Turn that Frown Upside Down!

I’m always on the lookout for new tricks to pick me up when I’m feeling down, with life in general and writing in particular. There’s nothing like insecurity to make me unproductive as a writer, so when doubt creeps in, I do my best to quash it. Fast.

Recently, I’ve discovered two techniques I’d like to share with you.

1. Watch any episode of The Biggest Loser. Practically every other line uttered on this show can be applied to you and your writing. • Lines of motivation (“You can do anything you set your mind to do,” “Finish what you start, and finish strong”) • self-belief (“I am not nothing,” “I am a champion”) • tough love (“No one else is going to do it for you,” “Are you just going to give up?”) Pretend the trainers and contestants are speaking directly to you. It’s like receiving a two-hour pep talk (eighty…
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It’s Summer.. What’s Your Level of Heat?

Even thought summer is just about over, I still have heat on my mind.  And it’s not the stuffy opressive air quality that has me gasping for breath.  It’s the level of heat you prefer to read, or even more important, write.

With such a plethora of sub genres, romance is a universe unto itself.  Contemporary, historical, young adult, erotica, futuristic, chick lit, time travel, inspirational, paranormal.. I could go on.  But just as there are many genres, there are also varying degrees of heat or sensuality.  With some genres, it’s pretty clear the level of heat a book will entail.  I won’t assume to know everything there is to know about inspirational stories, but I will venture to guess you won’t find too many “F” words littered throughout the pages.  To that end, there probably won’t be explicit detailing of three-somes with farm animals.  On the flip side, even though I’m not.. pardon the pun.. intimately familiar with erotica, I believe there is a wide array of sub-categories of that niche as well. …
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Gone Fishin’: An Authentic Male Voice

Legend has it that some mermaids were benevolent creatures, granting wishes to sailors who helped them.

I’ve assembled a panel of real guys and today, I’d like to welcome one such brave former sailor to Waterworld Mermaids.  I hope all his wishes come true for helping me out with today’s blog.  Fellow mermaids and guests, let’s give Cody a warm welcome!

I recently provided Cody with a few scenarios and asked him to tell me straight up—what would a real guy say and do in these given situations?  I was curious to know if I was tapping into an authentic male perspective in my writing.  So he graciously accepted the mission and in my opinion, blew it out of the water!  Without further ado, I give you Cody, 37, outdoor enthusiast, federal agent, good guy.

Warning: As I said above, I asked Cody to be blunt in an attempt to give an authentic perspective.  Some portions below may be…
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Job of Hotness

Can I get a Navy Seal over here to sweep me off my feet, while both protecting me and respecting my individuality as an independent woman? 

Where’s that totally ripped construction guy, who besides being able to swing heavy power tools, remains sensitive and in-touch with his emotions?

Let’s not forget about that super intellectual professor-turned-writer who happens to make geeky sweater vests seem uber-sexy.

I’ve been reading romance novels for awhile now and I think I’ve encountered just about every career path possible for the hero. Cowboy, prince, entrepreneur, teacher, chef, bounty hunter, landscape architect – they all have one thing in common: Hotness!

While I do have my favorites (FBI secret agent, veterinarian and just plain old, inexplicable super rich guy, to name a few), I have to admit that it might be more than just the profession. It’s the description. After all, you can have a bartender, or you can have a smokin’ hot Irish bartender…
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My New Snoopy Lunchbox

For a week now I have been in limboland – in between writing projects and recharging my battery.  I’ve caught up on some TV (Royal Pains and Rizzoli & Isles), read some great books (“Plus Ones” by Hank Edwards and “Everyone Loves a Hero” by Marie Force), studied some craft (Save the Cat!) and indulged in a little Jake Gyllenhall nudity in “Love and Other Drugs”. (and, in answer to my Main Man – no you cannot wear out a DVD by watching it constantly – I think.)

But now I’m ready to start on the new book targeted for Harlequin Blaze and while I’m not going to go too crazy – I’m going to do things a little differently this time. While I usually create a loose outline (I’m a plotser), I’m going to write my synopsis first.  Now, I hear the groans out there, but I don’t mind writing a synopsis but I usually leave it to the end. I just want to see how it works for…
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Calling Mermom Cathi!

So a few of my fellow mermaids and I swam out to a local watering hole for drinks an dinner. We each had steak. What you didn’t think mermaids were carnivores?

The conversation centered around our works in progress, books we were reading. RWA nationals and even the regular non-book related gossip. That’s when Mermaid Kerri (yes, I’m totally outing you here) starting telling stories about her mom, Cathi. This is the same Mermom who rearranged the Nora Roberts section at a local bookstore so all the books were in chronological order. She doesn’t understand why in the world anyone would ever read anything besides romance. She goes down to Walmart nearly every day and buys a romance novel. Quiet frankly, I feel like my life won’t be complete until I finally get to meet her in person.

And best of all, Mermom Cathi is one…
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#amwriting

There’s a hashtag on Twitter for authors who are writing: #amwriting.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been #amwriting lately, and it’s gone to my head. I need to cut it out. Get with the discipline. Have some accountability.

“Good lord, this sounds like Weight Watchers,” I say to myself at this point, which may sound a lot like what you’re saying to yourself right now.

Sometimes I get annoyed when writers post their word metrics. But why? I can read them or ignore them, at my whim. What’s important is that the writer is WRITING, and those metrics hold them accountable to not only themselves but the rest of the world.

And so, for at least the next month, I challenge you to come along with me and post your word metrics. Be honest. Be realistic. Do it every single day. Remember — even six words is better than nothing. Just like…
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Bump, Bump, Bump

My family is on vacation this week at Massanutten Ski Resort. This morning I took one for the team taking my children on a summer tubing ride. So I buy the tickets and up, up we go. We get to the top of the slope and I bravely climb into the giant inner tube. When I’m ready and give the nod the burly blonde college age guy slings me down the giant funnel…where I squeal like a little girl. Fortunately they were shrieks of delight, not horror. At least until I reached the first real bump. I think it should be mandatory for the ride attendant to mention using those glorious abdominal muscles to keep your behind off of the ground! Let’s just say I’m still recovering from my afternoon of fun. 🙂

But bumps are all part of the experience, even in writing.

You start a new story and everything is going…
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Just Free Your Hands, and the Rest Will Follow

How do you write?

Long-hand with a pen and paper? Typing on your laptop? Or via a voice-activation program?

As you may know, I should write exclusively via voice-activation, but I don’t. For me, there are varying levels of pain with the different modes of writing. Typing on the keyboard at my previous 80-words-a-minute is out of the question. I can usually handle pen and paper for maybe a page or two, “hunting and pecking” with a pen gripped in my fist for a little longer. I can generally scribble in the margins for big-picture edits without too much problem, and I can dictate by microphone for as long as my throat can handle. (And yes, there is such a thing as RSI of the throat muscles!)

Why do I switch between modes when it is healthiest for me to write by “voice”? Because being a writer involves wearing many hats, and…
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Somewhere in Time

I am blogging today about an author who died a few days ago. She was African American, and a writer whom I admired for her success as an author, her years in the business, many things, but mostly because she was also just too cool for words — but I’m going to give it a try by jotting down a few thoughts about her as they come to me.

Two years ago, Leslie E. Banks and I hung out over a weekend in October at an event called Phauxcon, a pop culture fan event created more than 10 years ago by my good friend Sierra Hurtt. Don’t ask me how Sierra manages to convince luminaries like LA Banks (Vampire Huntress series) and Jim Butcher (another dinner guest a year earlier) to join a group of no more than 20 folks to talk paranormal fiction, urban fantasy, gaming, role-playing, sci-fi television, Spike and Buffy, or you name…
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