Friday 28 November 2008

Five things that... made me go ohhhh, sweet!

A somewhat lazy post today.

My excuse is, I've actually been productive with my writing.

Between Tooth and Paw just went off to my editor.

A Model submissive hit 50,000 - I finished Nanowrimo late last night. (I still have about 5k to go to finish off the story line, and I'm going to do that over the next few days, but anyway...)

and so, I thought I would share five photos I recieved in a forward.

So sweet...

That's it for me.
Nos Da.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Hitting the Hotspot - The Gift

I'm over on Hitting the Hotspot today, sharing an extract from The Gift.

Please drop by and take a look if you get the chance.

You can find it here.

Thanks everyone. Have a great Thanksgiving if you celebrate it, and have a great day anyway, even if you don't :)

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Wondering about: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Leaves

I know the holiday isn't until tomorrow, but I'm posting on hitting the hotspot then, so I probably won't be over here to talk about it too. So, for once in my life, I'm ahead of schedule.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

If you don't know already, I'm based in the UK. We don't have Thanksgiving. I think the closest we might come is a harvest festival. I remember them from school, and I know some churches still run them, but it's nothing like the scale of celebrations that the US seemed to have at this time of year.

Pilgrim Turkey

But, I've still got a lot to be thankful for, so I'm giving thanks despite my nationality.

Pilgrim Girl

I'm thankful for a lot of things.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2

I'm thankful for my family. For my health (which isn't perfect now, but which has been a lot worse in the past). For my friends, new and old. For new successes, and for past hard work.

Thanksgiving Carving

I'm thankful that I'm not one of the people on the news at the moment, that I'm not living in a country racked with war and suffering, that I'm not on the verge of losing everything when a company fails through no fault of my own, that I'm not living in a part of the world that tells me who I have to be and what I have to do with my life.

Thanksgiving Greetings

I'm thankful for a thousand little things that never seem important enough to list inside my head, let alone on a blog anyone could read, but which my life wouldn't be the same without.

Happy Thanksgiving 1

I'm thankful that no matter what goes on in the world at large I have the chance to escape into a world where I know everyone will live happily ever after when I sit down to work on a story. And more importantly, I'm thankful that when I sit down to write, I'm free to write whatever I want.

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for far too many things to list here on every day, not just one.


And that's it for me.

In more minor news:

I have (thankfully!) finished editing Between Tooth and Paw. I've just printed it out ready to read through and sub on Saturday. I even managed to chop it down to 17 whole words under the maximum word count!

I'm also (once more, thankfully) not too far off finishing my Nanowrimo project - or at least on hitting the 50k mark on it. The actual story is going to go on for at least another 5k after that.

And, because I can't stop talking about it, even when I'm trying to do a sensible, slightly sentimental post, I'm thankful that The Gift is coming out on the eigth of December - seriously, the wait is driving me somewhat insane!

Thank you for reading ;)

Monday 24 November 2008

Memo: It's not about writing!

Note to self: You occassionally have to make time for things that aren't writing.

It's recently been brought to my attention that I'm a bit obsessive about writing at the moment - to the extend that I'm not making time to do anything else.

So, this Sunday I decided to do a little bit of work on a project that hasn't seen much action for a long time. The photo is of a blackwork afghan sampler. (Blackwork is called that because it used to be stitched with black thread on a white background, more ecently people have used more colours.)

The geeky bit for anyone who likes sewing - it's a 7x9 square afghan, each design is 5 inchs by 5 inches. The afghan is 18 count, but it's stitched over two threads so the designs are nine stitches to the inch - so it grows quickly. Single thread for the design, tripple for the boarder. All done in simple running, back and holbein stitch.

Each square is a different pattern I designed and each is stictched in a differnt colour. I started it in August 2005, and I've been working on it in fits and starts, but I haven't done anything on it since October 2007.

I've got 15 squares left to stich up. It would be nice to finish it by next August - a whole four years after I started it!

It's pretty impossible to get a good photo of it. I'll have another go at some point, but this is the best I can manage at the moment. Here's a different angle, but it still doesn't really show up the designs.

And that's it.

But since I can't do a whole post without talking about writing:

The news in brief...

The Gift - it's coming out in a fortnight. I might actually get a count down wiggit for that!

Between Tooth and Paw - the big edit is done, a few finer edits left before I can print it out - hopefully the print out will happen on Wednesday.

A Model Submissive - I'm currently on 42,500 words. Haven't done any today, I'm about to go and do that now.

Friday 21 November 2008

Friday's Five things... I was going to be when I grew up

Okay, I’ve been entirely out of sync all week. I just realised it was Friday five minutes ago.

Kaenar Langford has been over on Hitting the hotspot today talking about the ten jobs people would love to have. You can see that post here.

Anyway, I thought I would post up my five things about the five things I almost spent my life doing before I threw myself head first into writing and really committed myself to it.

1. Does anyone out there realise that knees are really important if you want to join the army? Well, I can tell you that they are really important I was about this *holds thumb and forefinger really close together* close to joining the army – actually getting accepted and going through the officer boards and all that - sort of close. My knees got buggered up (highly technical medical term) about six months into training and that was the end of that.

2. Engineering was top of my list of things to do for the rest of my life for quite a while. It seemed like a sensible thing to do. I do have moments when I’m sensible and practical and make decisions that make sense – honest *Grin*.

3. Embroidery and textile design. Well, I still do this. But it’s more of a hobby when I get time in between writing now. Patchwork and blackwork are my favourites but I’ll enjoy pretty much anything that involves a needle and a thread. I might make a good go of this one day – I’ve got the designs, now I’m looking for time to stitch them up.

4. Librarian. I suppose this is one every writer has thought about from time to time. Spending the whole day surrounded by thousand and thousands of books. What’s not to like? On the days when I still manage to be at least a little bit sensible, I suppose this is my back up plan. This is what I’ll probably be looking for if I ever get a traditional 9-5 job.

5. Perpetual student. You know those books of course information from various universities that you get through the post now and again? Well, I tend to look through them, ticking the ones I’d like to do at some point or another. I tick almost every course in the prospectus. For quite a while I studied with the Open University. I’ve got the first year of a BSc along with the first year and part of a second year of a BA to my name so far.

I finished a course in Ancient and Medieval Cities at the start of 2008 and I decided to take a year out of studying to see if I could make a go of writing if I really concentrated on it. After all, what was the point in having a back up plan if you never actually had a good go at the first choice plan?

I’d been writing pretty solidly (1000+ a day, every day) for quite some time before this, but I guess focusing all my energy on writing paid off. I wanted to send something off to a publisher before I turned 25. After a few minor false starts, I sent my first story to TEB a month before I turned 25, and it was accepted a fortnight later.

That one’s not coming out until March next year, but I’m incredibly chuffed to have The Gift come out in 2008. (Yep, you can be pretty sure I’m going to mention that in every single post until December 8th, lol)

Other news:

I’m on 37,500 for A Modal Submissive. On track as far as Nano is concerned.

I’m about half way through my first edit for Between Tooth and Paw. I’m pretty sure there’s not enough time in the word count for them to have sex as often as they would like to. One of the sex scenes is going to have to go so I can make more room for a bit more plot to happen. Other than that, it’s shaping up not too badly.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Wondering about... Threesomes

Apparently they're very popular - in erotic romances I mean. Well, rumour has it they are pretty popular in real life too, but I'm supposed to be talking about writing here, so I'll stick to the fictional stuff.

People like reading about them, people like writing them.

I'll admit that the particular type of threesome I'm writing at the moment, MFM (That's the ones where the two guys are straight) isn't the combination that comes most easily to me.

The only threesome I've written and had accepted by a publisher was a MMM in The Gift. (It's coming out 8th December - less than a month away - incredibly excited about that).

So, it took me a while to sort out the psychology of why two dominant men who aren't with each other would want to share. But I think, with a bit of help from the paranoral world, I've worked that out.

Now I have another completly different problem with this mini genre. Three main characters seems to be playing havoc with my word count. The story is supposed to be 15-20k.

So far I've edited about half the first chapter and that section has doubled in length. All the characters want to have their say - and their fun - they all want it to be their story, for the reader to see their experience.

I'm currently on 17,500 with another 12.5k left to edit, so it looks like there's going to be a lot of cutting out whole scenes in my future if I'm going to keep it under the word could.

But, you know what? I'm actually enjoying editing this story far more than I thought I would. The characters are really coming together. It just might turn out not half bad. Now, if I can convince it to turn into a not half bad story that's less than 20k - that might be a different story.

Either way, I'm hoping it will go off by the end of the month, so I should know sooner rather than later if it will fit the call.


Other news in brief:

A Modeal Submissive - my nanowrimo project - is on 33k at the moment. I'll add at least 1k more before the end of the night. That's ticking over on target.

I haven't hit half the plot points that I wanted to include yet and I'm pretty sure one sex scene somehow expanded to fill two whole chapters on it's own. But at least I'm having fun writing it :)

Monday 17 November 2008

Monday Memo: Decisions, Decisions

Note to self: Make up your damn mind.

I have a decision to make.

Apart from a few that need to be extended a little bit, all the stories in the Perfect Timing series are written. They have to be edited and stuff, but they are written.

I'm hoping to finish my Nano novel by the end of the month, so I've turned my attention what which series I'm going to work on next.

Now, the series can be roughly split into two different types.

There's the ones I like. I like the plots, I like the characters, I want to write them. I'm looking forward to writing them. I run them over in my head and I want to sit down and right them right now. I smile when I think about the characters. I want to write them their happy ever afters.

Then there are the ones that I know, before I even start them, that I'm going to get even more attached to. I'm even more invested in these series than I am in my other series (and I'm pretty damn obsessive about them!). The individual stories are going to be longer, the characters will appear in several stories. There are more complicated plotting and continuity and characterisation issues, they deal with more complicated and more delicate subbjects.

My heart wants to write one of the later series next just becasuse it does... My head says I should pick the safe option and do one of the simpler series. I find I'm learning more and more as I'm writing, each draft I write shows up some of the things I learnt writing other stories in the past.

What if I'm just not ready to write one of the majorly complicated series yet? A little bit more practice, a little bit more polish, before I tackle them couldn't hurt. They would be better if I waited a while before I tackled them.

The stupid thing is, I know I've made the decision. I've made it over and over again, and I always come up with the same answer. I know what I'm going to work on in December. I just can't stop wondering if I'm making the right decision.


Other news:

I hit 50k! Technically that's a Nano finished, except only 31700 of that 50k was on actually on my nano, so I still have a way to go on that, but I'm up to date and it's going okay - nothing like I planned it, but still good.

Started editing Tooth and Paw today. Will report more when I'm done more to it and I can see where it's going more clearly.

That's it.

Happy Monday everyone.

Friday 14 November 2008

Friday's Five Things that... are harder to write than I expected

Okay, here's a question for you all - have you ever sat down to write a story and then ended up just sitting there staring off into space or scratching your head. These are five of the stories that I expected to find far easier to write then I do.

1. Sweet Romances. I've looked back over the writing I've done for the last few years, and I've realised that two of the ones I lost interested in and didn't finsh were the ones where the characters were too sweet. Don't get me wrong, I like the characters, I even liked the plots, I jus didn't have this desire to know what would happen next. There was no spark to them.

2. Vanilla. Other people seem to be able to write it no problem, I'm starting to realise I'm just not wired up to wirte about sex that doesn't have some sort of kink in it. It doesn't always have to be much, a bit of power play, a pair of hnadcuffs and I'm fine. It doesn't even have to look like kink - everything that's kinky about it can happen inside a character's head and that's fine with me. The kink just has to be there somewhere.

3. MFM. I write about men and women having sex all the time. Writing about one woman having sex with two straight men should be easy, right? Wrong. I have two main problems with this little subgenre. First of all - the two guys keep guying each other up - I write a lot of male/male. If there's three people in the bed, it does seem a waste not to let all of them play with both the other people in the bed. Secondly - my guys tend to be possessive - why are they inviting another man into their bed to have sex with a woman they feel possessive over? I've just finished writing a MFM and I'm about to start editing it. And I'll admit I have struggled with the psycholoy. In the end the only way I could make it work was to go down the paranormal route. I think it works now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I still think that once I've started editing it.

4. Historical. Believe it or not, when I started writing, I was all about sweet Regency Romances. I even wrote a whole 80k first draft. The thing is - research. I never feel like I've done enough. 20 books on the Regency period later, and at least quadripple that number of websites, and I never felt like I even scratched the surface. I've come to the conclusion that I'm better off writing psydo-history/fantasy for those plots and characters who aren't happy living in the hear and now.

5. Short Stories. This one has been annoying me a little bit lately. I decided a while ago that I was going to post up a free little short story - maybe 1-2k every Friday. Should be easy right? I got a few ideas together and... suddenly I didn't have 4 short story plots, I have four novella plots. So, I told myself, okay. I'll write a free story to go up on TEB's free story section. That could be longer - maybe 3-5k. A little bit of thinking about it later, my list of novella plots has grown a bit more and I'm still without a short story to my name. Maybe I'm just not a short story writer and that's that. I always want a context around what happens, I want more to happen for the characters than I can fit into a short story.

Okay guys, so what do you find harder about writing or to write than you thought you would when you started writing? Any takers?


Other news:

A model submissive - my nano project - is coming along nicely. I'm on 21,500 words so far, so it's about on target. I'll be passing the half way mark on the weekend.

My secondary writing project - In the heat of the moment - was going to head for an anthology call, but it's going off in an unexpected direction, so it's probably going to end up as a stand alone and not a anthology sub at all.

Editing - I'm taking the weekend off editing. On Monday I'm going to attack Between Tooth and Paw with the intention of subbing it at the end of the month.

And that's it. Take care all.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Secret Service Blurb

Hi everyone,

Secret Service has just been accepted. It will be released as one of Total-e-bound's Secret Valentines stories on February 9th 2009.

It's a m/m BDSM novella.

Here's the blurb:

What’s more important, their love for each other or their differing attitudes to kinky sex?

Alistair has made it very clear he isn’t into anything even vaguely kinky.

Sheridan knew he was in love with him the day he found that out, and then decided to stay with him anyway. Unable to ease his desire to serve at home, Sheridan volunteers at a club where he can secretly serve the patrons, and feed his submission, without upsetting Alistair by revealing that side of his personality to him.

When chance drags Alistair into that same club on Valentines weekend, Sheridan’s leather mask can’t keep his secret safe any longer. With his desire to serve out in the open, it’s not long before other secrets start to come out and they both have to make a choice.

Does Sheridan give up on ever being allowed to submit to the man he loves, or does Alistair take the risk of becoming the master his love has always wanted?

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Rememberence Day

In honour of Rememberance Day (Vetran's Day in the US) I'd like to share two poems with you.

The first one is very well known, widely taught in schools and it honours the men and women who have died while serving.
The second is rather less well known. It's about what all to often happens to those soldiers who return home after the war.
Least we forget...
The Charge Of The Light Brigade
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Memorializing Events in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd & thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter'd & sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!
The Last of the Light Brigade
by Rudyard Kipling
There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.

"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made -
"And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!
In memory of those who fought, those who fell and those who came home. In honour of those who still serve. And with great sympathy for all those who have been touched by war - regardless of who's side they are on.
Least we forget...
1918-2008 - Ninety years of rememberance for the war that they said would end all wars.
(apologies for the dots - only way I could get the poems and text to seperate properly)

Monday 10 November 2008

Monday Memo: Re-write the damn thing!

Okay, time to get back up to date now.
Note to self: Once you realise something doesn't work, stop fussing about and just re-write the damn thing, you know you'll have to in the end.

Secret Service is finally gone. It was a bit of a bugger - I think I only managed to save about 3000 from my first draft, but the re-writes finally paid off once I stopped trying to fix something that would never work and just wrote most of it again from scratch. I also re-wrote the synopsis - only the first paragraph or two were accurate once I finished the re-write!

It's with my editor now, so I have my fingers crossed for it.

The Stroke of Twelve verdict is in. It didn't make it into the anthology I was originally aiming for (it didn't fit the tone set by the other stories in it), but TEB still liked it and I was offered a contract for it as a stand alone. It's now going to be extended into a novel length story and it's going to slip into my Perfect Timing series in place of Time Out, which is going to form the basis for a whole new series I have planed :)

I'm actually quite pleased. Don't get me wrong, I'd have loved to have been in the anthology, but I'm also really existed about extending the story and giving it room to grow into something a lot better than it is right now.

A Model Submissive - my nano project is slightly behind schedule. I should have been on 15k last night, I was on 14k. Hoping to catch up a bit tonight.

Okay... I think that's it. All up to date :)

Except one other announcement - there's a chat tonight with Total-e-bound authors on Night Owl Romance. It starts at 8 pm EST and runs to 10 pm EST. In British currancy, I think that translates to 1-3 am tomorrow morning.

I'll certainly be there at the start, and hopefully until quite a way through it.

Drop by if you can.

Birmingham's Five Things.

My Five things about Birmingham...

(Please bare in mind that I do have quite a random thought process.)

1. The first thing I like about Birmingham is the buildings.

I live in quite a small town. The buildings are all Victorian terrances with a bit of Georgian thrown in here and there and the odd 1950's thing stuck up in the middle of it all.

Birmingham is a complete mish mash of styles from way back when to right now. I wish I could find a better photo to show you what I mean. I just love looking down a street and seeing what looks like a high victorian church next to a building like in this picture.

Old and new side by side. Great.

2. We have one in Cardiff. But this is actually the first book shops I've been into since I started writing Erotic Romance and actually saw something like the books I write on the shelf. I was very excited - the people with me were very patient.
They weren't my books on sale there, but maybe one day they could be, if you see what I mean.
They had a gay/lesbian section and an adult book section - neither of which I managed to locate when I went book shopping in Cardiff last. Very cool.
3. The Jewellery quarter. Hundreds of jewellery shops all in one place. Enough said.

It think the credit crunch has had an effect, there didn't seem to be quite as much on offer as there has been on pervious years I've visited, but still a lot of fun.
I bought... well, no jewellery at all. Didn't see anything I fancied - except a book that had a hole cut in the middle to fit a hip flask into it. I collect hip flasks, so it was something I had to add to my collection. I also bought a painted stone egg and a guilded wooden egg - I collect eggs too. I also collect apples, although I didn't see any there on this visit.
4. The Pen museum.

No trip is complete without taking in an obscure little museum. I'd visited this one before. It's fantastic. I made an old fashioned pen nib on the machines like the one in the photo.
(Yes, I am a big kid, lol.)
The last time I went there I got hooked on collecting old fashioned pens - quills, glass pens, anything like that. My handwriting is appalling with both hands (I'm ambidexterous) and I rarely do any writing that doesn't involve a key board and a computer, but they are very pretty on a shelf behind my desk.

5. And the fifth thing I liked about Birmingam - Just getting away from it all for the night.
I just does you good sometimes. Although, that said, I've been all to pot since I came back, and I'm blogging last Friday on a Monday, but still.

It was good :)

Friday 7 November 2008

Friday's five things that...

Hi everyone,

I'll be posting Friday on Saturday this week - I'm off to Birmingham today and I'm hoping to have five things to tell you about that when I come back :)

Have a great day everyone :)

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Wondering about... cover art

Not so much wondering as announcing.

I've got cover art!

The cover for The Gift came through to me today - I can't tell you just how excited I am about it - I really love the design.
I forgot to find out who designed it, but I'll let you know when I find out.

Here it is...

Okay, back to writing now :)

Monday 3 November 2008

Monday Memo: Why?

Memo: Why a character does something is just as important as what that character does.

Character motivations have been a big thing for me over the last couple of weeks. I have one character that really can't settle on a good reason why he's doing the things he's doing. His personality keeps flickering around and he just won't get with the plan at all.

I know what he's going to do.

I've written what he's going to do.

But I can't finish the damn story until he admits defeat and just confesses why he's doing these things.

I've come to the conclusion that some things just have to be explained or they can't happen in a story. If a character says he dislikes something - not just isn't in the mood for it, but hates it on a really primal level - the reader needs to know why.

Come to that, the writer needs to know why to.

Alister, as he informs everyone very early on in the story, doesn't approve of kink. Okay - fair enough, not everyone does.

But the problem is, he keeps changing his mind about why he doesn't like it. Doesn't understand it? Thinks he understands it but has it all wrong? A bad experience in the past?

He's gone through every possible reason and some I didn't even know existed until I started writing this story - and I've played along and re-written the story for each new theory he's come up with.

It's a 20k story and I must have written about 50k on it so far.

Yesterday, four days before I want to send the story to my editor, he hit on a new theory.

It sounds plausible. It just might work. He might stick to this theory for more than two minutes.

I'm currently re-writing the last chapter to see how it works out for him this way.

Wish me luck people.


Random bit of other news:

My Nano novel - A Model Submissive is on 4000 words as of last night - that characters in that are cooperating nicely.