Old Idea Finally Starting to Sprout

I have been working on a few ideas, but I’ve put them aside for maybe just “weekend” quickies (my working “weekend” is Sunday and Monday).  I’ve put them aside because I am very, VERY excited about a project I am calling FOSTER.  That is the name for the series.  It’s not a person’s first or last name or anything, but it fits.  Supernatural elements, erotic sex, and hopefully thrilling pace and plot twists!!  It’s a series with the same male protagonists in each book, two sexy guys that might end up with hot ladies but their main goals in the books are actually plot driven.

I’ve been mulling over this idea for a few years now, but it feels like the right time!

What are YOU excited about right now?  Do you have any ideas you’ve been chewing on for a while but haven’t had the time/guys to follow through?

A Break Through in My Sleep!

Two days ago I posted about a block on my writing, a barrier placed by my brain on my stories.  I don’t enjoy calling this Writer’s Block because of all of the stereotypical assumptions that come with that term, from a writer’s POV and a critics.

Still, I was stuck.  And as you may have noticed, I was stuck on two stories, not just one.  Now I also have a day job as well as go to school, both are technically full time.  So while I reread the first lesson in the How to Think Sideways course, I didn’t have time to act on it.

Or so I thought – and at least physically I was correct.  My Muse on the other hand jumped at what Holly calls ‘The Shadow Room’.

All of the following concerns ‘TAaTB’ as I have yet to have had time to also do work for ‘Chasing Maggie’.

I dreamed last night and it was on my characters, the artist and the fitness mogul/biker.  They were honestly things I hadn’t had time to think of, but DID weigh on my subconscious.  The dream I had started out in ‘The Shadow Room’ and lead to the first time one character reveals feelings and leaves the other running.  Literally.

This dream was… amazing.  I was in their bodies, both of them, felt everything.  It was like I was writing/living the scene.  I felt so inspired.

So when I had a moment, I clustered today.  First about the dream and then about the two characters.  Set the timer for 15 minutes (I do most things in 15 minute segments) and before I knew it I was done and was looking up at a BUNDLE of new and interesting clusters on what that scene revealed and one cluster for both characters.  Took only 45 minutes, and now I have something to go on.  Especially because there are some bizarre similarities with the male character as the female character, and they weren’t intentional because the visual (I am a far more visual person) stimulus for the words were completely different.  And not all the words have the same feel, but it’s a similarity non-the-less.  Which makes me want to know what my male character is hiding.

My thought barrier took no thinking at all.  It is SAFE.  Absolutely.  With both stories, especially when writing a sequel to ‘Taking Maggie‘, I am stuck in the SAFE box.  And I didn’t have to look at the description but I did.  “SAFE Never Starts” and it’s true.  The two pages I have for ‘Chasing Maggie’ are the two that were written when I was planning on following up with another chapter.

So SAFE never starts.  The damn-dest thing is, I don’t live a SAFE life.  I am an entrepreneur making very little $ selling products I make BY HAND.  Talk about inviting imperfection and complications.  My husband and I are both full time students as well and I am also chasing this dream of being a writer.  I have no business being in the SAFE zone.

My plan is to follow this up with another session like it tomorrow for ‘Chasing Maggie’.  For now I am going to run with what I have found today.  I’m hoping that when I sit down with these a little later tonight I can overcome the last obstacle for ‘TAaTB’: what pulls them to be in each others lives at first.  Because I only have them in each others’ worlds once a month.  That won’t do.

Stuck and Grumpy – but with a Fix in Mind!

I’m working on two different stories right now and I’m getting a bit stuck with them both.  I have three or four others floating around, but I am determined to finish these two first:

Chasing Maggie (the sequel to Taking Maggie)

The Artist and the Biker (horrible working title)

I am flummoxed with both at this moment, and that’s not a good thing.  Sometimes twists and turns can leave you feeling bewildered as well, but those are often good.  I feel like I was writing and writing and BAM!  Opened up the word document to find a big brick wall in my face!

Now, I know this is what most people call ‘Writer’s Block‘ but I don’t believe it’s something that’s gotta last like so many writers.  I believe that we’ve created the problem and we can solve it.  I’ve had this many times before and there are ways around it – scratch that, there are ways to break through writer’s block.  Not ways around it.

My favorites come from running through Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways over again (though she does have a course in just breaking writer’s block).  I’ve been through the HTTS course fully once.  I’ve gone back for fixes and inspiration many, many times.  I keep finding new things in old lessons, but then Holly’s continuously adding to the freaking thing so there’s new stuff in there I haven’t even encountered.  I don’t really use the huge community, I am more of an introvert then someone who likes to share.  Though I did meet Scarlet Darkwood through it!

I figure I’ll be going through it, and it’s a writing thing, so why not share my stuff here?  Obviously I can’t share her lessons but I can at least share my growth and brainstorms and see how I can break through any walls my muse has put in my path.

And at the same time get through my mental blocks on CM and TAaTB.  Because I am stuck in the same place for both of them.  I have CM plotted out (and even more in that series ready to get written) but I am stuck on PAGE 2!!!  And with TAaTB, I’m stuck with the love interest, Brody – who I am seriously thinking of renaming.

Okay, so that’s it for now.  Off to do the first lesson of the course (which is apparently a new first lesson) and to move on to work and homework (still have to keep up with college).

MIA – But Not Lacking Effort

I’ve been a little MIA recently.  It’s a long story, but it ends up with me now completely self-employed again and working my butt off.  At least until Christmas Eve.  I’m a Buddhist, so Christmas is X-Mas to me, a time to spoil others, appreciate what you have in your life and try your best to let everyone know you love them.  Not too shabby!!

On the writing front I have actually published 4 other short stories since ‘Taking Maggie’…  just under another pen name.  I don’t know that I’ll ever share it with anyone, not because what I am writing would turn others off, but because I feel a bit like Stephen King with his Richard Bachman alter-ego.  When I write as this other “person” I am in a different mindset.  I feel different, I write differently, I even sit differently.  It’s wonderful and a great creative spin.

So it comes down to I have been writing (and tweeting and blogging) but on another front.  Add to that the push I created for sales in my Etsy shop (see the ‘Day Job’ tab above) and I kept myself very busy.

I am onto a new story.  I want this one to be longer, around 15k to 20k words.  It’s funny, I remember when I was younger I couldn’t write shorter works.  Everything I wrote was long and tended towards the side of ‘epic’ in it’s literal and not popularized meaning.  Now though, I love kicking out these short ‘already have feelings, but gotta make it to the sex’ pieces.  Of course, when I was a teen that was a good amount of my fanfic too, just they were longer stories.

At the moment I am in the plotting process for what I am unhappily calling “The Artist and the Biker”.  I can’t wait until I come up with a title for this one, even another working title.  I am getting tired of the ‘and the Biker’ add-ons.  I hope to start writing the actual story by at the latest Monday, but sometime this weekend would be great too.

Lastly, I am considering changing my word count goal.  750 has been the goal, because of how busy I am.  However, since my ultimate goal is to shut down the Etsy shop (or at least only sell things I just make in my off time, if I haven’t made them for me) that means that the writing will have to cover that income.  As I’ve figured that if sales balance out, I’d only need 29 more stories to get to the point where I am a fulltime writer.  And if I want them to be longer (at least some of them) 750 words a day is going to make that finish line stretch out waaaaay too far.

Also, considering the financial crunch I am in right now, I am looking at the very realistic goal of fulltime, mostly self-published writer by the end of 2014.  So… yeah.  Wow.  That with the goal (yoga) of holding myself in Scorpion Pose when I can’t even do Bakasana for longer than 2 seconds…  I’ve got some work to do.

At this time I feel 1200 a day is not too much to ask.  When I start the story, I’ll be aiming for that number on a daily basis.  My goal is to get to 3000 a day by March or April.  With each new story comes a little bit more freedom.  And if I happen to have a day job employed by another company (instead of by myself), I’ll be shutting down the Etsy shop completely for a while.

Alright, off to do more plotting, drink more coffee and work more on the Etsy shop 😀

Just A Quickie

I am currently working on a short story to be submitted to Silver Publishing for their Halloween releases.  They’re calling for 5k plus, so I am shooting for around 8k to 11k.  It’s got disguises, haunted houses, easy scares, cheap thrills and hot sex!  Yay!  It’s M/M and I need to get it in by August 25th (I am shooting for the 20th).

I did very little plotting for this one, but I love the fall and Halloween elements.  It has always been my favorite time of the year.  Leaves turning and falling, hoodies, bonfires, a nice chill in the air, Halloween movies on late at night, decorations everywhere for several months on end (lol), the anticipation of a HUGE Thanksgiving meal…

And for me, more schooling!  I’ve got three classes going on and I’m a little thrilled and nervous as this will be the first semester where I’ll be going into a classroom.  At least since I went to film school in West Palm Beach.

So much to look forward to and so little time to do it all!

Cover and Small Personal Story Behind the Newly Published “Mariana Takes Charge”

Whew, I have been so busy recently that I haven’t taken the time I should to blog, even though I’ve got a million topics that I want to discuss. I’ve got orders to complete locally, a dog that we just recently adopted that is still sick and needs attention, my anniversary coming up this Sunday, another cover to work out with Velary, three other stories that are priorities, but thLeo&MarianaCoveren I’ve also got the house to clean, new products to design and create, products to post that have been waiting, and just general day job stuff.  Then I am also trying to take a few minutes out of my days to draw and study with Holly Lisle’s ‘How to Think Sideways’ course.

I am in desperate need of a stronger, more all-encompassing routine, lol.

For now I just wanted to note that ‘Mariana Takes Charge‘ is now up for sale!  And as usual it’s a quickie under 6k, so it’s priced at only .99 cents!

I really enjoyed writing this one, it’s unique in the way that I have an odd personal connection to it.

This bit won’t help sell the book I am sure.  I should be sitting here talking about how sexy it is, or what juicy parts I liked… but I’m a real person, not just an author trying to market.  And I feel that if I am writing here on my blog, I want to do it as me.

Usually I put myself out there in my writing – don’t we all?  But I started writing this story based off of a conversation that a friend and I had, a friend that has recently passed away.  He was a really good guy and when he died I realized I had to finish writing this.  Not that this is a tribute to him, that would be a bit weird.  But it’s just the connection I have with the story.  It felt good to finish it, and to get it published.

I’ve added him as a character to another book – this one not erotica – and that piece will most certainly encapsulate his personality and be a real attempt at showing the world what a complex and great person he was.

That being said, ‘Mariana Takes Charge‘ is more of a twist to real life, substituting another person (Mariana) as the main character and seeing where it all could have gone in a different world.  I do that a lot.  Please, if there are other writers out there, let me know if you do this too!  Sort of a AU for your own life events (whether you are in the stories as a thinly veiled character or it’s just someone completely different).

I did want to thank Scarlett Darkwood and Liza Search for the quick betas, and Velary-Ann Maddox for the cover.

My Hot Biker Character and What I Am Drawn To – Image Post

In writing my last post about getting away from your type as a writer and opening up, I decided to look up a picture or two to base my character on so I would have a good idea of the looks I am shooting to describe.  Now, I must preface this by saying I have never actually seen Sons of Anarchy but this is the best representation of the looks of the character I am writing.

I don’t remember exactly what I typed into Google, but it was something like “hot blond biker rough” and that pulled up some interesting things!!  But not for an M/F book!  Lol, so I played around with words until I found this guy, Jax from Sons of Anarchy.  Yeah, he’s pretty tasty.  Love those eyes too.

Shorter Hair is more accurate to the character in my book.

lance (1)

Erotica Blog.  Occasional shirtless guys are pretty much obligatory.
Erotica Blog. Occasional shirtless guys are pretty much obligatory.

So yeah, he’s hot and all that but he’s not really my type.  All the while I am trying to find my character, I am looking at pictures like this (heehee):

Ryan Reynolds
So I guess I’m like an old, stubborn dog.  There’s no teaching me new tricks.  Since I was a kid, it’s always been dark hair, dark eyes and a little bit of bad boy to them.  It’s not that I cannot see the good looks in others, but I know what gives me the happies 🙂

Off to write.  Aiming to finish this one today.

Sexy, unedited snippet from ‘Beauty and the Biker’

I have been putting my 750 words first in the day, after breakfast and meditation, but today I just seemed to forget and was working on my Etsy shop (see the ‘Day Job’ tab for more info about that) before I realized that, OOPS! gotta get my words in.

So I hit the word processor.  I am now up to 4525 words with ‘Beauty and the Biker’, 847 of that from today cruising through that halfway mark.

I need to find a work count widget for this blog so I can keep the word counts updated daily without having to make a post solely regarding the word counts.

Before I go here is a raw, unedited total first draft snippet of what I am working on.

“Maggie.”  The voice was a low growl and sounded as if it took real effort to get the syllables out.  “Go change.”

She looked down and felt herself pale.  She jean shorts she had were practically daisy dukes but now thanks to the rain they weren’t just short but plastered to her skin, not hiding anything.  Her thin, yellow t-shirt now looked painted on and the material was leaning towards translucent, her pink lacey bra underneath visible, nipples stiffened by the chill.

As she looked up from under her lashes at Lance, her eyes wild, her mouth opened to say something, anything… but it was too late.  She saw his resolve to stand there like a statue – to be a gentleman – snap.

In two large strides he met her, one hand sliding into her loose bun and yanking out the hair tie, the other simultaneously pushing against the small of her back, bringing her closer to him.

That’s it for today.  I have a huge ‘To Do’ list that I need to get to so have a great day, all!

Erotica Writer INTERVIEW: Cassandra Carr

BIO: Cassandra Carr is a multi-published, award-winning erotic romance writer with Ellora’s Cave, Siren, and Loose Id who lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. Cassandra’s book Caught was recently named Best BDSM Book 2011 by LoveRomancesCafe.

Nymph Du Pave: What lead to your choice to write?

Cassandra Carr: Funny enough, getting laid off and deciding to have a baby. I know that’s not a real traditional route to take, but it worked for me.

NDP: What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us? (it will be linked to as a PDF)

CC: I’m currently working on the first book of a five-book series which revolves around IT geek heroes. I love geeks (I married one) and think they’re underrepresented in the romance market. 😉  Here’s a snippet – UNEDITED, as the book has not sold:

A knock sounded at the door and Keith rose to answer it. When the woman Michael assumed was Juliet stepped into the room he made a distinctly undignified gurgling sound. This gorgeous, elegant woman was their director of IT? He thanked the heavens for small favors when it appeared she hadn’t heard him. She glanced around and Michael took a few seconds to assess her.

Her brown, shiny hair hung to just below her ears, and even though her mouth was currently drawn into a thin line, it was obvious she had a beautiful set of lips that Michael could think of about a thousand uses for. Her gaze was cold, but an undeniable source of heat lurked in their depths, as if she was at once furious and also completely disapproving of SOS being there. She was wearing a snug red sweater and a slim black skirt with black high-heeled boots that lovingly wrapped around her calves, and she was currently tapping her foot in a staccato beat. A throat cleared beside him.

“Michael?” PJ prompted.

Shit. No doubt PJ had noticed his reaction to Juliet.

“Um…”

Fucking brilliant, man.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” Juliet snapped. She stepped forward and held out her hand. “Juliet Brun, director of IT.”

NDP: Do you see writing as a career, either current or future?

CC: It’s definitely my career now! I’m a full-time writer, or as full-time as you can be with a toddler at home part of the time. I fully intend to make this my life’s work.

NDP: Do you have a message or theme you want to get across? Is that something that is in all of your work, or just a particular line/series/piece?

CC: There are different themes in different pieces. Overall, love conquers all.

NDP: Where would you like to be 5 years from now?

CC: On a bestsellers’ list. But seriously, if I can make enough money from my writing to help send my daughter to college I’ll feel like my mission in life is complete.

NDP: What books have most influenced your life most?

CC: The Westing Game, when I was younger. It was a Newberry Award Winner in the late 1970’s (dating myself, eek!) and I read it until it fell apart. I still have a copy of it.

I also enjoy books like Pride and Prejudice.

NDP: What book are you reading now?

CC: Fifty Shades of Grey. I figure since it’s in my genre I should see what all the hype is about. I’m about halfway through it. I have all three of the trilogy but I’m not sure I’ll read them all since I have over 200 books on my to-be-read list.

NDP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? (OR) What is CC: the hardest part of writing for you?

CC: Productivity is by far my biggest challenge. I only have part-time childcare so when I do I really need to put words down on the screen. It’s hard to fly into productivity and stay there all day, though. I also write at night after my daughter has gone to bed, but I’m tired then and sometimes it’s a struggle to get up the energy to sit down and write a few thousand words. I do sprints with other writers on Twitter – that helps a lot!

NDP: Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so how do you get through it?

CC: Every writer does. Here’s my advice for beating writer’s block: keep writing. Don’t allow yourself to stop; you’ll lose all momentum and compound the problem. You will eventually write yourself out of writer’s block, so even if you have to re-work or delete part of what you did it’s better than nothing.

NDP: How do you find inspiration?

CC: Oh wow. Inspiration is everywhere! I am often inspired by one small kernel which turns into an entire book. In my release, Collision, the whole story was started with the idea of the King of Rodeo and the Ice Queen. The plot and characters grew entirely out of that.

NDP: How do you keep the love of writing alive?

CC: I keep selling books. 😉 Seriously, this is what I love to do, and when it gets hard I just look at my friends and family who are struggling in Corporate America. Do I want to change places with them? Hell no!

NDP: Have you learned anything from writing? What was it?

CC: You mean like life lessons? That you if you want something badly enough and work hard enough for it, combined with doing the proper research into how to do it, you will have a much greater likelihood of succeeding.

NDP: What do you feel are your strong points? What about things you’re working to improve?

CC: I’m told my sex scenes are my strong points, along with heroes my readers can fall in love with. My weaknesses? Hmm. Probably secondary plotting. I tend to keep a very tight focus on my hero and heroine. That’s okay in a shorter work, but in the longer works it’s a problem because you need subplots and secondary characters to keep the story moving.

NDP: Do you have any advice for other writers?

CC: Everyone has advice, and I’m no exception. 🙂 If you really want to be a writer, write. Finish that book. Don’t say you’re going to; actually do it. Lots of people WANT to be writers, but not very many really are.

NDP: Do you write an outline before every book/story you write?

CC: HAHAHAHAHA No. I’m a pantser, to the point that sometimes I end a chapter and literally have no idea what I’m going to write next. I oftentimes don’t know how a book is going to end. I’ll be typing along and cock my head. “That looks like a good place to finish.” The End. There, done.

NDP: How do you come up with characters that are not only real to you and your readers but continue to intrigue you through the life of their in-book/series time?

CC: I write characters I’d like to read about. It’s as simple as that.

NDP: What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily/weekly writing goal?

CC: I don’t have a typical day since my childcare is somewhat in flux, but when I write I try to sit down at the computer for at least an hour at a time. I don’t always write during that entire hour, sometimes I check email and the like, but I try not to get up more than once an hour. I write mostly in the corner of my living room (remember that toddler I mentioned?) and at cafes if I need to leave the house. I don’t set writing goals. I think they’d stress me out. I’m pretty prolific so I don’t really need them either.

 

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I want to thank Cassandra for taking the time for this interview!  I hope you enjoyed reading it.

If you are an author and would like to be interviewed please contact me at ndpave@gmail.com or send me a direct message on Twitter (@nymphdupave).  Thanks.