Planning out your novel
So this post is hitting a little late, but fret not, (winks) I have such a surprise for you all!
I have been battling this head cold for the past week and it’s one that has about knocked me on my ass, so when I woke up this morning, the blog post completely slipped my cold-medicine-drugged mind. Leave it to a few of you not to let me forget altogether though! (laughs)
Last week we talked about research and the importance of making sure it’s completed for your novel. Research is a key part in the development of said piece and following behind that is your outline.
How do you go about planning your novel? Are you a “fly by the seat” type of writer? Do you like to plan each chapter out, list details that need to be included every step of the way? Or are you more of one that jots down a few things and takes it from there? You know, a mixture of both?
Different styles are used all the time and depending on the type of book you’re writing, the type of writer you are, and the time you have to dedicate to the manuscript, any of these styles will work.
Within my crime and paranormal series, I outline my pieces. I have to; there are just way too many details in order for me not to do it this way. I find that with an outline as well, I don’t run into hang ups on what scene needs to come next. It’s already there, listed out as a guide to draw me along.
Each writer will do things differently and it’s up to you, as the creator of your new world and characters, to find that balance for what you need and how you want to get it accomplished. There are no set rules for how a writer develops and puts their work together. Writers are considered artists, and within the art, or craft as some may call it, there is the need for creativity, originality, and most importantly…drive.
What’s the best way you get your novel ready?
How does that novel get started?
For those of you who don’t follow me personally on Facebook, this week I started in on the second book in my new series called Empire Blue. Starting another book has brought up all the exciting prospects that come when an author plots out a new manuscript (MS). There really isn’t any author that can just jump right into writing a MS, but rather it takes time, patience, and a whole lot of research.
Rather than just tossing a bunch of pictures your way for this week’s Man Candy Monday – not that I think you all would mind that (winks) – I decided to walk through this process with you all for a few different reasons that I’ll list below.
I belong to a few different critique groups and every day I see new writers come aboard, each with the same wide-eyed trepidation that I remember all too well when I began this journey many years ago. Most are eager to learn, some may have a mindset that they don’t need to learn anymore (this frame will hurt a writer more than anything else), but most are terrified to put themselves out there. Unfortunately, on the last thing there, it is the one thing every writer MUST do if they ever want to succeed.
With a majority of these new members, I’ve been asked countless times how to go about getting your piece looked at, how I dealt with the initial shock of someone not liking my work (yes, it is hard to know that not everyone does, but that is a part of life), and how to make yourself better. The simple answer is, you just gotta rip off that band aid – literally – and get a second, third, fourth, etc, etc, person to look at it. The more, the better.
Why the reluctance, you ask, especially when authors eventually know that their pieces will be out for the world to see? Well, it’s because of a few reasons again. Authors critiquing other authors can be extremely harsh at times, sometimes more so than any editor or agent ever would be. Why? Well because we know the craft extremely well and are trying to not only draw the talent out of the other author, but also give them the “tough skin” that is needed in order to succeed in this industry. The other is because of the amount of time we go through in conducting research for the piece we want. Again, I stress that no author can just hop into a subject or idea and write out a novel – some sort, any kind of research needs to be conducted. And the first step – the idea – is only the beginning.
So while I introduce our newest Man Candy recipient, think on how you do your research or how you would – for those who are aspiring authors – and share some of your tips below.
Ella Grey's anticipated new release is here! Cupid has been a bad, bad boy....
Today I have fellow author, Ella Grey stopping by to tell us about her new release. It's one I've been anticipating myself and I know, without a doubt, you all will love this piece.
So Ella, tell us a little about your new release.
Ella: Cupid has been a very naughty boy. The Cupid’s Conquest series is a multi-author series started with Gunshy by Seleste Delaney and the latest offering is Irish Kisses by Ella Grey.
The thing with love is it’s all about finding that happy ending. Sometimes it isn’t that simple. People have a habit of making it complicated.
Eros can’t be everywhere at once so for this particular match-up he’s got some old fashion help. Serendipity is the muse of happy endings and her brand of help raises questions that fate might be planning in the hand of the blossoming relationship between Abigail Smith and Seth O’Connor.
Abigail Smith is having a particularly bad week.
Abby’s best friend and fellow lawyer Dawn Philips has been murdered and while Abby wants to bring down the man behind her death. Her bosses decide that she’s too personally connected. She’s told to take some time off and let someone else handle the case. The thing is, the case is falling apart and Abby just can’t let it go. A mysterious private eye pays her a visit and suddenly Abby finds herself on a plane to Ireland.
There she meets Seth O’Conner.
Seth is on holiday, travelling to Ireland to see the place where he grew up. He expected to drink too much Guinness and have some much needed fun. He didn’t expect Abigail Smith, the beautiful redhead and the blistering hot encounter they share in the aeroplane bathroom. She’s got secrets and it takes a brutal attack for Seth to learn them.
Now he has no intention of leaving her side.
“Are you okay?”
She looked up and into the green eyes of the guy who’d checked her out earlier. He actually looked concerned, and it left her wondering what she must look like. “No,” she said bluntly. “If God wanted us to fly he’d have given us a pair of nifty wings.”
He laughed as he sat down next to her. “Then why did you choose to fly?”
“Maybe it’s because I’m lacking anything close to common sense.” She closed her eyes and rested her head on the chair in front of her. She heard a stewardess asking if she was alright, and the guy mumbled something to her.
“It’s okay. I’ll keep an eye on her.” Abby heard something that sounded like a wallet opening. “I’m a cop, so she’ll be okay with me.” A slight pressure on her lower back caused her to look up. “Do you want a drink?”
She nodded. “Anything alcoholic would be great, thanks.” Alcohol would help numb her senses a little.
As the stewardess left, she realised the cop was still rubbing her back. It felt nice. If she focused on those small round movements, it took her focus away from the motion sickness. “I’m Abby.”
“Well, since you’re touching me I thought we should at least exchange names.” She smiled to show she was kidding. He removed his hand and Abby felt a swell of panic as the sickness came back suddenly. “Please, don’t stop. It is actually helping.”
He put his hand back and Abby looked down at the ground again.
“So you’re really a cop?”
He chuckled and it was the most dangerous sound Abby had ever heard, it made her heart pick up its steady pace and the dark place between her legs wet. “That’s want the badge usually means.”
She smiled, even knowing he couldn’t see it. She heard the stewardess come back with their drinks, and she slowly got up. Seth handed her one of the bottle of beer. “I’m sorry I don’t think they have anything else, unless you want water?”
“No this is perfect, thanks.” She brought the bottle to her lips and took a slow drag from it. “I’m sorry for ruining your flight.”
“Not at all, I came over here to talk to you anyway.”
His bluntness took her breath away, “Really, why?”
He took a quick drink and Abby watched as his tongue flicked out to catch a bead of liquid at the top of the bottle. “Just curious, are you visiting family?” He asked, quickly changing the subject.
She shook her head. “I’m visiting for work.”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a lawyer, but I’m doing a little freelance work at the moment.” While it wasn’t a complete lie, she didn’t want to go into any gory details. She didn’t want him to get that look of sympathy that everyone at her office seemed permanently fixed on their faces. “I’m going to Dublin. I’m looking for someone.”
Abby took another pull from the bottle. It felt good to be able to talk to somebody. For one it took her mind off her travel sickness, and since she found it hard to drag her eyes away from him, it was an added bonus. Now if she could just stop thinking how it felt to have his hand on her, it would be perfect.
You can find Irish Kisses and the other awesome stories in this series at http://www.evernightpublishing.com/cupids-conquests/
Ella Grey is a full-time writer, with a little monster, a big monster and a cat who might actually be Satan.
The first instalment of the Molly O’Brien novella series was released in 2010. It was quickly followed by the Rachel Valentine eshort series, aimed at young adults. The Red Dress, her first attempt at adult fiction was released by Evernight Publishing as part of their Just Vamps anthology.
She thrives on new challenges and can’t wait to sink her teeth into a new story or a new genre. She can usually be found in front of her netbook with her earplugs in. Bother her at your own peril. You’ve been warned.
For more information about latest releases or a glimpse into the mind of a writer with a full plate, Ella can be found here.
What motivates your writing?
So, for kicks, and also in preparation for my upcoming new release I came across a photo of someone who caught my eye. Well hell, they all catch my eye but this one did for another reason.
In Feral Craving, formally known as Coming Home, I introduce Tyler to the group. Tyler, from what many of you remember is pretty much sex on legs. His voice has the capability to stop anyone, man or woman (*hint, hint*) in their tracks and his eyes, depending on his mood, speak of things to come.
Tyler can see all, and when I say that, I mean Tyler knows not only what’s going on inside of a body but also the biggest wants for the soul.
Okay, in case many of you have missed it, Feral Craving involves a team of Special Forces who are actually a form of demon (good at that) known Justice Demons. In Feral Craving, we hear of Bari’s story and how he’s introduced to this new, dark world.
That being said, when I got to thinking about this week’s post, I knew the man I wanted to feature, but I also wanted to touch on a bit of what drove me to write his story.
I’ve had many people ask me what drives me to write, how I get my motivation. A little known fact behind the scenes is that all my writing is done while listening to music. Some get their drive from pictures, other from movies, and many others from utter silence. With me music drives the scene and depending on what I’m listening to will drive what the scene is about.
Bari’s book was written pretty much to songs by Kanye West. I’ve donned his theme song as Stronger by Mr. West and if you listen to the lyrics and read the book, then you’d understand completely why. Some other songs that drove me in this piece, and mind you it’s a very dark time for Bari, are Dark Fantasy, No Church in the Wild, Otis, Runaway, and most especially Made in America. In case you want some good pieces to listen to, I’ve created the basic list of which songs primarily drove me to finish this manuscript here.
C.R. Moss stops by to tell me about her wicked new release involving, yes, you guessed it...COWBOYS! *swoons*
What’s the title of your new release? Wild West Hauntings
Blurb: In life and the afterlife, on the Double D Ranch one belief holds true—the power of love changes lives.
With cowboys, ghosts, modern day women, hot dreams, pre-wedding relations and a bit of sexy time travel, life promises to be one wild time on the ranch again.
Rachel Star has met the man of her dreams … literally. Too bad he’s a ghost. When true love crosses boundaries from dreams to reality and across time, the Double D ranch is the place it happens. It takes the love of a man from the past, Dalton Dougan, to bring love full circle in the present for Rachel.
Bristol Ashcombe, soon to be Dougan, is ready to have her baby … and so is a poltergeist. Can the love of a woman for her man and child sustain her during the most horrible of terrors? Can the love between family and friends really dispel the evil haunting them?
***Be Warned: sex toys***
***An Erotic Paranormal Contemporary Western ***
I know soooo many people who are gonna love this. Tell us a little about your current release.
RM Sotera and I had a blast writing Wild West Hauntings, and it’s also an Editor’s Pick at Evernight Publishing. More can be found below and at http://doubledranchtales.blogspot.com/ Wild West Hauntings can be purchased via this link: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/wild-west-hauntings-by-c-r-moss-and-r-m-sotera/
What inspired this story? It all started with a trip I went on where I stayed on a working ranch. There were ranchers/cowboys who actually wore the hats and chaps, horses, trail rides, campfires, cattle, and food cooked outside. My muse started asking, "What if?" When I returned home with a handful of ideas, I went to RM and said, "Guess what we're going to write about." She was a bit worried about pulling it off not having been there herself, but I had taken a lot of pictures and then we placed ‘our ranch’ in the area we live in. A few tweaks here and there and the Double D was born. As for the rest of the ideas for all our stories, they came about from a lot of brainstorming.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year? I’m currently working on the third book in the Wild West series, a story that I’m targeting for Evernight Publishing’s Naughty Fairy Tales line and a couple of short stories for another publisher.
What are your writing goals for this year? I’m planning on finishing the NFT story and the two shorts by the end of 2012. If we can finish the third book in the Wild West series, that’d be a great bonus. Then in 2013, I have a number of projects I want to work on under my other pen name, Casey Moss.
How do you come up with ideas? I get ideas from everywhere…conversations, news headlines, television, songs. On occasion I’ve been known to pull from my old careers and the people I’ve known, drawing out tidbits of personalities for characters, places for settings and information to assist with subject matter—for example, using the basis and background knowledge of energy work that I learned in the massage field in some paranormal stories I’ve worked on. I also love using the places I’ve lived in and visited as the settings. There was one story I wrote (it’s not available at the moment) where I used a situation I’d been in one night on a beach. Granted, I elaborated on the situation and made it much more intense than it had been, but the foundation was there.
What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published? What I wish I’d known before I became published: This deals more with marketing and promotion… I wish I knew to get a few publishers under my belt right from the start and to start promoting myself before the first story was even picked up/published.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why? Leading up to the scene I want to share —in which life at the ranch starts to get a bit spooky—Rachel, a visitor to the ranch, just finished a spicy dream where she and her man had a picnic and a sexy frolic in a pond. He invites her to visit him in the stables later. That part of the scene ends with –– He nodded. “Yep. For your present and maybe even some more time together.” Dalton winked and kissed her forehead. “Come to me later.” ––
Then the story slips into one of the sections I enjoyed writing for its spookiness. Here’s some of it to give you a taste…
~ Excerpt ~
Come to me…
Nearby in the stables, the horses whinnied. Some dogs yipped as if to tell them to quiet down. The night wrapped her in a cool embrace. Chilled air graced her arms below the edges of her sleeves. Her bare feet crunched on twigs. Dried leaves scattered from the wind over the dirt path. It felt like an unseen hand held hers, that a palpable sixth sense led her along the way. The draw of the cemetery drew her closer and closer toward it. A light mist, glowing silver in the moonlight, surrounded the area and her.
Yes, come, a deep voice rolled in her mind. Come and say hello. The hand tightened, soft cold touches caressed her cheeks.
She easily navigated over rocks and around trees. The world appeared surreal, like the setting in a gothic film, where the moon was so bright it drowned out the light of the stars. Trees stretched scraggly branches up toward the sky. An animal--coyote, the voice informed—howled in the distance. The dream-like scene was eerie but not frightening.
Doesn’t seem as lucid as my others. What could Dalton be up to with me now?
The unseen force compelling her to the family plot directed her to the center of the gravesite. She knelt before the dark gray headstone that was busted in half. The words on it were worn and chipped away, undecipherable. The letters on the other stones near it were just as bad. A light gray one a few feet away, no matter how she clawed and scraped at it to see the name, wouldn’t come clean. Something deep within her had her yearning to see the name, the dates, and the phrase written underneath the main information. How could she figure out who was buried in the graves if she couldn’t read the markers?
Doesn’t matter, the voice stated with a snicker.
Doesn’t matter? Yeah, right. Quit messing with me Dalton. She needed to know why she wanted to check out the place so bad. Why did she dream of it now? Her knees dug into the ground as, once more, she attempted to decipher the name on the tombstone. It would reveal a lot of information if she could just figure out…
A frigid touch on her shoulder startled her. She jumped to her feet and turned. “Dalton?”
He looked strange, pale, as if he suffered from being freezing cold. “What are you doing here?”
“I felt drawn to come here. I thought it was you pulling me. If not…” She glanced around. Shadows did a macabre dance over the gravesite. Her stomach roiled. “Then what are you doing here?”
“You don’t belong here.” He raised a shaky arm and pointed at her. “You shouldn’t be here.”
Why was he acting so weird? “Dalton? What’s going on? Are you all right?” She reached out and stepped toward him, but he backed away.
“You need to go.” His arm swung and aimed toward the way she came. “You don’t know what you’ve done.”
What is your favorite food to cook or eat? There’s a tortilla soup I like to make. Hubby’s even requested it several times cause it’s really good.
These are few of my favorite things:
2. warm, sunny days
3. listening to Rush on the radio
C.R. Moss Bio: An eccentric and eclectic writer, C.R. Moss pens stories for the mainstream and erotic romance markets, giving readers Worlds of Possibilities when it comes to love. So what does she write? She writes stories from the light and sweet to the dark and deadly with varying degrees of sexual heat.
Find C.R. Moss here ~
* Website: http://www.crmoss.net/
* Blog: http://crmoss.blogspot.com/
* Double D Ranch Tales: http://doubledranchtales.blogspot.com/
* Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRMoss.author
* Twitter: https://twitter.com/CRMoss
* Evernight Publishing – C.R. Moss: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/pages/C.R.-Moss.html
* Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/C.R.-Moss/e/B002DBE49W
*All Romance Ebooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=C.R.+Moss
* Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/cr-moss
Elyzabeth M. VaLey stops by to let us know about her new release and lets me pick her brain....just a little
I’ve got Elyzabeth M. VaLey visiting today and she’s got a lot to share. Check out our discussion. ;)
What’s the title of your new book coming out? The Lost Mercenary
Can you give us a little blurb about it? All he ever wanted was a family and some land for farming. Instead, his dreams were ripped at the seams by a ruthless king. Choosing to become a mercenary, Gregorii has roamed the land clinging to a past he thought long gone until Emmeline stumbled onto his path. Now, his dreams resurface and hope re-emerges. The only problem is Emmeline’s defiance.
Emmeline has a secret. An important secret. A dangerous secret. Few know her mission. Fewer know her past. When Gregorii turns up in her life, past, present and future unite and her whole world threatens to crumble.
How long will she be able to hide the truth from him? How long will her heart resist the inevitable?
Tell us a little about your current release. The Lost Mercenary is book 3 of The Mercenary Tales and it delves into the story of Gregorii. After Wybert’s disappearance (you can read his story in book 2 The Mercenary Slave) he ends up in the other side of the world and encounters someone from a past he thought dead: Emmeline.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year? I have another release scheduled for December 4th, called Punishing Santa. It is a hot fantasy Christmas story already available for preorder from Silver Publishing.
As for my current writing projects, well NANOWRIMO just started! Although I have about eight different stories begging for attention, I’m going to try and focus on two of them: a contemporary urban fantasy featuring a hot and dangerous bounty hunter called Adrian Ormonde and a historical fantasy featuring Vincent, a good natured, introspective hero who has something magical happen to him.
How do you come up with ideas? I wish I could say I have a system, but I don’t. Ideas will come to me out of the blue, most of the time when I’m out walking my dog and have nothing to write on. Music is a great influence as well, and it’s not the first time that a certain song brings a scene to mind.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or...? Once I have the idea and the scene that’s been replaying in my head down on paper, I try to outline where I want the story to go. From that point on, I can research, explore the characters, or simply continue writing… it depends on the novel.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing? I’m a night owl. I have a much easier time writing at 1am than at 1pm. The biggest problem with that is having to wake up early the next day. *g*
What is your favorite scene from this story and why? A favorite scene from this story…hummm… Can I say I like them all? *g* One of the scenes I enjoyed writing was the one where Gregorii threatens to erotically torture Emmeline for information. It’s a highly sexual scene but at the same time emotions are running rampant.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat? Give me a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce and I will be the happiest woman on earth. What can I say, I’m easy to please! *g* I not only like eating spaghetti, I also like cooking it. My sister, who’s quite the picky eater, loves my sauce so it must be good. I also like baking, especially anything that has chocolate. Yum!
What do you like to read? Romance and fantasy are my favorite genres up to date, but I like exploring other books as well. I’ve read anything from Tolkien to Dostoyevsky to Diana Gabaldon.
I’ll admit to a little secret, I’m a bit weird, okay, maybe I’m very weird, but I like reading the end of books before the actual thing. I’ll usually skim over the last few pages (sometimes even the last chapter), before reading the whole thing. If the ending doesn’t appeal to me, it’s likely that I won’t read the book. I’ve made some exceptions and I don’t do it with all the books…but it’s a habit I’ve had since I was a kid.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading? My parents were both avid readers and my mom always read to me before bedtime. As a matter a fact, I remember the day my sister was born because she had been sitting on the edge of my bed, reading me a story when her water broke.
Do you have any good news you’d like to share? I’m chatting at GoddessFish Party Pavilion today! (http://www.goddessfishparty.blogspot.com/) Come on over!
Want to give us an idea of some of your favorite things?
1. Music (especially metal music)
2. Chocolate (white chocolate is my favorite)
3. My dogs
Excerpt for new release:
Sharply taking hold of her hands, he tied her wrists together. Pulling her to her feet, he bound her to the lowest branch, forcing her to almost stand on her tiptoes. Her face was flushed, her eyes bright and her hair disheveled, the taut braid she wore earlier practically gone. Gregorii swept his gaze over her body and he felt his cock ooze in appreciation. She was truly gorgeous. Curvy, with toned legs and breasts with large hard nipples begging to be touched and tasted.
“Grearióus, release me or I will kill you,” she threatened in a low murmur.
He lifted his eyes to her face and licked his lips. He was anxious to kiss her again, yet he knew it would not be an easy task at the moment. “I believe your position is not exactly one of ease for killing, though I do not doubt your capabilities. You have a nasty right hook,” he said, rubbing his shoulder. “And incredibly strong legs, not to mention a delicious tasting pussy. No wonder you became mistress of the brothel.”
Emmeline spat at his feet and he grinned.
“Tell me what I want to know and I will release you and no one will know the better. We can even have a peaceful fuck afterwards. I know you want it as much as I do.” He glanced into her eyes, but she spat again, this time the dribble landing on his face. Chuckling, he brushed it off like a bothersome fly.
“I’ve been submitted to worst torture than this. You don’t have it in you to hurt me. You were never good at hurting others.”
“It’s been ten years, Avalina, I have changed.”
“No, you haven’t. You are still the gentleman, the kind hearted soul who will help maidens in distress. You might be a mercenary, but that is only on the outside. Inside, you are still that playful boy with a heart of gold. I have seen you fight before and it was not what we just did here. You didn’t want to hurt me,” she accused.
“You didn’t want to hurt me too badly, either. You killed that man in the woods without contemplation. Right now, you doubted your moves or we would both be very badly injured. In truth, you’re still that vulnerable child challenging everyone because she’s scared of the world.”
“No, Grearióus. I lost my vulnerability the moment Ragnahall burned down. I admit I am scared of the world. You have no idea what is out there, Gregorii,” she whispered anxiously. “But now, I challenge for survival.”
“You don’t always have to fight against everything, Ava,” he murmured. “You don’t have to fight me.”
He watched Emmeline carefully as she lowered her lashes and chewed on her bottom lip, mulling on his words. In two strides, he stood inches away from her, his fists clenched at his sides so he wouldn’t touch her. She glanced up at him with large brown eyes full of fear, causing his heart to flutter nervously. “Why won’t you tell me why you’re really going to Karpathian?” he asked softly.
Emmeline squared her jaw, her lips thinning and her eyes growing hard. “There is nothing to tell, Gregorii.”
“I think there is.”
She shook her head, lose strands of her long hair falling over her face, framing the pink lips he itched to kiss.
“You will tell me.”
“Like I said,”—she lifted her cool gaze to his eyes—“there is nothing to tell.”
“I will torture you for information.”
“I am no stranger to pain.”
Gregorii grinned and laughed. Reaching out, he roughly cupped her jaw. She inhaled sharply. “The torture I have in mind for you, Emmeline, my sweet Avalina, is quite different.” Dropping his head, he captured her lips in a searing kiss. She hesitated for a fraction of a second before opening her mouth to him and allowing his tongue to brush hungrily against hers. Gregorii pressed the length of his body against hers, wanting her to feel the need between his legs. He dropped his hands to her ass, caressing and squeezing the firm, round globes. Emmeline whimpered, the sound fueling his desire to new heights. His fingers brushed against the apex between her thighs, the heat there blazing. Panting slightly, he pulled away.
“I am no stranger to sex,” she said huskily.
Gregorii grinned. “I know, but I believe that like most whores, you are a stranger to soul weakening desire. The kind of attraction we feel for each other is as strange to you as it is to me.”
A little about Elyzabeth: In love with love, Elyzabeth M. VaLey leads a double life. By day, she is a journalism graduate searching for her big break while working as a switchboard operator. When she is out of the office, she enjoys walking her quirky 11-year-old boxer and 1 year old obsessed-with- playing Labrador. Finally, at night, when the rest of the world sleeps, she gathers her notes, dons her glasses and brings to life her stories of romance, magic and fantasy.
Links (website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, book buy link, etc.):
Buy Link: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/pages/Elyzabeth-M.-VaLey.html