Monday, July 30, 2012

Storm Clouds Spark Creative Energies

I love the monsoon season when big, fluffy, grey storm clouds move in and rain cools the temps down to the manageable nineties. You can scent the moisture in the air and the electricity all around.
These are my most exciting times to write. I use a laptop so there are no worries about power surges, so I welcome the drizzle of rain and use it as a backdrop to refresh my mind and creative energies.
Okay, so I'll admit that I've even gone out and stood in the rain a time or two. There is such sensation on the skin. It's an almost magical moment to feel the raw power of Mother Nature. I don't advise going out if there is lightning, though. I believe the rule is if you can hear thunder, then you can be struck by lightning. Just as friendly heads up there.
I think many authors feel energized by storms. I don't know what it is, but there is no denying the effect. I can write far more pages when it's raining outside, then when it's a clear day. I have more clarity with my characters and the action scenes are twice as exciting.
Have you ever stood outside with your eyes closed as a storm is approaching? Felt the wind against your skin, weaving through your hair, the scent of rain tickling your nose. You feel a million different sensations all at once. You feel infinite and finite at the same time. Not to mention that storms are the greatest times to write sex scenes!
My apologies if I've gotten off topic. Rain is predicted for the next few days and it just got me thinking how wonderful Mother Nature can be, and how she serves up such profuse doses of life energy for us to consume.
Good writing and good reading to all!
Mary

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Committed a Writing Sin, Now I'm Concerned

After submitting a romantic novella to a publisher, I can't help wonder if it was the right thing to do. Why, you ask? Well, the story took me to an interesting place when it came to sex. Yes, I committed a writing sin and wrote a closed-door sex scene.
There is the lead up to the h/h intimate encounter and the hero leaves no doubt that he wants the heroine, but there is no actual sex scene. Now, I can't help think that the story will be rejected based on this.
I wish I could explain the reasoning behind writing a closed-door sex scene, but the best that I can say is that this is where the story and characters led me. Something about them caught me off guard, and I didn't feel right showcasing their love-making. I didn't think it'd be awkward, just too intimate to write. That must sound silly coming from an author.
The notion is even stranger for me considering I've written both erotic romance and erotica. I have no problem writing a sex scene. I can't help wonder if other authors have ever gone through this.
How is it possible to have written scorchingly hot sex scenes in other books and have this book be so different?
I suppose the best thing I can do is to reread the story again, and really look with fresh eyes on the sexual content. I hate to take the time to do this as I believe that the story is excellent as it is, but my opinion matters for nothing if a publisher doesn't agree. *sigh*
Guess now we all know how I'm planning to spend my weekend. Yes, the glamorous life of a romance author. Lol. In fairness, rereads and edits may suck, but they make a difference when it comes to the quality of a book.
Well, I'm off to the trenches! *marching music*….
Mary

Monday, July 23, 2012

Beware: Who Owns that Picture?

The debate on ownership of pictures has become a hot topic lately with the growing popularity of sites like Pinterest. Personally, I'd think that so long as the photo isn't being used in a negative connotation then what's the harm?
I'll say up front that I don't use Pinterest or even Facebook. I simply have no interest in them. Twitter and now Blogger is about as social as I get. Lol. Terrible yes, but I'm just a private creature at heart.
So, what's at the heart of the issue with posting pictures? Well, it appears to come back to who owns the intellectual rights to that photo. I can somewhat understand this issue. If I were a professional photographer, then yes I wouldn't want to see my work displayed without permission or compensation. That is their livelihood after all. Much the same way that I don't want pirates taking my book and giving it away on their "sharing" sites.
Today I have a blogpost up at Nocturnal Nights that originally contained a picture of a very famous female author. She's someone that I admire and the mention of her was positive, but trepidation got the better of me. After some thought, I went back and took out the picture for fear the author might not like it displayed. I don't want to be sued. I did leave her name in the blog. You can click on Here to read.
So, who is right in this debate over pictures? Is it the safest thing to simply pay for those photos you want to use? That gets expensive very quickly.
I wonder if the fact that people are now being threatened with lawsuits over pictures, eventually put an end to sites like Pinterest? I think the site originally started out as a great way to share interesting things with friends, but now the pictures that you pin may put you in jeopardy.
No one likes a pirate, but is that what people who post pictures are? I certainly don't think of them as such. If an up and coming cover model wants attention, shouldn't he be glad for his picture on a blog listed under *sexy men* or some such?
 Love to hear everyone's thoughts, being that I am so new to this issue. It's a complex one to be sure.
Mary

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Write Across Genres and Become a Success through Marketing

Anyone who's read my writing knows that I'm not one to stay in one genre. While it's true that the fastest way to build your career is to be known in one genre such as paranormal romance, I'm not convinced.
I've written contemporary suspense erotica, dystopian romance, and those previous books all received a bump in sales when I put out my fantasy erotic romance. So, there are ways to write across genres.  
The most important thing when writing in more than one genre is to define your niche market for that specific book. What are the fundamentals that comprise your book? For example, in Love's Demon Ways, I tackled the elements of a woman having a broken heart and being reckless by having a one night stand. What woman can't relate to this behavior on some level? Therefore, I can specifically market this book not only toward paranormal romance readers, but single women and erotica readers as well.
Writing across genres does take more work and effort than staying in one genre, but if this is who you are, then the readers will follow for love of your voice. Let's take romance readers for example. I would venture to say that most do not read in one genre of romance. I love reading Gena Showalter's books paranormal series as well as Lori Foster contemporaries. 
Writing across genres has another benefit. You're able to reach more readers. Market elements of your book to specific groups in order to draw them in. While readers of true life animal stories might not read a romance, a romance book containing animals they might give a try. Be bold and market to those readers that might otherwise pass over your book. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool. Especially, when you've introduced a new reader to your work and they never would have thought to read your book in the first place. They're excited and want others to know what they've discovered.  
What's important is to entice the reader and deliver on your promise of what the book will give them. Romances, we generally want hot sex and a happily ever after or happy for now book. Romance authors are marketing; love, passion and hope, so we must deliver on those feel good feelings. 
Need to know more about marketing? Check out Marketing for Romance Writers. They have great advice and a supportive and informative yahoo loop as well.  
Everyone is welcome to contribute additional advice in comments. I venture to say that most of us authors never stop learning, and love when others share tidbits of great knowledge. What's worked for you as an author?
Mary

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Going to MFRW Summer Camp, are you?

I'm planning for a busy weekend this July 14th and 15th. Yes, I'll be attending the Marketing for Romance Writer's Summer Camp. There are several things I love about this event that everyone is able to attend.
1)      IT'S ONLINE – I don't even have to change out of my pj's or brush my hair, much less do the makeup and nice shoes thing. It'll be held entirely online on a yahoo group.
2)      FREE – It's free to attend. Just sign up for the mfrw group and you're ready to go.
3)      MORE THAN ROMANCE – This camp will feature discussions on social media and marketing as well. I'm personally looking forward to the discussion time about Triberr, and twitter. I'm also looking forward to the blogging 101 class.
4)      RESOURCES – The Mfrw group has been a favorite yahoo group of mine for a long time, and once you join you can also go to the links on the left sidebar and find great resources on almost everything related to writing and promotion.
5)      SUPPORT – I have not found a more supportive and professional group that I can turn to for technical help than this one. No question is stupid and everyone is eager to help. When I needed technical answers and help with my blog, this is the group I turned to. I still need help with learning Triberr, so this is a perfect event.

Here is the link for the MFRW Schedule. See what classes you'd like to attend and then join the MFRW yahoo group. It's that easy.
Who else will be attending this weekend?  Of course, if you can't attend, you can always join and read through messages later. That's the beauty of a yahoo group.
Oh, here are two tips if you are attending:
1)      Trim messages – If you ask a question, or reply, please remember to trip off the original portion of the message so only your contribution shows, otherwise the message gets too long.
2)      Set your membership to Special notice, or Digest if you don't want tons of Individual emails that day. Special Notice will only send you an email notice when a new class is starting.
Okay, I'm off to get snack supplies, and decided some easy to microwave meals for the weekend. If you have any other questions that I might be able to answer, please ask. I'll answer or point you in the right direction, anyway.  J
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
Mary

Friday, July 6, 2012

Character Deaths from PMS

Okay, so I admit I may have killed off a character or two while suffering the monthly effects of PMS. Is that so bad? It isn't as if I don't bring them back or anything. I do write in the paranormal genre after all, so resurrections aren't impossible.
Please understand that I'm not impossible during these times. Yes, I'm a bit bloated, so I may cause the hero to trip stupidly on a rug right in front of the heroine…but I don't break his leg. If I'm at all short-tempered, which I say I'm not, then perhaps the hero may get stabbed by a bad guy. He's not invincible, so it happens. If I have tender boobs…well, I can tell you that the hero isn't getting any lovin', so he might as well just handle it by himself for a while. Lol. Yeah, that one's mean but I liked it.
Isn't it natural though that an author share some of their daily emotions with their characters?
So, in Dhampir Passions my hero, Radu, was held captive by a female vampire. I may have been feeling a bit female dominant at the time. Well, see for yourself with this small excerpt.
A cold body rubbed itself sinuously against Radu, cool hands caressing his face and neck. The unnatural sensation brought him around to the distasteful circumstances of his captivity.
He opened his eyes to the sight of the vampiress he’d recently fought, writhing naked against him. Both his arms were stretched out, silver chains entwined with Christ’s Thorn holding him immobile. His wrists bled where the thorns pierced through. The razor-like, slate stone wall scraped his naked back raw with each breath.
“My master will be pleased you’ve awakened,” the vampiress cooed.
I seem to remember that in Love's Demon Ways I actually put my hero, Ren, into a type of demonic coma because my heroine had left him. Yeah, I believe cramps may have gotten the better of me that day, as I thought he should suffer for not thinking of a way to keep her. He irritated me, what can I say. (shrug) He suffered in the coma too, bad dreams and such. Yeah, definitely cramp based writing.
Hmm, I'm starting to think this doesn't reflect well on me. What do you think, readers? I mean, if the hero eventually makes it out alive and gets to keep the woman of his dreams, then am I not entitled to inflict a little pain when suffering my own physical woes?
Wait! I recall reading, Seducing the Hero by Kari Thomas, where the hero was actually run over by the heroine's pets. I believe the poor man even had his face sat on by a particular animal. Could that scene have been related to a physical ailment such as PMS? Maybe she'll pop over and fess up.  ;-)
I can honestly admit that I have never written a story where the hero had to deal with a PMS-ing heroine. That just seems too cruel. Besides, I just know he'd do something stupid around her and I'd have to kill him, so why write myself into that particular corner.
Anyone else wish to admit to inflicting a little pain, either during that time of the month or just a bad day? Come on, I know I'm not the only author with an evil streak. I read too, you know. Lol.
If you wish to confess what you've done to a character or two, remember to leave the name of your book in which this wickedness occurred. We all enjoy new good reads.
Mary


For serious information and to learn more about PMS and women's health you can go to http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.cfm