Aug 30, 2013

My Book! In the flesh!(or the paper...)

I got a package in the mail from the UK...

It's my book! All 3 paper versions of it, so I'm sharing. I'm also running around in circles hooting like a maniac, but no one gets to see a picture of THAT.

 The poor DHL man inhaled a gnat when he was trying to tell me to sign for it. But that's a small price to pay! :D (Poor DHL Man...)

Aug 29, 2013

Maggie the Emo Basset-Beagle

I have doggie drama. This shouldn't surprise me, Maggie's always been so emo I feel I should tart her up in a black corset and blood-red lipstick. But this drama is dinner-specific and I've never had a dog that didn't want to eat before.

Because she loves the laser pointer so much, for a while when she refused to eat, I could lead her to her dish with the red dot... and turn it off when it got into a deep nook, and she'd eat her food to try and find out where the dot was hiding. Now she refuses to eat at all unless someone shines the dot on her food. Even if she's hungry.

It's like those army dudes who have to hike behind enemy lines to find secret military thingies and shine a laser on them so the bombers can find them. In order to make Maggie eat, someone must paint the target! And even then it only works a little bit now. Sometimes she goes over to the food, licks where the dot is, finds she does not have the dot in her mouth as she wants, and refuses to eat anything else.

She'll eat people food, which we don't want to give her because... doggie food is better for her!

She loves pretzels.

She can eat her weight in banana chips...

And when she's outside, if there is cat poo anywhere in the vicinity, she tries to eat that!

She eats dirt. She eats sticks. She gets sick... which exacerbates the no-dog-food-eating situation. A dog can't live on pretzels, no matter how adorable it is to watch her eat them(she holds them daintily between her paws and bites off the loopy bit, then turns the pretzel and bites off the second loopy bit...), but when she refuses to eat anything for a day(no matter how many different foods we tempt her with), someone is gonna give in and share their dinner.

If anyone knows a way to trick a finicky dog into eating actual doggie food, please share!

Aug 26, 2013

More Fun With Tatting!

Hadn't done a choker in a while. When I'm working through story problems, I like to do stuff with my hands. Thus! New tatting... And I know, two posts in one day, the world may stop turning any second!

Still playing with the bead design, but quite like the little loop of beads in the center of each motif...

Lizbeth thread, size 20, Victorian Rose(I think?)

Tropes Tropes an Awesome Post

Not mine, but considering how frequently I talk romance and tropes, I couldn't resist sharing.

Aug 23, 2013

Next Project and Internal Conflict Epiphany

Photo Credit: Cindy Shultz
Book2 is all done, aside from Author Amendments when they get here, I'm considering Uncovering Her Secrets on the shelf. I have a new project, and I'm so excited I'm kind of annoying myself!

That happens, I get new story glee at the beginning when I'm still plotting and itching to write. But I really REALLY have it now because I got the green light to dive into a story I wasn't at all sure would fly! I'll give you a hint: IT'S A CIRCUS. Oh wait, that wasn't a hint. BUT IT'S STILL A CIRCUS. A Circus Medical Romance *beams*. Circus Medicus is what I'm calling it, because I know that it will get a new title anyway.

So I'm in full-on Excitement Supernova! That glorious place at the beginning where I'm certain I'm a GENIUS, everyone will love my kooky story, and I should have it finished by Tuesday because it's going to be so easy to write. Excitement Supernova, Delusional Supernova... whatever! Call it what you like, I'm going to try and stuff some in a Tupperware and stick it in the freezer to whip out when things get hard again.

Supernovae aside, I decided to post this morning because last night I had an epiphany. Or maybe I finally just understood something my last editor was actually doing with questions she'd ask in revisions--those questions that made me dig deeper into the internal conflict.

Internal conflict is basically a coping mechanism, a belief a character has designed to protect them from X happening. X happened in the past, or something like X happened in the past, and the internal conflict is protection from X repeating.
Example: Patty was left at the altar. That jerkfaced-MIA-bridegroom broke her heart and now she's afraid of serious relationships--they all lead to marriage and you just can’t ever count on someone to be there blahblahblah.

Seems kind of shallow, right? People do get left at the altar without developing a complex. Children survive one parent walking out on them, and become completely stable adults without daddy issues. 

So here is my epiphany: One incident in an otherwise normal existence doesn’t make someone develop really strong coping/protecting mechanisms. 

Not unless it’s a horrible incident, like a plane crash making someone never want to fly again. Or a woman deciding to never have more children because her last baby spontaneous combusted during a diaper change… Big Horrible Incidents aside, one Average-Baggage incident does not believable, sustainable Internal Conflict make.  

But if that one incident confirms a belief suggested by an earlier incident? What if Patty has always had self-esteem issues, never could believe that her fiancĂ©e wanted to marry her, and THEN was left at the altar? Yeah, I can see that confirming what she already felt: that she wasn’t good enough to be loved by the kind of man she wanted, or something along those lines. Make her set her sights low, make her date the wrong kind of man.

Every craft book I’ve read about developing conflict always demanded I ask Why… but I guess up until now, when in the initial writing stages(first draft) I’ve never asked the one final Why that makes the difference. The Why that gets me to that deepest level(until revisions… when my editor asked me why…)

So, this is what I going to do from now on: When I get to this Incident that gave my character a complex(if it’s not horrible like BabySpontaneousCombustion)I'm going to ask this:

Why did this incident affect him/her enough to make him to live a guarded life?  What earlier belief did this incident confirm?

Until now, I think my initial Internal Conflict Incident has not been the root. It’s been the base of the tree, but there was always something in the roots that I didn’t pick up on until someone MADE ME think about it.

Anyway, that's my epiphany for the day. I'm sure it's not an epiphany to everyone, but if it is, feel free to steal my Why!

(And I'm still excited about the story after typing this long post. Circus Medicus YAY!)

Aug 16, 2013

A Writer's Most Important Trait

I know I haven't been doing this very long, at least not with official author credentials, but I have a couple bits of advice to share, so I'm gonna share them!

You can find a million blogs/websites online that tell you how to be a good writer, and I'm sure they all have nuggets of juicy and valuable wisdom. Some folks will rightly claim that having a great imagination is what you need to be a good writer. I don't disagree. Creativity will take you far. Others may say that you just need determination and to practice your craft, and eventually you'll get there. I slightly disagree with that, but on the whole, I think it's great advice.

But the thing is, if you want to write romance where emotion is king, the most important trait you can have is Empathy. If you can't really put yourself into someone else's shoes(which does take imagination, sometimes a lot of it!), then you can't be a selling romance writer. Not until you learn how. And really, all good fiction is character driven, so I believe this applies across the genre divides, but unequivocallyin romance.

I think the empathy level of romance writers is higher than average and that's why the romance writing community is so supportive, but there have been some instances(in the past couple months mostly) that have made me want to shake a baby author and say... Imagine it was you before you ________.

This even goes past writing and into the professional persona you have to craft. Everyone wants to work with folks who are easy to work with. Authors want to work with editors who are easy to work with. Editors want to work with authors who are easy to work with. Dairy cows want to work with farmers who have soft hands... and therefore are easy to work with!

Scared bunny
I say this with all love: Most writers(me included) at heart are a bunch of neurotic, paranoid, baby rabbits with a crack addiction. Great imaginations mean we're Great Worriers. There may be no snarling beagle cornering us, staring us down with those pointy teeth and floppy ears of DOOM... but we can picture it! So the fear is very real. The fear of submitting. The fear that our submission has been lost/ignored/destroyed-by-internet-gremlins... The fear that the editor hates our story(AND US!) and just can't find a nice way to tell us to stop with all the submitting already! The fear that our new editor is lamenting being saddled with us and our questionable writing skills...(Did you see my windmill arm flailing a couple weeks ago?)

Stop. Put that bunny back in his hutch and take away his lunch money.

Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy.

That is all :)

Aug 14, 2013

No.Am. Cover for 2012's SYTYCW Entry!

Love how the white sheets blend into the white format of the North American medical covers. The smokin' hot couple looks even better in big format than I had hoped!

Tickled pink!

Compare to UK Cover here

Aug 10, 2013

Upcoming Tour Giveaway Jewelry

Not much to say here, got some final book2 tweaky revisions to make, but wanted to toss this picture up since I promised! This set will be part of the virtual book tour in October -- details soon coming.

The photo is misleading due to the display being black too. I need to put the pieces on something colored so the details can be seen without the flash that washes out the color(the thread is shinier than the velvet...).

(Only part of prize giftbasket)

Aug 5, 2013

Tatting and Tasty Blog Tours

So, with the upcoming release of my debut (yay!), I am spending this week tatting up something glorious(at least in my mind) to give away on the blog tour. It's also a good way to let my mind wander into new-story land and come up with the next ideas.

Right now, here are the necklace ideas I'm kicking around. Note, these are prototypes, so they are not flawless. Also, they're made with my first attempts at dying my own thread :) I've gotten better!

And now for the other newsy stuff. My editor who I've been working with for both books1 and 2 at Harlequin Mills&Boon has had to change up her position, and I'm starting over with a new editor. I've heard loads of lovely things about New Editor, so I'm very hopeful. If I'm honest, I have to say I'm a little scared too. I like to use unusual settings, people, and scenarios in my stories, and I think half of editing my stories involves making me tone down the humor that wants to overpower other emotions. My first editor just got me, is it egotistical to fear the next one won't? Like I'm some special snowflake who no one can possibly understand! It's irrational, I'm sure it is. But there it is: SKEERED.

Because the next medical I want to write is set in the circus. And at a glance, that idea seems to be slathered in crazysauce, but I swear I'm not making it crazy on purpose. I really have a whole, fully formed idea! Complex characters who may be a hot mess, as I like them. And it's not just an excuse to write some steamy sex on the bouncy-bouncy net below the trapeze. I SWEAR.

But, I'm a whiner and a worrier, and I think that goes hand in hand with being a writer. We have great imaginations, so we can really picture all the way things can go badly when we toddle out on the limb. I'm sure it will be fine.

Let me try that again I'M SURE IT WILL BE FINE. If you say things louder, they become truer.

Votes on necklace to pursue for blog tour giveaway? I'm thinking the pendant, with matching earrings, and possibly a bracelet if I can come up with something. The necklace also has matching earrings, and they are actually probably better than the necklace. But, that's why there's prototypes! (Also, the set will probably be black. I was leaning toward purple--since my UK cover is all purple awesomeness, but now I'm thinking black goes with everything. Not everyone likes purple--can you believe that? Will see what my trip to the geegaw shop brings today to know for sure what thread I'm tackling. Might be shades of grey!)