Category Archive: work in progress

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]

Mar 02 2014

Darkness Eternal (Refuge Inc.): Cover Reveal, Excerpt & Info

DarknessEternal_print_webWORK IN PROGRESS

Darkness Eternal is still a work in progress as I aim to put together the very best book package I can, including improved writing, editing, formatting, marketing, promo material, and book cover. Speaking of book cover, I recently got the full print cover and promo material back from the professional designer.

TAGS: Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia, MM, Sci-Fi, Futeristic, Sensual Romance.

DarknessEternal_ebook_Final_smallELEVATOR PITCH:

Darkness Eternal (A Refuge Inc. Story) is a stand alone title that takes place during a futuristic global catastrophe and follows new protagonists, Connor and Vince, on their fight for survival in an underground complex built to escape toxic air in the atmosphere.

SPECIFICS:

WORD COUNT: The complete word count or length is not final and might be longer than the proposed 25k word mark.

PLOT & CHARACTERS: The story is different than the preceding trilogy that followed Adam and Elliot. Darkness Eternal centers on a younger set of men in their early twenties who was raised in the underground sphere known as the Refuge facility. Like the previous books, it contains a lot of suspense and plenty of twists and turns while reminding you that it is indeed part of the Refuge Inc. series.  You will see slight similarities between Darkness Eternal and the other books of the series.

EROTIC AND EXPLICIT CONTENT RATING: Although Darkness Eternal is an M/M read, it’ll contain less explicit sexual situations in favor of mild and sensual male-male encounters. The violence in the story is present only in necessary and believable situations, and descriptions of death is very brief and not overly detailed or gory.

bookmarks_web_DarknessBLURB:

Shocking revelations about the Refuge facility’s underground complex thrusts two friends into a battle for survival.

Partners Connor Nichols and Vince Moore are preparing for active duty as peacekeepers for the residents of the subterranean Refuge facility. Before the catastrophe that wiped out the sunlight and forced survivors to live in an underground compound, the extraordinary details of a similar disaster began to spread as urban legend.

However, nothing prepares them for the harsh truths they expose about the leaders and the mysterious facility.

WARNING: Contains some sensual male-male practices, violence, and brief descriptions of the dead.

 

DarknessEternal_fbcover

(UNEDITED UNOFFICIAL) EXCERPT:

My eyes snapped open to a bright red light similar to the lights that announced our failure during tactical training in the simulation. But accompanying the crimson glow was a piercing ring of an alarm. It took a second for it to register, but thanks to the dozen or so drills we’ve had, it finally clicked that there was an emergency. A fight? Some sort of outbreak? Contamination? A deliberate chill crept down my spine.

Throwing the sheets aside, I tossed my legs over the edge of the bed. Still a bit disoriented from being awakened during a deep sleep. I stood and caught the glow of the hour on a digital poster: zero-three hundred.

Someone shouted and blurred figures rushed by me, left and right. Shadows wisped passed our opened room door, accentuated by the red hue. A voice called out orders, “Move it, cadets. To your gear. Move, move, move!”  The orders mingled with the sound of pained whimpers, panicked cries, and flustered breathing.

Chaos.

I scanned the space for the source of the commands. Then a tug of my arm pulled me from the room.

“Vince?” I asked.

“Snap out of it, asshole.” Vince gripped my shoulders and shook. “We got a job to do.”

“What’s going on?” The frightened expressions on many of the resident’s faces kick started my adrenaline, and suddenly my legs were keeping up with Vince as he hastily made his way down the hall, passed people and toward our lockers.

Inside the locker room I met some of the other male cadets. They each pulled on their combat gear, removing sleeping garments to slip on the tough, stretchy combat gear with their last names stamped on the left breast. Some were already suited and were quickly securing their helmets, weapons belt, and … ballistic vests?

“What’s going on?” I cut my eye to Vince. Why weren’t orders being delivered over the P.A. system as planned during the many drills? Where was the infamous, “In the event of an actual emergency instructions will be given for your safety”?

“What the hell are you doing?” he asked, grabbing a vest off the shelf beside the rifle rack where only a few of the weapons remain. He tossed the heavy vest to me. “There’s a contamination leak on Ten. We’re to meet dad on Nine for the rest of our orders.”

“Contamination?”

Toxins. The dense, murky pollutants that deprived Earth of its oxygen and eroded our bodies from the inside out within hours of inhaling it. Hell itself.

 

DarknessEternal2Coming soon to print and ebook! 

Find the complete Refuge Inc. Series here.

 

 

Jan 14 2014

Big Blog Goals for 2014: Upcoming Posts, Book Releases, and Blog Series

2014fireworks

Happy 2014! Time’s flying, huh?

I started this blog on Blogger in 2010, then transitioned to WordPress at the start of 2013, though it feels like yesterday. I promised myself at the beginning of 2013 to write more helpful blog posts and to do it more regularly. My aim was to publish a minimum of one post a month. I’m glad I accomplished that goal. Now join me as I continue in 2014!

Here’s the direction this blog is headed:

 

NEW BLOG POSTS:

Look for the new blog post ‘Getting Started: Book Formatting and Interior Design for Self-Publishers’ to be posted soon. Currently gathering links to some formatters and designers. If you used a formatting service and want to recommend a company please do so in the comments. I would appreciate it and I bet other blog visitors would too.

I’ll post about writing, blogging, marketing, and other useful posts related to publishing. If you want to suggest a topic for a post, have a question you’d like me to answer, or even want to contribute to the blog with a guest post, shoot an email to me at: leslie[at]leslieleesanders.com or use my contact form. I love hearing from you!

 

NEW BLOG SERIES:

Also, the Best-selling Book Blog Series (BBBS) is still in the planning stage. I’m working on interview questions and gathering a list of best-selling authors who wouldn’t mind answering them. Have someone in mind? Feel free to comment and tell us who you’d most like to hear from regarding best-selling books and how to create them.

 

BOOK PROGRESS AND RELEASES:

  • A couple of books are planned for release this year that you will hear about on this blog. The After will be published under my horror writer penname L.L. Sanders. It’s a collection of short stories in the horror/sci-fi genre, exploring the afterlife theme.
  • The Complete Darkness Collection (Refuge Inc. 1-3) is currently in audio production. An estimated 13.5 hours of MM, post-apocalyptic goodness.
  • I’m currently in the midst of writing Darkness Eternal (A Refuge Inc. Story). This story takes place a century in the future and follows new characters and different life altering mysteries.
  • Speaking of works in progress, I revisited a couple earlier WIPS that I had, um, abandoned. The Frozen Lake, a tale of young siblings befriending a young murderer in the isolated forest where they are sheltered. Deceiving the Herd, an LGBT Young Adult novel exploring the themes of loss, death, and grief. The Frozen Lake and Deceiving the Herd are non-erotic and will possibly be published under my pseudonym.

Other plans:

 

CONNECT WITH AUDIENCE:

In addition to providing helpful posts on publishing in general, I also considered being more open, getting rid of the introverted side of my personality, and actually showing more personality on the blog. It’s time to allow my readers, visitors, and subscribers to know a little more about who I am and how I can help.

 

VIDEO BLOGGING:

I tossed around the idea of video blogging and posting a series of videos on this blog every month or so. Still tossing the idea around, though.

 

NON-FICTION E-BOOK:

I’m considering updating, editing and combining all the 2013 posts on writing, blogging, marketing and publishing into an e-book to make for convenient reading for subscribers.

 

 

So there you have it. My goals for 2014. Jump on board with me and stay updated by subscribing to my mailing list. Let’s make 2014 a very productive one.

 

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[Image credit: Elescir]

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.