Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Writing Process

Since it's the New Year, I'm sure many writers have included finishing a novel for their 2010 goals, including your intrepid host.
Due to the disastrous process of my first two complete (keyword, complete and I only tried to publish one of those) novels, I decided to do my third novel "by the book." In other words, I used Strunk & White's ELEMENTS OF STYLE, Stephen King's ON WRITING, and multiple web resources (Go Twitter!) to create my first regency paranormal romance in a structured manner. I am very pleased with the results and actually had fun with this book all the way to the submission process.
Here is my system. I confess to ripping off a lot of it from King's ON WRITING, of course I don't know if it's really ripping him off since I am crediting him. Seriously, buy that book. It is a gem!

1.) If you have your opening scene in your head: Write it! I know that sounds ridiculous in its simplicity but this your first draft. Don't worry about if it sucks or not or whether this or that is established in your head. This is not the time to worry about it. Just get the damn book started or you'll have no hope of finishing it.

2.) If you don't have the opening scene in your head: Figure out who your main character(s) is/are. What do they want? What is going to happen to them that makes you have to write the story in the first place? Make notes, play around, but not too seriously. That will come soon enough. Then write your first scene to introduce them. Then refer to step one.

3.) Make a rough outline. Stephen King is anti-outline, but I like them for 2 reasons: One is that they help to fend off writer's block. If I know the basis of how the story is going to go, then I am able to have ideas for the foreshadowing and action to get the characters there. The other is that I can put in the scenes in my head that I'm dying to write like the proverbial carrot-on-a-stick to keep me writing. I'm not too worried about my story becoming stale and systematic because the story often turns different from the outline. Outlines are there to have something to deviate from.

4.) Write the story all the way through. Write every day if possible, taking a maximum of one day off. Stephen King said that, and damn, he was right. Why do this? Because it keeps the story fresh in your head. Also, if you are writing every day then you are getting something done and you will be more realistic about seeing your novel going somewhere.

5.) Have FUN researching. Nearly every novel requires some research. I spent hours researching things from regency England for my last novel. For my next one I get to research nineteenth century France. Just remember the keyword: Fun. If you are going to go in depth about what you researched in your novel, it better be fun, otherwise, your boredome will show in your writing. King just says to do the research. This is what I learned from doing it.

6.) Try to follow a daily writing goal. Whether it's 250 or 3000 words a day, you have to do something. Not only will your goal give you a feasible deadline to finish the novel, but it is very motivational and good for you. To complete your word goal is to have a triumph every day.

7.) Get a support system. The days of the anti-social writer stereotype are gone. Writing works so much better when you have people cheering you on, especially if they are other writers. I owe much of the success of my novel's completion to my writer pals on twitter. It felt wonderful to have people there to not only cheer me on, but to sympathize when I was agonizing about certain parts. Not only that, but it felt so wonderful to hear people saying my book sounded as good and fun as it did to me. There is also the competition factor. My word goal started at 500, but when other writers were talking about goals in the thousands, competitiveness set in and I bumped it up to 2000 words a day with occasional 3K days.

8.) When Writer's block sets in: Write another outline. C'mon, I know you deviated miles from the one you started with.=) Give yourself something else for you and your characters to rebel against. If that doesn't work, do some more research and see if an inspiring detail will pop up. Listen to music, meditate. If none of those work, write "blah blah blah" and skip to the next scene you've been dying to write. Then next time you have writer's block you can go back fill in the "blah blah blah" and usually the other thing you were stuck on will come clear. If none of those work, look up other witer's blogs about writer's block. There are a million tips out there and at least one should work for you.

9.) When you've finished the book: Put it away for at least six weeks. I'll admit, six weeks was all I could take and even that was unbearable. Celebrate the first day. Then read for pleasure. While struggling to resist peeking at your manuscript, go out and find at 3-5 people that are willing to read and critique the book for you at a certain date and under a certain timeline. If you did well with finding your support system, this shouldn't be a big deal. And if you are lucky, you can find a former teacher or two to add in their opinion. But don't, under any circumstance, allow anyone to see your work until after the second draft. Start writing a short story or playing with ideas for your next project. Unless you are Harper Lee, there should be a next project.

More to come on my next post, which will be.....surprise! The editing process.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Succulent Turkey Recipe

Required Materials:
Roasting Pan
Aluminum Foil
Turkey Baster
Meat Thermometer

1: 15-20lb turkey (If larger may need to increase other ingredients)
1-2 stalks celery
1 large orange
1 onion (I prefer sweet)
1/2 to 1 clove of garlic
1 big carrot or 8-10 baby carrots
1 1/2 to 3/4 bottle of ginger ale (2 liter)
1 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tbs. thyme
2 tbs. parsley
2 tbs. sage
1 tbs. lemon pepper
1 tbs. Seasoned Salt (Johnny's or Lawry's is best!)

(I know it's a long list, but it's totally worth it!)
Okay, here we go.

Preheat oven to 350
Mix thyme, sage, parsley, lemon pepper, and seasoning salt in a small bowl
Chop the onion, carrot, and celery
Peel the garlic and split into segments
Peel the orange and split into segments

Line the roasting pan with enough foil to cover the turkey.
Remove the neck and giblets from turkey
Rub the herb mixture inside both neck and rear cavities of the turkey and a little on the outside.
Stuff turkey with chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic, orange segments, and bay leaf.
Place turkey in roasting pan.
Pour all chicken broth and half required ginger ale into the cavity.
Truss the turkey and pour more ginger ale over bird and around it.

Make a foil tent over the bird, but try not to have the foil touch it.
Baste periodically and remove foil to allow turkey to brown 45 min to 1 hr before done.
Turkey is done when thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees.

Here is estimated cooking time by weight:
10-15 lbs = 3 3/4 -4 1/2 hrs. 15-22lbs = 4 1/2- 5 hrs
22-24lbs = 5- 5 1/2 hrs. 24-29lbs = 5 1/2- 6 1/4 hrs

When turkey is done, remove from oven, cover, and let stand 10- 15 min before carving. This allows the juices to resettle.

Bonus Gravy Recipe:
Ingredients: (To taste and as needed)
Turkey drippings/ marinade
Salt (if needed)
Black Pepper

Using the turkey baster, remove as much liquid from turkey as you need and heat it to boiling in a medium saucepan
Mix cornstarch with milk and add to boiling turkey drippings,
Slowly lower the heat and blend with a whisk.
thicken to desired texture and in the meantime season to taste with herbs and pepper. Try not to burn your tongue!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review of Phoenix Rising by Jo Lynne Valerie

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at this story.

PHOENIX RISING, a novella within A TALE FOR ALL SEASONS was a poignant story that warmed the heart and reminds the reader that there is more to paranormal romance than sexy monsters. (Though I love those too!) Ms. Valerie is an expert at creating a potent atmosphere that transports you away from your cares. My favorite line: What she did know at that moment though, was that aspirin helped head aches, tissues dried
tears and coffee was good in the morning.

The heroine was compelling and delightfully out of the norm for a romance heroine: an eccentric artist aunt in her 40's. (Love it!) After illustrating a book cover for a best-selling author, she discovers that the man she painted is real....spooky. The chemistry between them was as touching as it was mystical. There were no spicy sex scenes, but in this case it was okay.

And when a dark secret from the heroine's past is revealed, be prepared to fight back gut-wrenching tears. The surprise twist at the end will have you reeling. I cannot wait to read the other stories in this collection.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Awesome Deviled Egg Recipe!

I'm going to make these for the Idaho Writer's League's Christmas party. They are delicious. I cook by taste, so the ingredients are by approximation.

Makes 24 servings:

1 Dozen Eggs
1/2 cup Mayonaise (Not Miracle Whip or sald dressing)
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions. (Scissors are your friend)
Snipped fresh chives
Dried mustard (wet mustard works too. I usually use both)
Seasoned salt
Garlic powder
Dried Dillweed
Milk (optional)

1.) Place eggs in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them. Bring to rapid boil on high heat.

2.)Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

3.)Pour off water and fill pan with cold water and ice cubes if you have 'em. Let stand about 3 minutes

4.)Pour off water. Gently shake pan back n'forth to roll the eggs around and crack the shells.

5.)Peel off shells staring at larger ends of the eggs. Some are a pain, but most come off easy.

6.) Cut eggs in half lengthwise, scoop out the yolks and put 'em in a bowl. Set the egg halves aside in a shallow container.

7.) Mix in the rest of the ingredients to taste, except for paprika n' chives. Add more mayo or milk till you get your preferred creaminess.

8.) Fill egg halves with the mixture, top with paprika and chives. Cover and chill until serving.

Do not leave the deviled eggs at room temp. longer than two hours. They should keep for a week in the fridge.

Hope you enjoyed my first recipe posting. I'll probably post this again around Easter.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Interview With Special guest author: SHANNON DELANY!

Greeting paranormal aficionados, I'm thrilled to introduce special guest author, Shannon Delany! Her YA Paranormal Romance, 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale is to be released June 22, 2010 by St. Martin's Press. Shannon, give us a brief rundown on your story.
Shannon: Told from Jessica Gillmansen's perspective, 13 TO LIFE is a YA paranormal romance exploring transformation--in more ways than one. ;-)

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…
When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom.

Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.
The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.
Here's a link to an excerpt from the novel:
Brooklyn: For those of us who don't know, what exactly is a "Text Novel?" (Maybe brief description of the contest) What made you decide to do it?

Shannon: A text novel is essentially the American cousin of the Japanese phenomenon known as cell phone novels. Cell phone novels took off in Asia, being a way people could read or write an entire novel (or parts of a novel) on a cell phone. In places with good public transportation it allows passengers to work on developing their creative vision (or enjoy someone else's) while riding to and from work. In my case, the cell phone technology was more of a perk to allowing readers better access to read in their spare moments. I posted brief sections twice a day, making sure readers could read something within 10-15 minutes each time and remember the gist of it.
The idea of serializing novels has been around a long time, places like just allow our technology to take it to an even more easily consumable level. In 5 weeks my novel reached a basic conclusion and I'd gained a bunch of curious fans . I didn't expect to win. I was just messing around with technology and a story that began as a title, a thought about werewolves, and no strict plot direction. I let the characters lead me.

Brooklyn: Authors get their characters from different sources. Some spring up from the plot, some find theirs from dreams. Mine used to be imaginary friends. Where did your characters come from?

Shannon: Years back my family hosted two teenage boys from what was then the USSR. There was nothing romantic between us, but they absolutely caught my curiosity with the way they reacted to American culture. They were fascinating. After they left we tried to keep in touch, but didn't succeed. I went on to study foreign languages and history and realized how overlooked our immigrant cultures are (and always have been). That churned around in my brain for years and then collided with the fact that vampires were getting so much attention and where was the werewolf love?
Then the phrase: 13 to Life got stuck in my grey matter and the three things helped make my boy, Pietr (pronounced "Peter"). And that history I studied? It became very useful doing some research--so there. See? What we learn in school *can* be useful. :p my girl, Jess, is closely tied to me (poor kid) and we see things through her eyes.

Brooklyn: The waiting game from idea to seeing the book on the shelf is the agony of every writer. How have you dealt with it? Any recommendations for those of us that are tearing our hair out?

Shannon: Ugh. There were moments right after I'd signed on with St. Martin's Press that I thought the process was taking forever. Now, six months out, I'm going: OMG look what I still have to do! Publishing (like everything else in life) is a matter of perspective. Depending on where you're sitting on the timeline depends on if things are moving too quickly or too slowly. I think the key is to keep moving forward, planning and writing, during those times when the manuscript is out of your hands. There's ALWAYS something to keep you busy (and I'm not just saying that because I also run a small farm).

Brooklyn: Why werewolves? What do you like best about werewolves and what is a special quality about yours?

Shannon: Werewolves. Transformation. Evolution. The battle between our supposedly humane humanity and the beast within... There's so much to play with symbolically. I can't really tell you what my proprietary werewolf blend is (it's a key to Pietr's character and a big part of the overall theme). I can tell you my werewolves have a history based partly in bizarre fact (and that I've learned more recently about science than I intended at my age--again--stuff from school that I build on in weird ways.

Brooklyn: I asked a few aspiring authors what they'd want to know. All ask: What does it feel like to have the dream of getting your book on the shelf realized?

Shannon: Great question! The feeling's absolutely unreal. I still don't think it'll hit until I see 13 TO LIFE sitting on shelves in book stores. When I found out last week that the book was up on Amazon and Books-A-Million for pre-order I called one of my critique partners and all but yelled, "It's real!" I've gone through the contracting stage, revisions, copyedits, blurb gathering and interviews and I was tweaking out 1st pass pages when I heard about the pre-orders but it still blew my mind. Almost every step of the way I've felt like I'm on the top of a rollercoaster just as the track falls away. The feeling is somewhere between giddiness and trepidation. Giddiness because it's a thrill--trepidation because the public has no reason to be supportive of your effort if your book doesn't hit them the right way at the right time. Imagine going through 36 hours of labor (no epidural, cuz publishing's not easy ;-) and throwing your baby straight into the most vicious squabbling cliques of middle school. That's what it feels like.

Brooklyn: This one I've always wanted to know: When in the publishing process does the cover design and acknowledgement page come in? How did it play out for you?

Shannon: I submitted my Acknowledgments pages (yup--plural--Mama raised me to be thankful) when I returned my copyedits to St. Martin's Press, so in my case it felt pretty late in the process. For cover design: My agent got a cover clause put into my contract so I could give some input. My color suggestions were absolutely ignored (which wound up okay considering how gorgeous my cover is--people have confessed LUST over the cover!). As soon as I saw what the designer (Ervin Serrano) did, I was THRILLED. Then I noticed two eensy teensy things I felt we had to have corrected. That beautiful, sexy man-eye? It had a shadow of a branch coming out of it that made it look a little old-school Egyptian god (and sort of effeminate). And the girl? Flat-chested. My female main character is too old to be as flat as she was (considering the average) so we asked if we could get the guy's eye fixed and give her boobs. And it happened. No complaining, no arguing--they just did it. I have to say, I have no complaints about the way St. Martin's Press handles things. They are excited for their authors' success, they’re willing to communicate and compromise--I couldn't have found a better publisher for my debut.

Brooklyn: What are your plans for future projects?

Shannon: I have a spreadsheet that includes around 35 other ideas for additional novels... So ideas certainly aren't in short supply! I have to finish the first three books in the 13 TO LIFE series then I get to suggest additional things. SMP gets a first peek at whatever the next project is I'm shopping. Here's my to-do list: December/mid-January: Finish revisions on book 2 in the series and send it out; Flesh out the ugly (ugh-ly!) first draft of book 3 and send it (by end of February to SMP); fix up the NaNo project which is also YA paranormal but VERY different from 13 TO LIFE and consider submitting it... then it's speaking engagements, blog tours, interviews, book signings and talks as we get closer to the release date of June 22 for my first novel!
13 TO LIFE is currently available for pre-order (and those of you in the biz know pre-orders are VERY important to authors).

Here's a link to it on

Here's Chapters/Indigo for you Canadians:
Here's Books-A-Million:
Shannon will be popping in and out today to answer questions and respond to follow-up comments, but if you don’t catch her today, here are her links: (Shannon's author's site--so link it to her name, please) (her current blog)

Thanks so much for your time today, Shannon. I can’t wait to read this book!

For a further tease, here's the trailer for 13 To Life!

Holiday Gift Ideas For The Dirt-Poor

I have a big family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, both sets of grandparents, inlaws and step-relatives. I am also not a millionaire. And this year, my purse strings are tighter than ever. So, I am a pro when it comes to spreading my budget to cover gifts for everyone and I've decided to share a few ideas. Just because you are tight doesn't mean you should go to the dollar store and get people senseless junk they'll never use. If you ask the right questions and play your cards right, your inexpensive gifts will be more appreciated than the expensive gizmo they got from someone last minute.

1.) BOOKS!
You'd be surprised how many friends and family read that you were unaware of. Ask around, find out their preferred genres and favorite authors. And if you are so poor that you can't afford new book prices there are always thrift stores, the library book store and second-hand book stores. You can get books for as low as a quarter. You can even raid your own library and give away some of your own. (For those that think this hurts authors and the publishing industry, think again. This has been done for years, for one thing. For another, I've gotten my start on some favorite authors this way and went on to buy their books new for myself and for gifts.)

2.) Crafts. There are many nifty things you can make. I once made Christmas ornaments out of old wrenches. I painted them like candy canes. My grandma made me a recipe box that I still use all the time. I have a hand-made toothbrush holder that looks like a snail. You can find all sorts of great ideas at craft stores and online. Not everyone is in the mood for this though, (I'm not, this year) so I'll move on.

3.) Mix CDS. Almost everyone loves music and blank cds are dirt cheap and there are sources for free music everywhere online. Just make some calls and find out favorite songs. Then download and burn away.

4.) Food! Everybody eats. You can make a batch of cookies. Homemade jam is time-consuming, but easy. Salsa is a pain, but worth it. Homemade pickles are easy and they rock! I'll probably post the recipe later. I used to give my grandpa a bag of potatoes every year and he loved it.

5.) Necessities. Sometimes the best ideas are things that are always useful. Grandma used to give every family toilet paper and laundry soap, which we were all stoked about. My BFF got me cooking spices for my birthday once. I can never have enough thyme to thank someone for. lol. One time someone got me a spatula at the dollar store and I use it all the time. And if someone got me more printer paper, I'd jump up and down. The simplest things are sometimes the best.

So remember, you don't need to get people flat screen tvs and fancy gizmos to show your love. Just be thoughtful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If you read and/or write dirty things.

So I ran across a great post by Sarah Jensen on the blog: If You Give a Girl a Pen. (This is a wonderful blog for writers, girls and guys, if you're not following it I believe there's a link somewhere here.) Anyway, this post was about what a writer does in regards to their mother knowing that they write sex scenes. (Mothers and Writing )

As a reader and writer of Supernatural Smut, I have run across this scenario all too often. Besides my late mother, my grandparents, aunts n' uncles, and even my father know about that I write stuff with dirty scenes in them. Now, recently, my son's former first grade teacher knows because I needed her to test read my latest project.

If that is not awkward enough, many of my friends and drinking buddies are blue-collar manly men since I used to be a mechanic.

What do you do?

For the writers: Well, at first when asked what I write, I waffled. I'd say it was "Paranormal Fiction," leaving out all connotations of romance. Not a bad idea at first, but you'll have to come clean some day. After awhile I stopped and wondered why I was behaving as if what I was doing was some sordid secret. Writing romance is my passion and my dream is to make it my livelihood. If that dream is to come true, everyone the Romance writer knows, even the former high-school enemies and the boss you hated, may pick up your book, but isn't it all worth it to see your book on the shelf? Just remember, it was worth it to (insert fave smut author).

For the readers: There are times and places when carrying around a book with half-naked people on the cover is embarrassing. In high-school I was able to conceal the books inside a text-book, especially since I wasn't 'sposed to be reading in class, anyway. Later on, when I was working in the autoshop, I only brought Stephen King (which I love) and other non-girlie books to be seen in the presence of my fellow grease-monkeys. I suppose I could have gone on that way forever, but damn it! There were too many times when I was in the middle of a good book and wanted to continue it on my lunch break. And really, what were they gonna do, make fun of me? I had plenty of ammo to flip them shit with. Also, if they can have their naked lady pics taped to their tool boxes, I can have my pics of kitties...and my smut alongside my wrenches.

Life is too short to be worried about what people think, and the most successful people in the world never give a shit. (Which is why I wonder why people still get hung up on these things)
So, you know what? I still sleep with my baby blanket! Yeah, I said it!

And if anyone gives you shit for reading or writing romance of any kind, you can always rely on statistics: ROMANCE IS THE TOP-SELLING GENRE OF NOVELS!

Now, for all the readers and writers of dirty deeds and half-naked people, what do you think of the veil of shame that hovers over the romance genre, how have you dealt with it? How did you hide it and when did you get sick of skulking and give the world the finger?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Help me find the best Supernatural Smut of 2009

Due to a larger than usual budget crisis this year I haven't been able to read as many new books as I would have liked. Also, I have a policy that I usually don't start reading a series until a few are out so I can be instantly gratified with the sequels. So I need your help. I'll start with five that I have read and enjoyed and would like my fellow book-addicts to put down at least five. Hopefully if I get enough comments I can form a comprehensive top ten list.
Feel free to add a mini-review for each book on your list, (No Spoilers) though I won't make you :)

1.)LOVER AVENGED: J.R. Ward: This turned out to be one of my favorites so far. Who would have thought such a tender romance could occur between a vampire-drug dealer-pimp and a nurse? Also there is more plot with Beth and Wrath and with Xhex and John...and Payne makes an appearance. This book made me salivate for the next!

2.) CRY MERCY: Toni Andrews: I am so in love with this new series that I loaned a copy of book one: BEG FOR MERCY to the owner of my favorite local book store. She is now stocking the series. Unlike my usual faves, there are no vampires of shapeshifters. Instead the heroine, Mercy Hollings, has the ability to psychically "press" people to do her bidding. (Think Charlie's dad from Stephen King's Firestarter.)

3.) BAD MOON RISING: Sherrilyn Kenyon: Back in the world of the Dark Hunters and Were Hunters, this book tells the love story readers have been waiting for forever. Vane, the Katagari werewolf, and Aimee, an Arcadian werebear. Though not as good as I'd hoped, I love Ms. Kenyon's world.

4.) SKIN TRADE: Laurell K. Hamilton: Though I had been getting disheartened by this series, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. There was some great crime-fighting, disturbing hints of things to come, and the heroine finally spent more time on her feet than on her back.

5.) DARK LEGACY: Anna De Stefano: Another book featuring psychics with interesting abilities. This book explores dark secrets between twins, a secret government plot involving dream manipulation, and a family curse. My main complaint is the lack of chemistry between the main characters.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fun facts about cats

The basics:

Fact: Pound for pound the domestic cat is the most efficient/ skilled predator on the planet. They are used to being the smallest kid on the block and thus are prideful... and a little bit sensitive.

1.) The slow eyeblink: Y'know how a cat will make eye contact then slowly close their eyes and open them again? Translation: "We're cool/ I like you at the moment." They want you to do it back, in fact, if you're a pro, you can get them to stop being mad at you by initiating this type of communication.

2.) If a cat is wagging its tail, it is not happy. : Most people know this, but what they don't know is that 85% that means the cat is pissed, 10% they are playing a mind game with you (We'll get into THAT later.) and 5% They're bored. BUT when swishing the tail, they are NEVER happy.

3.) If a cat rubs its body/face/ tail against you it is the highest compliment ever. That means the cat wants to own you. Cats are more territorial than any other animal. Besides peeing on things, (like dogs) they mark what is theirs by scratching (like deer) rubbing, and shitting (like humans.) Cats have scent glands in their cheeks, sides n' tails. But they reserve rubbing for things and people that they Really like.

4.) Same as a dog, a cat will roll over and expose their belly (vulnerable spot) when they trust you. Unlike a dog, that does not mean that you should rub their belly. Only do this when they know you very well and they are one of those cats that enjoy their belly rubbed. (some do, some don't, but you have to be friends with him/her before you should try it.)

5.) When a cat sits in touching range but does not beg for attention that means they see you as a fellow colony member, (Domestic feral cat group), so just chill and hang out with him/her. Don't talk/ pet/ cuddle the cat. Be cool and maybe do the slow eyeblink. Be cool, okay?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dealing with a too low word count while avoiding "fluff"

I have done it again. Seven weeks ago, I finished a first draft of a novel, coming out at a paltry 50,000 words. Perfect for NaNoWiMo, but not very useful anywhere else, where most publishers require word-counts of 70-100K.

Still, when the draft was finshed, I put it away to "marinate" for a few weeks thinking that when I picked it up again I would find enough plot holes to fill and add to the word count. Alas, it did not work that way. The story flowed fine as it was and all I could find were things to cut, such as cliches and adverbs.

What does one do to add to a second draft? Most editing advice is all about cutting. When do you add to a story? Where and how much? I don't want to put down a few thousand words of extrapolations on the blue of the sky, the green of the trees, and the fine architecture of the buildings in my setting. Some authors can get away with this, but I am not Anne Rice. I feel this would slow down the plot. I don't want to do an accessory by accessory run-down of everyone's wardrobe, I am not Laurell K. Hamilton.

My novel is to be a Regency Paranormal Romance. It was a blast to write. For inspiration I reread a few of my favorite Regencies and after a few hours of agony thinking I could never match such greatness, (Do any of you do that too?) I noticed a few patterns that enriched the stories and contributed to word count. Here are a few ideas.

1.) What are the current events happening in the story? Can you tie it in to the setting/ plot? Example: My story takes place in England in 1821. King George IV was crowned in July of that year. Perhaps the characters could have a scene during the coronation!

2.) Are you involving all five senses in your descriptions? I seem to neglect taste and smell a lot. Perhaps my character can complain about the stink of the Thames, since solid waste was dumped in it back then.

3.) Is there a transitional paragraph in the book that could be livened up into a dialogue scene? I had a paragraph in which I described my heroine's scandalous behavior which resulted in her being shunned by some crowds. Perhaps I can replace it with a funny scene in which society matrons are gossiping about her.

4.) Remember to "Show" and not "Tell." I know, I know. That declaration is made in every work regarding the craft. Because it's damn good advice. I repeat hear for the simple fact that "Showing" usually takes more words. i.e. "She was angry" vs. "She threw the vase, missing his head by inches." (I know, that's a cliche and I didn't use it, fun as it is.)

That's what I have so far, and I'm now eager to get back to work. I welcome any new tips you all may have.