Some Write It Hot

November 30, 2010

Things I Am Thankful For This Holiday Season

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Clean slates

Around the holidays we start to think about saying goodbye to the old year and hello to the new. The New Year ushers in clean slates—an opportunity for us to change, add positive elements to our lives or remove negative energy that surrounds us daily. What if we lived in a country where any type of change was forbidden and you could never wipe the slate clean?

I’m thankful for clean slates.

Little things

Unspeakable tragedy lurks all around us; a teen beaten to death in New York, a horrific hate crime in Pennsylvania, the shooting of a priest in a small town. Big things. And then I realize how truly fragile life is. I have a place to live, cars that run, heat, and electricity—little things we take for granted.

I’m thankful for little things.

Groaning Tables

My cupboards are full and so is my refrigerator. During the holidays my table groans with platters of food, laughter of children and smiles from elderly members of our family. Did you know that one out of eight children in the US go to bed hungry?

I’m thankful for groaning tables.

Sweet Visits

I love that my children still like to hang out with me, truly want my company. Tell your children you love them every time you share a sweet visit, hug them, let them know how blessed you are they were sent to journey through life with you.

I am thankful for sweet visits.

Meows and Barks

Cats have saved owners from burning buildings, dogs have rescued drowning children. Your pet in most cases will always choose you over anyone else in the world. Your furry friend gives you unconditional love, friendship, and loyalty. Give it back and you’ll never be sorry.

I am thankful for meows and barks.

The joy of writing

I’m horrible at math, not very good at biology or science either. But someone gave me a gift I’m sure I’m not worthy of. If you open a dictionary and choose a word, 90 percent of the time I can tell you the meaning. One thing I can always count on is the ability to string words together. I’m gonna ride this one out for as long and as far as it will take me.

I am thankful for the joy of writing.

Random acts of kindness

A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happy. An oft-cited example of a random act of kindness is stopping to help someone who’s out of fuel or has a flat tire. You can’t leave your name and you refuse to accept money in exchange for your assistance. You merely stopped to help because help was needed. We shouldn’t help people based on merit, but on need.

I am thankful for random acts of kindness.

Freedom

Over 5,000 US soldiers have died in the Iraq war and over 1,000 in Afghanistan. We must all realize that giving one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice. These heroic men and women have lost everything. This Holiday Season, thank them/pray for them for surrendering all they ever were or could ever hope to be to ensure our freedom.

I am thankful for freedom.

Friends and family

I saved the best for last. I’ve made wonderful friends over the years and have been blessed with the most awesome family. At Christmas and every day of the year I’ll remember to be thankful for friends and family. Remember, family and friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there for you.

I am thankful for friends and family.

Blessed Holidays to you and yours,

You can find Keta here on the Internet:
Author Home: http://ketadiablo.blogspot.com
Keta’s Haunt: http://www.ketadiablo.com
Keta’s Keep: http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com
Gay Fiction Blog: http://thestuffofmythandmen.blogspot.com
Keta on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ketadiablo

November 29, 2010

Distractions by Ash Penn

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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The Internet is never more riveting than when I have a new chapter to write. Very often the only way I can get any work done is by switching off my router fora few hours. And inevitably, when I do, I’ll immediately need to Google something for research purposes. Then it’s ‘Oh, I’ll just check one or two of my writing forums for new posts before I get started on the new chapter’ and then I’ll check my email and by the time I’m done an hour has passed, and I’ve yet to make a start on the WiP.

I’ve decided that if I’m to get any real work done (and have my latest book on sub by the end of this year) I’ll have to stop treating writing as a hobby and start thinking about it as a career. No more random surfing of the internet for hours on end, nor more wasting a morning or four in coffee shops, or window shopping for things I can’t afford. I’m going to have to get myself settled into a proper routine in a distraction free environment. I’ve managed to set up an office (of sorts) in a corner of my bedroom. Nothing fancy. Just a desk, my laptop, and an alarm clock. There will no more idle strolls into town, no internet or TV until I’ve either reached my daily word count goal or the alarm goes off and I can take a break. Hopefully the new, more disciplined ‘professional writer’ me will keep motivated enough to fulfill my personal goal for next year. I want at least four novellas either published or on submission, and perhaps a novel if I can rescue my failed NaNo attempt.

Just as well I’m not into the whole social networking thing, because I’m sure I’d never get any writing done at all.

November 26, 2010

My Father Inspires Me by Ellie Heller

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My father inspires me. In his love for hobbies and expression of art outside of his work, he has dabbled at many things and, in the process, gained mastery over several. Carpentry, running a B&B, embroidery are a few of his skills. At seventy he decided he really wanted to do more visual art and took up print making. He’s worked with several different methods and has explained excitedly about each. Just hearing him detailing his process and expounding on his ideas you can feel the love he has for this new medium. He has found his niche, his way of expressing himself and he couldn’t be happier or more enthusiastic.

But it’s not his enthusiasm which inspires me. His entering a new world of art became exciting for everyone who knew him. Seeing some of his work win awards made everyone proud, him most of all. His taking up something new, mastering it and then having other recognize his brilliance certain could be why he inspires me, but it’s not.

No, what inspires me is his dedication and perseverance to continue doing his art while going through chemo and relocating at the same time.

Some days I can’t even get a word on paper, my time does not seem like it belongs to me. Yet my father, through the highs and lows of chemo, not only made and entered pieces for shows, he and my stepmother set their house in order and put it on the market, found a new home and moved.

I am both awed and inspired by this man. No matter what was going on he made time to do something he loved. And with his time possibly now counted by seasons, not years, his urging to make sure you find something you love and then make the time to do it resonates loudly.

I have many things to be thankful for this time of year, but having someone so close to me understand and support my need to do something which brings me joy counts beyond measure.

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving – A Time for Unforgettable Giving by KevaD

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Today most of you will gather with family, ravage some poor defenseless turkey and watch obnoxious brother-in-laws, hands stuck in their waistbands, doze in your favorite chair.

I say “you” because my wife Virginia and I won’t be so engaged.

For more than a decade now we have spent each Thanksgiving and Christmas morning at the local Salvation Army along with dozens of other folks preparing meals for those without.

It’s the “without” part that caused me to write this.

We tend to think of the Salvation Army and other such agencies and churches as buffet lines on these two holidays. But so much more takes place behind the scenes with and for people you won’t ever meet.

Our purpose, our job, is to box meals to be delivered to shut-ins. The majority of those people are the forgotten. When the volunteers arrive to help deliver the meals, I make the route assignments, count the meals going into the boxes, ensure the right boxes go to the right drivers, and when the last order is filled, Virginia and I head out to a high rise where we distribute, on average, sixty dinners.

We, and the others like us across the country, do this for many reasons.

But the most compelling reason is the people we meet. They and their stories bring us back every year.

One such story is a man who never signed up for the meals and rarely spoke.

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas in the dining room where we set up, this quiet man would appear dressed in slacks, sport jacket, clean shirt and tie. His shoes, always freshly polished.

He would stand at the windows looking out to the parking lot until he tired and sat down.

The second year, my curiosity peaked, I asked a couple of residents about him.

Each holiday his family would tell him they were coming to get him and bring him to wherever the family was gathering that particular day. Each holiday no one ever arrived to take him there.

I offered him a slice of homemade pumpkin pie. He declined, saying he wanted to arrive at his family hungry so he could enjoy the full meal with them.

On Christmas I insisted. He sat and wolfed it down.

The next year we brought a meal for him. He refused, but readily accepted the slice of pie.

And on it went until last Christmas.

We arrived, set up, and distributed the meals. The residents gathered at the tables, ensuring each had sufficient silverware and a drink. Many said prayers together.

The man wasn’t at the window, nor did he appear before we packed up to leave.

I had to ask.

I asked some of his neighbors if his dream had finally come true.

“Yes,” came the response. “He passed away.”

Celebrate your holiday with loved ones. But if you have time, consider giving an hour or two to someone standing at the window.

Read more from KevaD

November 24, 2010

BookWenches Interview with KevaD

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Good morning, David. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about you and your work.

Thank you, Bobby. The pleasure is truly mine.

First of all, I have to ask about the troll…and your pen name. What motivated you to write as “KevaD”? And how comfortable is it under those stairs, anyway?

The troll actually came about when I was searching for an avatar for the critiquing group I belong to, ERAuthors. ERA had quite a selection to choose from – all female – not a toothless beggar in the bunch. The troll and I found each other in an orphanage for abandoned avatars. It was drool at first sight.

“KevaD” is a play on my name – Dave K backwards. Out of the Closet was a journey through the looking glass for me, and it seemed fitting at the time.

The space under the stairs is very comfortable. The floor’s oak and the walls are… were painted until KevaD licked them clean. My wife used to send me there every once in a while when I’d been bad. KevaD tossed a couple animal pelts on the floor and he’s been there ever since. I wish I’d known then the “pelts” weren’t dead yet.

Does your writing as KevaD differ from that as DA Kentner? How so?

Originally, not at all. Now I think KevaD has developed a shadow of a life of his own. He’s become a bit of a muse in his own right and questions what I’m doing, where I’m taking a story or character. Unfortunately, since he’s right most of the time, his ego has grown and is insisting I allow him to write a fantasy erotic trilogy. That’s so far out of my past writing styles I wouldn’t consider it. He scribbled the first few pages in crayon the other night. I had to frustratingly agree the project might have merit, as did one of my critiquing buds I sent it to for an opinion. I need to wrap up the second installment of Out of the Closet and SonRise, a WWII novel about four people destroyed by war and how their lives intertwine, eventually becoming a ragtag family. Then we’ll get serious about the trilogy.

The oddball is DA Kentner. I’ve never been “DA” at anytime in my life. I’m Dave or David. Ironically, there is another David Kentner twenty miles from me – no known relation. When The Readers’ Writers was picked up locally by the (Freeport) Journal Standard I thought there might be some confusion, so I signed the column as “DA”. GateHouse decided to nationally distribute the column, and “DA” was etched in stone.

Needless to say, while DA writes for GateHouse News Service and KevaD gets credit, or blame, for my stories, it’s me, David, getting lost in the shuffle, until the bills are due. But it’s okay. My golden retriever doesn’t care who I am, as long she gets fed on time, and my wife has two men and a troll to keep her company.

The truth is, it’s David behind the curtain.

Let’s chat briefly about Out of the Closet. What inspired you to write this story, and what do you want your readers to take away with them having read this story?

Love. The answer is that simply complicated. Love isn’t chained to sex, race, religion, geography, or perceived gender. It acknowledges no boundaries; yet, we don’t always see it before the chance to know real love strolls out of our lives.

Chaz is like so many of us, blindly stumbling his way through life, completely clueless that what he is searching for has been within his grasp the entire time. Fortunately for Chaz, he is granted a second chance to hold onto love with all his might before it escapes him again.

Why romance? And especially, why gay romantic comedy?

Insert heavy sigh here. I’m a true romantic. I honest to God believe in love. Almost every story I have ever written contains a thread of a love story woven in to it. Can’t help myself. The first piece I received minor accolades for was a love story between an alien man and earth woman.

Gay romantic comedy happened because of Ash Penn, the author of the MM novel Stray. Ash is a member of ERA and was looking for help with a scene. I’d never written MM before, but offered my version of the scene. She didn’t use it, but asked if I’d written MM before. I said no. She said I had. It was Ash who got it across to me that what I write about are the emotional strengths of love. I don’t worry about who (human) or what (non-human) is in love.

I decided to give MM a shot. After all, love is love. Chaz and Mike both have traits borrowed from multiple people I have known. I actually knew a man who scaled telephone poles upside down for six packs of beer. I figured if I had a character who did outrageous, nearly unbelievable acts, it better be a comedy or the readers would never believe somebody like Mike could really exist.

As I wrote, I posted the completed chapters on ERA for critiquing. The feedback and suggestions for improvement led me to foolishly believe they actually were enjoying it. Barb Sheridan, another author friend, said I really needed to get that story published.

Fingernails between teeth, I sent the manuscript to four publishers. Two offered contracts.

So, blame the members of ERAuthors for KevaD’s interest in gay romantic comedy. And you can specifically blame author Evanne Lorraine for the MMF scenes in the upcoming fantasy trilogy.

I know that you write several different genres: romantic comedy and suspense to name two. How much of a challenge is it to switch between them?

Weirdly, not much. I’m a character writer. I let the characters tell me how they’ll react to the circumstances I create for them. It’s not unusual for me to have two works in progress like I do right now. Romanian Infantry Corporal Vezirov Kasmerkhov can guide me through the morning, and Chaz and Mike can take the reins in the evening for another chapter or two of their next adventure. During this same time, I wrote the short story “SonSet” (the prequel to SonRise) for inclusion in Evanne Lorraine’s E-book A Scarlet Past due out on Kindle, Nov 19th. It’s a $.99 promotion for her upcoming series.

I find, for me (I don’t recommend it), having two diverse stories going at the same time allows me greater freedom to explore the varied characters.

As an example: I was working on Sunday Awakening, the romantic suspense novel Noble Romance Publishing is releasing Dec 6th (cheap, self-serving plug here), when Chaz and Mike knocked on the door right smack dab in the middle of it. Cheryl and Taylor were driving to New Mexico from Iowa anyway, and they said they wouldn’t mind if I spent some time with the new guys. The end result is a novella and a full-length novel being released three months apart.

But, I couldn’t do any of it if it weren’t for ERAuthors and their invaluable input. That’s a fact.

Tell me a little bit about your column “The Readers Writers” that you write for the Freeport Journal Standard as well as your involvement with SeeFreeNews.com.

The Readers’ Writers started as a way to thank two authors, Barbara Sheridan and mystery writer Sam Reaves, who were mentoring me when I was on the verge of giving up – throwing in the literary towel. A case of Charmin doesn’t contain as many sheets of paper as my rejection pile. Barb and Sam agreed to be interviewed believing the interviews were only for my new blog I didn’t know what to do with.

I sent the interviews to 63 newspapers as a surprise. I was the one surprised – only my local paper, the Journal Standard was interested. I still suspect the interest was only because of my name–in another life I was the Freeport Chief of Police—and I didn’t want to be paid. Not being paid undoubtedly had a lot to do with it. To all our amazement the readers’ response was tremendous. The JS wanted more. I was only too glad to oblige. We agreed on two interviews a month.

Next thing I knew GateHouse News Service, the parent of the JS, wanted a weekly for national distribution to all their affiliates. We test ran author Poppet’s interview as she is so unique and her personal story is so riveting. Over half the affiliates ran that interview. Now, all of the affiliates run the weekly interviews. That’s over 500 dailies and periodicals with over a hundred of them posting the column to their web sites in addition to the printed run – coast-to-coast.

For the record, I still receive the same pay – nix, nein, nada. I do it to spread the word about the authors gracious enough to allow me an interview. GateHouse does give me a line now at the bottom of the column to advertise my blog and books.

GateHouse runs the interviews edited to meet space limitations – I post the unedited interviews on my blog. So far it’s working out for all involved. But, you never know.

Seefreenews.com is a local Internet news service – a one-man operation – that received some national interest from a story he ran. Keith Bardell (owner/publisher) asked me if I would be willing to do something—anything—to add some content to his news pages. The downside was a 250-word limitation. That excluded the idea of author interviews.

Instead, I suggested we offer authors the 250-words of space to tell about themselves and their latest project. All I do is edit what they submit. Keith does all the work. Surprisingly – this business is full of surprises – we have trouble getting authors willing to invest the time it takes to write their own 250-word blurb. Keith also posts links, pics and trailers if the authors have them to submit. Anybody interested? If so, email me at dakentner@gosgi.com for more information. I mean, it’s free advertising. Why not? We might even consider a book review site’s blurb… such as, oh… say… BookWenches?

Oh, twist my arm already! (heh) Limiting to 250 words will be tough, but I’m sure we’re up to the challenge.

Tell me a little bit about your writing habits. Are you pretty regimented in terms of when and where and for how long you write, or do you tend write when the muse attacks?

I would love to be regimented. Unfortunately, that’s not life in our house. I write when there’s enough silence around me to drift into my characters’ minds. Sometimes that’s 8 a.m. Sometimes it’s 2 a.m. My computer’s a pc located in the living room. My wife believes the TV was made to run 24-7. Why God created the Soap Channel and the Game Network, I’ll never understand. So, I have to wait until she’s either not home, or asleep. But when my muse attacks with a new story concept, I sit down and hammer out the characters and plot before the damn muse giggles and runs away.

If I ever have the money, it’s a laptop and a room upstairs for me.

Will you share with us the story of your first “sale” for professional publication? How long had you been writing before you pursued publication?

I’d been writing for several months after a thirty-eight year hiatus. Initially I thought I was destined to be an English teacher. Life disagreed. I ended up in the Army. Part of my job was assisting the Secret Service and State Department in the personal protection of the President, Vice President and Secretary of State. When I eventually decided to return to civilian life, law enforcement seemed the natural route to follow.

This is a long way to answer your question, but it’s part of that first published piece.

I wasn’t getting anywhere as far as being published. Then I read a book review that I actually had to haul out a dictionary and French translation program to decipher. I thought it the most ridiculous article of self-absorption I’d ever wasted my time on. Cue the muse.

The muse whispered I should combine several of my experiences with that book review. In hindsight, the short story wasn’t very well written. But Daniel Sawyer and Faraway Journal loved it and published it. I’ll always be grateful to Daniel for that first opportunity.

What is your goal as a writer? Have you reached it yet?

Thank the Lord I haven’t reached my goal, which is to write until I can’t write any more.

What do you think makes for a great work of fiction? How do you instill that into your work?

For me it’s characterization. Give me a character, good or evil, I believe in, and I’m your willing captive to the very end. I need to take that ride with them, win or lose. That’s what I strive for in everything I write. If you really want to wound me, tell me my characters suck.

In SonRise I wrote a character I wanted to be as evil as I could possibly create. ERAuthor member Debbie Vaughan emailed me that character “…needs to die. He needs to die very soon.”

I smiled.

Will you give us a peek at what you’re working on right now? What can your readers expect from you in the not-too-distant future?

I touched on these earlier. Chaz and Mike’s next adventure is nearing completion. If it’s published, and “if” readers enjoy it, a third installment is already plotted out for them.

SonRise is my biggest challenge to date. The novel is actually completed and I’m in revisions and rewrites before I try to find it a home. But it’s literary fiction, not romance, though the two love stories in it are front and center and critical to the story. I’m more than a little nervous about finding a publisher for it.

As writers, I believe we all put a piece of our hearts into our prose. SonRise contains a piece of my soul.

When those two are polished off, I’ll start the erotic fantasy trilogy and pull a romance novel back out of the virtual drawer I stuck it in. It’s another completed novel in need of rewrites and revisions that would be a nice working counter-balance to the trilogy. I have eight such completed novels in “drawers”.

Tell me a little bit about DA Kentner the person. What do you do when you’re not shackled to the keyboard? Do you have a profession outside of writing? Do you have kids, hobbies, man-eating cats?

I have a business. I buy junk and sell antiques. But the economy has pretty much tanked sales, so I don’t spend near the time with it I used to. It’s hard to get excited about dealing with people who offer me half of the tagged price when my mark-up was only 30% to start with. No, I don’t tend to smile at offers of a 20% loss.

My two sons are grown and gone. It’s just my wife and I, our Golden Retriever who’s allergic to wood, and our tripod cat. Yup. Out of the Closet’s The Cat personified. He has a habit of gently touching a person when he wants their attention. If they ignore him, he’s all fur and claws on his way through their clothing to their skin. He has two levels of attitude; chill and kill.

My love of writing is also my passion. When I’m lost in my characters or interviewing an author, I’m happier than I could ever be with a hobby.

What do you think the future has in store for the world of publishing? Do you think electronic publishing will ever supplant print? Do you believe that small indie publishers are a fad, or do you think that they are here to stay?

Small Indie Press is definitely here to stay, and we should all be grateful for it. Writers and readers alike stand to gain from small Indie press – quality at affordable prices. I did an interview with author/publisher Nelson Ottenhausen where I touch on that.

Do I believe electronic will supplant print? Yes, but not in my lifetime.

The saddest loss of printed books will be the child or grandchild on your lap, sharing that book and the memory of it with you, reveling in the excitement of the pictures, turning the pages.

Many claim print will never disappear. I’d like to join that chorus, but I don’t think it’s reality.

We as a civilization are currently fostering the first generation introduced to non-print schoolbooks. Their textbooks are on Kindles. This concept will expand to all school systems. Consider the logic involved here. If you are raised without printed books, you carry dozens of books in a device no larger than a notebook and can interchange them at will, at the touch of your finger on the screen, how attractive is a ten-pound stack of books you need to buy bookshelves for? Fact: The majority of people don’t buy maps and atlases anymore – we have a GPS and MapQuest.

Originally stone tablets were the “books” of the time. Leather replaced stone. Rice and fiber paper replaced leather. Pulp replaced rice and fiber. I’m sure somewhere in there were folks claiming none of those could ever be replaced.

Hand carving was replaced by hand-written ink. Hand-written was replaced by the hand-operated printing press, replaced by the electric and gas-powered printing presses, replaced by digital press that put lots of people out of work. Newspapers are folding left and right due to the Internet. The newspapers still printed utilize computers to create and print them from electronically produced printing sheets – no typesetting.

Evolution is inevitable. Books, and the means producing them, have evolved right along with everything else. To see the future, we need only look at the past.

Please let us know how we can find out more about you and your writing – websites, blogspots, etc. How can we go about purchasing your work?

Visit dakentner.blogspot.com for author interviews, kevad-author.blogspot.com for the more personal updates of what KevaD’s up to.

Check out BookWenches for more author interviews and book reviews.

Both those sites have links to Noble Romance Publishing and Amazon.com for my published novels and novellas. Okay. For Out of the Closet. Sunday Awakening isn’t available until December 6th.

Finally, what have I forgotten to ask? Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

You have been so kind and gracious to me, all I can say is thank you so much for allowing me this time.

This interview is posted with the BookWenches’ permission. The original interview may be read here

November 23, 2010

What, no conflict? by Lillian Grant

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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I was working on an idea for NaNo the other day. (NaNo is a special kind of torture where writers go insane and sign up to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.) Anyway, I was working on plot ideas and my eldest wandered into my office and asked what I’m doing.

“Plotting,” says I, “My story needs conflict.”

His response. “Is it a war novel?”

Nooo, it’s romance of course!

So, why do you need conflict? Poor delusion child. I explained how it goes. Girl meets boy, or vise versa, they feel attracted, fall in love, something happens to pull them apart (conflict), they overcome the obstacle and live happily ever after.

He grins at me. “I’ve got a conflict for you. How about your hero is abducted by aliens. They probe him and when he returns to earth he’s gay. Now the heroine has to either get herself changed into a man or find the aliens to reverse the procedure if she wants to save their relationship.”

I do apologize for him. I gave birth to him and after that I have no idea what went wrong.

Funnily enough, around the same time as my son was regaling me with even more ridiculous ideas, a whole discussion opened up on Romance Divas about novels being contracted with no conflict in the plot and didn’t readers want conflict anymore.

I myself have a novella that has been tossed back at me by a publisher because it has no conflict. But I actually don’t mind stories without conflict. Hell, my favorite book of all time doesn’t even have a plot. I defy anyone to read Hunter S. Thompson’s Rum Diary and find the purpose of the book. Just when you think it’s about to get to the reason, the bit that ties it all together, it ends. Despite Hunter’s massive oversight in writing a book that has no real point, other than to meander through the life of journalist Paul Kemp as he lurches from drink to drink and from one apparent disaster to another, it’s a brilliant book.

Let’s be honest, most people don’t have romances with conflict, most relationships are not all Romeo and Juliet with calamity around every corner. Unfortunately my own romantic history has been full of conflict and hand wringing. Maybe that’s why I can accept a story where it’s all love and laughter because it’s not my experience of real life. How about you? Do you want conflict in your romance?

Read more from Lillian Grant at her website

November 22, 2010

Doubts by Ali Katz

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.” ~~Gustave Flaubert

Another crisis this week. Writing is excruciating. Does anyone else feel like this? Are we all masochists?

Irritated doesn’t even come close—try agonized, tortured, tormented, crucified. Well, crucified may be a little over the top.

I am a failure. I am a hack. I am a poseur.

Okay, that’s over. Back to work.

To all our American friends out there, have a great Thanksgiving.

November 19, 2010

Thanks For Noticing Me

The writing world is definitely full of ups and downs. Lately I’ve felt more of the downs as I’m sure my posts have reflected. I’ve been a bit of a Negative Nelly, I know. Some of my author friends have had to talk me off the writing ledge a time or two. (Lauren, I’m look at you!) And I love them for it. It’s fantastic to have such a supportive group of fellow writers. I’m grateful for everyone of them.

But I’m on an upswing right now because I’m a finalist in Tawny Taylor’s Some Like It Hot contest! Wahoo!! An editor at Ellora’s Cave will be reading my partial sub. Yay! I trembled like a Chihuahua for two days after I got the news, lol.

It might not ever come to anything contract wise, but I’m okay with that. Now I know I have the chops to catch an editor’s eye. My dream contract might not come tomorrow but it’s just around the corner.

Learn more about Gillian at her website http://www.gillianarcher.com/

November 18, 2010

Muses by KevaD

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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Where does your muse live? What stirs the salient soul to rise and whisper in your ear?

Mine arrives about the second hour of my 5½-hour lawn mowing duties and buzzes incessantly, a mosquito in my brain. It really whizzes me off. Have you ever tried to take notes while bouncing up and down on a Cub Cadet garden tractor? Trust me on this point. The seat springs only serve an aesthetic purpose.

I think she (my muse has to be female as only a woman could pick such an inconvenient time to get frisky) takes delight in torturing me. Vivid scenes flash through my mind. Characters abound, all talking at once, clambering to the forefront to be heard.

The strongest become focal points. From them tales are told, plots identified, romantic interests are paired, and endings take charge to mold it all into place.

Then a tag line snickers at me as the mower blades mutilate a patch of dandelions, and all hell breaks loose.

Mental outlines fall like bowling pins since the new arrival’s a ten pound rolling ball of excitement for a whole new story concept.

Still, my muse does have a heart. She trims the tag to something easy to remember such as “When Harry met Sally she made him take off her shoes,” or “His first kiss would have been better with a partner,” or “Afraid the parachute might not open, he rode the plane into the mountain” so I can file it away and rejoin the cast for my new novel and get to know them better.

For the next couple of hours I’m more a director seated in the gallery adjusting the actors’ locations on the stage, creating their costumes, drafting the script, and learning the minutia that makes them all individuals.

Lowell has a twitch. Paula tugs at buttons when nervous. Johnson has a big Johnson, when he remembers to put the pump in his pocket.

The trick is memorizing the lines and faces. Once the stage is set I become the producer repeating the play over and over until the last blade of grass falls and I can run into the house to my computer.

It works for me and my muse. Most of the time.

You see, sometimes my wife’s home and at the door to remind me the trimming isn’t done.

Within the gas-powered weed eater lies danger. That muse is definitely male and loves whacking people. He’s a serial killer at heart.

But that’s another tale in another file.

November 17, 2010

Tom’s Story Continued–Chapter Three by Debbie Vaughan

Filed under: Free read — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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Tom’s Story continues here’s the link for Chapter one and Chapter two just in case you missed the beginning.

The more I learned from Mariska, the less I liked what I had become. Hatin’ her would come easy except she seemed to hate herself enough fer the both of us, which I found plumb peculiar. Even odder, was my body’s yen fer her. I couldn’t be anywhere’s near her without touchin’– or more. And while she was obliging, as my mind came back to me I began to see signs she wasn’t as happy about our couplin’ as she might be.

“Why you cryin’?” My chest grew wet, not for the first time. She stilled in my arms, then went to push me away, but I held on. My strength had grown in the past weeks. She could have fought to free herself, but this time chose not to. “Mariska, you don’t act happy to be with me, yet you never deny me. Why do you suppose that is?”

She lay silent fer a spell, then propped an elbow on my chest and looked at me. “You know that it is in our nature for the lusts to mingle. The lust takes you each time you feed. To consummate the sexual act we must feed and feeding is sexual.” Her mouth twisted in the semblance of a smile. “Your urges are powerful, Thomas. Mine are…less so.”

I brought her face to mine, kissing her eyelids before licking the blood from her cheeks. She—we—cried tears of blood. Vampires were all about blood. I suspected if I took a piss, that would be blood too. But I didn’t—piss—not anymore. “Why?”

She caressed my face and sadness filled her eyes. “You are most desirable Thomas. My body enjoys what we do, but my guilt eats away the pleasure. All my vows, broken.”

“You said that before. Vows to who?” I eased up in the bed, letting my eyes wander to the window and the shadowy bodies moving about outside.

She drew a deep breath, which shook her lithe body. Vampires don’t have a need of air. She exhaled in a loud sigh. “The time has come for you to know all, Thomas. Have you felt the desire to couple with the others?”

“No.” I said quickly and hard. “Them gals seem a bit off and they act sort’o scared of me—you too. Why, do you suppose?”

Her smile was brighter this time as if she were pleased by my answer. “Ashamed I may be, but I did choose well. You are very bright Thomas. You notice the small things. Such vision will keep you safe if you nurture it. We are different from the others. What else have you witnessed?”

“They kill more often than not.” The words came out harsh and cold. They fed like a pack of wolves, not caring about their prey. Mariska had taught me to only take what I needed, which while more than she, was little enough. A body need not die from our feeding and we never fed from the same person more than twice in a row. “Sweet Jesus –”

Tormented howls rose out of the dark. Mariska raised a brow in question.

“Why do they do they scream like the devil’s after them?”

“It is not the devil they fear.” Her other brow rose to join its sister.

I stared at her in puzzlement. Not the devil? “What in God’s na–?” The dark erupted in wails. “Dear Lord!” The wails grew louder. “When I take the lord’s name in vain they howl?”

“Just so.” She nodded her head and her raven tresses cascaded over her shoulder to cover her breasts. The motion seemed to awaken her to her nakedness. Reaching to the foot of the bed for her shimmy, she tugged it on. “But it does nothing to you when you say it, even though it is disrespectful to do so.”

“Nor you. Why?”

“Our souls remain, Thomas. Of this I am certain. They do not believe it to be so and because of this, for them, it may be truth. They think they are damned and for that, perhaps they are. What do you believe?”

My face hardened into a frown. What was she askin’? “You wantin’ to know if I have faith in God?” I ignored the wails. “Or, if I believe he has forsaken me?”

“One will answer the other, will it not?”

I rolled my eyes. “Why would he?” I had done nothing to bring down the wrath of the Almighty. Sure, fornicatin’ and drinking people’s blood were sins, as was the killin’ I’d done in war. But sins got forgiven… “I ain’t perfect, unless it’s perfect at sinnin’, but my soul ain’t lost. What about you.”

“I too am a perfect sinner, Thomas. Perhaps more perfect than you.” She looked at her hands clasped tightly in her lap then raised her eyes to mine. “My maker found me in a convent in Romania. I was a bride of Christ and he, truly a spawn of Satan.”

She shook her head violently as if to clear an image then thrust out her chin defiantly. “Under his tutelage I did unspeakable things– until the light dawned on my soul. All he had stolen from me was my human life. As a test of my faith I re-entered the sacred ground and found only peace, he followed—and did not. I swore then I would never again be like him. I would not kill, I would not corrupt, and I would keep myself chaste. I did kill if only to ease suffering. I corrupted you to ease my loneliness and to have a kindred spirit to share my existence, even knowing my vow of chastity would be forsaken as well. I broke all my vows and doomed you to a life such as mine. I am a weak vessel but do not ask forgiveness.”

I couldn’t wrap my mind around her words. Was I the one should be asking forgiveness? I’d coupled with a nun! The thought rang through my brain like church bells. Ma must be spinnin’ in her grave. “Why didn’t you say somethin’? Why did you let me…?”

She put a finger to my lips to silence me. “It is the nature of the beast, Thomas. Until you master the change, sex is necessary. As your maker, the responsibility is mine. You are not at fault. It was my choice. You did not ask for this.”

A notion struck me square betwixt my eyes. I remembered the night we had come to Bitter Creek. I seen her watching me from the shadows as I bathed and remembered thinkin’ how like Colleen she was with her dark hair and tiny body. When she brought me food I saw the loneliness in her eyes and felt it mirrored in me. I had no one. She could have let the others have at me, but didn’t. She had saved me, after a fashion. “Why me?”

“I had to bring one over. I wanted another like me.”

“Had to?”

“It is time you knew. You’re seduction was planned by your superiors. Only those housed in the stables and barn were turned. The officers stayed safe within the houses. Your fellows may well be like the others, Thomas.” She waved a hand toward the dark fringe of buildings where the others lurked. “If we can convince them they are not damned, they need not follow orders, we may save them.”

“Wait. Wait! You’re sayin’ the government ordered y’all to make more vampires? But now you’re tellin’ me they don’t have to?” The anger I held since the night I died flamed through me, scorching away the lust which had buried it. My hands found her throat without a thought to drive them. I could snap her neck and toss her head at those lifeless things who stared at me in the dark. She had a choice but had given no quarter! I gazed into her bottomless eyes as my hands tightened and yet she did nothing to defend herself.

Words whispered through my mind. “We were not to save the strong ones.”

My mind returned to that night. I had brought her to my cot, planning to have my way with her but she turned on me. She drained away my blood, my life…

“Drink. Drink or forever die!”

I had seen my Ma and Pa and sweet Colleen waste away and die and my friends shot down in their prime. I didn’t want to die. I drank. The last decision of my life had been to keep at least part of it. My fingers eased on her throat. I swung my legs over the ticking, bent and picked up her dress from the floor then held it out to her. “Cover yourself. We need to talk.”

Don’t miss Chapter Four coming December 3rd!

Learn more about Debbie at her website: Get Bit!

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