Weirdest Processes of Famous Writers–You’re Not So Strange!

You know what makes me sad lately? People remarking (or in some cases, telling) on other writer’s methods of writing, working, or the process. No one person is like another, and no one person’s methods of writing are like another. Here’s some famous examples;

— In order to stave off procrastination, French novelist Victor Hugo wrote both Les Misérables and The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame in–you guessed it–his Birthday Suit. Being nude meant he wouldn’t be able to leave his house, and as a safety measure, he’d also instruct his valet to hide his clothes.

— As well as chain-smoking and index cards, Aaron Sorkin, has a habit of acting out his zippy dialogue while gazing at his own reflection. In 2010, he worked himself into such a frenzy, that he actually head-butted a mirror. “I wish I could say I was in a bar fight,” confessed Sorkin, “but I broke my nose writing.”

— Mary Shelley kept a domesticated 23-foot-long boa constrictor in her writing studio. She would wrap the snake around her shoulders while she wrote. When the snake grew restless and squeezed, only then would she allow herself to stop writing for the day.

— Like a LOT of writers (including me!), coffee was Honoré de Balzac’s poison. But he wasn’t drinking Lattes. He would drink large quantities of black coffee, ensuring that he could write for a full 48 hours straight. Yikes!

— In Cold Blood novelist Truman Capote described himself as a ‘horizontal author’. “I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy,” he told The Paris Review in 1957. “I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis.”

— The author of Blue Angel, Francine Prose, wears her husband’s “red and black checked flannel pajama pants and a T-shirt.” In a 1998 interview with Kate Bolick at The Atlantic, Prose says, “Fortunately, or unfortunately, we live in a strange apartment with one twenty-foot-high window facing a brick wall, about a foot and a half away. Not much of a view. So when I’m at my desk I feel like I can work undistracted. I might as well be in the country. Writing while facing a wall, incidentally, seems to me the perfect metaphor for being a writer.”

— Not only did the Three Musketeers author Alexandre Dumas insist upon himself a colour-coded system of writing (pink for non-fiction, blue for fiction and yellow for poetry), he reportedly sat below the Arc de Triomphe in Paris every morning and ate an apple for inspiration. An apple a day, keeps the procrastination away, clearly.

— William Faulkner preferred to type with his toes instead of his fingers. He kept his shoes on his hands while he worked.

— It is widely known that Hemingway, following years of work in his basement genetics lab, invented a new kind of cat with six toes. Why? I’ve no idea. But before he sat down to write, Hemingway would go over his writing goals for the day with these cats. He refused to share such things with other, normal toed cats, which he considered to be poor listeners. They’re also usually incredibly disinterested, I find. He also famously said he wrote 500 words a day, mostly in the mornings to avoid the heat. In a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934, he wrote, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

— Visitors looking for T.S. Elliot at a hideaway on Charing Cross Road were asked to inquire at the porter’s lodge for a man known only as “The Captain.” Upstairs, Eliot’s face was “tinted green with powder to look cadaverous.”

 

So the next time you think the way someone keeps track of their writing, writes at all, where or how they do it is odd, remember that it’s the end product that matters. Everyone’s writing process will be different from yours, and if it’s especially eccentric, you’re in good company! 🙂

 

*Thanks to MSN.com, Wikipedia, and Shortlist.com for the examples.

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An Ode To Readers Everywhere

Hey everyone! I know I normally  post up exciting new books to read, and exciting authors to find, but today a really sweet message from one of my readers made me want to write this post. It’s a little different from my usual stuff, but it needs saying.

First of all….we love you all. Readers who are also writers, readers who are not, readers who read a lot and those who don’t. We love you all.

Because without readers, what purpose would we have? Every time we get a good review, or a message from someone telling you they liked your book, it lights an author up from the inside. Not because of the praise itself, not because of the teensy ego boost, not because it nets us more readers.

Because you enjoyed it.

Our whole purpose–sometimes one that takes up our whole lives, and can become an obsession–is to create. We create worlds. We create escapism. We create a place unlike any here in the real world. We create characters. We create people you hate, people you love.  There is a driving need in every author, whether they call it a ‘voice’, a muse, or any other name, to put these stories down on paper for others to read. It’s a tradition that has its roots set in the bards and story-tellers of ancient times, throwing their arms in dramatic gestures and frightening tribes with monsters and ethereal beings around a hot fire.

We write because we must. For some, writing is a hobby. For others, it’s something they need to do, otherwise they would go mad. All writers would write even if no-one read their offerings. But when someone does enjoy them, it’s phenomenal.

The feeling that we’re not just writing for ourselves, for our own fantasies, is an incredible one. When a reader says they enjoy our writing, it’s like that reader saying, “I hear you. You’re not on your own there. I agree, and I love it as much as you do.” It’s a big feeling, to know that we’re not on our own in some way. It’s also a big feeling to know that someone else lives in that crazy world of ours, somewhere between reality and fiction. But it’s even bigger than that. It’s what we did for someone else.

You have no idea how fulfilling it is to know we’ve not only written something for ourselves, but that it made someone else happy. That just for a little while, we made someone else’s problems go away. That for a little while, the real world didn’t exist, and you were a spectator somewhere else. That for a little while, you understood why we needed that world as much as you do. That for a little while, you could escape, and come back feeling hopeful, jubilant, confident, or even more thoughtful about the real world.

So, in effect, MWAH. Thank you, readers. The biggest thank you I’ve ever given anyone. Without you, we wouldn’t be authors. And that’s the biggest gift, for me personally, anyone could ever give me. I hope you keep enjoying our escapism as much as we enjoy writing it.

I’m going to stop being soppy now, and get back to writing. I’ve got an escape to paranormal territory to write! 😀 xxxx

Interview And Blog Stop For Breaking The Nexus By Lindsay Avalon!

Welcome to the official release tour for Breaking the Nexus by Lindsay Avalon! This action-packed paranormal romance will be released on 12/12/12 on Amazon in ebook and print!! To celebrate, Lindsay will holding giveaways throughout the month and a release day party filled with games and plenty of prizes!

The blog tour runs from Dec 1-31 and there are over 40 blogs participating! Join her on each stop as she shares exclusive snippets from the book, answers interview questions, or guest posts, and leave a comment to enter for your chance to win prizes! Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter grand prize giveaway while you’re at it! Prizes include Breaking the Nexus swag, ebooks, custom jewelry, and more!

For a complete list of blogs participating, dates of special giveaways, the grand prize rafflecopter, and a list of the amazing authors generously donating books and swag, check out the special page on Lindsay Avalon’s blog: http://lindsayavalon.blogspot.com/p/breaking-nexus-blog-tour.html

Take me to the awesome free stuff!

Blog Tour and Release Day Party Facebook Event

 

 

Throughout history, myths and legends of extraordinary creatures have been told and retold. Fantastic tales of demons and banshees, gryphons and dragons, and of course, magic. Stories that every child grows to learn are nothing more than fantasy…or are they?

Beyond the world you see lies a hidden realm, the Mythrian Realm, inhabited by all of the creatures you’ve been told are mere fiction. Only one thing lies between humans and the truth: the Nexus. A magical barrier erected millennia ago to separate the two realms, it has stood the test of time. Until now.

For Mythrian Sha Phoenix, magic is nothing new. But when she stumbles upon a portal on the verge of collapse, her fate will forever change. Pulled through the portal into the Human Realm, she lands in the middle of Detective Connor Flynn’s brutal murder scene. Soon it is obvious someone is using blood magic to try to bring down the Nexus. Together, Connor and Sha must work to unravel the secrets before the barrier falls and the realms collide.

The Nexus is breaking and all hell is about to unleash…literally.

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Hello Lindsay, it’s a great pleasure to have you here, welcome to my blog! Just pull up that chair and grab a drink. Your debut novel, Breaking The Nexus, sounds fabulous! Can you tell us more about it—wait, wait…in three sentences or less?

Eek, you do like to make things a challenge! Do run on sentences count? Here’s my best attempt:
All of the myths, legends, and fairy tales you grew up with are actually based in reality and the creatures from those stories exist in a parallel realm called the Mythrian Realm. For millennia, a magical barrier known as the Nexus has kept the Mythrian Realm separate from the Human Realm, but now someone is using blood magic to try to break the Nexus which would unleash all sorts of badness on the world. Mythrian Sha Phoenix must team up with sexy Denver detective Connor Flynn to unravel what’s happening and stop the world from descending into utter chaos and mayhem.

So what was the catalyst for this novel? Were you plagued by dreams? Visited by the inspiration fairy?

Visited by the inspiration fairy mostly. I have always wanted to believe magic could be real and exist in the every day world we know, and somehow that evolved into Breaking the Nexus.

A little duckie tells me you like…well…duckies! Is there an interesting reason why for us nosy people?

That’s actually kind of a funny story. One of my friends back in 7th grade gave me an anime ducky keychain and I fell in love with it. Before then, I never had the ducky obsession I do now, so it always cracks me up that it started off with a simple little gift. The rubber ducky embodies everything I believe in, that no matter how old you are, you should never have to grow up if you don’t want to.

If you could have any other ideal job OTHER than writing…what would it be?

I rather enjoy my day job as a programmer, as frustrating as it can be at times, so I’d probably stick with that.

What books do you read? Do you read books in your genre, or books very different from it?

I love to read most kinds of romance, especially paranormal romance and romantic suspense. I gravitate toward books with action, romance, and a happy ending because books are an escape for me from the everyday stresses of life.

Why do you write in the genre you’ve chosen?

My first attempt to write a book was an abysmal failure because I tried to write an epic fantasy and it just wasn’t working for me. My husband gave me the best advice ever: write what you know and love. I decided since I loved paranormal romance so much, I’d try my hand at it. Breaking the Nexus ended up morphing into more of a sci-fi/fantasy romance, but my husband’s advice was crucial in helping me choose the genre.

What advice would you give to others who wanted to become indie authors?

Don’t give up no matter how hard the struggle may seem. This is work and you have to have a thick skin. You need to be willing to treat this almost like a second full time job if you want to try to make it. You’ll need to become proficient at creative ways to promote yourself and make yourself stand out from the crowd, as well as learning to take criticism and the disappointment of not selling 1000 books a week straight off the bat. The reward is huge if you put in the effort, though I don’t mean in book sales. The feeling that comes with the knowledge that you took a risk and are doing something you love is indescribable.

What is the best part of publishing yourself?

I’m a bit of a control freak so I love being able to control every aspect. I know what the cover will look like, who will edit my book, how it’s promoted, what promotions I want to run, etc. I love that feeling of controlling the process and the timeline of everything. Breaking the Nexus was supposed to be a single, long novel, but I ended up having so many plot ideas, I transformed it into a trilogy about a month before my planned release date. I doubt a mainstream publisher would have liked that as much 😉

And now for the quick-fire questions, which I’ve shamelessly stolen from the lovely Trish Marie Dawson. Please try to answer them all; if you don’t like either option for each question, let us know and why! 🙂

Chocolate or wine? Chocolate wine! Yes it exists and it is EPIC
Superhero or Supervillain? Superhero
Forest or Beach? Beach
Pool or Ocean? Ocean
Christmas Cake or Christmas Pudding? Uhh, never had either (I don’t think) but I’ll go with cake.
Cinema or TV? Depends on my mood
Irish or Scottish? You know what I’m talking about! *wink* Can I have both? Please pretty please? How could you make me choose?!

Where can we find your lovely novels?

I have 2 books out. The first is a novella, in the anthology Once Upon A Twisted Time along with three other authors, available on Amazon and moonrosepublishing.com. Breaking the Nexus is currently only available on Amazon.

• OUATT – Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Twisted-Time-ebook/dp/B009YW6PLS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1355849199&sr=8-2&keywords=once+upon+a+twisted+time
• OUATT – Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Once-Upon-Twisted-Time-ebook/dp/B009YW6PLS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355849237&sr=8-1
• Breaking the Nexus – Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Nexus-Mythrian-Realm-ebook/dp/B00AMPXDLQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1355849261&sr=1-1&keywords=breaking+the+nexus
• Breaking the Nexus – Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-Nexus-Mythrian-Realm-ebook/dp/B00AMPXDLQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1355849280&sr=1-1

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Breaking the Nexus is the first of a sub-trilogy in my Mythrian Realm series. This trilogy will feature Connor and Sha as the hero and heroin and I plan to try to release the next book, Waking the Phoenix, sometime this spring. Once the trilogy is done, I’ll work on a new book in the Mythrian Realm series featuring a new hero and heroine, though I’m sure Connor and Sha will make an appearance.

You can find out more about Lindsay Avalon on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her blog. Thank you for being here, Lindsay, any parting words?
Thank you so much for having me! I’m so glad to be able to share my book with the world. Anyone who is looking for a publisher, check out Moon Rose Publishing 🙂

I am a wife, a programmer, and now an author. I have an adorable mini Schnauzer and more books than I have room for. I love reading romance because no matter what may be happening in my life, I can always count on my books to end happily ever after. The day I met my husband was the day I truly began believing in happily ever after. After hearing me complain a few too many times that I had “nothing” to read despite the hundreds of paperbacks scattered around the house, my husband began suggesting I write my own stories. When I finally took his advice I discovered that although I enjoy my day job as a software engineer, my true calling is to be an author.
My sister drilled into me an appreciation for fantasy and mythology, something I try to bring to my books. My debut novel, Breaking the Nexus started as a book written for NaNoWriMo and has grown to so much more. It was the conduit that introduced me to a fantastic group of independent authors who have changed my life in unimaginable ways.
When I’m not writing, I’ve found a passion for blogging and interviewing fellow authors. I also love reading (of course!), baking, crochet, sewing sock monkeys, playing video games, and all sorts of random crafts. I have an incurable love of rubber duckies and stuffed animals, and I believe nobody should have to grow up if they don’t want.

 

LindsayAvalon

Blog Stop For The Island (Now and Forever 2) By Tammy Dennings Maggy

That’s right everyone! Today we have a very special blog stop post for Tammy Dennings Maggy’s new book, The Island! Not only do we have an awesome excerpt (adult rated, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!) but we also have a fabulous character interview! Enjoy, everyone! 🙂

 

After losing her brother in a fatal motorcycle accident, Quinn’s life spins out of control. Shutting herself off from friends and family in Michigan, she buries herself in her work, wishing for the pain to end. In her dreams she’s finally able to find the peace her heart craves on The Island.

Driven to recklessness over a heartbreaking betrayal, Jacob races his motorcycle on a rain slick California freeway. Near death in the hospital, he’s given a choice. Stay on The Island or go back for a second chance at love.

Destined to be together, but repeatedly torn apart, these two lost and melancholy people draw the attention of the Goddess Fate. As Quinn and Jacob’s lives hang in limbo, the soul mates are given a very special gift from the Gods, and the chance to finally have their love of a lifetime.

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The Excerpt-Adults Only!!!!

His eyes found hers once again and she began to fall. She didn’t care. Thoughts of going back or staying there on The Island disappeared. All she wanted to think about, to feel, and taste was Jacob. Quinn pulled his mouth back to hers. The sweet taste of the berries, mango, and papaya dazzled her taste buds as their tongues teased and danced with each other, fighting for control one moment and surrendering to each other the next.

Jacob finally freed her tits from the laces of her bodice. Watching him tug at the strings with his teeth made her heart beat faster and she giggled before she could stop. He winked and kept up the slow pace. Quinn giggled even more. “I stand by my first assessment. You’re a tease, Jake.”

“Baby doll, you haven’t seen anything yet.” He pushed her dress down to her waist and simply stared. “I’m not the only tease here.”

“What are you talking about?” Quinn slid her fingertips up and down his arms. His muscles twitched and pulsed at her touch. She wanted those arms wrapped around her and to never let go.

“You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. You don’t flaunt it, but every move and noise you make turns me on. I wanted to take this slow, but I can’t.”

“Stop thinking so much and kiss me.” She pushed herself up to meet his mouth once again as they moved on the bed so she was now on top of him. Jacob’s hands slid up her thighs, leaving hot trails with his fingertips. Her body quaked and her pussy clenched as a rush of fluid soaked her panties completely.

Jacob hooked his thumbs in the band of her underwear, snapped them off, and tossed them onto the floor. His hands slid up her body, pulling the dress up and over her head in a flash. He sat up, holding her in his lap, nuzzling first one breast and then the other with his stubbly chin and cheeks. The roughness of his skin against her rock-hard nipples sent her rolling toward another orgasm. She clung to him as he suckled harder on her right nipple while kneading her left breast with his hand. Quinn arched her back and bit her lip before crying out. “Jake, please don’t—”

He pulled back quickly, moving his hands to cradle her face. Concern filled his eyes. “Did I hurt you?”

Her eyes glistened with tears. “No. Please don’t stop.”

 

* * * *

 

The catch in her voice nearly broke his heart. The raw passion was there. Her body given freely to him, and yet she still questioned his desire for her. He knew that pain all too well. Here with Quinn though, it all faded away. She did that for him and he wanted so badly to do the same for her. He wiped away the tears that spilled onto her flushed face. He kissed her softly and held her close. “I want you, now and for however long we can be together. I need to be with you. I won’t stop as long as you want the same.”

Quinn slid off his lap and knelt up on the bed, pulling him up with her. She held his gaze as her fingers unfastened his shorts and then slid them down over his hips. Jacob quickly took off his tank top before crushing Quinn’s chest against his. She smiled and his heart beat quickened. “I need you, too. Make love with me, Jake.”

He slid out of his shorts as Quinn eased back onto the pillows. Jacob took in her entire sun-kissed body, naked before him. God, she’s so beautiful. Quinn welcomed him into her arms as he joined her on the pillows, his mouth finding her left nipple this time as his right hand trailed down her stomach.

She arched her back and moaned as soon as his fingers found her throbbing clit. Another wave of fluid gushed out of her and over his fingers. Jacob brought them up to his mouth to taste her. “Mmmm. You taste fucking fantastic. Your sister was right. Wanna try?”

Quinn giggled and licked his fingers clean. That move sent his body over the edge. His cock was bouncing with his need for her, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by his lover. She reached inside the nightstand for the box of condoms, spilling several over the bed. Jacob smiled as he placed one in her open palm. Quinn slid her hands down his abs to his pulsing member. She wrapped her fingers around his shaft and squeezed a little, eliciting a gasp from him. Carefully she tore open the wrapper with her teeth and quickly covered his cock with the ribbed latex sheath. He thrust his hips forward, causing her hand to slide up and down his shaft. “Oh, now who’s teasing?” Jacob moaned.

He eased Quinn all the way back onto the pillows, and slid down her body toward his prize. He wanted more than just a taste. He wanted to feast on her cunt until she begged for him to take her. He positioned himself between her thighs and looked up to see her watching him, her chest rising and falling rapidly. He winked before popping her clit into his mouth and sucking hard. Quinn nearly bucked him off but he held her hips in place, enjoying her squirming and sighs. It wasn’t long at all before he was rewarded once again with her sweet nectar.

He teased her a bit more with his tongue and then slipped one, two and then three fingers inside of her hot folds. Her pussy clenched repeatedly over his fingers and her body convulsed over and over again. Quinn’s skin flushed from her tits to her toes, because of him, because of what he was doing to her. He wanted more, so much more. He couldn’t wait any longer. He wanted to bury his cock deep inside her, go over the edge, and never come back.

 

And now the interview! Hold onto your panties, people–and some ice! O_O

 

Today, I thought I would change gears a bit and interview the villainess of Tammy’s new book. You first learned about her briefly in For the Love of Quinn. Some of you may recall the mention of Julia Santos as the cause for Jacob’s near fatal motorcycle accident. What the hell did she do to be blamed for that? We won’t get all of the story until the third book in Tammy’s Now and Forever series called The Surrender of Julia. Until then, I’ve invited the wickedly beautiful self-proclaimed villainess to join me today here so she can tell her side of the story.  Welcome, Ms. Santos.

Thank you, Lia. Please. Call me Julia.

Okay, Julia. 🙂

 

Wickedly beautiful? You are quite stunning yourself. In fact you, you remind me of another curvaceous woman in my life.

(Now I’m blushing. Sheesh! What sort of vixen blushes at the slightest compliment?  Tammy isn’t going to ever let me live this one down!) You wouldn’t happen to be talking about the love of your life, now would you?

Maybe. Just so you know, if she wasn’t in my life, I would be all over you in a heartbeat. 
(Julia licks her lips and squirms in her seat a little bit.) There is nothing like the feel of a woman’s curves under your fingertips.

Uh huh. hmmm…I bet that comes in handy when you create your sculptures. The feel of a woman’s curves I mean.

 

Definitely. You can’t create something so visual if you haven’t experienced the passion you are trying to depict. Take Rodin’s The Kiss, for example. When you look at that sculpture, you FEEL a part of it. You can feel his arms around you, his lips on yours, and your breath leaving you as you surrender completely to the moment.

That’s exactly what I felt when I saw this sculpture for the first time and some of your own pieces. I heard your model was Jacob Hartley. How did the two of you meet?

I was at a club in Los Angeles about 15 years ago with some friends. I noticed a group of people celebrating someone’s graduation. I was immediately drawn to Jacob. He looked comfortable in his own skin. I loved that. Many people act awkwardly when they are in large groups. Not Jacob. His entire demeanor exuded confidence and he was the hottest man in the place. I wanted him, even if it was just for a quickie in the bath room, I wanted to feel his hands all over my body.

 

I’ve met him. I can totally understand your animal attraction. When he walks into the room, all eyes are on him, but he doesn’t know it. In fact, if you point it out to him, he laughs it off and asks you how much you’ve had to drink.

Exactly! Jacob oozes raw sex and I wanted to capture that in my art. A few days after the night at the club, I showed up at his hotel room in nothing but my high heels and very skimpy lingerie. I convinced him he had what I wanted as my model. 

 

How did you convince him to say yes? I’m sure I can guess. If you showed up on my doorstep dressed in high heels and lingerie, I would do anything you asked.

Have you ever been with two women, Lia? The more I talk to you, the more I would like to introduce you to my girlfriend, Carmen. She’s my Mistress as well. I’m thinking she’d love to take you in hand…

Oh my…sorry. I couldn’t resist. 😉

Carmen is much more than Christian Grey could ever hope to be. Come with me after the interview. I have to pick her up at the airport. She’ll be so surprised. 

I’m not sure. I don’t want to intrude. (Now it’s my turn to squirm. It’s been my fantasy to be taken in hand, so to speak.) Why don’t we jump right to the question all of us want to know? Were you the cause of Jacob’s accident?


(Julia lowers her eyes a moment before answering.) Yes. I’m afraid I was. I mean, he did catch me in our bed with another man.

Whoa! In the bed the two of you shared? That’s pretty cold.

Yes, it was. Not that I intended for that to happen, but it did. I knew I wasn’t the one for Jake. I realized it after the first few months we were together, but I loved being with him. He brought out all of my artist instincts. I needed him to be my muse. He was that and so much more to me, but I couldn’t give him what he really wanted.

And what was that?

A happily ever after. I couldn’t give him my heart. It belonged to another.

Apparently too many others according to Tammy’s notes. You really get around there, Julia!

True. I was never what one would call a wallflower. I love sex with both men and women. Sometimes with both at the same time. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that as long as everyone involved are consenting adults.

You’ll get no argument from me on that point, but if you had Jake why did you continue to have sex with other people? Did you ever involve him in these encounters?

(A sly smile spreads slowly across her face as she sighs.) Yes I did. It was his idea actually. We had several nights with my assistant. She was always panting after him so I thought it would be fun to help fulfill a fantasy or two for her.  Jake and I both took turns pleasuring her. She was a complete vanilla if you know what I mean. Not that there’s anything wrong with being vanilla, but there are so many different flavors to taste. 😉 I have to say we taught her a few things over those days and I wanted to explore more with her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t keep her mouth shut about it.

What do you mean?

She blabbed about it to another lover of mine while he took her on top of my desk at the gallery. Apparently she felt she could sample from all of my lovers. Ha! She didn’t choose wisely if you ask me. He wasn’t one to keep a secret either. He took great pleasure informing me of their tryst. From what he told me, she couldn’t walk well for a week afterwards. In his dreams if you ask me. 

Is this the same lover that holds your heart?

Not a chance in hell, but if you hear him tell it we were engaged and planning our wedding. Ugh! What a nightmare that one was! Let’s just say it took me a while to figure out I was trying to turn Jake into this other person. Although he loved me and I cared for him deeply, I couldn’t return his love. Mine belonged to this other person from the moment we first met. 

Would you say this person is your happily ever after?

Yes. Yes, she most definitely is my happily ever after.  You still haven’t answered my question about going with me to pick her up at the airport.

 

So it’s your current girlfriend, Carmen who’s your always and forever? (Julia nods and smiles.) I’m not sure it would be a good idea for me to go with you.

 

Didn’t you say you would do anything I asked if I showed up on your doorstep in high heels and lingerie? What about if I showed up to the interview like this? Is this what you had in mind for your fantasy, mi amor? Carmen has a matching outfit all in hot pink leather…

Ohhhhhhh….you are so not playing fair! Well, that’s it for us today folks!(Julia’s deep sultry laugh makes my stomach flutter out of control.) Make sure you click on Tammy’s links to find out her next stop on the blog tour. Speaking of that, I’ve promised to help out with a few more stops along the way.

 

Maybe you should have Tammy take over the blog touring and hopping for tomorrow. I have a feeling you will be a little…tied up for the next few days. 😉

Oh my…

 

About the Author

author

 

As far back as I can remember I have had two dreams: become a veterinarian and a world-famous author. So far I achieved the first one and have enjoyed a wonderful career as a small-animal veterinarian. But something has always been missing. I’ve never stopped writing; that has never been an issue. The problem was getting up the nerve to actually finish one of my novels and submit it to a publisher. What a scary thought to send a stranger something I had poured my heart into. Would they like it? Would they see the characters the way I saw them in my head? Writing For the Love of Quinn was like giving birth to my first child. I had to let my characters go to see if they would take off, and boy have they ever!

Jacob and Quinn’s story is far from over. They’ll pop in from time to time to check in with their friends and family in the next books in the Now and Forever series. They got their happily ever after, and now it’s time for the others to find theirs, too!

Having grown up in Michigan and now living in Northern California, I have had the privilege to experience life in a small town and a big city. Everyone who I’ve met along the way has influenced my writing in one way or another. Their experiences as well as my own help make up the characters that I hold near and dear to my heart. Helping them find the loves of their lives as well as fulfilling a few fantasies along the way is just frosting on the cake!

Where to Find Tammy

Siren Bookstrand Author Page

Amazon Author Page

Behind Closed Doors Website/Blog

Not Enough Time in the Day Blog

Sassy Vixen Publishing Blog

 Goodreads Author Page

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Meme Time “Lucky 7″

Darn it! I’ve been tagged by the lovely Tami Parrington over at her blog http://www.tamiparrington.com/2012/06/21/meme-time-lucky-7/

Bruce Blake hit up Chantal Boudreau who then tagged Tami Parrington in a blog meme and she hit me up to be part of this Lucky 7 meme. In Bruce’s words, here’s how it works:

  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Copy down the next seven lines/sentences exactly as they are
  • Tag 7 other authors

Now, I’ve never taken part in a meme before, so I thought this would be fun. I’ve used Conner, as I thought it would be a little more ‘reader friendly’ than Craving! 😀

So here we are folks, page 77 of Conner, 7 fun sentences! 😀

“….It does seem very radical, but then most methods of psychology, were at some point, also very radical. Let’s hope this method is one of the successful ones.”

The woman cleared her throat, and said, “Very well. If we are all in agreement, we’ll make the necessary arrangements, and fill out the forms needed. Dr Miller, you may go and tell Conner what is happening.” Erin nodded gratefully.

Dr Whitfield smiled at Erin. Erin returned the smile, butterflies starting to float up in her stomach at the thought of Conner in her home.

Now, muhahaha! Who is next? The seven authors I’m going to tag, are…

Maxi Shelton

Pixie Lynn Whitfield

Liz Long

Douglas Pratt

Christine Warner

Nicole Hill

Nicola Rhodes

If anyone doesn’t have a blog, you can post it on your Facebook page 😀 Enjoy!

Did KDP Select Work?-Or, How I Panicked About Giving Away My Work Free

Okay, I’m jumping on the bandwagon of authors who have done a blog post about this, but they haven’t done one about my experience, so now you get to skim through another load of paragraphs about KDP Select. 🙂

Now, you should know that I did do this with some trepidation. Some angry little egotistical part of me was screaming, “What the hell are you giving them away for?! Do you know how long I worked on that?!?!” But then another calmer part of me, probably slobbing on the sofa, was replying, “But no-one knows about your book…we need to build up a readership. This could be the way to do it.”

When I started KDP Select, my books on Amazon.com were at something like #589, 605 (give or take another few lightyears away from anyone ever seeing them), and they were so low on Amazon.co.uk, they weren’t even ranked! Yes, that is possible. Anyhoo, I started my free promotion last Friday, and began twittering, facebooking, and any other number of social-media-ing that sounds like it would get you into a court case. I waited a while, and then-

10 downloads!

This was, you must realise, after just waiting for twenty minutes or so! I was so excited, I became addicted straight away. I suddenly wanted to see where my book would rise up. It rose further and further, with over 1400 downloads at the end of the first day!

Over the weekend, it slowed down a little, as I suppose the first rush of people had already downloaded it, but it still went steady at about 60 downloads an hour. Overall, when the weekend had finished, I had over 3000 downloads of Conner, meaning it was in more people’s hands, to speak about it from word of mouth, to boost the rankings, and to gain a readership.

These were the figures I managed to capture on Sunday, and I was also at #2 in horror and suspense on Amazon.de, but I didn’t manage to get the figures for that, with about 76 downloads overall, so you obviously need less downloads to get to a good ranking on Amazon.de! Here are the captures, the first one is UK the seconds one is US.

So, the real questions is, did it help sales? Well, in a word, yes. 🙂

It’s only been two days since the promotion ended, but I’m already getting pretty good sales figures, at about 7 a day. Now that may not sound like much, but 7 a day is a great deal more than 0 a month! Now, I don’t know how long it will stay at this rate, but I’m hoping I can at least gain a little readership, and get people hooked for the sequel, Erin, due to come out in September!

So, I’ll let you know what happens in a week or so!….. 🙂

 

Do I Need An Editor?

Yesterday in my post I mentioned that I used to work as an editor/proof-reader a few years ago, (and I still do, as freelance) and weirdly it also came up in a conversation with a good friend yesterday over emails. She’s asked me to have a glance over an excerpt she’s written, and I can’t wait to, it looks really cool.

But it got me wondering about editing and the indie community of authors. There are some authors who happily pay a hundred or more for editing, and are very happy with it. There are others who pay the same amount and they have books full of mistakes. And there those who do it themselves, or don’t bother at all.

Now, I do my own manuscripts, but that’s because I’ve done it for an awful lot of people. If you’ve never done professional editing before, I can’t see it turning out well for you. Let me explain; I don’t mean it to sound as stuck up as it does, I really don’t. I just mean that it’s so incredibly difficult; I’m impressed if you decide to do it yourself without knowing what you’re doing.

And I’m saying this from experience. When I had finished writing Conner, for the first time several years ago, it was full of mistakes, and I hadn’t yet started working as a proof-reader, never mind as an editor! (Which came later.) It was truly atrocious, you couldn’t go for a few pages without going, “Oh, there’s another one!”

But when I got training for editing, and I really started to pay attention, I realised how little I knew.

So, if you do decide to have a go yourself, I’ve listed a few little tips to use when editing your own manuscript.

1. Always check for spelling errors. No, REALLY check for them.

It’s amazing how many people say to me, “But I did check for spelling errors. I used Spellcheck.” Let me tell you something people, Spellcheck is not-let me repeat that, not-a 100% check on your errors. Sure, it will pick up on simple errors such as a word with missing or extra letters; ‘trieeed’ instead of ‘tried’, for example, but let me give you one it won’t pick up on. If you write ‘form’ where you meant to write ‘from’, 9 times out of 10, it won’t even pick it up. If you can’t be bothered to re-read your own manuscript at least three times for spelling errors alone, pay someone. 🙂

2. Check for grammar.

This is an easy one. Check for the grammar! And as above for Spellcheck…. Try reading your manuscript out loud, rather than in your head, even if you’re just murmuring to yourself. This way, if something doesn’t sound right, you will hear it, and pick up on it as you do so. Trust me, saying something out loud will pick up on things that skimming with your eyes won’t.

3. Does it make sense?

Sometimes when we’re writing, it’s easy to get bogged down with something else; the kids, housework, the garden, that annoying sales call. So we stop writing for a while, and when we come back, we can’t remember exactly what we were going to write. So….we put down the rough idea of what we were going to write, and carry on. And there is nothing wrong with this. But you must check for continuity. If character A got shouted at by character B, in the next chapter they can’t straight away be laughing and joking with each other. It’s annoying, and it disrupts the flow of a story. So always read through to make sure your story links together.

4. Have you got your facts straight?

Sometimes you might be reading a book, and you’ll scan the line you just read again. “I’m sure that’s not true.” you think to yourself. This is when authors don’t do their research. I once edited a book where the author was writing a romantic story about a couple who sail to the New World just after Christopher Columbus had a good look around. She set it three years after he had been. But the story was set in 1645. Quite impressive seeing as Columbus died in 1506 and arrived in the Americas around 1492. So the author hadn’t done their research. You must check for simple facts in your story as well. If you mention a historical person or event, are the dates right? If you’re setting it in another country, do you know the geography of it well? If you want to mention a subject such as science or psychology, do you understand it? There really isn’t any excuse nowadays, with the internet there to do research on if nothing else.

5. Rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite again!

If you have followed all of the above advice, and have moved onto your cover, STOP! No, you’re not done yet! With all of the errors you’ve corrected, and the facts you’ve changed, and the parts you’ve linked together, some of the sentences may need smoothing out. You may have just thought of the perfect part to put in that would fit where it wouldn’t before. Maybe you just want to be sure? So rewrite. If you’re a good writer, chances are you are a good reader. And you know what parts might be too lengthy, or not lengthy enough. A simple fight scene can be made boring with no tension. Concentrate on details; this helps you to slow the pace down, without losing the tension. Rather; it creates the tension!

So I hope some of these tips will help you if you do decide to edit it yourself. And if you decide you would still like someone else to do it for you, you can always consider me! 🙂 Just email me at mirandastork@gmail.com, and see if I can help you.

Why Self-Publish? (Or Why I’m Too Impatient)

Okay, so I’m not that bad…no really! I didn’t actually think it would be easier to self-publish. Because in fact I know it’s very, very hard. A few years ago I worked for Stag Editors in New York as a proofreader and copy-editor, and believe it or not, some of our clients were indie authors. So I not only got to see the plethora of talent available in indie books, but also saw a lot of the mistakes.

When I first wrote Conner, I was only eighteen. It was a great acheivement for me, and there are plenty of young authors who are very good, but mine was….well, just good. Lots of people loved it, said nice things about it, but…it was immature. I hadn’t wanted to write an YA novel. I had wanted to write a novel for adults. So when I got comments back such as ‘my young daughter would love to read this’, I knew I had done something wrong.

For some reason, I couldn’t look at it objectively at the time. It took me two years to write it, and it was my first ‘proper’ novel. I had it self-published for friends and family, but never sold more than a few copies. So I felt it, and went off to write the sequel, Erin. Then I left that one because I felt as though I wasn’t sure what to write after Chapter 12. And then I went off to write some short stories, and to start my next novel.

Then recently I came back to it. I had almsot given up on the idea of Conner ever being something that would be published, or indeed ever seen. Nothing more than a sad story to tell my grand-children round the fire when I’m old. “Well, children, I once tried to do something, and got lazy….”

I didn’t want that though! So I rolled up my sleeves, sat down at my laptop, and began to write again. I absolutely pulled Conner apart. I considered what would set it apart from a YA novel-it isn’t as if I don’t read, I do, and have a collection of around 3000 books scattered around the cottage, much to my boyfriend’s amusement. Whole chunks of Conner were taken away, others were changed, and brand spanking new parts were put in. Then I checked it again, and again, and again.

And then I still didn’t go for it. Because first I wanted Erin finished, so that they would match up. So now I had to finish Erin. It had sat on my hard-drive for nearly two years untouched, and now I wrote over 63,000 words in a week. Why? Not because I had found my ‘muse’, or because my life suddenly cleared up and got easier (although there was a much loved family member who died the year before, so obviously I couldn’t write then). It was because I had Grown Up. Because I had realised that if I ever wanted anyone to read my book, I was damn well going to have to think about the advice I had been given, and ACT on it.

I made the cover for Conner, and I didn’t like it, so I spent two days trying out covers, considering what it would look like, before I finally settled on the delicious cover that it is now. 🙂

The cover of ‘Conner’

After all this, I had decided I would self-publish. Well, you probably guessed that, seeing as I’m waffling on about covers. But why on earth go for the hard option?

I can handle criticism, I couldn’t for the longest time, but now I can let it roll over me like air. So it certainly wasn’t that I was worried about rejection. In fact, I reckon nine times out ten the best authors in the world get rejection. But after the long haul I had with Conner and Erin, something about them felt different from any other book I would write. I needed to keep them as they were, because I had stripped them time and again with my own editing. And having done it for a job, I think (I hope! 🙂 ) I knew what I was doing.

Plus I loved the creative control, and I’ve always been a little bit of a control freak-my favourite game when I was younger was ‘The Sims’, and yes, I did try the thing where you kill them off in the pool. Don’t ask if you’ve never heard of this, I promise it isn’t as ominous as it sounds…lol!

So I self-published this time because there was almost something sacred to me about Conner and Erin. Something that had gone ten rounds with a critic and leapt up again screaming, ‘Edit me, will ya’?” So I kept it as it is, so that it will be remembered as it is. And because I love marketing my book now, I’m beginning to thrive on it, in fact.

But my next book? Vigilante of Shadows? Yeah, I’m going to try to get that traditionally published. Rejections and all. 🙂

DON’T FORGET! Conner is currently free this weekend only on Amazon. so grab it now while you can! I want lots of reviews from you lovely people! 😀 http://goo.gl/vtOH7 (US)

I’m In! And Other Random Warblings…

First of all, the picture is just both cute and funny. That’s it, nothing at all to do with this post. 🙂

Well, as an answer to my post yesterday, I’ve decided to make my book available for free download on a weekend coming up soon-I still ahven’t decided exactly when, but I’ll be letting you know, so look out for it!  There is another lovely author who is on Goodreads, Terry Tyler, who has been giving me some great advice, so I deciced to just bite the bullet and go ahead with it.

So I’ll be letting you all know how it goes!

Also, I want to doubly remind everyone that I will be posting up my interview with the lovely Cassidy Kingston, asking her all about her newest books, geek-iness, and whether vampires really do have the edge of werewolves! She really is an interesting person as well as a great author, so make sure you take a look at it!

Now on a completely unrelated note, I had someone ask me the other day about my books. As I always do, I gave them my pitch about the book, and explained that it is paranormal romance/fantasy, depending on who I’m talking to, and they asked, “Have you ever wanted to write anything in a different genre?”

I had a good think about it, because I have often wondered if I would like to have a go at writing something in a different genre. Believe it or not, I would love to write something comedic. ButI wonder if I would be able to. See, when I start writing a story, I always have the basic story, and the basic characters. Then I like to sit down and write, and see where it goes. And 9 times out of 10, my story usually takes a paranormal turn. It’s almost as if it’s built into me to write that sort of genre.

So can we choose to write in a different genre if we really want to? Several well-known authors have done this successfully-one of my favourite authors, Agatha Christie, famously wrote crime thrillers, but she also wrote romance under the pseudonym  Mary Westmacott. Butwhat about the large majority of authors? Do you feel you could write in a diffferent genre if the fancy took you? Or do you feel as though your current genre is hard-wired into your writing?

Free Versus Paid?

Today I was just discussing with a fellow author about free kindle books through KDP. (Liz Long actually, whose interview will be here on the blog on Wednesday!) It seems an awful lot of people are making their books free through KDP’s select program, and reporting great thigns about it. But does it actually work?

I’m tempted to try it myself at the end of this week, or perhaps next week, but I never quite have the courage to press ‘okay’. Why? Is it because I don’t see why I should give away something for free when I spent so much time on it? A little perhaps, but then again I know the power of throwing a few free books people’s way; the best form of publicity is word of mouth, and a few free books could generate hundreds of sales. Is it because I’m afriad no-one will download it? Again, maybe a little, but I seem to have quite a few followers who would at least give it a go if it was free; and even I’ve been known to download something just because it was free.

I think maybe it is because it’s such a new idea. And like all ideas, you have no idea which way the wind is going to blow. Some ideas, such as Twitter, are brilliant; a fantastic way to meet other people, network, and expand to find out about you and your books.

And maybe I’m just a little bit worried the wind will blow and leave me with this face I’m pulling. 🙂

But having said all this, lots of people have put their book up for free, and found that within a few hours of Twittering, Facebooking, or blogging about it, they have attracted a huge amount of attention for their book, and sent their books downloads into the hundreds, even the thousands! Even after their promotion has ended, they continue to have great sales. Sounds almost too easy, right?

Right. It is. And this is where I have the issue. What if people simply wait to get the book free? And the author is delighted with the results, perhaps even catapulting them into the Top 100 or Top 10 lists on Kindle. But then comes the lull. They get sales afterwards, but nowhere near as many as they would have hoped for. So, in a fit of desperation (and I have seen a few authors do this), they put it up for free again!

So I think it can be a good idea as long as you are prepared to grit your teeth and see it flying off the virtual shelves for one day in order to get good reviews and word-of-mouth afterwards, and also as long as you have other ways to promote it. Make sure that you continue to do everything with your marketing, and it should work.

Well, that’s the plan anyway folks. I’ll let you know once I’ve finally decided to push that ‘okay’ button.