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Qwillia Rain: Hazards of Being A Character-Driven Writer
Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Hazards of Being A Character-Driven Writer
(with a dash of perfectionism)

qrheadshot2First, I want to thank Delilah Devlin for letting me hang out here today. I have a day job, so I’ll try to check in as much as possible throughout the day.

There are so many things I love about writing. The characters, the setting, research, talking to readers, talking to writers, the 24-36 hour writing binges that leave me wrung out and exhausted, but oh so satisfied. There are also the things I don’t necessarily hate, yet wish I didn’t have to deal with, although I have no intentions of ever giving them up. (I know, I’m a sick, twisted puppy, but hey…I was a great masochist in past lives!)

Below is a list of six “things” that my perfectionist, over achieving, OCD writer needs to fall back on when writing feels more like the ninth ring of Hell rather than the Elysian fields:

  1. Don’t put out crap

One glance at the number of revisions I’ve put out for each book, screams that I’m a bit manic about writing the best damn story possible. I mean, I can write rather quickly – once I know what’s going on in a story. But I don’t want to put out a story that I wouldn’t pay good money to read. So, go ahead, shoot me now for my perfectionist tendencies. But, go ahead and love me because I respect my readers, my characters, and myself way too much to put out crap.

  1. Who’s driving this crazy train?

The characters

The determination not to put out crap is driven by my characters demanding I get the story right.

Don’t believe me? Well, check this out. I’ve got a book I’ve been working on for four years, yeah, I said four years. I have about 5 versions for a grand total of about 800,000 words and you know what my characters do? They keep nagging me. “You got that wrong.”  “You Dommed when you should’ve subbed, and subbed when you should’ve Dommed.” “You completely got the motivation wrong, but hey, you got the kink right. Thank you, RopePlay(dot)com.” And I’m telling you, that the taunting, teasing sing-song voice they like to use when they point out my mistakes grates on the nerves. If I weren’t so emotionally invested in this project (and if I didn’t know at least half a dozen people would string me up by my thumbs) I would give up. Tear up all that I’ve written. It wouldn’t help though…the characters are persistent, over-achieving nags.

  1. Quality vs. Quantity

This particular rule goes right back to #1. I recognize there are some writers out there who complete full-length novels in the same amount of time it takes me to mow my lawn and weed my garden. (Sure, this looks like an exaggeration, but I live in the South and it’s been summer. So, go with me on this one, okay?) I am not one of those writers. I work at my own pace, which is usually at my characters’ pace and they let me know when they think a scene needs tweaking. Rushing them does no good and only tends to irritate them…kinda like poking a bear with a stick. Enough said, and I have the scars to prove it.

  1. Follow the rules…

Rules Schmules, but spellcheck you better believe it – abou tit, inot, organisms not orgasms (or is that the other way around?)

You think I’m joking about the examples? I’m not. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through a manuscript to find my “into”s have become “inot”s and that “about it” has morphed into “abou tit.” And the last little gem was courtesy of a friend of mine who discovered, only after she’d sent the report out to her main supervisors for comment and feedback that all the “organisms” in her report had morphed into “orgasms”. And while there’s only a difference of an “n” and an “i” in the words, it makes a huge difference when you consider your audience. So, while I’m not a big fan of all the writing rules, like, introducing the hero within the first three pages so the heroine is introduced to him as well, I do recognize that spellcheck can go a long way to making a writer appear professional.

  1. Serial Commas? Oh, yeah I totally love serial commas!

I don’t know if it’s because of the editor I had at my publisher, or the fact that those are the rules I was given when I was in grammar school, but I will always put a comma before the conjunction (Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?…sorry, just had to say it). I’ll try to follow as many grammar and language arts rules as possible, once I understand them… like dangling participles and misplaced modifiers. Conundrums like sneaked and snuck – I’m still trying to figure that one out. But I’ve totally got em and en dashes. (Yay me!)

  1. The real hazard, the one that really, really gets to me…

Readers who care

While I absolutely love to hear readers are looking for my next book, it’s like, “oh, yeah, no pressure” when they ask, “When is your next book coming out?” So, here’s me copping to it. I suck when it comes to deadlines. And I’m not talking mediocrity level sucking. Oh, no, we’re talking OCD, perfectionist level. I’m a professional at it. And for good reason. Because not being able to answer my dear readers’ question with the absolute truth inspires me to lay prostrate across the rails while the proverbial guilt train comes a chuggin’ on down the line. And that sends me to the ninth ring of writing Hell. So, here’s my pat answer to all those dedicated readers, “It’s coming out…SOON.” Which makes the heroine in my current manuscript pipe up and scream, “Yeah. Soon. Right after me. So, would you go ahead and finish this scene already?”

So, I’m putting it out there to you…

Authors, what hazards do you experience as a writer?

Readers, what hazards do you wish authors had respected before they published their books?

Qwillia Rain

Reminder! Rose’s Plotting Bootcamp — September 7 through October 2
Saturday, August 29th, 2015
Moms CammoRose

Click to reserve your spot!

FOR AUTHORS!

Just pimpin’ the Rose’s Plotting Bootcamp. It starts September 7th, and there are still slots available. Reserving your place is a good idea for a couple of reasons:

1) Ever wanted to know how to write a logline? How to construct a premise statement? What character roles you need to “people” your story with and what function they serve? Why is that important? Ever heard of GMC? And hey, most of you have heard of the Hero’s Journey, but do you know about the Novem plot structure (my favorite and more intuitive, IMHO). And then there’s that scene-by-scene build for your book. Sometimes, it’s helpful to have a coach and cheerleader pushing you until you’ve got that well-structured plot nailed.

2) Sometimes, we need a little brainstorming support. Guess what? I’m very good at reading between the lines of what you mean/want and helping you pluck those ideas just hovering there, not yet fully formed. Want a live conversation to help that process?

I’ve been teaching this process for a long time now. You’ll get a well-seasoned eye, a supportive soundboard, and a kick in the butt to keep you going. But don’t worry. This is a self-paced workshop. Do you have a killer day-job work schedule? You really can complete this course at your own pace, as you find time. I won’t go away before you’re finished.

Both newbie and seasoned authors can benefit. In fact, I’ve had authors run through the course multiple times when they want a sounding board and a structured process before they start their next project.

For many of us, September is the perfect time to start a new project. The kids are back in school. NaNoWriMo is staring us in the face. Want to smash through NaNoWriMo in November? If you have a plan, you’ll fly through those 50,000 words!

Sound intense? It can be. But I provide a nurturing learning environment. And you can’t beat the price. $50 for a month-long class with individualized support. See you there!

To sign up, click on this link: Rose’s Plotting Bootcamp
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f you have questions, don’t hesitate to email me at email hidden; JavaScript is required!

Vivi Anna: Wild
Friday, August 28th, 2015

I love shifter books.  I’ve written wolves, and jaguars, but when I saw all these amazing werebear books out, I knew I had to write one. Well, I’m writing several.  Wild, part 1 is the first in a series called Bear Essential Billionaire, about 3 brothers (Alex, Riley and Lee) who run an extreme adventure wilderness camp in the wilds of Northern British Columbia,  a place I’ve come to admire and love myself.  Here, they try and keep to themselves, having guests maybe four times a year, but soon they will find they can’t hide for long. Especially not when love comes calling.

I hope you will enjoy the first of what I hope is a long thrilling adventure into the wilderness of men and beast.

Here’s the book…

Wild, part 1 out for only 99 cents.  Part 2 is also available.  Part 3 will be out Sept 24, 2015
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

vaWild Part 1

Bear-shifter Alex Torben likes the quiet life.  He and his family run an adventure camp in the Northern British Columbia wilds, with guests four times a year at most. Away from civilization and complications, it’s the life Alex has always wanted.  It’s a life he’d go to extremes to protect.  All that changes when he finds a tormented young woman with a lot of secrets hiding in his boat…

Running. That’s all Sylvie can think about.  She needs to get as far away as possible before he can find her.  Nothing can protect her from his wrath.  There is no safe place.  But when Alex finds her and offers his help, she thinks maybe there could be some salvation after all.

  

Best,

Tawny/Vivi
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author
http://www.vivianna.net
http://www.tawnystokes.com

FORBIDDEN: THE OTHER BROTHER, part 1
TABOO: THE OTHER BROTHER, part 2
ILLICIT: THE OTHER BROTHER, part 3
DAHLIA BY DESIGN – Tawny Stokes – coming soon
THE OTHER FIGHTER – part 1, 2,3 -coming May

Mia Hopkins: COWBOY VALENTINE (Recipe and Contest)
Thursday, August 27th, 2015

mhCowboyValentine_300final

Hey, there, Delilah fans! I’m so happy to be a guest on the blog today. Two days ago, my debut book was released by Samhain.  It’s an erotic romance called Cowboy Valentine. Cora is an 18-year-old honor student with a full ride scholarship to an Ivy League university. Caleb is her longtime cowboy crush, a local rancher’s son. The book is about the ultra-sexy fling they share the summer before Cora moves away.

Cowboy Valentine is set in a small town in the Central Valley, California’s rural heartland, home to many farms and orchards. One of the hottest love scenes in my book takes place in Caleb’s truck while he and Cora are parked in his family’s almond orchard! (Ooh la-la!)

Here’s what an almond orchard looks like when it’s in bloom.

mhalmond orchard

I love to bake almost as much as I love to write. To celebrate the release of Cowboy Valentine, I’d like to share a recipe with you. This is a variation of old-fashioned peanut butter cookies but made with almonds and almond butter.  The cookies are soft and not too sweet. You can find the recipe below.

But wait! There’s more!

How about a contest? I’d like to offer a free e-book download of Cowboy Valentine and a $10 Amazon gift card to one randomly-chosen reader who answers this question in the comments below: What is your absolute favorite go-to dessert?

Please include an email address where I can reach you. Contest ends at midnight, PST, on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015. I’ll announce the winner by special newsletter first thing on Monday morning.

Thanks, everyone!

Wishing you good reads (and good eats),

Mia

XOXO

mhcookies

Cowboy Valentines
a.k.a. Almond Butter Cookies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Makes about 16 cookies

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup almond butter
1 cup almond slivers

  1. Whisk the first four ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, using a handheld mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and both sugars on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg and vanilla extract to sugar mixture and beat for 1 minute, scraping down sides as necessary. Add the almond butter and beat for 1 minute. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold in the almond slivers.
  4. Roll the dough into balls, about 3 tbsp of dough each. (I use my ice cream scoop.) Put the balls on a tray or large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, two hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the balls on the cookie sheet about 3 in apart.
  6. Bake each batch for 12-13 minutes until very lightly browned. The cookies will look soft—that’s okay! Let cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Share with your favorite cowboy or cowgirl. Or don’t share. I won’t tell.

About Cowboy Valentine

mhCowboyValentine_72web

 

Forget chocolate and flowers. This homegrown honey is all the sweetness he craves.

Small-town life is nothing but a waiting room for eighteen-year-old honor student Corazón Gomez. Work and school leave little time for love, but with a full-ride Ivy League scholarship and a one-way ticket out of the boondocks, who needs it?

The answer appears on Valentine’s Day when her old cowboy crush ambles into the ice cream parlor where she works, inviting her to go on a late-night ride in his truck. For the first time she wavers between staying on the straight and narrow, and going off-road with the handsome heartbreaker.

After four years working on ranches all over the country, Caleb MacKinnon is back on the family farm helping out his mom and brothers while his father fights cancer. The one bright spot: smart, funny, and wickedly sexy Cora.

From the start, they both know this blazing-hot love affair can’t last. But when autumn comes and Cora has to leave for the East Coast, Caleb must find a solution to keep himself—and his heart—from falling apart.

Reviews:

“Mia Hopkins’ sexy cowboy hero and sassy bookish heroine burn up the pages from the moment they lock eyes.” — Cat Johnson

“Beautifully descriptive…hot, sexy and full of yearning!” — Delilah Devlin

Buy the book!
Kindle
Nook
Samhain
Books-A-Million
Kobo
iTunes
Google Play

About the Author

mhheadshotMia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She’s a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends.

When she’s not lost in a story, Mia spends her time cooking, gardening, traveling, volunteering and looking for her keys. In a past life, she was a classroom teacher and still has a pretty good “teacher voice” and “teacher stare.” She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and two waggish dogs.

Connect with Mia!
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest |Google+

August Kert: Love’s Image
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

First, let me thank Delilah for hosting me.

AKCaptureWhat is love supposed to look like? I asked my seven-year-old niece, who is obsessed with Disney Princesses, what she thought love was. Her answer? You’re supposed to like each other. Simple enough, and in all honesty not a bad answer. Growing up we all had that fairy tale that we would meet that special someone, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Love is much more complicated than that. Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship can attest to how much work they are. Compromise, fights, financial troubles, children… And just when you think everything has been worked out, something goes wrong. I know my marriage has been tested.

In paranormal romances things look a bit different, especially if one of the people is a creature. Can you imagine finding out the person you’re falling in love with is a shifter or a demon? When I was growing up, I wanted to be a mermaid, like Ariel. Or marry the Beast. Neither happened (Yay!).

In my newest release, Lyric never thought she’d find a man. Zombies have taken over. She has to do some less than desirable things just to eat. It definitely isn’t the life she’d pictured when she was young. When it comes to boyfriends, the last one she’d ever imagined herself with was a zombie. She’s more used to putting a knife between their eyes than staring into them for hours. Anson is different, and even though he isn’t what she would have chosen, he’s what she loves. For both love was never supposed to be a human and a zombie, but it’s what happened.

So my seven-year-old niece’s answer didn’t apply to Anson and Lyric in the beginning, but in the end they’d give their lives for one another.

-August Kert

Links
Blog: augustkert.blogspot.com
Facebook: facebook.com/augustkert
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Me-Life-August-Kert-ebook/dp/B00WYTF3AM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433142563&sr=8-1&keywords=august+kert
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bring-me-to-life-sat-aug-01-00-00-00-cdt-2015-kert/1121848545?ean=9781619229907
Samhain: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5547/bring-me-to-life

This ‘n’ That & Three Questions (Contest)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Okay, I’m up way too early. Must have been the dream I had about having to go back into the Army but none of my uniforms fit, and I didn’t have time to even TRY to get into shape… Nightmare!

So, I’ve been up since 4 AM, mostly reading all the trash talk on Twitter about Fear The Walking Dead. Did you see the first episode? Of course, some folks are saying it was way too slow, but I had another experience. I had this slow-building sense of dread and true fear as I watched. I think they nailed it. AND we get to see what happened while Rick Grimes slept!

My sis has been working on new covers for the Uncharted SEALs. I loved the Through Her Eyes cover so much, I asked her to redo the first two. They aren’t set in stone just yet. What do you think? I really wasn’t that fond of the sweet covers before. And now I’m hearing the theme song to Two and a Half Men: “Men, men, men, men…”

WatchOverMeNew_600 HerNextBreathNew_600 ThroughHerEyesDelilahDevlin_600

Folks are signing up for the month-long plotting workshop that starts September 7th. If you’d like more information, head here: Rose’s Plotting Bootcamp

Sis and I are working on another project, too. We co-wrote a time travel novel that Ellora’s Cave released as Jacq’s Warlord. We’re refurbing it and thinking about adding some sequels. What do you think? Are you ready for some time-traveling fun? If so, what time frames would you like to see? We started with a modern-day girl heading back to 1100’s Britain. But the way we worked the actual traveling, we could go forward or back…

Answer the three highlighted questions, and you’ll be entered to win your choice of any of the Uncharted stories—with the new covers! Which means, this contest will continue until I get the reformatted books back!

Have I rambled enough? Jumped around enough? That’s me without enough sleep. :)

Heather Long: River Wolf
Monday, August 24th, 2015

hlPQ1_RW_LongWolves of Willow Bend
River Wolf
Releasing August 25, 2015

Brett Dalton, Alpha of Hudson River, isolated himself from his pack mates after one betrayed him. The once, easygoing Alpha has become taciturn, remote and unforgiving. His pack worries for him, but they too have suffered a devastating blow. When several members leave to join Three Rivers, the pack faces the threat of dissolution until Brett’s best friend and Lone Wolf, Luc Danes returns to Hudson River accompanied by a beautiful young human—or is she? Something about the woman consumes Brett. Has Luc come home to help or to take the pack from Brett?

Colby Jensen wrapped up thousands of hours of community service working at the hospital in Maine when an injured Luc Danes rolled through the door. The impossible patient drove the nurses crazy, but when Danes offered her money no strings attached to drive him to New York, she agreed. The last thing she expected was to arrive in the small Westchester County town and to meet the craziest collection of residents—especially the devastatingly sexy Brett Dalton. Part of her wants to hit the road, the rest wants to make him smile and he keeps making excuses for her to stay.

Then she sees the wolves…and is exposed to a world she can barely imagine. When Brett discovers a secret about her, nothing will be the same again. Now she will find herself torn between a world she isn’t sure she can understand and the man who has taken her heart hostage…

Find excerpt for Heather Long’s River Wolf below

River Wolf
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1KC6H4P
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-riverwolf-1859734-168.html
Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/river-wolf-heather-long/1122426868?ean=2940151088350
iTunes:  https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/river-wolf/id1024860627?mt=11
Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/river-wolf

Focus on Willow Bend

Series Reading Order:

Wolf at Law (Prequel)
Book 1: Wolf Bite
Book 2: Caged Wolf
Book 3: Wolf Claim
Book 3.5: Wolf Next Door
Book 4: Rogue Wolf
Book 5: Bayou Wolf
Book 6: Untamed Wolf
Book 6.5: Wolf with Benefits
Book 7: River Wolf
Book 7.5: Single, Wicked Wolf (releasing in October)
Book 8: Desert Wolf (releasing later in 2015)

About the Author:

National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.

Contact Details:
Website: http://www.heatherlong.net
Email: email hidden; JavaScript is required
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HeatherLongAuthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HVLong
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/iKxQ5

hlRiverWolf300

Excerpt of River Wolf by Heather Long:

Brett had been on a call when the car pulled into his drive. His pack knew to let themselves in, and he didn’t have time for strangers so he’d ignored the knock and the doorbell ring. The unfamiliar feminine call of ‘hello’ alerted him to the stranger entering his house. Surprise followed by fury rushed through him. Then she called again, but he missed the rest of her sentence thanks to three people talking at once on the conference call. Ending it, he informed his executives he’d call them back.

Her “Hallelujah!” beckoned him.  Silent, he stalked through the house to the kitchen and discovered the young woman dripping water on the tile floor as she lifted the handset from the cradle. Instead of dialing, however, she stared at the phone with a troubled expression.

Everything about her assaulted him—her fresh raindrops on blades of green grass aroma occluded by the scent of gasoline, male wolf, and injury. The male he identified almost immediately, despite the troubling mixture. Luc.

“What the hell am I doing here?” she asked aloud. The last word came out more heyah than here, but he understood.

“That’s a very good question.” No artifice disguised her shock. She flung the phone at him and he caught it. The force of the throw impressed him, as the phone slapped against the palm of his hand. Her pulse beat a frenetic pace and her eyes widened as she locked gazes with him.

Close enough to touch her, he stilled. If she were Luc’s ride, she might have a reason for being present—then again where the hell was Luc? Zeroing in on the flare of her dilating pupils, his wolf surged beneath his skin. The rush of his animal powered through him. Inhaling a lungful of her scent, he tested what he’d already learned about her and couldn’t identify what agitated the fuck out of his wolf. Read the rest of this entry »