Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Play Along

musical artSaturday I attended my RWA Southern Magic chapter meeting. We had the wonder Susannah Sandlin there for Author Q & A. If you haven’t read Redemption, the first book in her Penton Legacy than you’re missing a treat! It’s imaginative, has awesome world-building and sexy vampires! A trifecta!

One of the things she talked about was her writing process. She, like many of us, writes to music. She has a specific playlist she pulls up before she sits down at her desk. I wanted to be nosey and ask what that playlist included, but I figured it might have come across stalker-ish, so I refrained…

But it had me thinking. I, too, write with music blasting It’s a must! If I stop for the day, and I’m in the middle of a scene, when I return, I can play the songs I was listening to and recapture that mood. Not to mention, with music playing in your ears, before you know it, five hundred words have gone by! It doesn’t just block the world out but it sweeps you up and plops you straight into the book.

So I thought I’d reveal the playlist that I have for my current work-in-progress. It’s a hodge-podge of songs that have no rhyme or reason except that they work for me. Warning: If I hear any snickering, I can…well…I can do nothing… Also a disclaimer: This list shows my age!!

1 Who Let in the Rain – Cyndi Lauper
2. Save My Life – Johnny BLK
3. No Air – Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown
4. So Amazing – Luther Vandross
5. I’ll Remember – Madonna
6. Live to Tell – Madonna
7. Rain- Madonna
8. Broken Wings – Mr. Mister
9. Loves Divine – Seal
10. Songbird – Kenny G
11. Human – Human League
12. True – Spandau Ballet
13. Wasted – LP

There you have it! My “mood music”! What are some songs on your playlist? Or what music stimulates your muse?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Love Ballad

MelodyLast week my father and I were discussing a sermon he was preparing for that coming Sunday. For the past several weeks his preaching had been fiery, hard--like sweat-popping-on-the-top-of-his-head hard. And for the upcoming Sunday, he wanted to teach softer, gentler. He said the mark of a mature preacher isn’t the Southern Baptist “…and God said, hah, when the Word, hah, was made flesh, hah…”  It’s the quiet, tender voice of the teacher that declares who he is. It testifies to the years he’s seen. How much he’s studied. How many experiences he’s endured and come through.

Daddy compared it to a ballad. A true and talented musician—whether it’s a saxophone or guitar—is determined by his ballad. With a slow, fluid, soft melody, mistakes can’t be hidden behind volume or drowned out by other instruments. Lack of skill can’t be covered by tricks or fancy runs. The ballad stands on its own merit.

That started me thinking about romance books, and I had an epiphany. A writer’s ballad is the romance. Whether we write paranormal, suspense, historical or science-fiction, the core of the book is the relationship and connection between the two main characters. The world building of a parallel universe can be outstanding. Or the mystery can be absolutely thrilling. But if the romance doesn’t leap off the page, capture our hearts and squeeze, then it’s a fast, upbeat song with riffs, a voice box and driving beat that covers the singer’s adequate voice. The ballad of a romance book is taking that trip with the characters from brokenness to healing. It’s watching two people become one healthy, happy whole. It’s the journey of learning, changing, and loving. It’s why we pick up romance instead of non-fiction. We want to experience breathless, sometimes painful, but always true, love.

That’s so awesome to me. So now when asked about what I want readers to take away from my books, I know my answer. I want them to have heard my ballad.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

On this T-double E-double R-double I-double F-double I-double C-C-C Tuesday (for those of you who don't love Charlotte's Web...don't worry about it!), I'm going to do some shameless pimping! I don't indulge often but I've received back-to-back T-double-E...well, you get it...news!!

I sold my first paranormal novel to Ellora's Cave!! Yes, I hiked up my big girl panties and took the plunge into a genre I love but was soooo intimidated to write a book in! After much belly-aching, crying and episodes of dismal, masochistic self-doubt AKA whining, I wrote it, submitted and SOLD!! Okay, okay. Tucking errant strands of weave back into place... So anyway, the title is Under His Wings, and the unedited blurb is below:

Mundane and boring are seriously underrated, so sixth grade social studies teacher Tamar Ridgeway believes. After surviving a horrible plane crash and enduring years of painful therapy, she’s entitled to a couple of phobias and a normal, humdrum life.  So what, she’s afraid of the dark and refuses to ever step foot into anything that flies… At long last, she’s happy—until the night she and a friend are attacked by a mythical creature out of her worst nightmares. Suddenly she’s on the hit list of a homicidal half eagle-half horse monster, and the sexy warrior with chocolate and gold wings who steps out of her dreams—literally—is vowing to save her, whether she wants his protection or not.

 Nicolai Abioud, Dimios of the hippogryph, is stunned to realize that the human he saves from a vicious attack is the woman he has shared dreams with for the past six months—very erotic, hot dreams. Five hundred years ago, he failed to protect his wife and swears not to allow the same fate befall Tamar. He’s fascinated by her beauty, and mesmerized by the warrior spirit that burns bright inside her eyes. Yet he refuses to submit to the stirring in his body and heart. He’s had his one, true mate and lost her, and falling for a human—no matter how hot and demanding the desire—is foolish and doomed. Yet the choice to accept this unexpected love may be snatched out of their hands. Danger is closing in, and somehow they must find a way to conquer their fears or lose the love of a millennium.

Onto the second huge news! My first book, Sweet Ultimatum, is available in print!! Receiving that notification was a dream come true! I'm not going to lie...when I opened up that box and pulled out that copy, I smelled the pages! Honest to God! LOL! So, in case you forgot, the blurb for Sweet Ultimatum is below:

Caitlin has returned home after a self-imposed exile. Haunted by the erotic memories of the man she once loved and abandoned, Caitlin is unprepared to come face-to-face with Selig and the hunger resurrected under his golden gaze. Even as her body craves his touch, she denies him, realizing her reasons for terminating their relationship so long ago are as valid now as they were then.

Six years have passed since Selig left New Eden, Washington, disillusioned and bitter after Caitlin’s cold denial of him and his love. Now he’s returned, demanding retribution for her cruel rejection. The payment—her body.
And just in case you're feeling a little tingle called Impulse Buy Syndrome, here are the links for you!

It's been an awesome month!!