Friday 29 August 2008
Second point - Okay, I’ll admit it. I completely forgot it was Friday today. But I do have my excuse ready.
Good news always throws me off balance and today I had some good news come through.
Silent Night – Book two in the Perfect Timing series – has just been accepted by Total-e-bound. I’ll have a few more details for you and the blurb in due course.
It probably goes without saying that I’m very pleased, very excited, and I now have absolutely no idea what my FAQ was going to be this week. I’m sure I made a list of questions at some point, no idea where I put it.
*Goes off to check what questions I’ve already used*
Okay… I’m back and I have a question for myself.
Q. I've been to your website and your blog - do you turn up anywhere else on the web?
A. I'm in an on line critique group. There's also a bit of old fan fiction lurking around somewhere (for the record, the fan fiction I wrote was actually a set of nice sweet little stories. No sex at all!). I'm also listed as a participant and a winner of Nanowrimo 2004-2007 and Script Frenzy 2006-2007.
Apart from that, you'll now be able to get another dose of blogging from me on the 27th of each month on Total-e-bound's blog.
Yes, you're right, the question is a blatant excuse to tell you that, but it's midnight and my minds gone a bit blank of other questions. Next weeks question will be better - promise.
I'll post up a link to the TEB blog when I get myself organised.
Other news... I'm back to the re-writes of Whispers - my anthology sub - added 1000 words to it today. I need to add another 4000-5000 over the weekend.
That's it for me. I'm off to bed.
Sleep well everyone :)
Wednesday 27 August 2008
The topic for the day is indeed organising writing projects.
I have a spread sheet where I list all the stories I've writen or want to write in the future. I just counted them up and I have a grand total of 150 storys and story ideas.
A grand total of two of these have been accepted for publication. Two more are out there waiting for a verdict. One more will go out at the end of this month.
Now for the math. At the moment I'm trying to send off one or more a month. Lets call it one to keep the math simple. I'm aiming to submit 12 stories a year. So, it is going to take me about 12.5 years to submit them all at that rate. And I'm not even taking into account all the ideas I keep adding to the tally.
On the one hand, it is great to know I'm not going to run out of things to write about for quite a while. On the other hand, I feel a bit...
I don't really know how to discribe it. I try to be practical and organised. For me that means I onlt work on one first draft at a time and one editing project at a time. I've tried to put them in some sort of order.
The first drafts of the Perfect Timing series should be finished in September.
During October and December I'm hoping to do the first drafts and major re-writes for another series I have in the works called Hot + Wet.
November is Nanowrimo (more about how much I love Nano closer to the date!) and I've set that month aside to work on a stand alone novel called Model Submissive.
At the same time I'm editing up Perfect Timing for submission to Total-e-bound.
So, the chances of my having time to work on anything else for the rest of this year are somewhat slim.
And when I think about that I just feel... well, what about the other projects in my to do list?
I start working out that if I do X and then Y and then Z, and soon I realise it will be a decade or so before I get to work on some of them. Can I really put those ideas on the back burner for that long? What if I don't remember what I liked about the idea and the characters when I finally come to write them? What if... and this is the one that really does worry me... What if someone else writes the stories first?
I don't know why I'm telling you all this. Maybe because I wonder if there are other writers out there who feel the same way? Maybe it just does everyone good to have a moan now and again - even if they haven't actually got anything to moan about.
I'll leave you in peace now.
What do I intend to do with myself until I speak to you next?
Well, today I'm doing the synopsis and blurb for Silent Night (1700 words) and adding to my first draft of Quick Learner (1500 - 2000 words).
Tomorrow I'll be adding the last section (another 1500 - 2000 words) to finish off Quick Learner.
Friday I'll be talking to you again :)
Monday 25 August 2008
Now, I know the above is a fact. Other authors seem to write stand alone books no problem at all. I'm really struggling with this at the moment. Take the Perfect Timing series for example. Now, these are all stand alone titles, so the characters from one book aren't supposed to turn up in the others.
Except one that I wrote for the series a m/m called Worth Waiting For. (I've given up on not typing the titles here. Luck be damned - makes it too hard for anyone to know what I'm talking about.) The main characters are Colby and Noah. Colby's brother, Tony, makes a brief appearance.
Then Tony developed a mind of his own and pointed out he'd make a really good main character. Okay, no problem, I gave him a whole book in the Perfect Timing series - Fast Track - and a beautiful heroine to have some fun with. Then two of the guys on the track team started pointing out that they would make a great - really, really, really, great - couple. I couldn't resist. Their book could be a spin off from the series.
Then I was reading through the old stories I want to re-write. Guess, what? One of the characters who I wrote last year (before I even know Colby, Noah, Tony or anyone else even existed) he suddenly announces that I he knows all those people and really, he should be part of their series.
I think at this point I gave up and moved Worth waiting for and Fast Track out of the Perfect Timing series. They now form the start of another series which is yet unnamed - although I'd quite like to call it FIT, since it's set in an elite sports academy . So far there are six titles planed and counting.
Now, at this point I have two slots empty in my Perfect Timing series - one for a m/m and one for a m/f.
I had a look through my records of different ideas and found an m/f I wanted to include in the series at the start but which I cut because I didn't have room for it. It's back in the list now as book 10 in the series and called Quick Learner. I'm writing it at the moment and having a lot of fun in the process.
The other book I've brought in is a re-write of a project I worked on last year called Time Out. So, I have a quick glance through it and discover two things.
1. My writing now might not be perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than it was last year.
2. Time Out would make a really good first book in a series of its own...
Well, it's not as bad as it could have proved. It turns out the whole series is a spin off. Time Out can happily stay in the Perfect Timing Series.
The rest of the books in the other series can wait a little while longer. This new series even has a (what I hope to be permanent) working title - Trained for Pleasure.
Okay - not sure if any of the above makes any sense outside my own head, but there you are.
My current editing project is the second book in the Perfect Timing series. It's a m/f called Silent Night. I printed it out for it's last edit today, so I'm hoping it will be off to my editor on Friday.
This post has turned into another long one. I suppose I'd better cut off. I wouldn't be at all surprised it this weeks Wednesday's Wonderings had something to do with organising series and ideas... :)
Hope everyone who has a bank holiday today is enjoying it.
Friday 22 August 2008
A. It sounds like a daft question when you first read it. But as I said at the end of last Friday's post, some people have some funny ideas about what kink means.
There are two acronyms that I'd like to start the conversation with. SSC and RACK. SSC stands for Safe, Sane and Consensual. RACK stands for Risk Aware Consensual Kink. Whichever you prefer, the important word is in both.
I remember reading a quote on the internet a long time ago (no idea where - if you know, let me know) but it went something like. "The difference between vanilla (that's non-kinky) sex and rape is consent. The difference between kinky sex and rape is consent."
So that's the first thing I don't write - rape as erotic content. Now, just to be clear, I have written a few stories where rape occurs before or during the course of the story. Bad things happen to good people. To my mind, rape survivors need someone to write them a happy ending just as much as anyone else, so I don't shy away from that.
*Sigh* okay, I've been trying to find a more grown up way of saying this since the start of the post, but it's not working. So here's the basic version - the rapist / abusers / etc are the baddies. The goodies don't do things like that.
On the other hand the goodies are usually more than a little kinky. So, they might tie someone up, turn their lover over their knee or push their lover to their limits. But you can be sure all parties involved will enjoy every minute of it.
Erotic pain might be involved if one of the parties is masochistic - but that's pain they enjoy. Exhibitionism could well come into play in some of the stories - some characters get off on it. Submission is almost always there in some form or other. And none of those things would be any fun unless there were sadists, voyeurs and dominants on hand to join in.
What else don't I write? Well, I don't write unhappy endings. Hate reading them. Hate writing them. If I want to be depressed I'll watch the news.
That doesn't mean there aren't sometimes sad bits in the middle - it's not all roses and rainbows - but you can always read on safely sure it will all work out right in the end.
Apart from that, I'm quite happy to give the characters free reign and see where they take me, so you'll see a wide variety of content in different books.
So, I hope that all makes sense.
If not, feel free to leave a comment and I'll have another go :)
Wednesday 20 August 2008
The topic of the day is... *thinks for a little while and tries to come up with something to talk about* Oh, yes. There actually was something.
More specifically writing about sex.
I belong to a main stream critiquing group. There are a few other writers on there who write erotic romance, but most people don't.
There's been a lot of talk on the message boards on if you should include sex scenes in your stories and, if you are going to, do you cut the whole thing down to just one line or do you get down to brass tacks and tell the reader exactly what goes where, and just what are you supposed to call different bits of anotomy?
Quite a lot of people seem to be of the opinion you shouldn't put sex scenes in stories - they don't like reading sex scenes, they don't want to know what the characters get up to once their clothes hit the floor, and since everyone old enough to read about sex should have a pretty firm grasp of the mechanics there's no point anyway.
Well, since I write erotic romance, I suppose you can guess my opinion on this, but I'm going to give you a summery anyway.
First Q - should the sex scene be included?
If you're putting sex in there for the sake of it, surprising enough, my answer is no. The sex scene should add something to the story or you're just wasting words. I'm not saying every single sex scene has to have an earth shattering effect on the plot, but it should tell you something about the characters and the situation. If it does that, it deserves a place in the story.
Second Q - one line synopsis of events or fourty pages of who did what to whom?
Depends on the scene, but 99.999% of the time I like detail. That's where the characters come to life. Because yes, everyone does know the mechanics. But that doesn't mean there's no point writing the sex scene. That's a bit like saying there's no point recounting a conversation between characters because every reader knows how to talk. The fact the characters are talking isn't that interesting - not until you start to listen to what they have to say.
Third Q - what should I call a, um, you know, a man's... um... ?
Well, you don't call it anything. You are writing for the point of view of a particular character. No one gives a damn what you call any bit of anatomy. They want to know what the character calls it. You're inside the character's mind - let them tell you what it is.
I've written some characters who have no trouble calling a spade a spade or a cock a cock. Other characters would blush at the very thought, and they'd rush off to find another word at the earliest opportinuty. That's okay, some characters are easily embarrassed. In the same way, some characters like to make love while others prefer to screw. As long as they're both having fun, it's no problem.
Which leads me to my main point. In my stories I'm not writing about sex. I'm writing about a particular characters experience of sex.
Because isn't that a big part of why people read and why people write? It's the chance to walk a mile in another man's shoes - or to lay a night in another man's bed as the case may be...
Monday 18 August 2008
Re-writing inevitably tempts me to drop my current WIP and work on a different - bright and shiney idea instead. That's a bit what it's like at the moment.
The BDSM story I mentioned last Monday - the one I thought might have to be 2/3 re-written? Guess what? It needs to be 2/3 re-written. The main female character - Charlotte - went through two complete personality transformations - quite impressive considering the story is only a novella length.
Here's what it's like reading through my first draft:
Chapter 1 - Charlotte is a nervous little thing who's scared of her own shadow.
Chapter 2 - Charlotte isn't scared of anything, but she also doesn't have any emotions at all.
Chapter 3 - Damn, this is the Charlotte I should have been writing from the begining!
So, I just have to make the Charlotte who finally decided to show up in Chapter 3 turn up at the start of the book. Only pretty much every scene needs a complete over hall to do that.
The main male character - Zachariah - well, the poor man has been a very well behaved character. He turned up when he was supposed to. Took on a very nice personality - very dominant, more than a little kinky, but quite happy to fall head over heels with Charlotte when given the appropriate cue. And he stayed consistant all the way through the first draft.
Me and Charlotte really need to stop messing him around and give Zachariah the type of story he deserves. I'm hoping to finish the re-write over the next few days ready to edit it next month.
What else am I supposed to remember to tell you?
This months editing projects.
One is gone - the Christmas Anthology submission. I won't get a response on that until a few weeks after the cut off date, but it's out of my control now, so I feel better about that.
The other one has been extended by a few thousand words, but the bulk of the editing is still left to do. Still keeping my fingers crossed it will be off by the end of the month.
And that brings me to what I said I would talk about last Monday. The Perfect Timing series. The end of the month submission is the second story in the series - the first is You First, which I told you about a week or so ago - this second one is a m/f novella, BDSM again.
It will be the first m/f one I send off to my editor, so I'm a little bit nervous about it. But since I write about 50% m/f, I have to send one off at some point.
The rest of the Perfect Timing series alternates between m/f and m/m. If they stay in the order they are in, there'll be four novellas, followed by two novels, followed by the same again.
That's it for today. No matter how long I make this post, I will have to do the re-writing at some point, so I might as well get on with it now.
No idea what I'll be talking about next Monday - or even on Wednesday come to that. We'll just have to wait and see :)
Friday 15 August 2008
A. Not the most interesting question in the world, I'll grant you - but I do have to cover the basics at some point. It might as well be now.
Over the years I've written a bit of everything, and I'll probably keep doing that. However, at the moment I do have a focus on erotic romance stories - and those are the projects you'll be reading about on this site.
Saying that, within the scope of erotic romance, I've got series of stories that swing more towards the paranormal, suspense, crime, fantasy or comedy elements, so there is still a bit of everything going on inside my head.
I write about a 50/50 split between m/m and m/f stories - with occassional forays into f/f and a few menages here and there. The very vast majority of these stories contain some sort of BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism - if you're wondering).
Sometimes that means the stories are about characters who live the complete lifestyle, and sometimes it's just a game they like to play when they have sex. There are a few books where the kinks aren't so obvious - where the dominance and submission doesn't have a lot to do with leather and whips, but everything to do with the characters personalities and how they interact.
Despite the subgenres and the kinky sex scenes, they are all still romances with happy endings. I don't like reading stories where I cry at the end - I don't intend to write stories which make other people do that either.
Which leads me nicely on to the plug for next Friday's Answered Question:
Next weeks I'll be talking about what I don't write. Because some people have some funny ideas about what kink is.
Wednesday 13 August 2008
First the random bit of information. I was watching the Olympics yesterday and saw a boy I used to go to school with representing Britain in the rowing. Now, I didn't know him particularly well, but it was still kind of fantastic to see someone I know out there going for a gold medal. It's nice to see someone I know succeeding at what they love doing.
Which leads nicely into my wonderings for the week. Pen names. Now most writers, especially writers who's characters forget to close the bedroom door, use a pen name. So I do. But since I've had something accepted for publication I've found myself in a difficult position. A lot of my friends, close and otherwise, know I've been writing for several years. Now and then they ask how the writing is going.
Now I'm finally in a position to say, yes - it's going quite well, my first novella will be published by Total-e-bound on February 16th next year. My pen name is Kim Dare. Only... doesn't that sort of defeat the point of a pen name? I suppose it boils down to a simple question - do I want them to know what I write?
Well, actually, I don't have a problem with people I know knowing what I write. The problem comes when X tells Y, who then tells Z - and Z happens to be a psychopath. Maybe I'm paranoid - but I can just picture the conversation:
Z - "Aren't you X's friend - the one who writes books about kinky sex?"
Me - "Yes, that's right."
Does anyone else get the feeling this conversation is going to go down hill very quickly at this point?
On the other hand - I'm not ashamed of what I write and hiding it somehow feels like saying I'm doing something wrong.
I guess I still have a lot to think about on the subject.
Monday 11 August 2008
Note to self: Just because I'm not supersticious doesn't mean certain things won't tempt bad luck.
I open umbreallas in doors, I walk under ladders, I keep to the same routine on Friday the 13th, I... well, I don't grow around breaking mirrors on purpose, but I'm sure you get the idea. But I'm generally not all that bothered by doing things that people say bring bad luck.
*scrolls back through the messages to see what I said I was going to talk about last Monday*
The anthology submissions. That's where it gets complicated.
Is it temptating fate to talk about projects that I haven't yet submitted - or better yet - had accepted? Will it bring me and that submission bad luck?
On the wonderful theory that if it is bad luck, I'm probably screwed after mentioning them in last weeks Monday Memo, and I don't have anything else to talk about today, here I go anyway.
I'm entering 2 submissions to different TEB anthologies.
The first is a m/m (with a bit of m/m/m thrown in for good measure) BDSM Christmas story. That's written and mostly edited now. I've put it aside for a few days before I do my final edit, and I still need to write the synopsis, but it should be winging it's way to the call for submissions within the next week or so.
The second is a m/f paranormal BDSM story. That's written after a fashion. I'm pretty sure 2/3 of it needs to be re-written before I can even think about editing it. I'll re-write it this month and edit it next month.
Next weeks memo will be a bit more about those projects in the Perfect Timing Series I'm working on this month.
And yes, if you're wondering, I have given both the stories titles. And yes, I did avoid mentioning them to avoid any bad luck floating around in the either looking for a story to attach itself to. If they're accepted, I'll tell you the tiltes then ;)
Friday 8 August 2008
A. Forever. Cheesy as it sounds, I can't ever remember I time I wasn't writing stories in my head. It took me a while to start getting them down on paper.
I started getting serious about my writing - writing every day and actually finishing the projects I started - in 2006.
Nanowrimo is partly to blame. I started doing that in 2004. I did the 50k in 2004 and 2005, but my turning point was switching from fantasy novels in those first two years and writing erotica in 2006.
Not only did I do more than the 50k in Novemeber, I actually kept writing through December and January and I actually finished the story - all 200+k of it. What can I say - it was a long story!
I kept writing through 2007. At the start of 2008 I began editing all the first drafts I aquired over the last year or so. I had the crazy idea that I'd like to get something accepted when I was still 24.
Turquoise and Leather was accepted on 30th June 2008. I turned 25 in the middle of July. Wonderful things for focusing the mind - deadlines :)
As for why? Simply for my sanity's sake. I have to much going on in my head - too many characters telling me their stories. If I didn't get some of it out on paper, it would quickly drive me around the twist.
There we are then. I was going to finish this post off by telling you what next weeks FAQ would be, accept I haven't actually decided what it would be. So um... tune in next Friday to find out what I'll be talking about next Friday :)
Wednesday 6 August 2008
The problem with this series of Wednesday posts is going to be choice. More specifically too much choice. If I can talk about anything, you never know what will happen.
So, do I go off on a tangent that has nothing to do with anything and tell you that I saw a fox eating a bag of chips just down the road from my house last night? (I actually did. Someone had dropped a bag of chips and there was a fox right in the middle of town making the most of his lucky find. I watched him from my doorstep for about five minutes - simple things please simple minds.)
Or do I talk about something related to writing?
Well, on the writing front, I've been thinking quite a bit about how and where I write. This is mostly because I've recently moved into a lovely new writing space and my writing habits have changed a little bit and got a bit more organised.
I'm completely hopeless with pen and paper, so I always write straight onto a computer. And I've found I edit best during the day time and write best at night, so I split my time accordingly.
The day is spent behind my nice new desk (curvy and beech, in case your wondering) editing on my desk top PC. Nice and quiet, no distractions, big computer screen so I can see what I'm working on and an Internet connection so I can look up things I'm not sure about. I try to get a bit of editing done most days.
Then about ten pm, it's on to my lap top on one of those cushion tray thingamabobs to work on the current first draft. Cozy and comfortable in an armchair, but no Internet connection - so no temptation to check my e-mails one last time before I get some work done. I write first drafts much better at that time of night.
I try to do at least 1000 words on my main first draft in progress every day, no matter what. 500 words takes me about 20 minutes. I write for about an hour and a half and try for 2000 words whenever I can. If I need more than 2000 words a day to keep up to day, I'll write a bit in the day time too - but it never seems to flow in quite the same way.
So, what about everyone else? How do you write yours?
Tuesday 5 August 2008
You First is my second accepted male/male BDSM novella - and the first book in the Perfect Timing series.
There was only one thing that stopped sex with Justin being completely perfect for Luke. The timing. That wasn’t so perfect. In fact, the timing really sucked – and not in the fun, fellatio related way.
Justin was five years younger than Luke and relatively inexperienced. Luke had enjoyed more lovers than he could count or remember—he knew he was good at sex. There was no good reason why Justin should outlast him every time they hooked up.
All Luke had to do was come second, set his mind at ease, and everything would be perfect between them. Hell, if he could do that, he might even consider the serious relationship idea Justin seemed so taken with.
How difficult could that possibly be?
Monday 4 August 2008
I had a plan. I worked out what I was going to write and when. I picked a reasonable goal for each month. I pretended I was sane for a few minutes.
The plan was to finish the first drafts of my series – Perfect Timing – through July and August. Perfectly realistic target.
Then I had an idea for another story. No, problem – I usually just add it to my list of future projects and get to it at some point. Accept this one is for an anthology that has a submission deadline. Okay… I had a look at my time table. An extra 15k wasn’t that much to add into July. I could do that.
The word count for the story went up to 20k. Well, that’s only another 5k or so. Nothing to worry about.
Then I saw another really great call for submissions. And another anthology deadline. I’d already added in 20k, what difference could another 15k make in the grand scheme of July?
Well, in the grand scheme of things, it actually means I’ve added another 35k into my writing time table, and another two novellas into my editing plans.
Don’t know if I’ll have any luck with either of the anthology submissions, but by the end of today I will have finished writing them both. I’ll tell you a bit more about them in the next Monday Memo.
As for my Perfect Timing series – I finished one in July and I’ve still got 4 first drafts left to finish this month. Not quite realistic to do it all in August, so I’m thinking that’s my goals for August and the start of September sorted out.
Then I can get onto another series of six novellas called The Clan which I've been plotting out for a while. At which point I'll be back up to date with where I would have been if I hadn't succumbed to the lure of the anthologies.
Unless I add something else in…
Exactly how small is it healthy to make the font on a to do list?
Friday 1 August 2008
The first book - a novella called You First - has just been accepted by Total-e-bound, to be released on 16th March 2009.
I should have some details and a blurb for you reasonably soon.
My editor suggested I make some changes to the short story, it grew into a Novella.
So, the longer version of Turquoise and Leather has just been re-accepted by Total-e-bound as a novella to be released on February 16th 2009.
A. This is actually a real question someone asked me. Okay, it wasn’t for this posting segment and once isn’t exactly frequent, but I’ll take what I can get :)
The answer is actually simple. Sometimes the men in the stories about two guys are gay. Sometimes they are bi. Sometimes they are… okay, I’ll grant that it’s not likely they are entirely straight if they’re having that much fun with another man, but still, they don’t always consider themselves to be gay.
In some of my stories – mostly the ones that have a paranormal or fantasy element – the characters don’t understand what “gay” is. If a werewolf finds his mate and that mate happens to be another man, so what? He has his mate – he’s happy. And if a vampire bites down on another guy, he’s more likely to think - He tastes nice! than ask deep and meaningful questions about his sexuality.
Even in the contemporary stories a lot of the characters think Oscar Wilde was right - people are not homosexual or hetrosexual, they are just sexual. If a guy happens to prefer guys to girls it doesn't define him any more than it would if he happened to like blondes more than brunettes. So, lot of my characters are not too keen on labels. So I suppose that’s what it comes down to for me really – labels.
If the stories are “gay erotic romance” it either implies the characters are gay – which isn’t always accurate, or the readership is expected to be gay – which certainly isn’t the case (Honestly, I’m very happy for anyone at all to buy the books, without prejudice over race, religion, sexuality or anything else you can think of!).
Male/male doesn’t label the characters or the readers, it labels the content. If you read the book you can expect the sex scenes to be between two men – you can expect male/male content.
Oh, and since I’m on the subject, I’ll also mention that I don’t label the stories I write about a man and a woman as heterosexual or straight stories – I write male/female.
And that's it for me - it was actually going to be a short post but I gave up on that idea about three paragraphs ago.
If you have any thoughts on the topic, feel free to leave a comment :)