Category Archive: WIPs

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 (http://www.mmromancegroup.com), 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

http://rhondaleecarver-author.blogspot.com/

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

http://mina-carter.com/blog/

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]

Sep 17 2012

Amid the Darkness (Refuge Inc., Book 2) Coming Soon!

Amid the Darkness (Refuge Inc., #2)
COMING SOON!

Weeks after an asteroid strikes Earth, hurling Elliot and Adam into a fight for their survival, the two take shelter in an underground compound known as Refuge Inc. Shaking their past seems impossible as it comes back to haunt them, weakening the foundation of their relationship. Elliot, hung up on guilt over his former actions, tries to right his wrongs which leads him face-to-face with the troubling secrets of the compound. Adam’s run-in with the alleged prophet makes him question Refuge Inc. and the survivors’ future.


Working together to uncover the mysteries of Refuge Inc. not only reveals much about the sunless world beyond the compound walls, but exposes the truth about the compound’s occupants … including themselves.

If their haunting pasts continue to dominate, it will steer them directly into a miserable future and their companionship will forever suffer.  Either way, they are forced to prepare for the ultimate fight for survival. Can they fight together and make it out on top? 

OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE: TBA

 

Aug 15 2012

Progress on Amid the Darkness (Refuge Inc. Book Two)

Refuge Inc. Series

I’m making progress on the second book in the Refuge Inc. series but it has been a bit slow. I think the issue is my unwillingness to let go of Before the Darkness and move on. My decision to indie-publish Before the Darkness made my task of marketing the book almost a full-time job and it has taken away some precious time needed to continue writing book two.


BUT BOOK TWO IS IN THE MAKING AND WILL BE COMPLETED!

With the day job, three kids, and a husband who’s away busting his butt most of the time, I still find a way to write the second book in a series I am absolutely proud of. Progress is slow, but steady.

Before the Darkness has been getting mixed reviews. One thing that stands out to some readers in book one is the readers’ inability to connect with the characters fully. If I have to explain to readers why the characters are the way they are, then I didn’t do a good enough job explaining it within the book. I NEED readers to look deeper. However, I’m currently writing book two to introduce more character development between the main characters, answer nearly all questions that book one left unanswered, and hopefully bring the readers to better understand the characters’ reasons for doing the things they do, act the way they act and be the way they are.

For those  of you who enjoyed book one and are looking forward to book two, you guys keep my motivation high and I can’t wait to share Amid the Darkness with you.

THE STORY IS NOT OVER! By all means, it’s only just begun.

I intentionally set up book one to be more character driven, and as realistic as possible in regards to the irrational choices a couple of regular guys might make in the midst of a worldwide catastrophe. The characters relationship, struggles, background, fears and motives are the main focus in book one. In book two I aim to introduce more interesting characters, bring more twists and surprises to the table and take you further into the mysteries of Refuge Inc. The characters’ relationship to one another AND others is the focus of book two.

There’s a lot of surprising events I have in store for book two. So make sure you come back for the latest news on the Refuge Inc. series.

Jun 15 2012

What’s Next for my Post-Apocalyptic Series?

In light of a recent epiphany, I’ve decided to keep complete control of Before the Darkness (my MM post-apocalyptic erotic romance) and the other books of the Refuge Inc. series. In other words, I’m taking the indie-publishing route yet again.

I’ve indie-published many books with results I’m proud of. And I’m ready to dive in again with my highly anticipated dark series. All the advantages of indie-publishing outweighed the disadvantages in my decision making process.

I enjoy the benefits of:

  • Choosing my cover and cover artist

  • Choosing the release date

  • Choosing the book formats (including print)

  • Choosing the interior layout

  • Choosing what bookstores will offer my book
  • Choosing the book’s price

  • Choosing when and if I want to offer discounts or free books

  • Holding all the rights to my book and the series
  • Having instant knowledge and access to sales stats


Yes, I’m a bit anxious and I know I have a lot of work ahead of me but I’m ready.  Soon, we all will witness the introduction of the Refuge Inc. series!
Keep an eye out for some exciting updates.

Jun 04 2012

Analyzing My Rejection: "Before the Darkness" not a Romance?

I had submitted my MM, post-apocalyptic erotic romance, Before the Darkness, (the first book of the Refuge Inc. series) to a couple of romance e-publishers. Unfortunately, they both passed. However, I did get a “revise & resubmit” offer from one of the publishers who had a lot of good things to say about the story in spite of the rejection.


(Publisher kept unidentified for privacy)
First the positives:

  • “The story is imaginative and detailed…”

  • “Your story has some really good parts, and we feel the post-apocalyptic aspects are believable, the creepy parts are creepy, and there’s an overall dark feel to the whole piece that came through.”

Now the negatives:

  • “We do feel it has strong potential, however the characters need some work to make them more likable. Elliott seems to fall too fast for Adam, a man he’s just met in a ruined landscape where survival ought to be the first thing on his mind. And the badgering and belittling about the former relationship with a woman throughout the book wears somewhat thin by the end.”

Non romance issues:

  • “We feel it is more of a post-disaster story with romantic elements than a true romance.”

  • “The romance needs to be ramped up quite a bit to make it more of a focus of the story.” Something required in romances.

  • “Additionally, the ending is not quite a “happily ever after” (HEA) nor quite a “happy for now” (HFN).” Something required in romances.

  • “There is also an issue of unsafe sex, i.e. no condom use …” Something required in romances.

After receiving this wonderfully personal and useful bit of feedback from the editor (which I appreciate tremendously because authors rarely get personal feedback from publishers, if at all), I realized . . . the story is NOT a romance! It is exactly what they described it as . . . a post-disaster story with romantic elements!

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I was invited to revise the story and submit it again for reconsideration; however, I’m not sure I want to make it into something it’s not. It’s not a romance, so maybe I shouldn’t make it into one. Maybe I shouldn’t push it to romance publishers, or ramp up the romance. Maybe romance shouldn’t be the focus of the story.

Maybe, after tweaking the charcters’ inner conflict, the story will be good enough to engage and entertain the way it is.

Maybe.


Feb 14 2012

The Complicated Story Ending

The ending of your story should be just as engaging as the beginning hook. It should be emotionally satisfying, and tie up most if not all loose ends. If the book is part of a series, it still needs to stand on its own, and answer all major story questions.


Sound familiar?

These are the (unofficial) rules about story endings that all writers know or should know. We follow these rules to ensure a great ending to our story in the hopes that readers will stick around for the next book in the series, come back to read our next standalone title, or even pick up one of our backlisted ones.

Why Endings are Important.

The end of any book is important. The end is the last impression the reader has of our stories. It’s the part of the story that is the freshest in their mind and which they rate and judge the book as a whole. A great ending is hard to write but necessary to attempt.

Although I know what makes a great ending I still struggle to execute it at times. I obsess over it, trying to perfect it.

Makings of a Great Story Ending:

  • Twists and surprise endings: Surprising the reader with a revelation that was foreshadowed throughout the story. i.e. It was right under their noses the whole time.

  • Theme: Tying in the overall theme or message of the book into the ending to add extra significance.

  • Answer the major story question: Will they fall in love? Will they find the murderer? Will they ever learn to trust one another?

  • Character change and growth: The main characters must begin the story a certain person and by the end of the story the character is a changed man or woman. The events in the story, the obstacles, the triumphs and failures all mold the character into a different person by the end.

  • End at the end: Once the major story questions are answered and the character achieves the story goal then the story is over. Ending the story before questions are answered and characters change or long after can disappoint the reader.

Currently I attempt to rewrite the ending of my latest WIP and hope it all falls into place. Knowing how to write the perfect ending to your story doesn’t make it any less complicated, in my opinion. However, my motto is: If it’s too easy, you ain’t doing it right.

Feb 03 2012

What I’ve Learned that May Help You and Your Writing




Over the past few months I’ve been soaking in a lot of creative writing information as part of building and improving my writing skills. I recently challenged myself to write the best book I’ve ever written, and to attempt that personal feat required many hours of reading, analyzing, researching and (of course) writing.

I’ve had some epiphanies during the course of writing my post-apocalyptic novel (Before the Darkness) that I would like to share. These are things that I already knew about creative writing (I’m an author. Of course, I knew :/) but only really understood when reading these books or blogs.



What I’ve learned

Source



Metaphors and allegories can help strengthen a story and provide an engaging writing/reading experience.

Major plot twists or twist ending should tie into the overall mood and/or theme of the story for a greater emotional impact.

The sci-fi novella Wool by Hugh Howey

Incorporating universal human emotion into every facet of your writing builds strong characterization and helps the reader relate to the characters, conflicts and particular circumstances.

The erotic romance novel Destiny for Three by Lilly Hale

All reviews, be they positive or negative, ranting or raving, short or long, are still beneficial to the author. A reader may show interest in the very thing another reader finds unappealing in a book. It’s all subjective. At least the book provoked some kind of emotional response to push readers into discussing it.

Readers’ comments about Ranting authors over negative reviews from book reviewers

To easily find areas in your book that are telling instead of showing search for the word WAS. Using was in a sentence usually indicates the lack of effectively describing something or someone in your writing.

Noble Romance Blog

Write what you love and the rest will come to you.

Instead of focusing on getting to the end of your story, make small goals and complete those first.

It’s never too early to start talking about your work.

From various creative writing books, blogs and magazines:

These are just of few of the things I’ve grown to really understand over the past few months just by reading books, blogs, readers’ comments on blogs and magazine. Have you had an epiphany lately?

Aug 31 2011

Before the Darkness Progress

Currently, I am at 12,500 words in my latest WIP, Before the Darkness. The way the story is going I expect to finish it somewhere around 20k-30k words, although it can be longer. I can’t seem to find the time to work on it as much as I want to. I hope this weekend I can write a big chunk of it because I want to finish it before the end of the year.

The elevator pitch:

After an asteroid strikes Earth, sending a wall of ash and other debris into the atmosphere, Elliot meets fellow survivor Adam and together they take advantage of the next few hours, learning to appreciate their second chance at life and live it to the fullest.

The problem:

The research.  Asteroids are tricky to write about, especially an asteroid impact with Earth. Even though the story focuses more on the inner conflict of the main characters, the impact is what sets the story in motion and contributes to the story’s tension, adding suspense, raising the stakes and providing exterior conflict. Therefore, it’s very important that the impact and the effects of impact are realistic.


I hope to finish the first draft before the end of the year. Hell, some writers can do it in thirty days. That would be nice!