Good morning! Since we don’t have a theme for this week I am going to do some self-promoting. I don’t usually self-promote here, but many of you might not know about me or my writing. First about me…hmm…I’m an Aries with a Cancer Moon and Virgo Rising. I’ve always walked to a different beat, and my husband tells me I think like 8% of the population! Now where he came up with that stat, I never figured out. But, he’s an engineer, so I don’t question. I love to travel and have visited most sacred sites across the globe. I spend a lot of time in coffee houses chatting with friends. Waste most of the afternoon hanging out and watching anime, reading, playing on my iPad…you know, nothing too constructive. But, I get up at 5:30 am every day and work until I crash!
In 2013, I almost gave up writing. I had several m/m books published and the industry was going through growing pains. I thought about starting something new and getting back to my art. Well I did start something new, a business with a wonderful friend and artist, teaching online classes, but I couldn’t give up writing all together.
In 2014, I had four books published.
Mostly, I write m/m romance but started as a m/f historical romance writer. These older books have been out of circulation for quite some time. I decided to republish two through Musa Publishing. It’s always nice to get a refresh on a story and a new editing job.
Regarding Eliza is my m/f Edwardian book – and a fun story about Eliza, a young woman living during the 1910’s. This was quite a decade of change, much like the 1960’s – which is the other m/f story I have out – Formula For Love. Both stories feature strong, independent women who want to make a change in the world, and are trying to figure out how love fits in with their need for independence.
On the m/m romance side, I have a new series, Orbus Arcana, co-authored with Vina Grey. This tells the story of Vince and John, a vampire in love with a human cop. The story leans towards a fantasy in the sense we have a lot of world building. Orbus Arcana exists alongside the human world but in another dimension. We will soon have an audio book for the first book – For The Bite Of It and plan to have the second book converted to audio next year – A Bite In Time. Vina and I are working on book 3, and hope to have it published in April, 2015.
I’m not sure what 2015 will bring? Maybe another trip overseas, or a brand new series I’ll write with Vina. I learned to take things day to day, to enjoy my writing and not stress the details. Life is too short not to enjoy every minute of it!
Twitter – Viki Lyn
I hope you had a safe and happy start to the New Year!
What will 2014 look like for me?
I am hoping to write and publish more books this year than I did in 2013. I have finished DbD and am hoping to send it to my editor in the next couple of weeks. I have the outline for fourth and final book in the Celestial Surrender series and am planning 2 more books in my steampunk world.
I am going to visit a friend in St. Croix…at least I hope I will. It all depends on the timely arrival of my passport;). I am very much looking forward to sunshine and being at the beach, especially now that Toronto has temperatures of -20C (-4F). Her house is directly on the water. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the passport arrives in time.
I am also planning to attend the Romantic Times convention in May in New Orleans. I have never been before, but it looks like a lot of fun. I’ve been to New Orleans before and I have a few days before the convention starts to do sightseeing. Bring on the beignets;).
In between all that I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends, seeing movies like this (sooo excited!),
spend time with my cat and read 125 books. I discovered today that Laurell K. Hamilton has a new Meredith Gentry book coming in June, A Shiver of Light. It’s been years since a book in that series and I cannot wait.
What about you? Have you got any plans for 2014?
When I received the topic for this week’s blog post, I thought, “Name three things I’m most grateful for? Easy peasy.” Turns out that’s not quite true. I think I wrote this post four times, and every time I started fresh, there were three new things in my life I found myself grateful for. I decided to go with the first version because, while it’s much more personal than I tend to ever get, it’s the most authentic. Here’s what I came up with.
#1: My Husband
It might sound a bit trite, but he’s the thing I’m most grateful for in life. There are too many reasons to list, plus I’d probably get all sappy, so let me hit the high points. First, that man loves me more than anything else in the world, and he makes sure I know it–texts, notes, voicemails, emails, flowers, surprise dates. He is a cuddling machine. He listens to what I have to say. He’s brilliant and not stingy in sharing the knowledge, so I’ve grown marginally more intelligent over the years. (Yay, osmosis!)
Above all, when the shit really hit the fan and I found myself in a very precarious emotional spot due to some serious ongoing health issues, he stood by me, behind me for support and in front of me as interference. He was where I needed him to be when I needed him to be there without my ever having to ask. He simply loved me harder.
This man has taught me more about love than I ever thought possible, and I am a better woman for having been his partner for eighteen years.
#2: My Friends and Family
So simple. So true. I have a very, very small inner circle of people who surround me. There are quite a few people who orbit the group, people whom I value, but those closest to me? There are only a handful. These are the people I can call at 3:00 a.m. when my old Labrador Retriever had a seizure and my husband was out of town, the person I meet at Starbucks in “our spot” and can count on to be honest no matter how hard it is to hear, the person who goes to doctors’ appointments with me so I don’t have to be alone, the person who calls and says, “My Spidey Sense was tingling…what’s wrong?” and the person who simply shows up with a cold Dr. Pepper despite her personal war against sugar and says, “You need a little sunshine, Denise. Let’s sit outside.”
I do my absolute best to be worthy of their friendship, be they blooded family or not. My life is richer because of these people who form the nucleus of who I am.
#3: My Writing
This one might strike you as odd. Let me explain. Several years ago, I lost my job after a back surgery gone wrong. My job had become my life. It was everything I identified with, everything I used to define the parameters of “me.” When those parameters crumbled, I was left a shivering mass of naked regret. A decade spent building a career — gone. Disability was suddenly an unavoidable reality, and I hated myself for it. For a long time, I sulked. I didn’t want to rediscover joy in life. I didn’t want to find new passions. I wanted my old life back, and was so busy looking over my shoulder that I nearly missed what was right in front of me. Remember my darling husband? He bought me a laptop, brought it home and said, “Write. It used to make you happy.” I sulked a bit longer, then got up in pain in the middle of the night and went to the living room. There sat the computer. I opened it up and wrote the first few pages of Legacy, the first book I sold. Writing helped me rediscover who I was, who I am, and it gave my flagging sense of productivity an outlet that I could physically, safely, manage. I found myself in the words when I thought I was lost, when things were so bleak for me that I went to a very dark place I don’t talk about. My imagination was unlocked and I found my happy inside. How can I ever thank him for that?
Take a second and let me know who or what you’re most grateful for. I’d love to celebrate them or it with you.
If I could live in another time I’d be hard press to come up with one. The past always looks romantic in the movies but the reality of the hardships and inconveniences are not ones I care to live with. I most likely would have been a serf living off the land. And really, I have a black thumb! I’d starve to death.
Egypt during the height of its glory sounds intriguing but again, I doubt I would be running around the palaces and temples, most likely scrubbing the floors.
No, I will stay right here. It’s not perfect, there are many challenges ahead for society and the world, but it’s also an exciting time as well. Technological advances are changing the world as we know it.
I don’t have to step back into time or fly forward into the future.
Like the old saying goes: Be Here Now.
Asking me to pick a favorite romance novel is like asking me to pick which of my dogs I love the most. Im-fricking-possible. So here’s the story of the first romance novel I ever bought.
When I was about eleven years old, it was an odd thing for me to have money. I’m not sure where I’d come up with the few dollars that I was going to use to buy my mother’s birthday present, but I was excited about it.
I went into the tiny bookstore in our tiny mall. B. Dalton Booksellers. I was a little embarrassed when I walked into the Romance novel section. After all, I was eleven. I blushed when I saw people kissing. But I’d read several of my mother’s collection of them, and I knew that she’d love whatever book I could find for her. And also, that eventually, I might be able to read it too. (She kept the spicy ones on a bookshelf that my big sister and I weren’t supposed to read.)
There were several thicker books that I wouldn’t have money for. I looked for her favorite authors, but they all had the thick books. I’d only have enough for one of the skinnier ones.
I picked up a slim volume with a purple spine. The cover, edged in the same purple, had a swarthy, tanned, shirtless man standing behind a pale blonde woman with short curls. She was dressed only in a white towel. A massive ship stood behind them both.
SCARLET BUTTERFLY by Sandra Chastain.
With burning cheeks and a sweaty palm gripping my wad of dollars, I went up to the counter. I put the book face-down, and looked at my feet while the woman rang it up. She drew me out in conversation, and when she found out it was my mother’s birthday, she let me select from a pile of free books too. I got my mother two books with my few meager dollars. I was over the moon.
Me and my first romance purchase.
Mom was delighted with the gift, both the free book and SCARLET BUTTERFLY. As time went on, and I plowed through my mother’s entire collection of Romance novels, I finally read that very first Romance I’d purchased. It became one of my favorites, and I re-read it several times. When I moved out of the house, and my sisters, mother’s, and my reading collections had become muddled and mixed, SCARLET BUTTERFLY came with me.
In October of 2011 I had the pleasure of attending my first writer’s conference. I met several very interesting women, made some life-long friends, and learned so much. One of the coolest people I spoke to just in passing, was a white-haired, elderly lady with a walker. She wasn’t physically strong, but she was sharp and clever. I laughed with her a couple of times over the weekend. I don’t think she wore a nametag, so I didn’t catch who she was.
At the Maggie Ceremony, the GRW chapter presented their awards. They gave several to their chapter members. I clapped, smiled, and tweeted the winners. But then they got to the Nancy Knight Mentorship award. They described the winner’s willingness to help other writers, how sweet, caring, and wonderful this person was, and then they announced her name.
I looked up as my heart skipped a beat. Across the giant white screen at the front of the room was printed the name:
It took a long time for her to reach the stage. After all, a lady with a walker can only move so quickly. But it was her. The person who’d written the very first romance that I’d ever bought.
I wanted so badly another chance to speak with her. To tell her how much I’d enjoyed SCARLET BUTTERFLY. To get her autograph, to tell her how inspiring it was to me to meet her. But I didn’t see her again after that. We had to leave the awards ceremony before it was over, and she wasn’t at the workshop on the following morning.
I may never get to meet her, but I saw her. I put a face to the name on the cover of my dog-eared, read-to-shreds copy of SCARLET BUTTERFLY.
The world may be small, but sometimes it’s freaking incredible.
I don’t know how I survived without my Pinterest. Does anyone else have this problem? LOL
My pinterest name is janspringer1 and I am a pinterestaholic. There, my deep dark secret is out!
I love pinning pictures onto boards. My favorite is collecting photos with similar color themes. Black Beauty, Sapphire, Emerald, Shades of Chiffon, Gold, Silver, Tiffany Blue and Copper Love, to name just a few of my color boards. My boards include themes such as birdhouses, autumn, leather & latex, man candy, christmas, the walking dead, kiss kiss and bondage, again, to name a few. At last count, if I counted right, I have more than 250 themed boards and I have the pleasure of following 2,700 pinners and am being followed by 1,800 pinners.
For my writing, I find the pictures are an inspiration. They inspire me to get ideas of where a story is going. My heroes and heroines are retrieved from my Man Candy and Heroine boards as well as from whomever is pinning hot looking hunks or interesting women at the time. I use pictures to decorate my heroes and heroines’ rooms in their houses, the cars they drive, bedrooms they make love in and even lovemaking positions.
If I see something I like, I will like it and/or pin it and I am thrilled when someone “likes” one of my pins too.
Pinterest can be found here: http://www.pinterest.com
For tips on how to use Pinterest:
If you’d like to follow one, several or all of my boards, my pinterest name is janspringer1
Hope to see you there.
I am admittedly either very good at avoiding writing or very bad at managing my time. I’m not sure which it is, but it’s sort of a personal epiphany to sit here and acknowledge all the things I do other than write when I sit in front of the computer. For example, when I received my reminder that this was my day to blog, I immediately ditched the manuscript and dove into writing here vs. there. Such a lack of willpower! I’m easily led astray these days, and here are a few of the things that occupy my attention:
Supernatural: I’m pretty much an urban fantasy diehard, and some of what I write is pretty graphic in the way of violence. Ironically, I have to watch half of this show through my fingers. But when the eyes are on the screen and the hands over the face, very little writing gets done. Yay, Netflix! NOT HAPPY. I blame Tibby Armstrong.
Merlin: I’m a total BBC-Wales addict thanks to this show. I don’t catch it on regular programming, but I bought the first season on a whim and became addicted within minutes. I absolutely love this show and will watch it over and over and over. So good!
Twitter: It’s nothing for me to fall into Twitter and emerge hours later wondering what happened. I become engrossed in the most ridiculous things, like #Sharknado. W. T. H. My brain automatically assigns hashtags to things now. It’s a real #problem.
Blogging: I love to blog. It’s like chatting, and I’m very proficient at chatting. Sometimes I’ll get a wild hair and have to go write immediately, sharing thoughts and ideas and best practices with my readers and fellow writers. Other times it’s publishing news. And yet others? It’s all about me getting a cat. Capital time suck.
Fotolia: This is my favorite royalty-free photo site. Sometimes, when I’m looking for inspiration for a book or a scene or a setting, I’ll spend an hour or three browsing photos and adding to my collection of MANhandler pics. Hey, somebody has to do it!
And the “more” I reference? That’s the internet in general. I get lost in it, browsing Ebay and CNN and Yahoo. It’s ridiculous! If I’d gain a little more focus and hammer on, I’d get a lot more done. I just don’t think life would be complete without my MANhandler days, though. They keep me sane. 🙂
What are your favorite online haunts? Share and give me other places to frequent. Pretty please?
I have a desk. It’s upstairs, in the corner of my bedroom. At least, I think that’s where it is – there’s an awful lot of clothing piled on top. I’ve done the writer equivalent of buying an exercise machine only to use it as a clothes horse. Ahem.
So my place to write is… on the sofa. Laptop sits on my lap. Headphones get plugged in my ears. And, when I resist the temptation to tend my virtual kingdom or chat away on Twitter for long enough, I write. I don’t think where matters so much as doing. as long as I manage to switch off from the chaos around me (and with five kids, there’s a lot of chaos!), then I can get in the zone and write.
The Zone tends to have an almost mythical status. “How do you do that?” I get asked. Usually because those people know about the kids. And the husband. I’ve enough distractions before the Internet. My answer is to know what I’m going to write. I tend to rehearse scenes in my head before writing them down. I find that if I do that, then once I get to writing them, the words just flow. One scene segues into another and before I know it, I’ve 1K and change.
Secondly, I can’t write in silence. Probably because I’m so used to noise. I filter the quiet out the same way I do the kids playing on the Wii – I listen to music. What depends on the scene I’m writing and the overall feel I’m going for. Novel-in-progress Cassiopeia has a playlist that’s made up of several tracks from the Doctor Who soundtrack. Archangel‘s is a lot of Eighties music.
And then there’s God Is An Astronaut – Best. Sci Fi. Writing Music. Ever. Here, I’ll leave you with , so you can hear for yourself. You’re welcome. 😀
What I need to write can be pretty much summed up by the above picture. I need music on and the world turned off. What I need to edit, though, is music off and world off. Editing and writing go hand-in-hand but are definitely not the same thing. When I’m writing, music helps set tone, mood, and rhythm. A fast-paced song can lead to a fast, upbeat scene. A slow, sad song can help me reach the emotional levels of despair that I need to plumb in order to get the write words to express a character’s pain.
When I’m editing, such things are usually a distraction. I recognize that the reader won’t be consuming my book with the soundtrack I wrote it to playing in the background, so I edit in silence. This keeps my mind free of distraction and helps me to see if I really did hit all of the emotional points as soundly as I needed to hit them.
The most important aspect of writing or editing, though, is world off. I can’t get much accomplished when I’m distracted. I need to know that I’ve got a solid hour of near-solid time that I can really get my head in the right space. When I’m writing or editing, my child might come in and ask me something and I have to work really hard to make any sense of what she’s saying. I have a feeling that as a pre-teen she’ll figure out how to work this to her advantage. So a quiet place, alone, with nothing to pull my mind away is what I need to edit.
Everyone is different, though. I have a friend who writes in silence and listens to classical while she edits. I have another friend who does her best work in busy cafes. The thing is, if you write, find out what you need and seek it relentlessly.
Keira Andrews and Leta Blake write fairy tale inspired m/m erotica and romantica with Ellora’s Cave. Check out Ascending Hearts, available through Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others! And also remember to look at Earthly Desires, the first book in the Tempting Tales series, available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave.