Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lost In Abbreviation, ISO Translation

from wishedauan at Free Disgital Photos
I don't text.  I barely Tweet (therefore, feel safe to Follow me, I will not fill your entire Tweetstream with what I had for breakfast.  Unless it was really tasty.)

So, I have been ISO (In Search Of) and scribbling notes on various textspeak abbreviations as each kindly young person who never dreamed that once upon a time, phones used to have cords, not keyboards, clues me in on them.

Recently, I even found a handy-dandy little book to explain some of them, but I swear some of the crap in there they must just make up.  I do not believe that most people think that PIMP stands for Peeing In My Pants, even if the letters work out.

However, in the spirit of passing it forward:

The Generics - Oldies But Goodies

MIL, FIL, SIL, BIL = Mother-In-law, Father-In-Law... You get the drill.

DH, DW, DS, DD = Dear (or Designated) Husband, Wife, Son, Daughter.

EX = The person who used to make your life miserable ( or still does).

FU = A rude sentiment that goes well with EX.

STBX = Soon To Be Ex.  See FU, above.

EOW = Every Other Weekend, often a child custody arrangement with EX.

Pop =  Not actually short for fathers, sodas or movie refreshments, but the word Popular, as in Pop Culture.

Peeps = People.  Used by peeps like me in an attempt to appear marginally less Jurassic.

Tweeps = People with whom you exchange Tweets.

LOL = Laughing Out Loud or Lots of Love.  Old, lame, and still widely used.

RL = Real Life, something constant texters need to check in on from time to time.

AFC = Away From Computer. 

BRB = Be Right Back.

BM = Bite Me.  (BM had a very different meaning, once upon a time.)

BTDT = Been There, Done That (with or without the T-shirt.)

BTW = By The Way.

KWIM? = Know What I Mean?  (If we did, would we have asked?)

CRAP = Cheap Redundant Assorted Products.  Or, that stuff you step in, with foot or mouth.

CYA = See ya (because that saves so many characters).

MYOB = Mind Your Own Business - always a good idea, so hard to do sometimes.

NG = No Good  (see Ex and STBX, above.)

DWS = Driving While Stupid. (Everyone has met this dude, or woman, on the road.)

FWB = Friends With Benefits.  Which everybody understands, even those who didn't see the movie.  Or, like I said at first, everybody.

FYI = For Your Information, which generally is the beginning of somebody saying something snotty and condescending.

GAL = Get A Life.  Clearly, some people should, but they're not the kind who would understand the message.

GF = Girlfriend or Go Figure.  For guys, pretty much the same thing.

GMAB = Give Me A Break.

IDK = I Don't Know, which more people should say, but don't.

HAND - Have A Nice Day.  I would never get this, I would swear the texter was sending some kind of obscene gesture.

IM or PM = Instant Messaging/Private Message.

KIR = Keep It Real.  Mostly used by peeps who are much too lame to make it work.

JK or J/K = Just kidding.

PD = Personality Disorder.  OCPD, NPD, BPD, and others conditions which are diagnosable mental disorders, not simply somebody being a jackhole.

PO = Pissed Off.  Probably at STBX (who might, in fact, have a PD.)

ROFL = Rolling On Floor Laughing, which JIC (Just In Case) you were wondering, is not really done.

RSVP = Respondez S'il Vous Plait.  French for asking guests to politely respond to an invitation so the poor frazzled hosts know how much food to buy.  Except that peeps who are too self-important and rude always think it's okay if they don't give a yes or no, until the very last minute, if then.  Until they give their own parties and then get really POed at peeps who don't RSVP.

RU = Are You, usually followed by something else, which may or may not make sense.

SHB = Should Have Been.

SOP = Standard Operating Procedure, the way things SHB done, but rarely were.

SNAFU = Situation Normal, All F--ked Up. (We've all been there, haven't we?)

SSDD = Same Sh-t, Different Day.

STFU = Shut The F--k Up.  If certain peeps had only learned to do this, they might not be STBX.

TAFN = That's All For Now.  I always visualize Porky Pig stammering from the WB logo when I see this.

TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.  Popularized by my hero, Robert A. Heinlein, in the book, below, to explain how the things you get for "free," like food in a bar, always cost you more in the long run.

via Wikimedia
TBA = To Be Announced/Advised.  Not to be confused with TSA, the peeps who show you all that love at the airport.

TCOB = Takin' Care of Business, a great song by BTO (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) before it became a office supply commercial.

TGIF - Thank God/Goddess/Goodness It's Friday.  Especially after a week of TCOB.

TTYL = Talk To You Later, because you don't know if it'll be in five minutes or five days.

TMI = Too Much Information, like when your hard-of-hearing grampa gives you a blow by blow description of his hemorrhoid surgery.

VM = Voice Mail.  For those dinosaurs (like me) who don't text, you might need to leave them one.

WFM = Works For Me.

WTF = What The F--k!

WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get, mostly now applied to computer formatting, but once upon a time, was a punchline for genius comedian Flip Wilson, in his Geraldine Jones persona.

NSFW = Not Safe For Work.  Kills if you are buzzing along on your blog reading on your lunch break on your work computer and suddenly you come to a site that would be very hard to explain to your boss.  If you write smut, I adore you with every wet or dry cell of my body, but for goshsakes don't tweet a link to something without adding NSFW if it's too smexy.

Specific to Writing

MS = Manuscript; though these are rarely written by hand anymore, the name lingers.

ARC = I always thought it stood for character arcs, or Noah's, but it stands for Advance Reading Copy

MC = Main Character, or if you're a wedding organizer, the Master/Mistress of Ceremonies

SSP = Sooper Sekrit Projekt (thanks @maiseyyates)

SYN = Synopsis, not short for sin, although most writers find creating one a fairly evil experience.

WIP = Work In Progress.  Like hundred dollar bills, having several of these is a good thing.

TBR = To Be Read.  A list that for me, grows faster than I have even faint hopes of catching up.

from Maggie Smith at Free Digital Photos

OTN = On The Nose.  Dialogue that is too pat, and well, on the nose.  "Oh, Bartholomew, I want to bone you till your head explodes, and yet, I sense that you believe I'm lustful and crude."

POV = Point of View, something writers should keep straight but don't, always.

AYKB = As You Know, Bob.  Used by unskilled or lazy writers to insert backstory via ridiculous dialogue: "As you know, Bob, we've been friends since second grade."

SF = Science Fiction, or Surfer Friendly (talk about alternate worlds!)

YA = Young Adult

MG = Middle Grade, not that cute sporty roadster

MA = Mature Audiences.  As in, erotica or extreme violence, not as in the Centrum Silver crowd.  Not to say that Grandma doesn't enjoy her some smexy cowboy stories.

Got more abbreviations to share?
Please be a pal (not be confused with PAL, Parents Are Listening)
and share in the comments, below.

P.S.  TCOB myself, family stuff, so I may not post for a little while, following this, and may have a slight lag approving your comment.  Will be approving & writing new posts & visiting your blogs as soon as time allows.  ~Mwah!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blog Tour: Lauren Dane Once and Again - for the First Time

I am pleased to welcome national best-selling author Ms. Lauren Dane here on her blog tour for Once and Again.  I only met the Chase brothers recently, but I fell in love with them, and the friendly, but sometimes challenging town of Petal, Georgia.  Not sure I'm entirely happy they've each found their own wives, since that means they're no longer available for me, but Lauren writes such strong, smart heroines it's impossible not to cheer for them as well.

Please read on for what she shares about their beginnings, and the latest stories from Petal with a new heroine and sexy, charming man set to win her heart.  Add your comment at the bottom for a chance to win some great prizes that I know you'll love to read.


This Is How The Story Goes: Once and Again by Lauren Dane

Way back in 2005 I had an idea for a contemporary, small town romance with a school teacher and a big, bad sheriff. So I started writing it, only the sheriff was a jerk and wouldn’t behave and so my heroine tossed him to the curb. But in the background, the sheriff’s brother was sort of sweet on my heroine, but you know, he was the jerk’s brother so he kept it to himself.

Until the jerk messed up and the nicer brother, the one who’d be a far better match for the school teacher, decided to take a risk and woo her until he won her heart.
That book was the first one I sold to Samhain, Giving Chase. It was the first book I worked on with my wonderful editor, Angela James. It was the first non-erotic romance, to a brand new digital publisher.

It’s funny because everything just fell into place. I loved the publisher, the editor and most of all, the story and town. The Chase family one I found myself writing as if I knew them. They all made sense to me. As their town made sense to me.
Writing the Chase Brothers series wasn’t necessarily always easy, but I knew those brothers and their eventual heroines. I knew Polly and Edward. Once I let them go, the stories all fell into place the way they were supposed to.
And when it was over, I was sad, but more than anything I was proud of the books and the experience I had writing them.
But while each Chase brother has his wife now, I wasn’t done with Petal. I wasn’t done with Tate Murphy’s raucous and loving band of siblings. I’d kept in mind that I wanted to go back if I ever found a way to do it right.
And I thought about Nathan and Beth a while, because it seemed to me they’re the ones whose stories needed telling first.
I had a few fits and starts. A few ideas, but none of them worked. Until Lily came to me. She was a little of another heroine I’d originally thought of for him. But he needed Lily and once I thought about the kind of woman she had to be and her story came to me, I knew the story was the right one.

The Murphy kids love each other. They’re not only brothers and sisters, but mother and father too. Any heroine matched with Nathan had to share that love of family. Lily not only comes back to Petal to help her mother deal with her teenage brother, she’s one of Nathan’s little sister’s best friends.

Lily is strong and smart. She’s committed to what’s important and she doesn’t quit. She loved him once, never really loved anyone like that since. She’s wary of him, but charmed. She likes him. She knows him and doesn’t take any of his crap. Really, Nathan never stands a chance.

Nathan is a handsome, charming man who loves his family and his job. He loves women, even if he tells himself he’s got such terrible taste in them he had to stop even trying to commit to any of them

He needs to work for Lily. That’s how he knows it’s real. She’s worth the trouble. Worth the way he’s got to take a long hard look at his mistakes and make amends with some serious woo and groveling.
And Once and Again came to me (after a few title changes). By the time I finished the book I knew I’d be back. Knew I had to tell Beth’s story (and yes, hers is the next proposal I’ll be finishing  up) and that I had to get back to Petal for a few more happily ever afters!


I’ve got two different prizes to give away:

1) A digital ARC of ONCE AND AGAIN to one lucky winner chosen from the responses to this post.

2) And then from all the comments to all the guest blogs and Chase/Petal posts I’m doing for Once and Again at my own blog, I’ll choose THREE winners of a complete set of the CHASE BROTHERS books in digital or paper – winner’s choice.  International entries are absolutely welcomed.

You know you want one of these prizes, so enter your comment below for a chance to win.  (Don't forget to enter your own blog URL for CommentLuv.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Subtitle This Cover - Reading Romances Blog Hop

Rules: Create a post with your subtitle(s), as many as you want, for this book cover, and link to this post! Please link to Reading Romances, or, the people who tipped me off, Coffee Beans & Love Scenes

You have the full week (till next Thursday 8-25) to join.

Here's what I came up with for Subtitles:

A Passion for Glory: A Patient for the Chiropractor

A Passion for Glory: High School Pole-Vaulting Pays Off - Who Knew?

A Passion for Glory: We're Gonna Need A Bigger Horse


The last week has been both rough, and surprisingly fruitful for me.  My elderly (and not particularly nice) father passed away last Friday.  I did not fly to the (USA) East Coast for the memorial services, as I was waiting to hear if my son and his g-f needed my support as they dealt with the loss of their 19-week baby-to-be last Sunday, and whether I would be traveling in a different direction.  (I will be, just not immediately.)

Until a day or so ago, I really couldn't cope - couldn't read blogs & comment, couldn't write,  simply worked on putting one foot in front of the other and trying to remember to brush my teeth.  (Did I, this morning...?  Phew!)  I had a couple of blogs already "in the can" which went out on schedule.  Thank you all for who visited and commented. I think I got back to you, but if I didn't, please don't take it personally.

Life has a way of doing this to us, when we think we're on a straight road that we can see for miles ahead, suddenly there's a bend or two we never saw coming.  (The wisdom of L.M. Montgomery's Anne Shirley, one of my fav heroines.)

In the midst of my turmoil, my fabulous feedback group (you know who you are!) totally liked my denouément pages for my WIP.  And, that freed me to finish another chapter, so, 34 down, 2 to go.  Hopefully this weekend I'll get one more done.

To all my longtime followers, and my new ones, THANK YOU all, so much.  I treasure your comments and feedback, as they often expand my mind in a totally different direction than I was going with my post.  My goal is to provide content that makes us all laugh and think and grow, as writers and human beans, in the coming months. 

Beginning with the amazing (and USA Today best-selling) Lauren Dane, here on Monday with her blog tour for Once and Again.

Is there anything in particular you'd like to see here, in coming months?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Brain Dysfunction Gives Great Storyline

Writers love to bash people on the head.

Figuratively, that is.

It is one of the perks of the job, getting to beat up on and torture people without going to jail for it.

In MakeBelieveLand, somebody is always getting knocked unconscious.  Villains thump the beautiful woman on the head and kidnap her.  Good guys knock the baddie's guards unconscious.  Our spunky heroine finds a lead pipe, or a bottle, or a vase, and smashes it over the enemy's skull.

This almost always renders the smashee unconscious.  (Digression: I'm thinking, real life don't work that way.  In real life, not only would I be unable to locate a helpful object to bash over somebody's head, but even if I did find one, even if I was able to sneak up on my intended victim, I would never hit the exact right spot.)

In cartoons you can even drop a safe or an anvil on somebody, and it won't kill them, just raise a lump with little birdies and stars circling around it.

Whatever you drop on somebody's head, however you knock them out, in MakeBelieveLand they are only temporarily incapacitated.

The hero always comes to, and despite a major concussion, is usually able to chase the bad guy across rooftops and then win a sword or fistfight.  Almost never is he lying in a corner, helplessly spewing his guts, as would happen with a real concussion.  Permanent, long-term side effects?  Fuggetaboutit.

Except amnesia.  We writers (especially on soaps) do love giving our characters amnesia, don't we?

But what about real effects on the brain?

I just finished reading Daniel G. Amen's Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, and although there were many, many interesting things in there, one of the aspects I found most fascinating was the idea that brain damage, such as a cyst or a concussion, can lead to long-term problems.

Memory problems, sure.  Changes in personality.  Impulsivity control problems.  Concentration problems.

Like the inner workings of computers, brains don't do well when met with force or sudden stops from great distances.  Many, many people experience traumatic brain events, from car accidents to falls as children.  If it actually made the person unconscious or gave them a concussion, it may result in permanent brain damage.

Since I'm a Gemini (aka the Twins, naturally split personality), of course I felt deeply sorry for people who were turned into space cadets or flaming assholes, through no fault of their own.

I also felt sadistically gleeful, because what rich possibilities this opens for a writer!  I can take the hero and heroine of one tale, enjoying their HEA (Happily Ever After), bonk him on the head (if he didn't already earn a concussion doing Something Heroic in part one), and turn him into a jerk.

I can break them up, because he's become so obnoxious, and then, later on, when they discover that his behavior wasn't really his fault, I can bring them back together (her feeling horribly guilty, natch) and have them work together with his doctors to treat his condition.  (Because even when there is permanent damage to the brain, there are methods of treating it and learning to work around it, as stroke victims do.)

Or maybe she's the one with the condition.  Maybe she's now a shopaholic because was dropped as a baby.  (Yeah, I'm stretching a bit.)  Point is, there are countless ways we can use the very real science of what we are now learning about brain injury and dysfunction, to create dynamic storylines and complications for our characters, without having to drag in the aliens or other unlikely outside forces.

And we can do it accurately and respectfully, both telling a good story, and educating people at the same time.  A win-win!

I'm thinking this is a vast, untapped area to explore.  How about you?
Have you ever used brain injury or a mental disorder as part of a storyline?
Did you treat it respectfully (get your facts straight) or did you just make crap up?

P.S. Coming on Monday, nationally best-selling romantic author Lauren Dane stops by on her blog tour for Once and Again.

P.S.S. - Shall we dance?  I'm participating in the SheWriter Blogger Ball (#6) with dozens of really clever writers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Is Being "Other" A Wall that Separates, or
A Bridge to Connect?

Was pondering this idea the other day.  (I love to ponder, almost as much as I love to eat chocolate.)

For a lot of writers, our need to express ourselves through the written word may have come about through a sense of "otherness."

Maybe we were the only Asian kid in what seemed like a sea of blue-eyed blondes.  (Or vice versa)  Maybe our parents were divorced and we thought we were the only ones without parents living together.  Maybe we'd experienced death in the family - of a parent, or a sibling.  Maybe we were LGBT, and didn't know what to do with those "weird" feelings.

We weren't (usually) captain of the football team or president of the student council.  We might have had few friends, one, or even none.  Often we could be found with our noses buried in a book.

We could get very absorbed in our otherness, in how different we are from others.  How life has treated us unfairly.

Or we can use our otherness and pain to connect with others. To consider it a gift.

I was (and am) definitely "other" in many ways, and while that's been painful at times, I know that's what led me to write. 

People who feel estranged may take a different path - they may become teachers, painters, therapists.  They may dive deep down the neck of a liquor bottle, or try to smoke the pain away.  (Or become an artist who also abuses substances.)

I find that for myself, I turn off to those who glorify their "otherness" as a badge of honor, or martyrdom: the "I'm such a Genius (or, I'm Such A Victim) No One Can Possibly Understand Me" attitude.

Understanding is a two-way street.  If you have decided in advance that no one will ever understand you, then no one ever will.  But if you reach out, creatively express your "otherness" and at the same time, be open and interested in the feelings and expressions of those outside yourself, there is that chance that someone can understand you after all.

If I don't write to be understood, to touch others and make them think and feel, to share a moment, then what I'm doing is literary masturbation.

Have you been (or are you now) "other" in some way?
Do you use it as a gift, or consider it a curse?
Other thoughts?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nothing to See Here But Pictures of a Really Fat Cat

I almost said "really fat pussy" in the title.  Which would have boosted my traffic tremendously.  Prolly not the kind of traffic I want, though.  I've never had a big thing for hairy-handed, overweight guys living in their mamas' basements.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I am currently pouring all my brilliance into my WIP - 33 chapters down, 3 to go, woo-hoo! Gonna let the blog and all other distractions take a back seat until this baby is done.

Except the smutty story for Sommer Marsden's newbie erotica authors anthology, deadline August 31.   Which only needs a complete rewrite little polish.

So I've pushed back my Wednesday post to this, Thursday, and ain't gonna do a Friday post this week, so I can focus on the good stuff.

At least, that's the plan.  Sometimes things don't go according to plan. Like the size of my ass - and the size of my cat's ass.

My cat started out as a normal size kitten.
Simile on the left, Metaphor on the right with her little pink nose.
Kittens are SO painfully cute, and then... they grow up.

Growing, like, into the next zip code.
Metaphor, now nicknamed Stinky, just kept growing.

Until now, in the seated position, she looks like a medicine ball with a head.  
I love her, and she's got a charming personality, but it's the truth.
Even with Simile sadly gone to the bridge, and a carefully measured,
veterinary prescribed diet, Metaphor did not lose weight.

I thought exercise, like a cat tree to climb up on, would help.  Not working.
Her and me both, though admittedly, I should put more effort into exercise.

Then I realized, seeing this video of a cat who bears a striking family resemblance to Stinky aka Metaphor, that even water sports, or getting her another furry companion, or both, might not help.

Sometimes it is what it is.

That said, it's summer in SoCal, since I'm paying for a pool as part of my rent, I'm going all non-Californian and actually using it.  (If you're from California, then you know - everyone has a pool, nobody ever goes into the water.  More on that later in a flash fiction story on Karen Wojcik Berner's Bibliophilic Blather blog.  Yes, another distraction.)  Whether swimming helps shrink the size of my ass or not, I'm doing it for me.

Since they didn't get the memo about adding extra time to the clock, more time spent swimming means less time on the Interwebs.  And that's okay, because from the chatter I'm hearing, lots of other bloggers and readers are taking a break as well.

What are you doing for you, this summer (or, winter for those in the Southern Hemi)?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Best-Selling Author Maisey Yates Interview
Prolific is Her Middle Name

This is the UK cover for
Marriage Made on Paper
Actually, I don't know what her middle name is, and I forgot to ask.  But I did find out that her first name is pronounced "Macy" like the department store, not like "Driving Miss Daisy."  And although she's a USA Today best-selling author, she was still sweet enough to stop by Writing in Flow to answer these ten not-so-deadly questions.

1) Do I understand correctly, you got a contract first, then an agent? ‘Splain, please.

Sure! With category romance, which is what I write, you don't really need an agent. Contracts are pretty simple and set and any negotiation is fairly simple. I do have an agent now, but she doesn't handle my category. She's representing me for different projects.

2) You’re such a Twitter fiend, (@maiseyyates) how do you find time to write?  Blog?  What’s your writing schedule like?  Are there days you don’t write or Tweet at all?

I do like twitter! But for me, twitter is social. I enjoy it and don't see it as a drain on my time. Ditto for blogging. I blog when I feel like it, which is usually a couple of times a week. It doesn't take me very much time to maintain either. I don't have a very great schedule. I write on weekends, Mondays and Tuesdays during the day, and on other days I take care of business at night, after the hubby is done with work.

3) I refuse to admit how many years ago I read my first Harlequin, but on picking up your latest,  I was (pleasantly) surprised by how sexy and filled with erotic tension these stories are.  You write for Harlequin Presents, Mills & Boon, and???  Is there still a line or two that is not so explicit, or would all the Harlequin lines give my grandmother palpitations? 

Harlequin and Mills and Boon are one in the same, and they're the only publisher I'm with at the moment. And yes, the Romance line is still 'Sweet.'  (Note: Harlequin puts out different lines of books for different markets, of which the sexual content ranges from sweet to scorcher.  Mills & Boon is their UK imprint.  Maisey's line, "Presents," is in their Classic Romance genre, and includes rather steamy and explicit, if still romantic, passages.)

4) When do you get your reading in?  What do you read - how much do you allow yourself to read for pure fun, and how much is Official Research?

I read books I love. Period. And a lot of times that's research, because I write what I love too! I read whenever I can, but this is Big Bad TV season for me. (So You Think You Can Dance! Project Runway!) So that means a bit less than I should. I mainly read category romance and single title Historicals.

5)   You write many books in a short period of time, but the ones I’ve read have been all high quality.  How?  Is there any particular area (outlining, first chapters, the middle - aka the muddle, editing, etc.) you struggle with? 

First of all...thank you re: the quality. I write at a rate that is comfortable for me. I take the revisions my editor gives me, and if that means rewriting the whole book to bring it up where it should be, I'm willing to do that. As for process/outlining and a specific speed, that's heavily dependent on each book. Generally though, I know the character and the goal, motivation and conflict. I don't plot specific scenes.

6) USA Today Bestselling Author.  How did that feel, the first time?  Do you feel any pressure that your next book(s) must reach the same status or better?

I think pressure is the right word. I think pressure was my reaction the first time. I was happy, of course, but my next thought was, what if I never do it again? What if I peaked with my second book? And then I told myself to chill out!! As a writer there are things I can control, and things I can't. The biggest thing in my power is to write the best book I can each and every time. I can't force people to buy it, but I can put something out there I'm proud of, and that hopefully people will enjoy, so that they'll want to buy the books that come after it.

The cover that stirred some buzz.
The US cover will be different -
simply because they do different
covers for different markets.
See varying covers for
Marriage Made on Paper
on this post.
7) I followed a little brouhaha on Twitter about one of your UK book covers, and I’ve heard some say that it’s unfair for white writers to profit from the exotification/fetishism of interracial romance.  That for centuries white people physically exploited the bodies of non-white people for profit, and now it’s being done again in a figurative sense.  There’s a valid point there.

That said, I’ve dated outside “my own kind” (whatever that means in this day and age) and also believe it’s neither in poor taste nor exploitative to write about interracial romance, depending on how it’s done.  IMO, no subject should be considered morally off-limits to a writer based on his/her skin color, gender, or sexual orientation.  Your take?

This is an interesting one! For me in particular, yes, I am white, but my husband is black. But I don't think that gives me special license to write IR and excludes others. I think there's a difference between writing interracial romance and fetishizing it. If you handle the relationship and characters with respect, make them people and not caricatures, then I don't see why someone would be excluded from writing it.

With my book specifically, the hero is black and the heroine is white, but that isn't their conflict. So it is interracial and yet that's never a factor in the story. He's a man, she's a woman, they fall in love. And that anyone would think skin color should stop that from happening is beyond me! (I could go on, but I won't!)

8) Is there any genre beyond category romance, that you’d really love to write?  Sci-fi, mystery, urban fantasy...? 

No matter what I write, it would be a romance at the center. I know that for a fact. I am a romantic, it's what interests me, it's what captures my imagination.

This is the US cover for
Marriage Made on Paper
9) You actually have a countdown timer on your blog for your (many) upcoming releases.  The next one coming out, if I’m reading the thing correctly, is MARRIAGE MADE ON PAPER.  What is the reader going to love about this story, and its main characters?

I had so much fun writing MARRIAGE MADE ON PAPER! The heroine, Lily is so strong and driven and she's not afraid to snark the hero, Gage. I loved the dynamic between them. He's her boss, but as she's his public relations consultant, he's essentially hired her to tell him what to do. This means he has to respect her decisions and her business savvy one hundred percent, and I loved writing that relationship. Also, Lily has a collection of wonderful shoes!

10) What question have you not yet been asked by anybody that you are just dying to answer - and what’s your answer?

That's a tough one! Okay...Maisey, what's your favorite theme and why? Oh, I love marriages of convenience! The Princess by Lori Wick was my gateway drug into mainstream romance and the idea of someone marrying a man they didn't know, for the sake of duty, captured my imagination completely. I think it's so romantic to write a couple who fall in love after the wedding!

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Bev!
Thank you, Maisey, for making the time in a tremendously crowded scheduled to stop by.

Maisey Yates started writing stories from the moment she first learned how to form words with a pen. But she never had any idea what to write, and most stories sat started, half formed and half finished, but never completed.

During her high school and college years, she spent a lot of time dreaming about holding a book in her hands that had her name emblazoned across the front, but she did a lot more dreaming than actual writing.

At her very first job she was fortunate enough to meet her very own tall, dark and handsome hero, who happened to be her boss, and she promptly married him and started a family. It wasn't until she was pregnant with her second child that she found her very first Harlequin Presents book in a local thrift store. She'd never read a Harlequin romance before, and by the time she'd reached the happily ever after she had fallen in love. She devoured as many as she could get her hands on after that, and she knew that these were the books she wanted to write!

Soon after that she saw that Harlequin was running a competition to win an editor for a year. She decided that was her sign to get in gear and start writing again. So she wrote her chapter and synopsis and hit send with trembling hands. She didn't get any feedback from the contest, but it was the boost she needed to get her first full manuscript finished and submitted to Harlequin Presents.  (Her story continues here)

Maisey has promised to stop back and become your new besties answer questions and comments.
Please leave her some, and join me in thanking her for sharing her time and wisdom.

P.S. Coming later this month, Lauren Dane stops by on her blog tour to talk about Once and Again, the latest in her Chase brothers series.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Romantic Friday Writers - Voices - Cristina from CLOSE KNIT

For the rest of the RFW poems & stories, by writers who always bring a smile to my face, go here.

Denise (aka L'Aussie) & Francine, thank you so very much for starting this group, doing all the work to keep it going, and giving us such challenging prompts.  This week, Challenge #13, is Voices! (and nothing else as a description.) 

I used this prompt to do some work which will not be in the novel, but I need to figure out in order to wrap up this character's storyline.  At the beginning of CLOSE KNIT, Cristina felt the romance and passion had faded in her marriage, that it had become a little too humdrum.  Her efforts to spice things up have succeeded - so well that she is feeling guilty and conflicted.  So, what would she do?  This character would pray about it.

Word Count: 396

Dios te salve, María. Llena eres de gracia,” Rosary in hand, Cristina then strayed from the usual prayer.  “Madre, I need your help.”

She smelled roses, and felt a gentle, loving Presence surround her.

“Are you really... here?  Or am I imagining you?”

:I am always with you, my precious daughter.  Tell me what troubles you.:

“Mother, it’s mi esposo, Jimmy.  Things have... changed between us.”

Photo by author
 :Change is part of life, my daughter.  Nothing stays the same, even a rose passes from bud to bloom, then to seed.: Again a whisper of rose scent, though as Cristina looked around, no flowers could be seen.

“Yes, and I wanted them to change,” she felt her face flush, thinking of the eager way Jimmy gazed at her now, even over the dinner table with the children.  Like he wanted to have her, then and there.  Reliving how the touch of his hand on hers set her whole body aflame.  They sent each other texts all day, steamy promises fulfilled in the darkness of night.  “But I am afraid, perhaps, that they have changed too much.  That what we are doing is sinful.  Displeasing to God.”

Cristina felt, more than heard, a ripple of laughter. :God made all the parts of your bodies, did He not?  Why would He give you desire for your husband, and him for you, if He did not wish you to enjoy one another?:

A stern male voice joined the conversation, :Yes, but they are not bringing forth more children, are they?:

An exasperated sigh, :Enough with the multiply and fill the earth business.  Haven’t you noticed, the earth is full?:

:Yes, but-:

:Don’t you ‘yes but’ me.  You know I’m right.  Now go away and create a canyon or a volcano or something.:

:Yes, Mother.:

:One thing first.  Tell Cristina you do not disapprove of her love for her husband.:

Cristina felt dazed.  Am I going loco, or am I truly hearing these voices?

:Cristina, my beloved child,:  the male voice, sounding mature again, yet filled with kindness, rather than severity. :I am well pleased with your love for your husband.  I created you to have such love.  It is no sin.:


:Yes.  Even that.:

Cristina felt another ripple of feminine laughter, a rush of wind like flames, and was left with a peaceful, lightened heart.

And the lingering fragrance of roses.

The Romantic Friday Writers weekly blogfest is open to all writers of romantic fiction.  Wanna join the party?  Click here for submission info.

Your thoughts? 

Please feel free to offer any and all criticism.  I'd like all my work to SELL, so if there's anything that took you out of the story, anything my male character said that you don't find believable coming from a guy, passive voice, present/past tense goofs, misplaced commas, repetitive vocabulary, or other flaws not listed here, please let me know. 


P.S.  Did you see we had a Fire Sale Blogfest? Take a peek at some amazingly interesting and creative stories and poems.

P.S.S.  Coming on Monday - Interview with USA Today Best-selling author Maisey Yates!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nick Cage & Making Sure Our Readers Are Not Gone In 60 Seconds

Nicholas Cage via Wikipedia
I'd so rather gaze at Nick Cage than parse HTML
I would rather eat ground glass than have to learn about HTML.  (Which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.  Not that you really wanted to know.)

So I had to find a way to tie it to something I do like to do, looking at cute guys.  In this case, Nicholas Cage. (I know, I know, he's financially challenged, married, and perhaps a bit unstable.  I'm just looking.)

However, if you blog, or if you have a website, there's one bit of HTML code you need to learn, now.

[ target="_blank"]

This cute little bit of code (which you can cut-and-paste) needs to go into your links.

You know how out of courtesy in our blog posts we'll link back to a guest's website, or maybe to a whole bunch of different sites, because our blog is chock-full of great research? And the minute a reader clicks on a link, they are gone in 60 seconds from our blog?

Gone in 60 Seconds
Maybe they find their way back, maybe they don't.

That adorable bit of code tells their browser to open a new window without leaving our page.

Nifty, huh?

In Blogger, say we want to insert a link, in case somebody wants to buy the DVD for Gone in 60 Seconds.  We would highlight Gone in 60 Seconds, click the Toolbar where it says Link, and in the pop-up window, paste in the URL (which happens to be

If you're like me, you probably don't even fully open your eyes, just gingerly copy and paste it in there like dropping dog poo in a plastic baggie into the trash bin.

On our Compose page, all we now see is Gone in 60 Seconds.  But if we toggle to the Edit HTML screen (take a deep breath, don't panic!), it looks like this:

<a href=";qid=1311703417&amp;sr=8-2">Gone in 60 Seconds</a>

This is the code that kicks the reader over to Amazon, leaving behind only smokin' asphalt and our bitter tears.

So, on the HTML page you can insert the target code to this, and to any and all links that don't already have it.

<a href=";qid=1311703417&amp;sr=8-2" target="_blank">Gone in 60 Seconds</a>

See?  it goes after the second set of quotation marks, includes a space, then closes with its own quotation mark before the >.  Now I usually write a post, and then tromp merrily through the HTML side, blithely pasting my target codes to every link I can find. (Which explains why sometimes I miss a few.  Sloppy but fast, that's me.)

I'm assuming the process is similar in WordPress and Tumblr, and I'm sure the HTML code works the same.  Leave us a comment and let us know.

Some readers are anal-retentive.  They will read an entire post first, and only then go back and click any links.  So, this won't significantly impact their experience.  Others, with a shorter attention span, will click the first link they come to, then, like the Energizer Bunny, keep going and going and going...  (Which I have done, myself, and tried to get back to the original, with the best of intentions, but gotten lost.)  If we include this code that makes their browser open a new page, they are more likely to stay on our page and finish reading our post.  (The technical term for keeping readers on our sites is called sticky power.)

Sticky power is, after all, our goal.  Much as we want to share wonderful other blogs and sources with our readers, we want them to be our readers, first and foremost.


It's the same principle I used in an earlier post in 'splaining how to leave a link in a comment.

<a href="">Writing in Flow</a> - This is my link.

<a href="http://www.yourawesomeblogURLhere">Your Awesome Blog Name</a> Just substitute your own "stuff."  Easy-peasy.


Okay, enough techie stuff.  Here's an awwww moment.  How can anyone not adore the big puppy dog eyes, the crooked teeth (which he apparently had fixed, later), and the abundant chest hair shaved into the suggestion of a heart?  (Unless, of course, you're in a straight guy.  Pardon me, gentlemen, it's probably not doing it for you.  The girl here is very cute, you can look at her instead.)

What HTML or other techie tricks would you like to share?
Will this be helpful to you?  Don't be shy.
If you like it, please +1 this post, Tweet it, Share it
and by all means, leave a comment.

P.S.  Coming on Monday - Interview with USA Today Best-selling author Maisey Yates!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fire Sale Blogfest! Hot Fun Stories Here
Sexy Firefighter Pics Simply a Bonus

2011 Bonita Springs Firefighters Calendar for Charity

So I invited some great writers to blog on the theme of Fire Sale Husband.

Could be goofy, could be hot (see photo on left for inspiration), could be real life... Just tie it back in some way, however twisted or convoluted, to the theme of Fire Sale Husband.

First up was Nina Powers from Writing My Novel... and Stuff  - A tasty tale about a bride who finds her Fire Sale groom while cruising the personals.  "All parts in working order."

And, there are chocolate croissants.  I want.

Brenda Moguez of GrrlGuide dives deep with You Said I Do, a poem about staying true in the long run, even if passion has faded and infidelity beckons.

Melissa DeCarlo's Bookish and Odd shares the wistful story of the HELLFIRE & SALVATION ELECTRIC HURDY-GURDY SCHOOL BAND, as their lights blink out, coming to be known as Fire Sale Husband.

Rhonda at OEBooks gives major props to her own Fire Sale Husband for helping put out her fires, whether that's car trouble or... read and find out.

Atoll Annie's Where There's Smoke, There's a Fire Sale offers a humorous romp through the rise and fall of a Fire Sale, celebrity psychic Wife.  (Close enough.)

I wrote my own tearjerker tale with Appearances Can Be Deceiving - which also deceived some readers as I wrote it in first person.  For the record, I am not pregnant, nor do I have a sexy firefighter husband (at least, not yet, though I live in hope.)  All fictional.

Wonderful, incredibly sexy men come in all shapes and sizes: young, old, or in-between, whether they're boasting a six pack or a half-kegger.  One of the most heroic and romantic men I ever knew (from a distance; he was married to a dear friend) was disabled by MS for too damn long before his death a few years ago.  Being hot is about much more than great abs and a big hose.

However - purely for entertainment value and in conjunction with this theme, the men on this page, above, and in the video, below, are very able bodied, and seem more likely to start a fire than to put one out.  Metaphorically speaking.

Please consider buying this, or another firefighter calendar and supporting an excellent cause.

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