Please Don’t Ask Me About The Shower Scene…

My house is crazy-noisy.  Like, ALL THE TIME.

My husband and Lulu constantly break out into song…about anything that comes to their minds and at any given time.  Sometimes, they take turns with piano accompaniment.  Angry Bird telepods are forever sailing through the air.  Super Mario 3D World…UGH…the music alone makes my ears bleed after a while.

So just imagine how challenged I am to craft erotic scenes with this non-stop activity.  Three little kids, climbing on top of me, whining, crying, yelling, tattling…SIGH.  Getting through those scenes is always a major accomplishment, trust me on that.

Quick segue..I don’t know if you have ever heard of Fiverr, but it is the most awesome site EVER!!!  You need something, get it there…for $5!  I just got a kick-ass logo from Sami.  She turned my extremely non-committal requirements into the fabulous logo you see splashed across the top of my site.  Love?!?!

Anyway, I showed the last image to my dad this morning and it prompted some chatter about my book.  It was very basic at first, like the type of romance, the premise of the story and the point of view of the characters, blah, blah, blah.  But then he asked the dreaded question I knew I’d have to answer at some point but didn’t care to really answer EVER.

The hand rises to cover one half of his mouth, just in case the kids are in range.  “Does your book have…um…sex scenes in it?”

Eeek.

“Yes, Daddy, it does.” <CRINGE>

A nod.  Then, “Are they…graphic?”

Ack.

“Yes, Daddy.  They are explicit.”  <ARGH!>  (Please don’t ask me where my inspiration came from though, because THAT would make me uncomfortable.)

He took it in stride, though.  (No Daddy, I don’t really write porn.  Just a few little spicy takes, that’s all.  Almost perfectly innocent.  Except for that shower scene…)

My dad is difficult to read (no pun intended).  He almost never lets you know what he’s thinking.  Great freaking poker face if I ever saw one.  He doesn’t need sunglasses at all.  But even though he’s all calm on the surface, in his head, he’s totally freaked out that his little girl is writing about raucous bedroom romps that our friends and family might read at some point.  I know he’s also thinking about how my mom is going to take that when she finds out.  That’s  conversation for another day, though, preferably after I’ve had several Manhattans.

Sorry guys, little girl’s all grown up now.  =)

I Do Love Being The Master Of Someone Else’s Destiny

I wouldn’t exactly label myself a control freak.  True, I like things done a certain way (fine, MY way) and in my time.  But it’s not like I fall apart if they don’t go according to my set schedule.  I may get a little crabby, but I’m not completely unreasonable or unyielding.  I’m just…regimented.  =)

Sometimes, though, it would be nice to set the stage for a scene in my life and then dictate exactly how I want it to play out.  And then…the scene actually unfolds the way I’ve imagined it.

This secret desire to exercise control over a situation – could this be why I enjoy writing so much?  Ah, to be the master of someone ELSE’S destiny, since it’s abundantly clear that there is so much in my life that’s outside the scope of my influence.  Maybe it’s therapeutic for me to seek refuge with my laptop after a particularly grueling episode of the nighttime bathing ritual, where nobody listens, the bathroom is soaked, sopping wet towels are strewn about and the counter and sink are trimmed in peppermint-flavored Crest.  Yelling doesn’t help, threats are futile.

Perhaps I found a way to channel all of that pent-up frustration into something constructive.  During those long dark moments, I remember that even though things don’t always play out according to my plans, I still have the power to dictate what’s going to happen next in the lives of my characters.  And that’s definitely worth something.

It doesn’t completely make up for my lack of sanity, but it makes the constant struggle a little easier to bear.  At the very least, the angst feeds my creativity.

Taking The Weekend OFF!

Today is a good day.  I feel very relaxed right now.  It doesn’t hurt that I’m getting a pedicure as I type, but that’s not the real reason.  I just feel like I have a lot to look forward to on this journey toward publication.  I don’t know where it will lead me, but I’m okay with the unknown.  For now, anyway.  People who know me well are fully aware that my OCD will only allow me to flail around for a very short time before I start to get antsy.

I just printed out my final manuscript.  Of course, I had to check with my editor twice this morning (before 7 a.m.) that it really was polished and perfect and ready to submit (or whatever).  After telling me for the umpteenth time to relax and stop being so insecure, I decided today was the day that it was ready for prime-time.

So he’s reading while I’m getting my feet scrubbed.  I can’t wait to get his feedback.  He’s been so amazing and supportive throughout this whole process.  I’m really lucky to have such a wonderful partner who is so invested in me.  =)

Just as an aside, it’s kind of hard to blog about my book when nobody really knows what I’m talking about.  The assurance that “you’ll see what I mean sometime in the not-so-distant future” will lose its luster pretty quickly.  I need to figure out new things to chat about in the interim.

And since my mind is so clear today, I actually have time to think about things like whether or not I want to take a shot with some new  fake eyelashes tonight.  I have some really awesome bejeweled ones that’ll look fantastic with my outfit!  Like I said last night, I’m taking the weekend OFF!  =)

 

 

 

Things You Can’t Escape As A Romance Author

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There are two things that you can’t escape as a romance author.  

First, everyone who reads your book will automtically assume your hero is modeled after your spouse or significant other.  No matter what you say, they will be convinced otherwise.

Second, readers will infer that the bedroom scenes are based on your own personal escapades.  Just as an aside, there are no actual bedroom scenes in Unlikely Venture (wink, wink).

When I addressed these findings with my husband, his response was very matter-of-fact. “How could any of this possibly be bad for me?”

So I reminded him that he had yet to read the final version of the book and once he gets through it, he can give me his answer.  =)

Haha!!!  Just kidding!  I mean, it’s true he hasn’t read the latest, but he’s got absolutely nothing to worry about.  At all.

I Need A Hero! Wait…No I Don’t!

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I hate a weak heroine.  Really, the whole “damsel in distress” thing is so irritating.  I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands.  With three children, a full-time job and aspirations to become a bestselling author, my plate is pretty full.  If I’m going to give up a few hours of my action-packed existence to delve into a novel, I have some pretty strict requirements.

I don’t want weak, needy or overbearing characters.  My idea heroine is strong, snarky, self-confident, quick-witted and engaging.  If she’s bitchy, even better.  I need to be able to relate immediately or I’m out.  And once that happens, I’m not coming back for seconds.

I want a heroine who is independent, a woman who doesn’t need a hero.  She’s just fine on her own, but the hero would enhance her existence.  She needs to have a flaw (or several) but they can’t be clichéd.

And then comes the challenge of making her likeable.  She can be a complete witch with a venomous tongue but I still need to love her otherwise I’m not going to make it.  There should be no buildup to that love either.  I have to click with her immediately.  A heroine with depth and personality and realistic baggage can evoke feelings and establish an emotional connection with a reader.  That’s a goal we should shoot for as romance authors.

As for the hero…

I don’t want him to be over the top.  He needs to maintain some control of himself and be able to carry on an entertaining banter with the heroine.  I want him to be smart but driven by emotion to some degree.  That’s how I connect.  I need him to react, to show me that he’s invested.  There also has to be a chemistry between him and the heroine that sparks at their very first encounter and carries the reader to their happily ever after.

I don’t want perfection, perfection is BORING!!!!!   I need some semblance of reality to keep me hooked, otherwise it is just borderline ridiculous, e.g. my feelings about Christian Grey.

I came across a review on Amazon by for Fifty Shades of Grey that is the exact opposite of what I want in a hero.  For the record, I don’t know if I’m allowed to paste this into my post but I am crediting the person (meymoon).

 “The main male character is a billionaire (not a millionaire but a billionaire) who speaks fluent French, is basically a concert level pianist, is a fully trained pilot, is athletic, drop dead gorgeous, tall, built perfectly with an enormous penis, and the best lover on the planet. In addition, he’s not only self-made but is using his money to combat world hunger. Oh yeah, and all of this at the ripe old age of 26! And on top of that, he’s never working. Every second is spent having sex or texting and emailing the female character. His billions seem to have just come about by magic.”

LOL.

I don’t ever want a reviewer to have that assessment of one of my heroes.  That is the antithesis of what I want to create.  There’s got to be at least a little room for improvement.  =)

I Left My Beloved Laptop In A Fitting Room Yesterday…Senility Is Setting In Sooner Than Anticipated

Wine

I would say that I get one solid hour of stress-free, uninterrupted writing time per week.  That doesn’t mean I only write during that one hour; it only means that I don’t have seven other things cooking simultaneously.  I can’t tell you how much I love this time.  My daughter throws back handsprings.  I type.  Hard and fast.  Generates a lot of curious stares.  Sometimes a few comments.

Yesterday was no exception.  I churned out pages and pages of backstory.  Smiling, sighing, giggling, clapping.  It was a super-productive tumbling class.  But instead of celebrating the completion of a very challenging storyline once I got home, I nearly had a coronary.

My laptop was gone.  Not in the car, not in the house.  Not ANYWHERE.

My heart literally stopped for a few seconds…until I called Justice and found out I left it in the fitting room.  As an aside, I never leave my laptop on the car because I’m afraid someone will break in and steal it.  Ironic, huh?

I haven’t fully recovered…the palpitations have slowed but I’m still reeling.  Even three glasses of wine did nothing to settle my nerves.  I should have opted for the vodka.

Look Out Hollywood! This Book’s Got Silver Screen Potential!

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Someone recently asked me if i could see Unlikely Venture made into a movie at some point.  I suppose that would naturally come after it lands on the NYT bestseller list, right?

I’m sure it comes as no shock to anyone (especially fellow writers) that I most certainly think it has silver screen potential.  Heck, I’ve already picked out some of the actors and actresses (which you can see on my Facebook page).  =)

The story is so real to me…I’ve done research on all the settings in the book, I’ve conjured up images of the characters down to their most minute physical details.  Certain songs apply to scenes throughout the book and when I hear them on my iPod, I can see the characters interacting in my head.  I know their facial expressions and their mannerisms.  They are as real as I am.  When I’m out, if I see someone who resembles one of the images in my mind, I do a double-take and I wonder if they are any bit like my beloved characters.  

I sound obsessed, don’t I?

Maybe I am.  Okay, I definitely am.

But I believe it’s actually a good thing.  It makes for a richer story.  Like I’ve said, if I wrote books without really knowing my subject matter, they would fall flat.  They would be shallow and single-dimensional – a collossal waste of my time and effort.

So even though I am impatient and ready to jump into my next plot, I’ve got to handle the preliminaries.  The longer I take to get to know the elements of my story, the better it will be for all of you!  

Sometimes It’s Good To Take A Few Steps Back Before Moving Forward

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My editor recently told me that publishers don’t like the “s” in “towards,” “backwards,” or “forwards.”  Add this to the ever-increasing list of things I didn’t know about writing.  So I thought the title of this post was kind of apropos.

It’s come to my attention that the first few posts here sent somewhat of an ambiguous message so I want to set the record straight. 

I’m a total novice at this writing gig.  I’ve got no background to speak of, but I’m chuck-full of ideas.  I decided to try my hand at romance since I’m a sucker for drama, spicy hot shower scenes and HEA.  Three rewrites later, it’s 97% done.  I guess the third time really is a charm.   

So I’ve got a big decision to make.  How do I get my story out to the masses?  Do I self-publish and become an indie author?  Or shall I try my luck (again) and go the traditional publishing route?

I love the idea of being an indie author.  As a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, the whole model just suits me.  Also, I’m a little Type A so the idea of being the master of my own destiny is rather appealing.

But other factors come into play.  Do I have the bandwidth to take care of my family as well as juggle all the elements of my day job, my household AND a budding career as a romance novelist?  Maybe I should seek a partnership with a smaller press where I can have a voice at the table and leverage their expertise.  That may just be the ideal scenario for me.

The truth is, I don’t have the answer.  Hence the reason for my first set of posts.  I spend a lot of time opining on all of the alternatives and sometimes a glass of wine gives me some short-term clarity (any more than a glass and it’s back to square one).

What I’ve learned is that you need to have a solid platform, regardless of the chosen publishing method.  The bigger the following, the more lucrative the prospect. I’ve been doing a lot of research to figure out how to create my author brand and I wanted to share my findings, not to be confused with my anticipated successes.

So any time I come across information that I consider helpful, I’m going to share it here.  I’m not even close to being an “expert”; I’d settle for “somewhat informed” at this point.  

And so, my journey continues.

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