secret is a large lingerie chain very widespread here in the US. I can't really give any more detail than that about what it was that I saw and used because it's kind of a spoiler, but I had my ending when I finished browsing that catalogue!!

And for the rest? I'm not really sure. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my imagination, I guess. I just hope where ever or however it comes, it doesn't stop anytime soon :)!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just Published - Sasha Devlin

I'm super excited today to introduce you to Sasha Devlin. I've known Sasha (or of her) for awhile. I'm a lurker and I got to know her some from a loop I lurk on. A lot LOL. I couldn't wait to ask her to be a part of Just Published. Sasha is a brand new published author!! In fact, I've heard her talk about still having that 'new author smell'. Big, huge, super congrats, Sasha!! It's amazing how small a world it really is because Sasha and I now share an editor at EC. How cool is that? So...let's talk about your first published book:

Title: In the Light of Day
Genre: M/M Romantic Suspense
Words: <30K
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Date Published: 3/24/2011
Jaren’s birthday weekend isn’t going as planned. Instead of being in the arms of the man he fell hard for, he’s alone at his lake cabin. With a bottle of wine. When Cooper shows up on his doorstep, all appears right with the world. Until Jaren realizes the real reason Cooper is there.

Cooper didn’t mean to fall for someone he was working a case with. And certainly not a man. Cooper always thought he was straight, but posing as gay lovers to infiltrate a pornography ring had felt all too real. Now he has feelings for the sexy younger man. Strong ones. Just as he’s prepared to drive to the cabin and give Jaren a birthday in bed he’ll never forget, Cooper gets word the criminal they put away has escaped—and is coming after Jaren.

Jaren finally has the man of his dreams where he wants him, but for all the wrong reasons. He can trust Cooper to guard his body, but what about his heart?

Certainly a different kind of story, but it sounds fascinating! Sasha, how would you describe what you write?
This is harder than most would think.  I'm all over the place in terms of genre (romance, mystery, YA) though these days I'm firmly focused on erotic romance.  I have a tendency to write ladies with smart mouths and tender hearts and men I could fall in love with (even the ones who mainly love other men).

So what’s your writing process in a nutshell?
I'm some sort of plotter - pantser hybrid. A plontser? Pantter? I have to have an idea of where the story is going, or I completely flounder. I can write an obscene amount of words about nothing at all. :) I call these my sign posts, and they are typically scenes. But I don't know how these scenes connect, and I often find that I need even more scenes to fill out the entire story.

What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc.?
This is either going to make people love me, or want to throw shoes at me. I've been seriously writing for about two years. Light is actually the first story I've finished that wasn't tied to school work and school has been a WHILE for me. I'm an excellent starter, but I need to work on my finishing skills.

I entered Tawny Taylor's Some Like It Hot writing contest (my first writing contest) and I won. The prize was a full request, and at the end of all that I sold. So with the first story I've finished in more than 10 years, I entered my first writing contest and earned my first contract.

Ah, a fairy tale story LOL. Did you deliberately target Ellora's Cave?
About five years ago, I was in Borders looking for a romance novel.  I found these an Ellora's Cave Cavemen Anthology and took a chance.  This was my first time ever reading an erotic romance novella and at the end of the story (The Changling by Callista Arman) I was wound up.  It was sexy and edgy and unlike anything I read and I remember thinking that maybe, ONE day I'd like to write for EC.  All the stories I had been plot-ansting seemed too explicit for traditional NY publishing, but here was proof that they could find a home. 
I always love these. What’s your ‘call’ story?
I'm a supreme dork. I tend to get good news and then sit on it. It took me nearly ten minutes to open the email when it arrived and I reread the acceptance email six times before I believed it -- I gave plenty of time for the retraction to come in. I told one person because I didn't want to go through the agony of waiting alone, and then told my crit group almost a week later, all while still waiting for the axe to fall. I didn't officially announce to anyone else (or Twitter) until after the contract had been finalized. My sis and I did dinner to celebrate and I've started a tradition of nail polishes. I got a special color after sending in the full, another for selling and still another when the book came out. It's a small treat and something I can carry with me in my ever day life that reminds me of Light.
Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
I do not have an agent, and as of right now, I'm not really targeting traditional NY Publishing.
What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear :)?
This was both more painful and less painful than I imagined. I was super nervous knowing someone who doesn't already KNOW and love me was reading the work. What if she hated it? What if she wanted me to change big important parts that I thought were integral? What if she thought it needed a complete overhaul?! In short I panicked.

My editor is a peach. The edits 100% made the book better and I asked questions (buckets of them) to make sure I got it right. I did have to do some rewriting and I really sweated over the few new scenes I had to insert. It's one thing when you're writing to please yourself and another when you're trying to make it appeal to a wider audience.

Yeah, our editor really is awesome, huh? How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? Of course I know this, but how much input did you have?
I never thought of my cover until I was staring at the Cover Art form trying to think of what to say. I knew what it shouldn't have (rockets, farm land, clowns), but was at a total lost of what it should have. Covers are a huge part of whether or not people take a chance on your book, and for it to be out of my hands made me nervous. But it's perfect. I saw it while I was at work (oh Blackberry I can't quit you!) and squealed.

What was release day like for you?
I was dreading it. Someone warned me that I might have nightmares a few nights before and I did. I dreamed that they discovered it was a mistake and canceled the release. I must have cruised the EC site at least twenty times! I had to go into my day job, and it was a riot seeing people tweet me and cue the book on Good Reads.

How did you end up marketing your book?
I'm still learning my way with this. I decided against a huge blogging blitz because quite frankly I get exhausted when an author wants me to visit her day after day after day after a release. At this point, I'm doing a few guest blogs and interviews, which I've spread out over a few weeks. I also joined a m/m group on Good Reads and I know that my interactions there have gotten my book in front of people as well. I'll also be participating in the Summer Reading Trail with an excerpt to get people interested in Light. I'm planning to attend a couple of conferences this year and will be doing swag. I'm very interest in the Romance Trade Cards that have popped up.

Sounds very common sense! What’s the most surprising thing you've learned during the publishing process?
How quick and painless it could be. I know my story is not the typical, and I was ready for it take years to get a yes and even longer after that to go from start to finish on edits. I struggled with edits -- mainly because I wanted everything to be JUUUUST right, but in the end I enjoyed the process.

So, what do you think were the factors that got you published?
*insert panicked face here* I've read a fair amount of M/M, but I've never read a romantic suspense, so that right there makes Light different. I also think I've packed a lot story into a pretty quick read. And LUCK! I'm a firm believer in luck. You can have the right story, but if it's not the right place and time, it won't matter.

Yeah, sometimes it's all about the timing. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
*impersonates a deer in headlights* I like to tell people I'm so new at this, I still squeak. I don't have a five year plan as of right now, but it is on my list of things to do this year. This year's goal however, is to get five other books subbed during the calendar year. We'll see if I can do that in between bouts of panic.

LOL. You'll be fine! So, what’s next for you?
I'm currently working at another M/M story, this time a straight contemp. I wrote Light as an experiment and this book will be as well. I'm writing a story without any beasties, dead bodies or rockets?! Yeah, color me surprised as well.

What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Take the chance. You never know when you'll have the right story at the right time. And just keep trying. It only takes one yes.

Well said!! Now for some fun! If you were stranded on a desert island but could only take 1 thing from each of the following categories, what would it be & why:
Person My sister. We live ten minutes from each other, see each other a couple times a week, and still manage several hours on the phone a week. Besides, she gets my crazy sense of humor.
Animal I'd get a Welsh Corgi puppy. Hopefully with all that sand, my allergies won't act up.
Food Hmmmm. If we're talking type then Chinese. If we're talking kind, then pizza because you can have it a billion ways and never get tired of it.
Book *whimpers* This has to be the cruelest question here! If just one, Jasper Fforde's The Fourth Bear (Urban Fantasy Mystery and it's hilarious). I'd probably try to see if I could Gillian's Island a Kindle though. I'm not going to lie.
Music Maroon 5's Songs About Jane Cd. Love every single track! But, again, see the Gillian Note above, only sub iPod for Kindle
Personal Item I'm going to cheat and bring my Blackberry, thus allowing me access to email, ebooks and twitter

OK, but that sucker isn't going to last long LOL! Sasha, thanks so much for being here today. Loved your insight and loved hearing more about how you came to be published. Wishing you many, many more sales and awesome books! If anyone would like to learn more about Sasha, this is where she hangs out on the web:
Twitter: @SashaDevlin

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Me & Desiree Holt. Oh, and there's prizes!!! Good ones!

Okay, so there's not really a Desiree Holt and me. Not quite like that anyway LOL. I know she's read my books and I was fortunate enough to meet her at last year's RomantiCon. Fangirl moment, anyone? What an awesome lady! She was so nice and incredibly fun and she's filled with just so much energy. I guess she has to be because you know what? Desiree just published her 100th book. 100! One. Zero. Zero.  Downstroke released from Ellora's Cave April 8.

It’s been twenty years since security specialist Charley Roper and country star Dallas Creed had their bitter parting. Now a killer has brought them together again, but neither is ready for a reunion—despite signs that their explosive chemistry hasn’t waned with time. She can’t forget the feel of his hands on her body. He can’t forget the hot touch of her mouth. When they finally tumble into bed, the sex is just as good as they remember, hot enough to singe the sheets. But is it enough?

Thrown together during an exhausting, frenzied concert tour, with a killer nipping at their heels, Dallas and Charley find themselves on a hot, suspenseful, erotic roller coaster ride. Can he convince her to trust her heart to him one more time, to reach out for a richer, deeper, more mature love?

More importantly—can Charley keep Dallas alive long enough for either of them to enjoy a second chance?

You can view more information and buy it here.  I haven't picked this one up yet but I recently read another of Desiree's books, Eight Second Ride. Whew. OMG. Hot. It featured a hot guy, rockin off the charts sex, but underlying all that was an emotional thread which gave depth and richness to the story. It's clear to see why Desiree is an icon in this industry and why she is so highly regarded.

100 books. It boggles the mind. Really. What an incredible accomplishment and what a tremendous contribution she's made to the romance industry. So, I'm going to join her celebration in recognition of her awesomeness and help her give away books and a Netbook!!

As part of the celebration, Desiree is giving away a prize every day of one copy of one of her novels of the reader's choice from her backlist. Post here to enter for today!! Names will be drawn from those who post comments. At the end of the month, one lucky person will win a grand prize of a refurbished Netbook with digital DVD drive. After you post here, go to Desiree's web site at and enter to win the grand prize of the netbook at the end of the month. You'll also find other blogs participating in this event for more chances to win!

Friday, April 8, 2011

PLAY ME received a reviewers 'TOP PICK"!

I've gotten great reviews at Night Owl Reviews (NOR) before, but PLAY ME received a TOP PICK from them! It's not just because of the 'score' or even the Top Pick designation, I loved what Chris had to say:

"Guilty Pleasure Alert! This pushed a lot of my happy buttons as a romance goes. Damaged hero, innocent yet seductive heroine. Danger, deception and desperation. Yum."

You can see the complete review here.

I get such a kick out of reading comments about my books, gaining an understanding of how a reader interpreted things, what they took away from it, how the characters or the story made them feel. I could get addicted to that feeling. should I celebrate? I vote for finishing the next one!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WIP it Wednesday

It's time for another snippet from my WIP. I'm loving this book so far. I'm writing a heroine named Lexi who comes off as tough and prickly. She's also got some great combacks and I'm enjoying her giving my hero (Nash) a hard time. Of course, he's going to give her a hard time too. Eventually ;). Here's this weeks selection:

     He might keep calling it a scratch but it was an angry looking cut that had to be three inches long and it was still seeping blood.
     “Ah, you should probably put something on that.”
     He jerked his head towards the sink. “Have at it then.”
     She’d never been anyone’s nurse and was pretty sure she didn’t exactly have a gentle touch to be any good at it. Or the bedside manner to go along with it. She picked up the small medical kit he’d motioned to and opened it. She smiled. If he wanted to be her guinea pig, who was she to argue?


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ask a Writer

OK, I'm not sure how this is going to work out, but I thought I'd periodically open the floor up for questions. Any questions. About anything. Well...not anything ;) but questions about writing, books, publishing, being an author, epublishers, the craft of writing...that sort of thing. Is there something you've wanted to know about the industry, how a book gets published, responsibilities, what a writer's life is like? If so, ask away. I'd love to hear what you wonder about and I'll do my best to answer completely and honestly. I know there are a lot of lurkers out there (yeah, YOU!), but don't be shy. You can even leave a question on my FB page or send me something on Twitter, even email me. I'll keep it anonymous if you'd like.