Category Archive: blog hop

May 10 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

writing heals

Thanks to author Eloreen Moon for including me in the Writing Process blog hop. Here’s where I’ll answer some questions about my writing process and introduce you to other authors participating in the hop. Those authors will then tell you about their writing process as well, and introduce you to other authors, and so on.

Maybe you’ll discover an author whose stories you’ll love.

Here we go.

1) What am I working on?

WoundedBeacon_ebook_FinalI’m currently working on a handful of projects. I just completed Wounded Beacon, an M/M short I wrote for the Goodreads M/M Romance group and their Love Landscapes event, which is a branch of their Don’t Read in the Closet (DRitC) event.

This story will be published as a free read this summer on their website (, on Goodreads, and also in a free anthology on All Romance eBooks (ARe). Thanks to the event, about 200 stories are soon to be available this summer for your reading pleasure. If you’d like to know more and you are a Goodreads member, join the M/M Romance group.

Also, I’m debating (with myself) on a release date for The After: Odd Tales of the Afterlife, a collection of stories written under L.L. Sanders. These short stories are a blend of sci-fi and horror and deals with the afterlife or simply what comes after. This collection features the stories; The After, The Unveiling, and Dead End.

And finally, Darkness Eternal, a Refuge Inc. story, is still in the writing phase. This M/M post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel will be the next WIP I complete. And as it looks, will most likely be published either late 2014 or early 2015 depending on a few factors.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

DarknessEternal_ebook_Final_smallMy work on the Refuge Inc. series (mainly the three books in the complete collection) is a bit different than other books in its genres for two reasons; my “heroes” are everyday people, and the plot is rather dark and more thriller-esque than full on romantic.

My heroes are not shifters, vampires, police officers, militants, cowboys, were-creatures, elves, or anything super human, paranormal, or can be labeled. They are regular guys who have realistic flaws (like occasionally lying or self-loathing), believable internal conflict (like grief, fear, learning to let go), and relatable goals (like surviving, finding your place, discovering self).

Another thing that separates my stories from others in the romance genre is almost all of my stories has at least one major plot twist. My stories do not feel complete to me if the reader isn’t shocked (good shock) by the end. That need to surprise comes from the part of me that likes to be unpredictable. That said, my twists are never added just for the sake of having a twist, but are actually relevant or helps explain the plot.

3) Why do I write what I do?

At the core of why I write what I write is my love for storytelling. I love trail blazing. I enjoy travelling my own path in the publishing business and seeing where it takes me. The stories I write vary. I enjoy horror, suspense, male-male romance, twists and surprises. I enjoy short stories, complicated epics and everything in between. And I write the same way. Whatever subject or issue is on my mind at the time ideas are flowing, that’s usually the theme I tackle in my story. Once that story is told, I move on to the next problem or topic that I need to address. Almost like a therapy session; it’s a way to voice my thoughts and opinions.

Writing heals me and keeps me sane.

For instance, in the Refuge Inc. Series there was a lot on my mind when writing. Things like; gay rights, gay men stereotypes, my definition of a hero, animal abuse, human rights abuse, government conspiracies, leadership abuse, science versus religion, religion in general, politics, corrupt leaders and the sheep who blindly follow, etc. There was so much going on inside my head when writing the series, it feels like a weight was lifted off of me when I finished it.

The After_ebook_TALES4) How does your writing process work?

I simply get an idea, jot down notes, and then I flesh out the details. Trivial things like characters names and physical features are usually the last details, unless it’s pivotal to the plot.

Ideas come from everywhere, but for me to commit to writing and completing a story, the idea has to have some sort of underlying message or theme. Once I got the fire and inspiration’s driving me, I start where the story begins and I stop when the story is finished.

Exposition and resolution are sometimes nonexistent in my stories for that reason. I like to get to the point and sprinkle pertinent facts throughout, the dusting propels me forward until the end. 




Next, we’ll visit:


Rhonda Lee Carver

Rhonda Lee Carver on May 12th

At an early age, Rhonda fell in love with romance novels, knowing one day she’d write her own love story. Life took a short detour, but when the story ideas would no longer be contained, she decided to dive in and write. Her first rough draft was on a dirty napkin she found buried in her car. Eventually, she ran out of napkins. With baby on one hip and laptop on the other, she made a dream into reality—one word at a time.

Her specialty is men who love to get their hands dirty and women who are smart, strong and flawed. She loves writing about the everyday hero.

When Rhonda isn’t crafting sizzling manuscripts, you will find her busy editing novels, blogging, juggling kids and animals (too many to name), dreaming of a beach house and keeping romance alive. Oh, and drinking lots of coffee.


Mina Carter PicMina Carter on May 14th

Mina was born and raised in the East Farthing of Middle Earth (otherwise known as the Midlands, England) and spend her childhood learning all the sorts of things generally required of a professional adventurer. Able to ride, box, shoot, make and read maps, make chainmail and use a broadsword (with varying degrees of efficiency) she was disgusted to find that adventuring is not considered a suitable occupation these days.

So, instead of slaying dragons and hunting vampires and the like, Mina spends her days writing about hot shifters, government conspiracies and vampire lords with more than their fair share of RAWR. Turns out wanna-be adventurers have quite the turn of imagination after all…

(But she keeps that sword sharp, just in case the writing career is just a dream and she really *is* an adventurer.)

The boring part: A full time author and cover artist, Mina can usually be found hunched over a keyboard or graphics tablet, frantically trying to get the images and words in her head out and onto the screen before they drive her mad. She’s addicted to coffee and would like to be addicted to chocolate, but unfortunately chocolate dislikes her.



You have any other questions about my writing process? Wish to share some of your own? Please share in the comments. 




[Image credit: mrsdkrebs]

Aug 10 2012

Tips on Handling the Negative Book Review & FREEBIE

FREE copy on Amazon for stopping by!
August 10th & 11th ONLY

As an author since 2005, I’ve had my share of negative reviews of a couple of my books. They range from a simple, “Didn’t like this book!” to several paragraphs of hate, bashing and pleading for no one to buy a copy. Yes, I’ve seen it all. So how do you handle negative reviews of your book?


Here is an in-depth look at the three choices you have when dealing with negative book reviews. You can either not let it bother you, vent … but privately, or avoid reviews of your book at all costs. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of each choice.


Thick Skin:

Pros: Everyone’s opinion varies. You tell yourself this every time you see another 1 star rating of your book, or another reader shares how much they didn’t like your book. You can’t please everyone, so you write the best book you can and allow readers to take from it what they will. After all, with every new manuscript comes improved skill. No matter what anyone says, you’re going to write, aim to entertain, and a feel a sense of accomplishment with the completion of every book, and do it over and over again. Sticks and stones …
Cons: It takes a while to completely develop a thick skin. We’re all human. And it’s is very difficult to know that the project you put so much into, sacrificed meals and restful nights for, doesn’t make your readers tingle with satisfaction as you do. No one likes to hear they sucked, failed or could’ve tried harder or done better, especially when you think you gave everything but your sanity to perfect the project. It hurts and we carry that feeling around, trying desperately not to let it affect our ability to persevere. Thus developing our thick skin. It’s a painful process. It’s often looked up upon to be unaffected by words or what others think. However, sometimes the negative has a way of seeping in, especially if it’s been building up. Developing a thick skin takes practice.


Venting … privately:

Pros: Venting your anger helps get it out of your system, and when you talk to someone you trust and who understands your frustrations it makes dealing with your frustrations that much easier.
Cons: Venting, even privately, can sometimes leave you feeling weak, amateur, and further embarrassed especially when your best friend or spouse say the same thing over and over. “Don’t take it personal.” “Not everyone is gonna like your book.” “Just focus on the positives.” Hey, you already know that! Still, “whining” about a bad review will sometimes have you defending yourself as a thick-skinned professional to those you are venting to.

Don’t read reviews:

Pros: If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Out of sight, out of mind. What you don’t know can’t hurt you. You don’t have to worry about looking like a cry baby to your spouse or best friend, and you don’t have to practice growing a thick skin. It’s the easier of the choices.
Cons: You won’t have a clue what your audience thinks of the story or your writing no matter if what they say is good or not-so-good. Which means you won’t know what you need to improve on in your next book or where your strengths lie. Sometimes the customer is right. After all, they are your target audience. Sometimes reading others discuss the good, bad and ugly in your books is a great learning experience. You can learn a lot about your writing style, voice, characters, etc., that you would’ve never known by avoiding reviews of your books.

Extra Tips:

  • Don’t leave comments to correct, explain or disagree with the reviewer.
  • Don’t encourage family, friends or fans to leave comments for you.
  • Think of all reviews as an opportunity to learn.




As a gift for stopping by my blog, pick up a FREE copy of BEFORE THE DARKNESS here on Amazon today and tomorrow only.
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Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!
Check out the other blogs in RJ Scott’s Anniversary blog hop for August 11th-12th!