Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Writer Syndrome

LOVE this!

I know, I know - I'm supposed to be blogging every MWF, but yesterday was insanity on stick for me.  I got home from work and immediately crashed.  Also, this week's blog was supposed to be on Purple Prose, but I've decided to discuss something different today. 

As a new writer, it's great to see so many resources for writers online.  Probably the best source I've found have been blogs by other writers.  They've been so helpful to me that I've decided to pay it forward with my own writing-dedicated blog.  And who cares if no one's reading my blog?  It's a great learning tool for me and it's nice to have a place to put all of my thoughts and concerns. 

When I'm not blogging or working, I'm writing and I absolutely love doing it.  There are few things more exciting than brainstorming and coming up with new ideas.  Actually getting these ideas down in a cohesive and exciting way (er...I think that's called writing) is the hard part.  I like to think that I have a great imagination.  I've looked around and there's no one else out there who's done anything quite like my story. 

So, what's my problem?  I've got a serious case of "New Writer Syndrome" or NWS.  I have a lot of doubts about my current place in the process.  I'm at the very beginning stages and I have the whole gauntlet ahead of me.  I tried to cheer myself up by re-reading Stephanie Meyer's description of her road to publication.  Yeah, cheer me up it did NOT.  Her road was a lot less bumpy than the other stories I've heard.  It's like she sat up in bed after having this crazy dream about a sparkling, day-walking vampire and his co-dependent girlfriend, jotted it down, sent it to agent who helped her tweak some character names, and then almost immediately got a movie deal.  To be honest with you, it kind of pissed me off.


Well, not to sound like a brat, but my idea is a LOT more exciting than Twilight in my opinion AND I'm a better writer.  PLUS, none of my characters (hopefully) will be as annoying as Bella Swan.  Even with all of those factors, I know that my road to publication probably won't be that easy, and who knows if my book will ever even see the light of day. 

Every now and again it's easy to get disheartened, but I have to remind myself that I have a truly kick-ass idea.  I just need to write my story and then worry about putting it out there.

My real life job is in property management and real estate sales, so it's easy for me to think of my writing career in similar terms.  A writer's product IS their imagination.  When you're selling a product, sometimes the first person you have to convince to buy into it is yourself.  Staying invested, especially once those rejections start rolling in, is the key.  If you give up on yourself, so will everyone else.

Also, just a reminder:  I REALLY need a critique partner!  REALLY REALLY bad!  Please check out the "My Writing" page and let me know if you'd be interested in crit-partnering for my YA Fantary-Horror series, The Faerie Tale Chronicles!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to tell your story without getting in the way: Authorial Intrusion

I didn't get a chance to upload a shot of my work space for the kick off of NaNoWriMo.  This is in my dining room.  I don't really eat int there, and the view is great, so it's become my office!
 As a writer, you have the benefit of knowing (for the most part anyway) where your story is going.  That can be a good thing, but at times it can hinder the way you express things.  Certain details are difficult to convey and you do want your audience to be able to stay on the same page, as it were.  So, it's easy to get so caught up in writing that you may not even realize that you're telling the story.  Now, what's the problem with that?  Well, no one wants read a book where they're simply "hearing" the author in their mind, feeding the words to them.  People want to "see" the story in their heads.  At worst, you want your readers to feel like they're watching a movie.  At best, you want them to feel like they're IN the story with the characters, living it alongside them.

This can be tricky.  I've been writing since I could put letters together, but now that I'm seriously pursuing this, I've begun to research the craft.  At first, it was really daunting.  I kind of thought I knew pretty much everything that went into this.  I mean, I have the gift of gab and a good imagination...what more could there be?  Boy, was I wrong.  Fortunately, there's lots of really good information to be found on the subject of writing.  One of the very first topics I encountered was authorial intrusion.  I'd never heard the term before, and that alone was terrifying.  I'd put pen to paper before, even gotten a third of a novel written.  When I read over it, I thought it was pretty good...then I read up on authorial intrusion and what it was.  I felt like I'd need to start ALL over!  (Which, looking back, wasn't a bad thing.  That partial manuscript was horrendous!)  My writing was riddled with intrusion.

So, for those of you who were like me, here's the lowdown.   

Authorial Intrusion is when an author injects their personal thoughts and opinions in an attempt to steer the reader.  It can also be the author interrupting the flow of the story to impart some information on the reader that the character and reader might not aware of.

Sounds harmless, right?  Not so much!  You see, an author shouldn't have to rely on blatantly telling the reader how to think or feel.  That's the beauty of this medium.  People should be able to draw their own conclusions.  Now, in certain instances, an author might wish for everyone to draw the same conclusions, but there are other ways to go about it, ways that are spread out in the telling of the whole story.  Authorial Intrusion can often times make the reader feel kind of like an idiot.  Prime example:  Somewhere in the first pages of Eclipse (Twilight III), Stephanie Meyer actually types "Edward (Vampire) and Jacob (Werewolf)."  I remember literally tossing my book to the other side of the bed in disgust.   It took me days to pick it back up again, and my only motivation was so that I could critique the book.

A great way to stay away from Authorial Intrusion is to stay in what I like to call "S.h.I.T. Mode".  "S.h.I.T." = "Showing Instead of Telling".  If you're reader is living with the character, let them live the story (for the most part) at the same level as the character.  The reader shouldn't really know any more or less than the MC does.  As an author, it's your job to get the story out of your head and into a format that other people can enjoy.  It's NOT you're job to force feed the story to them.  Think about it this way - if they've picked up your book, they want to read your story.  The biggest battle is over with!  Now, to keep them entertained, get out of the way!

Please know that I'm still working on this myself.  I still feel that the best way to hone your craft is critique and examine the work of others.  When you can point out the weaknesses in their work, it teaches you to look at your own with the eye of someone who isn't so close to what you're doing.  When you're writing, take some time away from your piece.  In that time, maybe JUST critique for other people.  By the time you come back to your work, it will not only be fresher, but you'll have a different mindset!


Monday, November 1, 2010


As I'm sure many of you know, today is the kick-off for National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short.  The goal for everyone is to get a novel written in the next 30 days.  I think that this is such a wonderful thing...I'm a little surprised that this is the first year I'm participating.

I've reached another little block with The Sanguine Chronicles, so while I let the creative soup for that piece percolate, I’m working on something else.  Something not TOTALLY different, in fact it’s something that’s been part of the plan all along. 

Let me give you guys a little bit of the background on this project.  About 2-3 years ago, I began writing a young adult fantasy series called The Faerie Tale Chronicles.  I developed the hell out of it and got almost 20,000 words written.  Then, I decided to switch to writing a Paranormal Romance and it completely took over.  “Chronicles” is obviously a word I like to use, because my PNR series is called The Sanguine Chronicles.  Well anyway, over time, I began to play with the idea of having a YA Fantasy series that merged with a Paranormal Erotic Romance…it’s either crazy or brilliant – I’ve yet to decide which, but I’ll keep you posted as this month progresses.

I’m no longer calling the YA series “The Faerie Tale Chronicles” and for once, I don’t already have a title picked out.  Basically, this series is going to center on a group of 3 young women.  They have 3 things in common:

1.      They're all 16 years old.
2.      They're all Juniors at Wolverton High School in Atlanta, GA (not a real school).
3.      They're all immortals.

One of the 3 young women will be the first Lead Female in The Sanguine Chronicles.  At least that’s the plan right now.  Basically, this YA Fantasy is going to take my 3 main characters into adulthood – then the Paranormal Romance series will follow then into adulthood.  Many times, I’ve fallen in love with a YA series (The characters and the world that’s been developed) and I find myself wondering what happened to them when they grew up.  Sometimes, I really wish that I could keep myself (mentally) in the world that’s been developed for just a little while longer.  Well, if no one else is going to do it, then why not me?

So, what do you think?  Crazy or Brilliant?

Also, I'll be posting a shot of my workspace when I get home from work!  So check back later.


Friday, October 29, 2010


Ok guys,

I'm making a solemn promise, a commitment if you will.  From here on out I WILL be blogging every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (Tuesdays and Thursdays when I can).  Roni Loren, The Almighty Fiction Groupie, has said on more than one occasion that blogging and keeping to a schedule with it has really helped her in a lot of ways.  It's helped her with meeting deadlines and working off of a schedule.  Plus blogging only on her writing and on the craft in general has forced her to learn and teo develop.  So, from here on out I'm going to be a lot more diligent about it.  Starting Monday (November 1st), you can expect a lot more insightful and helpful posts.  I'm going to be scowering the web, my local libraries, and the book stores for the best information I can find.  There are a lot of other useful blogs out there, but I think every new contributor can bring something different and fresh that will help someone.  Plus, I want to learn for my own benefit and I'm big on sharing info.  I'd also like to start making some more web friends and have some guest bloggers.  The Thrifty Nymph is going to be expanding and making some changes, so be on the lookout!  I'll see you all on Monday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rule of 25

Hi guys - so, I haven't blogged in a while - it's been almost a month!  Holy Hell...time flies when you're not writing and stuck on a corporate grind.  Fortunately, the lady who runs the main writing blog I follow always serves to motivagte me with the things she posts.  Her two most recent entries have me feeling very "in the mood" get some writing done, that is!  Roni Loren (The Fiction Groupie) has just signed a two-book deal to kick off her series and the books are due early in 2012, then again in the summer of that year.  She got a book deal!  That's awesome!  What I've realized is that I need to find the discipline to get there!  So...I've decided that I'm going to try Kresley Cole's "Rule of 25".  She says that this was integral to her success as a writer.  It sounds like a lot of work (because IT IS), but I think it will also force me to stick to a structure.  It's a lot for me to re-tell, so I'll let Kresley tell y'all (she's a writer afterall - so she does know what she's doing!).

Kresley Cole explains the "Rule of 25":

"As soon as I’d completed my first manuscript, I enlisted my husband to help me devise a plan to get it published. Since both of us have backgrounds in competitive sports, and that was what we knew best, we decided to attack the process of selling the book as if it were an aggressive training goal. We called our plan the "Rule of 25."

At any given time, I would have in play 25 ventures toward publication, which I called juggling 25 "balls in the air" (it sounded so much more innocent back then). A ball could be one of five things: a contest entry, a confirmed conference registration often with an editor/ agent appointment, a formal critique in progress, a proposal sent to an agent, or a query to a publisher.

We put together an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of everything, and if I checked off a ball as completed-if I’d just returned from a conference, received a rejection, etc.-then the total would automatically deduct one. The Rule held that when one ball came back, another one went out within a day.

The number twenty-four still makes me twitch, Kiefer notwithstanding.

In the initial stages, the majority of the 25 consisted of contest entries and conferences, so I could learn more about craft and the industry.

As I started getting feedback and polished my manuscript, I shifted the 25 toward agent queries as well. Only when I was confident my proposal was as strong as I could possibly make it did I begin querying publishers.

The upside of the plan: I sold within a year, after pitching the book to my editor in one of those conference editor/ agent appointments. The downside: all the hard knocks on the road to publication came at me fast. Receiving more than one rejection letter in a day wasn’t uncommon, and the daunting stream of them was steady and reliable.

As I’m reading back over this, recalling all that work and travel completed in such a short period of time, I’m forced to wonder what was I smoking?? if I would do it the same way now."

Pretty cool, huh?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I like plotting, yes I do! I like plotting, how 'bout you?!

So, today over at Roni Loren's AWESOME blog, *The Fiction Groupie*, she brought up a good question.  Does the mind of a plotter and a panster really differ that much.  Can a panster become a plotter and vice versa.  Roni says that she's a plotter in every other aspect of her life outside of her writing.  Now that she's shopping her work to publishers, she's thinking that she'll need to learn to plot in order to shop future projects to them.  She's worried that she won't be able to do it.

There are a LOT of ways our there to plot.  She even provides a link to an interesting post by another author on an index card method

I love plotting.  It's actually one of my favorite things about the whole writing process.  I'm an organization and office supply junkie, like Roni, so I think that's part of it.  I keep a notebook that goes with me EVERYWHERE in my purse.  The purse I have is big enough to fit the notebook, my Nook, and all of my other crap.  It's specifically why I bought this purse, lol.

Since I write paranormal romance, so to keep everything together for myself, I split the notebooks into sections (plot, characters, random musings (this is where I jot down things as they come to me), and a monstropedia where I keep track of all of my immortal beings traits.

In my notebook, I can highlight and post-it tab to my heart's content. Plus, it's nice to have something I can just grab if I need to reference something. I'd be more inclined to tell you to keep a binder and use loose-leaf paper because you can put things in order, even if you make revisions later.

I think you'd enjoy plotting. It's nice to be able to just sit and think, let words just fall out of a pen, and know that the notebook is really just for your eyes only.

Plus, one added thing. As I'm writing, I'm scrapbooking my journey through the process. The things that are in my notebook, when I finish, will go into the scrapbook. If I ever get published, maybe one day my writing scrapbook will be worth something to someone other just me.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Check out Lynnette of Chatterbox Chitchat's critique of an excerpt of mine!

VERY useful resource...I highly recommend submitting your own work!

Note - this IS part of the excerpt I submitted for the Rumored Romantics Contest, but I'd edited that after I sent this - still, some of the issues she point out are still there.  As I work on polishing my writing, I'll be posting resources for things such as avoiding Purple Prose and Showing vs Telling.

Check out her critique here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I'm a SEMI-FINALIST in the Rumored Romantics Critique Group Contest!  What does this mean?  It means that I could become a member of the Rumored Romantics Critique Group!  That is F*CKING EXCITING!  I'll be polishing my next entry for phase two of the contest, which is due on Saturday!  Wish me luck!

Now characters are helping me write whole scenes!

I feel a lot like this chick...being dragged around and forced into submission by my characters...I thought I was the brains of this operation!  (Oh well...I think I kinda like it!)

Wow...long time no post, and I apologize for that! I've been a busy bee lately, and not with writerly type things, which sucks.

Anywho, I'm off work today and that's usually when the extra creative juices start flowing. Well, it happened again less than an hour ago. I was working on a scene for book 1, and the character I mentioned in my previous post (my Angel, Alexander Absolon)suddenly injected himself into the scene! This wasn't even a scene that initially had ANYTHING to do with him at all! Now that he's in it? Well, it wreaks of brilliance (his words, not mine).

This is EXACTLY why I'm such a big advocate for plotting, outlining, and character developing BEFORE the actual writing begins. When the characters write the story, it really takes a lot of the work off of the writer. If the characters aren't well defined before the writing begins, then how can they be expected to help? It IS their story, after all.

I'm off to write some more!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Characters who write themselves...

This is something I've heard from other writers but never experienced myself...until recently.  I'm currently working on book 1 (of 7) of The Sanguine Chronicles and as I work on the plot, I'm developing the characters.  Well, one of the characters that's REALLY been pushing his way to the forefront is the guy who's actually already been slated to be the male lead in book 2.  He's an angel, but I call him my "wicked angel".  He's a bad boy when it comes to the ladies and he knows that he's got "the right stuff".  I've never EVER contemplated writing a cocky (well, not in the arrogant sense anyway) male lead for a romance.  Arrogance is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to men.  But that's just the thing with this character - he knows EXACTLY how he wants to be written.  Well, it just kind of snowballed from there - his lead female is a Shade (of course), but this one's the product of a witch coupling with a human...well, I don't want to spill the beans just yet, but her "witchy-ness" plays a big role in knocking my wicked angel down a few pegs.  One thing I want to make clear - my angel is NOT a "Fallen Angel".  He's not a demon either, although there is one waiting in the wings for this series (I think he's slated for book 4).  Anyway, I thought it'd be nice to share that I've finally gotten my first 'direct-hit' for a character.  He knows exactly who he is.  And YES you will get to meet him in book 1.  He's got so much awesome personality that I've got him sprinkled in for a really fun part.  That said, his female won't show up until either the veeeery end of book 1 or maybe not even until book 2.  She's also been very interesting.  In my head, they're already having their romance, and let me tell ya - they're PERFECT for each other.  I'm extremely excited about the second fact, getting to write it will be my reward for finishing the first one!

And yes...he looks like Nick Carter in my head...picture him with more muscles, a near-constant half smile, and a wicked Gaelic accent...mmmmmmmmmmm....#NewPanties!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Inspiration...but this time from a song

This one's entitled "If I Die Young" and it's by an up-and-coming country group called The Band Perry.  You can also hear their very first single, "Hip To My Heart" by clicking here.

"If I Die Young" is such a beautiful and moving song, and actually fits kind of perfectly with a major element of The Sanguine Chronicles.

Here's the lyrics and video.

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a, bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

Uh oh, uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
he'll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a, bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white, when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little, cold finger, I’ve
Never known the lovin' of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand, there’s a
Boy here in town says he’ll, love my forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I’ll sell them for a dollar
They're worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when your dead how people start listenin’

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a, bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

Uh oh (uh, oh)
The ballad of a dove (uh, oh)
Go with peace and love
Gather up your tears, keep ‘em in your pocket
Save them for a time when your really gonna need them, oh

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had, just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls


Random Post...No, seriously...this is all over the place.

But hopefully in a good way!  As I write this, my blog is up to 5 followers!  How cool is that?!  I know...I'm easily excited but still.

Ok, so I'll start of with this - One of my really good friends is also a writer.  In my opinion, she's one of the most talented writers out there.  I've been reading her work since before I ever worked up the courage to introduce myself to her online once I'd also started writing.  She was so gracious and cool.  That was probably around 4 years ago.  Well anywho, she's been writing for way longer than I have and the girl's got skills..."mad skills" as they say.  In the wee hours of this morning, she sent me an email with the latest chapter of her Work In's been going on for so long that "A Work In Progress" is LITERALLY the title, lol.

Well, anyway - wow.  I was so blown away by this latest installment that I actually cried.  For those of you who don't know me, I don't cry easily at all.  That's just another testament to how good the story and her writing is.  I won't spill any details or anything, but it's just an amazing story.  For some reason, though, my friend is very insecure about her writing.  I, as her #1 groupie, am constantly trying to boost her up.  Well, after reading this latest chapter (not sure if it was the early hours of the morning talking or not), but I finally snapped.  The girl needs to try to publish something of hers!  I'm sick of being one of only a handful of people who are enjoying her work so much.  So I went off a little bit, lol.  Let's hope it worked.  I've told her about the upcoming contest from Lynnette Labelle's crit group and I'm REALLY hoping she goes for it.  This way, she can have other smart, writerly people look over her work.

*Crosses fingers, toes, eyes, and all other crossables*

So, this same friend also sent me this little comedic gem this morning.  It just served as another reminder for why I write romance novels...

It's called, "The Why's of Men"...enoy:

The Why's of Men 
(because they are plugged into a genius)
(they don't have enough time)
(they don't stop to ask directions)
------ -----------------------------------------
(because their testicles fall over their butt-hole and they vapor lock)
(You're laughing, aren't you?!?!)
(so they won't hump women's legs at cocktails parties)
(you need a rough draft before you make a final copy)
(don't never happened)
 ( C'mon guys, we laugh at your blonde jokes!) 
And the personal favorite:
(because a vibrator can't mow the lawn)
One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweat-shirt; seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, 'What setting do I use on the washing machine?'
'It depends,' I replied. 'What does it say on your shirt?'
   He yelled back, ' University of Oklahoma .'  And they say blondes are dumb... 
A couple is lying in bed. The man says, 'I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world.'   The woman replies, 'I'll miss you...' 


'It's just too hot to wear clothes today,' Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, 'honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?'

'Probably that I married you for your money,' she replied. 

Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?
A: A rumor 

 ------- ---------------------------------------
Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man; Love to forgive him; And Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll beat him to death.  AMEN  
Q: Why do little boys whine?
A: They are practicing to be men.
Q: What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name?
A: You did not hold the pillow down long enough. 
Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?

A: Rename the mail folder 'Instruction Manual.'


Monday, September 6, 2010

It's the little things...who knew?!

So, through Roni Griffin's blog (The Fiction Groupie), I've found another blogger whose recent posts have done WONDERS for me a in a very short span of time.  Her name is Lynnette Labelle and her blog is called Chatterbox Chitchat.  The posts that I'm talking about discuss something called the "Three Act Structure".

Act One
Act Two
Act Three

Ok, so when you read these, they might seem like common sense and when I'm reading other people's works I can pick up on the use of this structure.  Unfortunately, when it comes to my own writing, I freak out and shut my brain off.  I stress out about telling the story so much that I completely forget how to...well, tell the damn story.  I read these posts and then in my outline notebook, I split my story into the three acts and looked at each section.  MAN, it's like my story wrote itself once I did this!  So, I'm recommending the three act structure to EVERYONE.  This way, if you're like me, you can shut your brain off and not worry about your story suffering for it!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Partial of the 1st chapter of The Sanguine Chronicles

The Sanguine Chronicles

Book I:

Galina Antonescu and Kristian Sleipnir

Present Day – Atlanta (Little Five Points), GA –
At eleven o’clock on a Saturday night, The Thrifty Nymph usually bustled with customers. Though the air was crisp, even for early October, the streets just beyond the shop teemed with people. Galina Anton frowned every time a passerby peered into the window, obviously contemplating whether or not to enter, and then wrinkle their noses in distaste before continuing on. Puzzled, Galina retreated to the office in the back of the shop. Once seated at the large and ornately-carved mahogany desk, she couldn’t fight a frustrated grumble as she tapped the power button on the store’s antiquated computer. She’d forgotten her laptop for the third time this week and would be forced yet again traverse the information superhighway in the slow lane.

Ten years(or was it minutes?)later, after The Machine had finally ticked and clicked itself into a semblance of functionality, Galina was typing an email to her boss. Carys Morgan, the eccentric Wiccan who ran the place, was known around town as a bit of a slut. That she owned a store which specialized in love potions, herbs for passion enhancement, and other erotic hocusy-pocusy paraphernalia didn’t help. If she’s gone and broken up another high profile marriage, it may be time for me to start looking for a new gig!

As Night Manager of The Thrifty Nymph, an absolute institution among born-again pagans and other members of the incent-burning, black-nail-polish-wearing, dragon-con-going crowd, Galina was the second-most important person in the company. “Nymphty” made most of its money at night, since the majority of its patrons preferred to do their shopping under cover of darkness. So in essence, she was the face of the store. Or the one most often left with the task of explaining away the spirited and exuberant albeit wanton and indiscriminately debauched behavior of her boss. If whatever Carys had done this time was bad enough to actually keep the people away, then it’d be the worst thing she’d done in a while.

What/who’d you do THIS time?

Galina decided that short and to the point would be the best format for this email. After hitting send, she looked around the office for something to do. She’d already taken care of the bookkeeping, organized the shelves, and put up a display advertising their newest erection enhancement elixir. The Thrifty Nymph wasn’t a terrible place to work. In fact, she truly loved her job. Carys had taken a chance and hired Galina when she was eighteen and just starting college at the urging of her mother. Roxy ran with the same circles as Carys, so when she heard that there was an opening at the shop for a nighttime associate, she’d pounced on it. That was four years ago, and what a blessing it had been! Galina had followed her heart and majored in Creative Writing. Though her diploma had Emory University’s seal on it, there weren’t a ton of well-paying jobs out there for writers, no matter how creative or well-educated they may have been.

Nymphty had become a sort of a second home for her, and Carys like an irresponsible older sister. For Galina, coming into the store was like stepping into one of those fancy hanging lanterns. The light inside was always a dim yellowish glow that lent a golden hue to the purple and pewter vertically striped walls. Ornate glass lanterns hung in every corner of the hexagon-shaped front room, and their tinted panes shimmered in the candlelight each evening. Incense and aromatic oils burned constantly and Galina knew that the scent of lotus blossoms and lavender would always remind her of the shop.

With a sigh, she finally gave in and reached for the stack of romance novels that Carys kept on the corner of the desk. She flipped through the pages and read the blurbs of each book before settling on one about a bad-boy demon and his prudish charge.

She was just about to delve into the book when she heard the chime of the front door. The first customer of the night! “And it’s only 11:30,” Galina muttered sarcastically as she carelessly flopped the novel onto the desk and stood from the chair.

“Welcome to The Thrifty Nymph, your mystical source for all things erotic!” She said the greeting with more flourish than usual because that was the first, and, let’s face it, probably last time she’d say it that night.

Silence was her only reply and for a moment she thought she may have imagined the chime. Then she saw him.

He stood, nearly as tall as the seven foot bookcase before him, with his back to her. Though she couldn’t see his face, she didn’t imagine that a man with a body as strong and well-built as his could be ugly. His ebony hair brushed the collar of the black leather jacket that fit so enticingly over his muscular back. Dark, almost black jeans, hung low on his hips, and Galina blushed as she stared at the most perfect man-ass she’d ever laid eyes on. From behind, he was with a doubt the most exquisite man she’d ever seen. So, much like a confused dog might, she titled her head and cocked an eyebrow when she noticed where he stood and marveled over the fact that such a man might not be perfect after all. He was perusing the section on erectile dysfunction and impotency. Pity…

When he turned to face her, though, Galina’s mind went completely to mush all over again. Sweet BAWLS! He was fine. Beneath thick black eyebrows were the greenest eyes she’d ever seen and the intensity within them was unsettling, to say the least. It didn’t help that she had already pictured him naked…now she wanted him naked and staring at her all intense-like! His nose was straight and aristocratic-looking, and she followed the line of it to his perfect mouth. Though his lips were thin, they were perfectly formed with the bottom one just a fraction fuller than the top. As if the features of his face weren’t captivating enough, he also had a chiseled jawline that attributed a rugged edge to his handsome visage. Broad shoulders? Check. Well-defined abs visible even beneath fitted white shirt? Check. Tanned skin contrasting so deliciously against previously noted white shirt? Check. Narrow waist perfect for gripping? Check. Where the hell did THAT come from? This was M.A.N…all caps.

He must have been frowning down at her for a solid ten seconds before she realized that her mouth was literally hanging open. She pretended to yawn, though she could sense that she’d definitely been busted. When his frown only deepened, she was sure of it and decided that it was time to take the focus off of her.

“Can I help you?” She asked, noting with a shudder that her voice was shaking. Get. It. Together.

He glanced behind him to look over the display again and Galina noticed that he clenched his jaw, actually heard the grinding of his teeth. His green eyes flashed with some kind of emotion. Was it embarrassment?

When he turned to face her again, his expression seemed to dare her to laugh. He seemed defiant somehow and his mouth remained firmly shut.

“Um…ok,” she decided to try again, “Are you looking for something in particular? Are you having issues getting an erection or maintaining one?”

She may as well have slapped him. He actually exhaled a disgusted breath before shaking his head and crossing his arms over his chest. Finally, he spoke. “I’m not here for any of these…these ConCOCKtions as you call them.” He gestured to the small chalkboard over the display that did indeed have the word “ConCOCKtions” written in bubbly pink and white print.

Clever, Carys.

Holding her hands up in mock surrender, Galina shrugged and looked around the store. “Well, is there anything else I can you find?”

His voice was so rich and deep that he seemed to growl his next words. “I am looking for the one called Galina. Galina Antonescu.”

“What?” Now she was thoroughly and completely confused. “I think you’re looking for me. My name’s Galina, although I think you’ve got the last name wrong. It’s Anton, not Antonescu.”

He frowned again – he was good at that – and shook his head. “Are you certain? I have strict instructions to find one Galina Antonescu. My source told me that I would find her at The Thrifty Nymph.”

Galina leveled a suspicious glare at him. “You, a man I’ve never met, were sent to find me and you say you have…sources? Am I in some kind of trouble? I’m on a payment plan, and I have never been late! Not once!”

“I’m not a debt collector,” he seethed through clenched teeth.

WhatTheFuck, party of one! She must have looked as bewildered as she felt because he nodded then and said, “My name is Kristian Sleipnir, and I’ve been sent to protect you.”


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where does inspiration come from?


A lot of writers will tell you that they get inspiration from everywhere.  The world around us is full of things to inspire!  That's all well and good, but have you ever encountered something that quite specifically inspires you?

Personally, browsing the work on Deviant Art - in the Comics section really got me inspired.  I was never into comics or comicbooks before, but something about the way they're drawn really works for my imagination.  The female form as it's depicted in comics is literally perfect in my opinion.  Plus, since I write paranormal romance, it's pretty easy to see why I might be drawn to characters with powers.

In particular, the comics from the TopCow line REALLY intrigued me.  They would be The Darkness, The Angelus, The Witchblade, The Magdalena, etc...  In fact, it was this picture of The Angelus and The Witchblade that inspired the basis for The Sanguine Chronicles.

I've fallen so in love with comic art that I'd actually really like for my book covers to be comics instead of photos.  NOT MANGA, but American Comic Art like you see above.  There's so much more you can do with this!  If I have my way, I'd even like to pick an unknown artist from Deviant Art to do the cover artwork, but who knows if that will even be in my hands?


Crit Group vs Beta Reading

Ok, so I'm pretty new to the online writing community.  I really used to think that there were no resources out there for writers, but that was BEFORE I started looking for them.  Seriously, people - resources abound!  Tips, tricks, advice...whatever you need.  Now, the only thing that you CAN'T find with the click of a button is something tailored to your exact needs as a writer.  That's where other actual people come in.  I've learned a new thing recently:  Critique Groups and Beta Readers are NOT the same thing!  See, I assumed that they were the same.

For the most part, a crit group works chapter by chapter (or at most a few chapters at a time).  Someone in the group will critique and look over your work while you do the same for another member of the group.  With beta reading, on the other hand, a few people might read your entire manuscript and give feedback.

What's the big deal?  Well, if you're the kind of person who likes to write the whole thing and THEN have it looked at - beta reading is probably the way to go.  If you're more like me and would like someone to read each part as you go along, then a crit group might be better.

OR - if you're REALLY like me, then you'll do both!  I'm in the market for a crit group or TWO (or THREE) and some beta readers.  I'm on - and that's a good start, but anyone can critique your work there.  I'm a paranormal romance writer - a critique from a non-fiction writer may not be the best thing for me.  So, if you're in a crit group and you've got a spot open, please let me know!  OR if you're interested in starting a group with me that'd be great, too!  Or if you want to Beta read...I'll take what I can get!

Just shoot me an email at !


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Interesting Article on Paranormal Romance

*I did NOT write this article...blah blah disclaimer blah*

(For Publishers Weekly by Gwenda Bond - 05.29.2009)

Think of a writer known for creating one of the most popular and memorable vampire series in history--one with 17 million copies of her books in print in 35 countries, one whose fans are so devoted that in 2008 the annual convention honoring her sold out in less than three minutes, one who managed six #1 rankings on the New York Times bestseller list in just over a year. No, not Stephenie Meyer--this publishing phenomenon is the reigning queen of the wildly successful paranormal scene, Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Over the past decade, Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series has increased in popularity until the latest installment, Bad Moon Rising, is virtually assured to land at the top of the lists when it hits the shelves on August 4. Her editor at St. Martin's, Monique Patterson, says, “It's been amazing to watch her grow, literally by leaps and bounds. Dark-Hunter is a brand, a franchise, now. Sherrilyn has a sixth sense for what readers want in their characters, in their stories, and she knows how to speak to their emotions.”
Patterson promises that readers won't be disappointed by Bad Moon Rising, though they may be surprised. “It's a whole new arc in the story line. I can't say exactly what, but it's big.”
That's only one of several Kenyon releases this year. St. Martin's will be reissuing expanded versions of the first three books in her long-out-of-print League series--Born of Night, Born of Fire and Born of Ice--in a major back-to-back release beginning in late September. The publisher also launches the Dark-Hunter series into manga in June. While Avon had planned to release Darkness Within, the newest in Kenyon's Lords of Avalon series (previously published under the name Kinley MacGregor) in August, that title has been delayed for the moment.
Kenyon is just one example of arguably the most in-demand and prolific authors in America these days. Writers of all kinds of paranormal are experiencing a major surge, and the variety of work being published under the banners of paranormal romance and urban fantasy shows no sign of diminishing anytime soon.

Degrees of Difference
It's fairly easy to settle on a definition of what makes a book part of the current paranormal trend, because it can be anything with supernatural elements or that departs from reality. But even that broad definition is open to interpretation, says Chris Keesler, senior editor at Dorchester. “I think that booksellers and many romance readers tend to pigeonhole paranormal, defining the books by the most visible and successful of their type: the vampire romance. Werewolves and other monsters are also common.”
Often it is the most prominent paranormal element that's used to classify a book or series as part of a certain subgenre. In addition to vampires and shape-shifters, it's not hard to find books featuring witches or demons, psychics or time travel within the romance category and also in science fiction and fantasy.
In fact, the terms urban fantasy and paranormal romance are often used interchangeably. But most of the category's major editors work on books that fall into both categories and caution that while the two frequently cross over among audiences, there is a key distinction. Avon executive editor Erika Tsang explains: “In paranormal romance the relationship between the couple is the focus of the main plot. In urban fantasy, the world that the couple exists in is the focus.”
Figuring out the best category can sometimes be hard. Tsang remembers the fan reaction when she chose to publish Jeaniene Frost's Halfway to the Grave as romance rather than urban fantasy. “Readers were up in arms because the characters didn't end up together. But the relationship was essential to the story, so it's a romance to me,” says Tsang.
Choosing the category can be dangerous ground, says Heather Osborn, romance editor at Tor. She employs a simple standard for making the decision. “My number one consideration is if there's a resolution of the romance at the end of the book. If there's no resolution of the romance, and it's in the romance section, readers will let their anger be known.”
Osborn also identifies another factor that must be considered, which is the willingness of the different readerships to leave their home section of the bookstore. “We see romance readers go to the science fiction and fantasy section for the books. Fantasy readers will buy from displays, but not go into the romance section,” she says.
There are plenty of authors comfortable in both worlds, though. Marjorie Liu debuted with the paranormal romance series Dirk & Steele, which she describes as being about a “group of psychics and nonhumans (gargoyles, mermen, shape-shifters and so on) who band together to help others under the guise of working for an internationally respected detective agency.” The series' ninth installment, The Fire King, releases in August from Dorchester. But in 2008, Liu launched Hunter Kiss, a darker urban fantasy series, from Ace, with The Iron Hunt. The follow-up, Darkness Calls, is due out in late June.
“I think we worry way too much about where books should fit inside genres,” says Liu. “In a romance, the hero and heroine are on a journey together, and no matter how awful it gets, by the end of the book they'll be in love, with the probability of a happy ending.”
Viewing the trend in a more historical context helps explain its broad appeal to readers who prefer either type of book. Most editors say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer marked a turning point toward the new breed of paranormal, but that its roots are far older. “There are romantic tales in mythology and folklore with clear fantasy aspects to them,” says St. Martin's Patterson. “But everything is cyclical in terms of popularity. Eight or nine years ago, you couldn't give away paranormal romance.”
Dorchester's Keesler says the coinciding rise of the supernatural across the entertainment spectrum has exerted a strong influence, creating a hunger for similar books. “How many people of the last few generations haven't seen Buffy or one of its spinoffs? Above all, I think every genre is driven and perpetuated by the talent of its most successful authors, authors who cater to the public, to their day and age's literary zeitgeist.”
Timing is everything in publishing, and pop culture's impact on readers is reflected by the age of the audience coming into the romance category. “TV and entertainment media are bringing in people in their 20s and 30s. Romance as a whole skews to an older audience,” observes Tor's Osborn. “People talk about the glut of vampire and werewolf romances, but there is always room for more. Romance readers read tons of books a month.”
Paranormal romance--like romance in general--is doing extremely well during a period when the economic meltdown has exiled much of publishing to severe doldrums. “What's going on in the world now has an impact. With wars and the economy, romance is fantasy--these books are the ultimate escape,” says Tsang from Avon. “Readers are always looking for something new.”
The Next Big Monster
The continuing Twilight mania and Alan Ball's adaptation of Charlaine Harris's novels into the HBO series True Blood may have injected an even longer life into books about vampires.
“It's clear that vampires have never been hotter in the romance genres,” says Claire Zion, editorial director of NAL. She cites the breakout success of J.R. Ward's Lover Avenged when it released earlier this month. The seventh Black Dagger Brotherhood novel and the first to be released in hardcover, Lover took high slots on several bestseller lists.
The paranormal field is in no danger of a vampire shortage. Other hot releases featuring bloodsuckers include Jeaniene Frost's Destined for an Early Grave (Avon, July), Lynsay Sands's The Renegade Hunter (Avon, Sept.), and Katie MacAlister's Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang (Signet, May). Berkley plans a back-to-back release of Emma Holly's Kissing Midnight (June), Breaking Midnight (July) and Saving Midnight (Aug.).
There are also plenty of shape-shifters to be found this season. In another back-to-back release, Avon will launch Pamela Palmer's Feral Warriors series, beginning in July with Desire Untamed, followed by Obsession Untamed and Passion Untamed. Tor has high hopes for C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp's Cold Moon Rising (Aug.), blurbed by popular urban fantasy author Jim Butcher. Meanwhile, Kendra Leigh Castle's Wild Highland Magic (Sourcebooks, May) continues the MacInnes Werewolves series, and Patricia Briggs fans will no doubt snap up Hunting Ground (Ace, Aug.), which follows the developing love story between werewolves Anna and Charles.
Although werewolves and vampires are still tremendously popular, they better look out for the new trendsetters coming behind them. According to Dorchester's Leah Hultenschmidt, “Demons are the new vampires,” calling attention to the publisher's The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox, released this month. “I predict after demons come fallen angels.”
It's true that demon and angel-themed series are becoming more prevalent. Kensington has seen Richelle Mead's urban fantasy series featuring shape-shifting demon Georgina Kincaid take off; its fourth book, Succubus Heat, comes out in June. And Grand Central was so pleased with last year's reception for newcomer Larissa Ione's Pleasure Unbound that it released two follow-up Demonica novels, Desire Unchained and Passion Unleashed, in March and April. Both landed on various bestseller lists. “It's a sign that readers are still willing to take a chance on new authors,” says Amy Pierpont, editorial director of Grand Central's Forever line.
For those fallen angels, try J.R. Ward's hotly anticipated new spinoff series, kicking off with Covet (Signet, Oct.). And what about urban fantasy? Readers who want a little less romance and a lot more fantasy world-building can keep an eye out for titles like S.J. Day's Eve of Darkness (May), Eve of Destruction (June), and Eve of Chaos (June) from Tor, debut author Kelly Gay's The Better Part of Darkness (Pocket, Nov.) and Caitlin Kittredge's Street Magic (St. Martin's, June).
Not to mention Harlequin's first foray into young adult fiction. The new program launches with Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Take in August, with Intertwined by Gena Showalter to follow in September. “These books promise to have crossover appeal between young and adult women,” says Loriana Sacilotto, executive v-p of global editorial for Harlequin.
All this without getting into a number of other developing trends--faeries, immortal protectors and a little bit of anything else you can imagine. Kensington editor-in-chief John Scognamiglio says, “Paranormal romance remains red hot and shows no signs of stopping. Anything paranormal is immediately moved to the top of the submission pile.”

Nothing says "New Blog" like a picture of a sexy man in a compromising position!

Thanks to Illyana at Kresley Cole's forum for the pic!

Hello and welcome!  My name is Kiera Bryant and I'm a writer of Paranormal Romance and Young Adult Fantasy novels.  As of this moment, I have not been published, but like any writer - that's the ultimate dream!  I'll be using this blog as a tool for myself as well as for anyone else who might find the information here useful.  My goal will be to blog daily with helpful writing tips, personal stories on my own journey towards completing my manuscript, and more fun writery-type things.  I'll also be posting reviews of other books when I have the time.  Tune in for more details and be sure to check in on my website from time to time for even more news.