Monday, 29 September 2008

Monday Memo: September Round up + Flexibility

Monday Memo: Be flexible.

At the start of the month I posted a memo about my aims for the month. Now that September is over, I figure it's probably time to go back and see how I did.

Here we go...

Write at least 1,000 words a day and 50,000 over the month. I'm on track to pass the 70k mark today, so I'm happily ticking this one off as done.

* Do whatever edits my editor sends to me. Done - The edits were a lot lighter than I expected, so this one didn't actually require that much work on my part.

* Re-write, edit, polish, write a synopsis and submit Whispers to TEB. It ended up 3k longer than I planned it to be, but his one went off earlier this month - a whole five days earlier than I planned!

*Re-write, edit, polish, write a synopsis and submit For the Duration - Book 3 in Perfect Timing series to TEB. This one is going off tomorrow, but it's far from the story I thought it would be at the end of the month - for a start it's about doubled in length! It's now a novel rather than a novella, so I've had to re-jig the other stories in the series to make a novel fit as the third book. But I'm pleased with it now. Once I finish this post I'm going to write the synopsis for it.

* Re-write Time Out – Book 11 in Perfect Timing series. Here's where it gets really complicated, I thought re-writing it would involve tweaking. It actually involved starting the whole thing pretty much from scratch. Twice. I've added 45k to a 33k story, but with the bits I've deleated, it's only actually grown 2k. But it's done now. Another tick, so it's all good up to this point.

* Re-write By the hour – Book 12 in Perfect Timing series. Nowhere near. I re-started this one from scratch, but the way the other projects grew meant there wasn't really time for this one. I've moved it into next month.

* If I have time or need the words (because I can't work out how many words the re-writes and edits will actually come to) start working on Book 1 in my next series of novellas - Hot + Wet. I actually thought I would have time and need extra words to hit the 50k mark. Poor nieve child...

* Name all the characters in the Hot + Wet novellas. Didn't get this done either. My excuse is, since I've had to alter my schedule a bit, I'm not actually going to write them until next year. The characters don't need names yet. It won't do them any harm to wait a bit longer.

Overall, not to bad, I got most of the important ones ticked off. But the fact is none of the projects turned out quite the way I expected them to. So, I had a choice between trying to make my writing fit the plan or changing my plan to fit in with my writing.

I'm quite pleased I chose the latter.

However, I'm going to leave my plans for October until Wednesday, I'm not ready to wonder on then quite yet.

Enjoy the end of September everyone.

See you in October :)

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Hitting the Hot Spot

Today is my day to blog on Hitting the Hotspot - Total-e-bound's author blog.

I'm introducing myself and telling the world why I'm normal - hey, don't laugh - I am normal, I even have scientific proof.

Read more here

Friday, 26 September 2008

Five things that... help make a great title.

I think I've finally settled on Time To Do, as the title for the story I'm about to submit (printed it out for a final check through, still need to write the synopsis and blurb. I've also just decided to extend it a bit, so it will actually be the first novel I submit - very excited about that).

Here's five things I've noticed about good titles while I've been thinking on the subject. All the examples are taken from Total-e-bound's currently available or coming soon list.

1. Alliteration.

That's the repititon of the same sounds, if you're recollectiong of school room english lessons is as hazy as mine. Bound Brits, Naughty Nibbles, Campus Cravings, Solstice Seduction. Alliteration is a classic title tool for a reason. The titles are easier to remember and they are the ones which tend to roll around in your head. The ones that you remember even if you don't try to.

2. Key words.

There are probably as many key words as there are readers out there. If there is a certain something that rocks your boat, you're probably going to pay a lot of attention if that word if in the title. If you're looking for a sweet romance, love, romanace and such are probably going to be high on your list.

If you like a different sort of romance, you might find titles involving leather, or submission hit the right spot. You're not going to miss out on a title like Whipped or Beg Me. If you like your vampires you're unlikely to skip over Duet in Blood.

3. Character names.

If you hit on the right name for your character, this could be the perfect place to showcase it. If it's Seducing Damien, Joey's First Time, Tempting Tamera or Convincing Cate I don't think anything makes you contect with a characters faster than having their name right there in the title, inviting you to come in and share their life for a while.

4. Double meanings.

Rough Ride, Sweet Topping, Along for the ride, double meanings are always a good thing. Anything that makes me smile is going to make me pick up the book and pay attention, and for some reasons nothing does that better than a good double meaning.

5. A bit of mystery

One of the best ways I think there is of getting people to click on a title and read the blurb, it to have a bit of mystery in the title. Blue Dragon Challenge, Raw Silk, and From the Ruins all make me want to find out more.


Unfortunatly I've also come to the conclusion I need to get a lot better at naming my stories, because I don't do any of the above in most of my titles.

Anyone else got a great title or tip for naming books, feel free to share :)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wondering about... Titles

I don't know if anyone else gets this trouble, but I either get a title in my head right away or it just doesn't happen at all.

I have a lot of titles that I'm longing to use and no real story to go with them yet. I've then got a whole other list of stories that I can't work out titles for.

The story I'm editing at the moment is currently called, For the Duration. Before that it was called Time to Do. I keep switching back and forth between the titles again and again. They both fit in with the theme of time (the novella is for the Perfect Timing series), and both titles fit the book.

The problem is neither of them really zings, if you know what I mean? They are okay. What I'm really looking for is something that's a hell of a lot better than okay.

Anyone got any good ideas on ways to come up with titles? I've got the rest of the series named, but this one book is proving to be a bit of a bugger.

What else?

I've re-jigged my website a bit if anyone wants to have a look. Feel free to drop a comment here if you notice anywhere I've screwed it up.

By the Hour, the last one in the time series (I like that title, by the way) is being restarted from scratch because the original start couldn't be re-written to fit the way I want the story to develope.

For the Duration, or whatever it ends up being called, is going through another edit today and tomorrow. Hopefully I can to my last big edit on Friday and have it off to my editor on the weekend.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Gift

The closing date has passed. It's official. I'm in Total-e-bound's Christmas Spirits Anthology.

My novella is one of those for the Spirit of Christmas Past.

It's called The Gift and it's due to be released on 8th December as a e-book, and hopefully as a print book around the same date.

It's a male/male BDSM romance. Since it inludes a spirit, I guess it's also a paranormal story.

Here's the blurb for it:

Just because Charles doesn’t see any point in making a fuss about Christmas, that doesn’t mean he can’t tolerate Nicky’s passion for tinsel and holly. He’s never forbidden his pet from enjoying any of his Christmas traditions and he thinks that’s enough.

Nicky has one ambition – to give his master a perfect Christmas. He’s willing to do anything to make that happen – even if it means taking risks and asking his master for special privileges - even if that means inviting a third man into their bed.

The Spirit of Christmas Past isn’t used to visiting Christmases that involve quite so much nudity, passion or kinky sex. Leading a dominant man like Charles through the Christmases isn’t easy – and keeping his eyes off the frequently naked Nicky is impossible. Still, all the spirit can do is enjoy the show – because his job is to bring lovers together and fade away inconspicuously. That’s the plan. However, if someone suddenly wants to thank him, who is he to say no?

Excerpts etc to follow closer to the release date.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Monday Memo: I'm never going to be a short story writer.

Note to self: When ever single draft you write ends up longer than the last, it's time to stop worrying about the first draft being a bit too short.

I know it's not the most artistic and creative way to set about it, but I like to decide what length my story is going to be and make damn sure the story turns out to be that length. If I say it's going to be 16,000 words, it's going to end up 16,000 words. I'm actually sad enough that I'll got back and re-word certain sentences until it is exactly 16,000 words.
That worked out great when I was just writing first drafts and putting them in the back of a drawer, but since I've started editing it's a different story.

The stories keep growing.

I originally intended The Gift - my Christmas Anthology story to be 12,500 words. The requirements went up a bit. It now needed to be 20,000 words. Mine ended up just short of 25,000.

Turquoise and Leather started off as a lust bite length story and grew into a novella during edits.

You First, Silent Night and Whispers all grew 2-3,000 words each.

I've been trying to work out why they keep getting longer. The only thing I can think of is I just love writing too much. Or I like talking to much...
Maybe a bit of both. Because after all writing is all about a desire to communicate something to other people.
I think that's why I've never be able to write a short story writer, I like to communicate the whole story, and I've never managed to do that in less than 10,000 words.
Which brings me to the stories I'm working on at the moment.

I've finished writing Time Out. It's actually 5,000 words shorter than I originally intended it to be. By my calculations, that means it will be just about what I want it to be by the time I've finished editing because...

For the Duration is now 6,000 words longer than I intended it to be. Another couple of thousand and it might tip over into a novel rather than a novella. Although I still want it to be ready for submission by the end of the month, so I hope it doesn't grow into too much of an epic.

My new writing project starting from today is the last novel in the Perfect Timing series. It's called By the Hour - a m/f BDSM erotic romance. I've cut 5,000 words off my first draft target length, so fingers crossed my editing continue to keep adding.

By the Hour is actually another re-write. I originally started the story in November last year as a Nanowrimo novel. I wrote 7,000 words before I switched to a different project. This time around I've kinked up the plot a bit and thrown in a few more twists and turns, so I feel much more positive about it.

It would be a bit too ambitious to try and finish it by the end of the month, very nice, but too ambitious. I'll be carrying this one through until October.

And that's it. I'm off to get started on that editing.

I don't know how many people reading this blog are also writers, but I'd be interested to know how many other people find their stories grow or shrink significantly during edit?

Feel free to share :)

Friday, 19 September 2008

Five things that... I've learnt about naming characters

I'm no expert on it, but this is my advice when you're naming characters. It's what works for me anyway.

1. Remember the whole alphabet exists for a reason.

I'm sure it's very useful that baby naming books split up the names and organise them in alphabetical order. But from a naming characters POV it does create some pitfalls.

When I was naming characters for the Perfect Timing series (a process spread over several months) I ended up with three men named Rupert Montgomery, Rigby Mattews and Rhys Morcant. No idea why, accept I seemed to find a page in the book of names that I liked and I forgot to turn over between visits to the book. Then once I found the initials for the first one, the similar surnames followed.

Rigby Mattews still exists (He's one of the characters I'm editing in For the Duration at the moment). Rupert had to change his surname. Rhys, poor thing didn't get to keep either of his initials.

There are a few more repeating first letters that slipped past my radar in the Perfect Timing series and they are too firmly fixed in my head to rename them now. But, to get around this for future series I try to name all the main characters in a series at the same time and have every name begin with a different letter as far as that's possible.

It's not always easy. If you have a series of 12 stories, that means 24 different main characters names, 48 if you count surnames. Unless we invent a few extra letters, there will have to be a repeat or two, but I find it at least makes me think and be concious of what I'm doing, which is always a good thing.

2. Don't be lazy and tweak successful names.

In Turquoise and Leather, Eric really came to life for me. His character just worked. I smile every time I think about him.

I can't say I particularly liked Eric as a name before I wrote him. Or that I thought Eric was a particularly submissive name either. But the next three submissive male characters I named were called Elijah, Elliot and Eddy. Somewhere inside my head I wanted them to have some of Eric's spark and maybe that was my way of trying to short cut to it.

The biggest problem with this is that Eric's personality would have turned up along with his name. As much as I like him, I don't want carbon copies of him in all mybooks. Elliot managed to establish his own personality, so he survived renaming, the other characters didn't. I keep an eye out for this now.

3. Different names sound like different sorts of characters.

Posh characters tend to have long names. Dominant characters tend to have traditional or old fashioned names. Submissive characters usually get a double helping of vowels. Submissives names are more likely to get shortened. Dominant men are more likely to go by their last name.

One of the characters I wrote about in Whispers is a dominant man (he's also a Vampire, but that's besides the point). His name is Zachariah Radcliff. He stayed as Zachariah through the whole book. It never came up in the story line, but I know if he was talking to other men, they would call him Radcliff. That's just who he is. I just cannot imagine anyone every calling him Zach or Zachy. I sure as hell can't imagine him answering them if they did.

But Rigby and Brennan in the one I'm editing now. They hadn't been talking to each other for five minutes before they started shortening each others names to Rig and Bren in conversation. I'm happy to say the full length and the shorted versions suit them both, so they get to keep their names. That leads me nicely onto point four.

4. Pet names and nic names are best developed naturally.

These tent to turn up for some characters but not for others. I've found it's best not to force nic names or pet names onto characters. Some dominants can get away with calling their lover sweetheart through the whole book, others sound like they can't remember the persons name by the end of the first chapter.

Likewise in some books the dominant becomes refered to as sir or master. Some dominants like that and it works. Some submissives like that too, and it sounds natual when they say it. But it just doesn't work for other characters - it immediatly becomes impresonal and pretencious.

I think it's also a good idea to vary the enderments you use. Not everyone is a sweetheart or a darling. The more personal the name is the more life it will bring to the character.

5. I save up names I really like for longer books.

Not so much advice as an admission. If I really like a name, the sound, the meaning or anything else about it, I don't want to waste it on a short story. I set them aside for full length books.

I also worry that I will somehow use up all the good names far too quickly and be left writing about people whose names I don't like. What can I say, sometimes I'm just weird :)

And since I need to catch up on my editing today, this post is already far to long.

A quick update on my current WIPs...

I have 10,000 words left to do on Time Out. I'm hoping to get most of that done over the weekend, or early next week so I can move on to By the Hour as soon as possible.

I'm also finishing off the second draft of For the Duration today. I'd like to finish that and the third draft this weekend so I can start the fourth draft on Monday.

In the mean time, hope everyone has a good weekend :)

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Wondering about... Characters Names

In my experiece the idea for a story starts with a snippet of dialogue. Before to long I have a character who said that dialogue firmly in my mind. I know what he or she looks like, sounds like, thinks and feels. Soon after that I usually know what they want out of life and how the plot is going to make sure they get it . And of course, by this time another character has sprung into existance to make sure they enjoy the journey.

Then comes the hard bit. These 3D, fully fleshed out, complicated people who live inside my head have to have a name.

I can't just keep calling them xxx and yyy for ever. Or guy 1 and guy 2, or he and she. Although I've been known to write out the whole plot using any combination of those labels for characters.

The name has to be right.

The right name will make a character complete. The wrong name will kill off the person inside my head.

Sometimes it takes a few minutes to hit on the right name. Sometimes it takes hours.

Those hours are usually spent looking through either benind the name or reading the name section of The Reader Digest Great Encycolpedic Dictionary.

Today I also invested in 40,001 Best Bady Names , so I see a lot of thumbing through that book in my future too.

My name is in there. Since we're talking about names, I will say I like mine. I like that it can apply equally to a guy or a girl. I like that it can't be shortened. It's also wonderfully easy to spell. No one can quite agree where it comes from or what it means. I've heard celtic, english and asian (usually koreen or vietnamese) origins bandied about and a thousand and one different meanings attched to it, but I think the truth is no one really knows.

Maybe that'sI like to get the meaning and the origin right when I name my characters, but for me the most important thing of all it's the sound of the name. The name has to sound like the characters personality or everything falls apart.
I'm naming the Characters in Hot + Wet at the moment. There are 4 m/m and 4 m/f novellas in that series. That's 8 guys and 4 girls to name.

The series is set is Wales, so there are a lot of Welsh names on my list of possibles.
Being bias, I like Welsh names, so I'm in my element here.
The Welsh language has 7 vowels (y and w are the extra ones in case your wondering) and it gives a lovely soft, sensual sound to a lot of the names when they're pronounced properly. The names also show up in the titles of each novella, so it's important I get them right.
I'd better go off and do that now.
Other news before I go...
For the Duration - it's coming along well. I'm almost through my first edit. It's growing a bit during edits, but I don't think it will flip over from a novalla into a novel.
Time Out - it's getting there. I'm 21,000 words into this re-write. 3 chapters left to go.
And that's it. On Friday, no doubt I will still be naming characters, so expect to hear five things about that :)

Monday, 15 September 2008

Monday Memo: Writing Lessons

Note to self: Time's not truly wasted if you learnt something in the process.

Well, over the weekend I learned that sometimes you just have to start again from scratch. No, that's a lie, I actually started again with nine words.

The title, the two main characters names and the words Chapter One, were copied and pasted from Time Out and put into the new draft.

And that's it.

Remember how I thought most of the original draft of the story could be saved.

Nine words.

On Friday, after I posted my five things, I finally admitted to myself that while I love the idea Time Out contains, it just wasn't working in the format I originally wrote it in.

Adding together the first draft and my first attempt at a re-write, I've scraped 48,200 words in total - 19 writing days worth of work.

On Friday, I also started a bit of a writing marathon. I wrote 5,500 words on Friday. 6,000 on Saturday. 5,000 on Sunday. 16,500 words over the weekend on Time Out re-write 2. That's more each day than I've written on any other day this year, and by far the best weekend.

Which brings me to what I learnt. Those 19 days weren't wasted. I learnt a lot about the characters. I learnt a whole list of things that didn't work. I learnt a lot about how (and how not to) tackle re-writes. And most of all I learnt that sometimes you just have to face reality and get on with it. All of those things helped me get those 16,500 words out over the weekend. It was worth it.

So, what's on the cards for this week, you ask? (And, no, there's really no point saying you didn't ask, I'm going to tell you anyway :) )

I had planned to finish Time Out by yesterday. I still have about 20k left to go on it. With a bit of re-jigging, that's not a problem. By the hour - which I should have started today - can wait a little while longer. I'm going to try to get as much as I can of Time Out done this week.

I am, however, starting my new editing project today - right on schedule. For the Duration is a m/m novella - Book 3 in the Perfect Timing Series. I'm hoping to submit it at the end of the month.

I wrote the first draft back at the beginning of June and I haven't looked at it since, so I'm going to read it through with fresh eyes now and decide what needs to be done with it.

Wish me luck :)

P.S. The submission deadline for my submission for the Christmas Spirit's Anthology was today, so the results should be out soon...

Friday, 12 September 2008

Five things that... always take longer than you think

First an update on Whispers. It's gone. I had a burst of energy and sent it off on Wednesday, so I'm very pleased about that :)

But for today, since I've been bloging about blurbs (still haven't managed to improve the ones I posted on Monday by much) and wondering about planning, I've been thinking a bit about all those little writing tasks that should only take five minutes, but never actually get done in five minutes.

Here are my top five things that... always take longer than you think.

1. Synopsis. They shouldn't be that difficult or that time consuming. The story's written and edited - you know what happens in it. But somehow cutting a story that's 20,000 words down to a couple of pages can take as long as it took the write the whole story.

I think the trick is to try and tell whoever's reading the synopsis everything that happens in the story without actually telling them the whole story. It's all about picking out the most important bits. But, and I think this is part of the problem for me, if I didn't think it was important I wouldn't have put it in the full length story in the first place.

I've never written a synopsis I'm happy with - reading through them, I always think they make the story sound boring. I usually set aside a day's worth of editing time to write each synopsis and blurb, which leads me neatly onto number two...

2. Blurbs. If you read Monday's post, you'll know I'm not the best blurb writer in the world. After trying to write a few of them, I have a new found respect for the people who write adverts for a living. That's what a blurb is after all. It's a advert to try and convince people to buy the book.

So, really, you have more chance selling a book that has a good blurb than of selling a good book that has a bad blurb. No pressure... I suppose you can see why it's a wise investment of time to go through a dozen or so drafts of the blurb.

3. Cover Art forms. What colour hair does her hero have? How tall is he? What exactly was he wearing in scene X? Does he have any distinguishing features (Keep it clean - I means ones that could be put on the front cover of a book...)?

I'm sure I should know all these things after writing the story, but I have to confess I don't always. If you ask me about X's personality I could write pages, but unless it's particularly important for the plot, I often forget what colour eyes my characters have. And do bare in mind I may well have written the first draft several months ago and I'll have written a dozen different characters in the mean time while each one can have a distinct personality, there are only so many realistic eye and hair colours to go around.

So, if and when a story is accepted, and I start filling in a form to tell the cover artist what the characters look like, I end up pretty much re-reading the story to find the right details, which naturally takes a little while.

Technically, once you get your hands on a copy of the form, you could fill in these things as you write and edit. I don't. Seems to be tempting fate to do that. Either way, about one editing day goes on cover art forms.

4. Re-writes. You'd think that having a draft of the story in front of you would speed things up. It doesn't. Because you have to delete some of the things you've written - which is always hard. Especially when it's not because the section is particularly bad. Sometimes it just has to go because the word count is too high, or it takes away from another scene later in the book. Or because it slows down the pace too far, or a thousand other things.

Cue sitting and staring at the screen for a long time, trying to work things like this out. It would be quicker to just write it again from scratch. But I don't like to give up on stories once I've started them. So, I don't have much choice. Re-writes have to happen.

I try to be realistic and no expect my word count for the month to sky rocket when I'm working on re-writes. I also try to find time that I usually set aside for editing to work on the re-writes rather than restricting them to scheduled writing time.

5. Naming things. Naming characters, locations, paranormal thing-a-ma-bobs, it all takes time. I find either the appropriate name jumps into your head at the word go, or it's going to take anything up to a few hours to find a name that suits the character or whatever it is that needs a name.

It is time well spent though, if the name doesn't fit the character, he or she won't come to life inside your head. A good name speeds up your writing - I'm convinced of that. I try to set aside the equivilant of a editing day for each series and work out all the names of the main characters then, so I've got them ready when I start writing.

I'm starting to name the characters in my Hot + Wet series next week, so more about naming things and people then.

But that's it for the five for today.

I'm not saying these aren't important things. The jobs do deserve the time a writer spends on them, I suppose my real point is, if you want to keep your sanity, you have to keep room in your writing schedule for things other than actually writing books :)

Other news...

I don't have an editing job to keep you up to date on at the moment. (I'm going to start editing For the Duration next Monday to sub it at the end of the month.)

So this weekend I'm going to really attack Time Out. If I add my editing time and my writing time together, I shouls make some sense out of the illogical bits that are determind to linger in the middle. It would be nice to have most of it sorted by Monday.

I suppose I should go and get on with it then...

See you Monday :)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wondering about planning.

Well, things are going reasonably well at the moment *touch wood*

Whispers has been printed out. Final read throughs are underway. The synopsis and blurb are scheduled to be written on Friday. It will wing it's way to my editor on the weekend.

Time Out is still doing it's own thing, but seems to be enjoying itself so I'm not too concerned.

According to my to do list for the month I have 5 days left to finish this draft of it. I need to add 5-10k. There's also about 10k in the middle that really just meanders about without adding much to the story, so it needs to be re-written.

With this in mind, I've turned my wonderings for the day towards planning stories. I do find it useful to know what the basic point of each chapter is. Not pages of detailed plans, but a nice little paragrpah saying from X's point of view Y happens and this is important because Z.

The only problem is, sometimes it's impossible to know what the big theme of the story is until your on your third or fourth re-write, so planning before that is pointless.

During the writing process there is usually a moment of clarity - when the story clicks and, for the first time since you sat down at the computer, you have some idea what you're doing.

Take Time Out as an example. I usually start in the begining of a story and write until I reach the end. This time I re-wrote the begining of the story, now I'm added a whole new ending before I go back to re-write the middle. It turns out for this story, I need to know where they end up before I can work on the exact details that get them there.

Whispers was similar. I had to get to the end of the story before I could see clearly how it should have started and developed towards that ending.

Sometimes that's just the way it works.

I suppose my point is there's a difference between the most efficient way to write a book and the most effective way.

It would be efficent to sit down and plan the whole thing out and then just follow the plan.

But it's more effective to be flexible and listen to how the story grows and develops as you write it. I think you get a better story as the end result that way.

Just my tuppence worth for the day :)

Monday, 8 September 2008

Monday Memo: blurbs, collars and time.

Note to self: It can't be harder to write 200 than it is to write 20,000 words.

Hello everyone :)

This Monday's memo is, I'm sure a statement of fact.

A 200 word blurb should be easy to write. At 1% of the length of a novella, it should logically be 100 times easier.

Somehow it's not.

Which, sort of explains why I still have written a final version of the blurb for my new series - Collared.

The thing about Collared is it's going to cover a whole range of characters and situations. What's true about the collar in one story, may well not be true for the next story, so the blurb has got to have a lot of flexibility built into it.

This is my WIP blurb.

Leather. Latex. Silver. Gold. Ink. Velvet.

There are as many different shapes and styles of collar as there are people who wear them.

Protection. Possession. Dominance. Submission. Loyalty. Love.

Some collars mean it's time to play, others signify a life time commitment. A fun bit of bondage to one person can easily look like the kinky equivilant of a wedding ring to another. A gold necklace might look vanilla enough until you know what it means to the person wearing it.

But no matter what it's made of or what it represents. Collars are important. A collar can make or break the submissive wearing it - and the dominant who put it around their neck.

It doesn't matter if you are dominant or submissive. Everything changes once one person is Collared.

You're right. It does still need some work, but it's a start.

I'm also working on improving my Perfect Timing blurb. As it stands, I've got this:

Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time. Sometimes it takes an exceptional circumstance to make you realise the time has come. And sometimes you just have to wait to get for what you want.

But when the timing is perfect, anything could happen…

Needs a little something more in my opinion. Again, it's got to cover a lot of ground because the stories vary so much. I'll have to have another go at it some time.

What else?

Some time this week I'll also be writing my blurb for Whispers (my second anthology submission). I'm currently on my fifth draft of the story, and it's just starting to come into shape. I'm aiming to submit it this weekend, so fingers crossed.

As for Time Out. It would be nice to finish the first draft of that this weekend too. But it's developed a mind of it's own and it's pretty much doing whatever it wants, so I have no idea what sort of schedule it will adopt.

And that's it :)

Friday, 5 September 2008

Five things that... scare me.

Hello everyone,

Okay, the Friday's Answered Question thing didn't really rock my world, so I'm trying something new for September.

Friday's Five Things...

Each Friday I'm going to post a Five things that... whatever comes to mind.

I'm starting off with Five things that... scare me.

1. Spiders. Okay, I know it's so much of a classic it a cliche, but some things become classics for a reason. I don't think it's the spider I dislike as much as something I don't have control over in my space. I can have a big spider on my hand (did this in a zoo once). No problem. And if I know there's a spider in the room, I'm fine - as long as I know where it is. It's when I loose track of it I worry.

In my defense, I'm fine with any other animal. Snakes, fine. Rats, actually quite cute.

2. Computer's killing my stories. I had a scare with this on Wednesday. I put my USB stick with all my stories on my lap top. Opened a file. All I got was little y symbols with two dots on top. The whole story had turned into page after page of that symbol. Opened another file. The same. And another file, and another file. Then I started to panic. I was sure I lost everything. I just knew I had a virus that had eaten all my files and (because that's the kind of thing that runs through your mind at moments like this) the virus had obviously spread to all the backups.

Actually, there is no virus. No idea why but my USB stick has decided it just doesn't like the USB port on my lap top. I managed to recover all the files via the desk top PC without too much of a problem - once I calmed down enough to try that. The new USB works fine. But for that hour or so... well, I now have every story I've ever written backed up on three computers, two memory sticks and the internet. I'm not going through that again.

3. Sending stories off. I don't know if it gets easier the more you do it, but I doubt it. There's just something incredibly terrifying about sending a story off to an editor and waiting for their verdict. It's not the editors fault (my editor couldn't be more lovely). But once you hit send and the story is out there to be read, there's a shiver that runs down your spine. This is closely followed by having to check your e-mails every five minutes - even if there is no logical reason to think there's a response there :)

4. Not actually being any good. I think this one is something any writer (or anyone who does anything creative) can relate to. Every time anyone tries to create anything, they run the risk of screwing it up. I'm sure there's a quote out there that sums this up perfectly, but I can't for the life of me remember it.

5. And that just leaves the big stuff. The things that anyone in their right mind is scared of. It's also, coincidentally the kind of things I often throw at my characters. I read a bit of writing advice a while ago that said something along the lines of - work out your character's biggest fear and then make it happen to them.

At the time, I thought that was a really horrible way to write a book. But as I've written more I realised sometimes (not all the time, but sometimes) that's what makes the book work. Sometimes the character has to risk the worse thing that can ever happen to them in order to get what they want. They have to take leaps of faith on the way to their happy ending.

And that's the five. If anyone wants to comment about what scares them, feel free :)

In other news.

My author page on TEB is up and running. Nothing on sale yet, but I'm still incredibly excited about that. Here it is:

Kim Dare --- Total-E-Bound Erotic Romance Ebooks

Something else I'm excited about - Turquoise and Leather is now officially the first book in a series of novellas called Collared. No prizes for guessing the theme of the series, lol. I have the second in the series written already. I'm going to edit and sub it next month. I'm putting together a series blurb at the moment - I'll post it when it makes sense.

What else? Time Out is slowly coming together. There are bits of the original that can be salvages, but not a lot. I'm enjoying re-writing it anyway. Part of what makes this one more difficult to write than the others in the Perfect Timing series is, I have another series in the works that the main characters from Time Out are going to feature in, so I have to keep in mind what they are going to get up to after they find their happy ending too.

And Whispers will be coming together too - just as soon as I stop talking on here and get back to editing it :)

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Wondering about the wonderful world of re-writes

As I mentioned when I started the blog, I wrote for quite a while before I started editing anything or submitting it to publishers.

So I have a lot of first drafts lying around on my hard drive waiting to be edited up. My two main writing projects for the month (The last two for the Perfect Timing Series) are re-writes of two of these old drafts.

The one I'm grappling with at the moment is called Time Out. It's a m/m BDSM novel. I wrote the first draft February 2007.

At the time I thought it was the best thing I'd ever written. I'm not sure how to discribe just how pleased I was with the story without slipping into cliches. I really thought it was chocolate.

So, when I sat down to work on it yesterday I thought I was onto a good thing. A bit of spit and polish. Add a few thousand words to bring it up to the word count I want. Tidy up a few loose ends. An easy job. By the weekend I'd move onto my next writing project way ahead of schedule.

It turns out the story I thought was chocolate is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard. All the wondeful things I remember about the story just melted away under.

In short, the story really, really sucks.

But! There is hope.

Well, there better bloody well be hope for the story, because I still love it. I don't know how much of the original will be left by the time I've finished with it, but the core - the idea I first fell for when I started writing it - that's going to somehow survive.

Within the next two weeks the story is going to turn into what I remember it being.

Okay, now that I've given myself that little pep talk (Didn't you hear the rousing Hollywood theme music kick in half way though?) in other news...

I finished the re-write of Whispers yesterday. I've put that to one side for a day or two. I'm going to start editing it on Friday.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Silent Night - Perfect Timing Book 2

I signed the contract for this story yesterday :)

It's a m/f BDSM novella, due out on April 20th 2009. It is part of the Perfect Timing series, but it also stands alone, so you don't need to have read the other books in the series.

There will be an excerpt closer to the date, but in the meantime, here's that blurb I was talking about.

No one in the club has ever heard Hannah say a word, but they’ve all heard the rumours. She won’t accept any man who approaches her – she insists on picking the lucky dominant herself. And when she makes her selection he can have her submission for one silent night, but that’s it. She won’t speak or agree to a second date.

Vincent is an experienced dominant. He knows how the game should be played. When he finds Hannah kneeling at his feet, he assumes she’s just like every other submissive. But Hannah’s different and Vincent soon realises one silent night isn’t enough. He wants more time and he wants Hannah’s voice.

Hannah really doesn’t care what Vincent wants. She has her own reasons for keeping her relationships short and silent. It’ll take a lot more than a display of dominance to convince her to trust him with the truth.

Monday Memo: September

Note to self: Sane people make this sort of list once a year on Januray the first, not once a month.

Well, sanity is over-rated.

It's a new month and that means I need a whole new to do list. I actually came very close to finishing last months list, so I'm feeling quite optimistic about September.

Here it is:

Write at least 1,000 words a day and 50,000 over the month. Made up of the following:

Editing aims:
* Do whatever edits my editor sends to me.
* Re-write, edit, polish, write a synopsis and submit Whispers to TEB.
* Re-write, edit, polish, write a synopsis and submit For the Duration - Book 3 in Perfect Timing series to TEB.

Writing aims:
* Re-write Time Out – Book 11 in Perfect Timing series.
* Re-write By the hour – Book 12 in Perfect Timing series.
* If I have time or need the words (because I can't work out how many words the re-writes and edits will actually come to) start working on Book 1 in my next series of novellas - Hot + Wet

Other aims:
* Name all the characters in the Hot + Wet novellas.

And that's it. It should be easy right? Either way, I'll let you know as the month goes on.