Tuesday, July 31, 2007

19 pages and 4,400 words later -- REVISITED

I thought I'd respond to a few comments from my last blog -- about my 19 page sex scene. I guess that was a bit misleading. It isn't 19 pages of sex. It's 5 pages of lead up. Then 8 pages of undressing and shower foreplay followed by 2 pages of getting to the bedroom. THEN four pages of actual lovemaking. Finally, a couple of pages post lovemaking.

The good news, however, is that the love scene is done. It's really wordy. It isn't all sex, but it's 19+ pages. It starts when the hero and heroine leave the hospital where Kat's uncle is. He's in serious condition. It relates to Kat and Cris's case. She's in shock. This case was already personal, but now it's more so. She's so cold, not because its a bitter winter in Russia, but more of a soul cold. Cris knows it. With the emotions of the evening, their guards are down and both rationalize it's just a bit of comfort. But it isn't. They've already discovered that they can't trust anyone. They aren't ready to trust each other, but they've had no choice.

Kat's scars keep her from willingly letting go and it takes some work on Cris's part, but when he wakes up in the middle of the night next to her, he remembers Ray's words to clean up any loose ends and is reminded of why he doesn't work with anyone: working with Cris can get you killed. So he's resigned to make their first night, their last night. He's going to get the case solved and leave so that she can have a safe life. He still hasn't figured out that her life has never been safe, but he's about to find out.

It's all that stuff -- all that emotion, all that baggage, all that angst -- that takes up 19+ pages.

I'll have to cut it some, but I'm letting it ferment for awhile.

In the meantime, I'm playing with a new beginning.

Yes, I'm crazy. But I've felt for a long time that it's missing something. I've already cut the scene that inspired the whole book. So what if I cut the first two scenes and make it one high impact scene?

Maybe I'll just play with it and see what happens. I may do that for my pages tomorrow. I'm behind on the 70 days. I didn't write the last 3 days since I was at a work conference. But tomorrow, I'm back in for the week. My reduced goal this week is 20 pages.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

19 pages and 4,400 words later

Today, I'll update you a bit and show you how, um, my plans never turn out quite right.

Last week, I said my goal was to finish Byron and Jade's story over the next 2 weeks -- to get it ready for someone to read so I can get my Brava Novella entry off in a timely manner.


Just after I declared that, Kat and Cris of Cold Truth hit me with their big love-making scene. Until now, I had written "Kat and Cris make love". Very exciting. They both have so much emotional baggage, so many demons, so many secrets, which made the scene hard to write. It is very emotional for Kat. She has to let go of so many things, and she is such a guarded person.

On a side, a recent contest reader said that she was very mysterious and asked if I wanted her to be so mysterious. Um, yes. I refuse to dump backstory upfront. Boring. But if she seemed too mysterious to you, then she's exactly where I want her to be.

The love scene I just wrote is a huge hurdle in her character arc. I think I have some good bones down for it. It's actually 3 scenes -- one from her POV, then his, then hers again. I'm sure I have way too many words -- uh 19 pages. That's alot o' loving. But I had to put all that emotion in there. On edits, I'm sure there is repetition that will need to be removed. I'm sure it will get cleaned up. Pages will be cut. I'm wordy. I always have to cut.


It's out there. It's on paper (or flash drive) now. They've finally made love. Things are changing fast. It's a wild roller coaster ride to the end.

Hang on.


PS. If you're reading this and you're a romance writer, what's the longest love/sex scene you've written?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Check out this site

I'm going to post a very short blog today. A truly Random Raving.

I'm at work. I'm the only admin here. I had to be here to make up a day I missed for RWA Nationals, so I'm not complaining. I'm just bored. Don't get me wrong. I have stuff to do. But the air is down for repairs. It's hot as Hades. I have a headache. And there isn't any chocolate in the entire building.

So, instead of the work that really needs to get done, I've been looking for writing info I can use.

I found something great.

I found some old blogs by Lynn Viehl. There are three in particular. Scroll down to find the ones you want. They are worksheets for plotting a single novel, a trilogy, and a medium length series. How cool is that? It's just what I needed. I printed them and have been reading. I have no idea how I found this site, but I bookmarked it so I can come back.

Hopefully they will help you, too.

On to sweat ... in the literal way by actually sweating while I write my 70 days of sweat pages.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Speculations

This week's Sunday Speculation is going to focus on the writing challenge to which I've whole-heartedly dedicated myself: Seventy Days of Sweat. It ends September 20th (as everyone so wonderfully pointed out -- thank you!)

I putting my goals out here so that anyone reading my blog can hold me accountable. (Do it!)

We are entering the second week of seventy days of sweat. My end goal is 85 to 90K total words written. After RWA Nationals and some family time, I'm behind. Of the past 14 days, I was off at the conference or vacationing for 8. My average page count for the other 6 "normal days" where I actually got to write was about 4 pages a day. I had hoped for 5 per day, but that's okay. I can still reach my goal by simply writing 5.5 pages per day for the rest of the challenge. Very doable.

You shouldn't expect me to come away with a 90k novel after this little endeavor. I'm working on multiple projects right now, so I interchange the MIP getting my attention. As of today, I have about 18k to go on my Brava Novella contest entry. I'd like to finish it up over the next two weeks so that I can have a few brave souls read it and give me their opinion of the 750 best words of the 25 to 30k. Yikes. Today, I've been working on it. However, it was mostly backstory stuff. It helps to get a ways in -- the first several scenes -- and then go back and write backstory. Obviously, this stuff is just for me, but to get to the end, I always have to go back to the beginning.

I also have to get some of COLD TRUTH rewritten -- about 10k I just have to recreate from scratch and alot that needs rewriting. I've got a request out there now for the first 3 chapters to go to Denise Zaza at Intrigue. But, I've been wading through those Daphne comments from my final and, well, they contradict each other. On a bright point, however, Cindy Gerard, who I LOVE, judged it and gave me some great compliments! Yippee.

Having focused my morning writing time on Jade and Byron from the as yet unnamed novella, I'm now getting Kat and Cris vibes. It seems my COLD TRUTH characters are giving me some gritty low down and I think I have to switch gears and write at least the scene they're handing me. (And all this after dedicating myself to the novella this morning. The best laid plans.....)

And then there's The Circle Series. I've been thinking it might be a good fit with Silhouette's Nocturne line. I went to the spotlight on Harlequin's paranormals, and all I could think of was this sounds like my sort of thing and my voice would fit in here. For those of you who've read my writing, check it out. They want stories that are dark and sexy, entertaining, fast and action-packed, mission oriented, with powerful dark tortured heros, and life and death issues. The thing will be holding it to 70 to 75k. So, even having brought home over 20 free books and 6 purchased at the literacy signing, I hit B& today and ordered 4 Nocturne books (and a Cindy Gerard book, too.) I've already read one Nocturne book and have one ready to go on my Ipod (downloaded from Audible). At least by the time I get books one and two written, I'll have a good idea if it fits or not.

I'm a ways in on Book 2 of the Circle Series. Yes, I'm writing them out of order. So far, the heroine has managed to take the villian's power and turn it back on him to escape her sexual slavery to him. She's found herself in the last place she was before she agreed to the slavery and she's just run into the hero, who should be dead, but who really isn't who she thinks he is. And, honestly, he's about to find out that he's not who he thinks he is, either. Fun stuff.

This leads me to my last speculation for the day. I'm at the point in the Circle Series where I need to do alot of backstory stuff. I have Tara (heroine), Kevin (hero), and the archfiend Vinostoceses who are getting impatient to tell me how they arrived in their predicaments. That means that a significant portion of my word count may be backstory, but that's okay. I'll have to eventually put all that into the book -- when I can't keep it out anymore -- and I'll have it ready to go.

Back to the writing. I'm at the bottom of page 4. Kat and Cris are ready for their scene. Gotta go.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Post RWA Nationals

If you're a writer and you've never been to an RWA Nationals, you HAVE to go. It is one amazing ride. I went for the first time this year. To say it was amazing would be selling it short.

Besides being my first RWA conference, it was a first for several other things, too.

1. The first time any of the members of AotP met in person. Alyson, Katrina, Jacque, and I shared a room. We had a blast, or at least I did. All of them were exactly as I had expected they would be – sweet, gracious, smart, upbeat, energetic, quirky (Ok, yes, we all are. So what?), and wonderful. I could have picked them out anywhere. And what’s more, I think our voices are really developing because they were just like their online voices.

2. The first time I’ve been to an awards ceremony for a writing contest I’d entered. I got Honorable Mention in the Daphnes, which was a disappointment, but it was my first entry and my first book, so I’m okay with it.

3. My first time to attend the Rita’s. My friend Roxanne St. Claire won the Rita in the Novella category, so it made it even more special. Another of my favorite authors also won – Jessica Bird, aka J.R. Ward, also won one. I met her. It was so cool. She was gracious, chatty, and wonderful. Definitely a highlight.

4. My first editor pitch. I got a request for the first 3 chapters. Not everyone in my group appointment was so lucky. Honestly, I attribute my luck not so much to having a great story, but to having done my homework. I knew where my story fit, and I pitched it correctly. But then, I’ve always been good at homework.

5. My first really big investment in my writing career. I came away motivated and excited and ready to pound through the Seventy Days of Sweat. It's really 75 days since we had 5 off for Nationals. I took about 4 extra days off since I stayed in Texas to see family after Nationals. However, I'm ready to hit my goal of 5 pages everyday -- no matter what. (Does anyone know the official ending date of the 70 days of sweat? If so, post it in my comments section. Thanks.)

That's all for now.
I'll have some more firsts later this week -- the first results I've received from the Daphnes. My big envelope with the 3 prelim rounds and the 2 final rounds (editor and agent) came yesterday.
When I've had time to analyze, I'll post the things I've learned from their comments.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

First night at Nationals

It's our first night at our first RWA National conference. It's also the first time that any of the members of AotP have met. Katrina, Jacqueline, Alyson, and I settled into one hotel room within an hour of first meeting.

Well, not really. We've known each other via our writing for a year and a half. Our writing and emails truly gave us a good sense of each other. Everyone was just as I'd expected. And, honestly, I felt like I was meeting up with old friends.

The highlight of today was the literacy book signing. We loaded up on books by our favs and a few new ones, too. Katrina bought 11 books, and I came in a close second (well, not so close) with 6, but it did get us through the 6 or more book line much faster than anyone with fewer books.

It's currently 1: 20 am Florida time and tomorrow is an early day with workshops and luncheons, and meeting up with old friends and new, and the Daphne's!! I'm up for one (under another name of course) and I'm completely okay if I only get honorable mention (really). Ok, yes, I'd love to win, but I'm trying to be very zen.

Finally... (isn't this all very random -- but it is very late) ... in the Sevently Days of Sweating Challenge, I've written 3 of the last 4 days. (Yesterday was the exception. Honestly, how many days does it take to pack?) So far, I've written about 11 pages -- not bad for conference week.

Okay, off to bed.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Seventy Days of Sweat

I read Alyson's post over at Alys on Love this morning. She mentioned that she'd signed up for Seventy Days of Sweat sponsored by Alison Kent, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Tyler, Jo Leigh, and HelenKay Dimon.

I won't include all the details here since you can read them at the links above. However, I signed up, too. I have 3 projects in the works. We were asked to list the title, hero, heroine, setting, and length of the project(s) we'd be working on. Here's what I posted about them.

I’m trying to finish up and start a couple of projects:

First, finish my Brava Novella entry.

1) Love to a Different Beat

2) Hero: Byron Andrews — photojournalist for aRolling Stone type mag

3) Heroine: Jade Ramsey — drummer in a famous rock band (the only female member)

4) Mostly NYC

5) 30K (only 20K to go)

Second, a series. (I can’t write them linearlly, so I’m working on 1 and 2.)

1) Working title — Circle of 12, Books 1 & 2 (I’ll get more creative later.)

2&3) Working on names — there are 12 heroines and heros in all. I won’t make this any longer than necessary now.

4) our world and an alternate that seems more like Camelot that here

5) Each one approx. 90k

Third, finish rewriting the completely scrapped ending to my category length romantic suspense (target: Intrigue)

1) Cold Truth

2) Cris Mason — CIA undercover in Russia

3) Ekaterina Sakovia — Scientist turned spy

4) Novosibirsk, Russia — biomedical lab

5) 60k (I have 12k to completely redo for the scrapped ending)

I'm going to work on them interchangeably. When I hit a wall with one, I'll work on a different one and then go back when my subconscious has figured out how to go over the wall.

My goal: Regardless which MIP I'm working on, I want to hit 90K by the end of the 10 weeks. We have 5 days off for Nationals, so we're really under the challenge for 75 days. In order to reach my goal, I need to write 1285 words per day -- 7 days a week. That's roughly 5 pages a day or 35 per week. I can do that. I have to. This is going to be my career (as soon as I sell) and I have to write like it's my career. A few weeks ago, I accepted Kiss of Death's (online RWA romantic suspense group) BIAW challenge. I wrote 46 pages. It was intense, but I wrote that even with a horrible cold. And, back when we had the 10k challenge at AotP, I really wrote then.

I wish I could say that I could just write intensely, pumping out the pages, under my own volition. But I can't. I truly need those outside motivators. And, this is a great one.

If you haven't joined the challenge, head on over to Alison Kent's blog and sign up.

Oh -- Alison says this guy is our personal trainer.
uhmm. I'm glad he's just a picture because if he was REALLY our personal trainer, I'm not sure how much I'd write.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Circle of 12, Book 2, Opening scene

All rights reserved. You may not use this passage in any way, shape, or form without the express written consent of its creator.

She ran.

She almost wondered if this wasn’t some illusion he’d created to tease her. To punish her for even wanting to escape.

Wanting. She wanted. God, she wanted to escape. She hadn’t wanted anything but him in so long. But, now she wanted to eat. She was starving. She wanted a soft pair of nearly worn-out jeans. She wanted to lounge around on a Saturday afternoon in them. She wanted a Saturday afternoon. And a Sunday afternoon. And one on Monday, too. She wanted. And not him. Not the magically induced drunken wanting of him in which she’d found herself since they’d bonded.

She even wanted the pain of her bloodied feet.

Her feet bled, and she loved it. She embraced the sharp spikes of pain which intensified with each foot strike. It meant this wasn’t an illusion. His snares had nothing to do with pain -- unless it was pleasure. But this pain in her lacerated, bleeding feet was a different kind of pleasure all together. It was freedom, not his erotic gluttony.

The pain helped her focus and overcome the lazy lull of his power still clinging to her. However, the pain was increasingly hindering her speed. Fleeing as far from him as possible was the most important -- no -- the only thing in her life now. She wouldn’t have a life if she didn’t get away.

She cut into the corn field. The rich, dark dirt was damp and cool and soothing to the hot aching burn from running barefoot on a roughly-paved farm road for hours. At least it seemed like hours.

She plodded as fast as she could. Her body was in tip, top shape so she kept going through the pain, through the impending sense of loss that whispered to her.

She could use her magic and end up in a thriving throng of people, but he’d be able to track her, and as long as she didn’t give him anything to track, she had a chance.

The corn fields went on forever. The last remnents of the magic she’d used to temporarily bind him were fading. It meant he’d be able to look for her. It meant he wouldn’t be able to find her as long as she used neither her own magic -- the possession of which had surprised her -- nor his. Their magics were bonded and he’d be on her in an instant.

She crossed a narrow stretch of country road and continued her marathon pace through the next field.

As the magic evaporated, her muscles shook. Her dry tongue occuppied to much space in her parched mouth. The overwhelming need to sleep hit her with a vengence. She hadn’t slept in decades. In that magical palace of pleasure-pain -- of erotic torture -- no one slept. There was no need. There were no clocks. No time. Everything was as it had always been.

The pull of everyday magic, of sleep, seduced her now. How many decades of that glorious natural healing time had she missed?

She slowed to a walk, the pain in her feet unbelievable. She glanced down to see warm, fresh blood caressing the caked dried blood.

She needed to rest. She was safe. Her heart fluttered with the fear that she’d never be safe, not really. But for this afternoon, with the sun mercifully hidden behind heavy clouds, she was safe. And she would sleep.

Nestling herself into the cool restorative dirt of the corn field, she settled the airy layers of her sheer black dress around her. She pushed her mangled feet under the soothing rich soil and tucked her head into the crook of her arm and slept.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Conference clothing neuroses

At last check, just a few minutes ago, we had 31 messages on the AotP email loop about clothes for RWA Nationals. Not 31 total. No, there are far more than that. Thirty-one in 24 hours.


This really is understandable. Of the six of us, four are going to Nationals – for the first time. Alyson, Jacqueline, Katrina, and I will be rooming together at our first RWA conference.

This is so exciting. I have to agree whole-heartedly with Alyson’s post at the AotP Blog about the top ten things she’s looking forward to.

Ah, but back to 31 messages about clothes.

We are women. We’re all attempting to make a good impression on agents and editors (we’ll all need one someday soon), on each other (we’ve never met in person), on new friends we have yet to meet (we don’t want to look like total losers to others), and on those famous writers that, frankly, I’m hoping to get near enough to gush openly about their greatness.

We’ve beaten the clothing thing to death. We’ve hit shoes, business casual, comfortable travel clothing, bras, bags, writing notebooks (yes, it qualifies as an accessory) – oh, gosh, we haven’t talked about jewelry yet. How are you accessorizing your Rita outfit?

We’ve talked white pants and skirts and shoe size. We’ve mentioned that our mid 30 to mid 40 year old bodies don’t dress up quite like they used to. We’ve lamented fact that hair is an issue and Dallas is humid. We discussed layering for warmth in frigid conference rooms. We’ve talked about the length of the dresses we’re wearing to the Daphne’s and Rita’s. Someone even mentioned tan lines.

Tan? I’m so not tan. I’ve been in an office all summer. Tanning booth. I have to find a tanning booth. I haven’t done that since college.

Oh, my nails. They are awful. Do you think editors notice nails?

Get the picture?

Yep, we’re all a bit high strung. (I hope no one’s offended.) After all, we are artists. But, I for one, feel very comfortable knowing that I’ll be surrounded by other neurotic friends.

Well, that’s enough on the clothing thing. I need to go ask who's wearing panty hose. I hate those things. I don’t own them, but if everyone thinks they’re necessary for formal events……..