Monthly Archives: September 2011

Pick me, please!

When you go to a book store, what is it you’re looking for? Do you go in with a specific book in mind and head right for that shelf? Do you go in looking for some kind of non-fiction for research or school? Or are you like me and you just like to go in and look around? God, I could spend hours wandering through a book store, picking up this novel, or that one and scanning all the different genres until I find a book – or several books! – that I want to take home with me.

Or maybe you only shop for ebooks, in the comfort of your own home. I do that too. I can spend a long time browsing the Amazon Kindle store, checking out and downloading the free previews or seeing what’s new from certain authors. I’d still rather wander through the stacks in my favourite book store, but browsing the on-line ebook stores is always a good time as well.

I wonder what it is that makes me pick up a book to read. My first stops in any store are to find what’s new from my favourite authors. If that turns up nothing, then I start to make may way through the shelves, scanning titles, checking out covers. I don’t really think of browsing in any one genre either. I just walk up and down the rows, ending up in sci-fi or romance without paying much attention. I love all books. πŸ™‚

When I browse through ebooks, it’s a little different. The tiny little icons for cover art don’t help much. On the other hand, reviews are a great indicator of what might be an enjoyable read. I find myself checking reviews on Amazon Kindle before buying something from there. When I check out a book in a book store, I don’t do that. Or can’t.

Anyway, it makes me think of what might attract people to my own work on Literotica. There is absolutely no cover art to draw the eye. Most people browse only in their desired genre, so gaining new readers can be difficult. And those little one-line blurbs we have to add for every story becomes the deciding factor between someone clicking on your story or ignoring it altogether.

I love knowing that somehow my stories got through to people when they might have moved on to something different. I mean, I love knowing that anyone at all is reading and enjoying my work. It’s why I do it. Sure, I’d write no matter what, just because I have to but I love being able to write for people.

I often hear from readers who tell me that they have never read my stories before but have since become fans of romance and/or hockey. I also used to get a lot of comments from people who told me that they’d avoided my stories for some time because of the hockey theme. They caved in after time. πŸ˜‰ They all cave eventually! LOL

I love hearing from everyone who chooses to write to me or send me feedback. Not just because all writers love to hear how their work is appreciated, but because I find everyone’s stories so fascinating.

I recently had an email from someone who enjoyed “A Pair of Ice Skates,” because it reminded him of his relationship with his wife. I’ve had emails from people in countries that don’t have hockey – or snow, or ice – who tell me that they’ve enjoyed reading all about the sport since discovering my stories. And I love getting emails from readers who tell me that they never would have read my stuff because of the hockey theme in the majority of them. I feel like I’ve won them over to my side or something. πŸ˜‰ Not that they’re complaining now. At least, I don’t think they are.

All I really wanted to say this week is that I’m interested in knowing how everyone decides what to read? Whether it’s something on Lit or something in a book store. I love reading just about everything so my problem is in limiting myself. I should take come pictures of my book shelves and post them here so you can see just how many books I’ve adopted through the years.

For now, I hope everyone is having a beautiful Sunday. Hugs for everyone!

Take care and happy reading.

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That’s the Idea.

I don’t know if anyone is curious about it or not, but I often wonder myself about how I come up with ideas for stories. It’s difficult to remember what one thing might have triggered an idea or theme. Was it reading something else? Watching something on TV? Hearing a song? Yes. All of that. And still more.

I mentioned last week how I’ve been working on something that will never be published – and I haven’t changed my mind! – but the idea for that came from something very personal. I won’t tell you about that either! All I’m trying to say is that for that particular story, I am very heavily drawing on my own life and thoughts and desires. That doesn’t happen often. I don’t make every story so personal. One, because that’s just not how I work. Two, because I don’t want to give so much of myself away. πŸ˜‰ That’s not to say I don’t put a personal touch on every character and story that I write otherwise. There are personality traits that I give to every heroine that are my own quirks. You might be able to guess some of them and added together, you’d have a good idea of what I’m like, but then again…you don’t know me so you’d never be able to guess!

So back to my main point: where do the ideas come from?All over and everywhere, really. I already wrote above that I can’t even pinpoint where an idea comes from.

My published novels, “Agent Alpha” and “Undercover”, are part of a series of stories that I started writing on a whim. I wanted to write something adventurous and romantic but in a setting I was familiar with. That was the first thing. Then I wanted to create flawed characters, not just emotionally but physically. I was so tired of reading about this god-like man falling for this stunning woman that I wanted to write about ‘real’ people with imperfect features. That came next. Finally, I wanted to see if I could even write a story like them. Something with suspense, action and a mystery with misdirections and red herrings. I think I did all right with that and I can’t wait to get through the next two books – they’re written but need extensive editing, which you know I love so much – and then I can get back to writing something new in that universe.

For that series, it wasn’t so much an idea striking me, but it was more of an exercise to see if I could write all those things together like I wanted.

Since I know most of you are big fans of my “Ice” series, I wonder if you’re curious how that all started. πŸ™‚ It’s pretty simple really, and a little embarrassing now to think back on it. I was watching the NHL playoffs in 2009 and became slightly infatuated with a certain star player. I loved watching him and his team win games and make it all the way to the final and I couldn’t help myself. I had to write about it.

Out came “The Ice, The Game, The Touch.” I loved writing that one, however unrealistic and farfetched it might have been, and maybe that’s why it was so well-received. Of course, I couldn’t stop at one. Two stories followed in that particular ‘series’ and after that… Well, the whole series kind of took on a life of it’s own. But there you have it. It all started because I needed an outlet to get over my weird little crush. Oh, I still enjoy watching that star player play, but I don’t have the same obsession as I did that first summer.

For the stories that followed in the “Ice” series, most of the ideas start with just choosing a player to focus on. There are a lot of big personalities out there and it makes it easy to form a plausible story around them. So I pick a player and then I have to come up with a woman to complement him. Then the way they meet, fall in love, etc, etc.

I find as I think about this more, my ideas start very small. I do as I’ve described above. I create a couple characters and just start writing. Then somewhere in the first few pages, I realize where I want to take them. It sounds strange maybe but it’s what happens. Or sometimes I’ll have an idea for an ending, nothing more. Somehow, I have to write everything else to get me to that point. One example of that is the fourth of my TAITS series, which has yet to be published, obviously. I had the ending written for that before I’d even finished writing “Undercover.” Even by the time I got to the end of the fourth book, very little changed about the ending I’d originally written.

So there you have it. Such a great secret, isn’t it? πŸ˜‰ It’s not glamorous or exciting but it’s what happens before I post stories for you to read, so hopefully it made you smile. And that’s all for now. I’m pretty beat today – I played in a softball tournament yesterday and today, my body hates me. πŸ˜€ I hope everyone is enjoying their Sundays and looking forward to the start of the hockey season like I am! Less than a month now!!

Take care and happy reading.

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That’s Different.

Since y’all know what I write on a regular basis, I’m not shy in admitting that I often find myself thinking about sex and how to make it more interesting. πŸ˜‰ Did I shock you? Ha! Maybe I should phrase it a little differently… I often find myself thinking of how to describe a setting and scene that’s sexy and interesting and fresh, all at the same time.

It sounds like a simple enough task, doesn’t it? Well, it’s quite a challenge sometimes to write a romantic love scene that’s somehow different from all the rest, and yet, not something so out there that people are turned off of the romance. It’s challenging to make a scene realistic and sweet, but stimulating and pulse-pounding at the same time. Do you know what I mean?

In my early “Ice” stories, it was apparent to a few readers how I repeated certain ‘moves’ or phrases between different stories. I won’t point them out – why the hell would I point out my flaws? πŸ˜€ – but I’m sure some of you know what I’m talking about. If not, well, there’s no reason why you can’t reread them all. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, my point is, I was guilty of falling back on the same old moves in each of my stories. As I grew and developed as a writer, I learned how to change things up and throw in different scenarios to keep it interesting, but not vulgar.

I think sometimes the worst part isn’t just repeating. It’s being too vanilla. Think of how much a romance or erotica story is about the chemistry between the two lead characters. There are hot touches, scorching looks and teasing banter… It all leads slowly to the first kiss, and after that, the first round of sex. Imagine how much you as a reader look forward to that first moment when they consummate. Now imagine how we writers feel, trying to create a scene that will live up to the expectations of all the readers. It’s a challenge, like I said.

I also find it amusing how different readers comment on different moments in my stories. Some find the tiniest details funny or arousing, where others take note of the obvious seductions.

For example, I’ve had a few people comment on the bathtub scene in “The Ice-Breaker,” or the scene with the X-Box. Both were different from anything I’d written before and I never thought they were all that impressive but it’s so fun to receive the different comments. Hey, it’s why I do what I do. πŸ˜‰

Of course, I also have some of my characters getting busy pretty damn quick. See “Melting the Ice” or “Keeping Ice on the Wound” for examples of that. I’ve had some feedback about those, and usually, readers enjoy them. On the other hand, I have had a few negative comments about the romance lacking in those scenarios. Ah, well, to each their own.

Sometimes, I get so bogged down in the details of writing, that I miss the fun part of writing these scenes. I’m worried about this word, or that comma, or the length of this paragraph. I’ve found that the best scenes come out when I’m not trying to remember all the technical details. Recently, I’ve had trouble writing much of anything, never mind writing sex. It happens now and again, and I find the best way to get going is just to write something. Anything, really, even if it’s a story that will never see the light of day.

Like the one I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. I don’t spend a lot of time on it but when I’ve had the time and energy to do so, I’ve opened this file and just written whatever came to mind. It was so easy. I wasn’t worried about anything technical. It’s been all about feeling it. Too wishy-washy? Maybe. Maybe other writers out there agree with me. Maybe you readers are wondering what it is I’ve been working on? LOL, you’ll never know.

Anyway, I just wanted to share these wandering thoughts this week and let you know that I haven’t gone away. I will be posting something again eventually and until then, you can all just wonder what it’ll be. πŸ™‚ *insert evil laughter here*

Take care and happy reading!

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So Pleased to Meet You.

Hello all.

Forgive me for not writing for so long. Life is funny and lately, the joke has been on me. πŸ˜‰ Ah, it’s not all bad. My life’s recent upheaval has taught me a few things. One, I’m a lot stronger than I thought. Two, getting drunk doesn’t change anything – in fact, it sometimes causes more problems. HA! πŸ˜€ And finally, but more important than the rest, I am blessed with friends and family who would do anything for me.

How often are we able to say that? Hell, how often do you even have to acknowledge it? If you’re lucky, never. On the other hand, it seems rather sad to think you could go through your whole life never knowing about how much people love and care for you.

It got me thinking: how do you find these people that become touchstones for love and understanding? We’re all born to a family who love and care for us, sure, but how do you meet the people who become your ‘chosen’ family? Your friends, lovers, confidantes? Where and when do they cross your path and how do they become more than a passing acquaintance?

Of course, in writing what I do, I’m constantly asking myself: what’s a good, plausible way for the male and female lead to ‘meet cute’?

I’ve used several different scenarios, including the best friends angle and meeting through friends. Those seem very logical as far as meeting someone naturally, right? Who hasn’t met another friend through a friend, or met a boyfriend/girlfriend through other acquaintances? I’ve been set up through friends on blind dates – that has yet to work out πŸ˜‰ – and I’ve made new friends through others, most notably through a book club I am lucky to have joined.

I’ve also used less conventional methods of bringing two people together. I had two of them meet through a random bar encounter. Two others met because of a contest. Two became better acquainted on a plane. Two more met at a Starbucks and kept ‘running’ into each other at other Starbucks locations. Maybe not all that unusual for some of these, but a dose of realism makes it easier to pass off in a story. πŸ™‚

Just out of curiosity, which is your favourite way that I’ve brought two lead characters together? Is there a reason why you like that one best?

I have never met anyone by any of those methods I’ve used in my stories. Actually… I have made friends by one of my methods of introduction. Bet you can’t guess which one. πŸ™‚

Oh, all right, I’ll tell you. Do you remember “Uncovering the Ice” and how those two leads met? Although it was never as…antagonistic as I wrote it in that story, I’ve made some very good friends through my writing. People I’ve never laid eyes on, and yet, they make me smile and laugh and somehow manage to hug me through the internet just when I need it the most.

I’ve wandered from my original topic here but considering the state of my mind, you should be impressed I’ve come this far. πŸ˜‰ I just love thinking about how I’ve been so lucky in my friends and loved ones. I can’t help it right now, not when they’ve been surrounding me with the love and affection I’ve been needing.

I suppose I’ll wrap this up this week by saying thank you to my friends and family for being here for me. For surprising and humbling me with their unconditional love and support. For holding me and telling me that it will all be all right in the end.

To all my fun and friendly fans, thank you for your support as well. I haven’t written much of anything lately, never mind keeping up with my blog, as you can tell. I promise, I have a few things in the works and something new will turn up before long.

As always, take care and happy reading.

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