Tag Archives: A to Z blog challenge

S stands for Sore, Sultry and Schoolwork

S stands for sore. As in my feet are. And my back is. But it’s an accomplished feeling sore, not an ‘Oh, crap, what did I do?!’ sore.

Or seven, as in the seven miles I walked today with my best friend, my Great Dane and her toddler in a stroller.

Or schoolwork, which I just got completed, 2.5 hours before the deadline. Whew!

It was going to stand for sultry, or sensual, or even sexy.

None of which I’m feeling at this particular moment in time. 😀

But those last three are very important, if you writing a certain type of book. It doesn’t have to be paranormal romance, or, really, even a romance at all. But most women (and yes, I’m well aware I’m completely generalizing) like a bit of sensual in their reading material. It doesn’t even have to lead into sex. In fact, my personal opinion is, the less written means more left to the imagination… which allows your reader to go as far as they’re comfortable.
I’m currently in the throes of writing a ‘light’ paranormal romance. I say ‘light’ because there is no sex. But there’s plenty of heat and sensual. (At least in my admittedly biased opinion.)
(excerpt… rough draft)
“If she was committed to you,” Bett purred, sliding off the stool and over to me. “She wouldn’t be with someone else.”

I shook his head. “I can’t—I can’t think when you’re this close.” I scraped my chair backward across the hardwood floor.

Bett licked her lips. “And I can’t think when you’re so very—” she leaned over me, the top two buttons on her blouse falling open almost of their own accord, “far away.”

“Bett…” I stared at the expanse of smooth skin, the color of ivory piano keys.

“Michael…” Bett straightened…
(end excerpt.)
I may or may not add some actual sex in… but thus far, that’s not where the story is heading. I’m letting my characters decide where to go. After all, it’s their story, not mine.
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R stands for Rosemary

No, not Rosemary as in ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. Rosemary, as in the oh so fragrant herb which took over much more than its allotted space in my garden and became a very full plant about the size of the monster plant of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ fame.

I spent an hour outside, trimming it down to a manageable shrub. And then two hours processing all that rosemary into trimmings I could freeze and dry for future use. I never thought working outside could be so stress relieving, but thanks to one of my best friends, I discovered a great pleasure in the ‘old’ skills ; gardening, weeding (rather than paying someone to do it for me), and canning, which I have yet to do on my own, but am definitely putting on my ‘list’.

As a result, I have six baggies of rosemary in my freezer, sixteen bunches of it hanging in my bedroom closet, and a small patch of garden waiting for more herbs. 😀

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P stands for Passionate

You must be passionate. About your life, about your loves and about your words. If you’re not passionate, the words will never jump off the page and keep your readers awake until their eyes burn and they yearn for sleep ‘after just one more page.’

Not every writer is going to be successful at this endeavor. Some will write perfectly acceptable books; books which sell well and have an audience. But the novels where the author is passionate; oh, those are the great ones. Those are the ones where the reader will buy everything you write because you give them a world to believe in and characters to embrace.

The authors I love who fall into that category, regardless of genre:

Marion Zimmer Bradley (fantasy), Mercedes Lackey (fantasy), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (fiction), Robert Asprin (fantasy), Kim Harrison (fantasy), Lee Child (mystery), Steve Hamilton (mystery), Robert Jordan (fantasy), David Eddings (fantasy).

I’m enough of a reader that I’m sure there are tons more I’ll think of as soon as I end this post, but so be it.

 

 

 

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O stands for Opportunities

I’m not talking about financial opportunities, or anything anyone else would consider ‘real world’. I’m referring to the golden opportunities in unpublished novels.

It really is a chain reaction. If your MC doesn’t have an opportunity to do whatever it is that’s motivating him, there is no way for your story to move forward. It’s your job as the writer to make sure those opportunities make it onto the page in such a way that the reader finds them believable. Because, let’s face it, without that believability factor they won’t read the rest of your novel. And isn’t that the entire goal? I’m sure there might be some writers, somewhere, who never ever share their work… but I don’t know of a single one…

The same can be said for the bad guys. (Every novel needs at least one perceived ‘baddie’.) Your challenge is to ensure your bad guys get the opportunity to potentially ham-string your MC, sometimes more than once, before the novel ends. Whether they succeed or not is utterly beside the point. It’s not what keeps your reader…ummm… reading. What should keep your reader turning the pages is the cat and mouse game which ensues once your MCs meet up with, or realize they are being pursued by, the bad guys. That’s what ultimately brings the novel to a climax and leaves your readers sweat soaked, sitting back in their chairs, thinking to themselves ‘Whew. Wasn’t sure that was gonna happen!’

 

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N stands for Nothing

Let nothing, nothing, stand in the way of your dreams.

I did that for years. It started when I was a teenager and I never thought I was ‘good enough’ to follow them. Everyone else followed theirs. But somewhere along the line, I learned that I wasn’t meant for college. I wasn’t focused enough to go through with higher education — at least, that’s what I was told. That’s what I absorbed. Because when someone close to you is constantly saying ‘She’ll never…’ you trust it. You believe it. It becomes true.

My first dream was to be a fashion model. I even went to modeling school to learn how to walk, eat correctly, and put on make-up. I did some light modeling, but quickly learned it wasn’t for me.

My next dream was to move to New York and be a full time author. Instead, I got married (still not going to college.) That pretty much killed that dream. I stayed in that marriage for six or seven years before I left. The reasons why don’t matter.

A few years after that, I became a mom for the first time, which took up a LOT of my focus. Various reasons after that kept me from writing and turning it into a career.

This isn’t to complain about the path my life took. It’s simply to illustrate how easy it is to lose sight of what you really want with other things you also want. And it’s completely possible to do both.

Now, at what is the middle of my life, I’m letting nothing stand in my way. I may never be the next Robert Jordan, and that’s okay… as long as I’m true to me and my wants.

Nothing stands in my way, least of all my own insecurities.

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L stands for Laughter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not the bad kind of ‘Oh. My. Gwad. You’re wearing THAT?!’ laughter. The good kind. The kind that cramps your stomach and leaves you with a smile on your face.

Without laughter, the world would be a dull place, indeed. Some authors have great comedic talent (Jenni James’ novels Pride & Popularity and Northanger Alibi are great examples of comedic Y.A.), while others excel at the creepy (Stephen King and Dean Koontz). Each talent has its place, of course, but the writers I prefer to read can make me laugh, cry, despair and triumph… all in the same novel.

I never thought I was the type of writer to have talent even remotely resembling comedic anything. Then I created my first gnome. And he absolutely cracked me up. He was fun, he was quirky, and he rapidly stole the hearts of everyone who read him. He turned what was an epic fantasy (with all the drama that implies) into something more.And that something more was worth every keystroke.

(…excerpt of BoH…rough unrevised draft…)

The gnome squatted by the fire, unseemingly bothered by the cold. “I do, but not the bad meat. Only the good meat.” He lowered his voice and they all leaned forward to hear his next words. “The bad meat is, well, really, really bad. I don’t recommend it at all. Not that it’ll make you ill, ‘cause I ate some once and it didn’t. Make me ill, that is…” He wilted a bit as they stared at his abnormal chattiness. “The Elders sent me to come with you. They said I needed to —” he scratched his nearly bald head. “Represent the gnomes when you found the elves.”

“So now we need a gnome to get an elf to get the Hand from the gnomes?” Leena closed her eyes. “I’m getting a headache.”

“A headache?” Orgon leaned across the fire, nearly setting himself ablaze in the process. “Where?”

Leena closed her eyes tighter. “In. My. Head.”

“Really? Can I see it?”

She shook her head. Gently. “Not unless you plan on dissecting me.”

“Oh, it’s on the inside?”

Leena opened one eye and glanced across the fire. Yes, he was utterly serious.

(…end of excerpt…)

As you can see, he was a great deal of fun to write. I could be as silly and nonsensical as I wanted to. And, best of all, I made everyone who read him laugh.

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H stands for Hairy Spiders

Ugh! I hate hairy spiders. And I can’t kill ’em. I can’t even get within arm’s length of them. I have this completely irrational fear they’re going to develop super Spidey ninja skills and leap up at my face. And I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Georgia has some uber scary hairy spiders. (Okay, okay, the Goliath spider that’s as big as a dinner plate would give me a heart attack. Absolutely. But thankfully, it’s not in Georgia.)

My husband thinks I’m a wuss. So does my fourteen year old son. I haven’t asked my nearly eleven year old what he thinks, but it’s probably better that way 😛

I should be more scared of the brown recluse, or the black widow. But there’s just something…creepy… about an arachnid the size of a quarter with hair all over its body.

One of the two wolf spiders I found having a party in my bathroom had mad skills… it escaped from underneath a coffee cup. (No one was home, and did I mention I can’t get close enough to kill them??) When my husband came home from work I made him go into the bathroom to squash it, he lifted the cup and… no spider! The damn thing pulled a Houdini. I still don’t know where it went O.o.

 

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