Friday, February 22, 2013

Romance Readers, What's Your Preferred Length of Story?

I've been considering this topic for some time as I watch short stories become popular and the price of full novels being debated. When I say "full novel" I mean something above 70K words. I'm sure there will be discussion of that word count, but for now let's allow that to be the guide. In short stories I'm referring to anything under 20K words. Again, let's not get mired in the numbers.
 Readers, if an author wrote a short story series of 20K words with a new release every few months would you buy the ebooks? Perhaps just three short books.
I love writing short stories and novellas. It's fun to condense all that action into something someone could read in an afternoon.
Romance is more difficult to write, of course, due to the fact that readers like a happily-ever-after by the end of the story. I know that I do. I want to know these characters will be together forever. Or I at least want to believe that they will be because they appear to belong with one another.
I enjoy reading full novel serieses from authors such as Gena Showalter and JR Ward among others. However, those books have so many characters that a full novel is a necessity for the reader to get an understanding of all the characters and not just the hero and heroine.
In short stories and novellas, a hero and heroine are more center stage and there are fewer secondary characters.
So then readers, what's your preferred length: Short story series, novella series, or novel series?
Just a reminder: I am at Tabby's Nocturnal Nights on Saturday the 23rd (tomorrow). Stop by and let's talk social issues in books. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do Pictures Help Writers Flesh Out Characters?

Do you ever cut out pictures of your hero and heroine before writing a story?
I own plenty of romance magazines as well as Cosmo and a few naughtier magazines from which to cut out pictures of men and women. This better allows me to visualize my hero and heroine. I try to cut out pictures from the waist up otherwise it's just distracting. Lol. Sorry, little dirty humor there.
Anyway, I'll also cut out settings from travel magazines, as well when I'm working on a specific place. This helps because I'm not a big traveler. My imagination will fill in the blanks from there.
So, do you visualize characters in your mind, or decimate magazines as I do? Once I've cut out these pictures, I tape them to a piece of paper along with a brief description of certain characteristics I need to remember such as height, etc. From there, the pictures go up on my wall, so I can briefly peruse them as I write a story.
It can be time consuming to find the right picture, and often times you have to settle for something less, but it's always a good idea to have a visual aid at hand when writing. At least, it's been my experience that these things are helpful.
I've heard other writers say they write out long histories for their characters. An excellent idea for those who can do such. Personally, the technique doesn't work for me. I know their back-story, but don't need to know who they had a crush on when they were twelve, unless it relates content to my current storyline.
Remember, if you use pictures not to get mired in finding just the right one. Picture cutting is an involved process and may take away vital writing time if you don't keep it to a reasonable amount. You don't want to spend weeks searching for a picture when you could be writing instead.
One of my current WIPs is a wolf shifter romance that takes place in a dystopian world. Yeah, a lot going on, but the point is that I have a picture of a gorgeous man I use for inspiration. For writing, not anything else. Lol. Hmm, maybe that was just my dirty mind again.
Anyway, what's your best way to flesh out the characters of your story?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Author Spotlight: Shifter Romance Author, Kari Thomas

Readers, this wonderful President's Day weekend I'm doing an author spotlight on a dear friend and one of the best romance writers I've ever read: Kari Thomas.
Okay, maybe I'm biased as she's a dear friend, but there is no denying that her characters catch you from page one and leave you sighing at the end. If there is ever an author that I aspire to be like it would be Kari. Maybe her and I being friends makes me partial to her writing, so I'll share my favorite books with you readers and you can judge for yourself.

My first favorite book is Temptation Unleashed. Here's a partial blurb to enjoy.
Something wild this way comes…
Once a powerful, practicing Wiccan, Kira Douglas has reluctantly moved to wild and beautiful Sedona, Arizona for only one reason—assume custody of her dead sister’s daughter. She immediately runs into an obstacle. The child’s uncle, the disturbingly sexy Aiden Calhoun, refuses to give her up.
Aiden has good reason for not allowing Kira custody of his precious niece. The child is half witch, half shapeshifter. Allowing her to take the girl could expose the family’s shapeshifting secret he has spent a lifetime protecting.
Their instant attraction isn’t just an inconvenient temptation. It could put his entire family in danger.

Yes, this book is hot and exciting as these characters spark on one another like tinder. This is always an enjoyable book to read and reread.

My second favorite is a unique dragon shifter romance titled Surrender Her Touch. Here's the blurb for this one.
Surrendering her touch could be fatal; will she chose her own life over the lives of her enemies? When a shocking truth uncovers secrets from her past, Summer is faced with life or death situations. Should she accept what has been revealed and give of her healing power to the very dragon shapeshifters who destroyed her family or should she run as fast and as far as she can? What about the too-sexy-for-his-own-good dragon shifter who has stolen her heart and soul--the very man who will not let her say 'No' to her deadly destiny?

If she surrenders, will she lose more than just her heart and soul? Will the shifter she loves stand by and let her sacrifice everything?

Both books are available in print format which I love. I love to read books on my kindle but a treasured book has to be in paperback, but maybe that's just me.
Which Kari Thomas book is your favorite or will you be reading your first one from her this weekend?
Me? I have a date with a blank page, but if I do it right, I might just find a sexy man waiting to be fleshed out. Hmm, somehow that turned out smutty sounding. Lol. I blame it on Kari and her steamy writing.  J
Happy reading,

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How Do You Romance A Man on Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day usually has an emphasis on women and couples, but today I'm focusing on the men we women love so much. Romance doesn't have to be about money. No, what matters is the consideration and thought you put into romance. Men value romance differently than women. A man appreciates a considerate gesture over monetary gifts like flowers and candy. So, what can we, as women, do to put a little romance in our man's life?  
The key to romancing a man is FUN.
Massages: Yes, men love massages. It makes them feel cared for and helps them to relax. Ladies, don't give your man to another woman's hands, perform the massage yourself. He'll appreciate the consideration. You don't have to be trained; you just have to want to please him.
Have him lie down and start with his shoulders and work your way down. It isn't about seducing him though if he relaxes enough, he may want to take things that direction. The key is that is about him with no expectations of reciprocation.
Sexy Notes: These must be a bit more flirty and specific than those a woman might appreciate. Men like specifics. Put a note in his briefcase, or simply put it on top of his wallet before he leaves for work. Short and sexy gets the job done, and if he smiles or laughs, that's good too.
 I want to taste you.
I dreamt of you last night. Mmmm
Can I join you in the shower tonight?
I've misplaced my panties. Do you have them?
I'll be touching myself today as I think of you.
Make your own Valentine Card: Yes, we all remember cutting hearts out of red construction paper. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to make him a Valentine that says all you need to say and still keep the costs low. In addition, psychologically it'll take him back to those days of his youth when life always seemed much simpler.
A personalized Valentine Card can also be combined with the next suggestion if you'd like.
Send him to a Sporting Event: Men love sports. If you have the money, buy him two tickets to his favorite game and suggest he take a friend. Present him with the tickets on Valentine's Day. No ladies, we aren't going with him. Men need male bonding time, and this is an acknowledgement of that need to show that we understand him.
Here's wishing all you ladies great success with romancing your man this Valentine's Day. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
Men, don't be shy, what would you like your women to do for you for Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Importance of Love in an Author's Life

The approach of Valentine's Day has me thinking on what it means to truly love someone. We as humans are creatures in need of companionship. We have desires we act upon, but there is a deeper need within us all that has to do with bonding with someone on a soulful level.
Falling in love is exciting. It's filled with discovery when we are able to connect with someone we find attractive. That first date is almost magical as we learn more about the person. The best first date I ever had was with a friend. I'll never forget that night. It isn't what you might think. We spent the majority of the night just talking, as if we'd never talked before. It was intimate on a level I'd never experienced. Thinking of him makes me smile, even today.
Anyway, as we near Valentine's Day I'm reminded how important love is to humanity. We are not gifted with an infinite time, so we must make the most of the time we have with those we love. It is a beautiful gift to be told, "I love you" and is something that should be said without ulterior motives.
Finding that special someone to love, can often take time but it's never too late to fall in love. Connections happen on a daily basis. So long as you don't compromise your integrity or denigrate you worth, you will find that special someone to love you as you deserve.
Love isn't about money or gifts, it's about honor. The heart requires that we find its equal and for that person to be worthy of our love. It's better to wait for the right one, than waste your life with the wrong one.
Never be discouraged by a lack of romantic love in your life. So long as there is breath within you, love is possible. If the love has fizzled in your relationship, remember that your hearts once spoke to one another, so get them talking again.
This is why I write romance. I believe in love and all the wonderful things it brings to a life. Whether I love one man or many in my lifetime, I will always be willing to share my heart with the man strong enough to love me.
Happy reading, 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Authors: Avoid Social Media Scams

Due to the sheer ways and means of social media that an author might traverse in their day, I've done this blog to provide awareness of scams going around. Indeed, I've experienced these nasties myself. Beneath each scam is a safety tip to help you deal with it. Skepticism is your best friend when on the internet.
Internet scams on Twitter: Comes from a follower/friend's account
"Bad pictures are being posted of you." Link to pic included
"This person is saying bad things about you." Link included

Tip: Those on Twitter will recognize the above tweets or some variation there of. These are dangerous to your computer's security. Don't ever click on the link. The message usually comes as a direct message. If in doubt, contact the person on the twitter stream and ask if they DM'd you.

Internet scams via Yahoo groups:      

"Dear friend's, I am stuck overseas (in such and such country) and need your help. I've lost all my money and am in desperate need. If you can help please wire a few dollars."

Tip: Again, there will be variations of this one, but when it comes to your Yahoo groups it's a scam. Authors don't put out public pleas to wire money. Sorry to say but you can't let your big heart make the decision. Don't ever wire money to someone you haven't met in person or can't contact directly.
1)      Beware: This scam can also come via email.

Internet scams via Email:

This last one is my favorite and most recent. It supposedly came from fdic(dot)gov. Yeah right!

"Dear Sir, We regret that we will be freezing your accounts due to insufficient security. If you would like to resolve this issue we recommend you install the following software to restore your accounts. Please click on this link. (The word link is a hyperlink so you won't see where it's from)

Tip: First off, Don't panic! The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) does not send you links to update your security. You, as an individual, are not that important to a large government agency. Think about it. Second, freezing accounts are a legal matter and happen in courts first.

Those are my tips for a safer experience against scams. Please feel free to mention scams you know or tips to stay safe in the comments section. When living the Romance Author Lifestyle we must traverse the traps others set for us.

Good writing to you,

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What Military Memoirs Teach Us about Writing and Life

At the moment I am engrossed in the book, My Share of the Task by Retired General, Stanley McCrystal. It's not the first military memoir I've read. A few months ago I was reading American Sniper by Chris Kyle, late into the night.
Sadly, Chris Kyle was killed on a shooting range on Saturday, February 2nd 2013. He was a great American and will be missed. Click here for the story.
These books of such great men of history are some of the most engrossing and engaging reads that I know. They give us a glimpse into the difficult choices and true strength of the warriors who protect our land.
While I write in the paranormal erotic romance genre, my reading tastes vary greatly as it does for most authors. I have never attempted to write a book with military characters. I don't feel I would do them true justice, even if the story is mostly as a romance novel. The story simply wouldn't be good enough.
Military memoirs amaze me. Perhaps it's because I so respect the men and women of the U.S. Military for what they do, or it may be that I love to peek into the back room of recent history. Finding out tidbits of knowledge I might never know otherwise. Either way, I am not entranced by the battles they've fought, but by the character of the men.
Reading about these men and the life and death decisions they make every day when the U.S is involved in a conflict, makes me realize the quality of professional we have in our military. They are humble yet fierce, passionate about making the right choices and living their life to a higher standard.
I think the one thing I learned from reading military memoirs is that perseverance is not an option but a requirement. Life doesn't wait for you to be ready for a challenge; it gets in your face and threatens to drown you. Sometimes it's because you've allowed something unhealthy into your life and other times because it's time for you to advance to the next stage of your existence. A trial by fire if you will.
I've heard authors struggle with writing. Bad reviews bruise us, our muse deserts us, submissions are rejected over and over. I myself have experienced these things. I've even questioned whether to keep trying to write when I just feel dry and uninspired. At those dark moments I go back to what I know will soothe me. So, I read.
I read the memoirs of men who perseverance in life has impacted history itself. I read the memoirs of men who would lay down their lives for us, even as we don't give our full support to them. They set a standard of honor few of us will ever achieve in our lives.  
While I don't know whether I'll ever have a place in history with my erotic romance stories, I do know that to stop writing is akin to surrender, and that is something a warrior who works his craft, does not do.
 So, makes friends in the writing community and seek advice, eat ice cream if you need to, (at times) feel sorry for yourself, but never surrender and stop writing. This is the craft we work, and we must never allow ourselves the convenience of failure.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Thoughts on February, Valentine's Day and Romance

Welcome to February, the month of romance!
It's time to make plans to treat that loved one to something special on Valentine's Day this Thursday, February, 14th.
Will it be candy and roses?  Despite the day falling on a weeknight, there are still plenty of romantic things that can be enjoyed.
Will you treat your lover to a little something special every day, be a little more spontaneous in your kisses, or perhaps just let them have the t.v. controls a little more often? Romance doesn't have to be complicated, this we women know.
Considerate gestures such as a kiss on the neck in the morning or a foot massage are easy ways to have a small romantic moment every day. Rub your lover's shoulders as they cook dinner. Tweak them on the butt before leaving the room. Let's not forget that elevators are a great place to be a little mischievous. The rush of a kiss in private before the doors open is excellent fun.
How about reading a particularly spicy scene from a romance to your lover? Men prefer the sex scenes. Reminds me how popular Clandestine Eyes is with my male readers. You never go wrong with an oral scene with men. *wink* Women more often want an emotionally connected romance scene, so if you're a man, let your lady-love pick the scene in a book and read it to her in bed or in the bath.
Little things that say "I desire you" are sometimes better than more elaborate gestures of affection. There are plenty of men who prefer the elaborate, as demonstrated by the number of marriage proposals on Valentine's Day as well.
Whatever your pleasure, make sure to enjoy February and do something kind and loving toward the one you share your heart with. Such gestures are never unappreciated.
Romantic reading,