The Big O
What a way to wake up!
Had no idea when I woke up this morning (okay, so I'm still battling insomnia and haven't been to bed yet)...but my 2nd book with Loose Id debuts in about 30 minutes or so. Who knew? Not I - lol. Nice surprise.
Kinky Kruising 2: The Big OBy Lyn CashGenre: BDSM; Erotic Contemporary; Romantic Comedy Length: NovellaCover Artist: Scott Carpenter ISBN: 1-59632-175-Xhttp://www.loose-id.com/detail.aspx?ID=232It was the perfect wedding -- until the Bride and Groom split up at the reception. Maid of Honor Chesney and Best Man Orlando have always had big crushes on each other. They can't fix their friends' marriage, but there's no reason to waste a perfectly good all-expenses-paid honeymoon cruise. They set sail for the Caribean on the Mistress Mine and waste no time in putting the honeymoon suite to good use. Everything's going great -- until the bride and groom show up on board. Read an excerpt at: http://www.loose-id.com/LCKK2TBOex.aspxRated: Scorching
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Hugs, warm thanks, & cyber champagne for editors Sherri, Raven, & Allie at Loose Id for springing this on me. Couldn't have done it without them. Ya got me, ladies.
~ Sunny Lyn
Mistress Mine ~ Available Now
The Big O - DEBUTS TODAY!!!http://www.loose-id.com/
I've probably spent way too much time writing BDSM. I'm seeing female dominance at every corner, empowered women and grateful men--not castrated ones, but men who are happy to share the position of being strong and responsible.
This subgenre of erotic romance with kinky elments has bled over into my everyday life, though. I find myself having less patience with wimpy women who depend upon others to do what needs to be done, things they should do for themselves.
Ditto for characters.
How often have you read a book that went from being a hand-hugger to a wall-banger simply because the characters were weak? They didn't grow, evolve, or even disintegrate. Nothing happened to show they'd progressed or regressed, leaving them stagnant and boring.
I used to believe that the plot was everything. I'd written and won with so many script contests that I forgot how to write interesting characters. Then a lovely friend named June Park (The Bingo Queens of Paradise
) pulled me aside and handed me a book on characterization. She introduced me (quite literarly) to the late, great Jack Bickham
, in whose seminars I learned more in a few hours than I had in years of reading and writing on my own. Jack turned me on to his mentor, Dwight Swain
, author of the out-of-print Techniques of the Selling Writer
, and the list goes on.
All 3 authors get the Sunny Lyn seal of approval:
What I mainly learned from these mentors was that "something" called plot can happen to anyone. What distinguishes a good read from a bad one and elevates a good one to great is the emotional growth taking place within the characters depicted.
If all a character does is drink coffee or liquor, smoke cigarettes, eat, pace, sigh, nod, or screw...that's lazy writing. If all they do is internalize their emotions, that's lazy writing's evil twin, lack of focus. Writing all this mundane action or boring internal monologue coupled with poor writing skills and bad grammar will absolutely kill whatever chances the manuscript has of being read by anyone with time on their hands.
Giving these characters a great plot won't help the book. Having them go through scene and sequel, with a character arc accompanying the action, forcing character growth, will
be the shot in the arm the manuscript needs.
What are some books that teach or favorite writers who depict great character to you?
p.s. ~ Have to announce while I'm here...made another sale this past week, this one to Liquid Silver Books
for my own erotic astrology anthology, 4 stories. It should debut within 3-4 months, maybe earlier.
Knowing When To Shut Up
Have you ever had characters, like friends, who never knew when to shut up? Their dialogue goes on and on, and you find yourself just wishing a giant bird turd would land in their mouths. You don't wish them any real harm, just that they'd get a taste of what they're dishing out.
A friend's WIP prompted this one. For whatever her reasons, she feels that dialogue is her strong suit, so that's where she focuses her energies. As a result, her narrative leaves a bit to be desired. As an editor pointed out to me a few months ago, when all a character does is talk, the reader is left having to imagine what's going on behind the scenes of the monologue. There's no need for boring details, just enough to keep the reader into the video playing in their heads as they read. Since having this editor help me whip a manuscript into shape, I've also become acquainted with a thing called an action tag, of which I was clueless up until that point. For those also new to the term, examine the following sentences written two ways:
"Easy," he said, rising to meet her, "don't believe everything you hear."
"Easy." He rose to meet her. "Don't believe everything you hear."
Not sure how everyone else's editor handles that sort of thing, but this is what's being drilled into my skull. The less "he said/she said" the better.
It's been ages since I was so in love with my own words that I couldn't take a crit, but I was amazed at the number of times I used a dialogue tag when I could have used an equally impacting action tag, and most of the time to my advantage. The main reason is that with an action tag comes the opportunity to stretch a bit, to include more of what's going on in tandem with the conversation. Dialogue tags get messy, because the reader has to wade through two or sometimes three gerunds or infinitives to get to the meat of what's happening. Another bad example:
"Easy," he said, rising to meet her, shoving his hands into his pockets defiantly. -- blah, blah...
"Easy." He rose to meet her. "Don't believe everything you hear." Festus shoved his hands into his pockets defiantly.
The important thing is to place dialogue and action in the sequence in which they occur. Had Festus shoved his hands into his pockets prior to the "...don't believe..." line, the impact of his anger wouldn't be as strong. If he waits until he's delivered his line, the focus is on what he's doing, his body language and posture.
Now if I could only do flashbacks without using the word "had", I'd make one of my CPs, Miss Merry, a lot happier.
Have a nice day, everyone.
Has anybody seen my muse?
I know the heifer is somewhere out on the interstate thumbing rides and flipping me off as I try calling her home. The state of things in the South, homeless friends, royalty checks that haven't arrived, dust bunnies made of dog hair that look like they have everything but a heartbeat--if I'm not careful, all manner of thoughts can nudge her out when I sit down to write.
Many friends have stated that the past couple of weeks have been hell on their writing. The only thing that saves me even a smidgen is knowing that I've been in dire circumstances before when what kept me from sinking was someone else's words--a one-liner, a turn of phrase, something that flipped the switch on the internal lightbulb. And I know there will be others needing a joke, a hug, an "I get you" eventually. While I'm not Pulitzer material, maybe something I have to say will be what someone else needs to hear at some point.
I also have to write for my own soul. At times I feel like I'm prostituting my intellect--at others I feel that I have none to shame, that I'm a dunce just polishing rocks trying to make them shine. Then a critique partner comes up with an idea I hadn't conceived that will strengthen my writing, or a friend makes a comment in passing that I need to hear, or someone on the street has a bit of dialogue that turns me into a master thief, and I'm soon back in the game.
What do you do to combat the dry spells, to replenish the piggy bank of the soul?
One of the things that helped me get past some rough times last week was blogging, so I'll share some blogs (since I haven't figured out how to place them on the left-hand side just yet) that I've enjoyed.http://thischristine.blogspot.com/http://www.amyedwards.blogspot.com/http://annwesleyhardin.bravejournal.com/http://misssnark.blogspot.com/http://www.celiastuart.com/blog/2005/09/02/disgusted/http://www.tessgerritsen.com/blogs.cfmhttp://dianapeterfreund.blogspot.com/http://dshoffman.blogspot.com/http://merrystahel.blogspot.com/http://bronwynparry.blogspot.com/http://thewizardsofblog.blogspot.com/http://deessecretdiary.blogspot.com/http://myirrationalities.blogspot.com/http://rae_cy.bravejournal.com/http://krisstarr.blogspot.com/http://chicksover40.blogspot.com/http://katerothwell.blogspot.com/http://thebelfrycollective.com/blog/
I go to some of the above blogs to eavesdrop (I won't tell you which ones--you'll just have to see for yourself) and to others simply because it's like being home, having a chat with a dear friend. (Merry, Dee, Rae, and Kris have that affect on me) - I go to Doug, Christine, Miss Snark, Amy, Cece, and Tess to learn and re-charge my intellectual batteries. Ann tickles my funny bone; Bron, Kate, and Tanya/She's A Writer always have tidbits--nothing that taxes me but almost always something that makes me think.
How about you? What has lifted you out of the doldrums during the past couple of weeks? What works for you?
Some of you have asked about the recent sale. It was to Ellora's Cave for a manuscript entitled Into The Fire
. Yeah, I'm excited--I caught another "rabbit" I'd been chasing. Got the news last Friday, and everything is still being set up there, so no news on it for a while if you can bear with me.
Speaking of BARE with me...I do have a new book coming out between September and November - some time this fall, at any rate - with Loose Id, called The Big O
. I was fortunate enough to have the talented Scott Carpenter assigned as my artist again. I'll post a larger cover of the book, along with the ISBN once the book debuts.
I can't believe it's already September. I feel the fatigue from the crunch I put myself under on deadlines in August, but still can't believe that so much time has passed. When I first started setting goals, the biggest thing on my list was to increase my yearly income by $10,000. Once I did that, I set another one, and another. What works for me may not work for you, but writing my goals (whether on computer or with pen & paper) never failed me. I had simple guidelines--write them down, work toward them in small increments, and reward myself each time I reached peak performance during the process.
Maybe it would be dinner out, a movie, something that pampered the soul...but I always rewarded myself after I reached a step on the ladder I created. Failure just wasn't an option once the goal was in black and white, but that's not to say that I hit the mark each time. I'd survived tornadoes, car wrecks that weren't my fault that partially paralyzed me for several months, plus combinations of health issues, money problems, and other things that happen to many others. So once I set a goal, I was determined it was a done deal, and even if I didn't meet and even exceed my expectations of myself, I still won and had a better understanding of what it would take for me to excel the next time I tried.
Small increments in writing usually meant that I wrote so many pages a day or week, depending upon how much time I had daily to devote to my tasks. Some goals within the goal were simply getting a section of dialogue just right or learning how to use "deep point of view". Other steps were listening to tapes by Zig Ziglar, Susan Jeffers, Shakti Gawain, Louise Hay, or Melodie Beatty. The tapes were important at the time, because they helped me visualize where I wanted to be.
I also read books by Julia Cameron and kept a daily journal. Cameron's The Artist's Way
was a real treat for me--I didn't mind the daily free writing exercises and lessons at all. Another writer whose time management and goal setting exercises helped tremendously was Barbara Sher, especially her book called Wishcraft
. Sometimes hearing someone else say the same thing we've read before will flip the switch on the lightbulb and give us that Ah-Ha! moment, so I read voraciously, even if the topic was one I'd covered before.
The most important thing with goal-setting (IMO) is starting. Pick a goal, dole it out in do-able doses you can handle. Don't measure yourself by anyone's yardstick but your own. Then just do it. If you fall short, what have you lost? You're wiser, more equipped to do what you wanted before you started, and you have some great stepping stones for the next time you set a goal or raise the bar on the one you just reached.Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
-- Melodie Beatty
Lucky # 7
I was born on the 7th day of the month. When I gamble, I usually win when I play Lucky Sevens slot machines. The numbers in the year of my birth all add up to...you guessed it...a 7. So when I'm assigned a number in one of my publishers' games, why shouldn't it be a 7, right?
Actually it's not the publishers per se, it's the authors
who banded together and decided to have a little scavenger hunt, and I had nothing to do with the assignment of pictures or numbers. Just the luck of the draw. But you are all welcome to follow whatever trail you pick up here and search for the prizes. See Message 33747 at the Loose Id Community Yahoo Group site once you join, or go there if you already belong. Each puzzle piece has a link to the next one somewhere by it.
Nymph # 7 Puzzle Piece
No, this is not an image from Katrina. This is simply a metaphor for me at present, a creature feeling like they don't belong where they are, wondering how they got there and asking whether or not they've learned anything from the view.
I recently sold to another publisher - not leaving the 1st - just expanding, and the thought terrifies almost as much as it excites. What if I stretch myself too thin? I am not so much a creature of habit as one of curiosity. Maybe I should have found a cat instead of dog to help illusrate this particular feeling of 'WTF?'...
When we get what we want yet are perplexed on how to deal with the situation, does that mean that we shouldn't be there, that we weren't prepared/ready, that we can't handle it?
Or is it simply indicative of the natural OMG instinct that hits us when change occurs?
Changes piss me off to an extent. I don't like quick ones, for certain. If it's like Speedy Gonzales sex (work with me - I'm thinking of a mind f***) - you know..."it won't hurt, did it?" - I wig out. If it's "c'mon, you'll like it, and if you don't then you can leave"...I'm more comfortable. Still unnerves me no end that things aren't as they were the day before. You'd never know it from my house, my life, my emotions, but I truly enjoy dependability, the feeling that I can relax into something and stretch, flex, work those muscles without fear of someone stepping on me. If I were a cat, I'd stay the hell away from rocking chairs...or would I?
Experience is the great equalizer. It teaches us what we like and what we don't like. It gives us choices for the future. Those who don't take risks have fewer choices because they don't have anything with which to compare.
Okay, what's really bugging me is that this same publisher who wants me recently rejected a dear friend, and not only did they reject her...they were vicious about it, pretty much telling her that there were no redeeming qualities in what she'd submitted. She would be the first to tell me: Take The Deal. I still feel like crap about it and disagree with their letter to her.
With that in mind, I'll sign the contract, commit myself (figuratively speaking - be nice here), and take another chance that my past experiences are paying off and that I've surrounded myself with only the best and most supportive people in my life.
A good friend once told me to mind my P's in publishing - if I wanted to sell, I had to have persistence, patience, and postage. Now it seems I'm about to work on another set of P's for those who have already published--I need perspective. Do I really want to follow the path I've chosen? What are my expectations...and do they really matter? Where do I want to focus my energies, and can I live with the consequences?
The second P that comes to mind is Piss On The Consequences. Trust your instincts, trust your friends that they will survive and move on to get published by someone else. (Her publisher, by the way rejected ME at one time. In fact, I'm sure that everybody's publisher has rejected me - lol.)
If anyone knows the third P, since I'm convinced platitudes travel in thirds, let me know.
--P.S. - the friend I mentioned did indeed tell me to Go For It with her blessings. I wanna be just like her when I grow up--ego intact, totally supportive, and with gumption to resubmit ASAP when something doesn't turn in my favor.
A friend of mine loves romance--absolutely palpitates over the thrill of the chase, the "love 'em, love 'em not" uncertainty. She's also the woman who wants a man in her life, just not in her house, so she's a tad wishy-washy in her relationships, often giving up on them before the real trials ensue. She also moans quite often that she has no sustaining relationships other than with her nail technician, hair dresser, and therapist.
I personally love beginnings, even though I usually find myself flat on my back, falling down after taking those first baby steps, even though I've taken them before. There's something endearing about fresh starts, where I seem to give myself more permission to fail and try again than I do at the middle juncture or the grand finale, so I fully sympathize with my flighty friend's enthrallment with blossoming attraction.
Beginnings hold promise and excitement, adventures not yet taken, fantasies about to be revealed. They're still so new that they haven't lost their beckoning glitter of potential.
Why is it, I've often wondered, though, do we writers grant ourselves more leeway with beginnings, torture ourselves at high noon on the wheel of creativity, and then panic towards the end? Is it because we like packing our luggage and setting off for the journey more than we do camping out and battling the elements our minds create once we're half-way "there"?
Are we that fickle in our intellectual marriage to our muse that we're tempted to cheat, once the sheen of the honeymoon is behind us, to ditch last week's book of our heart to look elsewhere for something more interesting to write? Do we not trust the foundation we established enough to continue the trip? What is it about writers who hate the drudge, much like my glamour puss friend who can't bear the thought of wading through someone else's emotional bullshit, much less her own?
It's the middle, the fork in the road, the indecisions, the tests, the drama queen angst that grip a reader and compel them to continue reading. So why isn't it more interesting and intriguing for writers to roll up their shirtsleeves and dig into the muck they've created, to see if they can find those diamonds in the dustbin
, as Virginia Woolfe calls them?
Then there are those who flip-flop between hating an approaching ending, not willing to release the magic of their journey, and those who run screaming towards it without tying up loose ends. They're only too happy to see light at the end of the tunnel and know it's not an oncoming train. They're sick to death of the people taking the trip with them and can't wait to shake the dust from the road off of their shoes.
I've just completed a 4 & 1/2-week writer's journey from hell. It was thrilling at first, scary mid-way, and heinously a torture towards the end, because I knew I "had to get home" and get there quickly. Deadlines are a bitch. Yet I look back at the entire adventure and smile, worn out, happy to have given it my all, equally happy to release the past and enjoy what I've created.
It's a lot like giving birth...we forget the pain all too quickly, especially when we feel we've missed important moments, skipped over tender touches and miraculous discoveries. The thrill of seeing the fruits of our labors crush us with both joy and regret.
The good news is that we can still give birth to our children of the mind, over and over again. We can see each stage of the journey for what it is--necessary. Maybe putting it all into that perspective will free us to enjoy the experience more each time we pass through it.