My blog guest for today was a no-show, so here I am again. 🙂
I’m always trying to dream up the next “thing” I want to write. How about you help me narrow the field of options? You can select up to two options. And if you leave any comments or suggestions, you’ll be entered to win your choice of one of my recent releases!
I should be better at planning stories. I teach plotting. I definitely know how to do it. But for some weird reason, when I sit down to plot out stories in a series, I falter.
Maybe it’s because I’m learning who my story peeps are as I write them. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid if I plot too well, I’ll lose that feeling of discovery, those breathless surprised moments I get as I write. I love for a story to reveal itself as I move through my characters’ lives. And I hate, hate, hate being trapped inside a story that bores me.
Do you like the graphic I made? Do you like that catch phrase—“Authentic Men, Real Adventure”?
I know that was jarring, but my mind hops like that. I played in Canva today, making that picture at the top. What was I saying?
Well, at least I know what the next book will be about, or at least WHO it will be about. I have a name. I found a piece of art I though portrayed him well, and my sis made me a cover. Often, that’s all I’ve got when I start writing. I’ll get to know Cochise (Do you like that name?) as I write him, and then I’ll figure out what story he has to tell. I also have a cover and a name for the next story, Hook, but no clue where to start. Hopefully, Cochise will meet him along the way…
Anyway, I wanted to share the pretty meme, and remind you that there are three stories already out there for you to enjoy. If you have any ideas for future adventures for my bad boy alpha guys, share. I could use a couple of jumping off points… 🙂
I’ve always loved science fiction and stories about traveling to different galaxies. I remember the first time I saw Star Wars with all those interesting planets and the different life forms that occupied them. I was fascinated and totally hooked. Every time a new space show came on television I’d be planted right in front of my set to watch Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Farscape, or Babylon 5. Last spring I started laying the ground work for a futuristic romance series. I had a pretty good idea of the different characters that will be in my stories; the hard part was creating the universe where they would all live.
Good world building is essential for any futuristic or paranormal story. Every world has to have rules that govern how things work. They can be different from the rules we have in real life, but they have to be established and in some way explained to the reader, as well as recognizable. For example, if you have a world with magic, there has to be a limit to what it can do or what creates it, such as energy.
Populating a universe is another essential part of world building. I had to figure out what sort of sentient beings live on the different planets? What is their political system? What are their religious beliefs? Which species get along with each other and which ones don’t? What do they eat? What type of housing do they have? Is it above ground or below? In short, each civilization has to be constructed from scratch.
There is so much detail involved that creating a story bible is an absolute must. You can never remember all the characters, creatures, places, settings, and other details necessary for the story. It saves a lot of time to have it all written down and easily researchable. I use excel spreadsheets for all the things I need to keep track of.
What if you had to make a choice, your lifelong dream or your soul mate?
Scott Southerland has his dream job and his dream woman. What could go wrong? With his mother around, plenty. Scott’s on his guard, and his soon-to-be fiancé, Harper Castille, is, too. Scott has no interest in the other women his mother dangles in front of him, but can his relationship with Harper survive the destruction of his dream?
I get this question a lot: Where do you get the ideas for your books?
My answer? Everywhere.
But one of the more interesting ideas behind a book happened about eight years ago, when I picked up a newspaper and saw a short article with the headline “Husband and Wife Discover They Are Twins After DNA Test for IVF.” I was immediately intrigued. What on earth would that feel like, to discover that the person you had fallen in love with, you were blood related to?
Turns out it’s not that far-fetched a question. I did a little reading, and then a little more, and I found something called Genetic Sexual Attraction, which is something that happens when two people who are genetically related, but denied the ability to properly form emotional bonds as children, meet as adults and develop strong feelings for one another. These days, with anonymous donors more and more common in the world of fertility, it’s actually not unheard of for people who are blood related to cross paths as adults and, yes, date or fall in love.
So that brought me back to my original question: what would it feel like to make that discovery? Could you “unlove” the person you thought was your soulmate? Could you possibly stay with the person anyway? Would you tell anyone? And that’s when I knew I had to write a romance novel with those questions at their core.
Labyrinth of Love is the fourth book in my Hometown Heroes series, and it features two related love stories, sixty years apart. Within those two stories I finally got to weave the idea of that long-ago newspaper article — but I’m not saying any more! If you want to find out what happens, you’ll have to read the book.
If you want a little teaser first, you’re just in time to sign up for my newsletter and receive my next free short story, “Roses are Red, Violets are Pink.” It’s a tie-in to Labyrinth of Love, so you can get a peek at the small town of Lindsey Point and a little of its history before you dive into the series.
Have you wondered how a writer gets their story on the page? We writers come in different flavors, from people who plan out every tiny detail (plotters) to those who wing it (pantsers).
Let me tell you a little about how my quirky writer’s brain works.
My life would be so much easier if I was content to daydream about stories instead of actually having to write them down.
It’s true. When I decided to write the stories down, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Plucking a story from my imagination throws their faults into glaring light. Every blemish and WTF moment highlighted with a big beam of what-were-you-thinking. And then there’s the problem that the things that made so much sense to me, make no sense to anyone else who reads the words. Dang brain.
I realized that it was the details and assumptions that could bridge the gap. I had to go back again and again and again to pull forth the details to enhance the idea and make it more understandable for the rest of the world not blessed/cursed with my brain.
I’m what’s called a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. I have no outline and only a vague idea of what’s going on. Many times I start with a scene. I haven’t a clue who anyone is or why they’re doing what they’re doing. Sometimes I’m not super clear what they’re even doing.
Example 1: Fantasy Romance
A man walks into a big government building and the crowd parts for him until he is first in line at a machine which can tell if you are human. The crowd is there waiting for him to fail.
Then I have to go back and start asking myself questions about the scene.
Why are they testing to see if people are human? Because this is after the world of myth and the human world merged and they can’t always tell. (of course…)
Why is everyone watching? They think he is about to fail the test and don’t like him much.
Why? He spent the previous night with a shifter and he may no longer be human. Oh, and he is a hard ass boss, so they don’t mind seeing him brought down.
If he knows the machine can tell he is no longer be human, why did he come to the office? He doesn’t know what happened the previous night. (Huh.)
See what I mean? I go back again and again until things make sense outside of my head.
This scene became Book of Secrets which did win some RWA chapter contests, but is yet unpublished.
Example 2: Sci-Fi Erotica
A man who opens up a spacecraft shuttle pod and wakes the passenger with cunnilingus.
Ummmm…. Why would he wake someone up with oral sex like that? That’s how all passengers and some special crew wake up on the cruise spaceship. They choose from a menu of options as to how they would like to start their journey.
I’m still a bit flabbergasted. Not really sure where to start. Who are the special crew that can also be woken up this way? Why the Sirens, the ones who fuel the ship.
How do Sirens fuel the ship? The ship runs on sexual energy and Sirens are humans who are able to direct the power of their orgasms to the ship’s drive.
Who is he? He’s on the Lick Squad and is part of the crew that wakes the passengers.
So what’s the big deal in this scene? It’s sort of interesting but why should I care? The Siren is getting woken up because the one she is replacing died of a broken heart. He’s doing it for the money and does not want to get close to anyone. A little giddy voice says they need to get TO-ge-ther.
As you can see, it would be so much easier if I just kept the daydreams in my head, but I am a pantser and this is how I get the story out.
No matter the technique authors strive to tell you a great story. Tell me about your favorite scene in a book. Or that scene that makes you want to pick the book up and read it all over again.
Unlike a lot of writers, I haven’t been writing all my life. I didn’t start until 2004 or 2005, so that’s either fourteen or thirteen years ago. My aunt who was in her 70s had two books published through Publish America. After her first one, I had a light bulb moment. I thought if she can do it, I can too. I always made up stories in my head about the TV shows I watch, something I’ve learned is called Fan Fiction.
I sat down at the computer and gave it a shot. I wrote a Lord of the Rings fan fiction story. I took it to the next generation, used some of the characters, did lots of research, and wrote a never-ending story. But, my aunt helped with things she’d learned in the college writing class she’d taken.
Then on a whim, a few years later, I pitched online. I almost fell off my couch when the editor said send me a proposal. I had to ask what a proposal was, because I had never heard that term before. Seems it is the same thing that used to be called a partial. Ugh, the terminology change. I submitted, and was rejected because it didn’t fit. Okay, fine, why did you ask for it? I shrugged it off and spoke to a friend about what I was writing. She explained the story disrespected men who were heroes. Oh, I never thought about that. I got busy researching, thinking, reading other books about Navy SEALs, to include those written by SEALs. I have revamped the story, entered it into some contests and taken the suggestions from the contest judges who read it. It still isn’t ready to submit.
I keep telling my friends I’m not ready to put anything out there. I haven’t reached the stage of experience that I want to pitch and submit my writing. I figure I’ll reach it one day when I feel I’m ready. I’ve learned a lot since I submitted the first two times. This time I want it to be the, excuse the cliché, third time’s the charm submission.
I need help, once I write 50k or 100k or 80k, deciding what to do next. I’m learning that process by drops. I think authors “know” when their piece is ready. They have that confidence in their writing. I will get there. I hear authors telling how they’ve been writing since they were children. Well, I wasn’t that person.
So for anyone waiting for my first book, you’ll have to keep waiting for a while longer. I’m in the toddler stage still. Like the song by the Beatles says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Delilah Devlin is one of those friends. I thank her for having me on her blog today. I hope you’ll check out her books and grab a couple of them.
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am 31 years old. I quit my 9-5 office job to pursue my dream job: to be a published romance author! I have a story in my head all the time. I love the characters and get excited about their lives and their love interests. I want to write stories that make the readers fall in love with these characters too. So far, I have written several short romances as a ghost writer, but “The Beach House” will be the first book I have released under my penname.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The latest book is, “The Beach House” Book 1 in The Shimmer Pointe Romance Series. This is the book that will introduce you to the wind swept and sun kissed Delaware coast town of Shimmer Pointe Beach. This is a story with strong sexy characters who have to learn to follow their hearts.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write to music. I put my headphones on and just kind of zone out into the worlds of my characters. My muse loves music. It seems to unlock my creative energy and I can write for hours, seeing the story in my head just like a movie. It’s not really an unusual habit but it is something I do frequently.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Jodi Picoult, Veronica Roth, and Mary Higgens Clark. I grew up with these great authors and their talent inspired me to want to be an author like them. I wanted to create worlds and characters that stuck with the reader long after the book was over. This is still a goal that I have in my writing career.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I am working on Book 2 in The Shimmer Pointe Romance Series, “Bad At Love” This is the story of Justin and Eve who were first introduced in Book 1 “The Beach House” Justin and Eve started their relationship with no intention of getting too emotionally involved. They each think they are content with what they have which is a very casual relationship. That all changes when a surprise shows up on Justin’s doorstep which forces him and Eve to re-evaluate their feelings for one another and decide if they can take a second chance at love.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The best method and website for promoting my book is Twitter. It’s a great venue to reach a wide variety of readers and authors who have the same interests.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Never give up. Believe in yourself.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Just keep writing and go for it. Have the confidence in yourself and in your talent to just publish your work.
What’s next for you as a writer?
To make 2018 the busiest and most exciting writing year of my life and career. I plan to release 1-2 Shimmer Pointe Romance books per month! I want to grow the series and the readership of this series.