Monday, May 30, 2011
Many writers have critique partners. We often try out many potential partners before finding the right fit. Sooner or later we find that person or people with complementary skill sets, who encourage us, but also let us know when we’ve gone in the wrong direction with a story. Still, at the end of the day the story we write is our own original creation.
My coming release from Carina Press, Amazon Heat, is actually a product of a partnership between Melinda Leigh and I. It started as a whim, a random brainstorming during the ride to our writing group’s monthly meeting. We had so much fun plotting out the story that we decided to put the idea to paper. Still, neither of us had ever written with a partner. We had no idea if we could successfully blend our styles and voices so that the final product would be a seamless conglomerate of the two. I’d always wondered how writing teams did it? Do the partners trade off scenes? Does one partner write from the hero’s point of the view the other the heroines? Every team has their own unique writing process. When people learn that I write as part of a team, I'm often asked how we do it. So, I thought I’d share a little bit of collaborative process.
We start by creating a detailed outline jotting down all of the scenes that we think will be needed. Once we have that we dive in, writing tag team so to speak, alternating scenes as we go. We’re both fairly laid back people. Neither one of us is married to the words on the page, which is a good thing. You’re never going to get anywhere if you’re so in love with every word you write that you won’t let anyone change it. If the story starts to diverge from the path that we’ve set up, we’ll discuss it. In the end we usually come up with something even stronger.
Once we make a bit of progress, we’ll go back and make some editorial passes even as we continue to progress forward. Stylistically, Melinda and I are very different writers. However, those differences complement each other. It's very cool to reread a scene I’ve written after she’s taken a pass at it. I’m a layer writer. My first drafts are very skeletal, so I enjoy seeing what meat she’s added. Conversely, when I go through I’ll focus on punching up the paranormal or romantic elements of the story. We’ll tweak until we both agree that it’s finished. Then out the door it goes.
It’s been a great experience having another writer as immersed in a story as I am. We’ve learned from each other and had a lot of fun in the process.
That's just a brief glimpse into our writing world. Now tell, me have you ever tried writing with a partner? If so what was your process? If not have you ever considered it?
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day!
Friday, May 27, 2011
When I sat down to write my first paranormal story, my sources of inspiration came from some very strange places. History and science, even some odd facts from those theology classes I took in college an eon ago popped back into my head. Yes, that’s right. My supernatural world has strong roots in the real one.
You see, I am a nerd. A total and complete geek with a capital “G.” I love to plunk down in front of the big screen TV with a huge bowl of popcorn to watch…
The Smithsonian Channel.
Or National Geographic or The History Channel. You get the idea. An entire hour on the Saxon invasion of Britain? I got goose bumps thinking about it. A special on the building of the pyramids? I’m setting my DVR to record as soon as I finish writing this post.
I know I’m weird because my teenagers inform me of this on a regular basis, right after they whine long enough that I gather my popcorn and retreat to my bedroom to find out how the Mayans built Chichen Itza. But those documentaries on NatGeo about the Amazon Rainforest come in darned handy when my writing partner and I are working on the Amazon Heat series. Did you know Amerindians used the toxic secretions of dart frogs to poison the tips of blow darts? I did, and you can look for that fun fact to appear in story number two. And I’ll admit it right here, my werewolves in my last WIP share some behaviors with Cesar’s pack. Obviously, I’ve watched too many episodes of The Dog Whisperer, but we all have our guilty pleasures.
Let’s not forget all the fabulous mythology that was an integral part of many ancient civilizations. A show on ancient Greece wouldn’t be complete without a good dose of Greek mythology. Paranormal stories aren’t anything new. Tales of monsters, gods, demons, and other supernatural beings date back to the very start of mankind.
I think the best fantasy uses elements of reality to make the paranormal world feel authentic and to pull the reader in. What do you think?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
So of course I bought a copy, and BookDepository delivered it last week.
But I haven't started reading it yet.
I'm somewhat scared that my expectations for the book may be too high, and I'll end up disappointed no matter how awesome the story is. (My BFF is calling me chicken over this right now lol)
Have you read Dragon Bound? What do you think?
Also have you ever been disappointed by a book that was hyped by everyone?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
As a part of my Month of May Giveaway! I'm offering up a 20$ Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) gift card to someone who leaves a comment with their e-mail address on any of the blogs I visit this month. Everyone who "likes" my facebook page will also be entered in the drawing. I will announce where I'm blogging on Twitter and Facebook. Contest ends at midnight May 31st CST. The winner will be announced on June 3rd.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Have you been to any of these places and can you name some (or all) of them?
Read First Chapter
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
1. Supernatural--Sam and Dean. Does anything else really need to be said?
2. Dark Angel--There was so much cool about this show. Set in a future depression, genetic experiments...Logan!
3. Farscape--Aliens! And John Crichton! And a cool romance arc that wasn't hurried or held back.
4. Torchwood--Ah, more aliens. I have a weakness. For eye candy too, obviously. Hello, Captain Jack!
5. X Files--Strange and sometimes creepy, with 2 cool FBI agents who play off each so well. Plus, Mulder isn't hard to look at. ;)
Ok, DA doesn't really fit the list unless I add Fringe, Eureka, and The Pretender, but I was trying to keep it short! My list would be 20 long if I kept going. What about y'all? Do you need background noise to work? What's your favorite unusual television show?
Friday, May 6, 2011
Yep she rocks and I just have to share that fact with the world. Knowing just how awesome my mom is isn’t new to me at all. Part of me strives to be her when I grow up. (Too late I suppose but I can dream, right?)
Just to give the most recent example of life with my mom… we are now chicken farmers. It all started out innocent enough with the usual trip to the feed store for cat, dog and bird food. And of course right there chirping away are the last of the spring chicks, all marked down to a ridiculous price. So I laughingly call mom and ask if she was serious about wanting some hens. She says no. I’m thinking that’s smart but just can’t help seeing how cute the little balls of fluff are. So I tell her the ridiculous price.
She says, “get them”. And so the adventure begins. And by adventure I mean, much research about chicken rearing, more than a little reminiscing over having chickens as kids, and some intensive labor converting an unused horse barn into a chicken home. Looks like the new chickens will be living at my house leaving the “fun” all for me. Mom lives next door but I’m guessing she won’t be gathering eggs, feeding or cleaning the coop. Even if life threw a new chore into the daily grind, a I won’t regret a second of it. Mom always thinks up ways to keep our lives interesting.
Way to go Mom!
In case you were wondering some of the other considered or in some cases immediately discarded blog ideas included
1. Benefits of Chocolate on the Female Psyche.
2. The Joy of Marrying a Sexologist.
3. Mother-F**king. (suggested by said sexologist in honor of mother’s day)
4. Why Fictional Romance is Better than Marrying a Sexologist… (kidding)
5. Chickens and Paranormal Romance
6. The Dangers of Hammers vs Benefits of a Sexy Handyman
I hope May 8th is a happy day for all those special moms out there.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
So. . . what do you think of when you think of Voice? Prose? Style of writing? That’s what I took for granted it was, until I went out to visit my friend and fellow M/M writer, Jessica Freely, and we had several good writing discussions including one about voice. See, I was worrying about how I kept using the same themes in my books, and Jessica told me about a presentation about voice at a convention she went to, which basically boiled down to: Voice is what’s important to you and what you have to say about it.
Until then…this is my voice, and I’m sticking to it. Now tell me about yours. What themes keep appearing in your stories? What's your voice?
Demon's Due, 8/06/11
Demon's Dawn 10/17/11
Sunday, May 1, 2011
A few writers and readers will quibble over the "together" part. Is it possible, for example, to kill off the hero in a noble sacrifice at the end of the book (especially if he's already knocked up the heroine a la COLD MOUNTAIN)? Some say yes, but most (including many of those hero-killing authors) will assert that this choice puts the book outside the boundaries of "romance."
We romance readers want to believe that after the party's over, the love continues unabated and problem-free. We read series and related novels not just because we want a new romance, but we want reassurance that all is still well among the titans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Heaven, Texas. We want to see babies and new homes and flourishing businesses and convivial gatherings that further reward our favorite heroes and heroines for the hardships they endured in their own books.
Duke William and Duchess Kate fed into our fantasies this week. Romance writers around the globe saved the PDF of their wedding program into our research files. We scribbled notes as we watched the parade of hats before dawn. These two living, breathing kids (I know, I know. But I'm a hella lot older than they, and I watched him grow up. No matter how much hair he loses, he'll always be a boy to me) have the weight of managing their own HEA both in real life and as fictional characters.
Yup. Wills and Kate are fictional characters. They're cultural constructs and national symbols. They're never to be constipated, never to be dishonorable, never to fail each other and, more importantly, never to fail us.
Otherwise, they'll find themselves facing the Wrath of the Romance Author. Since the 1990s, thousands of books have been written in which Camilla did NOT get her man. Diana has survived and morphed into someone stronger, wiser and able to catch a bullet in her teeth. The handsome prince has been shown to be a hollow shell, and new heroes have arisen with fangs and claws and powers that mere mortal royals simply can't compete with.
Poor Kate and William. We're rooting for you. Honestly we are. We want to see regal dignity, genuine warmth, eternal fidelity and all of the rewards we promise the characters we create.
But we write modern romances now. The obstacles of your parents' generation (and ours) can be overcome by technology, prayer, good sex, marriage counseling and drinking blood. You have no excuses for hurting each other from this day forward. If you do, writers around the globe will pull out our styluses and give you what you deserve.
And...being optimists, we'll pin our hopes yet again on the next generation.
Her husband gave Keri her first romance novel to read, which unleashed a passion. Several years and a couple thousand novels later, Keri took up her laptop and began writing her own books.
By day, she is a mild-mannered yoga and Oriental dance instructor. By night she creates mayhem and magic in small-town paranormal romance novels like her award-winning debut, Stone Kissed, coming soon from Carina Press.
To find Keri online, please follow @KeriStevens on twitter, fan Keri Stevens on facebook or visit her at www.keristevens.com.