Archive for 'Guest Blogger'
Sunday, August 30th, 2015
Hazards of Being A Character-Driven Writer
(with a dash of perfectionism)
First, 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:
- 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.
- Who’s driving this crazy train?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!)
- 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?
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
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.
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author
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
Thursday, August 27th, 2015
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.
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.
Wishing you good reads (and good eats),
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 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup almond butter
1 cup almond slivers
- Whisk the first four ingredients together in a large bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the balls on the cookie sheet about 3 in apart.
- 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.
- Share with your favorite cowboy or cowgirl. Or don’t share. I won’t tell.
About Cowboy Valentine
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.
“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!
About the Author
Mia 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+
Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
First, let me thank Delilah for hosting me.
What 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.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bring-me-to-life-sat-aug-01-00-00-00-cdt-2015-kert/1121848545?ean=9781619229907
Monday, August 24th, 2015
Wolves of Willow Bend
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
Release Date: August 25, 2015
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
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.
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 »
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
While spending the week in Florida with my family, I attended a few spin classes with my husband.
Yes, we are the weird-os that work out on vacation.
And while I was spinning away, I learned something about the spin instructor. For the sake of the blog post we will call her Instructor 2. Instructor 2 was the queen of quarter turns. A quarter turn, for those of you who aren’t spin class savvy, is literally a quarter turn on the resistance nob. A quarter turn to the right (harder) or to the left (easier). Most of our turns, of course, were to the right!
Instructor 2 was good, and even though the classes were only thirty minutes, my husband and I worked up a great sweat. But, Instructor 2 was much different from my normal instructor in Houston, who we will call Instructor 1. I’m working a little backwards on my numbers, I know.
If we were comparing 1 and 2 to swimming, Instructor 1 is like the cannonball kid. You know the child that runs as fast as her legs will take her, tucks her knees to her chest, and plows right into the water, no matter the temperature, sending a huge splash covering everyone in her wake? You’ve all seen that kid. That would be my Instructor 1. Her ways are slightly unconventional, but once you leave her spin class, you know you’ve left every ounce of energy behind on your sweaty bike seat.
While, Instructor 2 has a more slow approach with the quarter turns. I would compare her to the adult who sticks their toes in the water a little at a time, allowing their body to adjust to the temperature versus the total body shock of submerging yourself completely. Her ways are a bit slower, but when it’s all said and done, you’re pretty dang sweaty at the end of your thirty minutes.
No matter which teacher you choose, the jump in head first kind of gal, or the inch by inch, turn by turn instructor, you’re end product is the same. A great workout.
Same with authors. Some authors you purchase because you know you will get something steamy. Delilah Devlin would be a great example of steamy. Others you know you will get something sweet. If I pick up Nicholas Sparks, I know I’m in for a tearjerker. If I pick up a Mary Kay Andrews book, I know I’m in for Southern charm. Tracy Brogan, I’m in for a good romance with a few laughs, and Janet Evanovich, well I just need to grab a Depends because I laugh so hard sometimes my bladder threatens to lose control. And while each author goes about their stories in different ways, at the end of the day, the result, every author hopes is the same. You, the reader, are left with a great story.
So, what’s the point? Pick up a book from some author you’ve never read, try a new spin instructor, or a new cuisine. You never know what might be your next favorite, or who might pleasantly surprise you.
Ellie Childs isn’t looking for love. She’s looking for an AC repairman for the Forest Wood Senior Center. But when the repairman happens to be tall, dark and handsome, David White, he has the goods to make her change her mind. Unfortunately, he’s taken by a blonde Barbie.
David moved to the small town of Cupid, Arkansas to be closer to the woman he loves, his grandma, and as far away as possible from his ex-fiancée. Not thinking his broken heart would ever work again, he’s proved wrong by falling for Ellie, a good-looking redhead. She’s the farthest thing from his ex as he can get, but as luck would have it, she’s taken, and the guy she’s seeing’s a real jerk.
When David’s grandmother, Mary Costanza, see’s the instant attraction festering between David and Ellie, she calls on the help of her three friends. Together they form Cupid’s Angels. Their mission, to bring David and Ellie together. Despite their best efforts, the Angels’ plans backfire and push David and Ellie farther apart and into the arms of others. Or so they think.
Will the Angels’ good intentions win out, or will their plots and schemes be the end of David and Ellie before the could even begin?
Buy at Amazon!
Friday, August 21st, 2015
It’s true. NY is my favorite place. I’ve visited LOTS of times and it’s one of those places that is endless to me. And timeless.
Endless because in NYC there are so many places to see and visit. Touristy places – yes. Here’s a few pics from my first time there several years ago and all the locations we got to see!
Statue of Liberty
Macy’s with Santa
The Today Show
Empire State Building
These are my parents on their 40th anniversary. Aren’t they adorable?!?
But also Niagara Falls in Buffalo. Love Buffalo even more than NYC!!
And timeless because I look at these pictures years later and I am positively giddy seeing them. I’m telling you all this because as you read this today I’m currently in NYC attending the BDSM Writers Con. Did I tell you how much I love NYC!!?!?! So awesome!!!
In honor of traveling and all things fantastic, let me give some stuff away!!
CONTEST – Tell me your favorite place you’ve ever visited / lived!! I have a big bag of swag for one lucky poster in the US ONLY!!! See how much awesome stuff you could win by sharing your awesomeness???
Need something to wet your whistle while you wait to see if you won goodies??
May I suggest a delicious bite out of the Members Only series……..
The books in the Members Only Series can be found here…
Together In Cyn
A Very Ménage Christmas
Roman’s To-Do List
Beneath the Pages
Violet’s Shadow in Romancing the Wolf Anthology
Jennifer Kacey is a writer, mother, and business owner living with her family in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less.
Website | Newsletter | Blog – The Decadent Divas | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Amazon Page | Goodreads | Pinterest