Tuesday, May 23, 2017

10 Tips for Finding Writing Ideas #amwriting




Or...Tips on how to wake a sleeping writing muse
Are you a writer struggling to come up with the next unique story or series? Or an aspiring writing trying to come up with her first book idea. I think when your right brain, or creative side, kicks into gear, the creative energy and imagination flows. Some may call it the writer’s muse.

I’m equally amazed by the imagination writers have, and often wonder myself where they come up with ideas for so many clever stories.

These creative people shouldn't surprise me since I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and I’ve been published in fiction since 2004. Ideas truly come anywhere and at any time to writers.

Here are a few tips that might help, along with some examples, if you are a writer struggling to come up with the next best-selling book, or at least the next book you’re dying to write.



Tips for Finding Your Muse:



1.   Slow down and be aware of your surroundings. Writers tend to notice details that the average person doesn’t. They’ll notice a person who is dressed unusually, something that looks out of place, a strange object, a fine detail of a beautiful scene that others didn’t see, a subtle detail in a movie that foreshadows an upcoming event, subtext in a book, overhear a piece of conversation, notice an animal about to cut across the road, smell fresh cut grass or the scent of a fire.

2.   Read tons and tons of books in and out of your genre. This is probably the best tip for finding ideas. Not only for coming up with book ideas, but for understanding how stories come together and are plotted out.

3.   Travel to new locations for story ideas. You don’t have to travel to far off places to come up with story ideas. While jogging in the cemetery at the end of my street, I came up with a connecting story for my current vampire series. Vacations or day trips can help kick in that right brain for idea for settings or atmospheres.

4.   If you’re a visual learner, try viewing photos or movies for ideas. I do tend to be a visual learner. I can search various picture on Instagram or Pinterest and come up with some ideas. One book idea came to me while standing in line for a Disney ride. I saw a fantasy picture on the wall and a story instantly started running through my mind. The book became a futuristic/dystopian novel. It’s out of print now, but I hope to publish it again soon.

5.   Brainstorm with other authors. My writers’ group gets together in the summer for a plotting pool party. We each get a turn to talk about a book we may be having problems with, or share the spark of an idea for a new story. The other writers will toss out ideas for possible plot points which gives lots of ideas. Sometimes you can brainstorm with non-writer people. I was talking with my husband about coming up with a new book idea. I wanted it to be sexy and intense. I was having dinner out with hubby and he said: How about ‘Bondage in the Whitehouse.’ That one line stirred up ideas for a series with Red Tape and Red Tape Protector. They’re a romantic suspense series with BDSM elements.



6.   Writers Brainstorm Kit or other GMC Method. Sometimes I’ll use a book The Writer’s Brain Storming Kit by Pam McCutcheon and Michael Waite. It might not be in print anymore. But there are others like it. This system had cards too. You can begin by focusing on a character’s personality traits, goals, motivations, conflicts. Then think about what type of situation you’d like to place this character. Make it a situation where the character has to make difficult choices.

7.   Dream and meditate. It’s hard to be creative when daily life invades your thoughts. Day job and family demands, household chores, email, etc. Sitting in a quiet place and shutting off the external and internal ‘noise’ may help kick you muse awake. Jot down unusual dreams or thoughts. Perhaps they’ll lead to a story down the road.

8.   Change of scenery. Similar to traveling, sometimes taking a walk, going for a hike and getting out in nature, going to a museum or library, shopping, going to a restaurant, exercise. Talk or interview people with unusual jobs. Some ideas come while showering, cooking doing other creative projects.

9.   Listen to music. Calming the mind, hearing the words of a song or just the music can spark ideas.

10.  Or just start writing. Pick a scene, a character and start asking questions: Where am I? Who is this character? Why is he/she here? What do they what? What is their problem? What if….?

Do you have any special methods for coming up with a book idea?

Find out about Kathy Kulig
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

How Big Do You Want It?

Long? Medium? Just enough to satisfy? How big do you want it?

Of course, I'm talking about book length. You couldn't possibly have thought I was referring to anything else.

Sometimes a short story is enough. You sit down for an hour or two and polish off that fast-paced, sexy romance that makes you want to attack your significant other as soon as you're through reading. Sometimes you want something novella or novel length that takes a bit longer to read and contains more twists and turns as the plot unfolds, or the main characters slowly fall in love.

Then there are the times you want to completely immerse yourself in a long book. It could be women's fiction, romantic suspense, mystery…any of those usually provide several hours of reading pleasure with more plot, more characters, and more sex.

Personally, I like variety. I like short books that I can finish in one sitting, and I like those books with 100,000-plus words that I can savor over several days.

A cold drink, my favorite recliner, and I'm all set to trade places with the heroine when the hero takes her in his arms.

I love a happy ending.

Lynn

* * *

Here's a snippet from my latest release, Two Men for Michelle. Enjoy!

Warmth spread through her cheeks when Michelle realized she'd monopolized the conversation. "I'm sorry. You really didn't want the entire history of the company, did you?"

Andre smiled. "Actually, yes. I was curious how you and your brothers started what is obviously a very successful business. Plus, it gave me the chance to get to know you a bit better." Grasping the arms of her chair, he tugged it closer to him. "I'd like to get to know you a lot better."

How could any woman think when she looked into those chocolate-brown eyes? She had to, though. She had to keep a level head and let Andre know her rules before he assumed their relationship could become more than business. "Andre, you're a gorgeous and sexy man. I'm sure you'll be a wonderful escort. But don't assume I'm part of the package."

"I would never assume anything, Michelle." His gaze traveled over her face, down to her breasts, back again. "I will admit I find you very attractive and would like to spend more time with you."

"As friends, fine. Nothing more."

He cocked his head to one side. "Why nothing more?"

"I don't get involved with my escorts. I made that rule a long time ago. I've never broken it."

A hint of a smile tilted up the corners of his mouth. "Ah, a challenge. I am a man who likes challenges."

"Don't even go there. It won't work."

"You do not know how determined I can be."

"That works both ways."

He leaned toward her, close enough so she could see her reflection in his pupils. Another few inches and his lips would touch hers. Michelle licked her lips in anticipation.

Instead of the kiss she expected, he tapped the end of her nose with his index finger. "I like you, Michelle Cooper. I believe you and I will be good…friends."

* * *

http://lynnlafleur.com/home/two-men-for-michelle/


Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Misery of Writers Block and What to Do About It by Suz deMello (#MFRWAuthor #iamwriting #writersblock)

You’d think I’d know everything about this subject—after all, I’ve been in the grip of writers block for well over a decade. There are many moments when I stare blankly at the screen wondering if the next word should be and, if or but.

What happened, you ask? What happened to the RITA-nominated, best-selling, award-winning Sue Swift that pushed her into becoming Suz deMello, hesitant yet subversive erotica novelist? 

When I first started writing, it seemed as though the words spilled out in an unstoppable flow. I’d get up at two am and write until four. On weekends, I was a river of words—good ones, too—beautiful phrases, sexy love scenes, deeply felt emotion, witty banter.

A series of life setbacks ensued: dead and dying family members, a marriage gone south, an editor who hated my work. This is one of the pitfalls of being with a publisher—people come and go, shift jobs and so on, and then you’re suddenly with an editor who didn’t acquire you initially and who really doesn’t like your writing.

And so I found myself orphaned at Harlequin/Silhouette, which in the best of times can be a very challenging work environment. I bounced around for a while, selling old manuscripts to Five Star for the hard-cover library market until they stopped buying romances. Then I languished. And anguished.

So, while I know a great deal about writers block, I’m not sure how to even spell the words. Is it writers, writer’s or writers’?? (Oh, those pesky apostrophes!)

But here are a few approaches that work, at least for me:

Paradoxically: stop trying. Yes, I actually mean stop writing. Instead, do something else that exercises your creativity. My favorite is refinishing old furniture. I’m moving back into my condo, where a tenant’s been living while I cared for my elderly mother. She’s with my brother now, so I can resume my life, and I’m looking forward to that. But there are a lot of built-ins in this home, including a huge dresser, where about a third of my clothes have been residing. And I gave my now ex-boyfriend the storage I’d been using—which itself had been a rescue-and-refinish item. So I get to do the same thing all over again. Yay!

I love the process of finding the right piece, deciding what colors to paint it, discovering the perfect drawer pulls. But you have to have the temperament for this. You have to love wandering around thrift shops and hardware stores. I happen to, so I’m good.

But do whatever tickles your fancy. Maybe you’ve always loved stained glass but never had the cojones to try that. Find a local class and give it a whirl. Try Paint Nite—in many cities, there’s an organization that sets these up in local bars. A team has already provided the materials you need, and an instructor walks everyone through painting a preconceived work. It’s a step up from paint-by-numbers, and because there’s alcohol involved, it’s fun, especially with a friend.

Another tactic is to go back to the original wellspring. For me, it’s Regency romance and Gothics, which were the only romances I’d read before I started writing. I was hooked on Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt, which explains a lot about the stories I write.

Being blocked as well as hella busy with life, I’m not writing right now but am moving, contemplating the dresser I want to find and refinish, and yes, reading a lot of Regency romance.

So the trick is to make this fallow period in your creative life a productive and fun time rather than wallowing in depression.

Another tactic is to shift your writing focus. Write something you’ve never
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/706116
written before, but has intrigued you nevertheless. When I found myself at a standstill with Harlequin/Silhouette, where I wrote sweet romances, my friends persuaded me to write erotic romance for the burgeoning online market. So I wrote my first erotic romance novel, recently republished as Phoenix and Dragon. I haven’t made as much money as I would have if I’d persisted at H/S, but I’m much happier.

But what do you do when you’ve found an idea that sparks you, but it’s sooooo hard to write even a word?

Tactic number three: best to use when you’ve managed to get yourself immersed in a project: don’t allow yourself to do anything on your weekend until you’ve written a chapter. It doesn’t have to be a great chapter. (It should, however, be decently long, at least 5000 words.) Even if it sucks, you have spare moments during the week to make repairs. As Nora Roberts famously said (paraphrasing here): “I can fix a bad page, but not a blank one.”

I remember when I was living in China and teaching toddlers English as my day job. On Saturday I’d get up and stay in my PJs until I’d written a chapter of Temptation in Tartan. Sometimes I didn’t get out of my apartment until 2 pm! But it turned out to be a damned good book.

Read it yourself and find out:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/671570


And in the meantime, don’t stress about it. Fear is the mind-killer, as Frank Herbert told us in Dune. Stress will block you as surely as a big rig overturning during rush hour.

BTW there's hope: since I found myself blocked, I've written far more than I did before that awful time. I'd written maybe eight books and a couple of short stories. To date, I've written ten more novels and too many short stories and blogs to count.

So don't worry. You can push through this.

Good luck and happy writing!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Does Your MOTHER Read What You Write? by Marianne Stephens

My mother was very excited when I began my writing career and wanted copies of ALL my books.

Uh...I don't think so.

Knowing her taste in books, I gave her copies of my romance books....but not the erotic ones! She'd be surprised if I offered them to her and wouldn't have read them. She was happy reading my OTHER romance books and nonfiction books.

Does your mother read erotic books? Or just those sweet to sensual romances?

I was surprised by my daughters' reactions to my books. I gave them copies, but they never did say if they read the erotic ones! You know, it''s like thinking of your mother and SEX. Mom couldn't possibly write all that stuff! And, of course, we don't think of our mothers as having any type of sex life anyway. Right?

While always proud of my writing, my mother and daughters avoided discussing "those" books. We just concentrated on the OTHER romance books and nonfiction books I've written. Fine with me!

In my stories, I never seem to have a heroine's mother as an integral part of my story. Aunts, yes. Mothers, no. Mothers are mentioned, but don't play major roles. However, I do have mothers as part of my stories...but they're always mothers of heroes!

Hmm. Very interesting! Didn't consider this heroine's-mother, no, hero's-mother, yes aspect of my writing until writing this blog!

Anyway, I wish all a Happy Mother's Day! Enjoy time together or with fond memories of mothers who've passed away.

Marianne Stephens
http://www.mariannestephens.net
http://www.romancebooks4us.com

image: http://www.animationlibrary.com

Sunday, May 7, 2017

So the company I work for sent me to a resort for a week….



So the company I work for sent me to a resort for a week….

There I was surrounded by half-naked delicious men lying beside one of the swimming pools or wandering through the gardens. There were two different restaurants and a pool-side bar as well, with every imaginable kind of yummy food.

The sun shone brightly every day and the staff were amazingly friendly and helpful.

I bet you’re all jealous of me, right? Ready to turn bitchy and scratch my eyes out with envy?

Well don’t bother. I was wearing a prim, navy blue business suit, with the jacket buttoned up, hunched over a table, stuck in meetings for sixteen hours a day and too exhausted to do much more than have a shower, a meal, and sleep the other eight. I only got to swim in the pool once the whole time I was there and that was on the last day, because I figured I could sleep on the plane going home.

But instead of sleeping on my flight home, I got to thinking, “What if?” and “Resort Romance” was born.


“Resort Romance” Blurb:
Imogen agrees to accompany Gage and Liam to a resort for a week’s vacation and some extra hot ménage sex. The gardens are beautiful, the meals are delicious and the facilities are excellent, especially the three swimming pools. The men are delicious too, but Gage is bossy and Imogen is not going to be anyone’s sex toy.
But the men are awfully yummy and Imogen is having a wonderful time. Until Gage makes a few autocratic decisions which remind Imogen of her manipulative father. Then Imogen has to decide whether the best orgasms of her life are worth risking potential heartbreak.

WARNING! ADULT EXCERPT
Before Imogen could take another breath, the two men surrounded her. Two hot, hard bodies pressed against her—one in front and one behind. Four arms held her tightly and two sets of lips whispered across her skin, one on her cheeks and the other on her neck.

“Oh you will enjoy it. We can promise you the best orgasm you’ve ever had. When we’re both inside you, I can feel Liam’s cock and he can feel mine. The tissues separating us are very thin and very sensitive. You’ll feel our every twitch and pulse as we stroke deeper and deeper in you, bringing you closer and closer to the ultimate climax.”

Imogen shivered. Gage’s sexy voice was bringing her pretty close to an orgasm with every word he spoke, and cream was already dripping from her pussy onto her panties. Deep inside her core a throbbing drumbeat had begun to draw her ever nearer to the climax Gage promised.
Behind her, Liam kneeled and slipped her feet out of her sandals, then pressed hot lips to her legs, kissing his way up them to her knees. He licked all around her knee and then butterfly kissed the sensitive skin at the back of her knee.

“Oh God, that feels good,” she whispered, clutching Gage’s waist to support her suddenly wobbly legs.

Gage slid his hands under her T-shirt and trailed his fingers up, up, up, over her bellybutton, over her ribs, until finally they rested under her breasts.
“Touch them,” she begged him. But he ignored her and stroked his hands up and down her spine, rubbing circles and spirals across her back as he went.
Meanwhile Liam had swapped to her other leg and was licking and sucking the back of that knee now. I never knew knees were sexy, she thought as her brain started to fry from the combined heat of the men’s touches.

Liam pulled her thighs apart and she staggered as her legs almost refused to hold her upright any longer. He held her thighs firmly and began nibbling the oh-so-delicate skin of her inner thighs.

Gage finally slid his hands under her bra and rested his palms over her breasts. Imogen sighed with relief at the hot touch just exactly where she needed it most.

But her relief was short-lived as the coiling, fiery ball of need deep inside her was demanding more. Much more.

She became aware of a very large cock in easy reach of her hands, but her legs were so weak from all the emotions coiling through her body she wondered if she would fall over if she let go of Gage’s waist.

Taking a deep breath, Imogen popped the buttons of Gage’s pants and slid the zipper down. His tighty whities outlined his cock to perfection, and she almost drooled as she lifted it out of its wrapping and cupped it in her hands. The vein was throbbing and the head a dark red. As she ran her fingers up the long stalk of his erection, a tiny pearl of pre-cum gathered in the eye. Gently she smoothed her fingers over the head of his cock and rubbed the moisture into the cap.

Before she could lean forward and lick his cock, Gage pulled her T-shirt over her head and said, “I think it’s time to move this party to the bed.”

Buy links:
Publisher: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/resort-romance-by-berengaria-brown/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/ebook/Resort-Romance-Berengaria-Brown/B00A45P49S/
Blog: http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berengaria.brown?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BerengariaBrown

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Research for Binding Passion

The third of my Passions series of Medieval historical stories (and the second full-length novel) has just released. Like its predecessors, Daring Passion and Ruling Passion, Binding Passion features some BDSM, spanking, and domestic discipline. In that I think they are more true to their time than some recent novels set in the time period would have us believe.

In college I was fascinated by the Medieval period, so even though History wasn’t my major I took several courses about those times. And I’ve continued to read and study the period. I have an entire shelf of books on the period, focused particularly on the high middle ages, the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, in England.

Because my son lives in England, I’ve had a number of opportunities to visit there. One of favorite things to do is tour castle ruins, restored castles, and museums attached or related to them. Most of them spend plenty of time relating the battles and sieges the castle or its residents took part in, the strategic importance of the place, and how it was defended.

But I find myself more interested in the small details of daily life. What people ate and drank, how the food and beverages were prepared, what they wore and how the fabric was made, the entertainment, stories, festivities, and how they spent most of their time are the things I try to learn from each visit.
Recreated kitchen at Dover Castle

One of the most fun bits of research I did for Binding Passion was to learn about Christmas festivities in the fourteenth century. That required extensive dips into books and searching through websites for the details to bring those alive. What I found was fascinating because the celebrations of the time were so different from today.

No Christmas trees, greeting cards, Santa Claus and reindeer, or striped candy canes permeated the Medieval Christmas celebration. And Christmas Day was just the beginning of the twelve days of celebrations back then. (Yes, that song has its origins in the celebrations of the Middle Ages.) Unlike today when it sometimes seems like it builds up to December 25th and is all over on the 26th.

Christmas was more rooted in religious rituals in fourteenth-century England. Most towns were built around a church and religion played a central part in the lives of the people of the times. It wasn’t something they did; it was who they were. Christmas was still a fundamentally religious celebration of Christ’s birth and the beginning of salvation. Celebration was in order, but that often meant activities meant educate and remind people of Biblical stories and songs and verses memorializing the events of the Savior’s birth.


But some things we have in common with them. Special foods were a particular treat during the Christmas season. Sweets, uncommon during much of the year other than the natural ones in fruits, were more widely consumed. And drinking alcoholic beverages formed a very large part of the festivities. Charity toward the less fortunate was encouraged particularly during the dark days of mid-winter. Music, dancing, plays, and gatherings of friends and families helped brighten the days and nights. Deeply religious they might have been, but they still loved a good party!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Writers Block - Throw It Out!

My new strategy for dealing with writers block is to throw it out and start over! Writers all have that moment of reading something they wrote and hating it. This scene from Mike & Molly resonates with me. Been there, done that!


One of my first books, The Boy Next Door, was a story I loved...until I received edits. Let's just say the edits felt like a personal attack and I didn't see any way to save the story. So I printed it out and set it on fire in the driveway. Damn was that ever therapeutic! Thankfully The Boy Next Door did survive edits and get published, thanks to my friend and coauthor, TK Winters, but it was a painful process.

I learned a valuable lesson about backing up my work when my computer crashed and I lost an entire chapter of a work in progress, Have a Little Faith In Me. Rewriting the chapter was frustrating but a blessing in disguise because the new version turned out to be a vast improvement.

This happened again recently while writing Ice Queen, part of the Naughty Literati's upcoming release, Naughty Getaways. I liked the characters and premise but was struggling to write the story. I'd worked on it intermittently for a month and only had 4,500 words. So I stopped writing, read what I had and found myself bored. Gah! Finally, I set it aside, opened a blank Word document, and started over with the same characters but at a different point in their story.

Since I'd been bored with what I wrote, I decided the story needed to start in a big way. I put the characters in the middle of having sex at work on the company owner's desk. BHAM!

Tossing out the old version and starting over vitalized my writing and brought my muse out to play. The words flowed like a raging river. I ended up writing 14,555 words in only six was nights, the fastest I've ever written a story. This is really impressive when the fastest I'd previously written had been 23,000 words in 3 weeks on Trip My Switch.

Hence my new motto was born--Throw It Out!

Here's a snippet of what I wrote--140 words that really got things rolling.
Copyright © Nicole Austin, 2017
Ice Queen - new adult, stepbrother romance

Blurb:
In school, he was the bad boy this good girl couldn’t have. At work, he’s the boss, I’m his intern. Oh, and his dad just married my mom. It’s so wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this, but I love it.

Snippet:
“Oh God. Right there. Yesss.”

The loud smack of flesh on flesh registers before the sting reverberates through my right ass cheek, followed quickly by a wave of heat. The slap amps up my arousal and has a fresh gush of juices spilling from my pussy onto the already damp desk blotter.

It’s so wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this, but I love it. Every decadent second of forbidden…

Hell, I don’t even know what to call it. Kyler Harrington isn’t my boyfriend. We aren’t dating or in any kind of relationship. He’s a complete asshole and I don’t even like him. I wouldn’t even call him a fuck buddy. I’m the intern who he just happens to fuck. Yet I thrill in the rebellious act of fucking him right under his father’s nose while on the clock at work.

Naughty Getaways will be available for your reading enjoyment June 1st.

Happy reading,
Nicole