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Thursday Night Check In: Because I felt like talking. #blogging

I thought I would swing by the blog and check in since I have mostly been posting other peoples writing and events the past few posts. Besides, I like to think you follow the blog because you’re genuinely interested in what I’m up to, or better yet, are a fan of my writing. (hey, a girl can dream)

Anyway, here’s what is up with me. 🙂

Nano comes to a close tomorrow and quite frankly, I won’t be winning two years in a row. Bummer — kinda. I mean, I’m not all depressed about it, but I am a little disappointed in myself. I’ve never been an excuse maker, so while I have theories on what worked against me (aside from my own excellent procrastination skills), it really doesn’t change the missed goal.

I basically content myself with the knowledge while I didn’t win last year either, I did finish Call of the Sea during Nano in 2011. Back then, it had the working title, The Pirate and The Selkie (real original, right?) The point here being — I “won” in the end, since you all know Call was published by Inkspell in June 2012.

The holidays are around the corner, and I’m stuck in that in between space where I want to get excited for Christmas, but it’s too early to see the Christmas specials and the commercial bombardment advertising its arrival. So, I’m in this weird sorta protest against getting into the Christmas spirit –yes, I am stubborn, a bit bull headed, and very Irish. 😛

My alter ego has had a busy month last month promoting authors for her publisher, Evernight –but her first of 3 December releases on 3rd. Hehe — three on the third — go figure. Feel free to go give R. Brennan some love if you are over 18 and enjoy erotica and erotic romance. (https://bexbooknook.wordpress.com)

December will be a VERY busy month for the blog with visits from every author in the J. Taylor Publishing release, MAKE BELIEVE. As one of my favorite YA authors would say — I’m chuffed about that.

So that’s what I’ve got brewing. What’s up with all of you. Any of you have news to share with the class? Feel free to shout it out in the comments section. 🙂

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Creative Blogger Award: I’ve been nominated. :) #blogging #writing #poetry

So, I was informed today that I have been granted the honor of a nomination for the Creative Blogger Award by Emily Wheeler and her blog: Emily’s Tea Leaves.

First off, a big thanks to Emily for the nod 🙂

Each of these blog awards comes with its own set of rules, and this one is no different. Here is what I am supposed to do:

  1. This award should be given to those who have written a poem, a story, scripts, or some other creative form of writing for their blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award, and link to their blog.
  3. Write a 8 line poem about yourself.
  4. Nominate 4 other bloggers for the award and notify them of their nomination.”

I’ve already tackled #2 above — but thanks again to Emily for the nomination.

Okies… I am definitely not a poet, I generally save those duties for my daughter. But, in the interest of fair play and all that, I will give it the old college try.

Let’s bear in mind here — I am an erotica writer.

Servitude

The bite of hemp across my wrists
the need for more of our little trysts.
I try and try with all my might
to please my Master and do what’s right.
But when I don’t, he’ll give that look
and beckon me to him with a finger crook.
I know punishment time is now at hand,
but damn I love being his to command.

There you have it — Now you know why I don’t write poetry, eh?

Anyway, this is the fun part — nominating four fellow writers or prose for this prestigeous award.

My Nominees are:

Terri Rochenski

Jocelyn Adams

Elise Brookes

Annabelle Blume

You should stop in and visit their blogs. I’m sure you will see why I gave them each a nomination.

Inspiring Blogger Award: Pretty Neat *grins* #writing #blogging

So I learned yesterday that I was nominated for this “Inspiring Blogger Award” by a follower of the blog here. I was flattered and a bit confused at first. I mean, what did I do to inspire someone else? Nothing I had been aware of.

I guess, or at least based on the reasoning listed for the nomination, I “really help your fellow writer and that’s inspiring.” (works for me :P)

The rules for this one are pretty simple, so I am hoping I don’t manage to mess them up.

First off, my thanks to Pixiebubbles for the nod. You can find her blog here: http://lifewithchocolateandcoffee.wordpress.com You should stop in and say hello. It’s a lovely place to visit. 🙂

Now, for the hard part of this — Listing 7 little facts about yourself and nominating 15 other bloggers for the Inspiring Blogger Award. Oh, boy…

My Facts:

1. Growing up I actually thought I would be an Olympic Beach Volleyball player.

2. I babble when I am nervous.

3. I actually like spiders. They eat flies, and flies are my nemesis. *shivers*

4. I am a dog person. Cats are nice and all but I prefer canines. Also, the bigger and hairier they are, the more I seem to like them.

5. I HATE HATE HATE grocery shopping.

6. I was a terrible older sister to my siblings when it came to watching them when my parents went out. I am quite surprised some of them lived through it, actually.

7. My favorite color is green.

Hmm, that wasn’t near as complicated as I thought it would be.

Now, for the nominating…

I’ve selected these bloggers as ones who inspire me.

Kastil Eavenshade

Claire Gillian

Julie Reece

Jocelyn Adams

Amaleen Ison

Annabelle Blume

Stephanie Lawton

Emily Guido

Aimee Laine

Terri Rochenski

Kelly Said

Lydia Sharp

Anna Simpson

Jennifer Eaton

J. Keller Ford

Tag, ladies. You’re it!

Thanks to each and every one of you for being an inspiration to me.

Z is for Zany: Which describes what this #atozchallenge has been like. #blogging #writing

What a ZANY month April has been. Between the unusual weather throughout the country to this amazing adventure called the A to Z Blogging Challenge. When I agreed to participate, I really had no illusions about ever completing the challenge. While I do like to talk, having something new to say every day for a month? That is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

Yet, here were are on the lat day of the challenge and I actually managed to complete it successfully. HOORAY FOR ME!

I want to take a quick minute to thank and welcome all the new blog followers my participation has earned me, and I hope I continue to entertain and interest you with my blogging going forward. I have also started following a whole new set of great blogs and look forward to growing and learning alongside all of you as the year moves forward.

Thanks again to everyone who visited during April and I hope to still see and hear from you all come May.

Happy Monday!

X is for Xebec: Courtesy of 17th Century Shipping #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

Like the rest of the participants on the A to Z Blogging Challenge, it was tough to come up with an X word that would not be used by every other participating blog. Good thing I write fiction with historical elements or this would have been a really boring Xylophone post 😛

You may be wondering at this point, “What ‘s a Xebec?” and “Did she make that word up?”

The short answers are a ship, and no, I didn’t.

Let me elaborate a bit 🙂

From Wikipedia: A xebec (play /ˈzbɛk/ or /zɨˈbɛk/), also spelled zebec, was a Mediterranean sailing ship that was used mostly for trading. It would have a long overhanging bowsprit and protruding mizzen mast. It also can refer to a small, fast vessel of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, used almost exclusively in the Mediterranean Sea.

Xebecs were similar to galleys used by Algerian Berber corsairs and Barbary pirates having both lateen sails and oars for propulsion. Early xebecs had two masts; later ones three. Xebecs featured a distinctive hull with pronounced overhanging bow and stern, and rarely displaced more than 200 tons, making them slightly smaller and with slightly fewer guns than frigates of the period.

The protagonist in Call of the Sea, Jashir, the notorious pirate, captains a Xebec.

From CALL OF THE SEA:

“Sails to the stern, Captain!”

The call from the crow’s nest jerked Daniel’s attention toward the topmast and the crewman pointing behind them.

Captain Winters lifted the spyglass, peered through it. “Lateen sails, no colors. Looks like a xebec.” Lowering the glass, his gaze swept to Daniel. “All hands at the ready.”

“All hands at the ready!” Daniel shouted across the deck of the brigantine. “Step handsomely, men!”

The Captain rested a hand on Daniel’s sleeve. “Take the helm, Daniel. I want you at the wheel if there’s to be a fight.”

Daniel nodded, looking to the man he’d grown to admire. “Aye, Captain.”

I bet you feel supremely educated now, don’t you? Okay, maybe not, but at least I managed to come up with a somewhat informative X day posting. Only two more letters to go (is that the finish line I see ahead?)

See you tomorrow 🙂

Queries: Oh the Horror! A Necessary Evil #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

I can only think of one author I know who literally LOVES queries. The rest of us, or at least a large majority of the rest of us, hate them, fear them, and avoid them at all costs. I am one of those writers.

Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand the importance and need for them, but that doesn’t make them any easier to write. What to put in, what to leave out… will it hook? So many things to consider and so many schools of thought with respect to the best ways to approach them.

In my time subbing stories, I have found that simple and to the point seems to work the best.

For giggles, I thought I would put up the queries I have sent that have earned me either a partial request or an acceptance from a publisher or agent. Maybe by putting them all on one place, a pattern will emerge to show what works vs what doesn’t.

Okay, I admit it… this is a complete experiment, but maybe it will be entertaining 😛

This is the original query letter I penned for CALL OF THE SEA – It was sent to a literary agent I wanted to work with (still do). She request the first 30 pages from the MS, but later rejected the MS. At the time, it looked much different than the final version, and I can honestly say I understand why it was rejected. (Rule #1: AGENTS WANT SOMETHING THEY CAN SELL NOT SOMETHING THEY CAN EDIT AND THEN SELL)

Dear AGENT:

There’s no denying the call of the sea.

Thanks to the selkie blood coursing through his veins, young Daniel O’Rourke is tied to the ocean–whether he likes it or not. In an effort to earn a living while staying close to the coast, Daniel takes a job aboard The Surf Runner as their cabin boy.

When his beloved captain and mentor is murdered by pirates, Daniel must work with the captain’s headstrong daughter to hunt down the killer.

That is, if she’ll let him anywhere near her.

 THE CALL OF THE SEA is a historical fantasy romance complete at 78,000 words.

This novel is currently a finalist in the adult category of Miss Snark’s Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction and up for bid by the sixteen participating agents on Tuesday.

My short stories have been published in various anthologies and collections by Pill Hill Press, Wicked East Press and DFE Quarterly (erotica).

When I read this over again, I find it hard to believe three is enough here to bait a hook with, but it did earn a partial request as I mentioned, as well as full requests from my publisher and another small publisher I had queried at the time I was shopping the story.

The below query was for a short story (written under a pen name) — which was rejected eventually, but with the reasoning that it didn’t have a HEA/HFA ending, which this particular publisher requires from their erotic titles. They went on to add that if I made changes to the plot to make it that sort of ending, they would be interested publishing it.

As you can see, a query for a short is a bit different from a novel query (but not a whole lot).

Let me start by congratulating you on your upcoming launch. I’ve been following you on Twitter and Facebook for a little bit now, and it looks like you have some fantastic things happening at [name withheld] Publishing. I am submitting my speculative fiction erotica short, Ace in the Hole for consideration by [name withheld]‘s (BLANK) imprint. The story is complete at 6,000 words.
Twenty year old, Marley Drake is smokin’ hot and she knows it. In search of her next Sugar Daddy, Marley hits a trendy downtown bar with her best friend, Amy. What she finds may just be the jackpot–if she can get past the fact that he’s at least three times her age and a bit creepy. She realizes Professor VonHessen is much more than he appears when he introduces her to his robotics masterpiece, ACE; an anatomically correct android built for sex.
My short stories have been published in anthologies by Pill Hill Press (Sinisterotica – 2011 and Daily Flash: 366 Days of Flash Fiction – 2011) and Wicked East Press (Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skullduggery – 2011).
Thank you for your time.
 I would have more queries for you, but flash fiction pieces don’t generally require them, and I haven’t completed my next novel yet, so haven’t written a query for that.
So, did we learn anything from the examples — besides that I am pretty terrible at writing the darn things? Do you have tips or hints for others who are in the process of writing a query?  Feel free to share below 😛

Opportunity: Can you hear it knocking? #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

As a writer stepping ever closer to the release of her first novel, the word OPPORTUNITY has been forefront in my mind of late. I am on the cusp of so many new ones–or at least I certainly hope so.

Will I recognize my opportunities when they come? Or will they be more subtle, and if I’m not vigilant I could walk right past them.

The more I think about it though, the more I realize everything I do is an opportunity for something. If I get up an hour early, there is an opportunity to spend more time with my girls as they get ready for school. If I sleep late, I have the opportunity to miss the traffic jam that clogs I-787 on most mornings at precisely 8:45 AM.

Geez… does all this make me an OPTIMIST?

Maybe. But,  I for one plan to take my optimistic butt to the top of the nearest bluff so I can keep an eye out for the opportunities that are sure to come.

Happy Tuesday, Everyone 🙂

L is for Love, Baby! What Else? #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

What romance writer worth their salt wouldn’t use the big L word for the A to Z Challenge today? Okay, I guess I could have gone for something completely out of the norm, but heck, a girl gets lazy from time to time.

oOo — lazy — another excellent L word. One of my favorites…but I digress.

In writing my current novels in progress (all romances), I have become a bit obsessed with the word LOVE and its inner workings.

Love makes the world go round, or so they say.

Like anything else, it helps to understand better if we start with a basic definition:

love -[luhv] noun, verb, loved, lov·ing.

noun

1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
As you can see, even the definition itself has numerous variations and “types” of emotion – everything from adult sexual love to the love you feel for a child or pet.
Defining love in a text form is much easier than defining it in real life. How do we know we are in love, versus lust, or even strong friendship? Where does that line between like and love sit?
I don’t have a clue, quite frankly. I am just a writer and a parent mucking through life just like everyone else. I have no real answers or epiphany to share with you all. Love just doesn’t work that way…
But I think we, as writers are often charged with illustrating these lines, and giving a reader a glimpse into what makes a loving relationship and what it is like to be in love. We need to be able to immerse a reader in that warm glow as it is being experienced by our characters, and in some cases, we may even find we are giving our readers their first real glimpse at what is means to love or be loved.
What an awesome responsibility that is, when you stop to think about it.
God, I love being a writer…

Kismet: What a Stinking Awesome Word #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

Kismet has to be pretty close to one of my favorite words. Not only because its existence gives me plenty of writing fodder, but also because it means FATE — Fate… such a fickle and often used subject for writing fiction.

Okay, so topic selected: Kismet.

Now what? What about it? How do I make that one, powerful word into a posting topic?

A story excerpt that illustrates fate, maybe? CALL OF THE SEA is all about kismet… sorta, kinda.

So, without further ado, my take on Kismet:

He found the captain’s daughter about halfway to shore, gasping and choking as she reached for the star-laden sky. The look of terror in her stormy eyes stole his breath.

Daniel surged forward. He reached the girl just as she dipped below the surface. Clamping his mouth around the shoulder of her gown, he yanked her back up. He locked the garment in his teeth and rolled over until she lay on his chest facing the sky. A shiver of fear slid down his spine. She wasn’t gasping for air anymore.

With renewed urgency, Daniel swam for the shore, doing his best to keep her head above water as it lolled to the side. Her closed lids and quiet expression needled his chest. Please, God, don’t let her be dead.

He rode the crest of a wave to the coast. Sand scraped his back. Releasing his hold on the girl, he wriggled from beneath her lifeless form and flipped over. Waves rushed over her body, her parted lips stained purple.

Frantic, Daniel dragged her away from the water. His eyes swept the empty beach. With no other ready options, he closed his eyes and concentrated on his human body.

Soon, a familiar heat surged through him and his arms and legs began to tingle. His thick sealskin loosened to make room for the contortion of bone and ligament. Daniel grunted as his flippers and tail stretched and unfolded, becoming arms and legs. His fingers and knees dug into the wet sand as they formed, colored to pink flesh. He gasped for air as a wave of nausea washed over him. Once he could move without fear of passing out, Daniel turned back to the unconscious girl.

She wasn’t breathing.

With a cry of dismay, Daniel crawled to where she lay and pounded on her chest. She remained motionless, her face pale. He rolled her onto her stomach and beat the heel of his hand against her back.

Once.

Breathe!

Twice.

She coughed, sending sparks of relief through him. Water burst past her lips in ragged choking gasps. Daniel stopped whacking at her, released his hold, and scrambled backward.

The girl’s entire body shook with the force of her gagging as she tried to expel the remaining water and suck life-giving air into her chest. She pushed herself up on hands and knees and retched into the sand. The girl inhaled deeply and twisted her head to look at Daniel. Her brow creased before her eyes lost their focus and rolled back in her head. The girl’s elbows buckled and she dropped to the sand with a whoosh.

Daniel scurried back to her side, eyes wide.

The steady rise and fall of her body told him she breathed.

He ran shaking fingers through his thick hair. “Thank God.”

“You dropped something.”

Daniel’s breath caught. He whipped his head toward the deep voice, eyes wide.

Captain Winters stood over him, Daniel’s discarded sealskin clenched in his large fist. Recognition narrowed his eyes. “Well, if it isn’t my new cabin boy.” A muscle in his jaw flexed. He flung the sealskin at Daniel. “Find some clothes, boy.”

Before Daniel could utter a response, Captain Winters stalked past him. He knelt beside his unconscious daughter and brushed a wet strand of sand-coated hair from her ashen cheek. He bent over the girl, listened to her chest for a few long moments. Releasing a relived sigh, he scooped her into his arms and stood up. Her head rolled against his shoulder as he spun about. Without so much as a backward glance at Daniel, the captain strode across the beach. His daughter’s little feet bounced with each angry step.

Pulse racing and body frozen by fear, Daniel clutched his skin to his chest. He knows I’m cursed. I’ll never work for him now. His mind conjured the image of his father, the hatred in his eyes the night he kicked Daniel out. What if the captain tells my secret? His throat closed.

A few yards away, Captain Winters stopped, glanced over his shoulder. The intensity of his gaze halted Daniel’s heartbeat. “I said get dressed, Daniel. When you’re done, come up to the house just over the ridge. It is time you and I had a little talk.”

Daniel shivered, but managed a slow nod. He swallowed the paralysis from his tongue and whispered, “Aye, Captain.”

Aren’t you dying to know what fate has in store for the girl and her wonderful selkie rescuer? Be sure to get your copy of CALL OF THE SEA to find out. 🙂

See you next time…

Jyslin Dalael: Etherian Priestess in Training: A Character Profile #atozchallenge #blogging #writing

Since today’s letter is J, I thought I would post today about my most recent character obsession, Jyslin (Jice-linn). I spelled it phonetically because I did have a reader friend giggle at the name. She had been pronouncing it differently, and well, it isn’t the sort of way I want her name remembered, if you get my meaning. I may even go back and change the spelling in the story to Jicelyn to avoid that little snag. I just wish I liked the way it looked on the page a bit better when spelled that way.

Regardless, here is my character page for Jyslin, the female lead character in a WIP novel I have given the working title of Destiny’s Trial. She plays opposite my favorite Bad Wolf, Domnu.

Name: Jyslin Dalael

Race: Etherian
Realm: Etheria (Mountain of Mists)

Appearance: Long ebony hair, pale skin and silver eyes.

Here are the images I pinned on Pinterest to represent Jyslin:

Notable Characteristics: Jyslin is an acolyte priestess who is embarking on her Cinuint journey (see the C post for the A to Z challenge for details on what that is). She runs into Domnu during her travels. Jyslin is Etherian, therefore able to breathe both air and water.

Other Facts of Interest: Jyslin has a Spirit Twin ( a frost owl) named Angus. I picture him as a large snowy own with blue tipped wings. Here is his inspiration image:

I find that it helps to have a mental image as well as a graphic to help represent my characters when I am in the process of writing their stories. For whatever reason, it seems to help the story flow.

Where do you get your story inspirations? Do you use graphic representations like I do, or do you have other ways to cement the characters in your mind?

Would love to know how others tackle these sorts of things. Feel free to share 🙂

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