Many thanks to Delilah for having me over at her blog today!
I tell you, being an author is hard work. No, it is. If you think of an author’s brain like a bucket, it makes sense.
To write a book, you have to pour the words out of the writer’s brain, like water from a bucket. Sometimes you can pour it really fast, and sometimes there’s legos and cookies and whole people who block the flow. Sometimes your arms just can’t hold the bucket. Sometimes the bucket is empty. And sometimes the bucket is full of beer and all you want to do is stand on your head and drown in it.
The bucket empties sometimes. In the middle of a book, usually. At times like that, you have two choices. Choice one, you can try to refill your bucket. You can grab a new book, watch a movie, or play a video game. The idea is to immerse yourself in someone else’s storytelling. By losing yourself in someone else’s words, it sometimes makes it easier to make words of your own. Feeding the muse so she can work.
But if your bucket runs out and your deadline looms, you have only one alternative.
You have to bore a hole in the bottom of your bucket, and pour your body and soul right through it. You have to dig deep, throw in everything you’ve got. It’s not easy. It hurts like hell. But it’s the only way to get things done in time. And it also can produce some of the most raw and important writing you’ll ever do.
Readers can tell when you pour your soul into a book. That’s not to say that muse-fueled words aren’t awesome, because they are. But that seasoning of desperation can flavor your book, like a good sear on a steak. Of course, sometimes you leave it too long and that sear turns to burn. The key is to find balance, and to get things done the best way you can.
In my latest book, CAUGHT IN CRIMSON, Delia learns a little something about leaving things a bit too late. As a red witch, she has to have a consort, especially now that she’s being tapped as her coven’s High Priestess. But it’s not as easy as just putting down her head and barreling through things, especially with a sexy man standing in her way.
Do you have something to do that you just can’t finish? Is it a brain-bucket issue, or something more like Delia’s facing? Let me know in the comments below!
First I want to thank Delilah for having me here today. I’m in the middle of my blog tour promoting the latest book in my Woods Family Series, Surrounded by Secrets, so I want to take this opportunity to focus on something a little different from paranormal erotic romance. Not that I don’t enjoy talking about hot sex—I mean c’mon, who doesn’t? What I want to talk about now is my writing style. If you want info on how to get a free paranormal erotic romance, skip to the bottom. If you are interested in becoming a writer (or a better one) but don’t think you have the time to write a novel, keep reading.
If the truth be told, I wrote three, 100k word novels in three consecutive months while working fulltime as an IT analyst and maintaining my motherly duties. How? The concept is simple, really. Time management…but more on that later. It’s the execution that isn’t as easily identified. I studied writing in college and got my hands on as many books on the craft of writing as I could. I devised my own way of story development by pulling from various sources. Two of the most influential to my style today include Syd Field’s screenwriting books—yes, as in how to write screenplays for movies—and the Snowflake Method.
Why did I study screenplays if I wanted to write fiction? Easy. I love watching movies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve figured out the end of a movie before others, and if my theories weren’t successful, then half the time I felt my mental conclusion was better than the actual one. I am a visual person, and Field’s method plays on that by utilizing a three act structure. I apply this during my brainstorming phase. I draw a line on a piece of paper and mark the three acts, the plot point that throws the story into the second act, the plot point that throws the story into the third act, what happens mid way through the story and the major conflicts that occur in Act II. When I am finished with my brainstorming, I not only know how the story is going to start and end, but also most of the major points. The set-up, confrontation, and resolution are all plotted. Here’s the link to Field’s paradigm.
A very high level explanation to the Snowflake Method is you start with a one sentence summary of your book, expand it to a paragraph, expand that to a one page synopsis, and then expand that to a four page synopsis. It also advises you when to write character bios and how to take the four page synopsis and outline every scene in your book. Yes, every scene. I’ve played around with this, and not every step is for me. However, I do outline every scene in my book before I start writing. There’s a constant debate on whether authors should outline or not. Rather than it stifling my creativity, I feel it allows my muse the freedom to shine when I’m actually drafting my novel. Do I always stick to my outline? No. But when I outline, I see if a scene isn’t going to work before I start writing it or move it around so the story will flow better. If my characters demand I go a different way when I’m actually drafting, I listen to them. The outline is more of a guide, not written in stone. But when I know what comes next, I can keep on writing and not face as many (if any) blocks. Here’s a link that explains this process more.
What worked for another author doesn’t work for me, and what works for me might not work for you. The point is you should take what works best for you and apply it to your writing style. It doesn’t take more than a couple of days for me to outline my books when applying these techniques—and less than one day if said book is a novella. When I wrote those three books mentioned, I had daily goals during the workweek of 3,000 words and weekend daily goals of 5,000 words, which I not only met but exceeded since I’d taken the time to do the legwork before I began drafting. Nowadays, I have less stringent goals since my time is shared between writing, editing, and promoting, but the key here is to plan and set goals. You’d be surprised just how creative you can be even when you’re organized.
And now for the freebie! My publisher is offering book one in my Woods Family Series, Surrounded by Woods, for free on all major retailers. Get your free copy while you can!
And during my tour, I have a contest going where one winner will receive a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Visit my Facebook Fan Page for deets!
So, I was very graciously asked to appear on Tristan Taormino’s radio program, sexoutloudradio.com. I was one of five editor/writers for Cleis Press appearing on today’s segment. I’ve done radio before. I don’t love it. But answering questions is fine because I can walk around and expel some nervousness (I pace incessantly, so sometimes if you hear my panting it’s because I’m pacing too fast!). Today, I had to sit still because I was reading from one of my short stories.
You know something went sideways. It always does. Only to me. I began reading, hoping I wasn’t reading too fast or skipping words (I tend to do that when I read out loud), and I made it past the second page of printed pages…and realized my printer skipped a page…
I couldn’t help it, I started laughing. Thank goodness, Tristan recovered for me, telling listeners they’d just have to buy the book to see what happened next. *sigh* Oh boy.
Anyway, it’s just the latest catastrophe. Nothing’s every simple or easy. Trouble is attracted to my life. I may have mentioned that my dd and her family moved in while renovations are being made to her house across the street. Every time the contractor calls, I cringe, because I know he’s found another huge issue with the house. It’s never quiet here. I can’t find my “center” to dig into the story I’m supposed to be writing. Then there were two emergency room visits this past week (g-ma and dd)—both are fine, but of course the house gets turned upside down. Everything’s messy, noisy, and I have a 4-year-old sharing my bed who doesn’t like bedtime and talks my ear off before she falls asleep and I can sneak away to my keyboard…
My sister, Delilah Devlin, and I took a trip last August to Louisiana. We drove all the way down to Grand Isle, LA which is nothing more than a little spit of land surrounded by water and barely above sea level. Houses were built on stilts and daring the ocean to take them back. Great sunrises greeted us in the morning and even more beautiful sunsets closed out the day.
We trekked on up to Thibodeaux, LA for a fabulous airboat tour of the bayous, a tour of Oak Alley Plantation and then on to New Orleans for a conference and to explore some of the Voodoo shops in the French Quarter.
We were in search of great settings, and a firm understanding of what it means to live along the bayous and the crazy but loveable people who do. From the ladies dressed in period costumes leading tours through the old plantation houses while serving mint juleps, to the crazy coonasses insane enough to drag a ‘gator out of the water so we could pet it, we met wonderful people along the way. Small towns, lots of water and great food added to the experience.
And what a change of scenery heading into New Orleans! What happens on Bourbon Street stays on Bourbon Street! Street performers, voodoo shops, palm readers, men in red dresses and beignets…the city is magical.
All these forays were great fodder for my Cajun Magic series coming out this year from Entangled Publishing. Watch for VOODOO ON THE BAYOU (Feb 2013), VOODOO FOR TWO (April 2013) and DEJA VOODOO ( Jun 2013) for a little fun delving into Voodoo and the magic it can create.
Voodoo on the Bayou
Book #1 of the Cajun Magic Series
by Elle James (aka Myla Jackson)
“By day a frog, by night a man, ‘til de next full moon…”
At first, lawyer and ladies’ man Craig Thibodeaux thought Madame LeBieu’s chant was a strange bayou joke. But the voodoo worked and Craig is spending his days as…well, a small green frog. Now he has only two weeks to find love, or his new froggy transformation becomes permanent.
When she receives the anonymous toxic water sample from Bayou Miste, research scientist Elaine Smith decides a trip to the bayou is the perfect excuse to escape the lab, and forget about her cheating ex-fiancé. Then she accidentally stumbles upon Craig’s oh-so-fine naked form, and her science-nerd brain is overrun with naughty thoughts about her new gorgeous night-time bayou guide.
But there’s more to Bayou Miste than voodoo curses and sexy late-night trysts. Dark secrets threaten the delicate ecosystem, and there are those who would do anything to keep those secrets hidden. Even murder…
Elle James Bio
Elle James aka Myla Jackson spent twenty years livin’ and lovin’ in South Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. A former IT professional, Elle is proud to be writing full-time, penning, sassy western romances, intrigues and paranormal adventures that keep her readers on the edge of their seats. She has 31 works with Harlequin, self published works under pen name Elle James, over many works with other publishers including Samhain, Ellora’s Cave, Kensington and Avon and 19 works self-published under pen name Myla Jackson. Now living in northwest Arkansas, she isn’t wrangling cattle, she’s wrangling her muses, a malti-poo and yorkie. When she’s not at her computer, she’s traveling, out snow-skiing, boating, or riding her ATV, dreaming up new stories.
Hi, Delilah, Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog.
I’m a British author with over twenty books published, over half of them Regency romances. I was raised on the Isle of Wight in Southern England, a stone’s throw from Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s island retreat. Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles 1st was imprisoned before being taken to London to have his head chopped off is just five miles away and we have more castles, ancient ruins and stately homes than you can shake a stick at.
We took them for granted but I think that’s when my love affair with history started—well then and when I first read Jane Austen and desperately wanted to be Lizzie Bennet! I kind of absorbed the historical vibes like osmosis and that was that. I love the idea of men in tight breeches with impeccable manners, shedding both the moment the bedroom door closes!
However, I digress. My latest, Forgotten Heiress, was released as an e-book by Samhain on February 19th. This one tackles the class society, so prevalent in Regency times. My own childhood home was modest; the equivalent of poor housing in Regency times, I guess, and yet was so close to all that Victorian opulence. It struck me as incongruous when I was old enough to think about it and opened my eyes to the huge divide between the haves and have-nots.
My heroine is the illegitimate daughter of a banker and so, although she has a huge dowry, she knows society’s doors will remain firmly closed to her. When the heir to a dukedom takes an interest in her, she throws caution to the wind and decides to have some fun. Her neighbour, Harry Benson-Smythe, is suspicious at the upturn in her fortunes and vows to rescue Eloise from her own folly. He loves her feisty, free-spirited attitude to life but even if he manages to get rid of her aristocratic admirer, he’s already engaged to a far more suitable lady, so there can never be a happy ending for Harry and Eloise, can there…?
I’m giving a copy ofForgotten Heiress away. Just leave a comment here and along with your contact details, letting me know what you most enjoy about Regency romance.
The winner of the free download (chosen by random number generator) is commenter #2: Charley! Charley, send me an email to arrange delivery of your prize!
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I’m feelin’ lazy today. Like I don’t want to spend the day tappin’ the keyboard, so maybe I’ll be here, but maybe I’ll watch all those Longmire episodes I have TIVO’d. While I’m deciding whether to be a grownup or to blow the day off, you can get busy reading a naughty spippet. Be sure to comment! Then go check out all the other author who are playing today! Today’s theme is whatever the hell the author wants it to be!
If you post a comment today, you’ll be entered to win
a free download of this book!
“With amazing suspense, and hot, dominant lovin’ this cowboy and his high school sweetheart take the reader on an amazing emotional journey. ”~5/5 Books, Reviews by Molly
“Devlin has done it again! I pretty much gobble up anything she writes and “Laying Down the Law” is another hit… ” ~The Brunette Librarian
“I LOVED it! Now, in fairness, it is my kind of book – Sexy heroic intelligent somewhat domineering man (preferably a cowboy) rescues a sexy, smart and sassy heroine… and she rescues him right back! How can you beat that? And Ms.Delilah is the Queen of Smart and Sexy…a win-win-win!” ~SnifferWalk
Seeking sanctuary could be the hottest mistake she ever made.
The TripleHorn Brand, Book 1
A lifetime ago, Zuri Prescott kicked the dirt off her boots and ditched her small-time small town for the glam city life—and lived to regret it. When she’s framed for a bank job, she lights out for home, seeking refuge with her old high school sweetheart while she figures out her next steps. Only she discovers that the boy she left behind is the last man she should trust.
Sheriff Colt Triplehorn knows trouble when he sees it, especially when it comes in the form of a familiar trespasser, caught naked between an angry bull and her underwear. Sure she’s up to her usual no good, he grants her sanctuary at his ranch—the better to keep an eye on her, and purge her from his system once and for all.
Reconnection is sweet and hot, but the heat can’t hide the truth. When Colt inevitably finds out what Zuri’s running from, it’s too late to put the fire out, and he’s got a career-compromising choice on his hands. Follow the letter of the law, or follow his heart.
Product Warnings: When a sheriff captures the girl who got away, expect revenge so hot it leaves brands on two lonely hearts…
Zuri breathed, taking in his crisp male scent. No man had ever smelled like that. Of horse and sage and his own male musk. Wearing his clothes had cloaked her in it, even freshly laundered. When she was surrounded with that smell, she couldn’t help but remember all the times they’d been like this, waking in the dawn, weak morning sun casting rays to chase away the shadows that made their loving something private and secretive. Something she could handle because he couldn’t see every expression flitting across her face.
Mornings revealed, inspiring fresh passion as well as fear. She worried over how she looked. Could he see the wrinkles beside her eyes? Would he think she’d grown old? Did he compare her to other women, more generously endowed women?
But mostly, she feared the honesty light revealed. With him, now, she couldn’t put on a careless face. He’d see how much every little caress meant, how wild he made her.
He came up on an elbow. Morning was more than kind to the man. Dark stubble on his jaw and chin added a dash of danger to his appearance. His large hand cupped her small breast and his callused thumb rasped the tip.
She bit her lip against a moan. Lazy heat burned between her legs. She angled toward him, unable to resist the challenge in his gleaming eyes. Reaching beneath the covers, she cupped his erection in her palm. “Have to say, Sheriff Triplehorn, you do know how to get a lady’s attention.”
His cock surged against her hand, and she wrapped her fingers around his shaft, loving the steamy heat and the soft satin feel of the skin surrounding his steely hardness. She gave him a gentle stroke, strumming her fingers over his length.
A deep growl rumbled through his chest, and he slipped the hand on her breast around her hip to cup a buttock. “Don’t tease if you don’t mean to do something about it. I’m in a world of hurt here, Zuri.”
“And it’s my fault? All I was doin’ was sleepin’.”
“You breathed, baby. That’s all it takes.”
This time when he leaned in to kiss her, she didn’t demur. Her mouth opened, her tongue slipped out to lick his bottom lip, then slid inside. The moist warmth she found fanned the flames building in her core. “Colt?” she whispered against his mouth.
“Anything, baby. Say it.”
“Fuck me. Jesus, fuck me hard.”
Abruptly, he rolled, covering her chest to toes, his hard cock trapped against her belly. She would have opened her legs, welcomed him inside, but his knees settled at either side of her and kept her closed.
“That’s not how this works,” she said, angling her head to trace the edge of his strong, square jaw with her tongue.
His stormy-gray eyes glinted before he scooted down her body, moving quickly but not missing a spot as he licked and nipped his way down to her breasts.
And as she had learned long ago, her breasts might be small, but they contained all the necessary nerve endings. Already engorged, the hard points tingled as his tongue flicked, shooting sparks south to warm her core and release a wash of arousal that dampened her sex.
She wound her fingers tightly in his hair and pulled and scratched while shivers shuddered through her. Her head thrashed, her pelvis bucked.
When he bit her nipple, she screamed, creaming in an instant. “Colt, Colt…”
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Be sure to check out the snippets on these other authors’ blogs:
I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old and most of my friends and family knew I loved to write. But when I finally “came out” that I was writing romance and that I intended to try getting published as a romance author, one of the first things questions they asked was “but are you ever going to write anything else?”
And the answer to that is no, I probably won’t.
Romance is what I love to write. Human relationships are the glue that holds society together and I’m fascinated by them, especially romantic relationships. Love is an awesome thing and it has a lot of power, and exploring the pain and heartache and joy that goes along with falling in love is amazing.
Let’s face it. Real life can suck so hard sometimes. And part of what I adore most about being a writer is the fact that I can take two broken people who have had bad things happen to them, and give them the happy ending they deserve. Because there really aren’t enough happy endings in this world.
I guess this is why I find writing romance an honour and a privilege. It’s like I’m putting a little more love out there in the world. Giving people a little more of the happy, a little more of the optimism. The sense that bad things can happen but you’ll be okay and that happiness is possible. In fact, it’s not only possible but necessary and deserved.
Romance isn’t fluff and nonsense and not real literature. It’s powerful and amazing. Yes, sometimes the characters are larger than life and sometimes so are the situations, but the heart of every great romance novel deals with something everyone single person in the whole world can relate to – we all want love and a happy ending (even though we won’t admit it).
So yeah, I’m pretty happy with writing romance thank you very much. And I’m thoroughly stoked that my little contribution to world happiness is now out in the world!
What about you guys? What is it about reading romance that you love? Do you shout about it or is it a guilty pleasure? And what’s your favourite kind to read? (Jackie will give away a download of this book to one lucky commenter! ~DD)
When you’ve been burned, the heat of the moment is the scariest place to be.
Six months after a sexual assault, Anna Jameson has decided enough is enough. She’s sick of being a victim, of letting the experience have power over her. She wants her fear of physical intimacy gone, as in now.
In the quest to reclaim her sexuality, she needs a man. A man she trusts absolutely. A man like her best friend, Finn.
Finn Shaw is all about taking risks. He does it every week on his extreme sports TV show. But there’s one boundary he’s never pushed, and that’s his friendship with Anna. When his hyper-intellectual family kicked him to the curb over his dyslexia, Anna stuck by him.
Her request to become friends with benefits throws him for a loop. He can’t deny her anything, but this is a whole different ball game. Once they’re skin to skin, there will be no hiding the fact that he’s loved her for years.
When their chemistry burns out of control, Finn decides he’s the one who’s had enough. It’s time to break out of the friend box—and show Anna that risking her heart is a risk well worth taking. Even if it costs him her friendship.
Warning: This book contains a strong-willed heroine who knows what she wants, a daredevil hero intent on showing her how much more she could have, sexy love scenes that’ll melt your heart, and a grand gesture you’ll need a tissue for.