Stalked by Susanna Hays – The Work Process

September 17, 2015

How I came up with the idea for Stalked originally came from an open submission call from another site. It was stated that they wanted a unique spin on shape shifters that did not use the alpha/beta/omega tropes, and I thought I’d give it a shot. This was new territory for me because, as stated previously, I never wrote about shifters before.

 

When working on Stalked, I just recently bought Scrivener, which was a new program to me at the time. I instantly fell in love with it, and even more so when working on my second novel and using much more of the features provided. The program is about $40 USD and I highly recommend it to those who love to outline and have many files for one story. I am currently using it as a virtual trapper keeper for all my stories since I sometimes like to flop to different stories at the same time.

 

My favorite parts in writing Stalked has to be the silly dialogue between Yori and Bryce. I love writing banters and silly lines, so their dialogue was something that was part of my comfort zone. I also liked writing how protective Bryce is of Yori.

 

When it came to actually submitting my work, it was very nerve wracking. Working with Dreamspinner though has been an amazing experience, and I’m so glad that they gave me such a great opportunity. I am proud to say that I am continuing to work with them and that they are helping me grow not only as an author, but as a writer as well.

 

Stalked By Susanna Hays – Thoughts After Publishing

September 17, 2015

For Stalked, I did not create an outline like I did for my second novel. I found it much more difficult this way, and for new authors who are struggling, I would suggest working with an outline since it does keep things better organized.

When creating my characters, I would fiddle around in the Sims until I created a character I liked. I would then look at Pinterest and try to find pictures that closely resembled the ones I made in Sims.

 

Yori is a different type of protagonist than I usually create. He is shy and more dependent compared to the protagonists I’ve created in the past. The reason for this is that I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone when creating the characters. This is the first shifter story I’ve created as well (I tend to write more in the way of vampires and ghosts), so this story as a whole was a bit more challenging to me.

 

Bryce was difficult for me to work with. I wanted him to be a supportive boyfriend, but I had a difficult time finding ways to make him interesting. It took many tries to try to get his personality down. With him and Yori being a couple right when the story starts, there wasn’t the UST that I would rely on like in my past stories.  Instead, I worked on keeping their relationship strong after being together for so many years.

 

Lance was a character I just went all out with and had fun with. I gave him the hammiest lines and went crazy with him to contrast against Yori and Bryce. Basically, I wanted him to be the opposite of Bryce, but still give them some similarities. He was enjoyable to create even with some of his cringy lines.

 

Things I would go back and change would be to not try to go out of my comfort zone so much in one story. I think I should have toned it back a bit when it came to that so it wouldn’t have been as much of a challenge to write, but I found it to be a great writing experience as well.

 

yori

Stalked by Susanna Hays – Release Party

September 17, 2015

Hi,

My name is Sue and I am here to talk about my first novel, Stalked.

The story follows Yori Tanaka, a young man who suffers from crippling anxiety and also carries the gene known as the “Beast Syndrome.” He watched his father suffer through this terrible mutation, and is now worried that the same thing will happen to him.

Yori Tanaka lives with crippling anxiety, knowing he carries the “Beast Syndrome” gene yet still unsure what activates it. Thankfully, his boyfriend, Bryce Green, is down to earth and has been more than patient and supportive for the last five years.

But their lives are about to change. When Lance Haney, an old friend, rolls into town, Yori is excited to see him at first—until Yori learns Lance’s motives. Full of malice and bad intentions, Lance plans to activate Yori’s “Beast Syndrome” gene, and Yori’s greatest fear is about to become a reality.

The story is 156 pages long and is a quick read. I’m excited to discuss Stalked and answer any questions about it.

Forever Friends with Skylar M. Cates

September 11, 2015

forever friends

Hello there, I’m Skylar. I’m the person with the messy house, cute puppy, crazy, funny kids, and scattered coffee mugs. Dreamspinner says to introduce ourselves here, and I think this gives you some idea who I am. I’m treading chaos all the time, but I honestly love my life.

I feel lucky to be here with all of you today. I feel lucky with my family and my friends.

But not always….

Recently a friend hurt my feelings by repeatedly ignoring me and it got me thinking about the nature of friendships. I vented a little on Facebook and was amazed and humbled by how many people offered sympathy and support.

My books very often include a group of friends. As I get older and busy with my family’s needs, it’s harder to have a circle of friends in my life. In college and elsewhere, it was easier. But free time-  once you have a job, partner, and maybe some kids tossed into the equation- is tough to manage.

While my books always have a central romance, I often think the secondary characters are of equal importance. They are the ideal friends. Not in terms of being perfect characters—for they are often deeply flawed—but in terms of being there for each other, no matter what.

Isn’t that what we all crave? Good friends who don’t fade away. Who are there, always and forever?

In Lovers, Losers, and You friendship is of paramount importance. They help each other, protect each other, and remain loyal to each other throughout the good times and bad. From the zany fun of Andrew’s reality show entry to the heartbreak of loss, these guys stick together.

Friendship should be a two-way street and not a dead-end. I wrote that on my Facebook, and I still believe it now.

Just for fun, answer these questions below in a comment, and I will randomly pick two winners by the day’s end.

 

1. I can’t be friends with somebody who doesn’t like:

A. coffee B. animals C. books D. kids E. wine F. I can be friends with anybody

 

2. The most important quality in my friend is:

A. Loyalty B. Humor C. Compassion D. Intelligence E. Other quality

 

3. A good night out with my friends would be a night of:

A. Wine and books

B. The movies and lots of candy

C. A bar and some dancing

D. An evening of fine dining and conversation

E. Something much wilder

 

4. It is usually possible to remain friends with an ex-lover

A True B False

 

5. When a friend does this repeatedly, I would end the friendship:

A. Lies to me

B Holds grudges

C Breaks promises

D. Gossips about me

E None of the above. I am forgiving with my friends

F. All of the above. I’m particular about my friends

 

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it! List your answers in a comment to be included in the giveaway.

 

Prize: A ten dollar DSP gift card (two winners)

 

Feel free to explain some of your answers and share your stories of friendships. I always love chatting.

 

***

LoversLosersAndYouFS

 

Buy links:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6839

http://www.amazon.com/Lovers-Losers-Sunshine-Happiness-Book-ebook/dp/B014ODDON8

 

Where to find me:

http://skylarmcates.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/ skylar cates

Twitter: @skylarmcates

Louise Lyons – new release Beautiful Thunder and current works

August 31, 2015

Hi everyone, Louise Lyons still on the blog.

A few people have asked me lately what I’m currently working on, now that Beautiful Thunder has taken its first step out into the world.

Well, firstly I’ve been working on edits for a novella entitled Finding Beck and have just received the cover art for it. It’s set in the same time period as Beautiful Thunder (the 1990s) but is based in my old hometown, Grimsby and Cleethorpes (the two are merged together), in the UK. I used to go to another rock nightclub called Jezebels who had a rock night on Fridays, and my main character, Martin Lynch, meets his love interest Beck in that club. The pair quickly fall for each other, but worry about the potential reactions of Martin’s housemate Graham, and both sets of parents. Some responses are better than others! You can expect to see this available around the middle of October.

I’m also working on a full length novel set in Prague, another city I’ve visited. The book is entitled Cervena, which is “red” in Czech and is the name of a strip/dance/cocktail club owned by main character, Joel Jones, an Englishman who has lived in Prague for ten years. He discovers a young homeless Russian boy named Sasha, offers him a job as a dancer, and quickly develops a strong attraction to Sasha. But their new relationship is fraught with obstacles including the death of Joel’s mother in London, betrayal by his business partner, Karel, and threats from someone to whom Karel owes a substantial amount of money. Joel is convinced he will lose Sasha one way or another, and has to decide what is most important to him – Cervena or Sasha.

This story is about four chapters away from being finished so I’m hoping to wrap it up in the next month.

I also have my first sci-fi romance in the pipeline. Regeneration was written during NaNoWriMo last year and finished during the month following. Kim Fortune is the only survivor of a new type of enhanced human in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, far in the future. Having escaped the lab where he was created, he spends the first few years of freedom as an explorer, until he runs into a more successful member of his species – Christian Novak. Christian is everything Kim was supposed to be, but didn’t quite make the grade in, and he’s envious, confused, and insanely attracted to Chris. There seems no hope for them in the war-torn galaxy and Kim is convinced Chris will never feel anything for him – until Chris risks his life to rescue Kim from imprisonment after a crash landing on an inhospitable planet.

I’m reworking some of the story after advices from readers, and hope to submit this later in the year.

I have two other ideas in note form – a contemporary romance between two ex-jailbirds, and a paranormal romance featuring the ghost of a broken-hearted man who took his own life, so I have lots going on, which will hopefully all see the light of day during the next year.

But for now, Beautiful Thunder is my book of the moment. You can read another excerpt on my blog, during which Alex goes for an audition with Nottingham, UK band, the River Rats, and meets his love, Lindsey, for the first time. Click the link below.

Louise Lyons Blog

 

Beautiful Thunder by Louise Lyons – giveaway

August 31, 2015

Hi everyone, Louise here. I’m giving away one eBook from my backlist to one lucky winner!

You’ve all heard a little about my new release, Beautiful Thunder, on the previous two posts. Alex and Lindsey, a singer and guitarist in a struggling rock band in the 1990s, fall in love despite many obstacles, including fears of commitment, a health scare, trust issues and difficulties in the band.

What difficulties have you overcome to be with the one you love? Everyone who comments on this post to answer the question, will go into a random draw to choose one of my previous eBooks.

The books available to choose from are:-

Conflicted

Cover art finalisedTwo competing gangs of car and drag racing enthusiasts with a shared history of pain and rivalry leading to outright hatred. Two men from opposite sides of the tracks, yet with more in common than they’d like to admit.

Paul Appleton is a troubled man who has never been in a relationship, having lost everyone he cared for in his life. His mother died when he was very young and subsequently, he lost his brother and his best friend. Now Paul is convinced love will always end in tears.

Greg was living on the streets after his parents died and was stabbed by a junkie, ending up in hospital. The Buchanans took Greg under their wing while doing charity work, and Greg joined their loving family when he was adopted. He and his siblings are also car enthusiasts with much more money and therefore better cars than Paul Appleton’s gang.

When they eventually find a connection, Paul fights his feelings and tries to convince himself his lover is only a temporary bit of fun, but Greg has other ideas.

The Eye of the Beholder

Final cover artVince Voss is obsessed with physical beauty. Influenced by his aunt, with whom he runs a modeling business, he has become unfeeling and cruel. Vince’s mother, who was a witch in life, returns to show him a better way to live. She casts a spell to take away his good looks and he finds himself challenged with searching for someone to love him, without the use of physical attraction.

Vince eventually meets a lonely male vampire, Peter, and despite his reluctance to get involved with him, he decides to use Peter to help him lift the spell. Little does he know that at first, Peter is using him too, and he finally realizes what’s really important when he falls for Peter along the way.

Beyond The Scars

Beyond the Scars final coverAfter years of physical and mental abuse, Tommy Chadwick finally finds the strength to leave Colin, his tormentor. But Tommy soon finds that escaping his violent boyfriend was only the first step on his path to recovery. Now he must overcome feelings of worthlessness in order to rebuild his battered self-esteem.

Tommy’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from going out… at first, but then has him ricocheting from one man to another, desperately trying to please them in his search for love and acceptance.

After being rejected on New Year’s Eve, and then beaten after leaving the gay bar, he agrees to accompany his best friend, Sarah, to a martial arts club. There Tommy meets Marcus, a strong older man, who at first becomes his friend, introducing Tommy to new interests, and later, tentatively asks him on a date.

Will Marcus be the man to help Tommy put his past behind him and fall in love for real?

Beautiful Thunder by Louise Lyons – excerpt

August 31, 2015

Hi everyone, it’s Louise here again. In this post, I’m giving you a little taster of Beautiful Thunder.

In the excerpt below, Alex and Lindsey kiss for the first time after Alex blunders into a gay club in an effort to avoid being seen by Lindsey in the street.

……………………………………………..

“I, um, I came in by mistake.” I hoped the lack of light in the club would disguise my red face. My cheeks felt as if they were on fire. Avoiding his eyes, I let my gaze drift down over his white ruffled shirt—the same one he’d had on that time in Rock City.

“Right. First you can’t make band practice because you’ve caught my fictitious flu, and now you’re in a gay club by accident?”

I groaned. “Yeah, I lied about being sick. I’m an idiot. I came in here because I saw you down the street and I didn’t want you to see me and realize I lied.”

Lindsey frowned. “Why lie? Why not just say you can’t make it? Presumably you were going out to pick up a girl.”

“I’m sorry.” I couldn’t tell him the truth—that I hadn’t wanted to face him—and the only other option was to let him think I’d let the band down in favor of getting my rocks off. “It won’t happen again. What are you doing in here, anyway?”

“I come in here every couple of weeks. I was intending to catch up with some friends.”

“So you skipped practice too?” I raised an eyebrow.

“I didn’t skip. Mark rang me and said you were ill and asked if I wanted to practice anyway. We decided to leave it and have a longer session tomorrow instead, with or without you.”

“Sorry,” I repeated. I took a long gulp of my beer. “I told Mark I’d caught your flu. Stupid, I know. I wasn’t thinking. I’ll get out of here in a minute. I don’t want to cramp your style.”

“I’m not looking for a bit of fun, Alex,” Lindsey snapped. “We don’t all get off with some random stranger every other night.”

“Nor do I. Not for a while.”

“But you don’t date. I doubt you can even remember the name of the last girl you were with.”

He was right, I couldn’t remember, and I covered it up by trying to sound annoyed. “Why are you having a go at me? Because you think I’m a slut? Or because I lied about being ill?”

“Neither. I’m sorry. I’m going to get a drink.”

I stayed where I was as Lindsey went to the bar and engaged in a chat with someone while he waited to be served. He shook hands with the other man and then leaned on the bar and talked to the barman. Eventually, he returned to me, carrying a bottle of Bud.

“I’ve nearly finished this.” I indicated my own bottle. “Then I’ll go.”

Lindsey nodded and sipped his beer. He didn’t speak, and I fiddled with my bottle, trying not to stare at him. He looked good as usual, and for once he wasn’t wearing makeup. His jeans were so tight, he probably had to use a shoehorn to get into them. I couldn’t stop myself imagining us in various scenarios—dancing like the two guys a few yards away, kissing like the pair nearby who were still at it. Would Lindsey even be interested in me?

I didn’t know how long we stood there not talking. Lindsey interrupted my thoughts with a muttered curse, and I looked up. “What’s wrong?”

“Steve’s here.”

“Where?”

“The dark-haired bloke who just came in. The one in the red shirt.”

I looked toward the door and spotted the man Lindsey had described. His collar-length hair framed a rugged face, and his muscular body indicated he worked out regularly. I had no idea what Lindsey’s type was, but I hadn’t imagined him going for someone like that. The man looked like he had a lot of power to put behind a punch. I put my bottle down on a nearby table and clenched my fists. “Do you want to leave?”

“No, I’m going to speak to him. I’m sick to death of jumping out of my skin whenever someone rings me or knocks on the door.”

“I could talk to him.”

Lindsey shook his head. “Don’t interfere, Alex. Stay here.” He put his drink on the table and strode away from me. I watched, grinding my teeth, as he halted close to Steve and spoke to him. Sweat stuck my shirt to my back. I knew nothing about Steve other than that he’d hurt Lindsey, and I wanted to go over there and punch the man’s lights out.

The pair talked for a few minutes, Steve gesturing in what looked to be an effort to placate Lindsey. At least he didn’t look as if he was about to hit him. Lindsey kept shaking his head, and at one point he glanced over his shoulder in my direction and jabbed a thumb at me. I wished I could hear what they were saying. Steve shrugged and nodded. He stayed where he was as Lindsey came back to me.

“What…?” I began.

“Do me a favor, I’ll explain later, just kiss me,” Lindsey said, his words almost running into each other in his haste.

I didn’t have time to think or question. I cupped his face, then slid my hand into his hair as I drew him closer. He rested his hands on my chest, and his lips parted as they met mine. I closed my eyes and caressed his lips, and I was instantly reminded of Joey’s kiss. Lindsey’s lips were firm but soft at the same time, and he wasn’t gentle and delicate like a girl. He kissed back hard and crushed my lips against my teeth. I wasn’t sure what he wanted from me, but it was obviously meant to be a show for Steve. I slid my arm around his waist and pulled him tighter against me. I didn’t care if he felt I was getting hard. My pulse raced, and I trembled with a combination of excitement and fear. Deepening the kiss, I stroked my tongue over his, and his tongue bar clicked against my teeth as he responded. I groaned and wondered if Lindsey heard it. He was bound to have felt the effect he was having on me by now. My rock-hard cock was trapped against his thigh.

Lindsey broke the kiss and turned his face into my neck. Warm puffs of breath fanned my skin, and he continued to hold on to me as he spoke quietly in my ear. “He wanted me back. He kept apologizing for hitting me. I told him to fuck off and that I’m with you. He seemed to accept it.” He pulled away at last and put a few inches between us. “Sorry about this. It was pretty childish, rubbing his nose in it, but….” He shrugged, then lifted his gaze to mine and grinned. “Anyway… I didn’t expect that reaction from you. Is there anything you want to tell me?”

My face heated up, and I lowered away. “I, um, you took me by surprise,” I muttered.

…………………………………………..

Beautiful Thunder is available both as eBook and in paperback, and of course you can get these direct from Dreamspinner Press, as well as the usual online shops.

Louise Lyons on DSP

Beautiful Thunder coverLouise Lyons logo

What If? with Amberly Smith

August 28, 2015

Text here

Anyone up for a game of what-if? That’s how my story Marriage Most Convenient all started, what-ifs and friendship. I’m Amberly Smith and I’m really psyched to chat you all up.

My best girlfriend and I have known each other for over twenty years, since high school. Our kids are of an age, our spouses are proud geeks, and we’ve got the good dirt on each other. A while ago she showed me a listing for a military silo and the what-ifs began. We probably drank oolong tea and ate homemade ginger cookies, though I can’t recall for sure. It might have been a Saint Mark for me and a Long Island for her. The silo’s previous owners had converted the bunker-grade home into a beautiful retreat and had several acres to sell separately. What if you wanted to buy this place? What if you could only fly in and out because there were no roads? Where would you get the money? Who would you have to kill, sleep with, or marry to have that kind of dough? I like my creature comforts, I don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere, so what kind of person does?

The thing about what-if, it’s a game that can haunt you. Play with caution, fellow readers, play with caution. I wrote Marriage Most Convenient as a way of answering those questions. And because marriage of convenience stories, who doesn’t love those? From back cover blurb:

No bank is going to give a nomadic thrill seeker a loan. Even if Tom Flynn wants to develop and run a retreat for disabled kids. Good thing he is finally old enough to pull from his trust fund. However, it would mean settling down—because accessing the money requires him to be married—so he asks his best friend, Luke, to marry him.

So this is where the friendship steps back in. I love stories with banter, with characters who know each other well enough to see the flaws. Yes, there is still the excitement of new love, a deeper connection but with friendship? That complicates things, makes things more vibrant.

Luke Marten’s goal is simple: don’t go on one more crazy adventure with Tom. Knowing how successful he has been in the past, Luke has a backup plan: don’t fall in love. He’s a goner when Tom not only proposes but confesses to one seriously hot kink.

For their friendship to survive this marriage, they’ll need to face DOMA, conservative judges, and long held beliefs about each other. Talk about getting caught by the short hairs.

 

The story I’m working on now is different, futuristic sci-fi, but it also started with a question. What if the government figured out how to make super soldiers but no one man can hold all the abilities?

***

Now for a rousing game of what-if, your turn edition. What if you desperately need a vacation? How far would you go to get what you want? And, because all great adventures should involve friendship, who do you take with you?

***

You can also chat me up on Facebook, my website, Twitter or Goodreads.

 

Check out Marriage Most Convenient today!

MarriageMostConvenientFS

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – Excerpt 3

August 26, 2015

I can’t help it, there’s nothing like a guy in a tux. I just had to get James and Gabe into formal clothes at least once. Then of course I had to get those clothes off.

########

The doors slid open. A Town Car was waiting at the curb. They didn’t talk as they made the short trip to Gabe’s building. They just held hands and watched the lights go past outside.

They didn’t even talk as the elevator took them swiftly and smoothly up to Gabe’s place. The lights automatically came on as they stepped out of the elevator, neither too fast nor too bright; a soft fade-up to a warm glow.

Gabe stepped close and pulled on James’s bow tie until it came loose and slipped from around his neck. He let it drop through his fingers; it fell to the floor without even a whisper. He put the tips of his fingers to James’s cheek next. James leaned into them, noticing the way two were rough and two were smooth. Gabe must have been chewing on them again.

He reached up and pulled on Gabe’s tie. It slid from its knot more easily than his had. The silk was cool on the ends and warm where it had gone around Gabe’s neck. He let it drop from his fingers as well.

Gabe took a few steps back, and James followed as if being led in a dance. And he followed where Gabe led. It was so easy and felt so right. He usually avoided the easy path. Easy was usually wrong.

Gabe changed directions, moving quickly behind James and slipping his coat from his body. James shivered at the sudden change in temperature, from being wrapped in the sultry jacket to having only the fine linen shirt between his body and the air.

The chill left as quickly as it had arrived. Gabe stepped in close, pressing himself to James’s back, putting out a powerful heat. He leaned back, still feeling like he was in a dance that had no music with a rhythm that was in constant flux. But still Gabe was leading perfectly.

Gabe stripped off his own jacket without ever taking his chest from James’s body. He let the jacket drop to the floor, not even bothering to toss it toward the hooks as he had with James’s.

He pressed his lips to James’s neck, right above his collar. James felt his toes curl and his body tingle. Gabe’s fingers were back, skimming along his cheek, and his thumb brushed across James’s lips. He flicked out his tongue to tickle it.

Gabe exhaled long and slow, his warm breath slipping under James’s collar. His fingers left James’s face and went instead to his throat, popping open the high collar buttons. James let out a long breath, unaware of just how constricted he had felt until that moment.

Gabe slid around him until they were once again face-to-face. He thought they might kiss, but instead Gabe just looked at him, eyes dark in the dim light. He felt his breath hitch and that tightening in his chest return. It was so much like the way Gabe had looked at him their first night. All those months ago now, standing so close that James had been able to smell the hint of peppers on his skin.

Now Gabe smelled faintly of fancy cologne that had nearly worn away.

He took Gabe’s hand and laced their fingers together as if they would dance. Gabe took his other hand, lifted it, and kissed his palm. James closed his eyes and nearly fell forward. Gabe kissed the heel of his palm next and then placed a kiss on the inside of his wrist. James whimpered softly. Somehow those three small kisses had his head spinning with greater pleasure than kisses in far more intimate areas.

Gabe stepped backward, leading them with just the knowledge of the dimensions of his own home.

He didn’t lead them to the bedroom, but rather to the large couch of cool leather draped with blankets of the same spun and woven silk as the one on Gabe’s bed. He sat on them and drew James onto his lap, giving James the height advantage for once.

James took it, tilting Gabe’s head back and into a slow, lazy kiss, their tongues just flitting around each other’s, chasing the flavor of champagne. Gabe’s arms went around his body, pulling him close. James’s fingers went into Gabe’s hair, tangling themselves in the dark curls, destroying the last of the control imposed by handfuls of hair gel that smelled slightly of mint and clashed with the cologne.

Gabe sighed into the kiss and held James tight.

He and Gabe kissed. He didn’t think about time; he didn’t think about anything beyond the feel of Gabe’s arms around him and the taste of Gabe on his lips, the sound of their tiny moans and sighs in his ears.

At some point Gabe pulled away from the kiss and took a deep breath. He leaned in, laying his head against James’s chest. James became aware of his own heart pounding strong and steady. Gabe looked up at him, a small soft smile on his lips. James kissed those lips, then stood. Gabe followed.

This time James took Gabe’s hand and led the dance toward the bedroom. There was no rush. He was content to keep kissing if that was all the night had in store, but he wanted to be lying down in Gabe’s arms while it happened.

######

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner Press. BowerbirdsSmall

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – Plot or Die!

August 26, 2015

My evil enabler Cooper West and I spend a fair amount of time bouncing plot ideas and bits and pieces of WiPs at each other. She’s the one who talked me out of deleting Empty Nests. In the time we’ve been doing this it has become very clear that we have vastly different approaches in how we attack a project. She has her characters and a base idea then sits down to write. That is something I cannot do.

I’m a plotter. I’ve tried to just sit down and write a story. This is how I’ve ended up with a dozen barely started projects in my WiP folder. If I don’t have at least a beginning, middle, and end my project is dead before my fingers ever hit the keys. I blame years of theater and film training on this.

In my undergrad days I had a wonderful mad Russian for a professor, who despite being devout to Anton Chekhov who wrote four act plays, believed that plays should have three act and that the five acts Shakespeare is usually cut into is just completely mad. Of course this is the man who also said “Shakespeare wrote it wrong” when discussing Hamlet. In grad school my film writing professor was a BIG proponent of the three act structure as well as outlining. She believed that a step outline, giving brief notes on every single scene was necessary before getting anywhere near the actual meat of the writing. All this seems to have sunk in.

Bowerbirds ScrivI don’t think my books necessarily have that nice three act structure by the final draft but they certainly start like that. It’s one of the reasons I love Scrivener writing software. I can take that bullet list, make each bullet an individual file, then write whichever bit has my attention that day without losing track. I learn things about the characters as I go and what looks like a little jump on a bullet list can easily turn into a 5,000 word chapter. For Bowerbirds the original bullet list for chapters 3 and 4 went Date Night, Phone Breakup, Dinner. It took me a little over 13,000 words to get through those three points and made up the first half of act 2.

I do wish I could just sit down and write and have the story flow organically from me, or something like that. I tried it with my YA project last year. 12,000 words in it crashed and burned. I know where I wanted to start from and I know how I wanted it to end but that entire middle bit just didn’t happen. I have an M/F/M story I started when I was nineteen. I have a ton of backstory for each of the characters, a poetic beginning and nothing past about 2,000 words.

So if you hear me say ‘I don’t have any ideas for story XXXXX’ what I’m probably saying is ‘I have a bunch of random disjointed scenes in my head that involve the same characters but I have no clue how they intersect and until I do I’m not going to get anyone’s hopes up’.

By the way. I don’t have any ideas for Nested Hearts: Book Three, but I think Book Two wraps things up in a nice way.

######

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner Press