April 23rd, 2011
Ten Things I’ve Learned About Writing

These are things I’ve learned about writing. They might not be true for everyone. Accept at will.

1. Writers Write to be Read.
I don’t know why, but they do. Most writers don’t write manuscripts and then hide them under their beds or only let their relatives and friends read the book. Writers want to give their words exposure. I’m no exhibitionist…er, actually, let me rephrase…I’m pretty shy and introverted and would never want to be a celebrity or anything, but I want my words read. I want to share my characters and my worlds with others. That’s a strong motivator for me.

2. Write What You Love, Not for Market.
I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It’s always one of those things that women writers are told, (along with a condescending pat on the head), more than male writers are told. I do think to some extent a writer should be looking at the market, but within that parameter they should write something they love. I’ve watched writers trudge away at a book in a genre they don’t enjoy, just because they think it will sell. The problem is that their lack of enthusiasm comes out in the writing. That’s going to be a No Go no matter what, eventually.

3. Being Able to Butcher Your Baby Look at Your Writing Objectively is a Good Thing.
I have developed the ability to stand back (well, okay, mostly) and look at my book when it’s done and then say, “Oh! Lookee! That book should begin on page 50! That thar is a false beginning!” and then cut the first 50 pages out with a nary a blink of my eye. (Okay, I might blink, and I definitely wouldn’t use so many exclamation points.) It’s easy to get so attached to your work that you can’t cut text, or delete unnecessary subplots or characters. Eventually you have to learn to do it because sometimes cutting out some of your precious words makes the work stronger.

4. Crit and Be Critted.
Join a crit group or find a good crit partner. Although, caveat…it may take you a few times to find one you fit with. I learned so much by critting and being critted. Not only does it allow you to glean and share crafty-type knowledge and learn from the writerly travesties and triumphs of others, it toughens up your skin. You need to have a few callouses built up before you try and publish, and you *really* need them after you’ve published.

5. Make Friends With Other Writers.
So important. Only another writers know and understand common writerly angst. There is SO MUCH writerly angst. Plus, the sharing of knowledge is good — which houses and editors are acquiring, ect. Joining RWA as an unpubbed writer was one of the best moves I ever made.

6. Develop a Writing Habit.
Set aside time to write no matter what. If the muse isn’t working with you, if the words aren’t flowing, write anyway. Shite can be revised. You can’t wait for inspiration all the time. Sometimes that’s a long wait for a train don’t come, (2 pts for anyone who can name the movie I took that from). Sometimes you have put your ass in the chair and just write. “BICHOK” say the category romance authors — Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.


7. You Can Always “Deepen” Your Character(s).

I have found I can always go back to a manuscript and find new ways to bring depth to my characters, whether it’s in the characterization or in their overall development. There’s always somehow I can make my characters more “real,” or show the changes they’ve undergone a little better. Always.

8. The Publishing Industry is about Money and Marketability, Not About “Art”.
The publishing industry is not an industry filled with fluffy bunnies. Editors are looking at the bottom line. They’re looking at marketability. That’s how badly written books make the bestseller list and some well written books never see print. It’s just a fact.

9. You Must Put Yourself Out There.
Over and over and over. Initially it’s sending your stuff out to be critted. Then it’s sending your stuff out to be assessed by editors and agents. Finally, it’s with the readers. Every day I throw myself out there, whether it’s socializing on my loop, posting excerpts, or arranging chats. I throw myself out there knowing that sometimes I won’t get responses, my excerpts will be ignored, ect… It’s just something a writer has to do. Throw ourselves out there and know we might be rejected. Over and over and over, and in many different ways.

10. I’m never happy with the finished product.
I’m never happy with my finished work. I can always go back and find flaws and things I’d like to change. I actually try very hard to never read my work after it’s been published because of this. If I must, I do it through my fingers (you know, like how some people watch a horror movie?). I’m extremely critical of my work. I’m probably my own worst critic, in fact.

April 12th, 2011
Playlist for Dark Enchantment

Music really helps me when I write. In fact, I think my iPod and iTunes should qualify as a tax deduction. They’re writing tools. (Too bad the IRS doesn’t agree with me.) Anyway, music can help get my head in the game when I’m distracted or not feeling the way I should be emotionally for a scene.

Because of this, every book I write gets a play list. The music I use differs according to book and series. For example, the music I’ll be selecting for my new Brotherhood of the Damned series will be a little bit harder and intense than a lot of the music I used for my Dark Magick series, which tended to be (yes) darker and a tad more mystical sounding.

I use music that complements the tone and pacing of the book I’m writing, so when I’m working on the story, it puts me in the right frame of mind.

Here’s my play list for the book I’m writing currently, Embrace of the Damned:

1.) Seven Sirens and a Silver Tear – Sirenia

2.) Turn the Sky (featuring Apocalyptica) – Angelzoom

3.) Liar – Rollins Band

4.) Cokkha – Apocalyptica

5.) It Can’t Rain All the Time – Jane Siberry

6.) I’m not Jesus (Featuring Corey Taylor) – Apocalyptica

7.) Golgotha Tenement Blues – Machines of Loving Grace

8.) Stop a Bullet – Black Light Burns

9.) Color me Once – Violent Femmes

10.) Uninvited – Alanis Morissette

I thought about finding all these on Youtube and posting the vids here for your listening pleasure, but, frankly, I’m not sure that would be kosher copyright-wise, so I’ll let you look them up on your own if you’re interested in hearing any of them.

Just because I’m always looking for new fodder for my play lists, what music do you listen to or what would you recommend to me? I listen to all kinds of stuff, but I definitely have my favorites. What are a few of your favs? You know, those tracks you play over and over again and never get sick of.

Oh, and speaking of vids, I just finished the book video for Dark Enchantment (April 5th). The music used in all my book vids is purchased from a stock music site. It’s always rough trying to find the right sound to fit the book, especially when my options are limited. I was going for dark, dreamy and intense for this one.

How do you think I did?

1.)

April 8th, 2011
A minicerpt from Dark Enchantment

Here’s a very brief snippet from Dark Enchantment. This happens as Kieran is drawing Charlotte all the way across the country to the Black Tower using magick. Piefferburg is the last place in the world she ever wanted to go. Niall, a secondary character, is driving her through the Boundary Lands.

“All will be revealed once we reach the Unseelie Court.”

Her spine snapped to attention and she gripped the seat in front of her, leaning toward Niall. “The Unseelie Court?”

He cast a look of disbelief over his shoulder. “Did you think we were going to the Rose, the tower of sunshine, lollipops, and unicorns that poop rainbows? No fae with juice dark enough to bind and compel a human all the way across the country is going to be Seelie, woman.”

And, of course, if she’d thought about it, she would have realized that.

She sat back in the seat with a thump. This was getting worse by the second.

Niall glanced at her in the rear view mirror. “It’s not that bad. The Unseelie aren’t all the boogeymen the media has made us out to be.”

She blinked. “An entire Faemous crew was once eaten in the Black Tower.”

“Oh, yeah, that.” Niall shrugged one impressively broad shoulder. “It was the goblins. What are you going to do?”

April 7th, 2011
An unexpected addition to the family

It was a day like any other day, except I happened upon a picture of a dog at an animal control in rural Kentucky. We have a rescued dog already, plus a whole bunch of rescued cats, so I try NOT to look at pictures of animals needing to be rescued. It gives me horrid angst. We’re full up w/ animals and shouldn’t take any more. As much as I would like to save them all, the cold hard truth is–we can’t.

Then along comes #194, a medium sized mixed breed. His picture immediately tugged on me. ALL the pictures of animals needing to be rescued tug on me, of course, but this was different in some way I can’t explain.

So I called down to the animal control where the dog was being held and asked about him. I talked to the man who picked him up as a stray. He seemed a very caring type and gushed on about how sweet this particular dog was. He told me #194 had been passed over twice already for euthanasia because he and a couple of the other workers had taken a special liking to him.

Just as an aside, I can’t imagine what a hard job that must be. I had expected everyone I talked to there to be a little hard, a little burned out, not forthcoming with information, but no one I talked to was like that AT ALL. It was a very nice surprise.

Anyway, the man told me a rescue out of NY was coming that day to take him. He was very sure #194 would go with this organization, but I could call back on Friday to make sure he’d gone.

I almost didn’t call back on Friday since the man was so sure #194 would go, but I’m really glad I did. The NY rescue didn’t take him because the transporter lacked room enough in her vehicle. The woman I talked to that day at animal control also gushed about the sweetness of this dog and she was devastated that his options were now all gone. He would have to be put on the euthanasia schedule for Monday and couldn’t be passed over again.

So, yeah, NO. 😉 My husband and I adopted him over the phone and a transporter was arranged to bring the dog to us on Saturday.

And, just like that, we had a new family member.

This is a picture of him right after we picked him up from the transporter. He was terrified and shedding like crazy (as you can see).

I worried how he would be with our current dog, who is a large girl (a German Shep/Husky mix about twice his size) and older than this young guy. I worried whether or not he was housebroken. I worried how he would be with our cats.

I didn’t need to worry. 🙂

He spent the first day and night very frightened, but by yesterday morning he realized he was all right. He’s still insecure and sticks close to my side, but he’s really come out of his shell since Saturday. He’s amazingly well-behaved, aside from the fact I don’t think he’s ever seen a cat. My best friend says he thinks they’re indoor squirrels, 😉 but we’re working with him on that (and taking absolutely no chances with my purry babies). He’s not aggressive toward them, but they DON’T want to play.

Other than that, he is fitting in amazingly well. Almost as if it was meant to be. 🙂

Here’s a picture of him out of his shell and feeling more relaxed. What a difference, right?

We named him Bingo. Not my first choice, but my daughter picked it.

So, it was an eventful weekend for us. We weren’t quite expecting to add another member to the family, but sometimes these things just happen.

And, in this case, I think we really got lucky. He’s an amazing guy.

April 6th, 2011
Winners!

Thank you all for participating in my Dark Enchantment Celebration! This was a lot of fun.

The winner of the grand prize $100 GC to the bookstore of her choice is….Holly H. Congrats! Please drop me an email within two weeks to claim the prize anyabast(at)gmail.com

The winner of yesterday’s copy of Cruel Enchantment is….Rae M., who said, “Ooh, really hard to choose, because I’ve read quite a few. But if I have to, I’ll say Witch Blood. And because I really liked the short stories, I have to mention Tempted by Two and Taking Hold. I’d love to see more from both of those worlds.” Congrats, Rae!

April 5th, 2011
Dark Enchantment releases today!

***SCROLL DOWN FOR THE BOOK OF THE DAY***

Dark Enchantment releases today!! I’m so excited to have you all read the third installment of the Dark Magick series!!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Dear Reader,

The morning after Charlotte Bennett has the most deliciously decadent and erotic dream she’s ever had, she’s dismayed to discover it wasn’t a dream at all. It was a binding spell, laid by Kieran Aimhrea, one of the biggest, baddest Unseelie fae around.

Charlotte is a human who has been raised to hate and fear the fae, and, especially, to never, ever visit Piefferburg, the place where they live. Even so, through the magick of the binding spell, Kieran draws her inexorably across the country to that magickal prison. Charlotte carries the secret of the location of an ancient artifact that can break the wards that imprison the fae and Kieran will risk anything to get it.

And Kieran is risking a lot.

He is the recipient of one of the most unpleasant curses that can be laid—if he ever falls in love, he and his partner will die horribly. The binding spell he’s cast on Charlotte is designed to lure love to his side, which is why he has never used it. But the stakes are high and he figures his heart is far too dark and jaded to love at this point, and Charlotte is hardly love match material anyway. Surely there’s no chance they will succumb…right?

Yet love is a force that can never be planned for or controlled, it simply is. And hearts sometime change, grow wiser, when offered new perspectives from which to see the world.

As it turns out, the love curse is the least of their problems. There are plenty of people who don’t want the fae to be freed from Piefferburg and every last one of them is going to stand in their way.

I hope you enjoy taking this magickal journey with Kieran and Charlotte as much as I enjoyed writing it. These characters have chemistry that sizzles on the page and I really had fun with them.

April 5th, 2011
Book of the Day: Cruel Enchantment

*****THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED****

The winner of yesterday’s book, Wicked Enchantment, is Lindsey E., who said, “I read series in order because the accumultion of knowledge about the world and the characters enhances the enjoyment of the books.” Congrats! Please drop me an email, Lindsey! Anyabast (at) gmail.com.

Today’s book……

Even the most powerful hands need a delicate touch…

Emmaline Gallagher is a master of wielding personal glamour. As a free fae who lives among humans, she must hide her true self at all times as she works undercover within the powerful Phaendir—for if certain factions within the Phaendir gain control, the fae will be wiped from existence. Now, an object of fae power lies within a locked ancient box. And there is only one fae who can forge the key.

Known as “the Blacksmith” Aeric O’Malley can create or destroy almost anything with his forging skills. Emmaline has come to him in need, but he and Emmaline have a past—and he has spent centuries wanting to take revenge on her for her transgressions. But now that he has her within his grasp, something about her keeps him from exacting his vengeance—or is it merely her glamour blinding him?

Trapped by fate, Emmaline must hope that she can reach Aeric’s furious heart before it’s too late….


Read the first chapter and/or see the book video.

Answer in the comments for a shot at a copy of Cruel Enchantment. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see if you won.

Have you read my books before? If so, what’s your favorite title? If you haven’t read any of my books before, which book or series would you most like to try?

April 4th, 2011
Book of the Day: Wicked Enchantment

***THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED***

The winner of yesterday’s book, What Happens in Vegas…After Dark, is Alice M., who said, “My favorite places to visit are always in the Caribbean. My family is from Puerto Rico, and I never get tired of going home to visit, eating lots of good food and lounging on the beaches….” Congrats! Please drop me an email, Alice! Anyabast (at) gmail.com.

Today’s book……



When you’re a half incubus, your reputation precedes you…

All eyes are on Gabriel Mac Braire the day he makes his first appearance in the Seelie Court, including those of Aislinn Finvarra. Despite deep bitterness over her last failed relationship, Aislinn cannot help but be curious about the half incubus who is known to possess dark magick, both lethal and sexual in nature. Rumors abound of the women who have become enslaved to his irresistible charms.

So when the Summer Queen of the fae orders Aislinn herself to act as his guide in the court, she is understandably on guard. She’s fallen under the spell of far less persuasive men before. In addition, Gabriel might be more than he seems and his true mission is far from innocent.

This time, Aislinn must protect not only her heart, but her very life…


Read the first chapter and/or see the book video.

Answer in the comments for a shot at a copy of Wicked Enchantment. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see if you won.

This is the first book in the Dark Enchantment series. I wrote all these books to stand alone, but I’ve found most people like to start at the beginning and read in order. How about you? Do you hop around within a series? Do you enjoy series? If so, what do you like about them?