Monday, December 14

Character research

As I'm writing my work-in-progress, I still do character research. Sometimes this comes at interesting times like when I'm watching a movie. My family watched G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra the other night, and the person who played Captain Duke (Channing Tatum) really struck me as a great actor, but it made me think of my hero as well. Thus spurring some Googling, and ta-da, I have a little better grasp of my hero.

Images and the way people act and react are something I love watching, so movies are great for me when I'm contemplating characters. I also turn to music, which I get a lot out of lyric-wise, and I have a fondness for Youtube and watching music videos. So that's another place I go for character ideas.

I had another incident the other day when I was listening to while writing, since if I'm on the computer, I tend to be listening to music as well. And so, I heard a song on Pandora that I'd heard previously, but with the scene I was doing that had the villain and my heroine in it, it struck me differently, and the song epitomizes my villain. I was doing a dance and all excited to find that out. My hubby probably thought I was weird since I made him listen to it again with me (on Youtube), but I was perky and content after that.

Maybe I've given something useful for others to try out, but I certainly know this works pretty well for me. =)

Saturday, December 12

Reasonable word count goal = Win

I've been keeping with my word count goals, and writing at least 1k each day. I had initially came down from doing National Novel Writing Month thinking that I would write 3,000 words per day, but I quickly found out that is not a good day-to-day pace for me. Somehow November has a magical way of pulling very high word counts from me, but outside of November, my pace is not as hasty, which probably is a good thing. So, I'd said to myself, I'll do 2,000 words a day, but still I couldn't quite push myself to do that (especially since my computer is in the repair shop aka Geek Squad right now, and I'm either using my husband's computer or writing longhand).

Dropping down my word count goal to 1,000 words a day (seven days a week) has been good for me right now. It's enough that I'm making progress each day, but it's not enough to take away from time with family or to stress me out. I can make it each day because if I overshoot my word count goal to something that I can't consistently do, then I would just end up stressing out and beating myself up when I didn't hit my goal. That would make me procrastinate, and I'd not really want to write, which would drag me out of the story and then I'd be in a bad spot creatively.

Making goals is important, and everyone should make goals that push them to succeed. Just remember not to make ones that you can't feasibly meet. There's a better chance that you will freeze and end up not achieving your goals. =)

Wednesday, December 9

Nano follow-up and The Warrior Writer

As my neat little widget says, I managed to beat National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last month. It was pretty dang close, too. I slacked off toward the middle of the month and ended up having to do a few intense, high word count days. Thankfully, I didn't mess myself up too much by slacking. I think the high word count days helped me to get a renewed "ummph" toward the novel though. Woo! I've recovered from the push of Nano and now I'm going at a slower steadier pace of at least 1k words per day, which I've made my current goal thanks to Bob Mayer's The Warrior Writer workshop that he's been presenting to my RWA chapter, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal. Bob Mayer is an excellent teacher, and I'm learning a lot from the workshop. We've covered tons including Fears and Goals. I have definitely put his Who Dares Wins book on my "to buy" list.

Wednesday, November 11

Nano update

Wow, this month has been flying by pretty quickly. I'm at 18,349 words for the evening, so that's exciting. The novel has been coming relatively painlessly. This year, I'm pantsing (writing without an outline). I had a general idea of the characters and a few scenes, but that was it. Usually, I prefer to have at least a general outline when I write, especially when doing National Novel Writing since it's got a pretty brisk pace, but sometimes it's fun to just let the characters lead and direct the story to where it needs to go.

Sunday, November 1

Nano begins!

Once again, it's been quite a while since I've posted a blog. Yikes. And it's been something of a year since the last blog I did. Today was the beginning of National Novel Writing Month! Hooray!

Up until last night, I didn't really have any idea what I'd be writing about, but as I got myself in my chair started, things started flowing. The novel I'm working on was inspired by a short story I wrote back in college that I'd always wanted to turn into a novel. Now it's finally getting its chance to bloom. =)

Monday, April 27

RT convention

It's been a while since I've blogged here. Too long! Wow... A while back, I posted that I'd be attending Romantic Times convention in Orlando, FL. This week (Tuesday-Sunday) was it. There's so many things that happened, and just the fact that it was my first convention (related to writing) I'd ever been to, I was a little overwhelmed. After a day or two, I started coming down from being so wide-eyed by all of the people and events.

I went to some great workshop/panels on Urban Fantasy and the various other ones they had like Blogging your way to Self-Promotion with J.A. Konrath. That one helped me a lot since I have a blog, but I'm still trying to get the hang of blogging on a regular basis. It was more easy to blog with The Deadly Vixens because I had a set day each week and a basic idea on what topic I'd write about. I think after going to that, I have a better grasp of how to make things work for me though.

I'll write more about RT in the coming days, and post pictures from the convention that I took, which I'm excited about. Woohoo! Now I need to get back to my novel, which had a few requests. *big grin*

Tuesday, March 31

Superstitions regarding Cats

Today I'm going to be talking about some of the superstition regarding cats. Being a cat lover, I found the topic in general quiet interesting. Below are the most fascinating I was able to find.

As most people know, Ancient Egyptians worshiped cats, and as one of my favorite cat-related quotes go, "Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this." Anyone who owns a cat knows this is true, but, back to the subject. =) Part of the reason why Egyptians worshiped cats were because of the cat’s "glowing" eyes. As I found from one of my sources, "This was because Egyptians worshipped the sun, and they believed that cats could retain the sun's power within their eyes. They believed this because of a retina adaptation called ‘tapetum,’ which is the phenomenon that causes cats’ eyes to appear to glow in the dark; anyone who has seen a cat has probably noted this phenomenon, wherein a cat’s eyes reflect a somewhat green circle of light." That's surprising to me since I hadn't really heard of that idea before doing my research, but it makes a lot of sense.

Another very interesting tidbit is that during the medieval ages just before the Bubonic Plague really started up, there was a lot of cat killing going on. And...guess what? That is one of the reasons why the Bubonic Plague was so devastating. Cats would have been important in killing the brown rats, which spread the black plague.

Another source has this to say about cats in the Middle Ages, "It was largely in the Middle Ages that the black cat became affiliated with evil. Because cats are nocturnal and roam at night, they were believed to be supernatural servants of witches, or even witches themselves. Partly because of the cat's sleek movements and eyes that 'glow' at night, they became the embodiment of darkness, mystery, and evil, possessing frightening powers. If a black cat walked into the room of an ill person, and the person later died, it was blamed on the cat's supernatural powers. If a black cat crossed a person's path without harming them, this indicated that the person was then protected by the devil. Often times, a cat would find shelter with older women who were living in solitude. The cat became a source of comfort and companionship, and the old woman would curse anyone who mistreated it. If one of these tormentors became ill, the witch and her familiar were blamed." That makes more since on why people thought they needed to kill cats at the period of time, but it's still so horrible!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this topic! I'd love to hear what you think about these beliefs as well as share your own. Have you heard of interesting cat superstitions or tidbits?

Interesting Links:

Monday, March 30

Class is over...

I had thought wrote a blog toward the beginning of the month about being involved in the excellent Empowering Character's Emotions class with Margie Lawson, but I guess I didn't. It was hosted by the PASIC chapter of RWA. Needless to say, it has been mind-blowing and intense with all of the great information! Margie is an excellent teacher, so if anyone is interested in taking her classes, which I will so be doing again in May, her website address is Now I'm going to mosey on to bed in hopes of a productive day tomorrow. =)

Friday, March 20

Musical Inspiration

Music has always played an important part of my life. So, it fit that my debut release, Melody of Love, dealt with the music industry. It also was a lot of fun to write. It’s not uncommon in my household for someone to break into song at any given moment, whether human or feline.

When I'm at my computer, I can almost always be found with my headphones on. I rarely write without a "soundtrack" to the novel. Most of the time with a band that seems to portray a mood or emotion that resonates with the novel or even a specific character. I have gotten more ideas from listening to music than almost any other source, and in this way, it's almost like a muse to me. I love all kinds of music. It merely depends on the mood I’m in at the time.

The hero for Melody of Love came through listening to a band I was crazy about at the time called Trapt. Ever since I started going to concerts when I was pretty much in middle school/jr. high school, I've wondered what if I could one day meet my favorite singer, and what would happen if he happened to fall in love with me. The story brewed in my head for several months, while I consumed the band's music, focusing on the lyrics and relating them to my story idea, as if Alex Brown, the hero, was talking to me.

Finally, I wrote out the outline, which happened to be the first one I ever outlined, and the book came together in one month as a steady flow of words. The outlining helped a lot, but I also believe that just having the creative input of music helped ideas to keep soaking into my subconscious.

And to finish up my blog, I want to ask you guys, does music have as much influence in your writing as it does for me? If not, what inspires you while you're writing or pursuing creative endeavors?

Thursday, March 19

Naming characters

Tonight is Supernatural. Woohoo! Last week's episode was really cool, so I'm excited about tonight's. :D I also received a rejection today, but hey, that just proves to me that I'm submitting and have my stuff out there. There's another publisher that is also interested in the story, so here's hoping that they like it enough to contract.

Anyways, recently, I've had the pleasure of naming a new kitten, so it made me think about character names as they are one of my favorite parts of writing. I use name websites a lot to help me with this task. Some of my favorites are:,, and (For surnames, there is

When I name my characters, I almost always choose the names first by figuring out my character's ethnicity and country of origin (or ancestor's country of origin). Then I go about finding a name that matches a certain quality or trait regarding the character. For instance, if I were to have a character that was very much into protecting others, I would go with something like Alexander/Alexandra, which means "defender of mankind."

Sometimes though, a character will emerge with a name, and I don't have to worry about picking out just the right one. I enjoy either path, though it is nice when I do get to go through the lists of names. A lot of the time it gives me ideas for secondary characters, or even ones not related to that story.

How about you? What are your methods of naming characters? I'd love to hear your opinions. =)

Tuesday, March 17

Strange Dreams

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've last posted, but here I am, poking my head up. And by the way, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Dreams... I'm pretty much known in my household for my wacky dreams. My husband and mother raise their eyebrows at me when I tell them, but I am so serious about what happened because it's beyond belief, but I really do dream crazy things. I guess I'll give you guys a couple of dreams I've had and then y'all can be the judge of what you think.

A few months ago, before I had gone to bed, I'd played peek-a-boo with one of my cats. He was sitting in the tub, and I was outside of the tub with the shower curtain partially closed. I would open the shower curtain and say "peek-a-boo!" and he would sit there and stare at me. Then I'd close the curtain, wait a few moments, and do it again with the same result. In my dream, I was in my bathroom outside of the tub, and I opened the shower curtain and there was a strange monster in the tub that would leer at me and make hissing noises. I opened and closed the shower curtain a few times and it was still there. I attacked it and then I don't really remember much after that. Weird, huh?

My other dream is one I had a few years ago, but I still remember it. I was running through a graveyard and trying to fight these obese zombies, but I didn't have anymore bullets in my gun in the dream or whatnot. I had a spoon though, which I had to use to behead them. I didn't do too bad at it, but it was odd! I was getting overwhelmed with the task and climbed onto a mausoleum, but they could get to me. I have no idea what had brought that dream on.

I don't consider those dreams nightmares. I try to think of them as inspiration and fodder for my novels. For me, a nightmare is something that invokes sadness or pain that stays with me a little when I wake up. I've had a few of those recently, too, but they weren't noteworthy or paranormal in nature.

So, leave me a comment and tell me about your strange dreams. I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 1

It's March!

Hello everyone! It's March, and that means that we're three months into the year. YIKES! It seems like just the other day we were bringing in the year on New Years. Where has time gone? I'm not sure, but with it being the beginning of a new month, I decided to look at my goals I mentioned to all of you at the beginning of the year to see how much closer I am to them.

And well, there's a couple that seem to be moving in the right direction! With my novella for instance, I've gotten a rejection letter and then sent it out again. I should be hearing something any day now on it. *huge grin* I'm actually trying to be patient, but not overly so! hehe

I've been reading more. Hooray! I know, I know... as an author, I should make sure to read a lot, and I have been reading a lot of non-fiction/writing tips, but now I'm finally starting to get back into reading novels more often. And I'm loving it!

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about this year. How about you? =)

Friday, February 27

Fun with Facebook!

So, I've been having a lot of fun today with Facebook and the different Vampire/Slayer/Zombie/Werewolf applications, which is neat since I'm not a big fan of Facebook. But I should be editing my novel, which I sat at my computer to do in the first place. The editing is going slowly, and I want to slam my head against my desk when I work on it. But at least I'm making progress. I finished a chapter of it last night, and am planning on editing another chapter today.

I just want to hurry and get it over with. At first it was kind of fun, and now it's not. =/

Anyways... enough whining for today. Now I need to just force myself to do it.

Wednesday, February 25

Something I learned yesterday

Recently, I've been thinking of all of these awesome story ideas and how I should work on X novel for Y submission guidelines, or I thought about Z idea, which would be great to break into. And then there is my '08 Nano novel, I.V., that I need to edit, which has been set on the back burner, and the sequel to that novel that has almost 58k words. It's felt like I'm ricocheting around on my projects instead of steadfast and focused.

Today I started reading an e-book called 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer (who has worked with Jenny Crusie on a few books as well as writing his own). I got it recently for free after signing up for Writer's Digest's e-newsletter (in the green sidebar on the left). The second mistake he mentions is Not Finishing (the first being, Not Starting, if you were wondering). Now, I have totally finished the first draft of I.V., and I'm making my way--however slowly--through revising it.

But as I mentioned before, I've been bouncing around like a chicken with my head cut off with all of the new ideas and opportunities that have shown themselves. It's interesting because I've been getting in my way more than really having an external distraction like TV or anything like that since I haven't been able to make my mind up on what to work on.

There were a few key pieces of advice that he said. One was that, if you don't finish the project you're not going to get a contract for the work. And two was to not move onto another project unless you finish your current work-in-progress. Yes, I know it sounds so simple, but for me, those words were very timely. I feel like it gave me a shot in the arm to get back to work on I.V. and give it my main focus.

Thursday, February 19

A nice way to start the morning...

I found out this morning that an excerpt to my novel, Melody of Love, has been posted on eCataromance. Hooray! Promo opportunity! Check it out yourself at

Also, I noticed that Gracen and I received several good comments yesterday on the interview that we did with Keta Diablo. So I'm definitely starting to get myself out there more, which was one of my goals for this year. =)

Wednesday, February 18

An interview...with me! Yay!

Make sure to go check out an interview that Gracen and I did with Keta Diablo. We're giving away copies of our books, so stop by for your chance to win. =)

Sunday, February 15

The paranormal creature you will be after you die

Here's an interesting quiz I took. The picture that went with the quiz was absolutely gorgeous. I like taking quizzes occasionally, and figured I'd share this with everyone in case y'all wanted to take it as well.

You will be a: Vampire
You are the creature of the night, and people can either be revolted or be absolutely amazed by you, even if you might not really care. You are a very versatile creature, and your lifestyle varies for all of you, depending on your preferences and personalities. It could be that you prefer to live on your own without anybody bothering you, or perhaps you spend your life with one of your companions sharing your kills and preys together. But either way, you need the blood to stay alive and its in your nature to kill people, so you have your own tactics to do this. It's possible that you kill your victims without any hesitation or time wasting, without them even really knowing what came over them, or perhaps you do exactly the opposite and take the time to get to know your victim and for them to get to know you, or perhaps even fall in love with you.. It could be that you live in a crypt on a cemetery, or in a huge mansion in the middle of a forest, it's entirely your choice. Most of the time you will probably get what you want anyway, and you have for all eternity to get whatever it is you always wanted, and to do whatever it is you always wanted to do.. And who or whatever it is that will try to stop you from it, will most likely pay for it..
Your colour: Blood red
Your weather: Anything without any sun
Your element: Death
Your pet will be a: Deadly snake

Saturday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

So, how are you spending this romantic holiday? Are you going to be curling up with your significant other or is a steamy romance novel going to be your buddy this year? Do you have plans to go out to dinner?

For me, I'm not sure. I know that I'm going to be exchanging presents with my husband, and that's about it. We might go out for a nice meal, or we may stay home... Now that I'm thinking about it though... I think a meal out would be better. *grins* Last year we went all out, but this year things are a bit more subdued.

In any case, make sure to stop by The Deadly Vixens today for our special Valentine's Day giveaway. We'll be picking three winners for our three prizes!

Friday, February 13

Happy Friday the 13th!

Okay so some people don't think of it as a happy day since it's known to be filled with superstition, but I've never really had bad things happen to me on the 13th. If anything, good stuff tends to happen to me! =) Yippee! I can't wait to see what happens today.

Not too much has been going on recently. I've been writing more for the Book in 30 days program, and I'm in the process of sending out proposals for an anthology, so I'll have to see what happens with that. I'm excited and utilizing my synopsis writing abilities. Yikes! Although, I admit, they're not as scary as they seem. I'm not sure mine are the best, but... ah well.

There's something exciting happening today! The Deadly Vixens has a Friday the 13th giveaway today! We're giving away three ebooks, so come leave a comment for your chance to win!

Wednesday, February 11

Interview with Ronda Thompson

Here is the last of my interviews for now, which occured with Ronda Thompson one of paranormal romance's great authors.

Ronda Thompson

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us. Ronda's newest release is Midnight Pleasures which came out in November 2003.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

RT: I think writers are born. I wrote my first poem in the second grade. My mother still has it. I was always scribbling down poems and short stories as I grew up. In high school, I wrote for the school newspaper. I guess I always knew I wanted to be a writer.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

RT: Four years to make my first sale once I began writing seriously, but six to actually see books on the shelves with my name on them.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

RT: I have so many favorite authors. I'm an avid reader and have been for years. The authors who got me hooked on romance novels were Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Barbara Cartland to name a few. Today I read all genres of romance and my favorite authors are Madeline Baker/Amanda Ashley, Christine Feehan, Claudia Dain, Shannon Drake, Maggie Shayne, Rachel Gibson and the list could go on and on and on.

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

RT: Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Diana Gabaldon, and again this list could go on and on, too.

5. How do you feel about fans doing fanfic and/or rpg on the web based on your or other author's works?

RT: To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I know some authors don't like having their work copied in any form and I believe copywrite laws protect them if they want to go after someone, but other authors say they feel as if it's an honor to be singled out and to have influenced people so much with their characters that fans want to see their stories continued. I've never seen one of my stories used in fanfic, so that's probably why I don't know how I feel regarding the matter.

6. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

RT: Dedication and persistence is the key. Very few people sell their first novel, or their second or third or fourth. Rejection is hard for anyone to take, and there is a lot of it in this business. Once you make your first sale, there are still very tough issues to deal with. Writers love to write, but few love the business end of writing. My advice is to look at the business end realistically, but at the same, do what most of us have done and just reach for one goal at a time. Write because you love to write.

7. Many authors are doing strictly e-books. Do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

RT: I don't think we will ever see the end of real books. I hope not anyway. I love to smell a book, touch it, look at the cover, turn the pages. I know environmentally e-books are a better choice and we may be moving toward that due to those concerns, but I hope we don't have to worry about it for a long time.

8. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

RT: It depends on the book I'm writing. If I set more than one book in the same area and time period, then the research time is basically cut in half. If I'm doing a paranormal where I get to create a world, then that's great. But if I'm doing something that really needs to be historically accurate, I spend probably six months doing research, depending on the project.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 yrs? If not then what?

RT: Yes, I do. I love romance and know I will always remain true to the genre. I also like Children's literature and could see myself writing for that market.

10. How has being recognized in public affected your daily life or has it?

RT: Well, the great thing and the not so great thing about being a published author is that most people don't know what you look like. It's more of a thrill to say your name and have someone recognize that rather than your face. I'm not famous enough for it to have changed anything really, except maybe the way I feel about myself. I look at all the framed covers on my office wall and it gives me a deep feeling of satisfaction. I know the percentage of authors who submit a book and actually get it published is very small, so I feel very fortunate, and very proud that I had the dedication to see my dream through.

Interviewed by Sarah on 2/3/04.

Thursday, February 5

Interview with Diane Taylor (follow-up)

Diane Taylor (follow-up)

Hi, Diane. It's great interviewing with you again.

1. You just recently were published. How does it make you feel?

DT: Well, actually, they're not published yet. They're in the works. But, Truthfully? I'm on cloud nine! Having all this hit me within a 4 week period is kind of overwhelming. I'm still waiting for it to sink in. I love it.

2. Did you have any rejections before you were finally able to get published or was it fairly easy?

DT: Actually, no, I havent had any rejections. I was talking with a friend of mine from who goes by the name of LadyA and she hooked me up with Gail. Editor for Triskelion Publishing. Four weeks ago last saturday, I sent her my first book, just to show her what my writing style was like.

2 hours later she gets me on Yahoo Instant Messenger and says, "What would you say if I told you I wanted your book?"

And that's how it all started.

3. How long does it take for you to write your books?

DT: Truthfully? It depends. If I was really ambitious, I could pound out a 50k word book a month. But I am definately NOT that motivated. However, once I get on a roll, I can usually get a story out in a month. Shorter novels take a bit less time. I think the hardest part is going over it and spell checking your work.

4. Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?

DT: I think I can relate to all my leading lady characters. I put a little bit of myself into each one to make them more.. Real, I guess you'd call it. They're all part of me, yet they're their own personality. The trick is getting the character to work with me.

5. What is your favorite part of writing?

DT: Actually, my favorite part of writing will come when I can see it up for sale. That will be the favorite part. But, right now, it's Finishing the books. That is the most satisfying part of writing anything, I think. That time when you can honestly feel that you've put your all into the book and take your fingers off the keyboard... after you save the document, of course..

It's definately a feeling of accomplishment.

6. Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.

DT: Well, I think I can try and hand you some of the goodies to expect from my books:

Shadow Demon is a paranormal/political/romantic suspense type book. It's got a bit of everything. Assasins, Yakuza crime lords, Old Money that can buy anything *they think*, along with a Goddess that likes to pop in at odd moments in the book and startle the @#%$ out of the main character.

As the blurb for this book goes:

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. For Terri Montegard, it's a Death Warrant.

Posedon's Heart is pure fun. As you can guess, it deals with the Greek God, Poseidon. Toss in a mentally and physically scarred underwater Archeologist that hates arrogant, macho, testosterone driven men, and you've got an explosive romantic story that is sometimes funny, sometimes serious. But hey, what's one without the other. eh?

The blurb:
Poseidon has lost his Crown and his Trident. Now, he's about to loose his Heart.

Those are the two that are in the revision stages. The rest, well, I have a few left to write before the end of the year. However, I'm going to keep the info bits to myself. However, Here are the names of the books to look for after the two above:

Lion's Eye
Bardic Flame
Dracul Diamond.

7. When and where can we purchase your books?

DT: Poseidon's Heart will be on the list for August at the following addy:

Shadow Demon is still in the revision process and will be out asap.

The rest are still in the WIP (Work In Process) stage.


Thanks again for letting me be interviewed. Good luck on your own efforts, Sarah. I know you can do it.

Interviewed by Sarah on 7/13/04.

Wednesday, February 4

Interview with Diane Taylor

Diane Taylor

Today and tomorrow I'm posting the interviews I did with Diane Taylor. At the time I did this, Diane was on the brink of getting her first novel published.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

DT: I'm not entirely sure, exactly. I started out writing dark, gothic poetry when I was younger. I still have those poems hanging around my room somewhere. But I've always wanted to write at least one book. Something I can point to and proudly say, "I wrote that!"

At first I wanted to compile poetry into a book and try it that way. But now, I'm writing stories in the hope that at least one of them will be accepted into the great wide world of publishing. *grin*

2. How long did it take you to become published?

DT: I'm not published yet. I'm still working on polishing up the stories I do have out there.

I take that back. If you want to call having adult fan fiction posted on an over 18 story website, then yes, I've been there, done that. Hehehe. Other than that, I'm still working this part out.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

DT: Oh boy! you sure you want me to answer this one? hehe Okay, here we go. I have a lot of them, almost too many to list. I'm an ecclectic reader. Mercedes Lackey, Iris Johansen, Dara Joy, Christine Feehan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sandra Hill, Nina Bangs and Johanna Lindsey are just a few of the ones I love to read. Oh, let's not forget Nancy Collins. Like I said, I'm a pretty ecclectic reader.

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

DT: I'd have to say my Mom, first of all. She's the one who, even when I was a little kid, had an up-to-date library card. Always told me that if I didn't know about something, to go to the library and look it up. Don't get me wrong, she'd help me anyways, but she's the one that turned me into a book addict. And now, as I'm writing, she's always there on the Yahoo Messenger, supporting me.

After my Mom, I'm not entirely sure. I think all my favorite authors have a hand in guiding me as well with their stories. I get a feel for a storyline through them and I run with an idea that I have in my head.

5. Do you have a specific schedule in which you write?

DT: Schedule? What's that? hehehe Actually it's my Muse who makes his own schedule. Sometimes I'll sit down and stare at the screen before calling up an online game or two. Other days I'll be on a roll and belting out a storyline left and right.

It's my Muse, I tell you.. it's all HIS fault! *grinning*

6. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

DT: In a word? Write! No matter if it's just a bunch of words on a screen. Write. Even if it's just one creative sentence on a blank piece of paper. That is the best advice that one author can give to another. Write down your thoughts, feelings, ideas. Maybe find a picture or an item that you have around the house and write a short story about how it got there. But still, write.

7. Many authors are doing strictly e-books. Do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

DT: Hard cover and paperbacks will always be around. There will never be any such thing as the end of real books because there are too many people who like to have the feel of an actual book in their hands as they sit, curled up in a chair with their coffee or cocoa or whatever. I'm one of them. I like getting lost in a book.

E-Books have their place in the universe as well. Sometimes a real book is too bulky to take somewhere while the e-book reader is flat and easy to carry with you.

It's a toss up. Personally, if I'm given a choice, I'll take real books. Others may choose E-books. It's a preference each person has.

8. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

DT: Actually, I write and do research at the same time. It's kind of fun that way. If I'm up to a part in the book that I need some fact to go with the fiction, I open another window and go digging. I've been known to find the tiniest factoid in a remote corner of the Internet Universe that melds perfectly with what I'm doing at the moment. Then there are other times when I find a ton of info that would work on a sequel to the book I'm writing at the moment. It's really kind of fun to see what interesting things I can come up with while writing stories. It's great.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 yrs? If not then what?

DT: Actually, yes. I do see myself writing in the same genre ten years from now. Romance, Adventure, Intrigue, paranormal, with a slight sensual bend. Yep. That's my type of genre.

My husband thinks I'm insane, my brother thinks I'm warped. But hey, it works! *evil grin*

10. Do you have any future projects? If so, tell us about them.

DT: Well, as of the moment, I have three pieces in the works:

The Montegard Files: Shadow Demon
Terri Montegard is a photographer hired by her half-sister to photograph her and her wealthy and politically correct Fiance' Cosar Mentari on their trip to Kamakura Japan. Tragedy strikes when an explosion rocks a celebration, killing Cosar, her half sister, and leaving her severely injured. As she is healing, she is plunged into a world of the Yakuza, of the mechanations of a Wealthy Patriarch, Corruption, and murder. The only one who can keep her sane through all this is the one man that the Japanese call the Kage Oni. The Shadow Demon

Lion's Eye
Jessie Brightman is an Empath and Telepath. Plagued by sensual visions of tawny golden eyes, a rumbling purr and the feel of fur against her skin, she seeks out a friend who mysteriously drags her off to see a shaman for help. Told to follow the urgings of her dreams and given a mysterious stone to wear to help her on her way, she finds herself on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, fighting for her life against a huge lion. Gravely injured, she is rescued by a mysterious man that seems to draw out her primal side. As she heals, her attraction to the mystery man will endanger them both. And the only thing between a bunch of corrupt federal thugs and the abyss of death.. is the Lion's Eye.

This last one doesn't have a name yet. But I'm working on it.
Follow Diane Taylor * Yes, I used my real name in this story* as she gets caught up in a sensual and erotic affair with Stephen Samios, an author and poet of some of the darkest and wickedest topics you could ever sink your teeth and hands into. An independantly wealthy and famous man, they encounter each other in a pool hall. Actually, that happens only after she gets her face sliced open by a drunk and faints in his arms. But hey, how romantic can you get? This story will take you from the streets to LA, to Castille de la Luna just outside of Barcelona, and various other locations. Trust me, It's going to be fun. I haven't decided where it's all going to end up. But I'm sure my Muse will help me out.

Interviewed by Sarah on 2/8/04.

Tuesday, February 3

February goals

So, I went over my goals and have decided that in February I'm going to do the Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days program by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. It's in book format and has great worksheets to fill out as you progress and good things to think about each day as you continue to write.

Today I'm in day 3 and completing my At-A-Glance draft. My goal for this month to is complete I.T., the sequel to my novel, I.V., which I'm still working on revising. Argh! But, perhaps taking a step back from I.V. and working on I.T. will help give me more objectivity and get me back into the creating mindset.

Saturday, January 31

Drive by blogging...

Okay, okay... so here I am... doing a little drive by blogging regarding something I'm quite thrilled about! Today at The Deadly Vixens we have an interview with RWA Seattle's President and published author, Shelli Stevens, as she explains what it's like to be an RWA chapter president and an author.

Also, as you can tell, it's the end of the month. Yikes! Where did January go? I still have the rest of today to make my February goals and try to get as much done on my monthly goals as I can, and tomorrow, I'll see what I've achieved and/or made progress on. I hope you've accomplished all you've wanted to this month!

Anyways, I'll see you over at The Deadly Vixens. *winks*

Friday, January 30

RT convention and first Newsletter of the year...

...has now been released into your inboxes, if you've signed up! The next newsletter will be going out around April or May. And by then I'll have gone to Romantic Times Convention, which is actually going to be in my city. If you can't tell, I'm starting to get the RT fever. I'm quite excited about going. This will be my first time attending a convention, and I hear that RT can be fun, if not overwhelming. =)

Have any of you ever been to a Romantic Times Convention? Are you going this year? I'd love to hear what you had/have to think about it.

Thursday, January 29

Interview with Theresa Scott

Theresa Scott

Thank you for taking the time to interview with me.

1. How were you inspired to become an author?

TS: I read a Johanna Lindsey story and from there, I started to read every romance I could get my hands on. This went on for about two years. I absorbed the books. Then, of course, I wanted to write one. I sat down and figured out a plot and started writing and didn't show it to anyone until I'd written a few chapters. Then I took a weekend workshop at a regional conference and Debbie Macomber was my teacher. She encouraged me and... I just kept going!

2. Did it take a lot of rejections for you to finally get published or was it pretty easy for you?

TS: I find now that I was published fairly easily. My first book was picked up by Dorchester Publishing. Nowadays that is a rarity. I am currently in a hiatus in my career, however, where the publishing is not coming easily, so, moral of the story is I guess you pays now or you pays later... At some point in a writing career you will have to work without outside reinforcement, like being recognized as a writer, or being published, or getting great reviews, to cheer you along. Whether that is at the beginning, middle or end of your career differs with each person. And don't forget that much in a publishing career is out of the writer's hands. We can do the work and make sure it's the best book we can write, but we can't control if it will be bought by an editor or readers.

3. How do you find out all of the information needed on the Native American legends and myths?

TS: My BA degree was in Anthropology. I learned to research while gaining that degree. I find the best information is from the anthropological studies, and not necessarily on the internet. I've spent a lot of time reading books! I've also interviewed Native American people. I find that was often the most helpful and I continue to prefer to interview people on any number of topics. It lends a depth I need for the story.

4. Do you write your stories out with pencil and paper first or do you work straight on the computer?

TS: I like to sketch a story out longhand on a yellow legal pad first. That way, I get to play with the ideas. I've also discovered 3 X 5 cards are wonderful for getting your scenes down and then you can move the cards around until you get your story flowing the way you want it to. I get to the computer fairly quickly, however, and work from an outline, typing as I go deeper into the story.

5. How long does it take for you to write books?

TS: Usually 9 months to a year.

6. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

TS: I look at it more in terms of story-telling. E-Books, published paperbacks, movies, they are all mediums for the storytelling. People want stories. We learn so much from them. We use them to guide us through life's torturous pathways. I think that story telling is never going to go away. It may change or the structures may change but there is always going to be a demand for stories.

7. Is there anyone that you can think of that influences your writing?

TS: There are probably so many influences I can't name them all. Influences are all around me, from newspapers, movies, and other people, to ideas that one gets. I like Christopher Vogler's 'The Writer's Journey.' Joseph Campbell. Movies. I think earlier on in a career, writers are more influenced by a role model. After a writer has gained some skill and experience--when they get their own voice--a writer may shy away from reading others in an attempt to keep their own voice more authentic.

8. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

TS: Ideas can come from anywhere. It is our individual unconscious that needs to be open to the stimulus of something outside or inside of us. Dreams, a chance word, an idea. A question about life. Any number of things. Bottom line is I think that the ideas come from what we call God, or the Universe, or one's Higher Power, or whatever you want to name the Great Mystery. I do not use people whom I know for my characters. I stay away from that. Besides, how can I really know another person? Real life events can be fun to write about in a story, but again, I write fiction so I would change the details, or give it different ending.

9. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

TS: I am currently working on a screenplay and a contemporary novel.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

TS: Ah, advice... yes. Hmmmm. The story is the thing. What I've found is that a writing career takes a lot more work and effort than I ever thought it would. I've found that I meet wonderful people along the way. I've found that I learn a heck of a lot about myself and how I look at the world. I've found that if you persevere in writing stories, it can be very rewarding for the writer as well as for the reader.

Interviewed by Sarah on 3/10/04.

Wednesday, January 28

How much is too much?

Condoms in romance fiction... yes, fiction. I'm surprised by what I read yesterday at Murder She Writes and Dear Author (this is a slightly older topic, toward the middle of January), but I caught on to it through Roxanne St. Clair's blog on Murder She Writes, which is a great blog, by the way. I definitely recommend romantic suspense and mystery readers and writers to check it out. The Dear Author poll was about Condoms in Contemporary Romance, but I know a few other genres were thrown in here and there like Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Romantic Suspense obviously since it came about regarding Ms. St. Clair's latest Bullet Catcher trilogy.

Some readers automatically said the characters were TSTL (too stupid to live) if there isn't the mention of condoms, which I don't think is fair. My take on this topic is that just because characters aren't shown eating three meals a day or using the restroom to relieve themselves, does that mean they aren't doing those things? Does an author need to mention that when a character gets into the car and drives to work, he has a seat belt on? Isn't that commonsense... let alone The Law? Can't some situations like sexual protection also be implied?

Also, what about for authors? Some readers noted that it takes them out of the fantasy of reading romance fiction, which is fiction, not real life stories. For me, I always used to read as a way to escape real life. Can't authors do what feels natural to them in their stories without wondering which camp will disagree on the given choice of to-include or not-include question?

I will disgress that I do find it important for the YA genre to have mention of condoms and safe sex, since young adults may not assume that the characters are having safe sex and using preventatives, which adults readily have the knowledge and/or experience of.

I've used condoms in my writing, and I think about the potential consequences of unsafe sex for my characters, the most notable being a plot point in a paranormal romance of one breaking and causing the hero stress throughout the book of the heroine becoming pregnant. I'm not sure what happens since the book hasn't been finished yet. Also, if it's a sexy situation, great, that's nice, too, but are authors obligated to give step-by-step details on how two characters make love?

I agree with Ms. St. Clair that love scenes and the characters who act them out help decide how an author handles this condom situation. Last night, I saw The Last Templar movie on TV, and the hero/heroine were in a desert in the middle of nowhere. When they entered the desert, neither were really romantically interested in one another, giving no cause of bringing a condom, but they seemed to be getting real close. What should they do? Is the heroine or hero too stupid to live (TSTL)? And, on that note, why should books be held to one standard and a movies and television held to another? How many movies and TV shows have we seen where the hero or heroine stop in the middle of a love scene to put on a condom? Honestly, I can't call any to memory.

Through and through, what a reader likes or dislikes is ultimately up to them, and I think they have the right to read, or not read, what they feel comfortable with, but I personally don't think that whether an author uses condoms, or doesn't, in fiction should be held against them since each writer has their own writing style and do what they feel comfortable with doing.

Goodness, I feel like I've written an essay. Let me know what you think. I'm open to hearing thoughts. *smiles*

Sunday, January 25

Chocolate anyone?

Here's a fun quiz I found on Rachel Vincent's blog in the archives. I figured I'd try it out and see what happened. Turns out some of it is actually accurate. Wow. *smiles* Try it out yourself, and let me know what you think of it.

What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You

You are unique, creative, and fascinating.

You don't do what's expected of you.

You go for what's unknown and uncharted.

You are emotionally expressive and sensitive.

You're effected by everything around you.

Your friends appreciate your open heart, but they are afraid of hurting your feelings.

You love to be in love. You crave romance, whether you're single or not.

You feel lost when you don't feel passion... you need someone to adore.

Saturday, January 24

Insomnia and the editing groove

As you can tell by the time this was written, and the title, yep... I've got a small case of sleepless nights, especially after the movie hubby had us watch a little while ago! lol... But, I'm not a scaredy cat when it comes to movies, and it's probably just my messed up sleep schedule.

So! I think I'm finally getting back into a little bit of the groove on my manuscript. It's going slower than I'd like, but then again, maybe it's just that the section of the novel I'm in right now has a lot of changes that needs to be done to it. Lots of things that I decided at the beginning of revising that would be better than what is already there. The important thing though is that I'm making progress. =)

I found a wonderful new author group blog recently called Deadline Dames. It consists of nine urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and young adult writers. I love Rachel Vincent's werecat series, and have heard of several of the others.

Also, The Deadly Vixens have an interview with an editor from The Wild Rose Press, so make sure to go check that out to see an editor's opinion as well as advice for published and aspiring authors alike.

That's about all I can think of for now.

Tuesday, January 20

Interview with Robin D. Owens

Robin D. Owens

Her books are absolutely wonderful! I definitely recommend reading them.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

RDO: I wrote as a child. The only story I vaguely remember (fortunately) is one about two friends on a spaceship, one with long, curly black hair to her hips and the other with long, curly blond hair...I wrote bits and pieces of ideas/scenes for a long time, then put most of my creativity into a relationship, when that broke up, I decided to do something for me and took a writing course from Cassie Miles/Kay Bergstrom. Kay continues to read and critique all my work.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

RDO: LOL, I prefer not to recall exactly how long it took me to get published, but I think it was between 8-9 years.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

RDO: Favorite authors: Jayne Ann Krentz (Jayne Castle), Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Elizabeth Lowell, Jasmine Cresswell, Maggie Osborne...

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

RDO: Literary Influences -- see above...also, Mary Stewart, Andre Norton, Tanith Lee.

5. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

RDO: As a person with a library degree I don't DARE research a book beforehand. I have books at my desk (Celtic mythology, botany books and the Herbal Tarot for naming characters, Welsh dictionary, French dictionary, Crystal and Gem, Castles, etc.). When I need something I usually research it that week and usually online. Many times I contact people. I believe the nanotechnology took me about two weeks for Heart Thief, but I'd been interested in it for a long time, so I knew something of the science.

6. How long does it take for you to write books?

RDO: It varies at how long a book takes. I'm usually working on more than one at a time. I'll say between four and six months for a rough draft, then it's revise, revise, revise.

7. I really enjoy reading your books. How did you come up with the idea for your series about Celta?

RDO: Thanks for the compliment on the Heart books. Celta is defined as I go along (though by the end of HeartMate I had about 20 pages of notes, more now of course). Actually, I usually get ideas from physical objects. I was playing with a bloodstone pendulum and thought of a man who might use bloodstone dice to foretell the future, especially his True Love. But it would have to be in a culture where a man doing divination wouldn't be seen as sissy or weak. So I had him make the dice, but being a jeweler might be seen as a sissy job too, so I had him forging swords. It all fell together. I'd wanted to see a Celtic society in books, so I made one up. I don't pretend to be an expert and form my society on Celta by what feels right to me personally.

8. Are you ever influenced by something you see and think, that would go great in a book?

RDO: I am influenced by EVERYTHING. What I see, hear, touch, smell, taste, feel, think. Others' experiences. Books, movies, music, news, what my cats whine at me and how they act, readers' comments, reviews, critique buddies especially. Everything. What I put down on the page is something I got from somewhere...I recall when the penny dropped about doing cat familiars. My scruffy tom, Maddox, was lurking outside the door of my office, waiting for another cat to come out (my office has no door). I said, "Maddox, please don't pounce on Diva." As if 1) He could understand me. 2) He would listen to me if he DID understand me. 3) He would bother to modify his behavior. He was a CAT.

9. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

RDO: I am sure ebooks are here to stay, but haven't a clue when they will become more popular than paper.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

RDO: Determination is more important than talent. Like I say in my dedication of HeartMate: To All Struggling Writers, Never Quit. Never Quit...and I was very careful in that dedication -- I meant myself, too.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my craft, and the excellent questions.

Take care,

HeartMate, 2002 RITA Winner Best Paranormal Romance
"I loved Heart Thief!" Jayne Ann Krentz

Interviewed by Sarah on 5/1/04.

Sunday, January 18

New website and more

If you've noticed, I have a wonderful new layout and design for my website and blog. I think it's absolutely gorgeous. It means a lot to me because the Urban Fantasy that I'm working on reflects aspects of it that I can't spill because then my books wouldn't be as much of a surprise. *grins* My webmistress, Rae Monet, did an excellent job on everything. I'm absolutely thrilled with what she's done.

Also, I had a request for a full on my novella, Night of the Tiger, which is about a Siberian weretiger who falls in love with an Amazon Princess. It was really fun to write, and I can't wait for it to find a home. It stretched me as a writer, since at the time, I was writing urban contemporaries, and with the novella, I really had to research and find out information that I didn't readily know.
In other writing news, besides from editing my novella for the request, I haven't gotten too much more done. I hope to change that this week though. Instead of checking my email every few minutes, I need to work on editing my urban fantasy novel or write on my urban fantasy sequel. But, it's a new week, so I'm going to go for it. =)

Last night, I saw My Bloody Valentine 3D. It was a fun movie, and Jensen Ackles did an amazing job as did the rest of the cast as well. And yes, I love him in his role of Dean Winchester from Supernatural, but this role was also great for him in a very interesting way. I'm honestly a fan of his through and through. I can't say too much else about the movie because I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone who wants to see it. Seeing it in 3D is definitely the way to go since the special effects were neat. Some were done pretty much for the 3D effect, which wasn't bad. Don't take kids to it because there is gore and sexual content.

Thursday, January 15

Interview with Penelope Neri

Penelope Neri

Thank you for taking the time to interview with me! It was great talking to you.

1. How were you inspired to become an author?

PN: Perhaps it sounds a bit trite, but I think my first inspiration to become an author started way back, when I first learned to read. I suspect now that I had a form of dyslexia as a child, although such things weren't diagnosed in those days. It seemed as if everyone else in first grade could read, except me! I felt so left out, because I knew I wasn't stupid!

I was about seven or eight when I finally began reading. Once I knew how, I read everything in sight! By the time I was eleven, I was reading books for adults. At that time, it seemed to me that being able to write a book for other people to read was the most exciting thing anyone could do. (I was right! It is!) That's one reason I was delighted to be asked to contribute to Leisure's 'Love's Legacy' literary anthology.

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?

PN: I enjoy so many! Historical biographies by Margaret George, great epic 'place' books by Edward Rutherford, (London, Sarum, etc.) psychological suspense from British writing duo Nikki French, history/adventure by Wilbur Smith, Mary Stewart, Rosamund Pilcher, Binchy, Nora Roberts, and so many others!

3. How long did it take you to become published?

PN: My first book, Passion's Rapture, was accepted on its third submission by editor Pesha Finkelstein at Zebra Books (now Kensington). It took about eighteen months to write it, and another eighteen months to find a publisher. I was very lucky.

4. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

PN: Research is an ongoing process as I write, so about six months or so. I also enjoy watching movies with a similar locale, time period etc. to my current work in progress. This helps me to absorb the feel of a time or place.

5. What inspires you to focus on past eras?

PN: My love of history and the quirks of various cultures and time periods!

6. What do you do in preparing to write a story?

PN: I read 'all around' the people, time and place I'm interested in, such as travel books, non-fiction history books, even cook books and recipes. Sometimes I get a bit carried away and my research spills over into the family meal-planning. When I was researching Scotland, my kids were afraid I'd expect them to eat haggis! (boiled sheep's intestine stuffed with oatmeal, spices, onions and minced meats.) Once I've absorbed enough of the atmosphere and flavor of the people/period/location to write about a time or place comfortably and knowledgeably, I begin.

7. Who do you count as your literary influences?

PN: I was raised and educated in Suffolk, England, so my influences tend to be classical British authors such as Dickens, Shakespeare, etc.

8. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

PN: I hope not. There's nothing as comforting as lugging around that special title you can't wait to read, then curling up with it in a comfortable nook somewhere, and losing yourself for a few hours. Of course, you could do that with an e-book and a 'reader' too, but I'm not sure the experience would be as personal, somehow. Hopefully, there is room for both e-books and traditional books in the market.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 yrs? If not then what?

PN: Who knows if I'll even be here in 10 years? I'm getting pretty ancient! If I am, though, I'll probably still be writing. I can't seem to give it up. I'd like to move into the romatic suspense genre, and perhaps from there into mainstream suspense/mystery genre.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

PN: 1. Find a well paying job or someone to support your writing habit first !!! Seriously, despite my own good fortune, getting published is usually a long (often frustrating) process. I was tremendously lucky. That said, if you are committed to becoming published...

2. Don't let anyone talk you out of it! Go for it! Use every moment of your spare time to write, research, and polish your manuscript. If you don't have time, MAKE time. Trust me, if you want it badly enough, you will find the time somehow, even if it's fifteen minutes here, twenty minutes there. Those minutes spent writing add up. Plotting can begin in your head while you're riding a bus, train or the subway, or washing the supper dishes. In a few months, a page a day, or even five pages a week, will become 300 pages. That's a book!

3. Don't talk about your book too much while you're in the writing process. I think sometimes, too much talk can drain the 'juice' out of an idea, and steal some of the writer's enthusiam and excitement, which ideally, should show through in the actual wiring, instead.

4. Set your goals and follow through by making sure that everything you do contributes to reaching them. For example, craft a plot that you would want to read yourself, one that would be suitable for a genre that you know, enjoy, and are very familiar with--then give it that unexpected twist to set it apart from the rest.

5. Study the market and any current/upcoming books from the list published by your chosen publishers.

6. Get yourself a current copy of the Writer's Market Guide to find out if you need an agent, or if you can submit unagented work to your chosen publishers. This point is very important. Knowing whether a publisher will or will not accept unagented submissions will save you precious time.

7. Try to discern trends in the genre, which I've found start to show themselves about one year to eighteen months or so before a certain topic (Scotland, Vikings etc) becomes 'hot'. You, as the writer, have to be eighteen months ahead of those trends!

8. Decide what the editors are looking/not looking for, then craft a plot that meets and exceeds the publisher of that genre's requirements. That way, you won't waste precious time sending a great horse to the wrong stable!

9. If, despite your best efforts, you receive a rejection letter that includes any suggestions from an editor, stop everything, act upon those suggestions and resubmit, ASAP. (Editors rarely waste precious time in offering suggestions unless something tweaked their interest.)

10. I really believe that by setting goals, working towards them and visualizing a positive result you can achieve just about anything. Oh, and good luck!

Interviewed by Sarah on 3/12/04.

Tuesday, January 13

Making it with Discipline

Here's an article I did on motivation, so I thought I'd share it here. I hope you enjoy it!

Making it with Discipline
By Sarah Mäkelä

In the past, I have had a lot of trouble with staying focused and being disciplined when it came to writing. I had thought that writing was something people do when they’re feeling creative and inspired. New York Times Bestsellers probably wrote every day, but they made a living writing. I would write when I thought about it, and I loved writing when I did, but it wasn’t something I would do on a regular basis. I loved my characters and thought about them a lot, and when I did sit down to write, I would think about new ideas that had occurred to me, and start writing out those stories. Needless to say, I now have six partials for novel-length works. Most of those are around twenty thousand words.

I always hear a lot about writer’s block, and my answer is that I don’t believe in writer’s block, so it doesn’t believe in me. Most times when I’m “blocked,” I just need to keep that much more focused on the work and break through it. That doesn’t mean I think there can’t be actual problems going on when a writer is stuck. Always examine where you are stuck and try to figure out why, but then continue on. I know of well-known bestselling authors who write their first draft quickly, and then go back and make sense of the manuscript. Stephen King in his book, On Writing, suggests three months for this process.

Before completing my first manuscript with the help of National Novel Writing Month, I didn’t understand that. Why would I want to hurry through such an important step? With National Novel Writing Month, you have to turn off your internal editor and lock her in the closet. If you don’t, you simply won’t be able to write fifty thousand words in one month.

I think sometimes writers get bogged down with making everything perfect on the first time through, but if the first draft doesn’t get done with the diligence of sitting down to write every day, then you won’t make it to the second draft. Now with my first book coming out April 1st, and my second book ninety-one percent written, I recognize that a person needs to have discipline when writing, or pursuing anything else that they desire in life. Writing is a creative process, but it’s also a business.

If you have the desire to write, then go for it! Don’t let others deter you from your dreams.

(c) 2008 Sarah Mäkelä

Sunday, January 11

Michael J. Lore interview

Hello everyone! Here is the second interview I have to share with everyone. Hope you enjoy!


Michael J. Lore

Thanks for agreeing to interview with me. It's been a great experience.

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

MJL: Oddly enough, I never thought of myself as a writer. Despite the fact that I did do a lot of creative writing as a child. For instance, during my middle school years, I would use song titles to create funny short stories. And, during my high school years, I produced endless amounts of rap and song lyrics. At that time, I was dreaming of becoming a rapper. Around the birth of my first child, I began to write poems. But most of these were to amuse my wife. So, I didn’t make the connection of creative writing equals writer. None of my high school English teachers ever mentioned it to me. I don’t recall any of them saying that my writing was anything other than average. But, all of that changed when I reached college. My English professor told me that my stories were very entertaining. He told me that my approach to telling a story was different. And he suggested that I keep all the papers I’d written in his class and considering publishing them one day. Then a little light went off in my head. Because, I’d once had a job selling books. And from that I saw first hand that books could generate money. But, at the time I didn’t consider writing a book. But, now that my professor had validated my writing abilities, I began to think of a way to write a book that I could sale. I believe it’s at that point that I became a writer.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

MJL: Years. Because, I never got positive feedback from any established, traditional publisher. Either nicely or harshly they all told me that they were not interested in taking on a new and unknown author. So of course, I got frustrated and took my mind off writing. Then I noticed what was happening in the rap world. That small unknown artist were shunning big time record companies’ rejections and making there own music. Producing it themselves. So then my mind flashed back to writing. I figured that if they could self-publish, I could self-publish. And I began to look around for a company that would allow me to do that. And that’s when I discovered AuthorHouse. And I decided to give it a try. I believed in my book. So I decided to put my money where my mouth was.

3. How long did it take for you to write your book, Live, Laugh, and Love: The Golden Moments of Life?

MJL: In all truth and honesty it took about a year and a half. Which is way longer than it needed to take. You see, I didn’t have a real direction with the book. I knew that I wanted to write a story about my relationship with my grandfather. And, after the funeral I began to tinker with a plot and a main character. But, many of my first drafts of the characters and story lines were too personal. They were too much like my grandfather’s actual life and the things we really did. And that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to capture his spirit. I didn’t want to write a biography. So I kept playing with the plots and thinking and thinking. Add to that the fact that I was only writing in the evenings. After everybody else had used the computer I would go on it and write. So I wasn’t spending a lot of time writing the story. But, that wasn’t a big problem because I still didn’t have a plot that I liked. Finally after about a year and change I thought of a plot that I liked. Which, once again was totally different from what I’d written. So I discarded all that I’d wrote and started over. From that point, it was about another four to six months for me to complete the manuscript which was somewhere around 90,000 words.

4. Who are some of your favorite authors?

MJL: I’m really not an avid reader. When I was young I did read a lot. But the older I got the further I got from reading. So I don’t really have a favorite author. You see, I’ll go to read a book. Get distracted. And never get around to finishing it. However, I do admire and strive to be like those few authors who’ve created a story that they’ve been able to successfully build into a multi-entertainment empire. Like Gene Roddenbury did with Star Trek, and like George Lucas did with Star Wars, and like Tyler Perry is doing with Madea.

5. What do you do in preparing to write a story?

MJL: Research. I want the reader to believe that the story is real. Even though it’s fiction. I want the story line to be so real and imaginable that the reader forgets it fiction. For example, if I’m writing about a Miami street party that happened in 2003. I’ll go back and look for reports of an actual Miami street party that took place in 2003. Then, I’ll bring elements of that event into the story. In that way, some readers will read the story and say hey, I remember this party. That person really did perform at that party. And then they’ll sit back and ask themselves, is this story real? I thought this book was fiction, is it really real? And that’s what I want my readers to do. I want them to be fully entertained. And by offering them a blend of reality and fiction, I can accomplish that. So the big thing for me is research. I want my story to seem so real that my readers begin to believe that it is.

6. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?

MJL: So far, all of my story ideas have come from my personal views of the world. For instance, I’ll be talking and joking with my friends and family about something. And they may be saying that’s so true or that’s funny or they’ll hit me with the old your crazy comment. At which point, I’ll think to myself that the rest of the world might enjoy hearing about my view on this matter as well. Then I’ll write a synopsis of what the story would be about. At that point, I’d show it to them and see if it generates the type of response that I want. If it does, I’ll set it aside to be created when I get a chance.

As for basing the characters on people I know, the answer to that is yes and no. My characters are based on blends of human personalities. Sprinkled with flash viewpoints and reactions of some people I know. But, with characters you have to remember that we’re all humans. And as such, the personality types we have as individuals are not exclusive to us. For example, I’m not the only person who dislikes raw garlic and believes that exercise is torture. And so, I could generate a character who like myself hates raw garlic. And doesn’t care for running marathons. Yet still wants to have a lean and sculptured body. A character who like the rest of us is filled with self conflicts and certain insecurities. A character who is human. Just as human as the rest of us. Somebody the reader and the world can relate to.

As for the events, most of them are real life events. Either based on my own life or somebody else’s. For example, my grandfather was seriously wounded in World War II. But he wasn’t shot eight times on Hagushi Beach. Likewise, a co-worker’s girlfriend did show up at the job and destroy some things. But, nobody was savagely beaten and hospitalized. None the less, the reader can still relate to it. Because you see it on the news daily. Everyday somebody goes to work and hurts somebody. So it’s very believable. In fact, there’s a chapter where a drug addict tries to escape the police by jumping from one roof to another. And, low and behold about a month ago, there was a police pursuit where the suspect, who was believed to be high on illegal drugs, tried to escape by jumping from one roof to another. And, I’ll bet you that if you let enough time pass it will happen again. These things keep the story feeling and seeming real. Sort of like magic is. You know it’s not real, but it seems so real when the magician makes the building disappear that you go off wondering if such a thing could really be done. You begin to believe that it’s real. At that point, you’ve been entertained. And you’re pleased with the magician’s performance. And the magician feels as if he or she has accomplished something.

7. What is your favorite part of writing?

MJL: Creating the story. I love the initial creation process. Because, initially I’m in total control. What I decide goes. The characters will behave and perform as I tell them to. Things will happen when and how I want them to. It’s me, the pen, and the paper and nobody else. Now I’m aware of the fact that I can go off the deep end in some of my stories. So, I’ll write a part and then show it to my wife or my family or my friends and see how they like it. See if it sounds possible and how does it make them feel. What’s their reaction to it. I love that part of the writing process.

8. Do you have a specific schedule in which you write?

MJL: Yes. When I’m writing a story I tend to work on it Monday through Friday from about 10:00pm until about 1:00am or 2:00am. Or until my sentences stop making sense. And on Saturdays I’ll try to write from about 8:00am to about 2:00pm, take a break and come back to it in the afternoon. On Sunday, I try to take a break and resist touching the computer, with all of my might. It’s very easy to become obsessed with writing to complete the story. And my wife will point that out to me. If she sees me spending too much time with the story she’ll let me know, and then I’ll try to back off of it a little. But, there are those moments when the story is just flowing and before you know it it’s 4 o’clock in the morning.

9. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

MJL: Yes. Currently, I want to make the book available as an audio book. And, I’m researching how to get that done. It’s new territory for me, and a chance to learn about something new. As well as expand the book’s audience. I also have several other stories that I’d like to write and I have to figure out which one to go with.

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

MJL: If you’re waiting for somebody to validate your abilities as a writer then you’re setting yourself up to be frustrated. If you feel that you have a good story, go ahead and write it. Once you’ve finished it look for a publisher. Treat it like a job application. The more applications you fill out the sooner you’ll get a job. And likewise, the more publishers you submit the book to, the sooner you will get published. But, if you feel yourself getting frustrated and can’t seem to find anybody to publish your book. Then don’t be afraid to publish it yourself. You’ve got two choices; keep showing it to publishers and praying for them to like it or publish it yourself. A lot of people don’t want to have to be bothered with promoting the book themselves. So they seek a traditional publisher who they believe will do everything for them. But that’s not the case. Either way you go, traditional publishing or self-publishing, your going to have to promote your book. If you want your book to sale, you are going to have to get out there and tell people about it. Now if the book is good, it will be easier to do that. Likewise, if you have a good publicist and marketing team, it’ll be even easier to do. But one way or the other, the success of the book is going to depend heavily on your willingness to talk with people and tell them about your book. Now if you’re really fortunate, you’ll come across somebody who can talk about the book for you. And, then all you’ll have to do is sign autographs and shake hands. But at the end of the day, I believe, it comes down to getting the word out there. Now, there are some cases of people who’ve self-published and generated so much buzz about their book that a traditional publisher steps forward and wants to republish the book. They still have to keep talking about the book. Because, the publisher wants to turn profit. But it becomes easier and more productive when they do talk. Because, the traditional publisher will have relationships established with certain media outlets that will give your talks more expose. But it still comes down to you. So I say keep writing and letting the world know about your writing. Because, there’s bound to be somebody out there who likes your style of writing and story telling.

Interviewed by Sarah on 5/29/05.

Thursday, January 8

Interview with Mary Balogh

Hi everyone! Here is an interview I had with Mary Balogh a while ago, and I thought I'd post it here to share with all of you.

Mary Balogh

Thanks for interviewing with me!

1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?

MB: I always wanted to write. When people asked me as a child what I wanted to do when I grew up and other girls around me were saying they wanted to be nurses or teachers or secretaries, I always said I wanted to be an author. I used to write long stories that sometimes filled whole notebooks. I even won a few competitions. I remember once at the age of ten winning a shoebox-sized pack of chocolate bars--a wonderful prize in those post-war days in Britain when any sort of candy was scarce.

2. How long did it take you to become published?

MB: I discovered when I grew up that I had to eat--alas! And so I became a high school English teacher and principal. I married and had three children. I was in my thirties when I was finally at leisure to write. I did it as a sort of hobby at the kitchen table after everything else had been dealt with by mid-evening. I wrote my first Regency between October and December of 1983. It was accepted for publication in April, 1984, and was published in April, 1985--A MASKED DECEPTION.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors?

MB: Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Anne Perry, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, John Grisham, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Bernard Cornwell, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Ross...

4. Who do you count as your literary influences?

MB: It is very hard to say. I have always read voraciously--anything and everything I could get my hands on. I had read most of the great classics by the time I reached the end of my teens. Everything I have ever read, combined with my own boundless imagination, has probably had some effect on my own writing.

5. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?

MB: Most of my 60+ books are set in the English Regency period. So although I still read anything new I can find about the period and am well aware that I don't by any means know everything, really the amount of research I now do on individual books is minimal or nothing at all. When I do venture outside my period--to write about Wales in the 1830s, for example (in LONGING and TRULY)--I take a few months to read what I need to know. Research is very important. I hate sloppily researched books.

6. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?

MB: At the moment at least I think there are too many people who like a physical book to hold in their hands for there to be any real danger that e-books will take over entirely. I don't know what the future brings. E-books are enormously convenient and can help solve the horror of the way we are destroying our trees and therefore our planet.If the technology of their presentation can make them look and feel--and even smell!--like a printed book, I would be all in favor.

7. How long does it take for you to write books?

MB: Usually two to three months. I have written one in two weeks (A PRECIOUS JEWEL). The current book is taking me four months. But on the whole I like to write fast. It is the surest way of keeping the emotional intensity of the romance at a high peak.

8. Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?

MB: Almost all of them. I would be alarmed if I couldn't relate. I think an essential part of a writer's gift is the ability to put herself into the shoes and mind and soul of almost any living person--to know exactly what it is like to be that sort of person in that sort of life situation. I don't think I could create a character--particularly a hero or heroine--if I couldn't convince myself as I am writing that I actually AM that person. I write from deep within my characters and see the whole story through their eyes and emotions.

9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 years? If not then what?

MB: I don't know. I love writing what I am writing. However, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with something new each time. I can't picture myself stopping writing altogether. I do have a scheme afoot for a series of books with my younger daughter. They would not be romances exactly, but they would be a cumulative love story. Sorry--I can't give any more detail at the moment. But stay tuned...

10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?

MB: The best advice I can give is to ignore all advice and write your book. If you have the talent and the imagination and the will, you don't need anything else except a computer or--failing that--a blank pad of paper and a pen and an old banger of a typewriter (the way I started!)

Interviewed by Sarah on 4/11/04.

Tuesday, January 6

My Goals for 2009

Well, I figure I'm covering a topic that's really popular this time of year, but I haven't really discussed mine yet. One thing I'll mention before jumping into it, is that goals are important. People who set goals (and write them down) are more likely succeed than people who don't.

I wish I could find the list of my 2008 goals, but I know that I accomplished some special landmark events. Earning my Bachelors of English with an emphasis in Creative Writing, having my debut ebook, Melody of Love, be accepted and released, teaming up with three wonderful women to form The Deadly Vixens, I completed two full-length novels, as well as other things I probably forgot to mention.

So, for this year, I'm aiming even higher.
  1. Get my novella accepted by a publisher.
  2. Finish three books (two of which I've started).
  3. Get an agent.
  4. Get more involved in the writing community and network.
  5. Read more.
  6. Be more consistent with my blog and
  7. Build more of a web presence.

I'm very excited about the year ahead, and I hope to share it with all of you.

Sunday, January 4

Hello again...

Happy New Year everyone! Recently I've decided that I'm going to start blogging again on my own blog. Not sure how interesting it'll be, but I'll try to make sure to entertain and not do so many "Here's an event I'm doing, go check it out" kinds of things. Perhaps I'll share pictures and other fun things as well. =)

So, what's been going on with me recently... I submitted to an agent (I'll keep you informed on how that goes!), I won Nanowrimo, and I completed my third novel, which happens to be the first in an urban fantasy series. I've gotten 60 pages of it edited so far. I'm now working on the next in the series, but am running into a little bit of confusion with my plot. Now I need to go through and outline it so that I can get on course.

I also bought an awesome whiteboard yesterday. It even has a small tray at the bottom to hold my markers and eraser. I'm excited about using it.

Also, for everyone on the newsletter, I hope to start back with that, too. Things have been a bit hectic in my personal life, so I'm happy for a new year. Who knows what you'll find there? *winks* I'm thinking over a few ideas for making it more exciting. I plan to have something in the works on it by the 15th.

Anyways, that's enough jabbering for me tonight. I need to get some writing done! Hurray!
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