Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm not OCD, I'm Ritualistic

I've been watching Twitter feeds from the various people I follow, and one of the things I keep seeing are mentions of story "soundtracks". Basically, it is a song, or songs, that the writer listens to while writing a particular piece or scene. Being the people that we are, I'm guessing there are other "rituals" that my fellow writers go through before starting to write. I know I have several. And because I'm nice, and maybe a little narcissistic (who isn't?), I will share them with you.  Now, I will point out that this is just for my current WIP, which happens to be a YA High Fantasy book.

So here it goes.

  1. I cannot wear socks while writing.  I'm not sure why, but I have to have bare feet. If I wear socks, I get to warm and can't think.
  2. I have to have tea or ice water to the right of my keyboard. Yes, I do drink it.
  3. I have to take about 30 minutes to get settled (depending on how focused I am when I sit down). This is the only one that is not constant.
  4. Music. Yes, I must have music. I can write without, but it doesn't feel comfortable. In the case of my current WIP, I have to listen to classical music, or at least neo-classical. My current listening list includes: Mozart's Requiem, Brahm's Requiem, E.S. Posthumus, and Escala. I have also listened to Beethoven, among other classical greats. If I try to write to anything else, it doesn't work (at least for this WIP).
The interesting thing about #4 is that I was able to listen to a completely different style of music for a short-story that I was writing for my creative writing class. I'm not sure why this works, but it does. I guess my current story has its own soundtrack.

So, what writing OCD do you have?

'Till Next time.

Oh, and we can't talk about OCDs without a picture from everyone's favorite OCD all know who I'm talking about.

One last thing, if you haven't signed up for the #writemotivation movement on Twitter? You should. Click the #writemotivation picture on the right hand side of the screen (not where Monk is pointing..although that would be awesome!).

Monday, April 23, 2012


DIVINELY RUINED, from Entangled Publishing and the author who brought you ON ONE CONDITION, is hitting the virtual shelves on Thursday, April 26th, but you can get a sneak peek at the cover and blurb here!

She finally meets a decent man--after she's oath-bound never to touch men again!

Rebecca's life sucked before she became an angel. Crappy apartment, awful jobs, abusive boyfriends--it was no wonder she jumped at the chance to escape it all and become a real live angel. The problem is Rebecca's not very angelic, and she'll have to do more to earn her wings than end her love affair with the word f--er, frick.

Especially when she's assigned to save single father Tony Weis, whose less-than-pure thoughts wreak hell on a telepathic angel's nerves. It's all Rebecca can do to keep her hands off him...but when she loses her memory injuring herself to save Tony's daughter, now it's Tony's turn to be her angel and care for her. But will Tony's devotion tempt her from her angelic path, even if it means being human again?

...To learn more about the author and her other projects, go to:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Male Oriented Romance Stories

One of my twitter-friends, Kait Nolan, posted an interesting question on her blog "Have you heard of a romance genre for men?" It is an interesting question and did end up generating some awesome discussion. So, because my brain won't stop thinking about it, I decided that I need to post something. I have some ideas.

Bear with me. This may be a little stream of consciousness, but I want to present the ideas as they come so that you can see the thought process. Hopefully, you'll still be sane when you're done reading. :D

Ok, we'll start with the basic idea of what constitutes a romance novel/story. I will admit, this is my perception, so if I get something wrong, let me know. Also, I am speaking in generic terms and I know that there are exceptions.

My understanding of a romance novel is this: You have a strong willed, self-sufficient woman who falls for the alpha-type male who woos her, despite her objections. He's physically attractive (think Adonis) and a magnet for all the women around him.  He's self confident, bordering on egotistical. This turns off said female as she is not looking for a man like this. Despite the obvious physical attraction, she is worried that his personality flaws will weaken her. She also doesn't want him to leave her once he has captured her (a common fear based on his cavalier nature toward women in general). Of course, unbeknownst to the leading woman, the alpha male is completely smitten by her beauty, charm, etc. and desires no other but her. Despite his professions of love, she refuses to believe him. Hilarity ensues and they ultimately end up happily together by the end of the book. There could some sex involved (or a lot!), but ultimately, it is the romance that is the focus.

So, how does one convert this to be male centric? How do you convert this very successful formula into something that would capture the male reader's attention?

Well, I have a few ideas. You can argue with me, but you would be wrong. I've thought about it for longer than 20 minutes and therefore am an expert. Right?

So here goes. One of the desires of your typical, heterosexual, male is to snag the woman who is so far out his league as to be ludicrous. In other words, the geek gets the smokin' hottie. Now, another desire that men have is to be accepted and admired. We do really have fragile egos. Sure we hide them behind facades of indifference and excessive machismo,but deep down, we want someone to think we're awesome. This why we compete against other men. Just look at the TV shows, commercials, and movies. You'll see it. If there are two guys, they are competing for your attention and the attention of those around them.

So, let's translate this concept into a romance novel.

First off, the leading male cannot be an alpha, at least to start. He can be attractive and have a great body, but ultimately, he doesn't see himself as an alpha and therefore others won't see him as such. He won't be a leader and will defer his opinion to the person he sees as the "alpha". Women will like him, but not romantically. Or if they do, he won't notice it and therefore they won't feel like pursuing him. In walks our leading lady. She will, like in a female centric romance, be confident, self assured, and drop dead gorgeous. She could be in a relationship with the current Alpha, but feel comfortable enough with the leading man to confide in him, etc. Despite her confidence, she is needing emotional support from the leading man. He will be in love with the leading lady, but not being an alpha will not feel he can express his love. His emotional support will eventually convince her to dump the alpha and eventually help the leading man transform into the alpha that he really is. Granted there will have to be complications, etc that prolong the romance and tension, but I think the basics are here.

If the above sounds familiar, it should. There have already been several movies that follow this plot line. The two that come to mind are "Can't Buy me Love" and "The Wedding Singer". In all honesty, I think this concept shows up a lot in the teenage, highschool drama/comedies that are such a big hit.

What are your thoughts?

'Till next time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Write, There for I am...

A writer...see, I said it. I am a writer. Am I published? No, but that doesn't stop me from claiming that title as mine. Why? Because. I. Write. Simple as that.

This all started Easter when we were visiting my in-laws.  I was talking to my father-in-law about how I was connecting with other writers on Twitter and some of the amazing people I've met as a result.  He stopped me as soon as I said "a bunch of us writers".

"How can you call yourself a writer?" he asked. "You aren't even published yet."
My response was, "I write. Therefore, I am a writer. I may not be published (yet!) but that doesn't mean I'm not a writer."

I wasn't mad when he asked me that question. It was an honest question. And to be quiet frank, a part of me thought the same thing for a long time. Of course, that was before I met some really amazing writers (both published and unpublished).

It's interesting that people make assumptions about you based on a label. If you tell someone, "I'm a writer," they immediately assume that a) you are published and b) you are good at coming up with written things on the spur of the moment. Both of these are false assumptions. Just because I'm a writer, doesn't mean I can whip out something meaningful on demand. It doesn't work that way. If you are a writer, you know this. Just because I'm a writer, doesn't mean I'm published. It doesn't even mean that I'm a good writer. I just have a passion for writing that supersedes most other things.

This last Saturday (April 14th), there was a meeting of the local writers group. I've mentioned them before. All wonderful people. Some published, others almost, and some like me, not yet. It was a small group this time because of the impending storm-pocalypse that they were predicting (which ended up hitting every where else, but where we were) and other things like life and illness.

Anyway, I was talking with the very talented Tessa Gratton (yes, I'm name dropping!). If you haven't read her debut book, Blood Magic, then you need to. It's awesome. Her second one, Blood Keeper (which has a wicked cover) comes out in August.  So, we were all talking and my brain was still melty from my downward spiral (mentioned in my last post). I can't remember what I said, but it was along the lines of me not being as cool as her because she was published and I was only 30,000 words into my first novel.  Her response was immediate.

"Don't self-deprecate."

In other words, don't put yourself down because you aren't as far along the path as other people.

And since, I've decided to spruce up my blog with random things, here is a video I did of me raising one eyebrow...why? Because I can. :-p

'Till next time!

P.S. I am waaaay behind on my #writemovation goal of 20K words on WIP. We'll see how the rest of the month goes. Now that my brain isn't melty, I should be able to make some progress. :D

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Measuring Worth with Social Media

I've been on the internet for a while, hell, I remember when the internet didn't exist, but that's not really the point. What is the point is the interesting phenomenon of how much our self worth can be so wrapped up into something so unreal. Granted, as human beings, we crave acceptance, by our families, friends, and society (excepting sociopaths, but even then...).

Take for instance, Facebook. Recently, I unfriended someone that I have known since childhood. We were friends in real life, of a sort, however, his comments on my posts were very judgmental and rude to the point that several people were commenting to me about them. So, I did the only thing I could think of, I didn't confront him on his behavior, I unfriended him and deleted all of his offending posts on my wall. In a sense saying, I reject you, I don't think you are worthwhile.  Honestly, I don't know if he even noticed. To my knowledge, Facebook doesn't tell you when someone has unfriended you. That connection just gets lost. It disappears into the ether and nobody notices its passing.

The true reason for this post is that today, I was blocked from following someone on Twitter. Those of you who use it, know that it occasionally stops you following people for various weird reasons and occasionally you have to go through a fix those connections. I've had a couple people disappear off my follow list and had to retrieve them (speaking which, if I am following you and suddenly am not, please let me know). Anyway, I was going through my list and realized that I had stopped following someone that I was really interested in following. When I went to follow them I got a very peculiar message:

My initial response was: Huh? Is this a bug? Then it started turning toward, self doubt and recrimination. What did I do wrong? Did I say something really rude? Was I obnoxious? Did my goofy behavior somehow offend this person? Needless to say, my mind has be plagued with these thoughts all afternoon. It got to the point were I even sent this person an email apologizing if they felt I had said anything inappropriate or bothersome. I don't normally have these self-destructive thoughts (not like I used to), but they do happen. I haven't heard back from this person, and part of me is worried that they will say "yes, I blocked you because you annoy me." I'm hoping that it is ultimately a misunderstanding as I hold this person in high regard.

Anyway, it is interesting that our self-worth is so wrapped up in how many people follow us or friend us. Up to this point, I didn't think mine was. After all, I am a fairly well adjusted human being (now). I realize that these feelings will pass eventually, but it is still unsettling that I could be affected by something like this.

What would you do if someone blocked/unfriended you? How would you feel? If you could talk to them, what would you say? Food for thought.

'Till next time.

UPDATE: Spoke with the person in question and it was an accidental blocking. Yay! I'm not on their hate-list! It also helps that the downward spiral has stopped.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Plodding Plots

Yesterday, my father-in-law loaned me the book "Plot and Structure" by Jason Scott Bell. I've read part of it on my Kindle and it seems interesting. Plot and structure are important to any story, or poem.  It gives the writer direction and keeps them from getting lost in the prose. Despite its importance, how you do your plotting, is another thing.

I know some people who spend a long time plotting everything to the point that they just have to fill in a few words and they are done. For them, it works. It's structured, it's clean, and they can quickly write out scene upon scene and finish very quickly (in a sense). The work they do on the front half, reduces the work they do on the back half.

Then there are people like me, sometimes called "seat of your pantsers", or "pantser" for short. Now, I'm not a complete pantser as I actually do preplan a little before writing a chapter. I also have a pretty good idea of where my story is going. A true pantser just writes, and writes, and writes, and lets the plot set itself.

Either way you do it, there will always be the need for editing and revision. Nobody is perfect.

I've also decided that I'm somewhat boring with my blog so here is an obligatory random image from:  It looked cool. No other reason. :D

'Till next time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Mind Killer

Yes, I'm talking about fear. It is a mind killer. It destroys our ability to think. If we can't think, we can't create. As humans, we don't want to do things that scare us, unless you are an adrenaline junkie. But seriously, how many writers do you know who are also adrenaline junkies? Anyone? Anyone? The silence is deafening. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but writers are generally not into flinging themselves off of buildings, or jumping motorcycles over canyons. We might be crazy and neurotic, but not that crazy.

But I digress.

I've been reading a lot of bios about writers. I'm not stalking, I'm just curious. You always hear about how this author, or that author, wrote their first book at the age of young and how they always wanted to be a writer, etc. etc. You never hear them talk about being scared to write or being scared that they would fail. I find that interesting, to say the least.

Here's why. When I was 10, I was scared to write. I never thought I could do it. For me, writing was a constant struggle. I had consistently low grades in English classes. In 7th grade, I wrote my first poem (because I had to). It was about the wind (I think). It was the first time a teacher liked my writing. Unfortunately, I had a lot of emotional issues that made it difficult for me to accept praise. As such, her praise did not ignite the passion to continue writing.

Now, that isn't to say that I didn't create. I was constantly creating. It was just in my head. I would read a book (which I did all the time) and would image what would happen to the characters after the end. If I watched TV (which I rarely did except at my dad's on weekends), I would image what was happening after the show/movie was over. Then there were the toys (see my post: Breathing new life into old things). Looking back, I lived in a constant state of imagination.

My first real foray into writing was during my angst filled teenage years. Since I felt like I couldn't write prose, I instead tackled poetry. It was great. I thought I was the best poet in the world. Yeah, I've looked back at some of it, it's not nearly as good as what I can do now...just sayin'  I did attempt to start a story, but I ended up stopping for no other reason than I was scared. I remember the story, and I plan on re-writing it. It is in my head, after all.

So, what does this have to do with fear, that great killer of minds and creativity?


The underlying issue with all of this, was fear. I was so scared that I would fail, that I never really tried. I had, and continue to have, several ideas floating in my head. It's a never ending buzz of mental sound. A month ago, I really started writing. 25,000 words later, and I realize that I can do this. It only took me over 30 years to realize (and a lot of encouragement from some awesome people) that I could accomplish something of this magnitude..

I've been doing my best to encourage people who have expressed an interest in writing. Why? Because, if they are interested, they want to do it. The only thing stopping them, is fear. I recognize a lot of their excuses. I should. I've used most of them.

Now, April is not an official #writemotivation month, but I will still post what I plan to do.

  1. Write 20,000 words on WIP#1 (I did it last month, I can do it again).
  2. Blog once a week
  3. Cheer and encourage my fellow #writemotivation writers and anyone else that needs it

I think that should do it. :D

I'll leave you with a famous quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt at his inauguration.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”

'Till next time.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Poetic Form Examples

In a previous post, I defined 2 poetic forms of geeky inspiration. I created them for my creative writing class. Unfortunately, I was too obsessed with writing WIP#1 to actually write down examples. My teacher even commented on that fact, so I decided to make up for my failings and write the examples.

Here is the first one.

Icarus (Piece of Pie Form)
How would you
The sun from the sky?
Burning orb searing my flesh
Falling from grace to shatter against stones and earth.

The second one was significantly harder. I will admit that I cheated, however I did get all of the requirements in. I will explain why I stayed true to the form and at the same time, cheated.

Dreaming the Impossible (Towel Form)

If I could fly
Through space,
Fleeing the confining sky.
Keeping pace
Fleeing suns on high.
They race
Breasts swelling with pride.
Their faces
Red from keeping stride.
They grace
Us before they die.
Streaming displaced
Atoms they scream by.
We retrace,
As we vainly try,
To replace
The silent night denied
We embrace
Those things we deny
Icons defaced
Ne’er asking us why.
Scenarios our final goodbye.
Lives erased
With a final sigh.
The birthplace
Of wishes we rely.
Souls interlaced
In the arena vie
Keeping apace
Of Hell’s reach imply
That anyplace
Be a willing ally.
Death commonplace
While others do standby
Hateful menace
In their wicked eyes.
Flee hyperspace
And other words scifi
Don’t misplace
The Infinite Improbability Drive
9 x 6 = 42

There are 42 lines.  I know, I counted them.  However, I also cheated.  The last words were supposed to be "Infinite Improbability Drive", and they are.  Unfortunately, they way I wrote it, I only had 41 lines. So, I cheated. 9 x 6 = 42 is an equation, it is not technically text.  So, not only did I write the poem, but I also completed all optional and improbable challenges.

You could argue with me, but you would be wrong. :-p

'Till next time.