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.

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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.

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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)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

First Post

So something very exciting happened to me recently. I was offered a publishing contract.

It's equal parts wonderful and terrifying, but I know that the great team at Bottom Drawer Publications will guide me through the process.

This blog will hopefully give you an insight into some of the things that inspired me in my writing and, more importantly, on my journey to getting it edited and ready for publication. And so it begins...