Monday, April 28, 2008

Fan Fiction - an escape or a tool

Many people say that fan fiction is simply a copyright infringment and should be dealt with harshly. Still, others say it's a valued tool in their arsenal. I can't speak for everyone, but I do know what I think.


I've written original pieces for years, and fan fiction right along with it. I currently have not one but two full pages on two different fandoms and a smattering of other stuff elsewhere. When I'm bogged down by plots and character problems, or hit by that dreaded thing called writers block, I have an escape. I can simply go to another file, another world and write. I don't have to pick at every little detail, I can simple throw the characters around and let my muse flow.


It recharges those creative batteries that we all have and I know for a fact that we need them, I need them. In the time I've written fan fiction I've learned all about plots, about how to build a character from nothing. I've also created a support network of other like minded people that is frankly astounding.


When I went to both groups I'm associated with and said, "I'm writing an original historical romance I'm going to try and get published" the outpouring of support and well wishes was astounding. It humbled me to realize that in the years that I'd been writing and posting what so many discount as unimportant crap, I'd been building friends along the way.


You may have an opinion on fan fiction, like it or dislike it. Think its valid or invalid it doesn't matter to me. Either way, I believe quite strongly that Fan Fiction is a tool - and the men and women that write it are as valued and creative as those who write original pieces and have never tried it!


Friday, April 25, 2008

Forums and Friendships

For many of us having a blog is like having an extension of ourselves. We stop off chat, log in, log out, leave a comment, put up a picture, and carry on. For some of us though, a blog is part of our daily lives and has a great many uses.

I blog every day for one reason, I enjoy it. However, having said that a lot of the time I'm online is not on my blogs, my sites, or anything else. It's busy chatting with and getting help from professionals on different publication forums.

I'm a member of approximately 6 - I'm not on my computer so I don't have the list in front of me - but I'm active on all of them. I do online workshops, research, question and answer periods, you name it I've found it on there. During the process I've also learned alot about writing, about the skills and desires of others, and myself.

I've also made a few friends along the way. I have contacts in the editorial world who are very good at what they do, critique partners who aren't afraid to ask a question or point out a problem, and have touched base with some pretty amazing authors.

So, if you haven't joined one yet, find a forum that you like. Be it romance, sci-fi, or whatever, you'll be amazed at what you can find!

The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.~ Raymond Chandler

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Something a bit more fun

Since my mind is on overload with all I have going on I thought today I'd skip the heavy thoughts and instead post something I think is a lot lighter on the brain.



Doing research for a novella that I've written to cover such things as senusal oils and such I got some really great tips from the ladies over at Romance Divas. One of them had said something about whiskey flavored oils so I took it upon myself to do a bit of digging. Now she may have been joking but it piqued my curiousity so I phoned around.



I'm going to insert my disclaimer here that I have not tried this, I don't recommend doing anything that is unhealthy or unwise. If you choose to use this recipe please do so at your own risks, I will not be responsible for the after affects!



This is what I found. To have an oil that smells or tastes like whiskey, or any other spirit is relatively easy. You don't need much of the booze, a few drops works. Now depending on if you want the buzz of alcohol or not you can do this two ways.



Take your base oil - be it almond oil, olive, whatever. Now you can add a few drops of your expensive (Not the cheap stuff -its disgusting) liquor and enjoy. Remember this does have alcohol in it so be careful where you place it unless you plan to remove it immediately.



Have fun with this and enjoy - please tell me if it works for you!





Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Review for Candace Morehouse's Golden Enchantment

“Ms. Morehouse has created an outstanding tale that takes you to the old west in New Mexico. With artist touch, this author described the area and time with vivid clarity. Interesting characters and an exceptional plot keeps this story moving at a steady pace. I loved how the author keeps you informed; yet could still surprise. Carefully woven all of this together then add the sensual romance scenes and you have the perfect historical romance, that we all know and love. A dynamite read.

WateenaReviewer for Coffee Time Romance”

Excellent read that I would suggest to anyone! Congrat's Candace!

The Little Voice Inside

In doing the workshop Artist’s Way I’ve come to a rather startling realization. For so many years I’ve always hidden my innerself from others, from myself. Those of us who are taking part in the workshop have to do what Julia Cameron calls morning pages. Bits and pieces of ourselves that have no rhyme, no reason, drabble, thoughts, a tangled web of things we don’t like to think about.

I find these incredibly difficult. I sit in the morning and stare at the pages like they’re a coiled rattler about to strike. If I put down whats in my head, if i face my inner demons than there is noone else to blame. I can’t say oh well I didn’t do this because so and so said it wouldn’t work. I will have to face the things that I’ve allowed to sabotage myself throughout my life. Bad relationships, bad habits, self-destructive tendencies, vices, all those things I’ve tried to bury.

Now I can’t, I have to face them. Looking the pages I find a mass of jumble ideas, of thoughts, and feelings that I’m not happy about. Anger, doubt, fear. All the things that my inner voice, my inner artist, uses to speak to me. They are not the results the are the tools. Facing them is something that’s difficult but to grow as a person and an artist its a nesseccity.

What’s are your inner voices telling you? How are you punishing your inner ‘artits’? take a few minutes today and clear your head. Listen to what you’re telling yourself and I promise you’ll be amazed.


Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.~ J. P. Donleavy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shelli Stevens on Straddling the line of Intimace scenes


Two Scoops of Vanilla Please

I remember the first book I wrote. The determination to write an entire manuscript and not just a few pages. The excitement, the fever, the absolute lack of writer’s block.
Until I hit a wall. A big old wall called: Shelli’s first sex scene. Ever. I remember typing the build up to it...

(Build up to sex in Ain’t Misbehavin’)

“You know, forget it. I wanted you and had the crazy notion you wouldn’t mind getting me into bed, but apparently I was wrong.” She almost made it to the door when he grabbed her by the waist and spun her around. “Oh, I want you all right,” he said, his voice low and thick. He lifted her so her legs wrapped around his waist. “I just had to make sure you knew what you were doing.”

I typed that little bit above, stared at the computer. And completely froze. I couldn’t do it. Write sex. I stood up, paced the house, sweating and muttering to myself. I had to psyche myself up to write the love scene. How do you write that kind of intimate moment between a man and woman? It’s so personal. Writing that first sex scene is a bit like losing your virginity, just in the literary sense.

I knew I just had to blow through it (no pun intended). I didn’t set any rules for myself on how long or hot it had to be. I’d use the zillions of love scenes I’d read in other books, and my own personal experiences. So I grabbed a beer and went back to the room and locked the door. Two hours later I emerged bright red (partly from being hot and bothered, but I’m sure you didn’t want to know that!) waving the pages for my roommate to read.

What I soon learned, from my roomies and critique groups, is that I write hot. Hotter than what tended to be on the market. Some suggested I tone it down because it was so hot. But I kept it the way it was, because that’s what I enjoyed writing. That’s the heat level I thought my characters demanded. And since then my writing seems to have found a home in the world of erotic romance.

But since my first book came out, I’ve straddled the line or erotic romance and highly sensual romance. Lately, I think the bar defining erotic romance has risen. What once was erotic, isn’t so much anymore. And after a couple of years of feeling out where I fit more, I’ve fallen more into the sensual side. For the most part I don’t write BDMS, ménages, or big time kink.

Granted, there are a few books you’ll see of mine that are still scortching (one I may have to take another pen name it’s so dirty!), and every once in awhile I still like to write something with a bit of kink.

It’s actually a hard place to be at, because my books are still hot enough to offend the mild romance readers. But those who want it hot hot hot! might tend to wrinkle their nose at my love scenes.

But I think as a writer you need to be true to your natural voice. A reader can tell when you’re writing something you’re not comfortable with. So here I am, Shelli Stevens, an author who proudly writes really hot vanilla sex. Or is that...vanilla with chili flecks in it? Hmm.... *Grin*

Shelli Stevens, Greater Seattle RWA President http://www.shellistevens.com A little bit of laughter & a whole lot of spice Tempting Adam, Available Now from Samhain Publishing

Monday, April 21, 2008

A New Release by Aislinn Kerry

Psyche, by Aislinn KerryAvailable April 22nd from Loose IDAfter months of text messaging, Psyche has fallen in love with a man she's never even met, so when she finally gets the chance to see him face-to-face, she leaps at it. However, their meeting doesn't turn out quite the way she expected. E hides in the dark and refuses to let her turn on the lights. Psyche's startled at first, but willing to overlook a few idiosyncrasies while they get to know each other in person. Their relationship flourishes--until the night Psyche's curiosity gets the better of her. Light reveals that E is Eros, the Greek god of love and desire, and he is furious that she broke her word. She begs for forgiveness, but he won't give it. In breaking her word, she broke his trust. She must seek help from a goddess and brave the dangers of the underworld in order to prove herself and win back the man she loves. Read an excerpt!
***
All that Glitters, by Aislinn KerryAvailale April 22nd from Samhain PublishingKynan Pritchard has come to Paris to start a new life, one free from the gruesome nightmares--and the accusations of insanity--that have plagued him from childhood. He's used to a hard-luck existence, but when a stranger comes to his aid, he thinks maybe that luck is changing. Aneirin is strong and brave, everything that Kynan wants to be. And Kynan falls for him. Hard.But Kynan's nightmares are about to become reality, and not even Aneirin can protect him from the monster who's stalked him across the continent. The gwrach-y-rhibyn threatens everything--Kynan's life, his sanity, even his love for Aneirin.To defeat her, Kynan will have to risk becoming the very creature he hates. Read an excerpt! --------------------
Aislinn KerryPassionate romance ... spellbinding stories

Self-Discovery

I briefly touched base on this book I'm ready by Julia Cameron yesterday and feel strongly enough that I may continue with inspirations I've gotten from it througout the week. I sat down and read through another chapter last night entitled Recovering a Sense of Identity.

I was amazed at the words that I read. It was like this woman, whom I've never met, knows me. She's seen inside my head, my soul and pulled out these tiny bits and pieces that frankly I'm ashamed of.

All my life I've surrounded myself with people who are drama stars. They need to have something to feed off of to make themselves feel important. This is something that is very unhealthy and its a habit I have to break. Any artist be it physical or verbal is in some way blocked and therefore a drama star. (I'm paraphrasing here - and putting my own spin so please note that these are not Julia's words.) It's a cycle that we each need to break. I need more than to allow my self doubts and lack of self-confidence to become self-sabatoge. I am a person. I am an author!

I firmly believe that this woman, understands and has lived with this herself enough to know that she can help me overcome my own blockage to allow me to be a better author. If the workshop comes up again, I will let anyone and everyone know because I believe everyone can benefit from this book.


To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you outght to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finding your inner muse




I've been a writer for most of my life. It's something that I've never really thought about, I've always been able to create worlds, to take a single idea and make it into something bigger. More lavish, something that draws a person in.




Having said that, I know what it's like to sit and stare at a computer screen with a blank slate. No ideas floating around in my head, at least none I can put on paper. Then it's a matter of finding that inner voice, that spark of creativity to jumpstart the process.




This is one of the reasons that I decided to take the workshop over at Writer's Retreat called The Artists Way. It's goal is to help me get in touch with my inner creativity and allow me to develop further as an artist and a novelist. I got the book and started reading it. What Julia Cameron has to say is both enlightening and scary.




Her words make a person really focus on who they are, and what they try to deny. Its about building an identity, about capturing your spirituality. Something that I'm sure most people have missed over the years. While not what I would call a light read it's not a heavy one either. So my suggestion for you today is simple. Go out, get the book The Artist's Way, A spiritua path to higher creativity by Julia Cameron and read it. You'll be amazed at what you find out about yourself.


Friday, April 18, 2008

A bit of personal poetry from my highschool days.

The Cowboy and the Bronc, written December 1995 This is a repost of an early blog that was damaged.

They stand looking at each other,
Each silent as death.Lost in their own thoughts,
they judge the other in ways we cannot understand,
they speak silently.

One is first to turn and walk away,
the silence unbroken.
Soon enough they will duel,
in a circle of dust.

The metal bars clang, the sweat rolls down his back,
He stretches and climbs the bars.
spurs upon his boots jingle, his leather chaps flutter,
His dueling parnter moves about restlessly.

The tension is high,the rope is taut,
His hat sits on his head as he settles in
His head bobs up and down.
The gates open and out they fly.

Nearly a ton a waged against a couple of hundred pounds,
In a malestrom of fury and sweat,
man vs beast
the battle rages on.

Overcoming your discomfort

When you start writing the epic novel most people have an idea of what they're going to put down. Some do a full length outline, or write a novel that covers the novel plot. but regardless of what you write most of us have at one time or another taught ourselves to write a scene that squicks us out.

Yes, it does happen. For example I write romances. I'm comfortable in the genre, with the warm, sensual love scene. However, to challenge myself I set a goal. I decided I'd write a novella, one that's hot, and sexy. I don't do erotic - I don't feel comfortable with writing it.

So, now I have a challenge, a goal that I've set for myself and I'm having find a way to do it. Now you may think there's no difference. It's easy. Just get on with it. But let me put it this way, pick one thing that you know you're uneasy doing. Be it writing an explicit sex scene, or bungee jumping, or riding a bike. Now, focus on it. What exactly do you feel? Nervous? Scared? Nauseous?

If you've answered yes to even one of those questions you'll understand my viewpoint. To overcome my discomfort and fear I set small goals. I write a scene as I'm comfortable and then go back and change it up. Spice it up if you were. Sometimes its as simple as using a different word, other times it's rewriting an entire paragraph.

The point is, baby steps. If you take the small steps you can succeed. So today, go out and face your fear. I don't mean do something that is dangerous, but do something you've always hesitated to do. Color your hair, read a different book, try a different flavor of coffee. Something that you've always been unsure about or thought wouldn't be 'you'.

Until next time, here's to overcoming your smallest fear!

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host.But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.~ Maya Angelou

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Over Used Words

One would think with so many words in the English language it would be nearly impossible to reuse the same word over and over again. How wrong we are. If I've learned anything in the past weeks and months its that I and I'm sure many other author's find a word that works for us and use it till it's dead.

For example, glance. Seems to innocent until you actually read over your work and find six uses of the word within the space of a few paragraphs. It's been a challenge to find other words, terms, descriptions that can assist in creating the scene without slaughtering one word.

So I'm offering a challenge today: Come up with three words that you use frequently and then for each one find at least five others you can use.

IE: Blue - cerulean, saphire, aquatic, baby-blue, cornsilk Good luck and have fun!

I think a little menace is fine to have in a story. For one thing, it's good for the circulation.~ Raymond Carver

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Creativity is in us all

I recently decided to take a workshop held through a forum I'm part of. It's one to help build creativity within us all and I of course went out and got the book that goes with the workshop. I sat down and began reading it and was amazed to find that the author understood exactly what I believe about myself.


Julia Cameron wrote the book, The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity about what she does. She teaches people to be creative. How you ask? Well, I really can't go into all the details in the book but what I can say is this. She doesn't teach us how to be creative, she teaches us how to let ourselves be creative.


Yes there is a difference. No matter how dull or drab you feel you may be you are at some level creative. The housewife who feels boring or out of date is creative in the meals she prepares, the items she stitches so lovingly. Creativity is not something that has to be brightly broadcast, rather it's something we as human begins embrace.


I highly recommend you partake of the book if you have a chance, it's a bit of a heavy read but it's well worth the time and money you'll spend.
The thought for today is this: Follow the dreams that lead you, ignore the nightmares that haunt you, and you shall be given a gift. - Patricia Bates


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Prolific People

All my life I’ve never just done one thing. I’ve always had several things on the go be they items that I’m working on for Rescue Dolls, or my writing, showing horses or working. I’mone of those disgustingly busy people who even when they can relax can’t.

In the evening I watch television, work on my writing, talk on the phone, and most of the time I’m doing it all at once. Even when I’m focused on my writing, I’ve got a web page open, my music going, and I’m up and down doing house work. Disgusting isn’t it?

I’m learning how to prioritize my time. To set limits, to deal with one thing at a time so that I’m not left with partially completed tasks all the time. I set myself small goals, small priorities that must be completed and so far I’ve had results. I won’t say its a success because I’m still doing three things at once but at least I’m learning to finish something before I add another project to the mix.

Being prolific isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does take getting used to. You have to develop the skills and the mental strength to follow through. Sometimes you have to train your brain to focus. I’ve learned that most prolific people (Not all - and I am in no way shape or form an expert here) have a touch of ADHD. I’ve spoken to professionals, talked to experts, researched this, and found that yes it is a common trait in women who have ADHD to be prolific multi-taskers.

I think it’s something worth thinking about. Until next time then, have a great day! Lets see what you come up with, see how you respond to challenges - and today’s challenge is simple. Finish one thing you start - even if its that morning coffee!


Any Reviewer Who Expresses Rage And Loathing For A Novel Is Preposterous He Or She Is Like A Person Who Has Put On Full Armour And Attacked A Hot Fudge Sunday Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, April 14, 2008

The start of my contest.


Good morning to everyone,


Today is the day that starts the countdown to the release of my newsletter. I will be placing little clues in my blog throughout the following days until the end of the month. A draw will be held on May 1st to reveal the lucky winners of some awesome prizes so come out and subscribe to the newsletter.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Samples of my artwork.



None are to be reproduced without my written consent. All banners connected to X-Men are not to be shared, or used. They are stricty for entertainment and not meant to infringe upon any copyright laws. I do not own the X-Men, nor do I profit from these simple artistic adaptations.





bigfoto.com is to be credited with the scenery in my Borderline Sin bookcover. All rights reserved.



Carpe Nocture by Tawny Taylor!

New Collection:
Carpe Nocturne by Tawny Taylor $8.99(vampire menage-a-trois)
Now Available from www.ChangelingPress.com
One determined entrepreneurTwo seductive vampiresA brutal murderer……and a bar where every vampire knows your name.Gives new meaning to the expression “Thrilling Nightlife.”
Burke Langton is on the run. Wrongfully accused of murder, he’s just one step ahead of the Excoluni -- the law enforcement arm of the United Magical Nations -- trying to track down the real killer. When the murderer strikes again, this time at Club Carpe Nocturne, Burke learns the owner, Sylvie Durand, is not only his Origo -- his mate -- and she may be the murderer’s next victim.
Miko Dvorak, a high-ranking officer of the Excoluni, is assigned to bring Burke to justice. But that’s no easy task, for the two share an Origo. Should he be caught protecting Burke from the Excoluni, his career will be over. Sylvie’s determined to convince him to take that risk.
Together the three must conquer a madman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, clear Burke’s name, and shatter the chains that bind them to their own private demons before they can achieve the blood-bond they must have to survive.
Purchase Carpe Nocturne before this week's new books release and use the discount code"Carpe Nocturne" to receive 5% off your entire order.This collection contains the previously released novellas:Carpe Nocturne 1: Dressed To Kill,Carpe Nocturne 2: Kiss Me; Kill Me,Carpe Nocturne 3: If Looks Could Kill. "Tawny Taylor blew me away with this series... I love anything Tawny writes because she has a gift and is able to draw you in to her stories from beginning to the end."-- Nicole Harvey, ParaNormalRomance (PNR)"If you haven’t yet read the Carpe Nocturne series, I urge you to do so immediately!"-- Tara Renee, TwoLips Reviews

Contest and Upcoming events

Announcing the upcoming contest to celebrate the release of my newsletter Of Ink And Quille.
The rules are simple. From April 14th through the end of the month I will be placing some writing themed trivia, graphics, or quotes throughout my blog.

To participate simply check in each day, and read through the entry. If you see the item in question, post a comment or email me at mastersmistress@live.com with the header “Of Ink And Quille” Contest.

At the end of the month the three people who have the most clues gathered will be entered to win three fabulous prizes! Good luck and come out and have some fun.

Etiquette Lessons

Being a new player at the publishing game means you have to learn more than just the sentence structure, plot holes, and technical aspect of writing a novel. It means you also have to learn the basic principles of etiquette in business.

Don't laugh, business etiquet is a vital part of any publishing deal you make. Say the wrong thing and you're looking like a dumb novice. Write something that you aren't entirely sure of the details and suddenly you're being questioned about your research techniques.

When it comes to publication there are moments when a little white lie is acceptable. I learned this myself not that long ago. I had a publisher that I'd been talking to about a contest send me an email wondering how things were going.

Being the dumb, inexperienced novice that I am I was bluntly honest with her and told her if the publisher that has it now refuses it, I'd send it to her. Of course I haven't heard back from her and don't expect her to actually be willing to publish anything of mine for a long, long time... a lesson painfully learned.

Today, I thought I'd share the experience with anyone out there so that you're not making the same mistakes as I did. You can be polite, tell a little fib, but don't make the publisher feel like they're second best!

Let me know what you think is the proper etiquette for dealing with anyone in the business world be it a publisher, editor, or agent. How do you deal with a situation where you're not comfortable being brutally honest? Let me know!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Well, it's happened again!

Hi everyone,

I know I've been out of touch a couple of days and I apologize. Been busy with real life and hadn't really felt like writing. After three bad events - long story - I just wanted to kinda hide away.
Got up this morning to send hubby off to work and had two very good things happen.

1. My son's kitten who is only 7 1/2 months old came home this morning after being MIA for days. He's skinny, battered, bruised, and very tired, but at least he's alive and home! We woke my son, James, up and he was so excited all he wanted to do was hold Creamo.

2. The partial I sent in for an incomplete manuscript was accepted for full review as soon as its finished. I know it's not a sale, I know there is no contract but the fact that A - she emailed me back with good news, and B - she liked it enough wait a few weeks for the entire thing tells me that my learning is coming along!

So today its a good day - and I'm going to bask in it as long as I can!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Organizing your work

A bit of wisdom that I thought would be good to share with you is something I learned while working on my manuscripts.

For every research page you use, for every detail that you pick out, keep a record. Sooner rather than later you're going to have binders full of research and notes. Keeping them organized is thekey. Now, I'd be the first to admit I'm what is known as a disaster organizational person.

By that I mean, my office is a disaster area. It looks like a cyclone or volano exploded in it. Yet for each page, each pile, book, or scrap of paper I know what it is. I know what the use is for, and truthfully I'd like to reorganize it.

I'd love to have that office you see in magazines. You know the one with the beautiful desk that's clean, and uncluttered, the filing cabinets, the bookshelves lined with books and everything so neat that you could see an earring back on the floor...this however is not about to happen.

Why you ask? Well, my office is also the family computer room, the storage room, my brother in law - who has been staying with us - space to put his clothes, and other clutter. In truth, I have a three bedroom house, I need a four bedroom with one room specifically for my office. With bare walls I can hang pictures of my favorite actors, authors, book covers, painting, diplomas, certificates, awards...and various other sundry that I've accumulated. Finances however, will not allow me that luxury, so I make do.

I can dream about the perfect office, but until then organizing all the information I need and the printouts of copy is important. I'd say it's more important than organizing hubbys sock drawer - which he's made a mess of!

Now, I'd like to know what your thoughts are on Organization. What filing system do you use? Where do you store your information? How do you keep yourself from going crazing in this wild and ruthless world called organized chaos!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Asking has its own rewards

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.

As true an old saying as there is. Recently in my quest for more information for my second manuscript I emailed someone to ask for permission to print and use some of his valuable research in my work, both for the fiction and possible non-fiction aspect.

You can well imagine my surprise when he not only agreed to let me use it, but said that when I was finished, and the book had come out to contact him and let him know so he could purchase a copy!

It floored me. I've gotten permission many, many times before and have always had a warm and open business relationship with those who I've contacted. However, this time I was shocked not only about the permission, but about the interest in where his work was going. Usually the agreement is a quick yes or no with a request to be credited and they leave it at that.

These are things that I would normally and naturally do out of respect for the author and researcher who has put together a resource I've used. I think the lesson here is that if you're willing to ask, if you're willing to push your boundaries for what you need or want good things may happen.

So, I challenge you. Ask a question today. Follow your dreams, check into a tidbit about your writing, email an agent or publisher and let me know how it turns out. May good things come your way with each question!