Monday, August 30, 2010

911: Help My Story Needs the Real Police!

We all have specialties in life. And then there are specialties within the specialties.  In police departments there are street cops, tactical officers, detectives, investigators, instructors, media officers-the list goes on and on depending on what department you’re talking about.  They have ranks:  Officer, Master Officer, Master Detective, Corporal, Lieutenant, Detective, Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Captain, Major, Colonel, Deputy Chief, Lieutenant Chief, and Chief.  Then you have all those acronyms for different fields, DEA, DEU, DV, SVU, SNU, IAD, FAU, CSI just to name a few.  Don’t even get me started on ranks and acronyms for government agencies.

When you start to write a cop story you need to know who your characters are.  Trust me—title, rank and unit form the individual and their behavior.  And policies create the boundaries for that behavior.  So you need to have some basic knowledge about police procedures as well.

But who’s going to tell you detectives don’t work at the police academy or what kind of weapon a tactical officer carries? Who’s going to tell you the Chief doesn’t expect her/his officers to get shot in the gut, fight the bad guy hand to hand, and then jump into a raging river to save not one, but two people who got washed away in a car as blood pours from the officer’s gaping wound? (Of course the Chief would absolutely love to have these infallible cops!)  

Your local officer is your resource.  You would be surprised how helpful your police department can be.  They struggle with the prevailing media images of muscle bound meat heads, over weight slobs, butch females who want to be men, and control freaks above the law.  They’re none of that-yet all of that.  They’re human.  They make mistakes at their job.  They have good days and bad days.  Some eat donuts-some despise donuts.  And like every other occupation, there’s good, and there’s bad.     

But mostly they want to help educate the public about safety and crime, and still catch the bad guy so he can be held accountable for his actions.  And believe it or not, they want you to know what life is like as a police officer.  They want you to know their hierarchy—who’s in charge and where.  They want you to know their policies and procedures—why they do the things they do. 

What they don’t want you to do, is to call 911 to ask these questions.  That’s for emergencies only.  But the answers are at the tip of your fingers.  Look them up on the web.  Police department’s structures and their policies and procedures are all there for you to see.  And if the website doesn’t answer your question, most of the time it will list someone to call.  If it doesn’t, call the non-emergency number.  Tell them you’re an author writing a book and you have some questions-they’ll direct you to someone who can help you.  Just be patient, they’re there to help you, but they also have more important issues they may have to deal with first.

Do you have a cop question you can’t find the answer to?  Ask away.  I’ll answer to the best of my ability or help point you in the right direction.  Or look up your local police department-they’re open  24/7.
In the mean time, check out some of the links to my favorite police departments: 

City of Kansas City Police Department

City of Kaua'i Police Department




Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why Contemporary?

Last month before I went to the RWA National Conference, I wrote a fast draft of a contemporary romance. This isn't a paranormal or a fantasy. No one has magic powers. There are no hidden spells to be sprung and no sorcerers or mad shapeshifters to defeat. It's just a pure, contemporary romance between two people in some unusual circumstances. The hero is a little larger than life and the heroine is plucky, determined and a whole individual.

So Why a Contemporary?

I've been asked this question a lot lately. I have been spending this weekend wrapping up the edits so that it's fully polished and while I've made some changes as I've been editing, the basic heart of the story is intact. I found myself falling in love with my hero and his heroine: Max and Anya, all over again. So as Jayne Ann Krentz reminded us, what is the heart of the story? What is the meat of it?


Stories that appeal to me are stories about strong characters. It doesn't matter if they are vampires, werewolves, billionaires or police officers. I want to know the people, their hopes, their dreams, their flaws and their needs. It's those needs I think that talk to me when I am reading or writing a story – needs aren't as easy for some people to define or to identify. In fact, it's easy to say we don't always know what we need and when we find the person or thing that fulfills those unspoken needs – it can be explosive good fun to write and to read.

Developing the Contemporary

The contemporary focuses on real people, people who live today. They struggle with real things. Now, it may not be making the mortgage payment. It could be making sure they stay out of jail or putting back an artifact they stole. Sometimes they are loaded with money. But they live in our world. They have hopes and fears. Fears can arrest a person. They can arrest their development, hold them back from happiness and even get them into more trouble by trying to avoid them.

I wrote a contemporary because I fell in love with Max and Anya. I fell in love with the idea of their story and when I wrote it, I fell in love with the journey and when I was editing, I fell in love with them all over again. They aren't perfect, but they are perfect for me.

So what about contemporary romances attracts you?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Aren't They Lovely?

Went to a signing today with the fantastic Shayla Black and Nikki Duncan.  Aren't they lovely?

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Problem with Villains

I know there are lots of my family and close friends who may disagree with this statement, but I’m too nice. ~Okay, at least in my writing~

When writing, I tend to have problems with the bad guy. A pretty big problem since I write suspenseful stories. I prefer to keep them off the page since it’s easier to deal with finding them, instead of making them look villainous. I haven’t written from the villain’s point of view. In fact, most of my bad guys are just that...BAD guys and it’s hard for me to call them villains. Their activities aren’t revealed in the written story, their activities are mainly off the page and keep my heroine & heroine guessing at the intent.

I just finished writing my second Harlequin Intrigue and thought I knew who the bad guy was throughout the entire story. Hey, I’d written a synopsis. I’d plotted a majority of the book, or a good portion had been outlined and discussed with my critique partners. Then on page 199 (of a projected page count of 220) the real villain revealed his or herself (not giving this away). Everything was crystal clear and yet totally surprised me. I’d already laid the groundwork throughout the story with the exception of one clue. But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised at all. I’m a pantzer and love when a story develops through my fingertips instead of me over-thinking the conclusion. THAT’s what I love about writing.

BJ, Mallory, and Carol--three of my fellow Intrigue authors--told me about their writing experiences regarding villains:

My villains never reveal themselves until the end -- even to me! I never know who the bad guy is and love it when I'm surprised. I suspect everyone as I'm writing the book. It's my suspicious nature, I guess. :) All the characters have at least a motive and at least one secret. Makes it fun. I had a really good time in my October book, Whitehorse: Winchester Ranch Reloaded: Boots and Bullets, because my hero sees the murder while in a coma in the hospital. I know, huh? It made for great fun for me to write it. The setting was the old abandoned hospital just a few blocks from where I live. Scary! At the same time, the book moves toward a resolution of another murder involving another Winchester. I like keeping a lot of balls in the air! The Winchester series ends in December. B.J. Daniels.

Many times, especially in my spy thrillers, I make my villain known to the reader early on. The suspense and intrigue come in the form of what that villain is going to do next to get to the heroine or hero. In other books, like Circumstantial Memories, the villain isn't revealed until late in the book when it's rescue time. Occasionally, the villain changes over the course of the book (and I'm not telling which books!). The McClintock Proposal, 9-10 Carol Ericson

I love to reveal my villains in the beginning of the book. Since I do often name the villain at the beginning (and include his POV) I guess I'm more of a writer of suspense than mystery. I have had the villain change before I finish the book, but not very often. The villain in my October 2010 book, Double-Edged Detective, is a serial killer who is revealed early in the book, but not caught until the end. The heroine of my November 2010 book, The Pediatrician's Personal Protector, is the serial killer's daughter. In this book, the villain is a mystery until close to the end of the book. I had a great time writing these two books, because the heroes are identical twins who have very different ways of doing their jobs and relating to their heroines. Mallory Kane

So my question today ~ ~ As a reader, do you prefer your villain to have an active role in the book, or is it better to have their villainous activities and character “off the page”?

‘Til next time,



Hill Country Holdup,
Harlequin Intrigue 9/10
AngiMorgan.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Supernatural Sensations - Who Do You Want to Know More About?

So yesterday on Facebook, I asked the question: what supernatural creature is the most underrepresented that you want to read more about? If you follow me on Facebook then you know I like posing questions periodically to open up a dialogue regarding what people are thinking about.

The answers varied, but here is what I pulled together:

  • Trolls
  • Leprechauns
  • Unicorns
  • Banshees
  • Djinn
  • Centaurs

What a wide and varied mix, but as you can see, we're definitely looking at mythological creatures from around the world. What critters didn't make the list?



  • Angels
  • Dragons
  • Witches
  • Werewolves
  • Vampires

So arguably those areas are pretty saturated or at least satisfying to the readers and no one is feeling that they are underrepresented. So here is what I came up with based on the requested critters:


Trolls

Trolls come from Old Norse mythology and the word meant "monster" - trolls are most often described as giant or giant like - they are according to the Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures "extraordinarily ugly", live in caves and prey on humans. Loud sounds are rumored to drive them away

Leprechauns

Leprechauns are kitschky in our modern society, rosy faced and cheerful little men -- or think about the happy dude from the Lucky Charms commercials -- but leprechauns were originally associated with the water and these water spirits were hardly rosy cheeked cheerful buggers -- in fact, they were among the craftiest and most deceptive of the fae creatures -- perhaps that rosy faced image is the work of great public relations.

Unicorns

Unicorns are a magical creation and according to the Encyclopedia the most enduring mythos of unicorns is that there is only ever one at a time (Highlander: The Unicorn anyone?) The tales vary on whether it is a majestic white horse with a solitary horn to a Shetland pony with a horn that can become a sword, even the stories about what kind of hooves it has changes. Still, for the little girl in me, I will always love the stories of the unicorns.

Banshees

Banshees - or women of the fairy - were responsible for announcing the death of a family member. The banshee would be attached to particular families and their cry would let loose the mourning wail that death approached. They are also associated with the Tuatha de Danan and the goddess Brighid.

Centaurs

Centaurs have a sensuous and orgiastic reputation, their half-man, half-equine bearing made them fierce both in battle and in life. As children of the gods though, they rarely had happy endings and only one amongst the legends seems to be a scholar and that is Cheiron who is said to have taught Hercules (and more recently, Percy Jackson).

Djinn


There are several classes of Djinn and they are considered demons by some on the Islamic world, they also have a sensuality and a mystery to those of us from the West.

Now, here is your challenge. I have a few books I could recommend for each of these categories, but I want to see what you can come up with. Help out your fellow readers, share a paranormal romance or urban fantasy that explores these under-utilized supernaturals. Oh and if you are interested in a supernatural not mentioned, share that too!


I'll share mine tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Censorship is Never Right

Fallout
As I've mentioned before, I had the pleasure of meeting Tera Lynn Childs during my week at RWA and picked up a copy of Forgive my Fins for my daughter. She was so enamored of the author that we immediately had to pick up Childs' other books. To say the child devoured them would be an understatement. After writing her first fan note, we learned that Childs would be at the Humble ISD Literacy Fest. Excited doesn't begin to describe my daughter's reaction at the idea of getting to meet a literary hero (just ask Rosemary Clement-Moore, my kiddo can talk an author's ear off).

So it is with great disappointment that I learned that Tera Lynn Childs would no longer be attending the Humble ISD Literacy Fest and for a very good reason, too. She explained via her blog. So while I am definitely sad we won't get to see her, I have nothing but respect for the move and disappointment in the Superintendent and his librarian who invited and then dis invited author Ellen Hopkins.

Hopkins is the author of several novels including:



Hopkins novels focus on people, teens and children in troubling and often difficult situations where the monsters aren't the only thing that go bump in the night. On the surface, the material might seem disturbing, but teen readers, like the adults they will eventually become, are challenged by the internal and external dramas in their lives.  The unknown in a teen's life is vast as they making the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood and it can be populated with more burdens than most adults want to remember. Hopkins taps into that primal part of being a teenager and delivers powerful tales, time and time again.  To say that she was uninvited from a TEEN literacy festival because some parents might be disturbed by her work is just this side of criminal (and I'm being generous.)

As a parent, I can't tell other parents what is right or wrong for their kids, only they can. But as a reader and buyer, you have the ultimate power -- you don't have to buy the work of someone you don't agree with. That's your power. Blocking my ability to meet, see or purchase -- that's wrong and that's why we call it censorship, because you're taking away our choices. 

So while I remain deeply saddened by the loss of Tera Lynn Childs, Ellen Hopkins and more to the Literacy Festival, I support the authors who are withdrawing in support. 

Ghosts versus Mermaids

I'm buried today, but I didn't want anyone to miss out on this fun post over at Tera Lynn Childs blog and honestly -- what a conundrum they've given me.

Check it out: Ghosts versus Mermaids.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Project Glow

Women newly in love display a certain glow.
Women newly pregnant display a certain glow.
Writers newly engrossed in an exciting project display a certain glow.

For me, that new project glow is a mental state. See, it's not real secret that writers are a neurotic bunch. Maybe even a bit sadistic in the torments we put ourselves through, but each one of us who stick to writing have something in common.

We love what we do. We even love it when we're doing something we hadn't planned on doing, or didn't really see ourselves doing. For the moment, for me, that means writing a contemporary romance with no suspense element. I've written paranormals that are different from my traditional suspense books, but even they had a little suspense in them. This latest book is completely free of suspense. Unless you count the suspense of which meddling granddad will win the bet. ;)

The idea started with a conversation with my editor. She suggested I try a straight contemporary romance where the hero and heroine meet, date and fall in love. Simple right? I couldn't think of things without slipping in a cop or a Fed. I had to keep backing up and reminding myself the new rules I was trying to follow.

Fortunately, I've made some great friends over the years. I was talking to one of them (Cathryn Fox) and mentioned the new approach I was taking. I also mentioned that one day I wanted to do an anthology. She said, let's do it. So, we talked to another friend of ours (Mackenzie McKade) and now the three of us are putting together a contemporary romance anthology that is shaping up to be erotic.


It's forced me to expand my definition of what I could do as a writer. It's required quite a bit of brainstorming and research to help me get the feel for the area we're setting the story, but also for the characters and the kind of life they live. One particular area of research for me has been sailboats.

See, my hero is a sports journalist who primarily covers sailing. It makes sense to me that for him to do this right he would have a sailboat. But my hero can't have just any sailboat. I see him as living on this craft year round so it's got to be a nice one. So, I went sailboat shopping.

I chose a 40.5' Hunter Legend. His particular boat has ammenities my car and house combined are lacking. And it looks great on the water.

I'm having to do some look ups to make sure I kep the lingo straight, because while I am writing fiction and don't mind taking certain liberties, I may as well be accurate with these kinds of details. You know?

Anyway, the research has gone well and I was so excited to get to writing that I've written almost 5,000 words today. It's only a 20,000 word story, so if my luck and pacing hold I'll be finished this week. I've already had that moment in the story where I fell in love with my hero, which adds to the new project glow, and my heroine is too fun - even if she did almost give the hero a concussion. It was purely an accident and after stitching him up she apologized in the nicest possible manner.

This excitement level has made me realize again how much I missed starting a new project, and I'm eager to wrap this one up so I can start on the next one because I've rested from the creation of new stuff and I'm ready to be at it again.

Tell me, what's something that gives you that happy happy glow? How do you maintain it or get it back to push you closer to your goals (if that's your situation)?









Heart stopping puppy chases, childhood melodrama and the aborted hangings of innocent toys are all in a day’s work for Nikki Duncan. This athletic equestrian turned reluctant homemaker turned daring author, is drawn to the siren song of a fresh storyline.

Nikki plots murder and mayhem over breakfast, scandalous exposes at lunch and the sensual turn of phrase after dinner. Nevertheless, it is the pleasurable excitement and anticipation of unraveling her character’s motivation that drives her to write long past the witching hour.

The only anxiety and apprehension haunting this author comes from pondering the mysterious outcome of her latest twist.

Visit Nikki at http://www.nikkiduncan.com/ to learn more about her books and her quirks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday Smackdown: The Action Hero

My husband and I headed out for one of those rare date evenings and saw the new Sylvester Stallone film: The Expendables. We've been seeing previews about this flick for weeks and considering the cast Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Stathem, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts and a couple of guest appearances by Bruce Willis and the Governor himself, it has been on our must see list for all of that time. Not sure what The Expendables is? Check out this preview and then scroll on down for more.



Can I just say damn?



As films go, The Expendables was 100% cheesetastic and exactly what the doctor ordered for late summer popcorn fun. My only real quibble with the flick was the camera angles, I was tired of being right in their faces all the time, but that's okay. For those of you wondering, this is a pretty gory action film without a lot of subtly -- there are several scenes of people having their heads blown off or their bodies blown in too. So there's my community service warning for now.

After the film was over, however, my husband and I launched into a debate about action heroes. Many of our modern films lack the brute force that made films like Rambo, Die Hard, The Terminator and even the Lethal Weapon films so damn popular. These are films about the alpha male -- so alpha that most of the time even when they get the girl, it's really secondary to the plot (look at Riggs in Lethal Weapon, they had to find a woman as kick ass as Rene Russo to pair with him).

But what makes the action hero so damn appealing? I'm going to share with you a glimpse into the mind of The Expendables, because the answer is right there in the midst of the film during a subplot with Jason Stathem. 


(Warning this is a small spoiler

His character (charmingly named Christmas) goes to see his girlfriend, only after his month away, she wasn't even sure they were dating and even though he's downright sweet, she has another guy there. It's a kick in the crotch for Stathem's character. Later in the film, he goes back and sees the ex-girlfriend with a black eye.

He doesn't bluster. He doesn't blubber. He doesn't blow-up. He just asks where is the new boyfriend? They go to find him and with cold, hard precision he delivers an ass-whupping that this guy is not going to forget (nor will the several broken bones he delivers to his buddies). When it's over, he looks at the ex-girlfriend and tells her she should have waited.

He was worth it.

HOT DAMN.

That is what the appeal of the action hero is about. It's the hard-hitting passionate drive. It's the go-go atmosphere and it's the damn well capable of doing what needs to be done.

For today's smackdown, I want you to choose you favorite action hero and tell me why he's the one for you. All comments will be entered to win a $10 gift card to Starbuck's or Amazon -- winner's choice.

So tell me -- who is your action hero hottie and why?

Friday, August 13, 2010

RWA2010 - Post Mortem

(from l-r) Beverly Jenkins, Carole Mortimer, Me, Carla Cassidy and Elizabeth Sinclair

It's been almost two weeks since RWA2010 ended at The Swan and The Dolphin resorts in Orlando, Florida. It was a hot and steamy week filled with great romance authors, great conversations and enough memories to inspire me for the year to come.  After reading Tracey Devlyn's fabulous What I Learned at RWA  I wanted to share a few of my own.

Romance Writers of America 2010 National Conference

The RWA conference had to be moved in the spring from our original destination at the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville due to the Nashville floods.  It was on the tip of everyone's tongue during the conference and everyone mentioned the sorrow we felt for the people and the businesses there.   Our hats were also off to the RWA committee that made the arrangements for a swift and smooth transition to The Swan and The Dolphin hotels.  (Thank you for all those who explained the dolphin fish, I really didn't get it either when I was there because they looked like cartoon carp to me.)


The 30th RWA National Conference was a first for me. Although I have been a member of RWA for over a decade, I've never managed to head off to the Nationals conference (not even when it was in Dallas, what was I thinking?), but to everything there is a season and I have to say, this year must have been mine.  So without further ado, here is what I learned:
  • Drivers don't know what the left hand lane is for on the Interstate
  • Florida humidity is sweaty stuff in the summer
  • The Rose Garden at the Yacht Club where I was married is still beautiful 
  • Green chicken is not my thing, even if it tastes good
  • Romance readers are a vibrant and loyal group who will stand in line for hours without complaint
  • Romance authors are an incredible mix of veteran authors, fresh voices and everyone in between
  • You can chat it up with your heroes without realizing who they are 
  • You can take a walk-in agent/editor appointment if you are willing to be patient
  • Pitching is no where near as hard when you are enthusiastic about your story
  • I can survive on short sleep and still be cheerful
    Heather Long & Kim Quinton
  • I am no where near as antisocial as I once thought I was
  • Romance writers had it easier thirty years ago - BULLSHIT 
  • Copy edits used to involve taping paper together and rolling it out so you can rework it (!!!!)
  • Beverly Jenkins is a heart stopper and her fans are fabulous
  • Elizabeth Sinclair is my hero and I want to be here when I grow up
  • Carla Cassidy is a riot and has the best shoes - ever
  • Carole Mortimer is an absolute doll 
  • Being a Conference virgin opens a lot of conversations
  • Yes, my first conference was FABULOUS (for all those who asked)
  • Romance writers come from all walks and regions of life
  • An Alabama accent is a terrific thing to listen to
  • Roomates and Road Trips are best with great friends
  • Story ideas can be born at the oddest times
  • Nora Roberts is a fun and entertaining speaker
  • Jayne Ann Krentz is not afraid of taking risks
  • Never give up on a dream, watching someone you care about win a Golden Heart is tear-worthy
  • The workshops are not to be missed - even if you can't go to all of them
Congratulations to Angi Morgan Golden Heart Winner

The biggest lesson of all -- no one is a stranger at an RWA conference. I met so many terrific women (and men). I met so many that I don't remember all the names, but I know their faces, I know their smiles and I know their warm welcomes from the ladies I chatted with outside in the smoking area, to the ones I shared a table with at lunch to the ones I met in the elevators, the lobby and in the book signings.  No one is a stranger and if you go in with the right attitude, you come out with so much more than you could have dreamed.

How was your National's experience?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seismic Evil is Under Contract

I was going to share more about Nationals today, but I have a short announcement to make first.  Seismic Evil, the sequel to Prime Evil is officially under contract.  No details on a release date yet, but it will be released to ebook and print.  Here's a little teaser about the novel!  You can pick up your copy of Prime Evil in ebook form from wherever ebooks are sold including ARe, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and from Sapphire Blue Publishing direct.

In the meanwhile, here's a little blurb to tide you over!

Seismic Evil

Hedge Witch Chance Monroe is sure that she's allergic to risk. She has three problems: Because she is a hedge witch and bound to the land, Chance doesn't lead a safe existence, her abilities to literally shake the earth have inherent risks, and her ex-lover is determined to be a complication she doesn't need.   Earthquakes throughout the region damage bridges and roads, leave masses injured, and create havoc for Chance’s mental stability as well as her powers.

When the earth shudders, Chance trembles. When the earth bucks from pressure, Chance bruises. When the earth cracks, Chance bleeds. And when Ava, a witch with her sights on driving Chance insane, manipulates the earthquakes to break Chance's magical and spiritual bond to the earth, Chance faces her greatest fight. A fight for her life and the land that nourishes her power. Chance has the support of powerful friends and the passion of a determined ex-lover backing her, but if Ava succeeds, thousands could die.

Even in success, Chance could die.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nationals! Nationals! Nationals!

Everyone is talking about Nationals, the fun they had and what you can look forward to.  Here are just a few of the blogs you shouldn't miss this week:

Childs (Right) with the Midget's other favorite: Rosemary Clement-Moore (Left).



Tera Lynn Childs visits Bitten by Books -  My daughter is a huge fan of this fabulous author that I was fortunate enough to meet at Nationals.  Childs autographed a copy of Forgive my Fins for her.  We then had to rush to the bookstore when I got home to pick up a copy of Oh My Gods and Goddess Boot Camp.  Out of the mouths of babes: "Tera Lynn Childs is totally awesome!"


The magnificent Tracey Devlyn (left).


Tracey Devlyn and Romance University -  Author Tracey Devlyn is a really fun lady that I had the pleasure of getting to know in Colorado last May when I visited the Margie Lawson Immersion weekend. Not only is she a brilliant author (seriously fun stuff), but she is just an all around fun lady.  She shares her experiences at Nationals so be sure to check that out and see that hot chick in the photograph with her, that just might be me!

The fabulous ladies of North Texas RWA.


Fiction Groupie - This is a blog that if you're not following it, you really should be. Roni is so much fun and offers a lot of great contests, interviews, blog content and more.  Here she shares her Nationals experience and look, I get to be in another photo?  Are we seeing a trend here?

Do you have a Nationals story to share?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Resistance is Futile


Introducing a wonderful new feature here at the Daily Dose with the arrival of the Bloody Pen Sisterhood. These lovely ladies are my critique partners and will be blogging from time to time on what they are writing, reading, thinking or just feeling. Today's introductory blog is from the fabulous Kim Quinton. She's a terrific writer and a soon-to-be-published author with so many great stories to tell!

Resistance is Futile

Resistance is futile… Yeah yeah yeah, we all know where that’s from. Maybe I’m dating myself!?

Resistance took on a whole new meaning for me over the last several weeks. I was lucky enough, as an aspiring writer, to spend a wonderful week in at the RWA national conference in Orlando. It was exhausting, overwhelming, invigorating, inspiring, helpful, intimidating, educational and fun. Yes, a conference can be all of those things at the same dang time.

One of the first workshops I attended was given by a wonderfully generous author, Colleen Thompson, titled How to Finish The Damned Book. I thought it would be a good way to kick off my week since I am currently in the middle of a manuscript and have another waiting to be edited. I didn’t expect an epiphany moment. There was the usual goal setting strategies, always helpful, nothing new. Then she went off on a bit of a tangent about Resistance. Other people might call it making excuses to not get your stuff done, but it’s more. Hearing it spoken focused me in on the problem. And it was like “Ahhhh Yes, resistance... I know it well..” It was not a new concept, but one I had struggled with on major projects before. I can now put a name to it and recognize my behavior for what it actually is.

I can now recognize the lies I tell myself to stay in my safe zone. I can’t possibly write twenty pages a day and take care of two young kids at home. Or I can’t possible adhere to a strict diet because I won’t have the energy to keep up with everything I need to do. I can’t… I can’t… because.. because.. because….

There are dozens of tiny lies I tell myself every day. Once you identify that as your minds’ resistance to change or stepping out of your comfort zone, however compelling the “reasons” it throws at you, the power behind them shifts. Once I recognized where my resistance was embedded, I got real with myself. I started recognizing the lies and telling myself the truth. For me it stemmed from a fear of failure coupled with a fear of success. I know! What did I do to deserve that kind of special limbo?

It’s much safer to stay the aspiring writer that is always editing and never submitting, or always going to workshops and learning the craft but never completing a manuscript. If I spend the time it takes to polish this manuscript, I’ll have to take time away from my kids. That’s a real hard one to take. Mommy guilt is especially effective. But hey, since Nora can say it, so can I, it’s all bullshit.

It’s not any harder or easier for anyone else. Everyone has complications, issues and obligations. I know my family and my life and writing can and does fit in. I can finally move on and make those goals and know I can keep them. Not just with my writing, but with every other aspect of my life.

Where is your resistance embedded? What lies does your mind tell you? Can you identify your truth?



Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's All Greek to Me

I'm playing catch up this weekend, but I found a spectacular blog worth reading, so be sure to check out:

It's All Greek to Me explores the alpha hero.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Better Writing through History

Spent last week in Orlando at the The Swan and Dolphin Resort in Disney World to attend the Romance Writers of America National Conference. It was my first time at such an event and boy was it a doozy. I can't get over how absolutely wonderful it was.  So be prepared to be regaled with a few stories here and there like this one.

Parade of the Paranormal

Shannon Delany, the fabulous author of 13 to Life gave a smashing workshop entitled "Parade of the Paranormal".   As a writer, it's great to listen to the thought processes of another, where do they get their ideas? How do they get them? What process do they follow?

When it comes to creating paranormal stories, we know there are a host of characters and character archtypes and creatures to pull from:

  • Vampires
  • Werewolves
  • Jinn
  • Angels
  • Shapeshifters
  • Immortals
  • Mages
  • Wizards
  • Sorcerers
  • Elves


The list goes on and on and on and on.  But did you realize that darn near every single one of these creatures can be found in the myths and legends somewhere in the world?  From Western Civilization to the Far East to the tribes of South America, Africa and Australia.   When we dig deep into our folklore and our history, we can find new tales, new mysteries and new ways to captivate.  If you ever have a chance to check out Shannon's workshop, I highly encourage it.  I took about 18 pages of notes.

And no, that's not an exaggeration.  I can honestly say that one of my next paranormals will be dedicated to her and her parade of the paranormal.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sounds to Die By Releases in Print

Sounds to Die By (Sensory Ops)
Sounds to Die By has a pulsing, rhythmic beat that mixes Boston sensibility with Miami sound machine to create a passionate movement that sustains throughout the novel.” ~ HV Long
Three cheers for Nikki Duncan as we celebrate release day for her novel Sounds to Die By! Sounds to Die By is a romantic suspense that released in eBook last November. If you haven't had a chance to check out this great book, then seriously, click order right now!  Sounds to Die By is the first in the Sensory Ops series and details the passion, intrigue and danger that swirls around Kieralyn and Ian.  Ian's a unique hero in that he is blind, but the loss of his sight only enhances his ability to "listen" to the world around him.   Nikki's second novel, Scent of Persuasion is also available in eBook form and is the recommended read over at Fallen Angel reviews.

The Sensory Ops series is smoking!

Check it out!



Fiction Groupie's Giveaways

Don't miss the fantastic interviews and contests over at Fiction Groupie's blog this week. As we ramp up to the hottest days of summer, she's got great writers, great editors and great agents and so much more for all the authors, aspiring authors and readers to soak up the sun with.

Don't miss it – go on. The DD will be right here when you get back.

Promise.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bloody Pen Sisterhood


The Bloody Pen Sisterhood is a group of writers who’ve come together in the name of writing. We brainstorm together, critique together, and travel together. And we always support each other. Whether it’s suspense, intrigue, humor, or the paranormal, we are Nikki Duncan, Heather Long, Angi Morgan, Kimberly Quinton, and Kym Roberts.
(From L to R) Kym Roberts, Angi Morgan, Heather Long, Nikki Duncan, Kimberly Quinton