It’s the beginning of Spring. April has new beginnings – we have hummingbirds migrating through and joining our native Anna’s hummingbirds at our feeder. This month we also have the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It’s Camp NaNoWriMo, Letter Writing Month, and Poetry Month. I suspect there are probably more, but those are just the handful we know of.
Are YOU ready for all of that?
I sure don’t think I am. I mean, we’re doing the A to Z Blog Challenge over on our group blog The Writer Zen Garden.
It really helps me to have others to play with, and who will write posts and come up with creative fun things to do.
I think it’s important to realize that it’s heavy to carry the load of all the stuff that’s going on in the world – war in Ukraine, the investigations in the U.S. Capital, the environmental crisis, and the pandemic. Wildfire season started early in Colorado last month. If you look for it, you can find all sorts of awful things.
On the other hand, we have the tools in our hands to help ourselves be resilient through it. There’s a new book by Emmanuel Acho called Illogical: Saying Yes to a Life Without Limits. In it, he has some terrific ideas (and I fully recommend you read it); one of them is about a young child whose mother brought her to a rap concert. The child was sleeping in her arms on the dance floor and wore yellow earmuffs that stopped the sound, allowing her to sleep. And the genius of it is that he translates that to our own lives: wear your earmuffs.
What “noise” is pressing in on you? Is it social media? News? Oscars drama? Maybe it’s something closer to home, like at work or family dysfunction. But we can put on our own earmuffs and drown out the loudness so that we can focus on our own stuff – creative writing, making, painting, singing, dancing… What’s your stuff?
And even more important, where are your earmuffs? Your earbuds, or noise-canceling earphones, or some other tool to listen to your favorite music or uplifting podcasts. If you want to try relaxing a bit, try binaural audio. And then settle in and play with your stuff.
Me, my stuff is writing novels, weaving, and designing lace. What about you?
After a few authors mentioned their disappointment that they wouldn’t have their stories done in time, I decided to extend the deadline. So, authors, keep writing those Silver Soldiers stories! DD
SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY
Editor: Delilah Devlin
Deadline: April 5, 2022
SILVER SOLDIERS is open to all authors.
Editor/Author Delilah Devlin is looking for stories for a romantic erotica anthology tentatively entitled SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY.
Why write a short story for this collection? Well, it’s certainly not about making a lot of money, so why do it at all? I’ve said this before, but here are my thoughts…
Writing a short story for a call for submissions is a chance to flex your writing muscle! It can be a chance to experiment with a genre you’ve never written. If you’ve never written a story in first person but don’t want to begin by writing an entire novel using it, start short! For myself, I’ve written stories in new genres or with fresh themes that ended up being so much fun to write they’ve spawned entire series.
You have a deadline! I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping my butt in the chair without one!
It’s a promotional opportunity! If selected, you’ll be joined by 12-15 other authors for the launch, sharing your audiences and, hopefully, picking up new readers along the way. Having your story in the collection is another chance to be “seen.”
And remember, you retain the rights to your story, so you can republish it for individual sale or give it away to attract subscribers to your newsletter. You might even decide there’s more story to tell and expand your short story into a novel.
Here’s what I’m looking for…
SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY will include stories that satisfy the reader who craves stories with older alpha male heroes. Those salt-and-pepper hotties with crow’s feet earned through rugged training and years of combat. Former soldiers finding their footing after their first careers, or current soldiers nearing the end of their military careers. They’re ready to find the right partner to put down roots, ones who aren’t afraid of scars and rough edges.
SILVER SOLDIERS will seek stories with varied settings here on earth, grounded in reality, or soldiers who might be something a bit more than human—supernatural creatures, or even aliens and cyborgs. The only requirement is that these soldiers understand loyalty, allegiance, and real courage.
I’m open to any subgenre of erotic romance you want to write. I’ll accept contemporary, historical, science fiction, or paranormal stories, and I won’t be picky about whether the stories are hetero, LGBT, ménage… Basically, you, the author, can go anywhere your imagination takes you so long as 1) the story is a romance, and 2) you have a bad boy somewhere in the pages!
The anthology will be sold at a low price—my intent is exposure for you and your writing. The more readers reached, the better! You will retain the rights to your story so that, at a later date, you can republish your stories individually.
I’m seeking hot and inventive stories from authors with unique voices, and above all, I’m looking to be seduced by tales filled with vivid imagery and passion.
Published authors with an established world may use that setting for their original short story.
This is erotic romance, so don’t hold back on the heat. Stories can be vanilla or filled with kink, but don’t miss describing the romantic connection between strong-willed individuals learning to trust and love one another. A deep sensuality should linger in every word. Keep in mind there must be a romantic element with a happy-for-now or happy-ever-after ending. Strong plots, engaging characters, and unique twists are the ultimate goal. Please no reprints. I want original stories.
How to submit: Prepare your 2,500 to 5,500 words story in a double-spaced, Arial, 12-point, black font, Word document (.doc or .docx) OR rich text format (.rtf), with pages numbered. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch, and double space (regular double spacing; do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). U.S. grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) is required.
In your document at the top left of the first page, include your legal name (and pseudonym, if applicable), mailing address, email address, and a 50-words or less biography, written in the third person, and send to email@example.com. If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you’d like to be credited as. Authors may submit up to 2 stories. I will try to respond no later than June 15, 2022 with decisions.
Payment will be $25.00 USD, ninety days after publication at the end of that month.
Who is Delilah Devlin?
Delilah Devlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance and erotic romance. She has published nearly two hundred stories in multiple genres and lengths and has been published by Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Entangled, Grand Central, Harlequin Spice, HarperCollins: Mischief, Kensington, Kindle, Montlake, Penthouse, Running Press, and Samhain Publishing.
Her short stories have appeared in multiple Cleis Press collections, including Lesbian Cowboys, Girl Crush, Fairy Tale Lust, Lesbian Lust, Passion, Lesbian Cops, Dream Lover, Carnal Machines, Best Erotic Romance (2012), Suite Encounters, Girl Fever, Girls Who Score, Duty and Desire, Best Lesbian Romance of 2013, and On Fire. For Cleis Press, she edited Girls Who Bite, She Shifters, Cowboy Lust, Smokin’ Hot Firemen, High Octane Heroes, Cowboy Heat, Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors and Sex Objects.
She has also edited Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance, Rogues: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Blue Collar: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Pirates: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Stranded: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, and Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology.
Direct any questions you have regarding your story or the submission process to Delilah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So happy to be back on Delilah’s blog. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about my writing process. It’s what I have started following ever since writing Matched (book 2 of my Navy SEALs of Little Creek series). Hopefully, you might fight something useful or interesting that you may want to try with your own writing. (Or, for you readers out there, this gives you a view into how this author approaches her craft.) At the very end, there is even a bonus excerpt from Matched.
My writing process usually begins with me developing my premise. I try to figure out what will make it unique, what do I believe about some of the topics that occur in the story, and the biggest part of the chart—the one that is up at the top—is my why. Why is this book important to me, and why do I want to write this particular story?
From there, I move on to developing my characters, specifically focusing on their backstories, goals, motivations, and conflicts. Then comes the fun part…character profiles. I love looking at their quirks and how they dress and what they look like. Enter Pinterest!! I’ll admit some days I feel like going shopping after spending time “researching” the clothes my characters might wear.
Next comes working out my beats followed by creating my chapter-by-chapter outline. And because I am a super plotter, I have ended up with outlines that have been fifteen to twenty pages long. Luckily, this has come in handy once I learned how to fast draft. I find the hardest part of the process just getting that first draft out.
Editing comes next. Believe it or not, I actually love this step. There’s nothing like working on a story and making it better. Some of my favorite parts of editing come from ideas that are created with my critique partners. After a couple of rounds of editing I’ll send my book off to beta readers. This is a great time for me to disconnect from the story. Usually during this time, I try to take some classes and listen to podcasts on craft. I usually wait until I get feedback from all my beta readers before diving in. This way I can decipher issues that everyone had versus comments that might be more subjective. And even if they are subjective, they might spark an idea or a different path or even a new chapter to include.
Truthfully, I don’t think the need to edit ever stops. Even after a book is published, I’ve found areas I want to fix or things I should’ve included. But there comes a time when we must send our book into the world and apply things we wished we could fix to the next manuscript.
Everyone’s writing style and process is different. There is no right or wrong way, no way that makes it any easier. My best piece of advice would be to do what works for you but take time to understand your why. It will keep you going when you hit a point where you are struggling or are even contemplating giving up.
An excerpt from Matched…
To my credit—for which, I should get big kudos—I don’t point out that history and her birth prove her mother knows her way around a boner. Instead, I walk closer and reach around her for an apple sitting on the counter in a powder-blue fruit bowl that matches the wall color, the coffee maker and a stand mixer I can’t wait to show her I know how to use. Chicks love guys who can cook. It’s helped me score on more than one occasion. But while I’m ready to score with my new wife whenever she says the word, a part of me is just as eager to prove to her I’m good for more than terrible pick-up lines.
She gives a little gasp as my fingers brush against hers, and I shiver. Yeah, no. Getting to know my wife in the biblical sense definitely edges out proving my usefulness on the scale of things I’d like to accomplish today.
I could cover up. Could even take a piss and get rid of the problem, but this is more fun than I’ve had in a couple of days. More like months. And I’m not itching to hurry it away. “So, is this breakfast you’ve baked for me?”
Her eyes go dark, what could be classified as deadly, and she smiles slow, devious, a smirk of proportions so epic, I’ve never seen another like it. “Cold day in hell, mi esposo. And before you even think to open that stupid mouth of yours once more, for the indefinite future, your situations are your problem.” She wax-on/wax-offs her hands in front of her. “This is off-limits until further notice.”
Paris Wynters is a multi-racial author who writes steamy and sweet love East Coast stories that celebrate our diverse world. She is the author of Hearts Unleashed, The Navy SEALs of Little Creek series, Love On The Winter Steppes, and Called into Action. When she’s not dreaming up stories, she can be found assisting with disasters and helping to find missing people as a Search and Rescue K-9 handler. Paris resides on Long Island in New York along with her family and is also a graduate of Loyola University Chicago.
I finished writing Defending Evangeline yesterday! Woot! It’s longer than my usual story, and it about killed me!
Today will be a busy one. I have to do a final readthrough before I ship DE off to my sister. The story “lives” in her Brotherhood Protectors–Team Trojan world. As soon as I finish that, I’ll be editing one final story for the Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, which releases October 12th! Then it’s straight to another author’s story I have to wrap up the edits for by Friday! Yes, a big busy day!!! Oh, the glamorous life of an author-editor!
Tomorrow, I start another book with a VERY SHORT deadline. Yeah, I’ll be typing until my fingers are little stumps—oh, wait! They already are! But enough whining.
Let me know what stories you’re looking forward to reading, not just mine!And be sure to enter the contests I have listed below. They’re still open!
I’m on a downhill slide to the finish line with my story Chase! So, I’m keeping my head down and not letting distractions interfere with me reaching The End. The story is ten times sexier than I thought it would be, but that’s because Chase is a very high-T guy. Yup. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. In the meantime, be sure to check out all these open contests! Two of them wrap up tomorrow, so enter today!
I spent years in the Army, years in a corporate cubicle, a stint in a classroom, a non-profit, etc. My time was mine to manage inside my employers’ bubbles. In fact, I was a project/program manager for years, and I planned work for others. None of that really prepared me for being a self-employed, full-time writer.
Most days, I happily hit the keyboard. I’m enthused about my story that has a drop-dead date to complete or I’m staring at a deadline to return a set of edits. Deadlines do help with motivation. However, there are days when I have my lovely month-ahead calendar sitting in front of me, with all the work parsed into numbers of pages to get me to the finish line within a very doable timeframe, when I look at it and think: But I don’t wanna. Not today.
This week is soooooo hard. It’s the last week of school for our four online students. Their mother and I have been their support/mentors/tutors all year long, bending our work schedules around theirs to make sure everything gets done.
Online schooling is hard. But we managed to help all four kids, 7 through 16-years-old, get through it. And we managed to have fun along the way, with family movie or game nights and special dinner rewards, and with limited excursions to the park or the flea market (large areas, few people). We’ve followed the rules and kept everyone healthy and happy for 14 months. We’ve drawn closer as a family because we had to be each others’ friends and playmates.
During all of this, I have managed to write. Not as prolifically as I did maybe eight years ago, but more so than I did three years ago. I carved out hours in my schedule to retreat to my “mole hole” and write.
So, why am I dragging ass lately? We’ve made it through a huge commitment. Next year, we’ll only have one child staying home because the rest have been vaccinated, and all of us have learned how to use a mask. Next year, should be easier, right? A cakewalk, really.
So, back to why I want to blow off today… There’s not anything special happening to draw my attention. I simply don’t want to open the files I need to open and bury myself in another world. I want to drink some coffee, sit on the back patio, and play some Charm King on my phone. Something that will add pages to write to all the days that follow.
In my brain, that seems like a wonderful tradeoff—until tomorrow morning comes.
I love this quote…
My answer today is tomorrow!
For a chance to win your choice of a download of one of my books, share a motivational quote or tell me how you deal with self-motivation. Are you a Last-Minute-Mary or do you do today so tomorrow is free?
Hello, my name is Anna Hague, and thank you to Delilah for letting me be a guest blogger.
As I’m sure many authors do, I get asked many questions about my creative process. Where do you get your ideas? How can you come up with so many stories? Are your characters hard to write? Where do you get your names?
Bingo! I think that may be one of the hardest parts of writing. Your characters’ histories and personalities are important, but their names have to be perfect for their character. I was once halfway through writing a book for a publisher, and it wasn’t working. I didn’t have a tight deadline, but nonetheless, I had a tentative deadline for a book I wasn’t happy with. What was wrong with it?
I read through the entire manuscript searching for the problem. Every time I read the hero’s name, I cringed. This guy wasn’t a Jason Mathews—not at all. His name removed every bit of sex appeal I knew this guy had. Who was he?
One evening, I was watching Dateline. I love analyzing where exactly the criminal went wrong in case I need to commit the perfect crime. The lead detective’s last name on this murder investigation was Caldera. The name danced into my brain, reclined on red velvet sheets all while eating 70 percent dark chocolate. Conjuring up images of my dark-haired hero with olive skin, the name Caldera personified who I wanted him to be.
Now, for the first name. This is where I have a treasure trove of possibilities. In my other job, I’m a sports journalist, and for the last several years I’ve taken a less stressful version of the job and do freelance reporting for our local high school sports. Every event I go to, I grab a program or lineup list. These team lineups are priceless, and almost every name I have in a book has come from these lists.
The women in my novels, written and to be written, include an Allee, Haley, Emma, Sabrina, Evangeline, Rose, Avery, Lily, and more. My men are Jamey, Cameron, Tyler, Keller, Devon, Adrian, Maverick and Jordan.
Maverick was perfect for Thunderstruck because it’s set at a ranch in South Dakota. When I was writing the paranormal story, I found two kids on the boys’ soccer team named Maverick and knew I had the right name. Who became Mr. Caldera? Jordan. Jordan Caldera replaced Jason Mathews, and then the story sizzled.
Still on my list of athletes are Cannon, Thunder (who incidentally batted back to back in the baseball lineup), Gator, and Tremor. These are real names, not nicknames, and somewhere there has to be a story for all of them, but right now, they’ve yet to wander onto the page. Right now, I’ve got a Rose and Aaron and a Devon and Lily to deal with.
Thank God for high school sports.
Check out the word search below and find ten names I mentioned in my character list. Email me with your answers, and I will choose a random winner for a $10 Amazon card. Contest ends June 1. Email me at email@example.com.
About the Author
Anna Hague spends part of her days in the writing cave creating her own spin on love stories. The other part of her days, she is a freelance sports reporter crafting stories about a variety of athletic events including high school, college, and professional level sports.
Anna reads all sorts of love stories, and she writes the same way. She has an erotic romance series with Wild Rose Press and has published the contemporary romance Heart Series and opened up the paranormal Storm Canyon Series with the first book Thunderstruck.
She lives in Central Indiana with her husband, three parrots, and two dogs.
Her motto: Creating different paths to love because different is the only way I know.