Category Archives: The Writing Process

We Don’t Really Talk About That…

Everybody knows the point of writing a romance novel is to keep it sexy. But as I was going through my evening routine last night, I got to thinking… There really is a whole bunch of stuff we leave to the imagination, and with good reason.

Nobody suffers gastrointestinal discomfort in romance novels. Our characters don’t face the sudden urge to pee that sends them out of bed and fleeing for their lives to the bathroom. They don’t have to worry about foot odor or chafing or rashes. It’s rare we see our heroine going through the motions of shaving her legs or waxing her eyebrows, because she doesn’t have to. She doesn’t agonize over her man seeing that little pimple on her shoulder, because that pimple doesn’t exist. Our heroines are always runway perfect, even when they have bad breath and bed head. Hell, even their bad breath is somehow adorable. It’s part of the charm of being a fictional character, I suppose.

We all know the truth, but refuse to admit it: no woman wakes up gorgeous. Yes, there are some women who get up ultra-early with the specific intention of making certain their husbands/boyfriends/whatever never see them without makeup, but most of us just aren’t that person. We write our heroines that way because we’re writing to the romantic, to the illusion of perfection. As artists we’re taking creative liberties with reality, filtering out the unnecessary and unsavory, to give the reader a condensed, sexier version of life.

And since we’re selling fantasies, chances are our hero and heroine are going to appeal to most everyone. I like to write my characters with somewhat vague descriptions so my readers can superimpose the faces they want on them. Of course a few things are always going to happen: we will assume our hero is packing heat like Ron Jeremy and our heroine has huge knockers because those things are the fantasy. But this is where the real-life itty-bitty-titty-committee has the advantage… Us well-endowed girls always suffer from the curse of boob sweat. It’s a real thing, and it can be enough to make us run for the shower at the first thought of personal contact. But even if the chick in the book is packing triple-D hooters, she’s still going to be ready to get it on without a second thought…

Because boob sweat isn’t sexy. Neither is the act of getting the bra strong enough to contain them off. We leave those details out, again, to present the beauty without the reality. It’s much more fun to witness our hero sliding the bra strap off the girl’s shoulder and kissing the spot where it was. That’s a pretty image. Utilitarian bras are not.

Random: Have you ever noticed how nobody talks about the horrible things corsets do to the body when the heroines wear them? Those things hurt like a mother.

But in some ways the glossing over of real life almost feels like cheating. I mean, you can’t play in the Olympic games if you don’t train, right? Half the fun of the mating ritual is the pre-game. The anticipation. The tension. The hope that your hard work will pay off. I suppose there are worse things than filtering relationships though rose-colored glass though. Considering the luxuries of Western civilization we take for granted, we can’t really complain about our bushy eyebrows, can we?

Happy Release Day!

Good morning, my lovelies! I have a treat for you today.

Courtesy of the lovely ladies at Mocha Memoirs Press, the lovely Shannon Wendtland has a fabulous steampunk adventure available for your kindles! I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Heliodor_72dpi

Malfric sees through the eyes of the dead – literally reliving their last moments as if they were his own. This ability is highly sought and highly priced, which is why the unscrupulous Captain Finch hires him to find the murderer of a nobleman and the whereabouts of a valuable artifact.

Quantex, the able-bodied first mate of Captain Finch, quickly becomes Malfric’s foil as he demonstrates uncommon intelligence during the investigation. Together the two uncover several clues that lead them to the killer, the artifact, and the frayed end of a mysterious plot that begins to unravel the moment Malfric takes it in hand and gives it a good yank.


How about a little taste?

Quantex threw the wheel hard to starboard and leaned in, digging his boot heels into the deck and gritting his teeth.

“Your orders, sir?” called Chulo, his acting First Mate.

The pirate ship had come up from beneath them, at ramming speed it seemed, and veered to the side just in time to swipe their hull. The pirates had outfitted their ships with iron tridents that extended from their hull like great black rakes.

The Ariel had sustained some damage, rips in the hull and the like, and it might be a long time before it could safely land in the water and stay there.  Luckily, their ballast tanks were still full.

Still leaning on the wheel, Quantex grinned tightly as the ship swung around, the stern facing the broadside of their attacker.  Pirates swarmed on the other ship’s deck, raising their fists and voices in a rallying cry.

This was going to be a nasty fight, Quantex knew.  But he hadn’t always worked for Finch, had he?

“Arm the ballista and cinch it down at the stern.  Make sure the knots are good and tight ― let’s tie the bitch to us and take her for a ride.”

“That’ll take several minutes, sir,” offered Chulo, his hat in his hands.  “What’ll ye have me do with the rest of the crew?”

“Grapeshot in the cannons, aim for her mast and the sails.  And when I say, tell Jessop to release all the air in the big bladders.  We want to sink like a rock and take her down with us.”


About the Author:

Shannon is a wife, mother, writer, database administrator and general pot-stirrer-turned-mystic.

You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter at @ShannonWendtlan.


Available now at Amazon & the MMP Store!

Picking Battles & Stating Opinions, or, A Rant for the Ages

I started this blog post yesterday, originally with the intention of ranting until my face turned blue and my voice went hoarse. Then I stopped and took a breath, and for better or worse, listened to the advice of a friend.

“Pick your battles carefully,” he said. Once he told me that, I thought that I should just can the idea altogether because doing this will only start a flame war. Then I thought about it again and realized something else.

You know what? My blog. My opinion. My rules. More than once I’ve shared my opinions on unsavory subjects, and today is no different. I have a strong opinion that needs to be stated before the top of my head comes off. I apologize in advance if this gets ranty or preachy.

So the context: Yesterday, Ellora’s Cave Publishing announced that Farrah Abraham is their newest author. She also has a pumped-up release schedule of July 1, 2014. Pre-order pages are up already, and the author is on the cover of her own book.

My initial reaction to this was much the same as most of the people on their Facebook feed: “please tell me this is an April Fools joke!” But it persisted. Then it hit HuffPost. And then Jaid Black herself got on the thread and started defending the action. Then I realized, oh, shit…this is real!

My next reaction was this: “What the fuck is EC doing?”

I was immediately repulsed and offended (yes, offended!) by this decision, as I’d initially thought EC to be a prolific and respectable establishment. No, I don’t write the type of thing that they necessarily publish, but I have been a long-time reader of their stuff. I mean really, who wouldn’t want to be able to read a really juicy fantasy? I cut my erotic romance teeth on EC’s books. Their books are good.

Which is why it surprised me so much when this news hit. It shocked me to the point where I couldn’t even respond. I tried to rationalize it…I really did. I went and checked out her website and read the reviews of her other book to see what she was about. I was hoping, praying even, that she had a little bit of talent to back up this crazy announcement.

You know what I found? That this girl has absolutely no concept of the written word. Don’t believe me? Look at her website. Misspelled words, rampant bad grammar, pretentious attitude (not that that has anything at all to do with things…it just rubs me the wrong way). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re going to be a writer in the United States, you do have to at least know how the English language works. You can’t use run-on sentences, you have to use spell-check, and you should know basic things like the difference between “to”, “too”, and “two”. Typos happen – God knows I’ve had my fair share of flubs, but it’s painful to attempt to read some of the things on her website.

Let me stop here and clear something up – this has absolutely nothing to do with Miss Abraham as a real person. Do I enjoy her excessive lifestyle, the lies about a “leaked” sex tape that’s pretty much a professional video shoot with a real porn star, and the glorification of teen pregnancy? Hell no. I pity the poor girl because she thinks this is the way to validate herself. But it’s her life to live and those are her mistakes to make. I made the decision long ago not to follow along with the travesty that is her life because I don’t approve of it. But that’s not my point.

This discussion has to do with her “celebrity” status, however ill-gotten it may be. And that, kids, is the crux of my whole rant.

I don’t give a shit who you are. You should have to wait your turn and be judged on your talent and merit, just like everyone else. Being a “celebrity” should not under any circumstances grant you the ability to exploit a market you have no business entering.

There are few things I find as disgusting as “celebrity” status. I know, I know, that sounds really strange coming from someone who can technically be considered a “public figure”, but let’s face it, at this point in time, I’m a nobody from South Carolina with not enough time in my day and too many ideas in my head. Yes, I want to sell books for a living. Yes, I attend conventions and talk to people. But damn it, I work hard at what I do. I’m not in it for notoriety. I do what I do because I don’t want to do anything else. I love it.

I put my heart and soul into every single word that hits the page. And you know what? I can’t get my shit noticed because of people writing dinosaur porn and celebrities putting themselves on the covers of their books. And I’m not alone. There are thousands of amazingly talented authors out there who don’t get the recognition they deserve because people like this girl and Snooki are signing book deals. Hell, even Gillian Anderson has signed a book deal. Has she ever written anything before? No. That irritates the shit out of me. I’ve been writing my whole life and so have countless others I know, love, and respect. And we’re still the dregs of literary society.

If these people have the chops to pull it off, great. By all means, go for it. Write lots of books and be happy that all is right in the world.

BUT GET IN FUCKING LINE AND WAIT YOUR TURN.

Back to the point – the bad move.

Yes, Jaid Black has absolutely no qualms about admitting that she enjoys controversy, and that’s fine. Yesterday wasn’t the first time she said it, and I know it won’t be the last. I’m proud of her for sticking to her guns and believing what she’s doing is in the best interest of her press. I just hope that she realizes this isn’t the type of controversy she wants. She’s about to get more than she bargained for, and I can’t see it in any way, shape, or form being good for Ellora’s Cave.

She’s going to alienate her authors, some of them long-standing. She’s going to show preferential treatment to this one person – who, might I remind you, without her “celebrity” status would be listed as little more than a white-trash slut by today’s societal standards – while leaving her long-term, loyal authors in the dust. She has put this girl on a pedestal, far above the heads of the people who have built her empire for her.Rule number one of sustaining an empire – you don’t shit on the people you rely on to do the work for you.

EC is absolutely not going to show the same level of care and concern for every author it has, and when that happens those authors – some of which have built lives around EC – are going to get up and walk away. They’re going to be as insulted as I am on their behalf, and they’re only going to take that sort of neglectful abuse for so long. And chances are they’re not going to be quiet about it when that mass exodus occurs.

And then there are the readers. Part of the Facebook discussion last night came in the form of some pretty serious truth-telling. The ladies commenting on that thread are very right. Readers are going to be disgusted by the egocentric display of immaturity, and the caliber of person who will read this book is not going to want to pay $8 for it. The people who want to read it are going to wait until it’s up on the pirate sites and download it for free so they can trash it. It’s not going to go well at all.

Aside: Yes, I get that hate-reads are still reads and boost sales numbers when the books are purchased, but it’s a pretty poor business model, IMO.

And I hate all of it. I hate it for the authors and the readers, and honestly for the press as well. It’s a cheap, sell-out move and one that I’d expect from the big five (since they’ve already been doing it for years). I never thought I’d see the day when the quest for the almighty dollar would corrupt such a beautiful machine.

I hate to see something so wonderful potentially go down in flames over something that could easily have been avoided. If those in charge at EC were smart, they’d listen to the concerns of their authors and contemporaries and think twice before attempting to exploit such a cheap publicity avenue. I equate this to wartime propaganda… all show and no real substance. But unfortunately, “Keep Calm and Carry On” doesn’t apply in this situation

For EC’s sake and the sake of all of its authors, I hope I’m wrong on this one.

Book Spotlight: Awaken The Elements

Morning, lovies! I’ve got a nice little treat for you today. My friend Ellie Potts has a beautiful new title fresh off the e-presses for your enjoyment.  It’s a spicy little tale of epically sexy proportions!

Awaken the Elements - Ellie Potts

Awaken the Elements

*Mature 18+ for explicit adult situations.
Dark Erotic Fantasy, Menage- M/M/F, M/F, M/M*

Autumn has tried all her life to be normal, and it worked mostly. But Autumn is not normal. She doesn’t know exactly what she is or why she is so different. She does know that she can make plants grow without water or dirt, she can talk to trees, and when she is mad she can make the earth move around her. There is one other person who is different like her, Anatha, her cousin. But the two have never really gotten along.

As a virus sweeps the globe, making people seek government sanctioned safe houses. Autumn and Anatha’s family find themselves in an unlikely safe house. But they are not alone; there are friends, ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, a reunited boy band, and a wannabe rapper. Friendships grow and jealousies run crazy, as two men spark a passion in Autumn she had never felt before.

During their first summer, Autumn and Anatha, perform a summer solstice ritual which awakens the magic inside them, leading them on the path towards their destiny. But first they need to learn to control the magic that is in them as well as learn to get along, or they will destroy everything around them.

BUY IT HERE:
Amazon | Smashwords | All Romance

Guest Post: Ken Charles

Good morning, my lovelies! It’s a cold, beautiful Monday morning here in The South, and despite the fact that my head feels like a weather balloon, I’m making the best of it. In fact, I’ve got some fun for you today. Ken Charles has stopped by to talk about his newest (re)release and the ups and downs of the publishing industry.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

THE THIRD TIME’S A CHARM(ING)

THE MERCIES OF CINDERELLA IS OUT!

BY KEN CHARLES

Once upon a time, an aspiring Author sent a naughty take on an old favorite tale to a brand new publisher. The publisher liked the tale and sent a contract back to the Author, who signed it when he stopped jumping up and down. The Author and his new editor traded several thoughts and made some changes until both believed the story would live happily ever after. Unfortunately, neither of them knew of– the curse. One week before the story was to premier as one of the new publisher’s maiden offerings, the publisher went belly up. All rights returned to the Author, but the Author was very sad.

The tale sat around moping in a WIP folder gathering electrons for months. One day, another  author, whose first work was sold after the Author edited it, told the Author about some “fun people” she knew who were starting another publishing company. She suggested that the Author send the tale to these “fun people”. He did. The “fun people” also liked the tale and sent a contract back to the Author. The Author signed this contract as well. However, he did know at the time that the “fun people” only believed that those parts of the contract that enured to their benefit were the only parts of the contract that mattered. Eventually, the Author had to terminate the contract because the “fun people” weren’t really much fun at all. Once again, all rights returned to the Author, but the tale was again unhomed, and the Author was very sad.

The tale went back into the WIP folder. The Author didn’t know what to do with the poor cursed story. But suddenly, it came to him. There was no curse! After all, this was a Cinderella story. So the Author pulled the tale out of the WIP folder and sent it off one more time. Having learned his lesson, he sent it to a publisher with a track record. And that is how The Mercies of Cinderella found its new home with Blushing Books.

♥ ♥ ♥

Fairy Tales are fun to work with because of their familiarity. It’s fun to take the known and give it a twist. I always thought the arrival of Prince Charming and the glass slipper was only Act One. In The Mercies of Cinderella, I decided to present the reader with Act Two. This really isn’t a spoiler, but this Cinderella is no Disney princess!

THE END

KC Copyright 2013.  Moral rights to be identified as the author of the foregoing article asserted worldwide (including in Great Britain in accordance with Sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act of 1988).

**************************************************

The Mercies of Cinderella by Ken Charles

Payback is a bitch, and so at times is Cinderella. Cinderella is about to marry Prince Charming. Her evil Step Mother and Stepsisters have been convicted of high treason for their conspiracy to prevent the Prince from finding his true love, and are awaiting sentencing. Before the Prince passes sentence, Cinderella asks to take them into her custody for a year to determine whether she may speak on their behalves. The Prince grants her request, and remands the Step relations to one year under the tender mercies of Cinderella.

During this year, while Cinderella basks in the boundless love of the Prince and the joy of her first pregnancy, she applies the hard lessons she learned growing up to her Stepsisters, expressing her concern for their moral edification and well being with various paddles, straps, and even the scopula of a giant trap-door spider. Step Mother, who taught her that nothing in life is free, has to pay for her keep with sexual favors for all who provide her with any goods or services.

Where to Get it:
Blushing Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Escape,
Enjoyable Read

October 17, 2013
By Kzoo Musher
Format:Kindle Edition

I loved it! I love the author’s vocabulary. I have a fairly extensive vocabulary myself, and I get so tired of the same old words and descriptions being used and reused and overused. It’s really amazing when I actually have to look a word or two up in the dictionary! This author has a wonderful way with words. We read to be entertained. We read to escape for a time, and fantasize. This book delivers. I will definitely be looking for more by this author.

Lucy Blue: Back On Top!

Goooooood morning, my lovelies! I’m back today with a sneak peak at another fabulous book cover (which, by the way, is attached to a fabulous book that I had the privilege of reading as it was being written!). This one comes to us from the mind of Lucy Blue, who you might know from her Bound in Darkness Series.

I’ve stolen the cover from her latest blog update and decided to share it here to help get your attention. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?

Strange As Angels by Lucy Blue

And just think, kids… this one can be all yours on September 18th thanks to the fabulous minds at Purple Sword Publications. As more information develops, I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop. But in the meantime, if you haven’t read Lucy’s stuff, be sure to go and do that now. You won’t be sorry.

Lucy’s Blog | Lucy on Facebook | Lucy on Twitter | Lucy on Goodreads

Jitterbug PR Presents: Lessons Learned One Year Anniversary!

September 6 marks the one year anniversary of the release of Sydney Logan’s debut novel, Lessons Learned. To celebrate, Sydney is offering a fantastic giveaway!

The Blurb:

A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots.

English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past.

She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance.

Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love.

Praise for Lessons Learned

“Lessons Learned is a book that isn’t easily forgotten. I urge you to give it a read. You won’t regret it. Also, did I mention it starts with a bang? Talk about the best prologue ever. -JM Darhower, author of Sempre
“I haven’t read a book in a long time that I can compare to my favorite author Nicholas Sparks. THIS book is that book.” – Becky, Book Blogger

To thank her readers for an amazing year, Sydney is celebrating with a giveaway! You can win a signed copy of Lessons Learned and a $25 Amazon or iTunes gift card! The Rafflecopter is below. 

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, iTunes, or Blogger. We hereby release all names listed of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. Let me know if you have any questions or issues by contacting me: @SydneyALogan. – Good Luck!