Shouting It From the Rooftops. . .Because I’m Happy!

Crazy Beautiful Lies is going out for professional editing in two weeks! I’m planning to have it ready for publishing by the middle to end of October. In the mean time here’s a sneak peak at the cover…SQUEEEE! I’m over the top excited about it and can’t wait for you all to see the reveal. (Coming Soon!!!)

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Meet the Characters:

Blake DeLuca. He’s a successful arrogant cocky playboy, who doesn’t like complication, but never walks away from a challenge. Women throw themselves at him, knowing his reputation he never sleeps with the same one twice. He’s done dispicable unforgivable things and on the outside he’s hard as nails. . .but on the inside he lives with soul shattering torment.

Jenna Capwell. She owns a charming bakery in New York City, has a witty, fun-loving personality and likes things simple. Until tragedy uncovers lies. She steps into the thrill of the moment, lives life to the fullest. . .carefree, wild, and reckless.

Blurb (still under construction)

Jenna Capwell has the perfect life with Ryan Williams, or so she thought. To give her closure on his betrayals she has a chance meeting with Blake DeLuca who mistakes her for a call girl from an elite escort service. On a whim she makes the decision to be reckless and carefree with her immediate attraction to Mr. Hot and Sex On a Stick. By chance, the cross paths again and the bad boy makes an offer for a no-strings “friends with benefits” relationship. Why not? Sizzling sparks fly in their wild affair and hearts become involved. . .Until she makes a decision bringing Mr. Bad Ass Blake DeLuca to his knees, one that changes the rules and suffers consequences. Can she survive another heartbreak and can he survive her betrayal?

Enjoy an excerpt of when Blake and Jenna first meet. (Not yet professionally edited)

***WARNING***ADULT CONTENT

The cab pulled into the circular drive, parking beside a shiny black sports car that screamed expensive. I sat in awe gazing at Colin’s home. The place resembled a freakin’ paradise, sitting in the middle of its own rainforest. Private and amazing. In the center of the pebbled drive, a beautiful tranquil fountain, larger than my living room encompassed soothing sounds to the eye and ear.

Loud music filled the air coming from inside the front door. I knocked twice and after no one answered, I realized coming unannounced wasn’t the brightest idea I’d ever had. I should have considered he might be entertaining since he’s one of the best attorneys in the country.

The taxi long gone, I stood in the October salty cool air, under wooden beams of the tuscan entrance. The enormous rich mahogany doors were huge compared to my five foot three small frame. A gentle breeze sailed across my skin and I inhaled the pleasant fragrant tropical flowers that lined a trellis above my head.

I fumbled around in my purse for my cell phone to call a cab. I’d decided to call him in the morning. I knew if at all possible, he’d make time to see me before I flew home tomorrow. Just when my fingers circled the device, the heavy door opened.

Holy. Hell. Hotness.

I had no clue who stood in front of me, and forgot about Colin. Frozen in place, and mesmerized, I took him in. . . every delicious detail. Standing at least six four, with light tanned skin, and emerald green eyes defined every girls dream. My insides burned like hot lava poured through them. Trying to swallow, I only gulped.

Everything about him spelled intense.

No shirt. . .day-um! What a six pack, maybe eight or twelve.

I scanned my eyes over his chest and rippled abdomen, down to the top of his jeans… and there it was, his perfect V. My gaze landed at the top of his jeans, top button still undone. With every heartbeat, my blood pulsed burning fire, sending tingles between my legs. I’d never been so turned on at first sight of someone.

I finally thought of Colin, but still couldn’t speak. I looked around his thick muscled corded arm searching for any sight of my friend. A minty smell mixed with cologne grab my attention back to him. This man could be on the cover of any men’s fitness magazine.

He leaned into the door frame folding his arms across his chest. Green eyes sparkled at me with amusement as I stared, and my skin flushed three shades of red. He cocked his eyebrow up and his lips curved into a delicious lazy smile. I took in his strong chiseled jaw and his messy damp jet black hair.

Probably just out of the shower. Him naked. . .just damn.

“You’re late, and I don’t like waiting.” He moved aside for me to enter.

Late? Kept him waiting? I tried to snap out out of my mesmerized stupor.

“Honey, come in. I don’t bite. Unless you’re into that.” He dragged his hand through his hair. The song changed and the tune was slow and sexy.

Like the fly drawn to the spider web, I stepped inside.

Finding my wits, I managed to ask, “Is Colin here?”

“No threesome tonight honey. Just me and you. The money’s on the bar in an envelope. Once we’re done you can see yourself out. I only want to fuck. I don’t want to get personal. This is just a fuck. Understand?”

Money?. . .Only want to fuck. . .just a fuck. . .He thinks I’m a hooker!

I gazed around the room and stared at the thick white envelope on the bar. So thick, I wondered just how much he was paying.

“It’s all there.” His voice cocky.

I held back a laugh and smiled. A no strings, carefree, reckless night was exactly what I wanted. What I needed.

Let the games begin. . .because, I’m all in!

If I had to name a song, describing how I feel. . .this is it!

Hope you enjoyed my snippets!  Until next time,

Kathryn James (KJ)

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No man is an island… by Cayenne Michaels

Entirely of itself,

Every man is a piece of a continent,

A part of the main.

John Donne

It’s something we take for granted in our everyday life. Most of us, at least. We might feel like eccentric outsiders. I can’t be the only one that has a tendency to occasionally withdraw from conversations, and the apparent lack of interest have caused some tense moments now and then. But you see, in my head an irresistible scene is taking form, where the most gorgeous man says the right words at the right moment, and I join my own heroine in a swooooon– Continue reading

Making Readers Cry

by BA Couture

In Lizzie Hermanson’s blog series on Writing Emotion, “For Crying Out Loud”, she gives examples of how several of her favorite authors write a scene in which a character cries. (If you’ve not read this blog, please do. It’s interesting and thought provoking.)

Ms. Hermanson finished her blog by asking the writing community how they make their characters cry. Here are my thoughts on tearful scenes, but focusing on the tears of readers. Continue reading

Fairy RE-tales by Emily Cooper

It’s no surprise, we all know how popular fairy-tales are, even more popular are these classics reworked. Maybe it’s Disney’s fault for planting them in our heads when we were young. After all, pretty much all stories have been told in some way, so as writers our job is to make the story our own. Give the classic a brand that no one else can. Adventures, slow burn romances, love triangles- all recipes that we just add our own ingredients too.

But today, I’m talking exclusively about fairy-tales. Mostly because the novel I’m working on intermittently is me reworking a classic, yet mildly obscure, fairy-tale. I’ve always loved original Grimm tales. But the bar set by some of the more popular ones, like Hanzel and Gretel or Cinderella, was just too high for a novice like me. What fresh face could I give these stories?

I decided instead of trying to find a fresh take on these stories, it would be better to bring the world a story they hadn’t heard a dozen times. That’s when I found the story that would be mine, The Girl Without Hands.

When it started, it was a short story that I was having fun with. It’s of the dark humor coin, which I think suits most Grimm tales. I posted it on Scribophile, almost as a goof. But what happened after people red lined the shit out of it is that, I realized people liked it as much as I did. They wanted more.

I’m on my third expansion now, so it will be a bit before I get it on Scrib again. (I have a side project). But during this reworking I’ve changed more, and it has me thinking about fairy-tales in general. When you are retelling a story, what is the most important thing to keep? When you watch the newest versions of your favorites, what sells it to you?

Now, some Grimm morals, might be a tad outdaresized_little-mermaid-meme-generator-the-little-mermaid-taught-me-that-you-should-do-anything-for-the-d-8b4b98ted, but is only keeping the core of the story important? If your ingredients change the cookie from oatmeal to chocolate chip, does it matter? As long as it’s your own and your moral?

I know that sounds like a silly question. But people have their preconceived notions about fairy-tales, and they aren’t always crazy about us coming along and changing things.

It might not help that not everyone gets dark humor, but that’s for next post… The Satire Wrtier Who Didn’t Understand Satire 😉

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Emily is a novice writer, she doesn’t have fancy mailing lists yet. But you can connect with her here for now =)

One Year Later—An author’s reflection—by Mika Jolie

Happy Publishversary to me! No, I didn’t coin that word, credit goes to a reader. I’m just borrowing it. Twelve months and three books later, here I am, an actual published author with a wonderful extended family, that includes readers, fellow writers, editors…the list goes on. I’m grateful and appreciate everyone that has become a part of my extended family.

And get this…next year, I actually start making public appearances. I’ve already booked three events. Gasp!

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Back on July 21, 2014, my first novel The Scale was published. To my surprise, people actually bought and read the book. My first novel.

Surprise

Now, you may ask why the surprise?

Well, here’s a list for you:

  • Minka has major self-esteem issues
  • She secretly pines for her twin sister’s fiancé
  • She’s rather on the selfish side (At least I think so. Others might disagree)
  • Then enters Jason—I’ll leave it at that (If you want to know what happened, The Scale is currently on sale for $0.99 until the end of August)

Book Cover - The Scale_Teaser

So what have I learned during this journey?

Well, people I may never meet  have become my extended family. The amount of support I received when my father became ill and since passed away was out of this world.

Be kind and genuine. Social karma and relationship serendipity goes a long way. No one wants to feel like they’re being sold to or only cross your mind when you need publishing advice.

Build your own platform—this is all about long-term marketing, building your brand and a platform for your books. A big part of that is having a polished, interactive website. Always refer readers back to your website. Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media are great as well, but they don’t belong to you. Rules are always changing and one day any of these social media tools may not be around.

This is my current website: www.mikajolie.com but it’s still getting a makeover. Check it out and let me know what you think. While there, sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch.

When it comes to writing, as you write your first draft say yes to every new idea, this is not the time for self-judgement and being critical. Let your creativity flow! As my old English teacher used to say, don’t try to fix things as you write that first draft, it’s like trying to run and tie your shoe laces at the same time.

Write Drunk, Edit Sober Hemingway

If your reader has to check the thesaurus every few words the meaning, power and beauty of what you are writing will be lost. By all means use an expanded vocabulary in your creative writing but show a little restraint. Readers want to fall into your writing, get lost in the world you paint – too many archaic words will get in the way. Though I must admit I have a thing for words like “Pulchritudinous”, “quaffed”, and “tincture”.

As for outlining—I am the worst! I say do what works for you. Some writers start with careful planning; others begin with a feeling or a single sentence and let it grow like crystals on a string. Sometimes work appear organically. Both methods work for different types of creative writers. Find what works for you!

Oh and there’s that whole marketing thingie…that may have to wait for my next publishversary.

Happy Writing!

Mika Jolie

mikajolie.com

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It’s all about you!

One question a lot of writers get is, “do you base your characters off real people?” Or, “who am I in your book?” It gets old after a while, as if we’re not creative enough to come up with realistic characters without stealing all our friends’ personality traits.

But here is the thing, if you are important to me, then yeah, there might be some Easter eggs hidden in there someplace that you would recognize.

The only character I have based directly off someone in my real life is my BFF, and I asked her before hand if she cared. So the BFF in my novel The Arrangement may seem very familiar to her (and to some extent her boyfriend in the book is reminiscent of her real life husband, because I think they are a super cute couple).

But besides that one very obvious example, there are lot of smaller ways I try and honor people I love in my writing. Examples?

Well, I gave my dad a little shout out in my newest work in progress, Standby. There’s a scene where the main character, Mira, is getting a performance review from her boss, Michelle. At one point Michelle says “Step up, throw some elbows, get your hands dirty.” That is an almost direct quote from the pep-talk my Dad would give me before every basketball game I played in middle school. He usually gave me this little speech right after ripping a book out of my hand and tossing it in the back seat, telling me to get my head in the game. Picture a cross between Jerry Garcia and Santa Clause (only nicer) doing that and you get the picture. Granted, the likelihood that my dad is going to read my erotic romance novel is slim to none. But still, the guy was a big influence on me and my love for reading, so it’s just nice to honor him even if he’ll never know it.

Another of my family members is recognized in Standby, my sister’s affectionate pet name for me as a child was butt-munch (I know, sweet isn’t it?) Well just so happens the main male character in the book has two brothers, one of whom uses the same nickname as my sister. I’m sure my other sister’s love for Star Trek will eventually find it’s way into a story, and Bon Jovi has gotten a mention or two in stories thanks to my brother’s status as their biggest fan.

Also, in almost every book/story I write there is a pivotal scene that takes place in a parking lot. Usually at night. Why? Because my darling husband proposed to me in a gravel parking lot, in the middle of the night, with no lights anywhere. That was one of the best moments of my life, and I like to immortalize it by making my characters’ first kiss or some other important event happen in a similar setting.

And of course, I like to sneak little pieces of me in every once in a while. Michelle’s love for The Princess Bride, mimosas, and really sweet coffee are all me. Mira’s penchant for stretching herself too thin and refusing help is me too, as is her love for Kenny Loggins (stop laughing).

But even though there may be elements of the people I love in my stories, in actuality these character kind of create themselves in my head. All I really have to do is put my fingers on the keyboard and they just start developing. At least when I’m lucky that’s how it happens.

Brandy Ayers
Smart, Sexy Stories to Make You Sweat
BrandyAyers.com
facebook.com/BrandyAyersAuthor
@BrandyWritesSex

Timeless

This is a crazy busy time of year for me – this year in particular. After having emergency surgery in June, my summer got completely screwed up as far as the things we were going to do in the first half of summer. This last half, I’m not quite sure how we got here, but it’s going to go fast. I don’t have but one free weekend all month – and I can’t exactly get out of any of it either. It’s all family stuff. Both of my girls have/had birthdays this week. The adult-sized girl was on the sixth, and the pint-sized one is actually today. Today, she turns the big THREE. And today is the party. At first when I was informed that this was my weekend in the line-up to post, I might have panicked a little.

ACK! I DON’T HAVE TIME! NOT ENOUGH TIME! So I asked around (very little) to see if someone would switch with me. Demi said she would if I needed her to, but then I started thinking about it. Even though I have a million other things to get done for this weekend, I could still do it. What’s a few hundred words after all? I wrote about 300 just a few days ago while chatting online with a couple of friends who were highly distracting. And it only took a few minutes.

So what did I do in the midst of doing the deep clean? Every couple of hours, I grabbed my laptop, and told my husband, “Five minutes. Time me!” and then buried myself in the bathroom for silence.

Trying to find time to write in the chaos of life can be tough. Sometimes, all I can get in are a few minutes at a time. Sometimes, not at all. Writing under any circumstances isn’t exactly easy. Sometimes the words flow like a raging river, sometimes more like a dried up lake bed that hasn’t seen a drop of water in over a hundred years. But… I’m still going to try and find those words in the time that I do find to squeeze in between making lunch for the kids, vacuuming up the spilled frosted flakes, and separating the screaming machines. But sometimes, all it takes is those few minutes. Waiting for the coffee to brew. It’s amazing how many “little moments” there are to hack out a few words on the keyboard. On the bus or train, if you ride the rails so to speak. At the bus stop or train depot while you await your version of the chariot. Sitting in the parking lot waiting for preschool to let out so you can bring your little one home and be bombarded with a million and one questions you don’t have an answer to.

But then there’s Tuesday nights. My NaNo MLs and I meet (almost without exception, except basically the month of June due to varying ailments – both human and transport) at a gamer shop to do nothing but write. Supposedly that’s why we go anyway. We often spend time chatting and giggling and having a fun-fest, and recently, because we’re all trying to lose weight, we go for a walk as well. But while we’re there and focused on the writing, (and gee, look, I’m already over 500 words!) we like to do timed bouts. We go for forty-five minutes, and then talk about it after. If we’re paying attention to the time, we’ll talk for fifteen minutes, and hop right back into another bout. We keep each other motivated, we keep each other honest. And sometimes, we have to say, “Stop that! You’re making the rest of us look like a bunch of lazy bums!”

I would do this on my own, but every time I say I’m going to, I forget to set the alarm, or get bored with it because the entire thing about the bouts that works for me is the competition of it. Or maybe not necessarily the competition, but rather the accountability. The other reason I don’t do them on my own is because I’m home and have two kids who demand my attention. Any time I sit down with the laptop, I feel like I’m in an interrogation cell being grilled by some disgustingly handsome detective. Or an absurdly awful looking one. I’m not sure which would be worse. But I’m off topic now.

Otherwise, even if I don’t end up doing timed bouts online with my NaNo pals (because if someone is on while I’m trying to work on a WIP, I’ll see if they’re up for a bout as well) I do still have my nights. I have some time scheduled in for writing every day. Mostly I take advantage of it. But when the rest of the house is quiet, after everyone else is in bed, I write to my heart’s content. Provided I don’t get distracted by what I like to call research but is really just scrumptious looking men on Pinterest.

But really, there are a lot of different ways to make time to write. Timed bouts with friends online – or alone. Regularly scheduled time. Whenever you can squeeze in a few minutes. Not bad for half an hour, including editing, huh?

Does music play a part in your writing?

I rarely listen to the radio. My house is surrounded by too many trees to allow good reception. My car is eleven years old and the radio is… well it’s no Bose stereo sound system,images (69) and since I have such a short drive to work, I usually don’t even bother turning the radio on.

So how do I listen to the hottest tunes? Like many, I utilize the latest apps which allow me to have awesome music right at my fingertips. With Pandora, Google Play Music and Shazam I search for anything I want to hear and create playlists on my phone.

Usually the music I listen to has a direct connection to what I’m writing. The playlist for my current story features songs I added because they remind me of my characters, or jams I can see my characters dancing to at a club.  On several occasions I’ve come across a song that just feels like it goes with my story, many of which contain lyrics appropriate for my characters’ relationship.

Many times I’ll do a search for something specific. For instance my MMC created a playlist for the first time he and FMC spent the night together. If any of you are familiar with my current WIP you know Jesse is very um… self-assured. He created his playlist in anticipation of their special night, not hoping he and Eliana would get together, but knowing. It was just a matter of time. So what songs would Jesse include on this playlist? Marvin Gaye obviously. The list featured Sexual Healing  and Let’s Get It On. Very Jesse. Also on this special list is was Making Love by Usher, the raunchy but intriguing Closer by Nine Inch Nails and We Can Make Love by SoMo.

images (70)So what do I do with this playlist once I have it? I listen to it not just while I’m working on the story, but also while I’m working at my other job. I listen while doing laundry or just relaxing and sometimes I get ideas. I even listen at night in bed. I let the music play to my subconscious while I sleep in the hopes that I’ll wake up with some brilliant scene.

Some writers feel that listening to music while they work helps them focus. Some, like myself use music to help set a mood.

So what about you? Does listening to music help you create your story? Do you have a specific playlist for your current characters?

I always love the new book best, by May Burnett

Today is a joyful date for me, as it marks the publication of my 11th historical romance since the first one appeared in June 2014.  A Priceless Gift is set in 1811/12, the time when Napoleon was preparing his ill-fated attack on Russia. My hero is a diplomat as well as a nobleman, and spends the middle part of the book on a confidential mission to the Czar’s court in St. Petersburg, while Amanda, his young and pregnant wife, stays at his principal seat in Hampshire. To celebrate this event I’ll indulge in a short author interview with my writing self.
Can one write so many books so quickly without sacrificing quality?
Yes and no. I would not have published any book if I were not happy with it, but I am coming to appreciate the editing and proofreading stages more than I did when I set out. I plan to re-edit some of my earlier works as I go along, to make sure that the Createspace versions I shall put out over the next few months are as perfect as I can manage. And I may insert a couple of additional scenes into one of my earlier works, to give greater stress to the love story.
Do you ever run out of ideas for new plots? After all the Regency category has a fairly rigid formula.
No, there is not the slightest danger of running out of ideas. If all else fails, I like to transpose present-day problems to the past, where the resolution would be rather different. Each of my books so far is quite different from the previous ones. The new one, for instance, has gothic elements (revenge, poison, superstition) not to be found in my previous works.
You like to use young lovers in every book. Don’t they tend to become similar types?
Not so far. I have a fairly clear idea of my characters’ background and priorities, their interests and values by the time I begin to write a book. Each of them is their own man (or woman). My most recent book is also different because the hero is rather older than in my previous books, in his late thirties.
You use alternating, close third POV. Do you prefer to write from the male or female POV?
The male one is marginally more fun because men had more liberty and possibilities in the period where I set my novels. I like to use interior monologues and self-deception, rationalisations, useless determination, and so on, for both men and women. This may add distance on occasion but in a Regency you don’t necessarily need one-hundred-percent identification with any one character.
What are your weak points?
I prefer to regard them as areas where I can still improve. I must strive to add more atmospheric description to my scenes. Since I tend to focus most on my character’s thoughts and dialogue, description is sometimes neglected. Also, I don’t always make as much out of their pain and anguish as I should, perhaps because I feel pity for their sufferings. And I need to work on action scenes, which don’t come so naturally to me.
What comes next, after this book? Is it part of a series?
No, A Priceless Gift is a standalone, though I am toying with the idea of writing a sequel about the heroine’s younger sister Eve. I already have a suitable cover and title, so all that is needed is to write her story… but that will have to wait. My next project is part of my longest ongoing series, the Amberley Chronicles. It is two-thirds written at this point, about an heiress fleeing from mysterious attacks with a young officer that she’ll be forced to marry later in the book to safeguard her reputation. By the end, of course, both will be reconciled to their situation.
After that comes the third and final volume of my Winthrop Trilogy. The heroine’s character and backstory are a special challenge, and I am still trying to think of a good title.

How profitable are these Regencies?

In the current year they have netted me between 1000 and 3000 dollars per month. I am planning to experiment with various marketing strategies, starting with the addition of Createspace versions. But the most important thing is to keep writing and publishing new books on a fairly quick schedule.

Anything else you would like to add?

The first volume of the Winthrop Trilogy, Lady Susan’s Bargain, will be free from August 1 to 5th  2015. Anyone reading this, I would appreciate if you downloaded a free copy! And for suscribers of Kindle Unlimited, all my historical novels are enrolled, so you can sample them at your leisure. Enjoy! 9 A Priceless Gift 3D large