Just released: Locked In Ignis

So I was originally going to release this next month, but thought why wait? So without further ado, I’d like to announce that Locked In Ignis: A Luxora Novella, is now available for purchase on Amazon, Kobo, and Scribd.

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Locked In Ignis is the story of a man who fought against years of ingrained societal prejudice and underhanded politics of the Imperial elite, to save the woman that he loved. This tale is just one of the many stories and events from the Luxora Trilogy, that led up to the near destruction of a kingdom, and the rebirth of four future guardians.

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The Book Boyfriend Effect

So after a good character development session today, the thought came to me about book boyfriends. You know the Mr. Darcys and Christian Greys of the world. Before I go any further with this post, I would like to give a shout out to my own first book boyfriend. Mr. Mamrou Chiba (aka Prince Endymion) of Sailor Moon.

"Oh Darien ..." (In my Sailor Moon voice)

“Oh Darien …” (In my Sailor Moon voice)

He was the reason I started to daydream about love, decided that marriage might not be a bad idea when I grew up, and found myself having a thing for intelligent, dark haired men who like to wear shades and suits whenever they think they can pull it off. He was my first book boyfriend. And to this day, I still find myself swooning whenever I pick up any of the Sailor Moon mangas and come across him in a scene.

Now back to my main topic. What I really want to talk about is the impact these men/boys have on women. Some may say it’s just an unrealistic crush on a man who doesn’t exist, but I believe their impact reaches deeper than that. I think these men do something to women on a subconscious level that changes the way we pick future mates. They change what we consider to be non-negotiable in relationships, alter our view of what a healthy relationship is, and even give us hope when we have a bad break up.

Which is why I think we, as romance authors, should put more thought into what we make our heroes to be. We should pose the question of, ‘Would I want to date this guy or have my mother/sister/daughter/best-friend date him?’ If the answer is no, then maybe we should re-think having him as our hero. Because he just may become someone’s first book boyfriend, and the pinnacle of the perfect man in someone else’s eyes.

 

 

The Carnal Vices Series: Premiering September 3

So I have a new series of  novelettes (read: 10,000+ word stories) that I’m coming out with. I touched on them briefly before in one of my past posts here. The series is going to be called Carnal Vices, as I’m sure you figured out from the title of this post. It will follow the relationship between Paris, an ex-call girl hard up for money, and Damien, a rich incubus who finds himself unable to shake the beautiful Paris while he tries to regain his lost immortality.

The first episode will be exclusively available on Amazon on September 3, 2014.

Lust. Love. Magick.

Warning: Contains adult language and sexual content that is suitable for ages 18+

In the first episode of the Carnal Vices Series, Paris, an ex-call girl looking for a way to pay off her college loans, meets a madam willing to help her out if she’ll work under her as a high-class escort. To her surprise, her first job involves more than sex when she is ordered to kill the mesmerizing, sex-obsessed incubus, Damien. However, when their paths cross, a spark of something more than lust is ignited between them. And that something will change both of their lives forever.

 

Switching Gears

So I know I haven’t been on here in a few weeks, but that’s because I’ve been busy with a side project. It’s a bi-weekly series of romantic (and erotic) short stories that will follow the love story of Paris, a former escort who finds herself strapped for cash; and Damien, a lust driven incubus who just can’t seem to get enough of her.

I’m hoping to release the first story in September, so watch out for that. In the meantime I’m polishing up Locked in Ignis (A Luxora Novella) so that it will be ready for ya’ll by the end of fall. By fall I mean November, so look out for that as well.

Setting the mood

I love music. The sounds of the beat of drums playing in the background, the lyrics to a song, and the way they all tie together to invoke a special feeling into the listener’s heart. It is for that reason that I love listening to music when I’m brainstorming ideas for stories I am thinking of writing. Music helps me to craft scenery, character profiles, and story arcs.

So today I would like to share some of my favorite songs for writing and tell you why I love them and what they help me with.

Slow Love Slow by Nightwish

My fiancé got me into this band originally and I absolutely love this song. The sultry mix of guitar infused jazz and Annette’s voice just makes my skin shiver in a deliciously naughty way. So of course it is my go to song for writing love scenes and scenes that involve a ton of tension between two characters.

Other Side by Jason Derulo

This song speaks for itself with the lyrics. That feeling of having knots in your stomach as you decide to take a chance on someone else with whom you already have some history. Going from friends to lovers on a limb where things could go either really good or really bad. As you can guess I listen to this song quite a bit.

Not the Sun by Brand New

One word, desperation. That feeling of longing of wanting something so badly but not being able to attain it. To the point that you become plain desperate and will do/give anything to have the person you desire even if their feelings aren’t genuine. This song, along with Keep Your Memory Vague by Finger Eleven, played on my radio for a month straight after I had my first real heartbreak. So listening to it brings back some very vivid and angry memories, but really gets me into the mindset I need to be in to tap into the hearts and minds of my characters.

 

This is just a short list of the songs I listen to, if you want to see more of my inspiration music just visit my Grooveshark page here to stream my inspirational music playlists.

 

 

The Paperback debut

So remember how I stated that there was a bit of a delay with Her Knowing’s paperback coming out? Well the wait is over finally.  I present to you the paperback of Her Knowing with a new cover and a preview of my next novella called Locked In Ignis included in the back. It’s currently available in the createspace e-store for $12.99 USD

https://www.createspace.com/4726855

Why I love writing WITHOUT an outline

Last night I found myself writing a pivotal scene in one of my stories. It was a scene that came to me on my drive home from work where one character showed so much vulnerability that even I was moved after re-reading it. I mean tears didn’t literally fall, but my heart did literally ache for them. Now you may be wondering what this has to do with writing without having an outline in mind.

It has a lot to do with it actually, since this scene was not a part of my original vision for this story. Originally the character mentioned above did not exist and had no place in my story’s arc. And even when they were conceived their part was to be minor. Nevertheless, somehow in time it became a major building block for not only the overall story, but for the main character as well. Changing the entire course of the book itself.

Which is why I love writing without a rigid outline. Yes, let me clarify that. I love writing without a RIGID outline. I mean some direction with a general plot is good and I always use those. But I find that having a set structure for my stories to be limiting. I hate laying things out such as saying this happens in this chapter and this happens in the next chapter, because it doesn’t allow the movement in storytelling that I love. The ability  to change things up as go along because the plot calls for it or a character’s personality calls for it. I love that freedom and wouldn’t give it up for anything.

It’s why none of my stories are ever finished in their entirety even when I start my edits. I just write scenes and sew them together in the editing process. Sometimes adding entire chapters to merge two plot points together in order to bring my vision to life on the pages of my screen.

However I know some people do love writing with outlines because they like having that great sense of direction. So I would like to know how all my writer friends and followers feel about this. When you write, do you prefer to use a rigid outline, no outline, or a general outline and why?

Why the delay for Her Knowing’s paperback

I know I had promised that Her Knowing would be released earlier this month, and would like to acknowledge why there has been a delay. It isn’t because I gave up on the paperback, or anything like that. However, I do have a bit of a surprise up my sleeve with it. So I hope everyone who has been waiting for it can bear with me for a little longer. Trust me, it will be worth it.

 

In other news, the first Luxora novella is now in the editing stage, so yay! (Cue sarcasm for me hating editing and real happiness that I can release it in the next few months.) So that is something else to look forward to. And as usual if there are any more book updates, I’ll be sure to post them here for everyone to see.

 

Characterization: Giving life to words

Characterization is a very important part of writing in my opinion. In fact, next to the plot itself, it is the bread and butter of the story. Unbelievable, flat, or static characters can kill a story even if the plot is stellar. So it’s something I find I have to watch out for when I write. How do I do this?

I keep tabs of my characters in Ywriter. Yes that writing program that I raved about before. I keep track of not only their appearance, but their personality. But before I even get to that stage, I figure out who each character is by giving them key personality traits such as being greedy, optimistic, antisocial, lustful, etc.

Then I take these attributes and play them against the overall plot of my story. For instance, I’m writing a story now (my upcoming novella actually) and the main character is a jaded introvert. So of course she reacts differently to going to an opulent feast being held in the castle than her best friend who is socially ambitious. And it lays out the groundwork for how she will develop as the story continues.

Which brings me to what I consider to be the most important part of characterization. Continuity. If a character is one way, then you can’t just change their personality in the blink of the eye. A coward isn’t going to magically jump in front of the biggest bad guy in the whole book for a sudden showdown. Even if he does have a magic baseball bat that is almost guaranteed to defeat anyone who crosses his path.

Yes, he may overcome his cowardice over time in the book, but not instantly. Which is where continuity comes into play. The key personality elements that you introduce your character to your audience with, needs to stay the same. I’m not saying you can’t change them or use them as obstacles or whatever in your story. But things need to be believable and stay that way throughout the whole book.

What are your thoughts on what makes for great characterization in a book? Also what are some of your pet peeves that you consider to be bad characterization?

Tomorrow is the big day!

Tomorrow at 12am (EST), Her Knowing will be officially released. You can still get it on Smashwords for $0.99 until the end of today using the code VJ86M. In the meantime, here is another excerpt from chapter nine of the book.

“So what are we doing?” I blurted out suddenly.

“What do you mean,” Chris asked coolly.

“I mean, what are we?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are we friends?”

“Yes,” he answered impassively.

“Or are we more than friends? Or is that even an option?”

Chris took a long sip of his drink and sighed heavily. “You ask allot of questions Sarah.”

“I just want to know where I stand” I stated firmly.

“Where do you think you stand?”

“I don’t know and that’s why we’re having this discussion.”

Chris nodded slowly. “Well, I think we are what we are. I like you, you like me, and we enjoy being around each other. Why do we have to complicate that with labels and such?”

“Because labels make everything more clear.”

“Do they?” Chris asked as he took another sip of his drink and stared out the window.

“Yes, they do. I mean we hang out all the time, we both like each other, and we have even had sex at this point. So what gives?”

“Are you mad because I haven’t asked you out on a date?”

Hesitating, I tried to think of a good answer. If I said yes, I could be seen as being desperate and needy. But if I said no, then the situation would stay as is. “I don’t know,” I answered finally.

“Well, if you don’t know, then how am I supposed to know what to do to make you happy with our situation?”

I glared across the table and took another sip from my drink. Within a few minutes our waiter came back with our food. Eating mostly in silence, Chris stole glances of the people walking on the street below while I mulled over the conversation that had just ensued. When lunch was done, Chris paid for our meal and offered to walk me back to my room.

“I’ll be fine,” I said coldly as I hugged him goodbye.

“Are you sure?” he asked as he let me go.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“You’re mad, aren’t you?”

“What would give you that impression?”

“You won’t let me walk you back to your room. And you always let me walk you back to your room.”

This was true, but I wasn’t going to give in still. “Well, I think today I will be fine.”

“No you won’t be. You’re going to go back to your room and watch a sappy, girly movie. Then, you will scarf down a bag of gummy worms while crying, ‘Why can’t Chris be like this!’ ”

“No, I’m not”, I said as I turned to walk away.

It was sad that he knew me so well. The taste of gummy worms was already on the tip of my tongue as I got back to my room and thought of popping in a sappy love story for the afternoon. In the end though, I decided not to give Chris the satisfaction of being right. Instead, I decided to work more on my upcoming novel.

“Chapter one,” I said as my fingers started to fly on the keyboard.

Note: No part of the aforementioned excerpt may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the author’s prior consent.