Saturday, December 28, 2013

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

In my last post I mentioned that I was about to head off on an adventure. Well, that adventure is now over but not forgotten. I am now home, having arrived just in time for Christmas. In case you are wondering, I had an absolute blast!  

Honestly is there anything better than a good holiday? 

What did I bring back from my trip (besides a fuller suitcase than I left with)? 

Well, I brought home quite a few things: 
  • My first tattoo;
  • A deeper love for Shakespeare--which admittedly was pretty huge before I went;
  • A profound appreciation for just how young a nation Australia actually is; 
  • A few ideas of new stories that are beginning to percolate; 
  • Great memories of a wonderful city; and 
  • The experience of meeting one of my heroes (David Tennant)--even if it was just a brief stage-door meeting. 

Now that I'm back home, I am trying to recover from jet lag and am working on getting back into the swing of regular writing and editing.

In a few days time, the new year will be on us. I have yet to decide exactly what my resolutions will be but I do I know that 2014 will be a great one in our household if only for the fact that my publishing journey should take some significant and very exciting leaps and bounds during the year.

Hopefully your own holidays were great. Without getting too sappy, this time of the year is definitely good for catching up with family and friends alike.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

London Calling

In just a few short days, I am heading on a big adventure. It's not the publishing adventure, which is still bubbling away in the background as I write and edit, but a real life adventure. Shortly, I am going to be undertaking the longest solo journey I've ever been on. Call it my gap year, except I'm too old for one of those and it's only 11 days, but it is as thrilling and scary for me as I can imagine it is for those young ones about to undertake that trek.

My big adventure started with a bit of a whim. A few years ago a friends went to see David Tennant in Much Ado About Nothing. I was jump out of my skin, insanely  appropriately jealous about her getting the opportunity to both see him perform live and actually meet him at the stage door. Anyone who knows me knows I am slightly obsessed with a fan of his work. I'd long ago watched & adored him in Hamlet. When Digital Theater released Much Ado About Nothing, I downloaded that too. Seeing him perform Shakespeare live and in person became a bucket list item for me. When the news filtered through that he was performing Richard II in 2013, I made a random comment about how desperately I wanted to go. Some friends replied that they'd love to see him perform live too and then suddenly we were doing it. We were flying over 10,000 miles to watch a play. It's my first trip to London, but I'm hoping it won't be my last.

It was one of those spur of the moment things that wasn't real, only now I fly out in a few days. My publishing journey has been much the same so far and I would say will continue to be until a few days before my book is due out. It's scary, exciting but still mostly surreal. I can't wait!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Sunrise Release Day Blitz

Bottom Drawer Publications has released Sunrise as a permanent free read, available from their website and also a range of online booksellers.

Sunrise gives a sneak peek at some of the lead characters from Morgan Emerson's new series "Moonlit Nights", the first of which, Talk to the Moon, is due out in early February.  The book can be read as a stand-alone short story at 12,500 words. 

Summary:

A woman who is scared to trust, and a man who thought he’d never love again.

Katherine Niccoli is a successful accountant with an impeccable reputation. She’s worked tooth and nail to improve her life, so she doesn’t have to depend on anyone again. She learned the hard way that men can’t be trusted—having been a teenage mom and suffering through an ugly marriage. She doesn’t risk getting involved anymore. She’s happy dating young, uncomplicated arm candy.

Miles Chase never thought he'd find love again. One steamy weekend in Cabo changed all that. Away for a weekend of playing golf with friends, Miles blew off his plans and enjoyed a passion-filled encounter with a gorgeous woman. When she was gone the next morning, he was left feeling empty and alone all over again.

When Miles meets Kat again at a charity fundraiser six months later, how can he convince her that she can trust him with her heart?
  
Excerpt:

Chapter One
The Favor

Miles Chase easily spotted his son standing with the other families at the bottom of the escalators at the arrival terminal. The eager look everyone wore as they waited for their loved ones coming off the planes was always a joy to see. Kyle, though, stood at the outer edge of the large group, looking dapper in his sleek suit, and was looking down at his phone.
Watching a frown mar Kyle’s face, he worried that his son worked too much. He was too young to be so serious already. Just as Miles reached the bottom of the escalator, Kyle tucked his phone away and looked up. Miles lifted his hand, and Kyle stepped forward to embrace his dad. Miles patted his son on the back a few times before stepping back and studied him some more.
Even though Kyle was the spitting image of himself, Miles could still see some of his wife in him. A pang of sadness hit him when he thought of her not seeing how Kyle had turned out.
“You didn’t have to pick me up. I could’ve taken a cab, son,” Miles offered with his hand on Kyle’s shoulder.
“I know, Dad, but then who would’ve taken you to lunch?” Kyle smiled.
They had left the airport and climbed into Kyle’s Audi before they spoke again, making small talk about the local weather and what was happening back home in Georgia. Miles couldn’t help but notice his son jumped anytime his phone made a noise and was a bit distracted the whole drive.
They were finally settled down to eat at Miles’s favorite restaurant near the beach in Malibu before Kyle inquired about his sudden visit.
“It’s not that I don’t love seeing you, Dad, but this is your third trip in six months. Is everything okay? Something you’re not telling me?” Kyle asked with a concerned look.
Miles chewed his bite of steak and considered how to explain his feelings. He found it difficult since he couldn’t pinpoint anything specific, only that there was something bothering him. The usual loneliness and boredom that had plagued him since his wife died were there, but it was more than that lately. It was a soul-deep feeling of something missing from his life.
“If I’m being honest with you, son, I’d have to say I’m probably missing your mother. She’s been gone awhile now, but being near you always makes me feel closer to her, I guess,” he explained.
“I miss her too.” Kyle’s voice broke. Miles patted Kyle’s shoulder.
“Is that all that’s going on? How’s the business doing?”
“It’s great. We’re finally seeing a pretty solid upswing after the market took such a hit from the GFC. Robert and I were lucky we got into commercial real estate as well as the residential, so we're turning a pretty nice profit.
"That's great, Dad," Kyle said. "So with business booming how are you able to get away so much?"
Miles smiled. "We’ve got some good people in place, son, we've been planning for this for a while now.”
Miles thought back to the conversation with his business partner about taking some time away, and Robert had been all for it. They’d set up some great managers a while ago to assist them, and they were both comfortable enough now to leave things in their capable hands.
“I suppose I’m feeling a bit restless, but that’s not really it either. It started, I guess, when I returned home from the weekend in Mexico six months ago where I met that woman,” Miles said. “It’s not everyday someone can touch you that deeply in such a short time.” Kyle nodded.
Miles would never forget Kat, the woman who’d rocked his world one steamy weekend in Cabo. At the resort for a weekend of golf with friends, all it had taken was one glance at the woman by the pool, looking like a movie star in her white bikini and sunglasses, and he’d forgotten all about golf.
He had never known her last name and was unable to track her down as Kyle had suggested he do when Miles told his son about her previously. He stared out the window of the restaurant as memories of that weekend flooded him. The smell of the lotion she used, the sound of the waves as they lay on the bed with the balcony doors open.

≈≈≈≈

 The e-book will be available for download on the Bottom Drawer Publications website and on All Romance, Book Strand, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Other Booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Apple, Diesel Bookstore and Sony) will be available shortly thereafter.
  
≈≈≈≈≈
  
There will be a giveaway to celebrate the release of the book.


≈≈≈≈

About the Author

  
 Morgan Emerson’s a zoo keeper, a maid and a chauffeur on top of being a reader, writer and a daydreamer.  Morgan lives in the desert, on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona where she and her husband try to wrangle their three small children.  Her passion for reading started as a teenager, leading her to write poetry and short stories as an adult. She was inspired by another stay-at-home mom turned author to start writing herself, and her favourite characters are Alpha males and sassy women. 

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Read whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want.
Welcome to Bottom Drawer Publications. Our motto above says it all. Publishing both e-books plus print-on-demand for our novel-length books means that if you feel like something to read at any time of the day or night, you can download a reasonably-priced, quality book within minutes from your choice of booksellers, including our own digital shop. If you prefer to hold a paperback in your hands, our print-on-demand printer has presses in the US, UK, Europe and Australia, meaning shorter delivery times and lower postage costs to you.
We are an inclusive publisher, believing love is love, which is why you won't see a separate LGBT genre—we publish hetero and gay fiction in all of our romance sub-genres:
Contemporary - Historical - Literary Drama - New Adult - Alternative Lifestyle
Paranormal - Sci-fi - Fantasy - Mystery -Thriller - Steampunk
  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fantasy Casting

I'm going to put my hand up for another slightly embarrassing admission. I often fantasy cast my novels.

Fantasy casting, as the name suggests, is the idea of, "if a movie was to be made of this story right now, who would best represent the characters?".

There are two ways this can happen. The first way is that a certain photograph of an actor will spark a moment of inspiration. Aiden, one of the characters in Through the Fire was, for example, inspired by this photograph:


Before seeing this picture, the character was semi-sketched out, but this picture cemented his role and his look in my head. It was the eyes in particular which screamed out loudly for a certain direction for the story.

There is also a supporting character in my the novel who bears a somewhat uncanny resemblance to a certain skinny Scottish bloke--in my mind at least. Anyone who knows anything about me needs no guesses as to Who that skinny Scottish bloke might be (and for those who don't know me personally, the 'Who' is a hint).

Ethan
Sometimes, it works the other way around. A character will present themselves, I'll write a bit about them, getting parts of their story down and then I start to see a better picture of them in the back of my mind. Suddenly, while watching a TV show or movie an actor or actress will pop up and I'll just think wow, they could totally play <character>!

Louise
I am incredibly lucky to have a friend who fantasy casts right alongside me (for her own stories as well as mine). In fact, she was the one who suggested two perfect people for Ethan and Louise (two more characters in my story). Ever since she pointed them out to me, they are the only people I can see in the 'role'.

The strange thing about all of this fantasy casting is that very rarely have I been able to cast my main character. There are a number of people who have similar traits to my protagonists. Maybe they have the same eyes, their face shape might be just right or their hair exactly as I described, but there's always something slightly wrong about them. I think this is a product of my main characters being such a product of my mind that no one is exactly right. Whatever the reason, my main characters in Through the Fire still remain cast-less.

When the book is out, I'd love to hear who other people mentally cast in the role. Maybe I'll have to bust out this post again then. Because the thing is, I do this for books I read too. I spend almost as much time wondering who would be right to play so-and-so as I do just enjoying the story. Does anyone else have this problem? Or am I alone in my role as a fantasy casting director?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Sunrise by Morgan Emerson

Bottom Drawer Publications will be releasing Sunrise on December 8, 2013 as a permanent free read.



Summary:

A woman who is scared to trust, and a man who thought he’d never love again. A weekend in Cabo brings them together, but Miles wakes to an empty bed when Kat starts to feel things she shouldn’t.  When they meet again at a charity fundraiser six months later, how can Miles convince Kat that she can trust him with her heart?

~ 0 ~

 To celebrate the release of the book, Bottom Drawer are offering a prize of a $10 voucher to spend in their digital shop which starts now and will be drawn December 9, 2013

Link:



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Beauty of Revision

I wrote a book.
I edited that book like crazy.
I had a friend read that book and point out areas that did/didn't work.
I refined the book.
I edited the book again.
The above steps were rinsed and repeated ad nauseam until I had a book I was really happy with. Despite the crippling self-doubt I had, part of me really believed the book was great. Not quite stellar, but something to be proud of (NB: despite the following, I still believe this--writing a novel is something to be proud of regardless of how many later edits it needs).

I submitted it, waited with baited breath for a response. Then came the request for the full. Then the confirmation came: I had a contract. Proof that my book was da bomb!

My publishers loved the book, but...

When the 'but' came, I took a deep breath and waited. On initially hearing some of the feedback that they offered, part of me went..."Wait, I thought you liked the book?"

This is not a statement against the team at my publishers in any way, they handled the conversation so well and I really did understand all of their incredibly valid points. They loved the idea for the book and could get behind the characters, but felt certain things were lacking based on their experience actually publishing books (and reading reviews, reading other books and all of the other things that go along with publishing books).

The issue was the book in my head wasn't entirely the book on the page, which is often the case. In my head, the justifications for everything that happened between the pages was clear (I won't go into specifics because I'm assuming you would actually like to read the book at some point and don't want to be totally spoiled). In my head, the characters lives had been lived in full and I knew why A. ended up at B. and that C. happened because of X. The issue was that during the process of translating it from my head onto the page some of those details were not as clear as I'd thought they were. As well as that, there were sections of the book that had decent dialogue and some character growth but that ultimately didn't add much to the plot. "But how can you know that?" I hear you ask. Because, on the publishers advice and based on our lengthy discussions about what worked and what didn't work, I cut them out of the story and in all honesty it didn't hurt the story at all, in fact losing them had very little effect on the story at all. It wasn't suddenly weaker for not having these sections.

Then, based on those same discussions, I trialed a new starting point adding in thousands of words that didn't exist in the first book, but which were in keeping with the overall theme and tone of the story. Suddenly, the story was stronger. It was closer to the story in my head, even though there were extra scenes. I sent the revised story off to the publisher and so far they seem to have liked the changes. Only time will tell whether there are more revisions or not, but either way I will be happy because that little bit of outside feedback from a couple of different sources can really make the differences between the story in your head and that one that is actually out and on paper that much more obvious.

Then something else happened, it no longer made sense for the ending to be where it was or what it was because of so much new information and a couple of new major plot points. So spawned a new book 2 (I already had a book 2, but that's now book 3) and I've just finished the first complete draft of that. There's still a few more revisions and edits before it's even ready to be submitted to the publisher, but it's a book that might not have existed otherwise.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

I've got a secret...


This post is one I've debating on writing for a while. It is something very personal to me and something which I'm not posting lightly. It's also going to be a long one, so I apologize in advance for that. 

I've talked about doing this with a few people in the know and have had different responses about whether or not I should post it, but in the end I've decided that I want to do this. I want to own up to a secret I've kept mostly hidden from friends and family for a number of years, or at very least a part of my life that I've been a little evasive about when questioned. 

By now, your heart might be pounding in your chest wondering what it is that you don't know about me, and what this terrible truth that I have been having so much difficulty deciding whether or not to out myself over could possibly be. Perhaps you're smiling knowingly that you are one of the few who are in the know. Or maybe you are one of the ones who know me purely as a result of this secret. 

So what is it that's had me internally wrangling over whether or not to even do this blog post? What is the terrible, deep, dark secret; which isn't really all that terrible, deep or dark but is scary for me to admit? 
.
.
.
.
.
I write Fan Fiction. 

I could say I *wrote* Fan Fiction, because I'm not currently working on any of my Fan Fiction stories. But that is also past tense and rules out me ever doing it again, which I can't. Because I might. Why? Because it's fun and because it's freeing. 

Without Fan Fiction, I would never have been able to pluck up the courage to write my first proper original novel or had the technical skills to be able to make it decent enough to get the attention of any publisher. 

By now, I'm imagining that people are reading this post with three different reactions: 
1. Pfft, is that all? That's hardly worth all the build-up; 
2. OMG how could you waste your time with that??; or
3. What the heck even is Fan Fiction? 

I'll address each of these three groups separately now: 

1. Pfft, is that all? That's hardly worth all the build-up. I know. It's not life-changing or a massive deception. Some people have no issues telling people about their fandom lives or their obsession with playing with other peoples characters and to you I say, "Congratulations" for having the courage that I have lacked for so long. I will now join you in the league of people who don't hide this truth from the people they love. 

2. OMG how could you waste your time with that?? This group is the reason why I haven't admitted to this before. People who know me well will know that I'm a very sensitive soul and I am (as I suspect most human beings are) afraid of being judged by the Judgy McJudgerson's in the world. Some of the stories I've written are very explicit (<<-- even that sentence was very hard to write - pun *not* intended) and I didn't want my family and friends to judge me for the content or for what my characters do. However, I now realize that having a work of fiction published will open me up to judgment from everyone, not just my family and friends, and I need a thick skin to get there.

3. What the heck even is Fan Fiction? If you are one of the ones who has no clue about Fan Fiction this wikipedia article will probably be able to explain it better than I ever could but I'll try. It is writing stories using the characters and worlds created by someone else. In other words, taking the creation of another author or TV producer and twisting those worlds into a brand new creation. (I'm not going to get into the debate over whether or not this is original content, pull to publish etc here, that's far too controversial and this post is already controversial enough for me personally). 

~ 0 ~

Okay, so now that that's out of the way and cleared up, I will answer a few questions that I'm sure you might have: 

Why did you feel the need to hide? See group 2. response above, and group 3. to a degree as well (because group 3. can easily become group 2. when you explain what Fan Fiction is). It's a hard thing to explain fandom involvement to someone who hasn't been part of one, but it can be very insular and there are a lot of terms and expressions with the world at large just doesn't understand (like shippingfeels and not being able to even). There was also the little fact that if I told people that I wrote, they might actually want to read it and the thought of that happening was almost impossible for me to comprehend.  

Why are you coming out now? Because I want to. Because I am immensely proud of most of what I've written and how much I've learned in Fan Fiction. I do have to admit that part of the reason is that I would rather it come from me than come out later and blind-side anyone that knows me and that I hadn't told. 

Why write Fan Fiction? In short, I wanted to write. I tried to write a novel back in 05/06 and I joined a critiquing group and was shattered to learn that I knew nothing, possibly even less than nothing, about writing a good story. I was an 'A' student in English, learning that I didn't know as much as I'd thought about grammar, sentence-structure, plot development etc just killed my dream. 

Then, unrelatedly, I watched the Doctor Who episode 'Journey's End' when Rose was locked away in a parallel universe with the meta-crises Doctor. Their part in the story ends with the two of them on the beach in another dimension, never to be seen again.

"No!" I cried at my TV. "I need to know more about that!"

I became obsessed with finding out whether there was any BBC official information about what happened next and stumbled across this video by the incredibly talented Seduff. In the comments was a link to something called Fan Fiction and this fabulous alternate reality story of the Doctor and Rose. And that was my introduction to Fan Fiction. I became fascinated with the idea that fans could make up their own versions of the story or put the characters into a different sandbox and see how they play. 

As I do with everything else in life, I jumped in with both feet and learned the lingo: OTP, AU, AH, canon, non-canon, het, slash, OOC, and many, many more. I also learned that some people use Fan Fiction purely as a way to write smutty outtakes based on those characters who don't have sex in their original book or TV shows (think of the fade to blacks scenes in Twilight). Other writers use Fan Fiction as a way to safely explore their own sexuality. Because of these two reasons, Fan Fiction is often seen as overtly smutty, but it isn't always. For me, it wasn't about that, it was about the opportunity to stretch my creative legs. Do the characters in my stories have sex? Sure, if the plot calls for it. Do all of my stories contain sex? Hell no. There are a few of the stories I've written that have nothing more than a kiss. Do I still perspire at just the thought of my closest friends or my mother (sorry mum!) reading the sex scenes in those stories? ABSOLUTELY! But considering my upcoming novel and the sequels I've started for it all have sex scenes it's something I'm going to have to learn to deal with anyway. 

So when I say I've been writing for a long time, I really do mean it. I have been writing Fan Fiction since 2009 and have 32 stories. Approximately ten of those are novel-length (or more), one or two novella length and the rest short stories or 'one-offs' as they are called in Fan Fiction land. In all I've *posted* over 1,371,015 words, and that's just the ones that have made it onto the site (and doesn't include the first one I ever wrote which I pulled because the grammar and story line were both just far too cringe-worthy). Are all of the stories stellar? Nope! They're not polished or edited beyond a once-over by a beta/pre-reader and then another readthrough or two by myself. Compared to the novel I've written which so far has undergone around 10 rounds of polishing & has only just entered the beginning stages of publishing (meaning there will be more rounds, multiple more rounds in fact). But there are some gems in there which I'm still immensely proud of, even though I acknowledge that need for extra polish and shine. 

Most of all though, Fan Fiction was my learning curve. It was my trunk novel(s) and the way I cut my teeth in writing. I didn't have to build the world, the lore or the characters. That was already served up by their original creator. Instead, I got to focus on the heart of the story. On the plot and plot twists and how the characters were motivated. I got the opportunity to climb inside the head of a character long before either Evie or Clay presented themselves to me. 

But it was so much more than that, I found friends who I know will be friends for life because they shared with me this clandestine secret, as well as the overwhelming emotions that are fandom. I found people willing to share their talent and take the hand of a complete newbie to help me learn so much about writing and ultimately about myself and what I am capable of if I put my mind to it. To all of those wonderful gals I say thank you! I won't name names or out anyone else, this is about me putting my truth out there and not about pushing others under the bus.  

Because this blog is not about Fan Fiction writer me, it's about original work author me and for the sake of propriety, I'm not going link to my Fan Fiction here. To be completely honest, I'm still drawing deep, gasping breaths at the thought of anyone I know very well in my 'real life' actually reading any of it. HOWEVER, if you are desperately wanting to read my not-so-polished stories, complete with unedited content, poor grammar and occasional misplaced words, contact me on my Facebook page and I'll *gulp* send you a link. Be warned though, some are definitely not safe for work. Just...please don't judge me okay?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo Update

I know I've been quiet on the blogging front, but I've just started week 3 of NaNo and I'm excited.

My current tally is a little over 45,000, which means I am above par, but I haven't been for the whole month.

What has the experience so far taught me? It's not impossible to write a novel in a month.

What else has it taught me? I've practically done it before.

My word count and the time I've spent writing hasn't been significantly higher or lower than any other given month. Being a rebel in my approach has helped me a lot. When one story or character stops talking to me, I've jumped onto another project. Again, this is my usual approach to writing.

I'm aiming to push to be done with the 50k by the time I got back to work on Monday. Hopefully, I'll do it.

Wish me luck! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo

So it's November. For lot's of people that means Movember has started, but for us crazies who get our joy from writing & editing (& then writing & editing some more) it means it's time for NaNoWriMo again. What's NaNoWriMo you ask? National Novel Writing Month. The challenge: write a 50k novel in one month.

I've only had one previous attempt at NaNoWriMo, back in '06. I reached about 20k and then the story just petered out and I didn't 'win' ('Winning' is reaching the goal. The 'prize'? A shiny new novel to edit). This year I'm going for it again. It might be crazy, but it might also be fun. Then again, as a good friend pointed out recently, I've probably almost averaged that many words over the last few months anyway. Regardless, it will be good to see just how efficient I can be when I put my mind (and time) to it.

Having signed up back before my edits were provided, I planned on doing it as a chance to get a new novel out of my system. Instead, with the edits I have in mind now, I will be participating as a rebel. Those who know me well probably won't be surprised by this revelation.

So here's cheers to November & NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Danger of Searching

There's no real point to this post, other than to bring to light a matter which I'm sure is a topic of contention for a lot of writers: search engines and the perils of research. More often than not research might just be along the lines of "is there a bus from A to B" or "What hotel in the area best suits my needs". I've even selected key places via google maps and searching real estate listings. But every now and then a need to search for something a little more sinister arises. Seriously, I am often quite terrified by the thought of someone going through my internet history, they'd probably think I was planning a murder or worse.

Over the course of developing ideas for stories and writing some stories that will likely never make it to print, I've researched everything from how to hide a body, what different parts of a knife are called, guns and where you can be shot and still be able to survive versus instant/guaranteed death. How to escape from certain situations or the ingredients in certain poisons are others searches that are less easily passed off as innocent.

This post was brought to you by of my latest search but I won't reveal what that was because...spoilers ;)



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Music to my Muse

There are a few people I know who like to write (or work/study) in absolute silence. I have never been able to do this. Whether studying, working my day job or writing, I need to have sound. I think of it as the soundtrack to my life.

The TV or a movie playing the background can be a source of comfort, but for writing the best thing I can have is music. I can't say exactly what it is about music that changes things so much, but a good song can be magic for so many reasons. One with the right mood (even if the lyrics aren't related) can inspire whole scenes. The right lyrics can inspire a story. Either one can take me from a plodding, writers-blocked state of a handful of words an hour up to a whole chapter in the same length of time.

Is there a particular song that works every time? No, unfortunately not. I wish there was. I have playlists to get me into the frame of mind I need for each story for sure, and there are a number of songs that seem to be staples in every playlist I have. But I'd love nothing more than to be able to bottle the success of the right song for the right (write) moment. I guess you could say it's kismet ;) 

My staples seem to be fairly eclectic and always include at least one song by each of the following: 
Sheryl Crow
Matchbox Twenty
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Dashboard Confessional (a new addition to my collection) 
Maroon 5

From there, it's usually a wide array of everything from country to soft rock, alternative to jazz. It's usually more about the mood than the lyrics, but sometimes both are equally important. 

Do you like to listen to music while you write or read? If so, do you find your experience is enhanced by the right songs? Do you have any staples in your collection?



Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Groom by Elise Marion Release Day Blitz!



Even though the book’s hero Lyle Cummings was left standing at the altar in My Ex-Wife’sWedding he is anything but second best in this book.  The Groom can be read as a stand-alone novel.

≈≈≈≈≈

Title: The Groom
Author: Elise Marion
Genre: Interracial Contemporary
Size: Novel
ISBN: 978-0-9923696-0-6

Price $5.99

Publisher: Bottom Drawer Publications


Summary:

When Lyle Cummings is left standing at the altar on his wedding day, all of his carefully composed plans for the future come crashing down around him. The pragmatic doctor is left questioning his well-ordered existence and wondering if there isn't more to life than the achievements of wealth and career.

When he meets Katrina Giordano, a fiery lounge singer with more passion in her pinky finger than he possesses in his entire body, his mundane life is turned upside down. In Katrina, he finds everything his life has been lacking. With her, he will learn that what he thought was love really wasn't at all.

But will Katrina's dark past threaten the happiness that Lyle has found after so much heartache? With her life, and now his, hanging in the balance, Lyle will find himself tested when it comes to how far he will go for love. 

Excerpt:

“ROUGH DAY?”
Lyle Cummings glanced up from the surface of the gleaming bar top and into the eyes of the petite woman moving around behind it. She was holding a frosted beer mug in one hand and controlling the Miller Lite tap with the other. Sympathy flashed in her stare, causing Lyle to jerk his own gaze away as if stung. He didn’t want her sympathy. All he wanted was peace, and . . .
“Single malt scotch on the rocks with a twist.”
He knew that his request had come out more like a raspy, barked command but Lyle didn’t care. Today of all days, he had the right to act like a jackass.
An understanding nod followed, and the bartender quickly moved to fill his order. She sat the scotch in front of him and accepted his debit card.
“Would you like me to start a tab?” she asked as she swiped his card.
“Yes.”
Hell yes. Today was also a day for getting drunk.
Plastered.
Shit-faced.
Wasted.
He wrapped his fingers around the perspiring glass and inspected the bruised knuckles of his free hand. Mottled splotches of blue, purple, and green marred his sun-bronzed skin, and swelling edged the bruise with a ring of deep red. Lyle’s fingers curled into his palm as he downed the scotch in a few long gulps, the fire racing through his gut elevating the adrenaline rush he felt at the thought of smashing Jack Thompson’s face in. A few drops of blood stained the cuff of his white dress shirt and the sight of it sent primal satisfaction through Lyle’s gut. It was the only pleasure to be salvaged from the disaster that should have been the happiest day of his life. Well that and . . .
“Another,” he rasped, sliding the empty glass back toward the bartender.
She arched an eyebrow at him while reaching for a clean glass. “Who’s the unlucky guy?” she asked, nodding toward his bruised knuckles.
Lyle grasped his newly filled glass. “Nobody.”
She laughed. “Looks like Nobody took quite a beating.”
That’s not all he took, Lyle thought. The reminder of the earlier events caused his rage to flash back to boiling point; Jack Thompson may have been on the business end of his fist, but ultimately the other man had won. Even now, Jack was riding off into the sunset with his Holly and probably felt not an ounce of guilt over what he’d done. And why should he? Holly was everything a man could want in a woman. Jack had lost her once to divorce. It was unlikely that he was going to be stupid enough to repeat the mistake after winning her back again.
A frown pulled at the corners of Lyle’s mouth as he stared down into the contents of his glass. The bartender reached across the wooden top and clasped his injured hand. Lyle flinched and snatched it away, glaring at her with narrowed eyes.
“I was just going to offer you some ice,” she said gently. Lyle felt like an ass when he saw the bundle of paper towels clenched in her small fist. He tried to offer her a smile as she pressed the ice-filled towels against his knuckles, but it turned into a grimace as the ice came in contact with his flaming skin.
“You should stick around,” she said warmly after he’d taken over with the ice. “We have live music on Saturdays.”
She placed another filled glass in front of him and Lyle took it, nodding his thanks and looking away, freeing the bartender to wait on her other customers. He took his time with this drink, the tentacles of the first two already reaching out through his body with warm intent. He hadn’t noticed much about his surroundings since arriving, but he took stock of them now as he drank.
The lighting was dim, which was good because if someone in the room knew him, Lyle didn’t want to have to deal with that. The pitying eyes of the bartender were one thing; the probing stares of people who were expecting to see him with a ring on his finger and a bride on his arm would be enough to make him want to go somewhere and splatter his brains across the wall. The bar was long, wrapping in a serpentine pattern around half of the room. At least three other bartenders worked the gathered patrons, who sipped beer and munched on peanuts while waiting for the music to start. Conversation filled the room in a dull buzz.
The other half of the room was filled with round, cloth-covered tables and wooden chairs. Waitresses bustled in and out of the crowd in short skirts and white tops, pens in their hair and comfortable shoes on their feet. Lyle’s stomach rolled and clenched with nausea at the smell of nachos and greasy hamburgers. He took another sip of scotch and sighed in relief at the feel of fire burning the nausea away. Just then, he didn’t care if he ever had another bite of food again in his life. If he could just crawl into the bottom of the liquor bottle and curl up in the fetal position, he could die somewhat happy . . . or, at least, numb.
Jutting out from the back wall was a stage hosting a microphone stand and a couple of speakers. A red velvet curtain separated the stage from whatever was going on backstage. Lyle tipped his glass back and stood, deciding that listening to some bartender’s sister’s band sing the blues was the last thing he wanted right now. Another drink, preferably in a quieter location, was just what he needed.
“Closing out the tab?” the bartender asked as he stood and dropped a few dollars in the tip glass. He nodded.
“Yes, thank you,” he said, holding up the makeshift ice pack. “Have a nice—”
Lyle’s sentence was cut off by a man’s voice. A burly bouncer in a tight black T-shirt was on stage, announcing the act for the night. He could barely hear him because of the catcalls and whistles coming from the audience. Every man in the room seemed to lean forward in anticipation as the curtains parted to reveal the figure of a woman holding a guitar. She walked forward with a bright smile, her skin bathed in the glow of the spotlight as she took a seat on the stool.
Lyle felt frozen in place as she strummed on her guitar and opened her mouth to sing. Her voice was like velvet, a purr that wrapped itself around him tightly and squeezed, flooding his insides with warmth and . . . something else—he wasn’t quite sure what. He felt himself moving, and somewhere in the back of his mind realized that he’d backed toward the stool he’d left seconds ago and was sitting down again.

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The e-book will be available for sale on the Bottom Drawer Publications website

and on Amazon, All Romance, Book Strand, Kobo, Smashwords on release day

Other Booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Apple, Diesel Bookstore and Sony will be available shortly thereafter.

The paperback will be released in November.

≈≈≈≈≈

There will be a giveaway to celebrate the release of the book

Link:


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elise Marion is a lover of books and has a special place in her heart for sweet and
sensual romance. Writing about love across all walks of life is her passion, as is
reaching people through the written word. The Army wife and stay-at-home mother
of two spends most of her time taking care of her children. Her second job includes
writing stories about characters that people can fall in love with. When the Texas
native isn’t caring for her family or writing, you can usually find her with her nose
in a book, singing loudly, or cooking up something new in the kitchen.

You can find Elise at

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Read whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want.
Our motto above says it all. Publishing both e-books plus print-on-demand for our novel-length books means that if you feel like something to read at any time of the day or night, you can download a reasonably-priced, quality book within minutes from your choice of booksellers, including our own digital shop. If you prefer to hold a paperback in your hands, our print-on-demand printer has presses in the US, UK, Europe and Australia, meaning shorter delivery times and lower postage costs to you.
We are an inclusive publisher, believing love is love, which is why you won't see a separate LGBT genre—we publish hetero and gay fiction in all of our romance sub-genres:

Contemporary - Historical - Literary Drama - New Adult - Alternative Lifestyle
Paranormal - Sci-fi - Fantasy - Mystery -Thriller - Steampunk

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who is really in control here?

My editing process was supposed to be a relatively simple-ish one. Move a few things around, delete some excess information, write a couple of new scenes to link it all together and just add a little more oomph overall. Instead what I have so far are: about 10,000 new words, a raft of new scenes and potentially a whole new book worth of story. Why though? Simply because I'm not in control.

Sounds counter-intuitive right? It's my story. I'm the author. Of course I'm in control of what happens. Except I'm not. I'm really, really not. The fact of the matter is during the time I write, I turn my mind over to my characters and let them tell me what happens. One extra scene can turn into a case of, "Oh, so you want to know what happened during ABC? Well, sit down let me tell you all about it." 

Is this just a way of saying there are voices in my head telling me what to do? Maybe. But don't worry, I'm still completely sane (or at least mostly sane...as sane as anyone can really be anyway). The voices: they come from my characters. During the time I write a story, just as when I read one, the characters come alive in my mind. They speak to me and shape their own destiny. One new scene might easily spark several chapters. Even in my first draft it is like this.

Oftentimes, when the muses are being especially kind to me, all I need to do is dictate the scenes that run through my mind like a movie. Sometimes, I can't write fast enough to keep up with them. Other times, the characters might be a little quieter, and need a little coaxing before they'll come out and play. But when they do, it's time to hold on tight again.

Even when I'm not writing, my characters aren't necessarily quiet. At times, they can be as loud and demanding as my seven-year-old. If this happens during times I can't write, I let them simmer along in the background so that they will (hopefully) be ready when it comes time to put finger to keyboard.

This post is just an insight into the way that writing works for me, it may not be the same for everyone. If any other writers are reading this, I'd love to know what your process is. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do your characters speak to you too? If you're a reader, do the characters you read in books come alive for you too?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kismet

I'm amazed how often kismet comes into play during the writing and the editing process. I plot, plan, and research so much to get the details right, but every once in a while stumble onto something perfect for the story purely by chance, or possibly fate. This happened to me recently when I decided I wanted to enhance a certain thread in the story relating to a scent from one of the character's pasts, that of magnolia flowers.

Seems like a fairly simple decision, yet it's one that in the current draft provides a perfect kismet moment. This character was gifting flowers to another to let her know he was near before approaching her. The flower is part of their shared history so it made sense that he would buy her magnolias. Then, as I was researching bouquets that might contain magnolias, I stumbled across my discovery. The meaning of the flower is perseverance, which is probably the best word for their relationship at that point in the story.

This is not the only example of kismet I've had, just the most recent. It's probably something a casual reader wouldn't even notice, but knowing it's there makes me smile.

I always wonder whether other people have happy accidents like this?


(Photo source: http://www.pictureworldbd.com)