I did it! by Cayenne Michaels

I actually did it!

And I think it’s taken me almost up to now to realize it.

A couple of weeks ago I packed up my whole house. Well, technically the brick building is still standing, but I stashed all our belongings into the spare guest room and basement. Then I jumped on a plane to move halfway across the world. To study literature. Continue reading

Advertisements

Romantic Subplots, by May Burnett

One good thing about being a writer of romance is that it helps with most other genres, which are usually enhanced by a romantic subplot, no matter what the genre.

Of course in a hard-boiled noir thriller the love interest may be killed off (a big no-no in actual romance) or turn out to be a bad guy or both; in science fiction or mysteries the romance, if it is there at all, may be very subtle and drawn out over several volumes. But no matter how much or little romance you add to the mix, how explicit or low-key the love or sex scenes, the experience of having written romance stories or novels can only help. Continue reading

Hidden treasures by Cayenne Michaels

Let’s talk about inspiration.

Namibrand 1

Where does it come from? Is it stored inside of us and stirred awake when we encounter something in our everyday life that brings out this hidden treasure we never knew we carried?

Or, is it handed to us, as a gift, by someone or something that has you or me are the perfect person to see its true potential?

Elizabeth Gilbert says:

The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

Have you found any yet? Please…share them with us in the comments field. As writers I think we all know how to appreciate them. We know how precious these discoveries are. Continue reading

Writer’s resolutions 2016 by Cayenne Michaels

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

(called out in a, hopefully, cheerful voice)

I’m so not the right blogger to write the festive season post.

I’m traumatized by childhood memories of polishing silver, cleaning the porcelain and hurting my back from pulling out the couch to remove the colony of dust balls that had sought shelter there since last Christmas. They knew it was the only place in the whole house where they’d be safe from the vacuum cleaner until next year’s Christmas clean. These were just a few of the points on Mom’s endlessly long list of Things to Do and we worked our asses off up to the afternoon on Christmas Eve.

When dusk finally settled and Mom could do nothing more than fret over her mother-in-law (also called The Dragon) and stare through the foggy glass front of the stove, as if she could will the pork rib to roast to perfection, the rest of the family (except The Dragon, I suspect) would sigh in relief and silently vow to eat whatever came out of that stove, regardless how burnt or raw it was. (It took me a while, but as an adult I’ve realized the pressure of catering for a mother-in-law who’s keen to grade everybody’s effort, and why my dad would insist he’d have to make certain the aquavit (Norwegian schnapps) was still drinkable, long before the dinner guests arrived.) Continue reading

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

Bundu bashing through a jungle of languages by Cayenne Michaels

It’s a bit ironic that I, as one of the few non-Americans on this blog, have the privilege of wishing all the rest of you a happy 4th July. But here you go: HAPPY 4th July to all of you from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Joburg, South Africa.

If it hadn’t been for a kind soul reminding me, I’d probably forgotten about it altogether. Which, I suppose, in a way, would be quite fitting for this post because it’s about different set of references in a way. Continue reading

Editing: A Love/Hate Relationship

Last week if you had asked me if I liked to edit, I would have replied “Hell, no!”. This week, ask me again and I’ll be happy to say, “Hell, yes!” All along, I considered editing to be a necessary evil, but a required step toward perfecting a novel. So you ask, “What made you change your mind, KJ?”

images

Before I answer, I think it’s only fair you have a little background on Kathryn James. For one, I don’t have a lot of patience and like instant gratification. Second, I like to plan everything and yet I don’t plot a single story. I still haven’t figured out how that one works. I mean how can I panster write when I plan my entire week on a calendar. Continue reading

Jungle fever

I have been on my first ever research trip for a work of fiction. Officially it was called a holiday, otherwise my Other Half and travel companion might have objected, but our travel route was, to large extent, determined by my story and what I needed to know about the eastern part of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

Here’s the thing. My female main character works on the Andaman Coast of Thailand. I know the area fairly well. Her love interest, Nick, is a wildlife photographer and he’s supposed to be somewhere else. The long distance and time apart is a strain in their relationship. I needed him out of the way for long periods of time, but perhaps not on the other side of the globe. So I checked the map, considered where I could put him. Which places did I know well enough to be able to add convincing sensory details to my story? Continue reading

The awakening of a newbie writer

I started writing on Christmas Day 2013. It was my first day off in ages. I woke up from the chirping weavers outside the bedroom window and enjoyed knowing that there was no rush. And as I was lying there, dozing, my mind started to puzzle jigsaw pieces of different scenes or daydreams together into one large picture. Five years of day dreams and silly fantasies had, in an hour on Christmas Day, turned into one (awfully long) story. Continue reading

A lion’s tooth – using own experiences in writing

I was going to write about writing fiction in a second language, like English is for me. But sometime during the day that plan disintegrated and I decided to rather focus on how I feed own experiences into my writing instead.

One of my main male characters wears a lion tooth attached to a leather band around his neck. It’s a bit out of character for him, he’s not the jewelry/accessory kind of guy, but it’s there, as a reminder of where he came from and how Africa has shaped him. The tooth is from Djimba, a lioness he encountered when he was a novice wildlife photographer, struggling to get assignments and make ends meet.

I’m writing this blog post in a scorching car parked at a waterhole in Etosha National Park, one of the largest and most well known parks in Southern Africa. The glaring midday light forces me to squint to see the words on the screen. Now and then dust devils swirl up white dust and gust it into the car. It gets stuck in the hair and makes the camera equipment squeak in protest. The bottled drinking water could be used for making tea. Continue reading