Friday, May 23, 2008

May: Novella in a Month Challenge! Week 4

The end is in sight! CataUniversity's May novella challenge continues as I post my final updates. Off we go!

Day 25

Some days, it's all I can do to open a manuscript file and get a single word typed. Others, it's all I can do to manage anything else. The Big Bang was today, folks; the day when the entire story exploded, fell together, and landed at the inevitable feet of two simple words...The End.

It Is Finished! In a final push to find out what happens to Steve and Jessamine, I pounded out 4,240 words to beat the challenge and find myself with a finished draft. 27,139 words in 25 days...not bad for a plotless writer. Salud. :)

But stick around...I'm not finished with challenge updates! Stay tuned for more notes, a surprise, and an interview with Deidre Durance, whose prize winning suggestion formed the basis for the hero of Island Seduction.

Today's Favorite Line away too much of the ending. Here's a runner-up: "You could have talked about your little...adventure, but you didn't.”
“Maybe I've been busy.”
“And maybe you know the same thing I know.” Mr. Rose moved to stand behind Jessamine's seat. “The general populace is in no way prepared to know their common myths are all...real.

Day 24

I've noticed an interesting fact about my writing. The more trouble my characters get themselves into, the harder and faster I type. And where they've wound up today, I'm typing about three hundred words per minute. My Big Bang Theory is coming...

Word count: 988; Total to date: 22,899

Today's Favorite Line Written: “A fun little bonus, blissful ignorance. Consider it a free gift with purchase."

Day 23

What I lacked in yesterday's anemic word count I made up for with today's whopper...having to leave to go to my "other job" was a tough prospect when all I wanted to do was let my hero have his hair-blowing, triumphant moment. For now, his hair is still experiencing the effects of island humidity, and he's surrounded by trouble.

Word count: 1924; Total to date: 21,911

Today's Favorite Line Written: "Look, it's obvious I'm interested in her. But that interest is purely sexual, not professional."

Day 22--The end is seriously nigh!

...with both the challenge and my story. My characters are about to hit their most dire of straits, and my fingers are pounding furiously to get them out.

Word count: 422; Total to date: 20,409

Today's Favorite Line Written: “So, that's what you think? We can just go our separate ways, you'll make your client happy, and then never mention the...unusual things you saw to another living soul?”
“Excellent idea. Must be why you've got the big office.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

May: Novella in a Month Challenge! Week 3

CataUniversity's May novella challenge continues, and while I'll be posting updates daily, they are grouped by week rather than in thirty separate posts. Off we go!

Day 21--Week 3 ends with a bang

All Is Lost with my story.

Sounds dire, doesn't it? A dread moment when a writer throws up their hands and scratches the whole piece, maybe even considers giving up writing altogether. Not so! In fact, it's one of my favorite points in a story.

I reached that moment today where my characters lose everything, with no hope of regaining it. Will they succumb to a turn in the tides...or rally to beat the odds? Stay tuned!

Word count: 735; Total to date: 19,987

Today's Favorite Line Written: The only man she'd ever met who could make tropical resort wear look good--no, downright corporate--strolled to the wide window overlooking his villa and private strip of beach.

Day 20

Caught in the act! Well, not entirely *that* act, but there was a bit of a surprise for my characters today. While writing this scene I realized I am known to throw a bucket of cold water or two on the more...heated moments in stories. A phone will ring, an argument will ensue, a startling moment of clarity will dawn...something to interruptus the in flagrante.

Such distractions draw out the inevitable, building even more sweet tension and torture than a simple parade of private interludes can. Plus, they're fun to write!

Word count: 1,034; Total to date: 19,252

Today's Favorite Line Written: What the hell was going on here? Who was Steve...really?
A mocking whisper answered. "If he's a man you picked, you can bet you're not being summoned to the office for that long-overdue Employee of the Month badge."

Day 19

Conflict. We try to avoid it like the plague in life, but live for it in our fiction. Go figure! I love to write conflict--not just dire, life-threatening climax, but the minor niggles, the subtle tension between characters that leaves you with that feel of an itch lingering just out of reach, one that desperately needs to be scratched. Conflict keeps our fingers flipping the pages of a good book, keeps us looking for the stick so we can reach that itchy spot and satisfy it.

Here's to itchy writing!

Word count: 1,083; Total to date: 18,218

Today's Favorite Line Written: "You came, you saw, you conquered...not necessarily in that order. Now go away.”

Day 18

Magical Moments Week continues with something I like to call Rules Can Be Fun. No, I wasn't one of those kids who lived to be named Hall Monitor...I'm talking about establishing rules for characters and worlds in fantasy/paranormal settings.

Thus far this week I've begun sculpting the physical realm of the resort's ninth floor portal, the fact that guests on the upper floors (and occasionally below) are not always human, and that some of those otherworldly entities include angels, vampires, and even gods.

When creating a story using fantasy characters, a writer has to establish rules for them to function under. Do angels really fly? Are they as cherubic and pure as lore portrays? Do they interact romantically--or outright erotically--with mortals? Do vampires in this world fit the usual lore, or are they variants? How do they coexist among other races--and humans--in a resort setting? On and on the questions go...and it's a real kid-in-a-chocolate-shop ride to get to establish these rules and the minutiae that branches off each one.

Few things in writing are cooler than this, but one of them is the fact that if there's anything MORE fun and intriguing than Rule Making, it's getting to stretch and play around in that universe once the game plan is set! So as great as Magical Moments has been thus far, there's nowhere to go from here but up!
(Did I mention how much I LOVE being a fiction writer?)

Word count: 1,008; Total to date: 17,135

Today's Favorite Line Written: Sometimes life paid you back in pennies; other, gold doubloons...and tonight he was Steve, Pirate Captain of the High Seas.

Day 17

Boy, what a fun day. My hero--and I--got our first look at the mysterious ninth floor of the Amante del Mar resort...a floor that defies the very fabric of physics, reality, and paranormal romance!

Have you ever seen a film that opens onto a jaw-dropping, panoramic sight? The first glimpse of the monstrous spaceship in the opening of Star Wars, the first look at Hogwart's castle in Harry Potter...or the magical all-candy room inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory? Characters stare in jaw-dropping wonder, dramatic music swells to a crescendo...there are moments in writing that feel just like that.

Today was one.

Word count: 984; Total to date: 16,127

Today's Favorite Line Written:The first thing Steve did when stepping out onto the ninth floor was to do a quick mental calculation of just how many alcoholic beverages he'd consumed that night. Once certain he wasn't raging drunk, he glanced at Chuck and decided to rename him Toto.

Not only were they not in Kansas anymore, this wasn't even Oz.

Day 16
**warning: today's blurb contains adult content**

My education in the ways of Lust continued today as I finished writing the sizzling confrontation between the demigod servant of Eros and heroine Jessamine. He seems to have proven a naughty influence on me, since my guest blog over on Eternal Press Authors today talks about What Makes Erotica Erotic.

Today's word count and favorite line is brought to you by...Dr. Pepper.
Day 16 count: 888 words. Total to date: 15143

Day 16 Favorite Line: "You've reached the moment of overstaying your welcome...unless you desire a lesson in how a fiery tongue might be of better use to your gods.”
Jessamine drew back, distancing her flesh from supernaturally fortified chemistry until the tingle of hardening nipples ceased. “They're not my gods.”
Lust's eyes missed nothing. “Indeed?”

Day 15
**warning: today's blurb contains adult content**

Also known as Day 3 of "My muse is a caffeine freak," which I blogged about over on Bragging Rites!

Introducing Lust, demigod servant of Eros whose supernaturally gorgeous looks are capable of bringing women to their knees...and whose obsession to prove that his powers exceed demigod Love's prompts some red hot and devious interference in the lives of visitors to the Amante del Mar resort.

Now that I've finally put him onstage, Lust is even hotter and more driven by his own lascivious powers than I envisioned! I can't wait to see what he'll conjure up next...and to write a planned episode featuring Lust in a romantic subplot of his own.

Today's count: 1231; total to date: 14255

Day 15 Favorite Line: Brows arched over Lust's feral gaze. “You presume to know the mind of a god? Rather daring to come alone with such an accusation." He shifted in his seat, forcing Jessamine to avert her gaze from the dangerous bulge rising in his trousers. “I'm not sure whether to be aroused in anger...or desire.”

Saturday, May 10, 2008

May: Novella in a Month Challenge! Week 2

CataUniversity's May novella challenge continues, and while I'll be posting updates daily, they are grouped by week rather than in thirty separate posts. Off we go!

Day 14
**warning: today's blurb contains adult themes**

Well! Today I woke up inspired enough to dash off another scene first thing, can of Coke in hand (no coffee filters). So, my theory proves muse is a caffeine-a-holic. Perhaps an intervention is in order.

Meanwhile, I'm excited that today's scene writes me right up to a much-deliberated and awaited cliffhanger moment in my series: the introduction of Love and Lust. Characters in all senses of the word, the ongoing rivalry between these demigod servants of Athena and Eros over whose powers are greater leads to some rather inspired spying--and fierce meddling--in the affairs of my main characters. I can't wait to see what they have to say for themselves when my heroine confronts them...tomorrow. If I can wait that long.

Today's count: 830; total to date: 13024

Day 14 Favorite Line: Since when had Jessamine Sinclair lost her wit over rippling muscles, no matter how artfully arranged? Yet she'd let a man love her senseless inside a closet, for God's sake—and while on duty to boot. Maybe she was delirious, gripped in the fever of some rare, tropical disease.

Day 13

My funktacular mood continued in force...mind is exhausted, body not far behind. Finally started reviving at, of all places, WORK, and several hours into my shift I took a break and cranked out a whopping 1,469 on my word count.

In a moment of sheer genius, I think I figured out the big mystery.
More caffeine=more word count. Zero caffeine=funktacularness.

Total to date: 12,194

Day 13 Favorite Line: No doubt some high-end money was draining out to afford penthouse floor accommodations; money spent sticking it to some trashy broad instead of treasuring his wife. Steve stifled the urge to introduce Chuck to a little beauty he liked to call his Right Hell-Hook.

Day 12

Well, my Mother's Day reprieve was apparently a temporary one; today I did absolutely no writing. In fact, I pretty much embargoed the computer altogether and recharged by snuggling on the couch watching movies with my daughter. I've been so busy between the recent release of A Grand Seduction, my Green Writing Challenge campaigning, and my job/life that I imagine my brain is somewhat rejecting the idea of adding One More Thing. Today's day off left me in something of a funk--I do miss it when I'm not writing and think I should be--but was definitely needed.

Word Count: Still stands at 10,725

Day 11
**warning: today's blurb contains adult situations**

This ostrich is trying to pull her head out of the sand of procrastination, so I buckled down to some serious business and wrote my characters out of the closet today. They'd been giving the silent treatment in protest over my leaving them hanging for a couple days, but for Mother's Day they apparently decided to give me a break.

I hope your Mother's Day was as festive and productive as mine! Gotta love making your quota, fresh vegetable cheese omelettes, luscious ripe fruit, and bunches of flowers...followed by a family stroll to the ice cream shop to honor our household's other official holiday: Ice Cream Sunday!

Word count: 928 words today, total 10,725

Day 11 Favorite Line: “I didn't let you drag me here for wild sex.” Her sultry whisper turned his stomach sideways until a fresh wave of desire twitched. “But that doesn't mean I'm not properly thankful for it.”

Day 10
**warning: today's blurb contains some language**

Well, after some head scratching, glaring at the screen, abandoning the laptop for a trip to the local fresh fruit stand, and other productive writer's tricks, I managed to get 1000 words today. Still not feeling back "in the flow" with this story, but I'm headed in the right direction.

Total word count: 9797

Day 10 Favorite Line: "Don't worry," he said, squeezing her hand as he lowered it back down to her side. "I'm the Good Guy in this story. But I am a guy. And you're so damned beautiful."
Day 9

Okay, I'm really off my game! Yesterday's hiatus to take care of business turned into the better part of two. For the very prinicple of the thing, however, I squeaked out a pathetic 354 words by burning some 2 a.m. oil. Hmmm, and tomorrow I'm planning a shoppapalooza with my preschooler, Sunday's Mother's Day...I'll definitely have my quota makeup work cut out for me!

Total word count: 8248

Day 2 Favorite Line: The night he'd made his play for a table—and possibly, her—she would never have pegged him for an Upper Levels guest. He came off strictly second floor—maybe third.

Day 8: Week 2 Begins with a...fizzle

WELL, after a strong showing in Week 1, the brakes screeched to a halt today. A publisher contacted me wanting to see one of my manuscripts, so I spent my "free time" today getting it formatted and Ready For Prime Time. I'm a bit afraid to open that dark supply closet where I left my half-naked characters! They're going to be really ticked that I left 'em hanging!

Today's count= a big squat! Total to date: 7894

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May: Novella in a Month Challenge! Week 1

I'm taking part in CataUniversity's May novella challenge! I'll be posting updates here on my blog throughout the month, but rather than post thirty short separate posts on the topic I'll group them weekly. Off we go!

Day 7!! 1 week down!

Today I wound up leaving my characters in the dark...literally! It can drive me nuts to walk away from writing a scene right in the middle of a particularly juicy, scary, or suspenseful moment, but sometimes I have no choice. Getting back into "that" precise flow after I've given it distance can be tough, too, which slows down the writing overall. Other times, that bit of space allows me to come back with a fresh angle that makes the piece even stronger.

Which will be the case when I go back tomorrow and find my half-naked characters in a supply closet? Day 1 of Week 2 will tell the tale!

Day 7 Favorite Line: Draining off the foam in the dim cacophony, his eyes took in fifty scandalous sights at once—including one or two that would be permanently burned into his retinas. But no sign of the Chuckster.

Day 6
**warning: today's favorite line contains adult themes**

Finally did what I've been wanting and got straight to writing first thing (well, after breakfast). This paid off! Hit 1462 words and could easily have kept, I was on a roll. Alas, the dreaded Other Things in Life didn't care about my roll, nor that I was leaving my character in the midst of a rather shocking discovery. Ah well. Total to date: 6951.

Day 6 Favorite Line: Though of course, were he the Highlander from his sleazy novel he could have climbed a sheer, craggy cliff to a castle turret, fought fifty bad guys off at the top with a sword heavier than his last girlfriend, then boffed the rescued maiden for hours on end afterward before maybe breaking a sweat.

Day 5
**warning: today's favorite line contains a little language**

Do days ever run away from you so fast you're sure you'll never catch up? Today I had two editing projects, promotion for A Grand Seduction, a new Squidoo lens to promote, the usual assortment of Email, and oh yeah, a house to clean, daughter's hair to braid, dolls to help her dress,alphabet letters to drill, meals to make, and a job to go to. I just knew TODAY was the day I'd fail to write a single word on Island Seduction, let along hit the challenge goal. So what happened?

969 words today; total 5489. I did it!! How?

As soon as I took care of the MUSTS (dolls, hair, meal, some editing--work is later today), I dropped everything and started pounding keys. I could just have easily reversed that process--not allowed myself the fun of writing until I'd gotten my necessaries finished--but in my life, the necessaries are on endless parade. If I don't make writing one of my very TOP priorities, I'll never get around to it. So my characters were alive and kickin' today!

Day 5 Favorite Line:
During one of his baste-and-turn sessions on the deck above the beach (less irritating sand to contend with—his ass was not an oyster and he had no desire to have to pluck pearls out of it) he'd spotted an interesting anomaly about the hotel's structure—it stood several stories higher than the number of floors available from the main elevators.

Day 4
**warning: today's favorite line contains adult themes**

Broke a major rule today! I did advance the plot, but decided the opening lacked the heat of the first book. Went back and lit a can of Sterno under the characters to make 'em simmer more...and simmer they did! Still haven't hit my stride of writing on awakening, but got an early enough start to hit 200 over goal by 11:30. 1032 words today, for a total of 4520.

On a humorous side note titled, "I love to torment characters," not only is Steve sandophobic on an island, he's stuck reading ROMANCE NOVELS to while away long hours of surveillance. HA!

Day 4 Favorite Line: How did women read this stuff? Nymphs with flowing hair, nipples that hardened into giant pencil erasers with a mere glance at a man, spreading their legs in pornographic delight by the second chapter...whoever wrote this junk never met any of the women HE'D ever dated, that was for damn sure. And he hadn't exactly grown up in a monastery.

Day 3

Introducing Steve Detroit, my hunky alpha P.I. He's turning into quite the character--humorous, smooth, sexy, and determined to let nothing get between him and the truth about his cheating brother-in-law...though the seductive Jessamine may undermine this plan.

I love when my characters take some free reign in how they develop. It’s an exciting part of the writing process. So much so that today I did 1486 words, for a total to date of 3488. Too bad I have to go to work, or else I’d probably try to hit the frozen yogurt shop again. (I do try not to let my calorie count exceed word counts!)

Day 3 Favorite Line: He should probably be grateful he hadn't been sent to a nudist colony. Not that he was prude—not by a long shot. But the one such beach he'd seen didn't exactly attract supermodels and fitness buffs...and he wasn't keen on all the exotic places sand liked to wedge into afterward.

Day 2
Work was so nutty yesterday that I was too blown to give even a wisp of thought to my male lead or the story. Then I had a fun guest blog stint scheduled for this morning, a spouse who needed errands run, and a 4-year-old who had apparently made some major Mommy 'n Me plans. I didn't even start on the challenge until this afternoon, with constant interruptions.

Nevertheless, I somehow made 50 words over goal! Not quite as far ahead as yesterday, but I'll take it. Of course I had to celebrate by immediately abandoning the laptop to take my daughter for frozen yogurt!

Day 2 Favorite Line: Jessmine turned to find her boss in his usual stance, hands behind his back and a pasted-on smile that had the unsettling ability to say, "Here to serve" to customers and, "Watch your ass" to employees at the same time.

Day 1
I bit my nails all the way through last night, as I had no plot or even a male lead! Not how I begin a writing project, to say the least. To kick my muse in the butt I held an 11th hour contest on NovelSisterhood, and got a great suggestion from winner Deidre Durance for a P.I. alpha male that I'm going to "hunk up."

Despite the worry I managed exceed the daily goal of 830 words and did 1122! I opened with the female lead, who I know more about, ending with the intro of Mr. Hunk. The rest of today I'll hand him over to my muse to think on in prep for Day 2.

Day 1 Favorite Line:
Angel wings and Bermuda shorts definitely did not mix—for a number of reasons, she grumbled—and the manager had to be called in to reaffirm the resort policy on certain types of...mingling before human diners caught a feathery glimpse.