Ignoring My Inner Perfectionist

So, yes, I’m participating (unofficially) in NaNoWriMo. I can’t say it’s fun, but it’s getting words on the page. Every morning, I wake up (early) and spend my first hour of the day writing. It’s still dark and I’m tired. I’ve also been ignoring the fact that what I’m writing might be crap. It might be repetitive and it hasn’t begun to touch on the depths I want my character to discover.

But, on this 6th day of NaNoWriMo, I have nearly 12,000 words written. And that is better than none, which is what I had on October 31.

I’ve been thinking about this story for a while. As most stories do, it has undergone massive transformations in what I want, what I would say and what I would tell. I decided to go back to my original concept, only because that’s the one that had gotten me excited. I did change some things, finding inspiration in Dante’s Purgatorio and waffling on genders until I settled on the M/M concept I’d started with, but lacking any erotic content. I can change everything again later, if need be.

I decided to incorporate a vague concept(s) brought to us by Dante Alighieri in his famously enduring trilogy the Divine Comedy—Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Dante was an Italian poet who lived in the Middle Ages. He wrote the Divine Comedy seemingly as a socio-political commentary, much like I do occasionally with My Bone To Pick. He pointed out the bad things going on, some of the good things, and expressed both guilt and regret over the things he’d done, too. His friends and his enemies were both called to the carpet, and his home city of Florence went so far as to exile him. They regretted that later, and even created a false tomb for him after death though his body was interred in Ravenna.

His Comedia is still regarded as one the greatest pieces of literature.

I’d only read Inferno, so I find myself searching the internet nearly every day for Purgatorio references. In Purgatory the sins his MC encounters on his travels has a difference in the severity of the same deadly sins in hell. Hell is primarily reserved for sins that were intentionally harmful, while purgatory seems more neglectful. I’m trying to incorporate that distinction in a general sense.

My MC, Christian, killed himself, which should put him straight to hell according to Dante and his medieval beliefs (some of which persist today). Suicide is a mortal sin, no coming back… Except Christian learns from his guide, Cato (yes! The same name as the guide in Purgatorio, but a totally different take) that spirits called Siphons had attacked him until he couldn’t fight back emotionally. They drained him of all energy and positivity and left nothing but negativity until there was literally no light left in his world. True energy vampires (having just set one of the human variety free from my life, this concept is highly motivating to me).

Christian is getting a second chance after death to prove that, given a different set of circumstances, he would choose a different way. Hopefully.

This is non-erotic, but there is a romance. In just a few more days, I’ll bring Christian to meet Beattie, a poor, beleaguered young man just over the age of majority, so it’s not too weird. Christian is twenty-two.

Beattie’s father is the CEO of a private hospital specifically dealing with mental health issues. Beattie is gay, which his father isn’t too happy about, and also sees spirits, which is the ultimate reason he’s locked up. His brother and sister are fighting their father in court to get their brother reinstated as a fully competent adult, but, in the meantime, he’s in the hospital getting attacked by the same type of spirits Christian was attacked by.

Now, Cato the guide has been having a hard time getting Christian to feel any emotion after being so damaged by the energy vampires, let alone getting him to feel empathy for others. But something about Beattie captures Christian’s attention, and he discovers they have so much in common. He starts to care, then he falls in love…

And Beattie with him.

Of course, they’re doomed for what might amount to be a tragic ending in the world of Romance, but they will each get a different type of happy ending. This story is about learning to love others just as much as you learn to love yourself. It’s acknowledging that not every love you receive in your lifetime is meant to carry on until the end of days, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

I’m excited, no matter that I sometimes want to take a day off (God, and that’s only a week in) or that I want to go back over and pick this story apart with a fine-toothed comb. I want to edit my mistakes, but I’m resisting. I’m letting this thing go, letting it grow wild like a vine, I haven’t even plotted the damned thing except a synopsis so I know what should be happening, but not when. When I’m finished, on December 1, I’ll start looking it over and see what I’ve got.

Until then, I’m going to bury my control-freak perfectionist in a closet somewhere and write for the love of writing.

You can find daily excerpt s of this story on my Facebook page.

Magic of Books Birthday Bash!

Magic of Books Promotions hosted its first tour during the month of November three years ago.

The company was created from the passion and desire of its owner, Tami Adams, because of her experiences as an author. From her struggles to have her books viewed and appreciated she knew there had to be another way.

Three years later Tami no longer writes but is determined to show the world the magic that lies within the pages of all books.

The following authors are helping Magic of Books to celebrate its birthday. Enjoy.

Message from Tami:

The last three years have been an incredible journey. I’ve made so many friends who began as bloggers, readers, and authors. I have been privileged to present and showcase new and old books from seasoned and new authors. I’ve learned so much I didn’t even realize I should know prior to getting into this business. And after three years I can honestly say I’m still learning, I’m still growing, and I’m still making friends. I love and appreciate all of you who have supported my little slice of heaven. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

✯ ✯ ✯ ✯

HISTORICAL

Historical in traditional literary terms is when the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Historical fiction can be an umbrella term; though commonly used as a synonym for describing the historical novel; the term can be applied to works in other narrative formats, such as those in the performing and visual arts like theatre, opera, cinema and television, as well as video games and graphic novels.

Please enjoy these books that focus on historical and all the sub-genres. The list is available in alphabetically order by title.Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter.

✯ ✯ ✯ ✯

15 W. Gibson by Aubree Lane

Historical Romance

1954 – Stockton, California

Knowing Uncle Sam is about to come knocking, twenty-one year old Jimmy Franks saves the government the cost of a stamp and preemptively enlists in the Navy. He loads up on stationery and pens, and with a heavy heart, kisses his lovely bride goodbye. Leaving his precious Suzy is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.

Pregnant and left alone to deal with their feuding families, Suzy Franks is heartbroken when Jimmy ships out for the Mariana Islands. Knowing Guam is considered safe and that she will eventually be able to join him offers her little solace. Suzy’s mettle is put to the test. Her husband’s letters of love brings comfort, but 15 W. Gibson is a lonely place without him.

Magic in Her Eyes by Donna Dalton

Historical Romance

Meredith Talbot has a secret. In fact, she has nine secrets – her own and those of the eight orphans at Seaton House, a home for children. Each of them has a special talent that if exposed would get them labeled as witches. It is her responsibility to protect the children and their secrets and keep them safe from persecution. Marauding Indians force them into a nearby fort where their safety is threatened by fanatical townspeople and a captivating army officer who try to unmask the children’s extraordinary abilities.

Lieutenant Preston Booth has one goal – to serve and protect his country. The military is the only life he has ever known. It’s the only life he wants. When a child is abducted and Preston goes after the culprit, Meredith has a vision of what will happen to him.

Does she risk everything by exposing her gift? Or keep her secret and risk losing him forever?

An Heiress by Midnight by Clair Brett

Regency Historical

Lady Louissa Adair was raised by her uncle to be anything but a lady, spending hours scrubbing the decks of his ill begotten ships. Now, he has tasked her with a more deadly task. If she refuses, any hope of finding her long-lost and possibly dead brother will be lost while her uncle moves up his timeline to marry her off to a most dastardly man. While doing her uncle’s bidding, a blasted Englishman running around Scotland sets upon being her champion – not that Louissa has ever needed one. If he doesn’t get them both killed, and she might just kill the fool herself, she faces an even bigger danger – losing her heart.

Lord Clive Colcord, Earl of Breakerton, had escaped to Scotland in an attempt to avoid scrutiny by his late father’s solicitors. It had been a quiet, if not boring rustication until he finds himself tasked by the local magistrate with apprehending the highwayman menacing the North Road. He doesn’t expect to discover a beguiling dark-haired beauty with more dangerous men in her life than Clive has sisters. Yet he finds himself offering aid in an attempt to protect this damsel in distress. He must help Louissa find the proof of her uncle’s crimes and find her brother before she is forced into marriage all the while not losing his own heart in the process.

Dealing with the Viscount by Clair Brett

Regency Historical

After making a wager of marriage to settle her father’s gambling debts, Ella Bowen-Thorn Renwick escaped the husband she foolishly began to fall for and disappeared into the Scottish countryside carrying a secret. Four years later, and the owner of her own bakery, she is still not free of the demands of men when a violent and anonymous blackmailer threatens her, her livelihood…and her daughter. And then, there is him…

Viscount Renwick still mourns the wife he began to love before her untimely death–that is until he discovers her alive and well living in Scotland. Now, Devon’s face to face with the wife he thought he’d buried and the daughter he never knew existed. He’d like nothing more than to welcome Ella back into his arms, but mysterious and troubling incidents and a history with an unloving father have Ella trusting no one.

But, if Renwick convinces his wife he’s the husband she always dreamed of and the father their daughter deserves, will the scandalous secret the blackmailer is holding threaten their future together once more?

On Wings of Time by Linda Boulanger

Historical Romance with Time Travel elements

Just because they weren’t looking for love doesn’t mean it won’t find them, even if time itself has to bend to bring them together.

One man with a dragon’s soul.

A self-proclaimed bachelor for life, modern-day Luke Tavish has no idea he’s more than a mere man. One thing’s for certain, though… he’s not looking for love. He doesn’t want a relationship, but he needs the fair maiden from the past… in more ways than he knows.

One woman with the key to unlock his powers.

Amileigh McCollum isn’t your typical Medieval Lady. She’s always known there’s something special about her. She just isn’t sure what. The day she rides beyond her father’s gates alongside a man who isn’t her husband, she’ll learn that destiny is about to find her.

Six hundred years separating them.

Forward to go back, time spirals out of control in an attempt to bring together a couple that is six hundred years apart. When Luke finds himself back in Ami’s world, he has to come to terms with his newfound identity and prepare for a battle he didn’t know he would have to fight, all while falling head-over-heels in love.

When the future calls him back, will he ask her to go? Would she say yes if he did?

Watch out, because Fate’s carefully woven web is about to be tested by human will, a kiss, and the flip of a coin.

✯ ✯ ✯ ✯

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Editing is hard work…

Editing is really hard work. I know this because I’ve had to edit many things by now. Most recently, Enthralled with Visions, and my God how I winced at what I’d written before. I needed a better editor back then.

My first ‘real’ edit, by which I mean someone under the gun from an actual publishing company and not just a median-price proofreader I hired, taught me more about writing well than anything else before or since. I will forever be grateful to her because her critique and requests and the tears I shed, helped me progress to the next level in my writing.

The experience was awful, wrenching…then I saw one author’s post (and I was really dumb back then and never made a note of who, so I can’t give proper credit). She saved my sanity, so I’m passing on her advice:

 

editors dont know

 

You’re hearing a hallelujah chorus right now, aren’t you? I did too, when I read that. They will often suggest changes, and as time goes by, I find that more helpful. (Previously, I did not) They will tell you something is awkward, impossible, weird, overwritten, underwritten, etc. But you are the writer…so write something to fix it. In that vein, there were very few changes I resisted in that first edit, or since.

NOTE: this next section does not apply to Beta Readers or Critique Partners! That is a more personal relationship and you’ve got to work out between you how you’d like information to be conveyed. Me and mine write directly into the text, but highlight it, and I have no problem with that even though…

I once had an editor decided a word needed capitalization, and so she did a Find/Replace for that word that wasn’t meant to be capitalized which led to utter chaos, including strange uppercase letters in the middle of other words. Over 300 instances where I had to fix what someone else wrote into my novel. She probably thought she was being helpful, but a note at the beginning asking me to change it would have been better, right?

A certain level of vagueness is, in fact, the mark of an excellent editor. If you find someone who tells you something’s funky but doesn’t try to tell you how to fix it, you might be paying the right person.

gaiman quote

 

Remember, you are the writer. Your creativity did not, hopefully, exhaust itself in the writing of your story, so dig a little more, fall out of love with your own words, and change what needs to be changed in a manner your heart can bear. When you first write your story, you will be ridiculously resistant to cutting out words or rearranging sentences, etc. You want to keep them so badly, you know you just NEED them. If you’re like me, you’ve always got an eye on word count, too, right? You need to stretch a little, make that quota you set for yourself…

That was my problem with Enthralled. I had a difficult time getting that one in shape. I remember rushing to get it out in time for Halloween when I wrote it, and I apparently thought it was in competition with Tempted by Nightmares in terms of word count.

Thankfully, a couple of years really gives you a bit of space to see your mistakes. Plus, I’ve learned so much. I was able to cut out a lot, and add in necessary explanations I failed to include the first go-round. It is now streamlined, more cohesive. If I’d had a better editor before, I wouldn’t have had to go through this now.

Look, editors are expensive, and maybe it’s hard to tell the difference between proofreading and content development by someone’s profile…but try. Use that free sample, and know the difference between an editor preserving your voice and just doing a lazy edit. And when you get your first round back and feel like giving it all up, dry your tears and remember…by the time you finish doing all that’s necessary, not only will you have a better book, but you’ll be a better writer.

Buck up. It really is worth it.

 

You want to write a Romance?

I’m not going to lie. This is about a post I saw giving some ‘basic concepts’ to writing Romance. Except what the author of the post wrote is backwards. It holds just fine if someone is writing a different story and there HAPPENS to be a romance in it, but not if you’re actually writing a romance novel. I’m not going to rehash the points made in the other post, I’m just going to offer a little wisdom on the Romance genre for those who wish to write an actual romance.

romance

The ROMANCE is the story. This is, apparently, quite a hang-up for those who don’t read or write romance. It’s nice to add outside plot elements, those can really spice your story up…but the focus is the relationship. Romance is not used to set the mood or describe the customs of your time or place. It is not there simply to raise the stakes so the hero has to rescue the heroine and the heroine can then rescue the world. Nope—the ups and downs of the relationship are the core of your story, it is the world, it is the suspense, the conflict and the resolution all wrapped into one.

Follow the tropes, and a few clichés aren’t bad either. It’s one of the few places where ‘expected outcome’ is a necessary, though you may feel free to twist other things however you please. Try not to be overly dramatic, but that’s still much better than being too subtle to feel the chemistry between the characters. If you begin with insta-love, make sure the characters FEEL it all the way through—they can have doubts about the direction of the relationship, what they truly feel and even if things can work out (etc.), but their mind should be occupied with this other person, they should agonize a bit over things. Love at first sight isn’t all that common, so if they feel it, make it special.

Erotica and romance aren’t the same thing. There is a bit of cross-over. They can be connected. They can both be present in the same story. But for the love of God, please stop confusing the two.

Finally, I will add, as so many others have, that romance and its authors take shots to the chin a lot. On the flip side, every time some author from a different genre sits down to write a romance they feel the need to then blog about how difficult it was. Yes, prepare yourself, it is difficult finding the proper balance of things, but if you keep looking at the events of your story through the prism of falling in love, you’ll stay on the right track.

Cliché

Destiny…perhaps the most common fantasy cliché in the biz. As is in The Chosen One and the Task They Must Undertake To Save The World. A lot of people hate that crap.

My goal for Beloved Priestess was to take the feel of an epic fantasy and condense it into a quick, sexy fun read that captivated your imagination and got you hot and bothered, too. But yes, there is a Chosen One, and her name is Dahlene.

Obviously, this is not the tale of some poor, orphaned boy who now must struggle against his own fate. He doesn’t spend chapters resisting, only to fall in line with destiny and ride to the rescue. Uh-uh, Dahlene has had a pretty good idea of what’s expected of her since childhood.

And, you know, she’s a woman.

I never say if she’s orphaned or not, but the prince of the Wasted Kingdom, Valeran, found her in the slave market when he was young and threw a royal fit until his father bought her for him. She wasn’t obtained as a harem girl, though, but as an acolyte to the rain goddess because Dahlene has white hair in a land where pale hair is uncommon, to say the least. It was a Sign.

Yeah, yeah, I know…but she’s got be visibly special somehow. Unlike a lot Chosen One/Destiny themed stories, Dahlene can’t bring rain to the Wasted Kingdom on her own. Also, her white hair doesn’t necessarily make her pure and shiningly perfect. In fact, she’s been carrying on a secret and forbidden affair with Valeran for years.

Then Valeran has to get married. Dahlene’s jealous, but dutiful in her determination to let him go…and a little hesitant when Valeran asks her to vet his intended bride. Carani of the Riverlands is a gentle soul who is a little scared of men, but has always been attracted to women.

So yeah, I used some clichés, but I also tried to make them mine, unique in my story (though nothing in this world is truly original). I’ll even list them for you: destiny, The Chosen One, fated mates/soulmates, forbidden love, maybe even PI considering Dahlene and Valeran grew up together, a jealous brother and greed. Whew, I crammed a lot in there, didn’t I?

*Did any of them interest you? Just perhaps?*

Hmm, I could tell you to take my word for it, winking and smiling as I promise you’ll like it, trust me… Or, you could go to Amazon and read the sample and see for yourself. Right now, it’s only 99 cents, priced so it won’t break the bank while you decide if this is a world you’re interested in reading more of. Beloved Priestess is even free on Kindle Unlimited, if that’s an option for you.

If you’ve read it, let me know if you want to read more set in this world. Or feel free to leave a comment here telling me what fantasy and romance clichés you love, or hate, or wish would never see the light of day again… We’ll call it Interactive Readership, shall we?

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this:

bp pic_800Beloved Priestess—Her duty, their pleasure

Travel to a whole new land, where fantasy meets fated love…

The Wasted Kingdom is perched on the edge of a desert that creeps closer every year. Dahlene has been chosen by the rain goddess to save her people, but she can’t do it alone. When her lover, Prince Valeran, must choose a wife, Dahlene helps him find a woman that suits them both and their triangle turns out to be exactly what the drought-stricken kingdom needs…

So long as Valeran’s jealous brother doesn’t destroy everything before the new union can be consummated.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013PJZRM8/