Monthly Archives: February 2012

Write This, Not That

My good friend Eve McFadden (aka PennLady) wrote a great blog entry this week about writing in different genres. Obviously, we both primarily write romance, or she writes in her were-universe, but still, it’s pretty much about the romance.

I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries how most writers will try something new every once in a while. Sure, we enjoy writing what’s successful and what everyone likes to see us writing, but sometimes, we need to write something else. Something completely different, just to see if we can. I’ve done it, with “Body of Water”, and PennLady did it with a few different stories, “Island Encounter” and “In the Red Parlor”, to name a couple. For both of us, while those stories weren’t exactly panned, they also aren’t our highest rated. In her blog entry, PL asked why that was. She wondered if it was because her usual happily-ever-after wasn’t there for some of them. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but I thought it would be fun to discuss it a little further.

For me, to write something outside of the norm involves a lot more genres than PennLady, since she’s already written in the nonhuman, or fantasy categories. I sort of did that with “Body of Water” but that one didn’t fit into any specific category, in my mind. I did write the TAITS series, which was adventure, but also mostly just romance. And of course, even lately, my one-offs are all about being in love. I do, however, keep coming around to different ideas that would fit into categories I’ve never done before. I’m talking, science fiction/fantasy, same-sex relationships, or even taboo.

Some of you just cringed, didn’t you? πŸ™‚ Nothing wrong with that. Personally, I don’t seek out any of those genres. In fact, I don’t even read in the mystery-suspense-adventure genre all that much, and yet, I have written a series in that very genre. So it stands to reason that just because I don’t read a genre personally, doesn’t mean I couldn’t write in it. I think I could apply myself and come up with something that readers of those genres would enjoy.

The problem that presents itself is not that I couldn’t do it, but who would read it? If I post under my familiar moniker of MugsyB, you, my regular readers, might read it, just because it’s something I’ve written. I might even attract new readers because the new thing I’m trying is something that’s the usual for them. Maybe they’d even take a chance on my other offerings, in the romance category. Hell, maybe they’d even become hockey fans. Don’t tell me that hasn’t happened to any of you! πŸ˜‰ Then again, the fact that I wrote it may not be enough for you to give it a go, if it’s in a genre you’d never consider reading. Also, there’s always the risk of losing some readers who might not react well to seeing me write something they dislike or have no respect for.

One option is to post something in one of these categories under an entirely new profile. I could create a new persona, a woman who goes by ‘daddylikey’ and writes only the incest category. Or ‘touch-my-laser’, a sci-fi geek who only writes in that genre. It seems like a lot of trouble to go through just to post something different. I’d also be missing the opportunity to get uncensored and unbiased opinions from readers who are familiar with my work and style. I think you see my dilemma though.

I know some of you might be thinking you’d be willing to give anything I write a try but would you really? Would you read something that has the potential to make you uncomfortable just because it’s something I’ve written?
I’m reminded of my book club and the month I hosted last year. I chose my own novel, “Agent Alpha” and I chose it for a couple of reasons. One, because I wanted to see if anyone among my circle of friends liked my work. πŸ™‚ Two, we’d never really discussed the ebook craze. So that was an interesting gathering for those reasons, especially since one of the women in the group had recently suffered a concussion and due to the post-concussion symptoms, could no longer read on a computer or digital screen for long stretches. It physically wore her out.

Also, one of the things we talked about were the sex scenes in the book. If any of you have read the book, you know that it’s not overflowing with sex. There’s a fair balance, in my opinion, of action, humour and romance. However, these women in my book club are a rare group who apparently don’t read romance. At all. πŸ™‚ There’s nothing wrong with that, just like there’s nothing wrong with reading romance. I just found it really surprising that they had never given it a shot. Anyway, we discussed the sex in my novel and one of the women said it made her uncomfortable. She didn’t know if it was because she’d never read a scene like that, or if it was because she knew I’d been the one to write it, but she almost couldn’t get through it.

Now, all of you have read my work and while I may have a bit more intimacy or physical scenes in my stories, they’re not over-the-top, kinky or anything like that, by any stretch of the imagination. Somehow though, my completely average sex scene was too much for her.

So it makes me wonder if my regular readers, used to my vanilla romances, would be put off by a same-sex, sci-fi or taboo sex scene or romance. I guess I’m wondering if you’d be disappointed to see me post something you don’t usually read or if you’d be so bothered by it, that you’d give me a purposefully low rating. Or even stop reading me altogether. I like to think I’ve attracted the kinds of readers who wouldn’t do that, but who’s to say? I guess all I can do is try and see what everyone’s honest opinions are.

On that note, I think I’ll leave you for the week. If you haven’t seen it already, there is a new posting on my Literotica page. It’s another song-inspired tale, featuring Maggie and Christian from “Raining on Sunday.” This one is called “You Look Good in My Shirt” and takes place earlier in their relationship than the first one. I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t and if you have, I hope you enjoyed it.

Take care and happy reading.

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Terms of Endearment

“Hi, honey. How was your day?”

“I’ll always love you, sweetheart.”

“Oh, baby, I love it when you do that to me.”

I’m sure you and those you know have used one or maybe all of these phrases, or some variation of them. Don’t lie. πŸ˜‰ I’m guilty of the same thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s really one of the nicest perks of being in a stable, long-lasting relationship, when you cease needing to use each other’s actual names.

As the recipient, you might feel a mix of emotions on hearing one of these nicknames. Maybe pleasure, maybe a welling of love, and maybe even a little embarrassment. As the one bestowing the nickname, it might feel a little silly at first, or embarrassing on your part as well. After a time though, you respond as easily to that endearment as you would to your name.

When I write a story, one of the most common editorial mistakes I make is using someone’s name too much. It’s a common error with many writers, I’m sure. It’s also an easy tool to fall back on when holding a conversation between characters. You insert their name at the beginning or end of a question or phrase, and voila! The speaker is identified. The problem comes when you use it too often. When you speak with someone in real life, you might call their name to get their attention but after that, you don’t use their name again, right? Imagine if your conversation with your neighbour went something like this:

“Hey, Jim, I noticed you cut that small section of the lawn there.”

“Sure did, Henry. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Of course not. Thanks for helping out, Jim.”

“No problem, Henry. I know you and Maria have been busy.”

“Let me tell you, Jim, I haven’t slept in days.”

“Anytime you need some help, let me know, Henry.”

Ok, so maybe this is an exaggeration but it’s still a common error in many books and stories I’ve read over the years.

That’s an easy enough mistake to get around. Take out the names, except for at the very beginning or end of the conversation, just as you would while speaking with someone.

As a write, we give our lead characters terms of endearment to use with each other. Somehow, I manage to use these names more often without overusing them as I demonstrated with the real names above. I’m not saying I still don’t make the mistake occasionally, but for some reason, it’s easier to spot the use of the cutesie name, and therefore, correct it.

My point today isn’t to discuss another of my foibles as an author though. πŸ™‚ I wanted to ask about terms of endearment and how they are used in writing romance when compared with real life.

I’ve mentioned before how my “Ice” stories allow me a lot of room to be over-the-top romantic. It’s fun sometimes and challenging always to find a balance between something plausible and ridiculous. I like to think I strike the right balance in those stories and that includes my usage of sweet nicknames.

I’ve only used a few, in reality, which I’ve realized as I’ve gone back through my stories a bit. In “The Ice-Breaker,” Alex takes to calling Kaitlyn ‘gorgeous’ fairly early on in their relationship. Not that she seems to mind. What woman would? In “Uncovering the Ice,” Sean spends much of the story calling Vanessa ‘sweetheart,’ a common endearment for sure. Something about the way he uses it seems less than sweet though, wouldn’t you agree? πŸ˜‰ Of course, in the beginning, she had a different name for him as well. Gold stars to those who can tell me what it was. I wonder, do you think I ever went too far with some of the pet names between my characters?

In real life, I’ve been called different names by different people. Sweetheart, beautiful, baby, darlin’, honey and pumpkin to name a few. I won’t specify who calls me what but there is something special about having a nickname like that, even more so when it’s from someone who means it. Someone who really thinks you’re beautiful, or that you have a sweet heart or that you’re sweet as honey. I hope when I use those endearments in a story, those are the feelings I’m conveying, and not the ones of embarrassment or awkwardness.

I’ll leave you today thinking about what sort of names you use for your loved ones and how they make you feel. Hopefully, you enjoy being the recipient as much as the giver, as with all things. πŸ˜‰

Take care and happy reading.

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Blocked

I suppose there comes a time in every writer’s career when they find they can’t do what they’re supposed to be doing: writing. I also suppose every writer will deny it for a long time: writer’s block.

Gawd, even via the written word it feels like I’ve admitted to some great failing. I feel like I have been failing my readers for a long time, that I’m failing my peers, and that I’m failing myself. I don’t like feeling this way and if I knew what to do to correct it, I would. For now though, I’m blocked.

It’s not a good feeling. Imagine the last time you ate too much and then tried to sleep when the air conditioning was broken. Or remember the last time you couldn’t find the place for your meeting and your navigation system was down, or your map was torn right in half. That’s how I feel. A little lost, a lot uncomfortable but also very sure that it’ll come back one day.

I’m not saying that I’m not writing at all right now. I posted that short story a few weeks ago and I am getting quite a bit done on my next story in the TAITS series. I’m hoping it’ll get published along with the others and then I can move on the fourth one, and so on. I’m also trudging through my next “Ice” story, which I know so many of you want. I want to get that out eventually.

Eventually. That’s where I am now. I write, a page or two here or there. I say I’ll get something posted eventually. I’ll publish something, eventually. Eventually I won’t feel blocked anymore and the stories will come out like they used to.

Perhaps there’s some external factors at play here, you might think. Maybe I’m dealing with some personal or professional stress that is keeping my creative flow from flowing. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just me and I’m out of good ideas. Maybe the ideas I have for stories aren’t strong enough to see through to the end. Who knows?

I’m not asking for an answer here, I’m just keeping you updated on why I haven’t posted anything significant for some time. That’s not to say that “Raining on Sunday” was insignificant. It’s a story very close to my heart, for many reasons that I will not share today. What I mean is that I haven’t written anything longer, with a plot and conflict and characters you love or hate. I miss the fun process of creating people and places and adventures and romance. It’s that that keeps me coming back to my computer and the half-started files.

I’ve written before on here about how I don’t know what to work on sometimes. Sometimes I want to write something completely different, like a sci-fi or taboo story. Other times, it’s all I can do to focus on anything without over-the-top, sappy romance. Then again, I often wonder if I could write something without romance. Should I even try?

*sigh* Should I even be stressing myself out so much over this?

Well, now that I’ve dumped my mental issues on all of you, how about those Flames? LOL

Don’t worry about me, my friends. I am still writing, in fits and spurts. And like I mentioned above, I have every faith that I’ll be back into the real swing of things. Eventually! GAH!

I hope today’s entry finds you all well and enjoying your weekend. As always, take care and happy reading.

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Dear Anonymous

I’d like to address an epidemic in the free-forum-writing-feedback world. We’ve all, as writers or bloggers, come across this issue before and I’m always surprised at the recurrence. You know what I’m referring to: the anonymous poster.

I don’t mean the anonymous troll, either. That’s a problem but often, I find them more amusing than anything. I don’t mind if you don’t like my work. I am perfectly well aware of the fact that my writing is not for everyone and that not even all my regular fans or readers will like absolutely everything I write. That’s life. I can take the rejection. I don’t enjoy seeing hurtful or biting comments. I don’t get those so much anymore but I do see them on other stories and I just don’t understand why. So you don’t like the story? Click on something else and move on. Is it really necessary to write a scathing comment, insulting the writer’s intelligence? Hardly. But like I said, I’ve had some fun anonymous troll comments. Here’s my favourite:

“Oh gosh, I almost…peed myself when I read this story. Such crap! Do you have no shame? I will ask Santa to leave a turd in your stocking, and maybe ask him to wipe his ass on your tablecloth before he leaves for the next stop. Have a Merry Christmas.”

Eloquent, yes? And I did have a Merry Christmas, thank you!

Anyway, back to my point; the average anonymous poster. I understand why there are so many. On a site like Literotica, you can’t blame people for wanting to remain anonymous. Although, depending on how you create your profile, you could remain anonymous even with a user name. Other websites allow you to post anonymous comments, or give you the opportunity to create fun one-time user names. WordPress is like that, isn’t that right, Blue and Mounds? πŸ˜‰

On a lot of websites and forums, you have to have a user name or account of some kind, which doesn’t allow any anonymous commenters. I think that’s a bad idea as well though. Sure, it forces the would-be trolls to identify themselves before they rip into someone’s work, but they’re still able to with a little extra effort. On the other hand, it might also prevent someone with real constructive criticism from making a valid observation or comment. Also, an author or blogger thrives on the feedback received on these forums. If a reader has to go through the trouble of setting up a user account just to leave a single comment, they might be less inclined to do so.

All of this, I’m sure you know. I bet many of you are readers and posters on a lot of these different kinds of sites. To be honest, none of what I’ve described frustrates me that much. I love feedback from anyone and everyone and if not for anonymous posters, I’d be missing out on a lot. My problem with anonymous commenters is that so many of them ask questions and don’t leave me the means to answer them!

So today, I’ve decided to answer a few questions from Mr. or Ms. A. Nonymous. These are just some of the most recent questions I’ve received, with no way of answering. Hopefully, some of these commenters read my blog or check in on my facebook page, and now, your questions will be answered! Maybe some of my regular readers and commenters will even learn something new. πŸ™‚

Here we go: (As a side note, I’ve just copied and pasted these exactly as I received them – I thought it might help the commenters who write them to recognize their original question. Any spelling or grammatical errors are not mine. Well, except for the parts I write. πŸ™‚ )

Question: You’re stories are hands down the best I’ve ever read on the web. I see you’ve written an Russian fic for Alex… Just as a fan request… if it would ever be possible, to write one about another Russian? πŸ™‚ IK. Number 17 from the Devils… .ahhhhhh… πŸ™‚

Answer: I receive this sort of request often. Not just for this particular player, but for anyone. Sometimes repeatedly. πŸ™‚ A while back, I received numerous requests for a certain Rangers goalie… and I wrote “Melting the Ice.” A friend kept hounding me for a Red Wings story, while someone wanted a single mom’s tale. Out came “A Feel for the Ice.” Most of the time though, I just go with what feels right. I might start with a player, but lately, I’ve been going more with completely fictional creations. I do read every request but like anything, it’s always about finding time and coming up with a good story. If what I write happens to cover one of your requests, great! If not, don’t think I’m ignoring you, I just haven’t come up with something good enough yet to do him justice.

Question: Awesome set of stories! Maybe a coach or trainer story next?

Answer: Good ideas, and maybe I will get to a non-player story but remain within the “Ice” universe one day. At the moment, I just write what I can and it’s not always an “Ice” story, let alone a new twist on one. Don’t stop checking back here though, you never know what I might produce!

Question: You are by far my favourite author on here! I know that you have already done a Mike Richards story but he’s my favourite! Can you consider your next one as him again? Doesn’t have to be as Matt Robinson.

Answer: Thank you so much for that and I’m glad you enjoyed that story (“Tip of the Iceberg”, now only available in the anthology “Melting the Ice.”) That’s great that he’s your favourite player. However, I’m not likely to write more stories about the same players that I’ve already covered. Mostly, because I don’t know if I could do a different story for the same guy without repeating myself at all. I know, I know… I repeat myself anyway even with stories about different hockey players, but see?! That’s my challenge! Anyway, there are far too many good and interesting players yet to be mentioned that I don’t think revisiting a previous one would be as much fun.

Question: You deleted Uncovering the Ice =( Is there any chance of it going back up? Xxx

Answer: No, it won’t be going back up on the Literotica website. It’s now only available in the anthology, “Melting the Ice.” You can purchase it through the publisher’s website, Republica Press. P.S. Not sure what you meant with the “Xxx” but… Thank you? πŸ˜‰

Question: Hello Mugsy!Β 

I just wanted to say I love, love, love your writing. Uncovering the Ice was the first I’ve ever read and it’s been a favourite since then. As much as I love your and Pennlady’s other stories, I was wondering if you would possibly considering selling Uncovering the Ice by itself because I want to reread it. Thanks so much for posting your writing and taking the time to read this!

-A fan

Answer: Thank you so much for the compliment, first of all. At this time, that story is only available in the anthology. At some future date, I might consider releasing it on its own, or expanding it but for now, it’s part of a pretty awesome collection of short stories, if I do say so myself. And I’m sure Eve/PennLady would agree. πŸ˜‰

Question: (This comment was from back when I originally had “Uncovering the Ice” posted on Literotica.)

First of all, I love your work πŸ™‚ But I also wanted to let you know that on the first page pf Uncovering the Ice Ch. 06, you wrote -“Vanessa laughed to hide her confusion. “Every night you skate around on narrow blades that can severe arteries“- and severe should be “sever“.

Just wanted to let you know, and thanks for all the great stories!

Answer: Thank you for spotting that and pointing it out. Yes, even with editors and extensive rereads, mistakes still worm their way through the cracks. There is a way to edit and revise work that is already posted to Literotica but – and this is my own problem – I don’t have the time or patience to correct a lot of stuff that I’ve posted. I know I miss a lot of little things, and some big things. Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows how much I enjoy revision (as in… not at all) and understands that I’m not going to correct every mistake on the free stories I post. It’s not because I don’t care or want to do a good job. It’s just that I struggle to find time to write new work, never mind address the old, previously enjoyed ones. In any case, this story was edited and revised to remove this error for publication. Thanks again!

Question: I am absolutely in love with your stories. Please post more. or let us know if you’re writing. You’re awesome!

Answer: Thank you! And I promise, I’m trying hard to get something completed and posted. Believe me, I want the feedback as much as you want to read something – maybe more. πŸ™‚ Stay tuned for updates, you never know when something new will be posted.

Question: When are you going to publish something new? Waiting and waiting..

Answer: I am actually getting a bunch of editing/revisions done on “Double Vision,” the third in the TAITS series that I’m hoping will be published next. As I mentioned above, y’all know how much I love editing so you know how much of an accomplishment this is for me! Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted!

Question: Hi, are you ever going to continue your spy series or at least repost it? I loved it!

Answer: I sort of just answered this. Yes, I’m going to continue the spy series (TAITS) with the third and fourth books soon (I hope!) and I do have ideas for the next three books after that at least. I’ve even started one. If you check back on my old blog post, “Choosing What to Write” there’s a special sneak preview of that. I couldn’t give you any idea of a date for new releases though, and because I’m hoping to continue publishing them, they won’t be reposted to Literotica any longer. I hope you like them enough to purchase them when the time comes though.

Question: Gorgeously written.

I wanted to have sex with Zane. πŸ˜‰

Answer: Uh. All right then. Thank you?

I think that about covers the majority of questions I receive. Even if your exact question wasn’t included here, maybe you wanted to know some of these same things. If you have a question that I haven’t answered, by all means, leave a comment here or send me a message on facebook, or through Literotica. I always do my best to reply, IF you leave me a return email address. πŸ˜€

And now, I have to get to work. I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday and don’t anybody get too crazy with their Super Bowl parties tonight!

Take care and happy reading.

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