Monthly Archives: January 2014

Love Spanks and Brand

Earlier this month I did some musing about branding based on what little I understand about it – mostly that it deals with recognition and expectation.

I may have mentioned Love Spanks at the time, as well. 

Since then, I have decided to use an excerpt from an unfinished novel (don’t pretend that you don’t have a bunch of those around!) rather than something more… erotic… written for the occasion.

I did this for a couple reasons.

One: I’m lazy.

Two: I don’t write erotica, at least, not under this name.  (Well, not as such.  There may be some scenes now and then, but…)

My brand (that I hope to create) is one of fantasy that is mostly G rated, maybe some PG-13.  (Okay, Sanguine might tip over into R territory, but that’s the exception rather than the rule, and even in it the sex, although integral to what happens between the two men, is not the focus of the plot.)

So, anyhow, back to Love Spanks.

In a conversation with Ana, the organizer, I mentioned the name of the event, because I was worried about reader expectations: there is no spanking in my excerpt.  (There isn’t any spanking in any of my books.)

She told me not to worry because most of them wouldn’t have spanking in them, which made me ask if the name was appropriate or if it would set up false expectations, and she said that it was a brand.  (She does write F/F spanking fiction.)

So, yes, the logo for this event

lovespanks2014

fits her brand perfectly.

But it doesn’t fit mine. (Er, my brand to be, that is.  Sheesh! Now I feel like I’m going to be marrying it.)  It looks wildly out of place on my blog.

I suppose that gets it noticed, but it’s also sort of… jarring.

(I swear, by the time she does something like this again I’m going to have my erotica blog (under a pen name) up and running.  It would make my life so much simpler!)

So, I’m slowly learning about creating my brand, mostly by learning what it isn’t, both as recognition and expectation.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Deadline in 5 Days

“Another Sunday night and I ain’t got no topic…”

Can I blame it on the weather?

It’s cold and snowy and totally uninspiring.

Meh, that’s a cop out.

I just haven’t felt like working on Book One of The Other Mages trilogy so I haven’t been.  Bad me.

And I’m letting myself get distracted by a shiny new plot bunny that involves a dragon.  I haven’t been writing it, but it’s been roaming around in my imagination drinking all my creative juice.

(Or at least all of it that isn’t frozen, and it’s probably using that as ice cubes.)

And I don’t know why it is, but it’s true that the more time you have to do something the less of that something you do.

For instance, my corner for doing counted cross stitch is downstairs in the front room:  there isn’t any place up here in my bedroom where I can get comfy and have good lighting for it.  Factor in that I really don’t like the babble of the television: I’m a seeker of silence and my roommate is allergic to it.  I’m also a morning person and she… isn’t.  So I get up and go downstairs and stitch before she gets up and turns on the television.  She was away all last weekend and I didn’t put a single stitch in.

The same seems to hold true for my writing.  If I have all day to write, nothing gets written.  I keep thinking that I’ll do it “as soon as I…”

It’s not procrastination, exactly. It’s more… thinking that I have more time than I do.

That’s why NaNoWriMo is so awesome.  You know that you have a limited amount of time to make your goal and that keeps you focused on it to the exclusion of all else.  (At least, it does if you are serious about doing it and make it a priority.)

Hmmm… maybe that’s my problem.  Maybe I haven’t made writing my priority lately.

Counting today, I have five days until the end of the month.

Five days to finish the first book of the Other Mages trilogy.

Five days of making writing my priority… again.

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Sunday Excerpt — January 26, 2014

More from Sanguine, a science fiction novel (still in progress) with elements of semi-paranormal M/M romance.

(Sanguine is out to my beta readers now, but still being refined and revised, so this is still a work in progress and the following lines may or may not have been hacked and recombined and creatively punctuated to fit into 10 sentences.)

If you want to pick up from the beginning, I started weekly excerpts from this in October.

Continuing from last week.  Kaen has given in to his need to take Gregor’s blood – and Gregor’s needs as well.

His fangs penetrated the soft flesh and the rich warm blood filled his mouth, fueling him to greater lust as Gregor writhed and bucked wildly beneath him. Gregor’s back arched, his body stiffening as he cried out and then he went limp, the spasm of his orgasm fading, his arms sliding from around Kaen’s back.

Kaen drew once again from the wounds on his neck and then sealed them nuzzling at his throat. 

“Gregor?” He pushed himself up and looked down at the man beneath him, so pale and still.  “Gregor?  What have I done?”  He closed his eyes, trembling. “Gregor…”  His voice was barely audible, choked by an overwhelming grief and fear.

 

Check out Weekend Writing Warriors  and Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.

My other novel, Song and Sword is currently available for Kindle and all other e-readers. 

Song and Sword cover

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for all other e-readers.

17 Comments

Filed under writing

Flash Fiction

Ye gads! I had no idea it would be that hard!

The challenge: write a 100 to 250 word flash fiction.

No sweat, I thought.  I mean,  I routinely write far more than that in a day so this should be a piece of proverbial cake, right?

Wrong.

I ended up with something that was 389 words long (and I still had so much more I wanted to write!) and I had to cut and edit and condense and… Sheesh!

But I managed to whittle it down to 249 words, and, masochist that I am, I’m looking forward to doing it again next week.

Sadly, however, it has spawned a new plot bunny and I have more than enough of those.  Still, it is something to play around with… I’m in the process of gathering characters and then we’ll see what kind of plot I end up with:

A warrior, a mage, and a cleric walk into a ruined manor house…   

All joking aside, though, it is a great exercise.

I can’t say that my chopping made it a stronger piece, quite the opposite, I think.

But it did force me to look at the words that I used more closely than I normally do and weed out some fillers.  This can only help me in other editing projects.

Meanwhile, writing something this short is going to take practice.

And is going to create a whole lot of plot bunnies…

 

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Focusing

Well, it’s been a semi-productive weekend.  I got 2 or 3 thousand words written, but I’m just not sure what I should be doing with this story right now, how much detail I should go into regarding Trebor’s training.  I know, I know.  For now, just write it.  If it feels sloggy in the pre-editing read through, fix it then.

I also launched yet another assault on my craft room, trying to get all of my counted cross stitch charts into one container and in alphabetical order.  It didn’t quite happen – I had to pull all of the Heaven and Earth Designs charts out and put them into their own bin as they were taking up over half the space in the other one.

Said assault was probably a bad idea, though.  For one thing, I should have been resting my sore knee more than I was, although I was careful not to overstress it. And for another thing, I found a whole bunch more charts that I want to pull out and kit up and start.

(I’m a serial starter for cross stitch as much as I am novels:  Stitch Bunnies are close cousins to Plot Bunnies, and I’m sure there are others in the family of New Start Bunnies.)

(Anyone want to make fake Latin names for these?  Like Bunniculi Stitchiti, Bunniculi Novelitas, and Bunniculi Novo-genesium?)

Anyhow, I’m still chugging away at Book One of The Other Mages trilogy (and working on the Peacock Sampler) and trying to stay focused and ignore all the other bunnies.

This trilogy is near and dear to my heart, seeing as how it came from my very first novel.  The first NaNoWriMo I ever did, I ended up writing what turned out to be book three of a trilogy, and I’ve been kicking around finishing them ever since.

Of course, that first ever novel has plot holes that you can fly an Air Force squadron through and is due for pretty much a total rewrite when I get back to it, but I’m still pretty darned proud of it.

I mean, really, it was my first novel – it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart, and someday (later this year if all goes well) I’ll actually share it (and the other two books) with the rest of the world…

…after I finish Books One and Two, which was supposed to happen this month, and then do Book Three’s rewrite, and then edit everything…

Oh, and name them all.

By then Sanguine will be out, so my first novel will end up being the fifth one that I publish.

I wonder if I will be as nervous as I was when I released Song and Sword?

No one ever said it was going to be easy…

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Sunday Excerpt — January 19, 2014

More from Sanguine, a science fiction novel (still in progress) with elements of semi-paranormal M/M romance.

(Sanguine is out to my beta readers now, but still being refined and revised, so this is still a work in progress and the following lines may or may not have been hacked and recombined and creatively punctuated to fit into 10 sentences.)

If you want to pick up from the beginning, I started weekly excerpts from this in October.

Picking up where last week’s left of, although I skipped a few sentences.

 

And suddenly Kaen’s lips were on his, claiming him, and he was being pushed down onto the bed, Kaen’s body on top of his, and his world spun and tilted and he wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close, wanting to be taken…

One of Kaen’s fangs nicked the corner of his mouth and Kaen slowly sucked the blood from it and Gregor moaned and clutched at him.  Kaen’s tongue sealed the cut and then he buried this face against Gregor’s neck. 

“I want you,” Kaen groaned, kissing him again.  He had finally found a mortal who had the power to match his own, and the desire for him was overwhelming.  He wanted to possess him, and be possessed by him, and he knew that the only cure for this flesh-madness was to actually take and be taken. 

“Take what is yours, Master,” Gregor panted, writhing and arching beneath him.  “Take all of what is yours… Take what is your right…”

And Kaen’s lips were at his neck, helpless to resist the urge, the need, the desire… his own magnified by Gregor’s. 

 

Check out Weekend Writing Warriors  and Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.

My other novel, Song and Sword is currently available for Kindle and all other e-readers. 

Song and Sword cover

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for all other e-readers.

22 Comments

Filed under writing

“You need to focus.”

“You need to focus” was the prompt for this week’s Thursday Threads Challenge.   I didn’t participate but I should have:  gods know that I need to take that piece of advice.

I seem to have been on a bit of a vacation this week.  (A writer’s vacation:  I may not have been writing, but I’ve been thinking about writing.)

Part of it is due to an influx of plot bunnies, none of which are related to any current works in progress, and at least one of which belongs on my other blog.  They make it really hard to focus.

Bits and pieces to the sequel to Song and Sword have been kicking around in my head as well.  I just wish they’d start forming a coherent structure of some kind.

Another factor is that I did something to really annoy my right knee and it’s happier with fewer stairs to climb so I’m staying downstairs in my stitching corner more than I am up here in my writing corner.

And yet another part of it is due to a sudden return of my cross stitch addiction.  I’m working on a chart that I’m really enjoying so even without my knee’s approval I’d be spending a lot of time in my stitching corner.

peacock 1-15-14

I probably have another two weeks or so to go on it, but I miss writing so I’m going to try to get back to juggling my hobbies better.

(No promises other than “I’ll try,” but I’d really like to get Book One of The Other Mages trilogy done by Wednesday so I can get it printed. Then again, I was hoping to have it done last Wednesday, too, and probably the Wednesday before that.)

(I’m not good at self-imposed deadlines…)

But on a brighter note, I did get my excerpt ready for Love Spanks.    I still need to finish the whole blog post but the major part of it (deciding on an excerpt) is done.

That has led me to doing a lot of thinking about brand recognition so there may be another post on it in the near future, once I sort things out in my own head a bit more.

Now to see if I can have actual novel progress by Monday.

I can if I would just stop letting myself be pulled in so many different directions.

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Brands

No, not the kind that involves a hot piece of metal applied to flesh.

And not the kind that sits on a grocery store’s shelves, although that might be a closer analogy.

No, I’m talking about recognition and expectation.

(I am far from being an expert on this (I’m probably as non-expert on it as you can get!) but I do have a few thoughts and things I’ve learned so far that may or may not make sense to anyone else and may or may not help anyone else, but I thought I’d put them out here for people to take, leave, or laugh at. )

Let’s start with recognition.

Is there something about your book covers that people can look at it and say, “Hey, that’s by So-and-so!  I like his/her stuff” without even seeing the name?

Yeah, mine either.

Of course, I only have one book out right now (Song and Sword)  but Sanguine will be out next month (knock wood) and will have a totally different look to it.

Of course, one is fantasy and the other is sort of science fiction.

(On the other hand, all of my science fiction books may end up with similar covers.  Sadly, I write fantasy more than I do sci fi.)

I am hoping that the books of The Other Mages trilogy will have similar covers. (I haven’t even thought that far yet!) and all of the books of The Academy of the Accord series will (hopefully) have an identifying logo on them.

Future books?   Hard to say, but unless they belong to a series they probably won’t be immediately recognizable as mine.

Why not?  Well… Because I didn’t think this whole “brands” thing through very well because I didn’t really understand what it was.  (I’m still not sure that I do and I never did find a good explanation of it other than, “you’ll know it when you know it.”)

I’m not quite sure how to fix it, so for now I’ll muddle along the way I am until I get an “Aha!” moment.  (If I ever do I’ll share it with you.)

So, moving on to expectation, because that’s pretty much what sparked the idea for this post.

When you go into a bookstore (remember those?) and see a book by your favorite author, you have certain expectations of what is inside.  Examples from a couple of my favorite authors:

Philip K. Dick: sci fi that is not far from current reality but that is going to break my mind into little pieces and scatter it across the cosmos and then reassemble it into something that looks almost but not quite how it looked to start with.  His books always bend my mind.

C.J. Cherryh: I expect to encounter alien worlds and alien cultures and a human trying to adapt to it or understand it.

Now, as above, I don’t have enough stuff out there for people to have a set expectation yet, and this is where my current dilemma lies.

In Song and Sword there was some romance, all M/F, but nothing erotic.

The Other Mages doesn’t have any, really.   (There may be some in Book Three but since it’s in for a drastic rewrite when I get to it, there may not be.)

Sanguine has a fair amount of M/M erotica (even after cutting one scene that was pretty much just gratuitous sex.)  (The other sex scenes may still get cut or at least toned down, depending on feedback from my beta readers.)

The Academy of the Accord series… is complicated.  The bond between wizard and Warder does sometimes lead to physical relations and there are some gay male characters.

But in none of the books is the focus on romantic or erotic relationships.  Yes, in some of them it happens, but it happens in real life, too.

So readers of my books can expect that, regardless of any relationships, there is more to the book than whether or not two people are going to hook up.

But lately a friend has been urging me to write some erotica.  (I mentioned the Love Spanks weekend on Friday.  I’ll have more details on it this Friday.)

But erotica… it doesn’t fit my brand.

So, if I yield to temptation, it will be written under a pseudonym and will be kept completely separate from my other stuff.

And maybe this time I’ll do the recognition thing right…

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under writing

Sunday Excerpt — January 12, 2014

More from Sanguine, a science fiction novel (still in progress) with elements of semi-paranormal M/M romance.

(Sanguine is out to my beta readers now, but still being refined and revised, so this is still a work in progress and the following lines may or may not have been hacked and recombined and creatively punctuated to fit into 10 sentences.)

If you want to pick up from the beginning, I started weekly excerpts from this in October.

Skipping ahead a few lines from last week.  Gregor has mentioned his family to Kaen before but Kaen didn’t really make the connection then…

 

“I have waited my whole life to serve you, Master.”  Kaen tilted his head questioningly and Gregor smiled. “My family stretches back in an unbroken line to those who served the first vampire, and we are yours.  We merely wait for you to claim us.”

Suddenly Kaen remembered Gregor’s words that the old ways had been kept alive in his family, and a tremor ran through him as he drew a deep hissing breath.  “Vladescu…” 

“Yes, Master, Vladescu.”    

Gregor watched him carefully as the name – and its meaning – began to sink in.

Kaen stared at him, stunned. 

Vladescu… an ancient line that stretched back before the first widely known vampires… a people who had always been devoted and willing servants to their Master, and they had only served one lineage…  a people who he had thought – who they all thought – was just a rumor, a line that had died out centuries before…

“Do you know the power you are offering me?” Kaen whispered, awed at the prospect… a family of human servants, willing servants, willing blood just waiting for him to claim it…  ancient blood… an ancient bloodline… 

Check out Weekend Writing Warriors  and Sunday Snippets for great stuff from other writers.

My other novel, Song and Sword is currently available for Kindle and all other e-readers. 

Song and Sword cover

Available for Kindle at Amazon

and at Smashwords for all other e-readers.

20 Comments

Filed under writing

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to “The End”

So, my goal for this month was to finish Book One of The Other Mages trilogy, and to outline and finish Book Two of the same.   Finishing Book One might still happen, and I may manage to outline the rest of Book Two, but I doubt Book Two will be finished.

Somehow I got… sidetracked.

A writing friend (Anastasia Vitsky)   is doing a “Love Spanks” weekend next month and asked if I ever wrote F/F fiction.  I don’t, normally.  I write fantasy and occasional science fiction, and if there are pairings they seem to be mostly M/M.  (Blame the hopefully soon-to-be-released Sanguine and the eventually to-be-released books of The Academy of the Accord series for that.)

So, I almost said no, and then I remembered one of the books from my Month of Insanity.  It has the working title of Disturbed Magic, which is definitely going to be changed, and both of the main characters are female (although one is disguised as a male) so I joined in, which means that between now and the end of the month I have to find a stand alone 2000 word excerpt from it.  (And come up with a better title.)

Or else write something new, which seems like the easier solution and the one that I will probably go with.

And then I somehow got involved in doing the Thursday Threads  challenge next month on another writer friend’s blog.  It’s an ongoing thing so I’ll probably continue doing it, at least now and then, although it’s bad for me.  (I have enough plot bunnies without those prompts creating new ones.)

It’s going to be fun!

(Not necessarily productive, but fun!)

1 Comment

Filed under writing