Thursday, March 31, 2011

Romance and Anatomy, how specific?

I read romances in which the sexuality ranges from sweet to very naughty. What I love about the romance genre is that there's a heat level for everyone. In my conversations with other romance authors, I've noticed a recurring topic: How to refer to *those* parts. (I wish I could use "schlong." I LOVE that word! Alas, it's not sexy.) Although I'm working on my fifth (I think) romance, I still have to stop and think about it. I base my decision on two key factors.

A.) The heat level I'm going for (I usually go for super sensual but not quite erotica.)

B.) My characters. Since my heroes are, well, men, most will think of their appendage as their cock. And some of my more matter-of-fact heroines will, too. My current one doesn't because she's more of a "nice girl."

How the ladies think of their stuff is actually a bigger problem for me. "vagina" is too clinical, "c*nt" too harsh (I used it once and offended a reader) and "hoo-hah" is too goofy. So far I base it on the heat of the scene ranging from vague euphemisms like "her core" to flat out naming the parts getting the clit. Romance heroes always know how to find it. :)

There are a few words/ phrases that I won't touch with a ten foot pole and I'm happy to share why.

I will not compare lady parts to flowers. For one thing, I'm not Georgia O'Keefe, for another it just doesn't come natural to me, no matter how much I enjoy the old-school poems referring to "Dew on the Lily."

I will never use the word "manroot." Not only would such silliness not occur to me, but there's a rant on an Amazon forum that convinces me readers don't want it.

I won't use the term "manhood" in a sexual situation because I don't want a man to be defined only by his genitals. However, if he gets kicked in the junk... and totally deserved it "He clutched his wounded manhood..." I think it works.

My heroines' wombs won't "clench" in desire. A womb has no play in sexuality. That stops at the cervix. If a womb is clenching it's either menstrual cramps or contractions from pregnancy. A clenching womb is painful, not arousing! Sorry, that's a big annoyance for me.

How 'bout you guys? How detailed are your descriptions? What ones turn you off?

Also, authors Jamie De Bree and Carol Buchanan have been doing a series on their blogs called "Sex on the Page." The posts are a lot of fun. Jamie's are a little steamier but Carol has a certain delicious subtlety.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Success Story! Lynn Rush scores a deal with Crescent Moon!

If you haven't heard yet, one of my fellow authors at Tribe Lit landed a book deal! Lynn Rush is here to tell the awesome story!

Hi, Brooklyn, thanks for having me here to help celebrate the recent contract for my novel, Wasteland ( Boy, telling this story never gets old, that’s for sure. I still feel like it’s a dream!

Oh, but I do have a dorky confession…as soon as I got the email stating they were interested in offering me a contract, I started writing every detail down.

Just so I’d remember.

Dorky, right? But anyone who knows me knows I forget EVERYTHING. And I never want to forget a second of this experience.

I wrote Wasteland in December of 2009. I just loved the idea of a half-demon who was half demon against his will! Anyway, the story spent quite a bit of time with critique partners to get it whipped into shape for submissions.

On February 17th, 2011, I pitched the book in a chat-room pitch session with Crescent Moon Press. It was organized for the Savvy Authors ( members. ***Oh, and if you’re not a member of that group, quick, go now and join. It’s worth it!***
Here was my pitch:

Bound by a blood oath his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must deliver fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks to his demonic Master or suffer unspeakable torture. But as he learns more about her, he discovers she may be the key to freedom from his demonic enslavement.

The only obstacle—Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give into their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off two centuries of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.

From that I got a partial request. I sent it out the next day and figured I’d be waiting months.
But within a couple weeks, I got an email from Stephanie, another editor from Crescent Moon Press ( She requested the full, so I sent it straight away.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I saw an email from her the very next morning.

Yep. The very next morning. 6:55am to be exact. **I’m a dork, remember?**

The email stated she wanted to offer me a contract.

Okay, at that time, my legs morphed into the consistency of wet noodles, right? Oh, and I was ironing, too. So, I set the iron down…and managed not to put it down on clothes and burn holes in them…and walked over to my hubby.

He was sitting in a chair in the living room. I think the look on my face startled him because he immediately asked, “What’s wrong?”

Yeah, I’m thinking I kinda went pale.

I told him about the email.

A smile filled his face, and he pulled me into the best hug ever.

I couldn’t believe it. Of course I texted Super Agent, Cari, ( right away, and she pretty much took over after that. They discussed the contract, talked about changes, and a couple days later the end product was a signed contract.

What an exciting time. I couldn’t have done it without my Super Agent. She helped with all aspects of the pitch and handled everyone with the contract—all the while making herself available to my every question.

So far I’ve been assigned an editor at Crescent Moon Press (, and she’s reading the story with a critical eye to get me my first round of edits. I’m looking forward to her input because I know Crescent Moon Press has great editors and will help make the story shiny!

Thanks for sharing in the excitement with me, Brooklyn. I’m honored to be a part of Tribe Literary ( with you!

Stay in touch with me as the journey continues:
Catch the Rush:

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm Starting to Feel Like a Real Writer!

Those of you that have been following me on Twitter and Facebook have seen that I've been on a major workaholic frenzy with my latest project, breaking 1K a day almost every day. I've even been taking my laptop to the bar on my Friday night out and writing between dart games.

When I'm not writing, the story continues to spin in my head. And this story has been doing some interesting things. My characters are realizing things about themselves before I do. And though this story isn't part of my main series, it's showing me things about those novels.

I owe a lot of this new inspiration and progress to my awesome crit partners, Jamie De Bree, Erica Chapman, Shelley Martin and Millie Mclain. Their comments and feedback have helped my stories grow into tangible dreams. Shelley even did a blog post not so subtly urging me to deal with a certain subplot from the first book in my series. The way I'd imagined it would have gone a lot easier, but her way will make my characters freak, which is more fun for the reader. Thanks, Shelley.

So what's been going on in your writing journey?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seeking the The "Holy Grail" of publication.

I'm going to share a few things I've learned about my journey using quotes from the movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Hey, someone did it with "Princess Bride."

"When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England." 

Getting published takes determination and you likely won't succeed until your 3rd or fourth book.

  "Welcome, brave sir Knight. Welcome to the Castle Anthrax."  
"The Castle Anthrax?" 
"Yes... it's not a very good name, is it? Oh, but we are nice, and we'll attend to your every need."

A good title can get you far.

"Meanwhile, not more than two swallow's flights away, Arthur and Bedivere had discovered something. Oh, that's an unladen swallow's flight away, obviously. There were more than two laden swallow's flights away, four really, if they had the coconut on a line between them. I mean, if the birds were walking, and dragging the coconut..."
"Get on with it!"

Your plot needs good pacing and better not ramble.

"Oh, wicked, bad, naughty Zoot! She has been setting a light to our beacon, which, I've just remembered, is Grail shaped. It's not the first time we've had this problem." 

Be sure to always check submission guidelines to be sure that your manuscript is what they are looking for.

"First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it." 

Follow Directions!!!

"The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king."
"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. 
"Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you. If I went 'round sayin' I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away."

You may have some credibility issues with your plot.

 "Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will give us food and shelter for the night, he can join us in our quest for the Holy Grail."
 "Well, I'll ask him, but I don't think he will be very keen. Uh, he's already got one, you see."

They may have already bought something similar.

Finally, they may not be the right publisher for you. But if they do this, you should probably report them to Preditors and Editors.

Monday, March 21, 2011

How Do You Write?

Because of my slow internet issues...which still haven't been resolved, I've gotten more writing done than usual. I've also realized that I actually have a method!!! It makes me feel so professional. :)

Someone once asked Stephen King how he wrote and Sai King replied, "One word at a time." So true and we writers must never forget it. I remember that quote when I beat myself up for only getting a measly 300 words in a day. I got 3K this weekend, though!

I've heard the terms "Pantser" and "Plotter" bandied about a lot in this wonderful online universe of writers. A "Pantser" is someone who literally writes at the seat of their pants, no outlines or anything that will give them a clue as to how the story will end. A "Plotter," as the name implies, plots out the story in advance, often with a detailed outline and character notes.

For the longest time I've wondered which one I am. I've decided that I'm both, and neither. I know it's an oxymoron but ya gotta realize this is coming from someone who loves to swim but hates to get wet. All that aside, I've realized that I write like I paint...except for some reason I can't write with music.

First I start with an idea. Maybe it's a vision of a scene, or maybe I hear an intriguing snatch of dialogue in my head. I'll then "sketch" that scene. But as Bob Ross would say, "That scene looks lonely. Let's add in more happy little scenes to keep it company."

The basic rules of a painting is you start lightly blocking in the basics, then you do what is called a wash, in which with lightly diluted paint, you tint in the colors and shapes. Then you start painting in this order : Background, Middle Ground, the Foreground, getting more and more detailed as you go along.

My "wash" is my rough draft. I don't write my scenes in order because I don't always know what happens between point C and K...or I have a vague idea but I don't see it clearly enough to do it justice. What I do then is separate those scenes with vague notes of what I think happens. When I return to those sections, I often discover that something completely different occurs and more scenes are born.

My first revision is my Background and Middle ground. I blend in the rough transitions and give more color to the characters and story. Then I send it off to my critique partners.

With their feedback, I can add the final details of the foreground. The subplots should be all smoothed out by now and the story and characters painted in sharp detail.

Then it's off to more art critics. "The 'nose' is all wrong," they may say, or "you need more shading here, and more highlighting there."

Shading and highlights can be a lot of fun. I think of shading as foreshadowing and darkening of the adverse parts of the story and highlighting as emphasizing positive aspects of the characters' relationships.

As you can tell, I really miss painting. How about you? How do you write?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Crazy Things Writers Hear

My internet was having trouble yesterday and is still acting up, so I hope this post goes through. :)

We writers are strange people, I won't argue that. Between our research and stories, we can get into some crazy topics. Even then, the things that come out of a non-writer's mouth can make me bury my head in my hands.
I figured I'd share a few and hopefully get to hear some of yours.

1.) When you make your zillions... (Fill in blank, anything from buy me a car to loan me money)? Actually, the 1st time I heard this one was at the IRS office of all places.

That one goes hand in hand with
2.) "Don't forget us little people." I don't know if it's the belief that I'll become an instant celebrity that bugs me more, or the assumption that if I did, I'd become an arrogant, ungrateful jackass.

3.) I have an idea for a story...maybe you can write it and we can split the money. So I do all the work, putting out a story that likely won't be good since its not my idea...and you just sit back and get paid?

4.) You're still on your computer? Well, yeah. This book isn't going to write or promote itself.

5.) Why don't you write (fill in opposite genre)? Romance and horror authors probably get this more than anyone else.

6.) It's not published yet? (Said a week after the first draft is complete, and every day thereafter.)

7.) So, you're agent's going to publish your book?

8.) You're letting people read it? Aren't you afraid someone will steal your idea? 

9.) Hey, could you put me in your book? Besides the legal implications....

10.) This was a real conversation. I am not exaggerating it.
 "Where do I find a publisher?" 
I hand him a copy of the WRITER'S MARKET and recommend finding an agent first. "First you need to send a query letter."
"Can't I just call them and tell them my idea and then when I write it...." 
I shake my head "You need to have a complete manuscript first." 
His eyes widen. "Well, I need them to like the idea and buy the book first. I don't have time to write."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vampires are People Too

This post was inspired by 3 things:
1.) The ever present newbie-writer fear that "their IDEA will be STOLEN!"
2.) The incessant rants in the comments of nearly every blog post known to man insisting that their way is right.
3.) The argument that vampires are just a passing trend.

Vampires have been a part of myth and legend around the world probably since the beginning of time. But in 1819, when Dr. John Polidori published his short story, THE VAMPYRE, they have become a common fixture in popular fiction. Their mass appeal may wax and wane, but they shall always be around.

What is so wonderful about today is that there's an endless plethora of different vampires, ranging from hella-scary to hella-romantic. Last month, debut author, Rebecca Zanetti did this awesome post on how she made her vampires unique in this crowded market.

In her novel, FATED, (If you haven't bought it yet, DO IT NOW!) her vampires are a separate species that are born, not made. JR Ward is of the same school. But Zanetti's vampires are only male so they have to mate with human females to reproduce. Kinda like David Eddings's all female Dryads.

Already that is way different from the vampires in my novels. Mine begin as humans and are made into vampires of both genders. The transformation makes them sterile, so no babies, although they are perfectly capable of intimacy. :)

Culturally, Zanetti's vampires are very alpha and very militant with secret hideouts, superior technology, and a staff of scientists.

Ward's vampires come in 3 different classes: Civilians, which are much like average humans. The Aristocrats, which are stiff and spoiled and kinda weak, and The Warriors, which are way Alpha, mercenary and the protectors of the entire race.

My vampires are a cross between feudalistic and bureaucratic. Each city is ruled by a Lord Vampire and the Lords are governed by a council of Elders. Between the two, laws and policies are organized by lawyers and circulated by messengers and paper-pushers. Some Lords (male and female) are very alpha and some are kindly and diplomatic. Some are bat-sh*t crazy.

Besides all that, there are multitudes of variations. Like people, vampire characters are endlessly unique. There is no RIGHT way to do them and we all have our favorites. And even if every author followed the same definitions and traits of what a vampire is, you would still have different stories because we authors are all different people.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Romance Acronyms decoded.

Along my journey through the romance genre, I've come across a lot of acronyms. It seems every industry is peppered with them. Some I figured out on my own, others I had to ask. I thought it would be fun to list a few. Many are used in other fiction genres as well. Many you probably know, but hopefully I included a few new ones.

HEA: Happily Ever After

HFN: Happily for now

PNR: Paranormal Romance

UF: Urban Fantasy

YA: Young Adult

M/M Male and Male romance

F/F: Female and Female Romance

GLBT or LGBT: Gay, Lesbian, Bi, or Transexual

MS: Manuscript

POV: Point of view

h: heroine

H: Hero

(I hate and never use these because the capitalization seems to imply the heroine is inferior)

TSTL: Too Stupid to Live

TBM: The Big Misunderstanding

BDSM: Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism

Anyone have any more? I'd love to keep updating this list.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Serial Stories, do or don't?

Hi, guys! I'm still fighting this damn head cold, but at least I'm back in action. I'm ready for a rousing discussion, if you are willing to indulge me.

A lot of people have serial stories on their blogs. Some of my friends do. With one, I never read her serials, but I'm first in line to get em once they're in book form. As a reader, I never read them because A.) I hate reading on a screen and won't do it more than I have to and B.) Because I read so fast that snippets just irritate me. I want the whole thing.

As a writer, I do not write them because A.) It's hard to tell when you post a piece of writing whether or not you posted enough for it to be legally considered "Self Published." This isn't an issue for my self published friends. B.) I never know whether the story will "die" or not. A few have then what, you guys are left hanging? C.) I edit and revise after each draft is written and I don't want the public to see my unrefined crap and typos.

However, that's only my perspective on the issue. I want to know what you guys think. Are there any serial stories on line that have you hooked? Do you write them? If so, why? And if you are in the anti-serial camp, what puts you there?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Scuba Diving Cat

I caught my husband's cold 'cuz I can't keep my lips off him. Since this sinus headache is making thinking impossible, I give you an awesome video of the world's only scuba diving cat.

I was due for a cat trivia post anyway. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Muse Has Surprised Me

I blame it on the project I just finished for my husband's anniversary gift. I drew a portrait of Ronnie James Dio, one of our heroes and inspirations. Ironically our anniversary is May 30th, which has been declared Ronnie James Dio day.  I can't wait to give it to him. In the meantime, he's not online so I get to show it off.
Man, that guy was hot in his day....and I can't help but notice that he looks a lot like my husband. *grin* Anyway, although the portrait took me a week to draw, I spent about 2 weeks prior to that acquiring the needed materials and finding the best picture of him to do. Also, I've been researching rock stars and the world of heavy metal for the past few months to prepare for the 3rd book in my series in which the heroine is the lead singer of a metal band.

In my research, a story popped up in my head. What if my heroine were to encounter one of her idols? She and her band have a rule of not sleeping with fellow musicians so they can be taken seriously. But when Dani Deity (a sexy amalgamation of every badass metal star ever) invites them to tour with him, the rule gets thrown out the window. It was a fun short story to write, but a little sad since I knew they couldn't stay together.

I put IDOL'S KISS aside and set to work on the drawing. For a little while I was occupied fully with my pencils and tortillians. But then, as I drew the eyes and the sexy hair, (I have a hair fetish) my mind kept straying back to Dani's character. I LIKED him, dammit, and he deserved an HEA of his own. Unbidden, another story formed in my head.

The problem? This one is completely contemporary. No one has fangs, magic, or superpowers of any kind. At least with the last one, I knew the heroine wasn't human though I never pointed it out. I am completely out of my element. And if the story is good enough, what will it do to my "Author Branding" if I market it?

Argh!! My frustration is endless. Has this happened to any of you? What did you do? What should I do?

In the meantime, happy writing, all!!!