Friday, July 29, 2011

Romantic Friday Writers - She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
The Stockbroker and the Steampunk Girl

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 and giving us such interesting prompts.  This week, Challenge #12, is She loves me... She loves me not... She loves me?  To be written from male POV.

The Stockbroker and the Steampunk Girl is a stand-alone short story. 

Word Count: 392

“Stop asking!  I don’t know.  I don’t know if I can love you,” Nicole nervously twisted one of the multiple piercings in her right ear.

“I’m trying so hard.  I took you to a fancy restaurant for your birthday.”  Ugh!  Bernie, no whining, he told himself.

Nicole rolled her eyes.  “Yes.  Sushi.  Which means you apparently never paid attention to the billion times I told you I would never, ever eat raw fish, unless I was stranded on a desert island and had already consumed my fellow castaways.”

He laughed, and clutched his chest,  “Ya got me!”  Maybe he could tease her into a better mood.  “They say it’s the thought that counts.”

Nicole snorted, “Apparently not a lot of thinking was involved.”

“What about that watch I gave you, steampunk girl?  I paid attention to everything you wear, I even tracked down your favorite artist.  You have to admit, that cuff is incredible.”

“True.”  Nicole’s expression softened.  “That was thoughtful and beautiful, Bernie.  Thank you.”  She smiled at it on her arm.  “I do love it.”

Available from Urban Hardwear

Not quite an I love you, but close.  His heart, which had been pounding with anxiety under the crisply starched shirt, slowed its frantic beat.  Was she... did she...?

She frowned again.  “Don’t you realize you almost spoiled it with that crack ‘Now maybe you won’t be so late all the time’?”

“That was a joke, honey.”

“Ye-es... the kind of joke that isn’t really a joke.  Behind it you’re serious.  And that hurt.”

Crap! She's right.  It did bug him when Nicole was late, and he joked about it partly as a way of nudging her to be more time-conscious.

Wasn’t it her spontaneity and utter disregard of anything but living in the moment that made him love her so much?   He needed her to love him. On the surface they couldn’t have been more different, yet when he held her close, all was right with the world.

He opened his arms to her.  “Forgive me?”

Nicole looked conflicted, then dove in like a cliff-diver entering the water.  “I shouldn’t, but somehow I can’t stay mad at you.  I do love you, Bernie,” she whispered.

He felt a melting warmth spreading from his heart, and kissed her, holding her like a precious jewel.  “I love you, baby.  I love you so very much.”

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 this 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.  Check back on Monday for links to the Fire Sale Blogfest writers. Or, join in yourself, as long as you can post your story by midnight TONIGHT, July 29, and send in your link.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Too Many Books? Oh Yes, it's Possible
Guest Post from MIL Still Between Us

Apropos of nothing, starting with a cute puppy from Pinterest just because.

Stealing borrowing from my friend Sid's site, My Mother-in-Law Is Still Sitting Between Us..

The Study.

Mr. M was very smart and gave most of his time to his Union causes, his church, and other important community interests.

To his son, not so much.

Greg's stuff was kept in that hallway closet because his own bedroom closets were full of his mother's hoard.

I don't know if Mr. M led the retreat or was forced to retreat into his study.

Never will.  What a legacy.

I've blogged before about how one of the selling points for me regarding an e-reader was the back-breaking chore of moving two dozen plus large and heavy plastic crates of books into my second floor apartment.

Did I mention how heavy they were?  How my back hurts now just thinking about it?

I don't ever want to repeat that experience.

I've since thinned the herd a little.  I have (only) 11 bookcases and am focusing on any new books being exclusively all e-books.

But when I see something like this, I feel only a tiny bit covetous.  Mostly horrified.  Then I need to look at pictures of puppies and kitties and bunnies so I can stop shuddering.

Do you hoard books, to the point they are truly a danger to those in your home?
Or, can you easily say goodbye to the ones you don't absolutely love?
What's your reaction to this video?

P.S.  Did you see I'm hosting a Blogfest?  Click here for details on how to join in.
As long as you post up till this Friday, I want you.    

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blogfest - Fire Sale Husband
Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Sexy Firefighters

I intended to write something hot and sexy and funny.  But as all writers know, what comes out is what comes out.  Here's my dark fictional story, Appearances Can Be Deceiving.  Grab a Kleenex (or not, your choice.)


The hubs and I sometimes blackly joke about how he’s my Fire Sale Husband, and I’m his Fire Sale Wife.  People assume it has something to do, in an obscure way, with his job as a firefighter.  We simply smile when people ask, and say, “Something like that.”

Or they think it’s related to his scorching hotness - and Mark is smokin' hot.  Not just my opinion.  He and the guys at his station do a charity calendar each year, and his picture is always one of the most popular ones among the wanna-be groupies.

I’ve never told anyone the truth, but I can trust you, can’t I?  The reality is that we’re both damaged goods.  We met in group therapy, because we’re baby-killers.

Technically, not.

I was driving home from work, through a nice, tree-lined neighborhood.  Woman was doing the typical multi-tasking crap - pushing a baby stroller, walking her dog, and yapping on the cellphone.  Suddenly her dog spotted another dog across the street and yanked her and the stroller right in front of my car.  I jammed on the brakes right away, but it was too late.  Even though I wasn’t going very fast, the car hit the stroller, the baby’s head hit the street...

I’m sorry for crying again.  Even though the other pedestrians testified it wasn’t my fault, even though I was fully exonerated by the police report, I can’t help replaying it in my mind, trying to find a way I could have made it end differently.

Her name was Kayleigh.

Mark and his stationmates were called to a fire at a condo.  Beautiful and well-kept - on the outside.  Grandma Hoarder, her daughter, and the grandbaby lived there.  The daughter was at work, and the baby was asleep upstairs in his crib.  The fire started in the kitchen; a stack of papers tumbled onto the stove or something.  A neighbor called 911, and Grandma managed to crawl  out, but the captain took one look inside and wouldn’t let his crew enter.  By the time Mark calmed down the grandmother enough to find out exactly where the baby’s room was and got a ladder up there, little Christopher had died of smoke inhalation.

Mark found him, carried him down the ladder and did CPR until the paramedics took over.  He still thinks if he’d gotten there ten minutes earlier, even five...

We make a handsome couple.  We own a nice house, and now we’re expecting our first child.  People envy us and our charmed life.  We’re so lucky, they say.  They don’t know that Mark and I take turns sobbing into each other’s arms when the nightmares come.

We’ll find out the gender in a few weeks.  If she’s a girl, we’re going to name her Kayleigh Christine.  If he’s a boy, Christopher Kay.

Your thoughts?
(Edited to add, this is fiction - though it could happen, IMO) 
And it's a blogfest - please click the link and join in, it's not too late!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7 Things Your Mama Always Told You About Blogging

Your Mama didn't teach you how to blog? Mine neither.  But perhaps her advice would have been along these lines...

1) If You Can't Find something Nice to Say...
I was reading a blog-building site the other day, and some of the commenters were whining  expressing intense frustration at how slowly their blogs were building.  Never, ever, publicly (and comments are public) use a negative tone about your own blog, even when commenting on another blog.  If you can only find negative things to say about your own blog, better to say nothing about it at all. 

Gerbil photo via Wikimedia Commons

2) Life is Like A Box of Chocolates, You Never Know What You're Gonna Get
Oh, wait, that wasn't our mama?  This is a very true saying, but we're pretty safe to assume, when we get a box of chocolates, that what we're going to get is... chocolate.

Some bloggers have grandiose ideas that they want to blog about anything and everything, and that's what it says in their header or intro.  Sorry, but I'm pretty sure I'm not qualified to write about everything - and neither are you.  Pick a theme, any theme.  If I'm buying a box of chocolates, I don't want to be surprised by a tennis ball, a sports cars, three caramel truffles and a pet gerbil.

This blog is about writing, and no matter how far I have to stretch, it will tie back in some way, to writing, in every post.  If your blog is about chocolate, and there's a gerbil in it, he better be eating chocolate, named Chocolate, or dipped in chocolate.

3) Stick To Your Own Kind
Once you decide what your theme/niche is, find other blogs in your niche.  Don't passively wait for readers to stumble on your blog.  You have to hunt your own Snipe, and that means going where the Snipe are.  Online magazines.  Facebook groups.  Twitter searches. Try going to Google, click on "more," then Blogs.  There's even a choice Find Blogs on your favorite topics.

Look for Yahoo chat groups.  Bulletin boards.  BlogHer and SheWritesPinterest.  "Your people" are out there, you just have to put in the effort to find them.

4) You Can't Go Out To Play Until Your Homework is Done
Read other blogs in your niche.  Read them voraciously and relentlessly.  Pay attention to what works.  Pay attention to what doesn't work, either in terms of growing followers, or doing things that annoy you.

Apply similar ideas/points to your blog, and then start leaving comments.  If you don't "give good comment," yet, work on that part of your writing skillset.  Read other comments.  Which ones make you want to go check out another blog?  Which ones make you want to run in the opposite direction?

5) If You Want To Have a Friend, Be A Friend

The point of commenting on a blog is to 1) Engage with the author of that site, to let her/him know you appreciated a point or points s/he touched upon, and 2) connect with other readers of that site, perhaps to lure them to your fabulous site, out of curiosity and interest.  If you leave intelligent, thoughtful and  interesting comments on other people's sites, they are much more likely to come check yours out.  If you whine or leave comments with a negative tone, they may come once to see the train wreck, but they probably won't want to hang out with you.

Photo courtesy Dreamstime

6) You Catch More Flies with Honey...
Links can be like a trail of honey leading back to your blog. Get a WordPress account, and an Intense Debate One, and a Disqus one, even if you're a Blogspotter like me.  (Don't give me that sass, just do it!)  Make sure they all show your name, include a link to your blog, and your happy, smiling face or an interesting gravatar

Yes, it's a nuisance, but once you do it, it's done.  It's part of building your brand, it's something you do need if you plan to be active in the blog community, and it really takes very little time.

Have you ever seen somebody's comment, and at the top you see their name, and at the bottom or somewhere in the post it has a link to their blog, and you wondered, "How'd they do that?" I certainly did, until YA writer Charmaine Clancy of Wagging Tales showed me how.  It's not so hard (especially if you write it on a cheat sheet.  Copy-and-Paste is my bestest friend ever. )

Here's the HTML code for this blog:
<a href="">Writing in Flow</a>  Substitute your blog URL for the, and your awesome blog title in between the > and the </a>.


If you want it to go to a particular post, the first part can get rather lengthy, but it's still not crazy scary:  <a href=">Why Do We Follow - Or Not Follow - A Blog?</a>  (The easiest way to get all that code is to open another tab to that blog post and copy it from the URL window.)

When you insert a link in with your comment, you're making it easy for a reader to jump right over to your blog.  (Are the beds made?  Is it clean and nice and ready for company?)  Often, I will see a great comment on a blog, click on the link to the person's name, and find they write or contribute to 95 different blogs, and none of the titles gives me a clue as to which blog would interest me.  Meh.  I could try visiting them, one by one, to see if there's one I want to Follow... or, I could do something else. 

Guess which decision I most often make?

Mind you, if you are blatantly just commenting to drive traffic to your blog, this can be off-putting, so use linking back with discretion.  Make sure your comment offers some kind of value, first and foremost, to the author of the blog on which you're commenting.  A trail of honey, not a bucket of it.  Honey buckets are not so inviting.

7) There Will Always Be People Who Don't Like You, and That's Their Loss
Don't take it personally if  people outside your niche don't choose to follow you. You might be the sweetest  human being and nicest Blogger in the whole wide world, but I don't want to trade basket-weaving patterns with you, or lasagna recipes.  Not.  My. Thing.

This is Metaphor, all 22 pounds of her. 
Yes, she's on a vet-supervised diet. 
No, it hasn't helped.
Nor are dogs.  Mind you, I love dogs, dogs are great (though I now have a cat who's bigger than many dogs.  And I do Follow Charmaine because she writes about dogs and shares great writing and blogging tips.)

This is why sticking to your own kind - picking a niche, and looking to grow your blog among those most interested in the subject - makes sense.  There are so very many blogs out there, and only so many hours in the day.  We all have to make some tough choices.  Later, you can look to expand outside your niche, because your writing is so amazing that it naturally draws in readers.

Finally, when it comes down to it, you've got to channel the wisdom of Ricky Nelson, and make sure your blog makes you feel happy and proud.

(Is it just me, or was RN a handsome, handsome man?  Just sayin'.)

What tips would your mama have given us about blogging?
Don't be shy, leave a comment, +1 this, Retweet it, or
Click a Reaction button.

P.S.  Did you see I'm hosting a Blogfest?  Click here for details on how to join in.   

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Writer on a Journey = Writer still at Home

I could have stayed in Oregon, where the livin' is easy, and the writers are friendly, but nooooo, I had to return for...


Seriously, talk about much ado about nothing. Although the fleet of helicopters recording the non-event were major-annoying, since I live quite near the 405.  Hey!  Some of us are trying to sleep over here!

Back to Oregon...  I blew $10 playing learning a little bit about Texas Hold-'Em poker.  Spent much cherished time with family.  Made sizable progress on crafting project while stuck in airport as flight was delayed umpteen hours.  Picked up new Twitter follower @AllegiantSucks after posting about ordeal.  (Must say, while wings may be falling off ancient airplanes, causing mechanical delays, it was delightful to fly in said planes where seats are not scaled for anorectic midgets.  Loved that leg room.  And butt room.)

And, I met fab new writer friends: USA Today best-selling author Maisey Yates (pronounced as in Macy, not as in Daisy, I found out), Lisa Hendrix, both of whom have written incredible books that I have read and loved, and Vonna Harper, whose book is in my Kindle queue, and several other fine writers, like Robynn Sheahan, Cynthia Rogan and Brooke Younker.  Because we all Tweet, and because Maisey and Lisa tweeted something about Oregon to which I responded and the next thing you know, I got to be an honorary Rogue Writer during my brief visit.  (Though I will be back!)

Pilgrim's Progress via Wikimedia
This is how writers roll.
The vision I can't get out of my head is, oddly enough, Pilgrim's Progress. (If you've never read it, and you write, you need to.  It's one of the earliest novels in the English language.)

When we writers journey physically, there is always someone at the new location who "has our back."  We usually need only to open our eyes and say hello.

When we journey mentally or on the interwebs, there are thousands.

Sure, there are a handful of peeps who might be jealous, or seek to trash us, but mostly, writers seek to help one another through this crazy journey that is writing.

In Pilgrim's Progress, Christian was a spiritual journeyman, seeking to reach the Celestial City.  There are many who seek to discourage or distract him, a Slough of Despond (every writer worth her/his cartridge ink has gotten mired in that once in a while), Difficulty Hill, and, of course, the Valley of Humiliation.

I have personally spent so much time in the Valley of Humiliation  - critique group edits, agent rejections, publisher rejections, etc. - that the VOH feels like Cheers, "where everybody knows your name."  I have my own barstool there.

After Christian's journey in Part 1, comes that of his wife, Christiana, and what is interesting is that while he faced most of his obstacles with few companions, for her, it is a communal effort.  As it is for most writers.  We might write alone, but we float ideas off others, we rarely edit alone, and when published, hopefully our readership consists of more than just us and our families.

In any event, writing is all about sharing the journey.  Whether you just started reading blogs today and barely allowed yourself to think, maybe, you could be a writer someday - or you're J.K. Rowling with a literary backlist of Goliaths surrounding you, we are all on the same path.

If you're thinking of PAUL Bunyan - FAIL.  Photo by  Ray Crucet.
PAUL Bunyan is the guy with the big blue ox, Babe. 
JOHN Bunyan is the author of Pilgrim's Progress

Some may be farther along the path than others, but all writers aspire to write well.  All writers share the goal of longing to communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions.

Isaac Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 books and over 9,000 letters, before dying of HIV (something I did not know until researching this piece).

What I did know, however, was that even Asimov understood (and experienced) multiple rejections of his work.  He also experienced the highs and joys of having a work accepted, and published.

Plus the simple thrill of getting the friggin' thing done, after however long working on it. (Whether it's months or years, it always feels like centuries, doesn't it?)

All writers, back to the first scribbler of a symbol on a clay pot filled with wheat or olive oil, share this weird and wonderful fellowship.  We write.  We use symbols to describe events, people and ideas that may or may not have ever existed.

Where ever we go, where ever we live, we are joined together, with those writers who came before us, those who will follow, and those who share the path at the same time.

Our path is awesome and scary and frustrating and joyous.  And I love it!

What are your experiences with other writers from other areas?
Please share, in the comments, below.

(And if you want to click that +1 button, or Retweet this, that would  be fine, too.)

P.S.  Did you see I'm hosting a Blogfest?  Click here for details on how to join in.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Want to Join a Fire Sale Blogfest?

Is this what you think of  when
you hear "Fire Sale Husband"?

One of my friends dropped this phrase, and I can't get it out my head. Fire Sale Husband.

I can't write the bloody thing, either. Maybe you can.  Anyway, I want to read it.

If you'd like to join in a blogfest here, write a post using that as your prompt. 1000 WOL please, 500 WOL is probably ideal - any genre, poems are good too, but somehow it's got to tie back to the theme of Fire Sale Husband.

It can even be non-fiction, if you've got a nice, juicy, true-life story.  Better yet, a nasty, juicy, true-life story.  [rubbing hands together and chortling]

(Disclaimer: No liability assumed by author of this site for relationship damage due to public airing of dirty family or relationship laundry.)

or, is this what goes through your head?

  1. Leave a comment, below, if you want to participate.
  2. Extended Deadline!!  Publish your story on your blog on or before midnight, Friday, July 29.  You don't have to post it on a specific day of the week, but you do have to post it.  It makes me cry sad tears, desperately crave brownies - or both - when I follow a link on a blogfest and the writer hasn't posted on the subject after all.  So, if you don't post, you don't get linked, babycakes.
  3. Send me your direct link to that post by Wednesday, July 27 to bevdiehl(at)gmail(dot)com.  (Why old school style, you ask, rather than some slick linky thingy like everyone else in the 21st century uses?  See #2, above, brownies and tears.)
I'll put up the links on Monday, August 1, so we can savor everyone's stories.

Prizes?  Uhhh... the warm response and appreciation of your peers.  Someday, I may do a contest with prizes, but someday isn't here yet.

And neither is your blog link.  What are you waiting for?  Get writing!

You want more inspiration?  Okay, how about this?

Are you on fire yet?

Feel free to +1 this, Share via FaceBook & Retweet it. 
Buttons to do so are right below this post, how handy!

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Monday, July 11, 2011

CRASH INTO... Roni Loren
10 Questions answered by Erotica Author Roni Loren

Up-and-coming erotica author and Blogger Extraordinaire (*Fiction Groupie*) Roni Loren was kind enough to stop by Writing in Flow for ten not-so-quick questions.

1) You got your agent - and book deal - through being a fabulous writer, obviously, but also through building an online presence and networking.  Let’s say someone is old school - they have a great novel which has been polished like a diamond, but they have ZERO online presence.  With your knowledge of the publishing world today, would you advise them to go ahead and start querying, then begin building their online presence while waiting for replies?  Or, in your opinion, would it be wiser to invest six months to a year in building an author platform, before querying?

I’d been working on my online presence for a little over a year and had built up a good following by the time I signed with my agent. BUT I didn’t start blogging or doing anything until I had completed my first novel and wanted to start querying it. (That novel is under my bed now.) So I didn’t wait to query while I built the presence. And if you’re writing fiction, platform is an asset but not a necessity upfront like it is with non-fiction. A fantastic book is the necessity. But I will say that Sara, my agent, says she’s pretty much getting to the point where a person not having a website is a deal breaker for her when she’s considering a client.

So what I would suggest is before you query, get SOMETHING out there whether it be a simple blog or a static author site. It doesn’t have to be fancy and you don’t have to have a whole bunch of followers. Just get something out there so that agents know you are computer savvy enough to do it and that you are aware online is part of the deal. You want to be able to send them somewhere online to find out more about you.

2) Your writing schedule - do you write every day?  Write steadily, then blog, then Twitter breaks, or check your e-mail first, or is it all dogpiled together?

My three year old goes to preschool for four hours each morning, so that is my golden time. I tend to check email and get my blog written within the first hour or so, then spend the rest of the time writing or editing, while taking Twitter breaks, of course. Unfortunately, it seems I always hit my stride right when it’s time to pick the kidlet up, lol. But I’m not complaining. The first three books I wrote (one of them being CRASH INTO YOU) were written while the kidlet was home 24/7, so basically writing erotic romance while listening to Barney and Super Why on PBS. Very sexy.

3) 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?

Reading is part of my writing process. I’ve found that when I put aside reading, my temperamental muse goes on strike. So I try to read at least a little bit 3-4 days a week. Usually this is done in the evening either while kidlet is bathing or while my husband is putting him to sleep. Plus, my husband travels a lot, so after kidlet goes to bed, I get some time as well. The bulk of my reading is in romance (mostly contemporary) and YA. Those are my two favorite genres—and yes I know they’re kind of on different ends of the spectrum, lol. But what can you do, I like what I like. Basically I’m a sucker for anything with a romantic thread and great sexual tension. And it’s all research AND pure fun. If it feels like work, then the book must not be good.

4) Although your blog is PG-13, you write dark erotic suspense material, and you’re open about using your own name and photo, not a pseudonym.  Tell us about the thought process that went into that decision, and how your (extended) family feels about it.

Well, first, my last name is actually a pseudonym. Roni is my real first name though and yes, that’s my picture. I chose to go with a different last name mainly because I have a son and I live in a conservative area, so I didn’t want there to be any stress on him. However, having said that, I’m not ashamed of what I write, so it’s not some big state secret in my family. I’ve facebooked about my book on my personal account where all my real life friends are. My family and the hubby’s family knows. I’ve asked a them not to read the book because I don’t want it to be awkward. Though my mom rolled her eyes and said—“Like I’m not going to read your book. I’m a grown-up. I know what sex is.” :-) I heart my mom. She would literally be proud of whatever I do as long as I wasn’t breaking any laws, lol. But really, I’m just kind of over worrying about what other people think. I’m a normal, happily married, dedicated wife and mom. Yes, I write about things that are dark and sexual. Yes, it doesn’t fit with the image people have of me—the shy, good girl who went to Catholic school and graduated with straight As from college and graduate school. (The PG-13 person I am on my blog.) But I’m still all those things. I also can write sex scenes that could set off smoke alarms. :-) I refuse to apologize for any of that.

5) After the big to-do over erotic romance author Judy Mays, do you have any qualms about the local PTA, Little League, church choir, etc., knowing what you do?

Yes, I do. I actually have an alternative teacher certification that would allow me to teach high school English. I know that once I’m published, that career path will be shut off from me because of close-minded people. It’s not fair. I have a Masters degree in social work. I graduated at the top of my class. I’ve worked with middle school kids who had concurrent mental and behavioral disorders. I’ll be a published author. But people will not see me as “safe” to teach their children. At least not in a place as conservative as Texas. It’s ridiculous to me, but it is what it is. All I can do is try to educate people who I know. The line between erotic romance and sexy romance is so fine that I bet most of the people who would be appalled at the idea of erotic romance probably already read the stuff that’s a hairsbreadth away from it. We are just way too knotted up about sexuality (female sexuality in particular) in this country, in my opinion. Would Judy Mays have gotten all that drama if she’d been a guy writing violent serial killer novels? Probably not. That guy probably would’ve been lauded as—wow, our English teacher is a published author! (And that’s about as political as you’ll ever hear me get online, lol. So I’ll stop before I get on too much of a rant, lol.)

6) You’ve blogged and written about how much you love your genre, but your first novel was YA.  Any plans to go back to YA, or perhaps try another “flavor” of romance, perhaps sci-fi or fantasy?

I love, love, love YA. I read almost as much of that as I read romance. So no, I haven’t ruled out writing YA again. Although, obviously, I’d pick another name. As for a different flavor of romance, I do have a contemporary romance under consideration with another publisher. It’s sexy vs. erotic and more light and fun vs. dark. Hopefully that one will be on the shelves one day too. J

7)   What was your biggest challenge in the two books you have coming out now?  Was there any hump (no pun intended) you had to get over?

CRASH INTO YOU flowed pretty easily for me because I kind of was writing it on a whim. I had never written erotic romance before and was just kind of “trying it out.” I had no idea that it would turn out to be the book that landed me the agent and book deal. So it was this nice no pressure situation. However, I just finished my first draft of the follow-up MELT INTO YOU and that one definitely was a tougher road. It was the first time I’d written on a deadline, the first time I’d written a continuing series, the first time I’d had not just one but two heroes. I hit a snag in the middle that literally had me blocked for like 6 weeks. I’m a pantser, so I have nothing really plotted out ahead of time and that hurts me when I get to a block. I can’t jump ahead. But I eventually pushed through it and finished the draft in a little over 6 months. Not ideal, but still ahead of deadline which is what counts, lol.

8) You have an agent, who you love.  How closely are you working with her on your upcoming books, and how closely are you working with your editor(s)?  How frequent is contact among all of you?

I email with Sara at least weekly about this that or the other thing. She’s so easy to work with so I feel comfortable reaching out to her whenever I have questions and such. For instance, if I’m trying to decide whether I should go down rabbit hole A or B with the plot, I’ll send her a quick email and she’ll weigh in. I don’t often do that since I’m kind of a cave drafter, meaning I don’t ask anyone’s opinion until I’m done with the first draft, but sometimes I just can’t decide and her professional opinion is invaluable. Communication with my editor is not as frequent yet because my book is still a ways out from pub date, but she’s fabulous as well. Her feedback and support has been awesome.

9) Without giving away too much, what three things are we going to love about the main characters in CRASH INTO YOU?

What I love about this story is that I was able to tell a dual timeline narrative, so every other chapter alternates from the present to ten years before. So I’m able to chronicle both the story of Brynn and Reid’s relationship when they first fell in love and then ten years later when they meet again. So you get to see both of them before and after life has intervened and see how they’ve grown and changed. Plus, despite the darker themes of my book, both my main characters have serious sarcastic streaks, so there’s also a lot of humor threaded into the story. And one thing I’ve heard from every single beta reader/blurb-er/agent/editor who’s read CRASH has been that they fall in love with Reid’s best friend, Jace, who plays a big role in CRASH but is the star of the second book. So I hope that trend continues because I’m in love with him too! :-)

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

Lol, now there’s a question. Hmm, let’s see…how about: What’s the theme song for CRASH INTO YOU? Answer: Surprise—it’s not Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band, though that’d be on the playlist. It’s actually “Outside” by Staind.

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. After earning a master’s degree in social work from LSU, she worked in a mental hospital, counseled birthmothers as an adoption coordinator, and did management recruiting in her PJs. But she always returned to writing.

Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts—yeah, that’s it.

Her debut novel, CRASH INTO YOU, will be published by Berkley Heat January 3, 2012!  (And, it's available now as a pre-order.)

Like this interview?  Love Roni
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WTF Stands for What The Favicon
Beating Up On A Butterfly

So, being the jealous bitch observant writer that I am, I couldn't help but noticing that not everyone's blog has a funky white B on an orange background.  Nor do the rest have an ornate W, or other logo.  They have pictures (Roni Loren,) or cartoons (The Oatmeal), or little custom logos (I know somebody does this, but I was too lazy to actually look them up and put a link here.  Bite me.)

And while I am working on being an evolved, peaceful person, content with the gifts the Universe has given me, when I see someone else do something on a blog or in a book that looks really amazing, I want that.  I want it now.

Being the barely capable of pressing the On Button technologically advanced person I am, I queried a fabulous friend who actually makes a living off this shit, using the appropriate jargon:
the little image or picture that appears in the web window to the left of the actual page name when a page is open - FaceBook's little white f on blue, Blogger's white B on orange - I know it has a name - but WHAT?
Turns out it's called a FavIcon, or favicon.  Favorite + icon.  Who knew? Besides Paula, but then, Paula knows and sees all.

Paula even twittered a link, except that the link she put up, while totally slick at creating a favicon, was not able to help me slip a pic with the file extension .ico into my Picasa picture album.  Not even stuffing her bra and asking  her to wear a slutty skirt  (Not that she was asking for it, even if she was dressed like a slut.  Ya'll know how I feel about that.)

See, Paula's a Mac girl, and I'm PC all the way, baby!   I've stuck to PC because that's what I use at my day job, and I am, frankly, not a techno-geek.  Lots of other kinds of geek, absolutely, but starting talking HTML and my brain gets out the butterfly net, and not to post the pretty things as favicons.

Still.  Now I had the name, surely I could query Blogger Help and get some answers.  I did.  Not in English, but I got answers.  There was one answerer rated at 3 stars or nerd points or however it works, and I tried his answer, but I might as well have been trying to swim to the moon. 

I also got one, good link  [cue the Hallulujah chorus here.] HubpagesThey spoke techno-retard. After only about 3 hours of blood, sweat and cursing, I was able to get my little butterfly.  (Although, sadly, now that I have it, I have to admit, it ain't real impressive as an favicon.)

Still.  I did it.  I figured it out all by myself.  (With Paula's help, and Blogger's help, and Hubpages help, and...)

I feel triumphant.  I feel powerful.  I am Blogger Woman!

If I have to, I can do anything. Even add a butterfly as a favicon.
(The audio is unbelievably crappy on this, but it's an authentic live version, not just a lip-synch performance, and I prefer the heart and soul that shines through here to the ones with cleaner sound.  Amazing lyrics, even 40 years later.)

Part of me resents having to do this technical BS at all.  I'm a writer, dammit!  I should just be able to focus on writing, not deal with all this... stuff.

Reality is, if we are not Stephen King (and out of all the possible Writing in Flow readers on the planet, There Can Be Only One,) we don't get to build our own baseball diamond and set our own rules.  When/if we become the mighty Casey at the plate, we can afford to pay someone to keep the PR machine rolling.  Until then, this is the way the game is played.

Suck it up; there's no crying in baseball.

FYI, if you are having problems, paste your code EXACTLY where these peeps tell you to, in the picture, below.   Because that actually works.  (As opposed to the creative ways I thought it should work.)

Even though I hated doing it, I am still proud I got it done. I beat up on a butterfly, I rule!

Have you struggled with technology and blogging?  
Do you have a "wisdom born of pain" story?  Please share.

P.S.  The Fabulous Roni Loren of Fiction Groupie (who does, in fact, use her own favicon, as noted above)  will be here to share her wisdom born of pain/experience this Monday, July 11.  Ya'll come back, you'll be glad you did.

P.S.S.  As one of my commenters has pointed out, about 3 days after I write this Blogger came with the feature to add your own Favicon, as part of the Design dashboard.  Which is how it usually works - after I have cried and sweated, suddenly it - whatever "it" is - is now available at the touch of a button.  Oh well.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

You want something clever, funny, and original? On a three day weekend?  Do you have any idea how late I was up drinking watermelontinis deeply pondering the wonderfulness of being an American last night?

Okay, here's something to make you smile.  At least, it made ME smile.

G'wan, go eat a cupcake that's going to color your tongue intensely red, white or blue, or go write something already!  I'm sleeping off a hangover writing.  Shoo, shoo!


Still here?  Okay, let me gross you out.  I would so do Thomas Jefferson.  Or Ben Franklin.  (In their prime, of course.) John Adams... not so much.  Maybe Patrick Henry; he certainly seemed like a passionate guy.

Who's your FFILF/FMILF's?  (Founding Fathers or Mothers you'd like to know up close and very, very personal? )

Speaking of fantasy... I was lucky enough to score an interview with the fabulous Fiction Groupie blog goddess (1400 Followers on Google alone!) and erotica author Roni Loren.  She'll be here on Writing in Flow this coming Monday, the 11th, answering questions about writing and blogging schedules, being "out" (or not) as an erotica author, working with an agent and editor, and more.  You truly don't want to miss it!

So leave a comment with your fantasy FF/FM so we can all get a giggle, and then go enjoy your Independence Day!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Romantic Friday Writers - Lies Lies Lies!

For the rest of the RFW stories, a really great collection this week, go here.

Denise (aka L'Aussie) & Francine, thank you so very much for starting this group and giving us such interesting prompts.

This is an excerpt from THE TROUBLE WITH YES.  Constance, who's about to be married to El (short for Elvis) in less than two weeks, has had her exes popping up more persistently than whack-a-moles.  The latest is Luis, who simply shows up on Connie's doorstep, after being kicked out of the house by his cheating girlfriend.

Word Count: 387

“Please, Constancia, just for a few days.  I have no money for a hotel, but my brother is sending me money that he has been keeping for me.  It will not arrive for another day or two, and I do not know if I can find a new apartemento right away.  And... I don’t wish to be alone right now.”

Luis was almost in tears.  The Luis I remembered was bossy, always in command of any situation.  He must really be hurting.

I knew I should ignore his pain.  This really wasn’t my problem.  Just Say No.

But I couldn’t.  Not with the man standing right in front of me, looking so destroyed.

It wasn’t like Luis was an alcoholic or drug addict.  He had very clean habits, as I recalled, he wouldn’t trash my place or make a lot of noise, disturb the neighbors.

Of course, El would go off like the finale to the 4th of July fireworks if he found out.  But there wasn’t any reason he had to.  I’d simply stay at his place after tonight.

“No matter what, you have to be gone by Tuesday, you understand?” I said as I pulled out sheets, blankets and pillows from the hall closet.

“I understand.  You will not regret letting me stay, Constancia, I promise.”

“I better not.”

I called El from my bedroom.  He sounded tired, almost asleep.

"I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you, darling, I just needed to hear your voice before I went to sleep.”

“Why, is something wrong?”

“No, no, there’s not, I miss you, that’s all.”  I pulled a strip of blanket between my fingers.

“I miss you too.”  He waited, then when I said nothing, asked, “Are you sure there’s nothing going on?”

“There’s not, there’s not.  I just wish I was there with you, that’s all.”  I wanted him so bad, needed him so bad.

“Then why don’t you drive over here?  Better yet, I'll come over to your place.  You sound like you need me.”

Part of me was thrilled that El was so easily piking up my vibes.  Then I remembered, Luis, sleeping on my couch.  Not a good plan.

“No, don’t!  I mean, yes, of course I need you, but I’m still a little crampy.  I’d probably kick and keep you awake.”


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?