Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year, New Stories and Back To The Future II

We're in 2015. Everyone's been saying "Where's my Hoverboard?". I on the other hand, what to know where my "Mr. Fusion" is and if it could handle critter waste as I have lots of critters at my house. That flying car concept would be really cool too, especially if I could travel over 100 mph.

Most of the home controls have been created already, like "lights on", with the exception of the re-hydrator device. How awesome would that be? Microwaves are no longer fast enough for me, a few seconds for a pizza would be heaven. Luckily kids aren't wearing their clothes inside out - yet.

Weather control is still far off on the horizon, I don't think we'll ever be able to control Mother Nature. In the depths of winter I do daydream about being able to scatter the gloomy clouds and bring the sun out. California would probably greatly appreciate being able to control when and how much it rains as well. Especially if they can program good soakings over the Central Valley where the farms are.

Stories that involve the future often predict some really cool things, perhaps because it excites some scientific young mind enough to work hard on creating a much wanted new technology. These kinds of stories tend to be a muse to other creative types.

Why am I rambling about SciFi books/movies being muses for other creative types? Well, because I seem to have inadvertently stumbled across a new muse myself. A dear friend of mine is not only an amazing IT pro, he also happens to be an amazing artistic photographer with a unique eye. It was one of his photos that inspired my 2014 NaNoWriMo project.

The photo struck me as being perfect for a book cover, I'd even remarked on Facebook that it would make a great book cover and perhaps I could figure out a story to go along with it. Less than 2 minutes later, my Coven Sisters characters had given me the story idea.

Last month I had started mapping out my writing plans for this year. On target were my edits for The Reluctant Psychic and finding a professional editor while I send out more agent letters. In between the letters and editor searching, I had mapped out another month to work on edits for the second book in the Jess Barker series, while fixing timeline and relationship mixups in the third book. Another month was reserved for working on the first book in The Scot series, one for editing my Fey Life series, and more research for my Chosen series.

All that got tossed in the air today when I saw a new photo shoot from that same friend. The second I saw the perfect book cover photo I had a story idea and the Coven Sisters firmly let me know that this is their story and there will be an entire series of books based on his photos. Silly characters having minds of their own, they've thoroughly destroyed my schedule!

If anyone can come up with ideas on how to add more time into a day I could certainly use it.Where is Hermione and her magically time-bending watch when I need her?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Conference Time!

by Suzanne Graham

Are you a fan of erotic romance? Did you read through all 50 Shades? Are you dying to see the movie?

Seattle is hosting a hot new conference called 50 Shades of Romance. Several amazing erotic romance authors will be featured, including J. Kenner (RITA winner), Shayla Black, Lexi Blake, and Lisa Renee Jones, among others.

If you are looking for a smoking time on Valentine's Day, check out this conference February 13-15 in Seattle, WA. I will have special goodies to hand out to readers who mention this blog post.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New You?

by Andrea Dickinson

What is it about the changing of the calendar year that gets people excited about making a fresh start? Isn't each day a new beginning?

The excitement and parties of New Year's Eve baffle me. I don't understand the euphoria around another year ending.

Perhaps, I am the Grinch who stole New Year's Eve. That certainly seemed to be the case this year when I woke my girlfriend (at her request) eight minutes before the ball dropped. Apparently I tuned the TV to the wrong ball dropping party. I didn't realize more than one channel showed the New York ball drop, and wouldn't it look the same on every channel anyway?

I was grumbling about how I would never stand outside for 12 hours(!) to reserve a space in Times Square to be surrounded by a mob of people in the freezing weather. This is fun for people?!?! (I suppose with enough alcohol in their bodies the cold would be irrelevant.) Apparently, my girlfriend has always wanted to be in New York for the ball drop, and all my grumping was putting a damper on her good mood. I was ruining the total experience for her and that made me feel bad. I promised to do better next year.

So what about you? How was your New Year's Eve? Do you get excited and go out to party? Or do you sit on the couch and doze off before midnight?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sands of Time

Ok, spoiler alert- I am going to talk about Florida, which means the one who didn't like that, should skip this post.

   My oldest granddaughter seems to be the one to follow in my inky footsteps...she has several stories in the same position as mine- lots of beginnings and endings and then set aside as I decide on middles. We were huddled around the table rolling out Christmas cookies- the first time we've been able to do this due to distance- and the table talk got back to writing. The things that trip a new story for us etc. Places she knows as covered in concrete, I knew as farmland. Where she has always known a 7-11, I remember sitting in the back of a pickup having a picnic. (The ground was too wet) We'll drive by someplace and I'll come out with "That was where" or "We used to _________there.)

I knew this place when it was the wet frontier. Before Disney, when all that property grew oranges, corn and gators and the Merita bread factory was hell on those of us returning from a concert with the munchies-nothing like the aroma of fresh baked bread. She's amused by some of it, and bewildered by other aspects.
   Even though we grew up in the same area, it was and is vastly different. We both could be listed as avid readers at the same age, but the books are so different. I mentioned The Five Little Peppers series and she had never heard of it. I was sort of crushed. It also spoke volumes as to where kids are now. So much is in their face that things which would have sent my generation someplace to hide- they are fine with. 
  I also had that minor epiphany. The prefect person to ask what they liked and disliked in the YA books. Some of it surprised me, some didn't. The top five were:
1. "Authors who go too far one way or the other with sex. It's like, either don't go near it-change your story and stay away from it because if the door closes and we're left to our own devices, your next chapter may not make any sense at all. While you the writer assumed we'd know you had set them up to burn the sheets up, we had envisioned them watching dumb movies and falling asleep. OR its like a health/sex ed lecture. Too much is bad, because its usually in gross and disgusting terms and too little is childish."
2. Characters that you really do not care about. You can tell the author thinks they belong to and we're thinking, "were you stoned?"
3. "When they use a vocabulary that is polar opposite of people today unless you have set it in another time frame and we can tell that. Like, kids don't always use proper English, or full words."
4. When they write a series and in the later books, they forget what they set up in the earlier ones.
5. "When the author has clearly read something that is at the top of the charts, used the same basic story line and then made it like paranormal or something. I mean, write your own story."
When the last of the cookies were out, my daughter and I wandered out back to look over the field. I brought up that I wondered what she would remember of this place we call home. I remembered the way the spanish moss bent on the breeze before a summer storm, the smells along the coast of salt water and suntan lotion or saddle soap and cow dung. I remember when they painted the elephants at the fair...sheep, goats, cows- it washed off but now- you know people would have a fit.  I remember when one of the biggest malls almost wasn't because of a spat between brothers and when the only thing you could see for miles was the citrus tower & now, its all apartments and housing developments. My daughter put it in perspective,
   "She'll remember riding on the back of paw-paw's motorcycle around the field, you standing patiently listening to her dad's rambling on about how we took an edible weeds class and the one tasted like pepper and then told him, "You know, the dogs probably peed on that" as he took a bite to prove his point, (ok, I did snicker)
and making cookies today and having a discussion with you that was give and take." Sands of time through our own hour glass. I can't wait for her to get to those middles so I can read them. 
 This will be my last post, I do not foresee being in Michigan anytime soon, and then I have a few other reasons. I wish y'all well and make a great cheerleader so...grab my email from the loop and let me know when you have news etc- its easy- its my name.

What's in Your (Writing) Wallet?

We’ve all seen the credit card commercials that tell us we’re so much better off with one card than another. One gives us cash back or travel rewards. Another one might have lower percentage on unpaid balances. And another might have a higher credit limit – or none at all. What they fail to mention is that no matter which one we use, we’re still spending money in order to get those benefits. Sometimes we’re spending money we don’t have, which is never a good thing.

As we’re beginning the new year, we as writers take stock of our writing goals. We might have partially finished writing projects, or we might have ideas that we have yet to put on paper. This year I would very much like to complete three different books that are sequels to books on my backlist (all three are started and in various stages of completion) and another small project begun at my publisher’s request (I always try to accommodate those direct requests!). Those four projects are at the top of this year’s to-do list. And then there are those things that are simmering in the back of my mind – those “someday” projects.

What we actually get done depends on what’s in our writing wallet: time, determination, energy, and resources. Some of us have more time than others but lack the energy or the determination. Others of us have the energy, but need guidance and resources. At my stage in life, time is less of an issue, but sometimes my plans are derailed due to any number of things: breaking news, a good television show or movie, emails, and of course, marketing. Most of these are easily solved. I know I would get a lot more done if I’m not sitting in front of the television.

The smart thing to do would be to create and office space away from that distraction, with no phone, no internet, and no food! I can only imagine how productive I would be if I spent several hours each day there, oblivious to the world around me, immersed in the world inhabited by my characters. But of course, that would be unrealistic. I don’t want to be inaccessible to my family and friends, and I like to know what’s happening in the real world. As in all things, moderation is the key. As long as I devote some time on a regular basis, I’ll get the majority of my goals completed.

GRRWG’s Winter Nano challenge is coming up, so I’m going to spend time this month planning scenes that are needed in each of my unfinished projects, and then each day I’ll try to tackle one. I consider this challenge an important part of my writing wallet – it’s a tool that has served me well in the past, as long as I have a definite goal and plan in place.

So...what’s in your writing wallet?