Monday, October 26, 2015

Don't just read, reread

It's a common question, do you ever reread books? Most people who say no do so with the excuse there's too many books out there to read the same books over again. However, if you're a writer you're reading not just to enjoy the story along the way in the back of your mind you're probably noting things that annoy you maybe ways the story could be better. If it's really good though all you're doing is reading, so caught up in the story you couldn't careless about sentence structure or how the dialogue is smooth and real. It's those stories that you should be rereading. Those stories will allow you to see where you could be doing better, maybe even show you your own strengths and assuring yourself so you can focus on the other areas where you need work. Just like an athlete will watch game tapes to see an alternate view of their performance once you know how the story ends you'll be able to see all the things you didn't before. 

I've been rereading since I started reading, mainly because I didn't understand everything as I was too young to understand. Then I started reading Shakespeare and I had to read again and again and again to first understand then to enjoy. Even now there are books I go back to for sheer pleasure and others to learn from, moving them from state to state not even considering leaving them behind. Those books, they aren't the classics either, they are the everyday mystery, thriller, and romances I read for pure pleasure and want to write. I have read the classics some I enjoyed others felt like pure torture I honestly can't say I'm a better writer for having read them and I really don't care if it would make me a better writer, they aren't what I want to read or write so I'm not going to reread them. I'll stick to what I want to write. 

I'm not about to suggest rereading is the only way to be a better writer but really what better way to pass the day? Are there really no books out there that were so good you wouldn't enjoy one more time?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

What's in a name?

Flint, Beacon, Sterling, Ace, Dragon then there are the women Buttercup, Reese (for a girl?) Floraleaf, Ever ughh for reals? Okay, I get it Robert is not all that romantic, Beverly ehh not so much. I also understand that you want your characters to be memorable your hero strong and these days Alpha to the teeth the women soft and sweet and still somehow independent and brave enough to take on the hero. Even I can be accused of using not common names-one of my character's her name was Avery BUT I have heard it used before and I liked it and it sounded pretty. Ria, also a name I've heard and actually knew someone with the name. I've even taken my guys into other cultures so I could use not common names, Rafael, Dmitri but at least they were common names in those cultures. It worked well but it also helped in that it added an extra dimension to not just the characters but the stories themselves. 

Feel free to steal that idea, make one of your characters Asian, Hispanic, Filipino, or any of the myriad wonderful cultures that make us such a unique great country or take your character out of the States to somewhere interesting. Anything other than naming your character Blade.

Because I look at the descriptions with those crazy ass names and I just can't take them seriously. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. Sure there's a concern that if writers use oh I don't ordinary regular names that the heroes could, in the reader's mind become a mish mash and hard to decipher one hero from another. However that's where you the writer come in. You make the story more memorable, you make your characters one of a kind so it doesn't matter if your character's name is one of a thousand John's from other books the reader remembers yours over another. Giving the characters some strange, one-of-a-weird name isn't going to make your character better, it isn't going to make your story better-only you can do that.   

So how about getting out that big book of baby names, I know every writer has-or you should have and give it a whirl but without going so outlandish it just becomes weird. How about leaving the names of colors to just the description of objects instead of naming your guy Blue, or Gray and your girl Lavender or Velvet you pick a name people have heard before that doesn't sound like a stripper name. 

Just a thought. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why I write

Why must you write?
The voices, Ann
The voices I cannot stop them
they come to me when I sleep
when I wake
when I sup
when I walk down the hall
The sweet longings of a maiden
the surging ambitions of a courtier
the foul designs of a murderer
the wretched pleas of his victims
Only when I put their words their voices to parchment
are they cast loose
Only then is my mind quieted
at peace
I would go mad if I could not write down the voices
Are you possessed?
Maybe I am

That came from the movie Anonymous and although it isn't quite that bad for me the voices are there, the scenes playing out behind my closed eyelids as I try to sleep. So I tell their stories and for a while there is peace. Until the new ones want their turn. 
Yet, I also write for the same reason I read-to offer the escape of another world, of other possibilities, of dreams I didn't know existed. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Best laid plans

There was a plan, really there was. First there was the plan of ones dreams then I remembered how bad I am with deadlines and schedules and then there was a revised plan that was more fitting and I was sure it would go smoothly as planned. I want to laugh but it would come out as bitter and make me cough so I can only shrug. By this time of the year from December of last year I was supposed to have finished six, at the very least four stories for sale. One peoples, one whopping finished story. There are four other half finished stories, one going I don't even know where, one I'm looking at with faint distrust and wonder at how I started writing it and one which might, just might not be complete and utter shit. 

Don't think I shrug off the lack of being on schedule, I'm a writer that's not what we do. I have castigated myself on an almost daily basis until my confidence has me starting and stopping like a car with two hundred thousand miles and running on empty. It hasn't been pretty. 

Then it happened. As I mentioned I started a craptastic job to pay for the stupid asthma medicine and pain med for my arthritis and a doctor to prescribe those meds. We had to list one unique thing about us and so I went for and said I had self-published a novel-referring to my fantasy one, not the erotic romances. From almost every person there was a little bit of shock and awe and while I squirmed under their seeing me with new eyes I shrugged and mumbled the title and pen name and moved on. More than ready to change the subject but several didn't want to. Yes, I admitted it wasn't easy, it was the hardest thing I had ever done. A year to write (not mentioning that two months of that was me stopping swearing I couldn't do it.) then another six months of editing. Huh, okay I guess it is something to be proud of. 

Still the new stories won't come or I falter after a few lines. Until the other day it happened again, a guy told me that I had done the thing he most wanted to do. Finish a story and publish it, what was that like? The hardest thing I've ever done but the crazy thing is once you've finished the first one the next ones come easier. Hell I've done twice that word count in the same time frame. 

Finally the switch flipped. Just like I told him. The hardest part is also the most simple just sit down and write and keep doing it and don't stop until the story feels like it's out and then you can fix it when you're done. With my plans falling so far behind the doubts build until they become overwhelming but I need to remember, I've done it before and I can and will and need to do it again and I can do it. I just need to sit down and start. 

Huh, maybe it's time to sit my ass down and follow my own advice. Maybe.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Justified, I still miss you

'If you run into an asshole in the morning then you ran into an asshole. 
If you run into assholes all day long, you're the asshole.'

God, I love that line. I've used it often and it's cut short many an argument some idiot was trying to make. Timothy Olyphant is a sexy beast, and maybe, just maybe a muse to a certain free story-maybe. Long lean, muscles that flexed impressively when they had to, I loved that the most while yes there could be considered a fair amount of violence within the the show it was never blindly, used to cover a hole the writers couldn't dig themselves out of. In fact this was one of the best written shows I've ever come across-in like ever. (as a reformed couch potato I think it counts for something). Then there were the moments when there was no dialogue and it was just a stare off that spilled blood. 

These days it feels like there are no surprises and watching Justified I was often surprised and extremely entertained. It was clear, often at least to Raylan that he and the antagonist were two sides of the same coin and how he dealt with that especially when Raylan chose to step out of the clear lines of the law, especially as he had badge on his hip. Then there was Boyd who was just bad to the bone and embraced it without remorse towards the end. Boyd had some damn great lines himself. 

Sadly it is not yet on Netflix it's on Amazon prime and if you have it I highly recommend it. I have to admit I leaned on it often to catch the nuances of dialogue-the back and forth that moved the story forward. It was a huge help and there were entire seasons saved on my DVR box, truth.

The show was based on a short story called Fire in the Hole by James Ellroy and the first episode stuck closely to the book. I loved it from the first scene to midway through, and when it was over I knew I wanted more of this show. At the time I was toying with writing professionally, watching Justified it was a great prod to the ass, to want to be that good, to create a world that was totally living breathing and engrossing. 

A great entertaining show just to watch and an even better for a writer to watch and learn from. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Second Excerpt for His Healing Touch

How was it possible to get to twenty-nine years old and never feel longing and desire so intense I ache with it, or even just the feeling of contentment to have him close? It’s not like I’m a virgin, there had been an asshole in the first year of college who was more interested in my knowledge of economics than me outside of bed. In my last year I met a sweet, kind, and secretly gay guy who was hoping I was okay with that. Which I would have been, as a friend, if he hadn’t already been having sex with me for the previous six months.
When I moved back to my grandmother’s house after finishing school I felt lost. The house had been given to me with the stipulation I couldn’t sell it until I was thirty and came into the remainder of my inheritance. I was lonely, the house was too big, except, just the thought of leaving it made me cry. With my parents actually reaching out to me, I was loathe to leave, fearful physical distance would lead back to our previous distance. My parents introduced me to one of my father’s colleagues from work at a dinner party they had, their matchmaking obvious.
Colin was much older, yet still handsome. He also enjoyed many of the same things I did—like art, museums, opera, and traveling. For a few months I believed things were going well. On our first trip together visiting Moscow I came back from shopping to find his computer open and unlocked by the bed. Curiosity had filled me, he’d been almost ridiculously obsessive about me not touching it.
A few clicks told me why, it was filled with the most vile and illegal porn I’d ever seen. By the time he came out of the bathroom, I was already packed and walking out the door. When I got back to Dallas I reported him to the police. Weeks later, my father called and raged at me for getting Colin arrested, causing him to lose his job, and ruining his life. All I cared about was finding out he’d been sentenced to three years in prison and would be on the sex offender list.
Considering my last relationship had started for all the wrong reasons, it was hardly surprising when it crashed and burned. I was bored and he was there, only two apartments away from mine. Almost six months in I still hadn’t met any of his friends or family and the whole thing felt off. Then he lost his phone and asked me to call it. I found it in the bed ringing, with my contact name showing as fatty. The word felt like a punch to the chest. Instead of being sorry, he was rude, he’d only started sleeping with me because of my tits and he heard fat chicks were willing to do anything in bed. Which apparently was an urban myth because sex with me was so boring he didn’t know how he managed not to fall asleep before he was done. He walked out, and thankfully moved out of the complex only a month later.
At the remembered pain, I rub my eyes, pissed at the tears that fall. Would this time be any different than the others? Closing my eyes, I remember the way Nick smiled when he called me adorably fuckable, the desire and longing in his eyes as he touched my lips. No man had ever looked at me as if I was a tempting treat he couldn’t have. No man had ever taken care of me as if I mattered to him; no man had ever taken care of me, period. My phone’s ring startles me, I don’t have to think, I know it’s Nick.
“Hello?” Fuck, do I sound breathless?
“Can’t sleep?”
“No, I think the nap was too long. Are you busy tonight?” The real reason why is swallowed without a thought.
“A little, Mom said you were busy. Did you catch up on work?”
“Hmm, is your mom spying and relaying everything back?” I’m thrilled to know he was busy, yet still taking the time to call me. Then I wonder just how much will she tell him about me.
“Fuck yes, I need all the help I can get to make sure you aren’t doing anything you shouldn’t, and to take care of you when I can’t be there. How is your knee feeling?”
“Not bad, it’s actually my ankle hurting. The ice didn’t feel great, but after it was off I missed it. You know I can take care of myself, I’ve been doing pretty well for a long time. This is kind of an unusual circumstance.”
Nick’s laughter in my ear makes me shiver. “There’s how you take care of yourself and there’s how I want to take care of you.” The way he says it makes my panties wet and my mouth dry. “If you knew all the ways I want to take care of you, the things I thought of in bed, with you down the hall, close yet untouchable, it’s a good thing you aren’t mobile or you’d run as fast and far as you could get.”
Longing is clear and coats his every word, leaving no room for doubt; Nick wants me. Remembering the way he told me I make his cock hard thrills me. “And if I don’t want to run?”
The intake of air in my ear makes me smile, no he wasn’t as cool as he seemed. “Maggie,” it’s a whisper, “I will hold you to that, under me and against me until I’ve made us both so weak you couldn’t walk if you wanted to. You’re killing me and I love it. Three long weeks since I first saw you and I walked into a damned car because I couldn’t stop staring at your gorgeous ass.”
“What?” No fucking way.
“I was finishing my run, going back through the parking lot when I saw you bent at the fucking waist, tying your shoe. My cock has never gotten that hard that fast in my entire life. I couldn’t take my eyes off you and walked straight into a parked car. I didn’t want to let you get away, except my cock wouldn’t cooperate. Like a fucking kid, I hid behind a car and watched you until you disappeared. You were cracking me up the way you were talking to Pickles, like you expected her to talk back. You just rambled on and on complaining about the humidity and early mornings and all the tall, skinny bitches. I wanted to follow you to hear what else you had to say and to watch your ass in your tight jeans.”
“Oh, my god,” I groan at the idea of him hearing me talk to Pickles. “I can’t believe it. That is so embarrassing. Wait, when was that?”
“March sixteenth, I remember it vividly because I was supposed to have a date that night, but I called and cancelled. Right then and there I didn’t want anyone but you. As you walked away, I consoled myself with the knowledge I’d be back at my new time for a better chance of seeing you again.”
“Wow.” His honesty is clear, he really has wanted me since the moment he saw me. Me, Margaret Jane Pruitt, wow.
“My thought exactly, when I saw your ass. I never understood the whole fascination with any one facet of a woman until, with one look, I wanted to be behind you with your hips in my hands watching your body move with my every stroke. Then you took my perfect view away and I saw those bright blue eyes and your wide luscious mouth. I thought, no I want to watch her face. I want to see your eyes dark with passion, your face flushed in excitement, your mouth wide as you beg for more.”
Oh. My. God. “Nick?” It’s an exhale of breath, I’m too stunned to speak.
“I knew it, you’ve had sex but never fucked. A man has been inside you but never made you scream his name. Did they even get you wet, baby? Hmm…did your pussy flood with need to have their cock inside you?”
Wrong, dirty, so fucking hot. How could he know? “No.”
“It wasn’t your fault, it was theirs. So sweet, knowledgeable, yet innocent. Tell me, baby, is your pussy wet for me right now?” I can’t answer that, does he really want me to say it out loud? “Maggie, is your pussy wet for me?”
“Yes.” I choke out the word.
“Yes, what?”
Biting my tongue until I’m afraid it will bleed, I don’t even consider not answering him even though I’ve never used the word in my life. “My pussy is wet for you.”
“I know. I just wanted to hear you say it. I like knowing I’m not the only one leaking with desire.” I hear a door open and a male voice talking to him. I deflate a little, I don’t want this to be over, not yet. His voice full of regret. “I have to go, baby.”
I don’t say any of those things, I’m pretty sure he already knows. “I know, goodnight.”
He ends the call. I push my face into my pillow and scream. Nick hadn’t been able to take his eyes off me. Hearing him talk about the moment he saw me, his wonder came through clearly enough I almost felt it myself. How could he do that? Tear me up and put me back together saying the sweetest things, fill me full of desire using the naughtiest, dirtiest words I have ever heard as easily as if he were talking about the weather. The doubts swirling before his call disappear, and in their place are things I haven’t felt, ever, when it came to a man: desire, excitement, and hope.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back to the grind

Grrr.....I'm going back to work full time and I am so not happy about it.  But there are these things like groceries, and toothpaste and toilet paper that people expect you to hand paper money over in order to give you. Soooo it's back to the salt mines. On one hand I want to cry because I can't let the voices out whenever they want and focus on the story but on the other, my output was oddly not what I thought it would be and I can't help but wonder if it was because for the first time in a very long time I was happy and not writing to escape the misery of my everyday work week bullshit. No, I'm not a masochist. There was actually a Big Bang Theory episode about it-I've watched twice-about Sheldon trying to increase his output by making himself uncomfortable. 

So probably very soon I'll be pumping out the hot, dirty, good stuff faster than a teenage boy who found his dad's Playboy because the only thing worse than working is getting up early to do it and very soon my work week will start at SIX THIRTY in the morning. Which means I have to be awake and functioning at FIVE AM IN THE MORNING. I haven't had to be up so early since I was in high school. The very thought of it makes me want to cry and last night I opened up the laptop and jotted down three story ideas. Yeah, it's like that. The only good thing about that is it is only during training for about a month.

I will also take this moment to beg for reviews so other readers know it's worth their time and money-if you think it is.