April 27, 2012

Pizza Variations: What Authors Have for Dinner

Today is pizza day at Romance Lives Forever. When I interview authors, I like to ask everyone what they like on pizza. I also ask every interviewee to ask whatever question they wish I'd asked, and then answer it. Some day I'll post those, but for now, fire up the oven, lay out a tasty crust, spread it with tomato or white sauce, and get out the cheese. If you need ideas for more -- here's a list. Oh, and I'd stock up on the pepperoni if you plan to have an author over for dinner (especially me). All these authors have interviewed here over the last year. To read their original posts, click their name in the labels at the bottom of this entry.

Enjoy the yum...

Karen Cote'
I love pizza with pepperoni and pineapple. BBQ chicken pizza. Ooh, buffalo wing pizza! Great, now I’ve got a craving for dinner tonight.
Christi Barth

I love pizza with No one...coz when that doorbell rings and that pizza guy delivers that pie, I want nobody encroaching on my pepperoni. (Character Lily Delaney from Erotic Deception)
Karen Cote'

Camelia M. Skiba
I love pizza with spinach, broccoli, and artichokes. And no cheese, cuz I'm weird.
TC Blue

I love pizza with feta and spinach and good company and cheer.
Eugie Foster

I love pizza with candlelight and Saurian brandy.
Moxie Magnus

I love pizza with pepperoni, onions, olives and ranch crust.
Kage Alan
Xavier Axelson

I love pizza with ham or bacon. (Character Major David Hunt from A World Apart)
Camelia M. Skiba
Moxie Magnus

I love pizza with extra cheese and good company.
Lee Martindale

I love pizza with meatballs. I like everything with meatballs!
Xavier Axelson

I love pizza with pineapple.
Paul Bright
J E Taylor

Jason Aaron Baca
(cover model)
I love pizza with mushrooms and lots of pepperoni.
Angelia Sparrow

Kayelle Allen
I love pizza with anchovies, linguica, and a side of blue cheese.
Jason Aaron Baca

I love pizza with lots of cheese.
Vonnie Davis

I love pizza with pepperoni.
Linda McMaken

I love pizza with pepperoni, pepperoni and some added pepperoni.
Bruce Jenvey
Kayelle Allen

April 26, 2012

TC Blue Interview #Outlantacon #Scifi

The Second Door. 
TC, Welcome to Romance Lives Forever! What made you decide to become an Outlantacon guest?
The wonderful Lee Martindale was kind enough to tell me about Outlantacon at a different convention last year. Once I knew about it, I couldn't imagine NOT being there. Being a guest only has me looking forward to it that much more.
How did you hear about Outlantacon?
Ooops, think I already answered that!
What panel are you looking forward to the most?
Good God, there are so many, and on so many topics, I honestly can't choose! I MAY have committed myself to more than I think. It's that whole 'eyes bigger than my stomach' thing.
Do you play role playing games? Which ones?
I used to, but haven't in the last few years. When I did, most of the RPGs I involved myself with revolved around vampires, were-beasties, and a broad assortment of other supernatural beings. I know, I know… that could be just about ANY RPG, right? I'm sly like that.
What new project are you working on now?
I'm currently in final edits on the last book in my Fruit Basket series with Torquere Press. I'm all working on the final draft of a book in a different series, also for TQP. I have a futuristic thing I'm working on in fits and starts, as well as an urban-fantasyish story that's also not getting my full attention. Yep, I do tend to multi-task.
How do you come up with ideas?
To be honest, I have no clue. It's like walking, really. I mean, I get up and I just do it, right? If pressed, I could possibly give some half-arsed explanation of 'one foot in front of the other and these muscles do this, and these bones react by moving in this fashion, and there are ligaments and such involved', but that doesn't mean I actually understand it.
Ideas are lovely, in that they tend to simply appear. Sometimes more fully formed than others, but still. And they could come from ANYWHERE!
What is the most important thing you do for your career?
I just keep writing and do my best to keep my relationships with my publishers friendly but professional. Above all, I keep writing. There is no writing career otherwise, right?
What do you enjoy most about life?
That's difficult to say, really. Today I love the solitude to get things done, but tomorrow I might love being in the middle of a crowd and screaming at the top of my lungs for a favorite team. I suppose my favorite thing is having the freedom to do what I do, and having friends and family who love and support me.
How do you balance life with deadlines and work?
A Game of Hearts
Balance? What's that?
What is the craziest thing you did as a kid?
I can't get too specific here (pretty sure the statute of limitations has run out, but there's no such thing as being too careful in some situations). I will say it involved an orange traffic cone, a welding mask, a poodle, and spaghetti. Let's just leave it at that.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Honestly? "Don't do that where other people can see you!" (And no, I'm NOT going to elaborate. That would be bad. :P)
Do you think keeping secrets is good or bad?
I think it depends on the secret and whether it's mine or someone else's.
List two authors we would find you reading.
Charles DeLint and Robert Heinlein.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Don't Do This At Home!
How do you respond to negative people?
Generally, I don't.
What's the best way to say no?
No. Short, simple, and leaves very little room for misunderstanding.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
Somewhere warm but not too hot year round, with a beach close by. Of course, all my close friends would need to live there too.
What song would best describe your life?
'I Want to Live' by This Mortal Coil. Thank God you didn't ask me why! J
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
Probably whatever they didn't want to do themselves!
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Assorted bits and pieces of this and that. I'm a bit of a contradiction, to be honest.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Leaving at the end of the day. J
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do. ^_^
How about a story telling how a significant other ran off with a pet, leaving me with neither? Not that I have a story like that, but if I did, it would be funny. Or sad. Probably funny, though. *hee*
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Swim at own risk.
What's the difference between a duck?
One of its feet is both the same. *nods* Swear!

Please fill in the blanks

I love pizza with spinach, broccoli, and artichokes. And no cheese, cuz I'm weird.
I'm always ready for trouble. In fact, I look forward to it the way some people look forward to birthdays.
When I'm alone, I read, write, and dream (sometimes all at once).
You'd never be able to tell, but I plan to someday take over the world with my trusty sidekick Pinky. *mwahahahaha*           
If I had a halo it would be rusty and resemble a heavily battered and abused pie tin.
If I could play guitar I'd be a rock star… or at least one of those people who THINKS they are and makes all their friends come see them play crappy shows at dive bars where it's possible to catch diseases just by walking through the door. I'm just that good.

Upcoming Projects

I always have five or six irons in the fire, so… as I said above, the next (and final) Fruit Basket book, Concord Grape: Unexpected, will be out mid-May.
I'm toying with starting a new series, though I'm not sure which publisher it'll be for, and I'm hoping to finish the futuristic sorta thing, as well as the urban fantasyish one.
Many other things in various stages, so… define 'upcoming' for me? Heh-heh.

The Public Can Find Me Here

Website: http:tcblue.wordpress.com

April 23, 2012

Staring Into the Eyes of Chance - Kay Dee Royal

Staring into the Eyes of Chance.
Kay Dee Royal takes over the blog today with an interview of her hero, Chance. Welcome, Kay Dee!
 - - -
Hello Kayelle! Hi everyone, I’m so excited and honored to be hanging out at Romance Lives Forever. Thank you, Kayelle, for your invitation.
Before I get to the “Chance” part, let me introduce myself: I’m Kay Dee Royal, and I love to write paranormal and fantasy erotica romance, but I also enjoy penning contemporary erotica romance and plenty of shorties in those genre as well.
My muse enjoys being taken away by strong, intelligent, confident heroines and rescued by wild, rugged, beastly heroes, both of which harbor shadowy secrets of intrigue and fun. My muse lives for the escape (LOL), imagine that.
Okay ~ How about that “Chance”? Allow me to introduce this rugged, beastly story-hero of Staring Into the Eyes of Chance. He’s the Lycan Alpha of an awesome pack ~ all are operatives in the Lycan International Investigation Agency, also known as LIIA.
So, Chance Grayton, please tell us a little about “your” part in the story…
CG: Geez, Kay Dee, Kayelle…I’m not a story hero, first off. Simply doing my job and in the midst of it, found someone…Olivia. I stopped looking for a mate centuries ago, much to my packs dismay. I found out they actually thought I swung to the male side of love, not that I mind it, but I’m driven by a female, Olivia. Yeah, it surprised me, too, as she’s human.
I’d love it if you all would read it for yourselves…I’m still figuring out my part in the grand scheme of things…with more to come…
Well, there you have it ~ a hero, who’s also humble *smile* Oh, Chance, just gotta love ya.
We’ll let everyone read a bit about your story in a couple minutes, how’s that, Chance?
CG: Maybe have them check it out sooner…thanks for including me, Kay Dee, but I need to scoot. I just received some Intel and will have to run. Thank you everyone for popping in…not real sure why Kay Dee chose me for today…it should have been Olivia. She can make friends at the drop of a hat. *chuckles, waves, and dashes out*
Guess he was in a hurry (LOL)…so here’s a bit of Chance and Olivia’s story:
A LIIA (Lycan International Investigation Agency) Book (Series ~ Book One)
Paranormal Erotica Romance ~ Must be 18 or older, Explicit Love Scenes Rated Sizzling Hot (f/m)
Olivia swears off men until she meets Chance, a Lycan alpha. He ignites an undeniable hunger they can only sate together.
Olivia endures a thirty-four year passionless marriage, discovering her dead husband’s philandering history at his funeral. She devotes her energy and life-long sensitivity with animals to her wildlife refuge and preserve.
Chance, a Lycan alpha and leader of the Lycan International Investigation Agency (LIIA) throws himself into his investigations. He chooses to neglect his duty of finding a primal-mate after watching his father become an empty shell over the loss of his.
A murderous rogue pack draws Chance onto Olivia’s wildlife preserve, sending Olivia’s animal sensitivities into overdrive. Chance and Olivia discover a sizzling force driving them together.
Will they succumb to its enticing tether, or fight to resume their loveless lives apart?
Find out more about this book at Muse It Up Publishing: http://tinyurl.com/6rubdud
Kay Dee’s Links:

Kayelle, thank you for inviting me today, it has been fun. I know Chance is a busy guy, and I’m sure he’ll apologize to me later for cutting out so fast. He will want to know if you liked the excerpt of his story, though…I know he’ll ask. I’m in the process of finishing up the 2nd book in his story, Savage Smoke.

April 21, 2012

Interview with Eugie Foster #Outlantacon #scifi

Returning My Sister's Face.
Welcome to Romance Lives Forever, Eugie! What made you decide to become an Outlantacon guest?
Outlantacon rocks. Also, Edward DeGruy plays a stylish game of Twister.
How did you hear about Outlantacon?
I think I've been attending it since the inaugural one.
What panel are you looking forward to the most?
"Job by Day, Writer by Night," where I finally get to be on a panel with my friend, the fabulously talented and brilliant, Shae Conner!
Do you play role playing games? Which ones?
Definitely! Currently D&D 3.5ed and 4ed, but I've played a gamut of RPGs. I started gaming as a 13-year-old geek-girl, and I never really stopped.
What is the most important thing you do for your career?
Keep writing and writing and writing.
What do you enjoy most about life?
How do you balance life with deadlines and work?
Mortal Clay, Stone Heart
Typically with frantic and stress-filled benders of heightened productivity followed by binges of procrastination steeped in self-loathing and dread.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Take Latin not Russian in high school. Seriously. Also, have faith in the person you are.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
A Tale of Whimsy and Malice.
How do you respond to negative people?
With ire and exasperation. Except when it's me, then I'm smugly sardonic and insufferable.
What's the best way to say no?
Sinner Baker...
Firmly and directly. Or possibly with an elbow to the face.
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
Make corrections in red and purple ink. Oh, wait, I already do that…
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
Miniature, Chihuahua-sized elephants and rhinoceri that charge at random targets and without warning; white-furred serpents who sing if you feed them cream and honey; and plump, winged fairy animals that get an itch mid-flight and abruptly plummet onto your lap when, in a frenzy of scratching, they forget to flap their wings.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Caution: Bites

Please fill in the blanks

I love pizza with feta and spinach and good company and cheer.
Wish of the Demon
I'm always ready for coffee.
When I'm alone, I argue with the voices in my head.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm all but blind without corrective lenses…hang on, I got that backwards. I'd never be able to tell, being blind and all, but you probably would after I careened into a lamppost. Wait, that's still not right...
If I had a halo it would be askew.
If I could be a god I'd probably run out of lightning bolts.
I can never find which way is north because I overwrote the spatial orientation areas of my brain with grammar rules pertaining to commas.

Upcoming Projects

·         “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” in anthology When the Villain Comes Home, Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood (eds.), Dragon Moon Press, Aug. 2012.
Eugie Foster
·         “The Wiggly People” in anthology The Best of Drabblecast.
·         “Requiem Duet, Concerto for Flute and Voodoo” in podcast Journey Into…

The Public Can Find Me Here

April 18, 2012

Interview with Lee Martindale #Outlantacon #scifi

Ladies of Trade Town.
Welcome to Romance Lives Forever, Lee! What made you decide to become an Outlantacon guest?
That's an easy one: Outlantacon is one of those conventions I miss only under extreme duress. It's a near-perfect combination of con-comm and staff who know what a good convention, particular a good Southern convention, should be, good guests, great programming, and fans who make every minute a delight. In other words, it's a blast.
I've been an activist for human and civil rights, including GBLTQ rights, for more than 40 years. And I've been doing GBLTQ panels at regional conventions and WorldCons, for close to two decades. As long as the community is open to the idea of allies and having the "straight but couldn't be narrow in a +3 combat corset" viewpoint at the table, I'm there.
How did you hear about Outlantacon?
The first Gaylaxicon to which I was invited was the one held in Atlanta in (I think) 2006. Many of those same folks make up the con-comm for OutlantaCon.

What panel are you looking forward to the most?
Besides all of them? Well, I'm hoping to continue my run of occupying the "Fannie Flagg Memorial Seat" on the Match Game, and I look forward to being involved with the track for aspiring writers.
Do you play role playing games? Which ones?
I haven't played in quite a few years, but I used to. My introduction to RPGs came when I was being pulled into a test-play group in the early 1970s for a fantasy-based tabletop game, which came out later as the First Edition of "Dungeons and Dragons". I played more or less regularly until I started writing for a living in the mid-1990s.
What new project are you working on now?
Several new short stories, converting Prejudice By The Pound into ebook form, putting together a collection of my works-to-date, and adding to two novels to keep the folks who insist that I should write novels at bay. I'm also doing the preliminary work on a non-fiction guide to traveling for mobility-challenged people.
How do you come up with ideas?
The trick is *not* coming up with ideas, particularly when I already have works-in-progress on my plate. Something my husband says, a phrase from a song lyric, a news story, a snatch of overheard conversation, a photograph...any and all of these have tripped off story ideas at one time or another.
What is the most important thing you do for your career?
Being professional.
What do you enjoy most about life?
Surprising people, especially people who look at me – old, fat, paraplegic, in a wheelchair – and see "easy target", "helpless", "dim-witted", and some other bit of stereotypical nonsense printed across my forehead. I take a great deal of pleasure in disavowing them of those erroneous notions.
How do you balance life with deadlines and work?
Prejudice by the Pound
Deadlines and work are a part of life and, to me, an enjoyable part of it. Without deadlines, without work, I'd be inhabiting an existence where I was a "dependent", and that scenario doesn't appeal to me at all. In practice, I treat my work as I did when I was working in the corporate world: more or less regular hours, with the occasional firedrill, death march, business trip, quiet period, and household time.
Do you think keeping secrets is good or bad?
Neither. Every secret is different and a case of situational ethics.
List two authors we would find you reading.
Anne McCaffrey and Jim Butcher.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
Hell on Wheels
What's the best way to say no?
Straight up. Beyond that, it depends on the circumstance. I've written a lot of rejection letters in the course of editing two anthologies and, while I don't have time to do a full critique when reading slush, I do try to give some idea of why a story is being rejected. In the case of a contracts, I tell them why I can't sign it. In the case of polite requests for my "company", I thank the individual for the compliment s/he's paid me before declining.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
The same area in which I live now. It suits me.
What song would best describe your life?
"Defying Gravity" from the musical Wicked.
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do. ^_^
Sorry, no. The rule around here is that I get to do what I do and the husband and cats get to maintain their dignity.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
"That which does not kill me better make damned sure I don't get up."
What's currently on the shelves and where can it be found?
My latest work is an anthology I edited called The Ladies of Trade Town. Fifteen science fiction, fantasy, and related-genre stories, including works by Cecilia Tan, Catherine Lundoff, Jana Oliver, and me, centered on the women, men, and others who ply "the world's oldest profession". It's available trade paperback directly from HarpHaven Publishing and from Amazon.com, which also has it in ebook for the Kindle. For those who favor Nook ebooks, that can be found at BN.com.

Please fill in the blanks

I love pizza with extra cheese and good company.
Lee Martindale
I'm always ready for a nap.
When I'm alone, I hum, read out loud, and hold conversations with my cats.
You'd never be able to tell, but I have a secret life as a sex symbol.
If I had a halo it would be due to a serious mix-up in Front Office.
If I could walk I'd dance.
I can never accept "I was only joking" as an excuse to say mean things because deliberately hurting someone is no joke.

The Public Can Find Me Here

April 15, 2012

Skhye Moncrief The Lazy Writer's Database

Looking for something to make world building easier? I say more efficient! There are many books and online sites that can tell you all the basics of world building. Add I'm extremely focused on getting a story finished and submitted at the moment... My goal, last year, revolved around productivity. I vowed to write one book each month in 2010. Almost all were novel-length. Big goal? Yes. But doable. I call this building my backlist. And this endurance stems from my being efficient.
How do we as writers avoid self-defeating behavior like honing our procrastination skills and work towards efficiency in their writing efforts? Well, I find just staying focused is the trick for me. Not getting sidetracked. Even when I need to make Romance Trading Cards. I did! There flew two weeks out the window! So, excited about them anyway! But what is the cause of self-defeating behavior in general? Each of us has our own personality-type hang ups. That said, personality affects how I waste my time. How do I change this?
Me, I'm into Myers-Briggs personality typing (take the test at http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/ ). Bob Mayer gave an amazing presentation at the RWA National conference in 2007 on how to get published (Who Dares Win at http://www.bobmayer.org/ ) based on the issues each of the Myers-Briggs personality types has. I'm a Field Marshal, for the most part except when I score The Writer, with all my hang ups. You'll have to look that up for details. But I had to just face the music like everyone else according to Mayer's suggestion. I'll just move on to being productive, allowing the curious to investigate Mayer's Green-Beret attitude about achieving a writer's goal of becoming published on her own though. But I'm going to focus on my problem of my laziness with my tips today to help interested writers boost their productivity.

These are tips I, the Lazy Writer, use that can help everyone. I'm posting three that I rely heavily upon now in my writing. Now is key. Because we all evolve in our approach to writing. I most definitely have. Since productivity was never my problem. Laziness was. *wink* I'll share three tips that work toward...
  • Increasing my productivity
  • Keeping me from jumping around to various documents on my computer while writing
  • Save me from hunting down that one little annoying distracting squeak within the turning gears of my story's framework
Heck, I'm so lazy I make myself sick. But there's something to be said for being a lazy writer--efficiency! However, some of the time lazy people refuse to waste works in their favor. Let's see. Where shall I begin?

#1. What color was that?

Keep a running record of your main characters' morphological attributes. What does this mean?
  • Color of hair, eye, skin.
  • Types of clothing.
  • Body decoration.
  • Hairstyle, including length.
  • Facial hair.
  • Favorite object (weapon, photo, crystal).
  • Weight.
  • Build.
Why is this information so darn important? There is absolutely nothing worse than receiving an artwork questionnaire for a recently contracted manuscript and realizing there are 5 heroes you suddenly need to describe--all with different physical features like eye color, hair color, hairstyle, etc. That's what happened to me with FERAL FEVER. Can we so oh-no? Picture Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live here saying "Oh no!" for the expression that certainly was on my face during that moment of negative epiphany.

Why that expression? I had to read through the manuscript for all the pertinent information to describe these 5 males. Waste of time...Never again...Ever since, I keep a running list. Yep, I changed, acclimated, or call it an adaptation to an approach to writing. I'm lazy. I had to survive. We're talking survival here! This is significant since I'm extremely stubborn. Mom declared this when I was three, saying I was a forty-year-old woman trapped inside a three-year-old's body. So true. So true. Especially since I'm older now and can see I grow even more stubborn with each passing year. *snort* Remember, the Field Marshal runs the war! Field Marshals don't care what anybody thinks. The war must be won! Productivity seems to be my goal in battle. LOL So, how do I help this old inner dog accept new tricks and deal with story-detail chaos? This leads into my second tip...

#2. The Lazy Writer's Story-World Database

I don't believe in wasting my writing time creating story databases. All that writing spent recording details in a database can be used to increase my wip's word count. But my critique partners groan for databases because my story worlds can become rather large and complex in a very short time. So, I manage my story-world details in my head. Yes, right where I can dig through the files without getting up from the chair. This is the extremist form of lazy and disturbs many of my writing friends. But it works for me. However, when I created two cyborg cultures for my 5th Feral book, FERAL FALLOUT, I realized I needed a little more information on hand to segregate the cultural details before I lost my mind. [Yes, my mind is still here even though some people doubt it.]

What did I do? Think two different planets with different scientific causes for human augmentation (cultural evolution) and then throw in some other stuff. Lots of details! So, I started what I call the Lazy Writer's Database to manage character details for each heroine and all the heroes in FERAL FEVER and FERAL FALLOUT where both heroines wind up with multiple mates. Now, since I'm lazy, I'll just get to the point and stop wasting your time.

How to create a Lazy Writer's Database:

Run a list of story-world information at the end of your wip document. I create a line with dashes to separate the manuscript and the short "Lazy Writer's" section of story-world details. {I say short because I want to scroll to the elusive term or character detail and then get back to writing. Remember, lazy is the key word here. I'm lazy and don't want to waste a second I can spend writing.} Type this at the end of your wip:

Lazy Writer's Database

Next, I note character names with their descriptive information, including things such as education and occupation because 5 cyborg experts and all their specialties can become pretty confusing when trying to recall how that redhead perceived reality and styled his hair, right below that hatched line. That's it. That's all you do.
Remember, this Lazy Writer's Database is also the perfect place to record the new words with their definitions you create for your cultures. The dictionary-type list isn't an enormous list of information, just the things I find I'm scrambling to find repeatedly. How many times did I look for that character's eye color when it was stored in another document? Heck, I'd have to go open a folder to find said document...No! Waste of time! Forget wasting my time stupid-extra-documents-my-critique-partners-kept-reminding-me-they-had. Geesh, they'd have each bloody chapter of a story in a different document. Pshhht! I have no time for all that chicken-without-its-head-running-around-everywhere-in-its-death-throes to find a chapter. My lazy little handy way to keep tabs on details doesn't require a bunch of bloodletting. Although, it's magic in itself. I prefer painless writing techniques. And let's face it. Lazy people don't like moving at all aside from the involuntary act of breathing and blinking.

I've also found this Lazy Writer's info area a nice place to store details on a region in the US Territories that my characters in my WERESCAPE series encounter, like the Black Hills. My characters travel a lot, on the run from extraterrestrials and not-so-good Normals, requiring lots of my valuable time hopping online to research cities, rivers, topography, weather, etc. I love doing research and am known for this blog's slant on reference material. But, I need to be writing. So, I just copy the information I plan to use from sites on the internet and add it to my little info section. I can scroll down to the details about the Black Hills which is half a page away and skim through the information until the characters depart into new terrain. Then I delete the little section about the Black Hills from my info repository and move on with the characters that requires a lot of yawning to explain...So, here's the nutshell version.

The Werescape landscape may be post-apocalyptic, but it wasn't nuked. Many regional details are the same. Just reclaimed by what's at that point indigenous vegetation and minus most of the human population. Unfortunately, 2 hours researching hovercraft and travel via water transport verses horseback can kill every speck of enthusiasm or energy I have for writing in a day. However, the problem could be caused by my Lyme Disease...So, maybe you don't need to use a Lazy Writer's Database! Be lazy if you don't and focus on writing. But don't leave yet. You might find the next tip pretty handy!

#3. Keeping up with Chapter and Page Numbers

I keep a running tab on my manuscript's final chapter number at the end of my wip. So when I need to start a new chapter, I know which chapter is next. I type:
CHAPTER 4 (67, i.e. the page # the last chapter began on)

Lazy Writer's Database

Every time I need to begin a new chapter, I place my cursor between the # and ( and hit enter. The page number information centers itself. I immediately add CHAPTER NUMBER and change the page number to the current page. Done. And it's forward ho. Very simple. Oh, don't forget to insert a page break between the chapter title you're using and the end of the last chapter.

This little trick tells me how long my previous chapter is with a quick glance down. Forget scrolling back to do the calculation. FYI, I heard a long time ago from published authors that a good length for a standard chapter is 20 manuscript pages. So, this gives me a gauge to use when writing. Many chapters are shorter. I try not to go over the 20-page length though. Sometimes, you have to. Pacing is pacing. But who wants to scroll back and forth trying to figure out how long their chapters are? So don't scroll back searching for the chapter number because you keep a tab on the information.

Okay, I Wrote THE END. Now What?

Time is still essential! I don't keep this little Lazy-Writer section of world-building information at the end of my completed manuscript. After I've written THE END, I cut and paste the information in a new blank Word document and save it in my story's main folder (labeled with that story's title World-Building Info) with other relative documents, i.e. the full manuscript, a blurb, and a synopsis.

Yes, I've usually had a moment or two where the blurb hits me. I drop everything, get paper and pen or on the computer and write fast...Before I miss the window of opportunity. Blurbs are such elusive creatures.

So, this document folder labeled with the story title is where I hunt for and find my story-world details later when I'm filling out the artwork questionnaire. I actually took the chunk of information from FERAL FALLOUT and pasted it at the end of FERAL FORETASTE when I created that document, Feral Book 6. Voila! Painless. And I was ready to go. Well, actually using both cyborg cultures' back story. Because there was still a whole different planet(s), culture(s), and a cyborg space station yet to create. I need the same bank of information in the Lazy Writer's little section for my Werescape story world, even though it remains the same from book to book. It merely gets longer with each tale. I don't have to create a new planet or cultures with each story like I do with the Feral series. I just cut and paste and move on. But I did purposefully set the Feral series up to have the flexibility to do whatever I wanted in each book with a new world and culture(s). One must leave herself as many options as possible to create as many worlds as she likes out in space...

~The-lazy-yet-productive-writer, a.k.a. Skhye Moncrief
***Article originally posted at Skhye's Ramblings: Other Worlds & Realities
Skhye's website   http://skhyemoncrief.com

April 10, 2012

Tarot And Revision by Mary Caelsto

Wider Circle by Mary Caelsto.
It might seem odd to turn to the tarot cards when I go to revise a story, but then again, I do write pagan inspirational romances. My next WIP is back from my awesome beta and I’m about ready to revise it before sending it off to a publisher. So, I draw a tarot card.
What am I missing in this story?
Interestingly enough, the card I drew was the two of cups, which is a relationship card. Funny, it is a romance. And there is even a love scene, pretty sensual by my standards. The two of cups talks about being in sync, finding that recognition that yes, this is the one. From my standpoint as the author, maybe I’m missing the fact that this is my “break out novella.” or at least one can always hope. *smiles*
Personally, I believe tarot is a way for each of us to connect with our higher selves, our intuition. Using tarot cards is more than a “gut check”; it is also a way for us to bypass the chatter in our minds and find out what we really think or feel about a specific situation. And now that I am writing this blog and thinking about this story, which honestly I haven’t looked at in a few months, I am thinking that the relationship between the characters might need more definition, more of an arc.
I might not have seen that in my rush to get this story polished (I know that sounds funny since I just said that I hadn’t looked at the story in a while) and off to a publisher. In this case, the tarot card provided a prompt, and a timely reminder of what I should look for in my revision process, because it is, after all, a romance story.
Tarot cards are versatile and can provide information about characters, settings, and even plot lines. With the archetypes found in the tarot deck, one can populate an entire cast of characters for a novel though don’t think you’ll be limited by their appearance in either your book, or your tarot deck. The many facets of humanity are on display in a tarot deck. You might find just the right trait to make your heroine stand out, or find out why your hero doesn’t pass muster with the reader.
Writers are naturally creative, and intuitive, people. This means that the tarot cards lend themselves quite nicely to an author’s thought process. Though they have been used (for better or worse) as prompts for stories, I think that tarot cards can provide a much deeper, and richer, experience for the writer crafting his or her story.
Then again, sometimes the tarot cards simply remind you to pay attention to your story while you’re revising, too.
Last release:

The Wider Circle by Mary Caelsto

Still grieving from the loss of her father, Dharma takes a job in a neighboring state with the hopes that the change in location will help her get on with her life and maybe find her faith again. She arrives to find the job gone and with it her hopes. She goes to a ritual on the Autumn Equinox, a time for thankfulness, and when a handsome man asks her what she's thankful for, she finds she cannot answer.
Acting as a High Priest in the ritual changes Sid's life. He's making plans to move out of state and form a new Wiccan Coven, except he's missing the other half of his circle--a high priestess. When he sees Dharma he knows there's a spiritual soul hidden inside her grief, and he longs to bring her out.
But when Sid can't wait any longer and has to move in order to keep his job opportunity, will Dharma go with him? Can Sid show Dharma that the Goddess hasn't forsaken her, and that there's a wider circle for them to explore?

April 6, 2012

Interview with JE Taylor

Crystal Illusions.
 Welcome to Romance Lives Forever, JE! Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
Crystal Illusions' primary genre is mystery/suspense, however it does have a bit of romance intertwined.
My main character is an assistant district attorney in New York City who handles the sensitive subject of crimes against minors and she's never lost a case. Her knack for winning comes from more than just being a shrewd lawyer - Carolyn Hastings has a sixth sense to see into the victims and their attackers and can spot a criminal a mile away. However, her signals get crossed when a plague of nightmares depicting the city's latest serial killer shorts her circuits and now she doesn't know who is innocent and who is guilty.
What did you learn from writing your first book?
It was only after I found a wonderful writing community that I learned my first book was not up to par. My writing only engaged the visual senses and some auditory cues but beyond that – it lacked depth and breadth of senses along with any emotional connection. So I found some great editing partners and some kick ass writing classes and got myself on track. Now my writing is much stronger for it. So I also learned putting the time into the craft pays off.
Would you consider self-publishing?
Um, yes. Technically, I am self-published - through my own label. My first five books were published through a small e-press and when they changed from a formal publishing model to a co-op, I opted to jump ship along with another writer who I had done some editing for. Jason Halstead and I began talking and Novel Concept Publishing was born. We have a small but growing shelf and some insanely talented writers who took a chance on a new e-book house. We aren't a specialty shop but we seem to migrate more toward genre fiction - sci-fi, fantasy, horror, paranormal and supernatural, suspense and thrillers, which stands to reason since those are our forte.
How many hours a day to you spend writing?
Weekdays it ranges from three to five hours a night, of which about half the time is devoted to marketing and promotion and the other half is raw writing but it really depends on whether my children have extracurricular activities or not. I'd love to do more, but there are only so many hours in a day and ten of them are already taken with my day job. On weekends I'm more prolific – or at least I used to be – and most weekends I have a good twelve hour chunk each day devoted to author/publisher/marketing duties – but in the interest of life balance, I try to cut this down, especially during the summer.
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
As I hinted above, I'm not that great at balancing things. With me I'm all in whatever I'm doing so that has meant family life has been put on hold while I've chased my dreams. After five years, it's time to find a balance for everyone's sake. My kids deserve their mother back and my husband deserves his wife. Unfortunately, the complication of having a day job makes finding the balance a bit more difficult.
So what does all this mean? It just means that my titles will be more spaced out than they have been in the past. My muse hasn't disappeared, it's still as demanding as ever with story lines are still growing in my head, but now I'll just have to tame it into routine and carve out the right balance between all the things I'm juggling.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
I interned and worked in television in my younger days and dabbled in film editing, assignment editor, news room camera operator, production, direction, sound master operator, and generally any other non-business role that you can think of in a local television station.
Since then, I've been in insurance and broker/dealer worlds doing system enhancements that the back office business wants in place. – I know, I just lost a ton of you with that – but it is what it is and encompasses that ten hours a day that I'm locked into for the time being.
I did leverage some of these in Survival Games – Jessica was a business analyst prior to being kidnapped and Ty works cameras and does video editing - among other things.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
I would start with Vengeance because it's quite a powerful and fast paced book that gives the reader a good grasp of my favorite character Special Agent Steve Williams. Then I'd suggest following the series from there.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Cat Connor and Jonathan Maberry.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
On the beach – whether a lake house or the ocean doesn't matter, just as long as there is water and a place to take long walks.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Summer vacation. J
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do.
My husband was on a business trip and I woke to my German Sheppard growling in the hallway at the top of the stairs. With fear raking my form, I crawled out of bed and snuck into the hall. When I flipped on the stairwell light and peeked around the corner and started laughing. I had thrown the laundry down the stairs so I could get it in the morning. I mean tossed it, so the stairwell was lined with a few items of clothing and when my dog went to go downstairs, the clothing freaked her out.
Mind you, I never did that when my husband was home, but I was feeling a bit lazy and knew I had the morning to get it down one more level to the basement laundry.
Made me feel safe that my dog would react to something not normal in the house, but she was mortified with the mistake. At least she looked mortified…
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Danger – JET's muse may lead to situations where a night light becomes necessary.
As far as on a personal level – Warning, may cause laughter which can lead to loss of bladder control.

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