Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Morning After

There's nothing quite like the awkward silence, the bashful glances and tender touches. Don't forget the bad breath, lack of makeup and stale perfume smell.

Ahh, the morning after!

They're one of my favourite scenes to read and write.

There are so many places we can take our characters following the emotion and physical buildup. Whether we have our characters making out, steaming up the mirror in the bathroom or its the hot and sensual love scene - there is always the emotional let down that follows. The uncertainty, self doubts, nervousness and awkwardness all come in to play.

It's at this moment that I find real life comes into play. This is where we take our experiences, our memories and use them to their advantage. Do you remember what happened after your first kiss? Or the first time you woke up and realized that it wasn't all a dream - there was someone sharing your bed and they were breathing on you?

There's also the tiny flare of hope that comes along with the morning after. The flashes of a future you've been dreaming about, hoping for, wishing for. The whisper of longing for what could be.

What is it about the morning after that you love?

(A word of personal note - today is my Morning After from The Master's release! Yes - it's now Available!!!)


Visit my Author Page: Anya Winter
The Master - now available!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Near Misses

Let's face it, we all enjoy reading about a good snogging every now and again...maybe even like it when things get steamier. That's what romance is about right? The hugs, touches, kisses, intimacy.

But, in fiction, none of that is as much fun if the "near misses" aren't there. You know, those scenes where the hero and heroine are just about to break and give in to the attraction one--if not both of them--has been trying to deny.

In that moment, they want it to happen. We want it to happen. Everyone wants it to happen. doesn't happen.

Something stops them before they're able to be fully swept away. Whether it's a pair of teenagers interrupted mid-makeout by a parent, or an adult couple sidetracked by some other force of life, they aren't allowed to cross the finish line.


It's this dissruption--this sense of "Damn it! What would have happened if the phone hadn't rang just then?!?"--that drives us insane as readers and makes us root for the couple to get together even more.

So while all the hand holding and stares of longing are great, and we're happy for the tremendous sex once the couple gets together, it's the near misses that truly set the scene.

The better the near misses and frustration we feel as a result, the better the satisfaction when our heroes finally break through all their barriers. Make sure you don't skimp on this part while you're writing your story...the potential payoff is too great.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Head-Butting Romantic Conflicts

According to Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies, by Leslie Waigner, there are three common issues facing the hero and heroine:
Trust: Need I say more?
Control: Who needs the guy to control you—and ultimately your heart—when your skills and confidence make you a kickass [fill in the blank]?
Self-image: How could he possibly be interested in me when XX is much prettier, smarter, skinnier (the list goes on)?
The benefit of using an issue such as above is that it keeps your hero and heroine together plot wise, but keeps them apart emotionally. This helps drives the conflicts (both internal and external) while allowing the happy couple to eventually fall in love.
Does anyone have any other issues to add to the list?

Don't forget about our contest going on for SoloPlay right now. Any comment left between now and Friday will be entered to win Miranda Baker's new ebook. Of course, if you'd rather not win it - just make sure you put that in your comments too :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Come Play with SoloPlay & Win

Want to win a copy of SoloPlay by Miranda Baker? Sure you do! I promise, you won't regret it. Keep reading to find out how.

I don't think it's a secret anymore. I have a bit of a crush on Miranda Baker. She's soft, sensual, erotic and knows how to bake. Just the baking alone is what sold me on her.  But all that aside - this woman knows how to write. When I first read Bottoms Up, I knew I had an addiction. SoloPlay is just as good.

She had me right at the beginning. A woman (librarian) having lacklustre sex (yes, that's how it opens). We've all been there, done that and have all tried to burn the bra with it - right? The man blames her - of course...and then it hits you. You're hooked. You meet Crystal who blows your mind away and find yourself in a place where you ignore your husband, children and supper that is burning in the oven. The only thing that matters is that you find yourself wet and wanting. Wanting the kids to either be invited to a sleepover and go play over at someone's house so you can have time alone with your 'other' to try some of these moves Miranda mentions in SoloPlay.

Whether you are someone who likes to use toys or not, it won't matter. You'll either find yourself wishing you had some or googling the nearest toy store to buy some. This story is full of erotic whispers and longing. But more than that - it's a story that every single woman can see herself in - at one time or another. Doubt. Self exploration. Passion. Love. This has a HEA that will bring a smile to your face and a sigh to your heart.

You'll love it.

Wanna own it? You can. Here's how. You must be a follower and leave a comment. Simple as that. No hoops to jump through. Oh wait - it would be nice if you would share your favourite chocolate dessert. For my benefit - selfish I know ;)  I'll leave it up until Friday at midnight.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Get Them While They’re Hot!

Are you one of the lucky writers attending the RWA national conference in NYC next month? If not, you can still benefit from some awesome handouts now available online. One of my favorites is Character Mining. Judging from the handout, I can’t wait to attend the workshop.
Is anyone else going to be there?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What POV is it?

Have you ever read a scene where you were confused about whose POV you were in?
What about writing it? Especially during those "oh so naughty" body action scenes. Have you ever written the scene and realized that the male POV was perhaps too feminine or that the girl POV wasn't feminine enough?
I found a fun blog with a tool called the Gender Genie. Plug in a paragraph and it'll tell you whether the POV is male or female.
Try it! Let me know how it worked for you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Page Turners in Romance

Why do readers of romance keeping turning the page instead of rushing off to clean the toilet? (I mean, other than the obvious reason) It’s because they want to know what happens between the hero and heroine.
But it’s not enough to give the two characters a happily-ever-after from page one (save that for the ending). You need to create tension and conflict between them, which is maintained throughout the story.
According to Leslie Waigner (Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies) this can be achieved by creating an emotional conflict (one that grows from the heart) between the two characters that has nothing to with the plot. After that, you can throw all kinds of complications at them.
However, don’t confuse emotional conflict with intellectual conflict. Intellectual conflict comes from the head, such as opinions.
Remember, at the end of the day, the reader cares more about what’s in the hero’s and heroine’s hearts than what’s in their heads. (Okay, you know what I mean.)

Is there anything in a romance that keeps you from turning the page?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dirty Birds Inspiration

Did you hear?
I was over at the Dirty Birdies this Sunday to talk about inspiration.

What a fun group! If you haven't had the opportunity to visit these girls, you need to. Regardless if you are a writer or a reader of erotica, you will find this to be informative and tempting at the same time.
What inspires you? If you read my post over there, you know that real life inspires me. The chocolate strawberry my husband hands me, the child skipping down the street, the couple arguing at the bistro over steaming cups of coffee.
Now it's your turn. Tell me where you find your inspiration!
So let's talk inspiration.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Big “O”

From the time we’re old enough to read the magazine covers lining the checkout counters, we know the big “O” is important (not that we know what it means). But I wonder how many people actually buy the magazines for the advice.
Okay, I’ll admit I have, but they don’t tell you anything you can’t learn from a steamy romance novel. And if your husband times it wisely (i.e. you’re reading one when he’s in the mood), you’re already in the mood before you’re IN THE MOOD, if you get what I mean.
So my questions are:
Do you buy magazines that promise to tell you the 75 Sex Moves Men Crave (don’t laugh, it was an interesting article), do you buy books on the subject, or do you learn your fancy moves from novels (or none of the above)?
And if you write steamy love scenes, where do you get your inspiration (knowledge) from?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blogger & I had a Fight.

There's one thing you should all know about me.

I don't play fair.

I had the 'bestest' post for today. I wrote up my post early and have looked forward to your reactions today to it. How to write a shower scene from the POV of the woman and the man. There was nothing obscene or vile. Just funny.

But it wouldn't show up. Even my delicious chocolate refused to show.

So I took away the chocolate. None for blogger. All for me.

Friday, April 29, 2011

What If I Don't Like Her?

We spend a lot of time, in love stories, focusing on the hero. Is he cute enough? Strong enough? Sensitive enough? Funny enough? Charming enough? Etc., etc., etc.

It makes sense, because most of us -- whether single or married, content or yearning for something more -- want to put ourselves in the shoes of the lead female character, and live vicariously through her.

But what about the heroine herself? Don't we have to like her too?

Unfortunately, there have been quite a few books that I started . . . and eventually stopped reading because the heroine got on my Last. Damn. Nerve.

The hardest part of writing a story geared toward a female audience, can be writing a female character that the majority of readers WANT to spend more time with. For me, I have to either want to be her -- or at least be her friend -- for me to stick with the gal through thick & thin.

She has to be humble, without being weak.

Elizabeth Bennett -- Pride & Prejudice

 She has to be able to take care of herself, and still retain her femininity.

Guinevere -- King Arthur

And she has to be just as willing to rescue the hero as she is to let him rescue her.
Elizabeth Swann -- Pirates of the Caribbean
(Apparently, I have a bit of Keira Knightly fetish)

Bottom line -- It's not an easy job being the heroine. Not only does she have to make the hero fall in love with her . . . she has to make us (the reader) love her too.

What about you? Anything that a heroine has to do/be in order to keep you reading?  Anything that completely turns you off and causes you to close the book, never to return?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Real Life or Romance?

I used to believe in Fairy Tales. You know - the HEA types. My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn was my heroine of choice. My mom used to warn me that life wasn't like the fairy tales I loved but I never believed her.
Not after my heart was broken from too many boys with winning smiles and dangerous glints in their eyes. Not after my best friend married at age 18 and then divorced a year later. Not even after I experienced rape first hand.
Nothing would shake my belief that HEA is real.
When I met my husband, he proved it to me. My white knight who drove a hard core Mustang. It was love at first sight.
My Fairy Tale come true.
But we all know life gets in the way of love. And that's why we dive into the romance novels. Not for the hard core body action, not for the sighs of delights, the handsome Scots in their kilts, the Tall Dark & Handsome stranger who rescues the damsel in distress. Nope. We read it because of the ups and downs our heroines go through, the conflicts, the stupid choices made throughout the story.
Don't get me wrong. All that other stuff is CRUCIAL to enjoying the story! We need the naked bodies, the titillating heart throbs, the love at first sight. But deep down, I think we like to read a story when someone else's life is WORSE than ours. When the choices THEY make end up making our choices look 'not so bad after all'.
We lose ourselves in these stories because they take us away from our lives. They give us our fairytale when we feel like Cinderella before the ball.
That's my thought at least. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Why do you read romance novels?

Better yet - why do you write them?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Soul Mates?

In romance, the ultimate ending is the heroine capturing the heart, and vice versa, of the hero—her soul mate. But does that elusive individual really exist? And how do you know if you’ve found him? It’s not like he has [Insert name here]’s Soul Mate tattooed on that sexy ass of his.
What if he exists but doesn’t live anywhere near you? Maybe he’s in another country or even another continent. Is there some divine intervention that will lead you to him? I mean, can you imagine if your soul mate is out there but you don’t know where he is? That would burn big time.
Now if fate would have it that you find your soul mate, what would happen if he dies before you? Does that mean you’ll never find love and happiness again? And if you do, and you all end up in heaven together, what happens now? You see where I’m going here? (I know the erotic romance writers’ minds are spinning with possibilities.)

And what about in paranormal novels? If one of the lovers is immortal and the other one is mortal, and they’re soul mates . . . well, what does that mean for the poor immortal individual? Man, that sure would suck if there was only one soul mate for him, wouldn’t it? Or maybe if you’re immortal, you get to have several soul mates scattered throughout the centuries.  And if not, well, you’d better come up with a way to turn your soul mate into an immortal too. I’m just saying, ya know.
Of course, there’s always the possibility of reincarnation. Great, if you’re a teenage immortal. Not so great if you’re much older. Now you’ve got an even longer wait ahead of you.
So what about you? Do you believe there is only one person out there for you? And do you believe you’ve found him (or her), or are you still searching?
(Okay, this post is what happens when Stina drinks too much caffeine.) ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mastering the Flashback

There's something about a flashback that always draws a writer in. We love to use them. Sometimes too much. New writers will become dependant on them while seasoned writers will realize their value and use them wisely.

But how do you write a successful flashback? They're not easy. If we're not careful, the flashback can do more harm than good in a story. They offer more problems than solutions. Why? Because they are events that have already happened. They take the reader out of the story - if not written correctly.

So how does one master the flashback? There are ways to keeping your flashback from destorying your story. Keep the flashback as brief as possible. Make sure you don't slow the action, bog the pacing or lose our readers interest. If the flashback must be long (longer than a paragraph), then transition into and out of in ways that are clear to your readers. Use signifiers that will help the transition for your readers - like a phone call, someone at the door, being shuffled in a crowd, coping a feel at a party ... you get the idea.

Verb tenses are crucial in flashbacks. If your story is being told in the past tense, then write the first few verbs of the flashback in the past perfect and the rest in simple past. For example use words like she knew, if she had to remember, she had thought ect. 

It's important not to confuse your readers, so Nancy Kress suggest that to signal the start of the flashback,  puts its first five verbs in past perfect ("had done," "had dressed," "had bought," "had come," "hadn't even seen"). After that, tell the rest of the flashback in past tense ("eyes were," "they passed," etc.). The reason for this is that an entire flashback in past perfect would be cumbersome, especially if it's very long.

Here the most important piece to remember: when you're ready to end the flashback, revert to past perfect for the last few verbs. Then use past tense to resume story time.

Have you mastered flashbacks in your novel? Did they cause problems for you? Do you find it easier to master your flashback during the revisions? Do you even think about them?

P.S. if you are wondering why Richard Armitage is in this post - its cause I can't stop staring into his eyes ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's The Little Things That Count

Yes, when it comes to romance we tend to appreciate the big sweeping gestures. We're not fully satisfied until we've gotten the happily ever after where the hero was willing to risk it all for the sake of the heroine.

Those grand gestures are all fine and good, but it's the little things that make us (and our heroines) fall in love with the hero.

To prove my point, I've borrowed examples from a couple movies I'm sure most of us have seen before:

Josie realizes how special Sam (Mr. Coulson) truly is when he volunteers himself to ride the Ferris Wheel, despite his fear of heights, simply because she had no one else to ride with. And then he tops it off by telling her he feels like he can really talk to her. *sigh*

Jane and Kevin can barely stand each other, until one little song plays on the jukebox in a dive bar out in the middle of nowhere. Next thing you know, they're dancing on the bar and getting hot & steamy in the backseat of his car. Who knew "Benny & The Jets" karaoke could provide the spark for true love?

How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days
Andie and Ben were both secretly using each other in an attempt to further their careers. Neither expected to actually fall in love, but for Andie things changed quickly after an afternoon spent playing "Bullshit" with Ben and his family. Watching him interact with his family shot an arrow straight to her heart, where all his smooth loverboy lines had missed the mark.

Bottom line, it's all the little unique pieces of a man that make us fall in love with him. Don't forget to add those things into your stories. We tend to fall in love in fragments, our characters should too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Call for Submissions

I love Twitter for so many reasons.

I've met some amazing authors, writers and readers. I get up-to-the-minute news in life and in writing. For instance ... yesterday the editors at Carina Press posted a call for submission.

Did you see it?

Rhonda Stapleton is looking for epic world building and any romance open to steaminess.
Mallory Braus wants fun & quirky heros and a good zombie hunter romance.
Allisa Davis is hungry for a good foodie. And BDSM.
Melissa Johnson wants a prehistoric romance. She explains what she wants. Think Jean M. Aurel.
Gina Bernal has a first love - with historical romance ;)
Lynne Anderson - romance. Any kind and length.
Deborah Nemeth is looking for characters on the margins. British, M15, steampunk ...

These are just tastes of what they are looking for. Each editor goes into length in what they are looking for.

If you have a story you've polished and know its ready for Carina Press, then be sure to check out their guidelines and how to submit.

Are you going to send one of these fabulous darlin's a story? Good luck and let me know how it goes! I'll be here rooting for you!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Twelve steps to Steamy

Whether you write YA novels or any other genre were romance occurs, there’s no emotional satisfaction if your characters meet one second and are making out (or having sex) the next. You need to build up to the moment. Tease your characters and readers. Take things slowly. And take them through the 12 steps to intimacy as originally described by author Linda Howard:
1.      Eye to body
2.      Eye to eye
3.      Voice to voice
4.      Hand to hand (or arm)
5.      Arm to shoulder
6.      Arm to waist or back
7.      Kissing  (mouth to mouth)
8.      Hand to head
9.      Hand to body
10.  Mouth to breast
11.  Hand to private parts
12.  Private parts to private part (okay, you know what I mean).
Your characters don’t have to go through all the steps in the first meeting (though they can), and the steps don’t have to be done in this order (though don’t try #12 without hitting the majority of the others first).
I personally think it’s sexier when the guy’s lips travel over the female’s temple, jaw, throat, or shoulder before finding her lips. And don’t forget the kiss can range from the brushing of his lips against hers to the deepening of their kisses. Maybe the guy leans in to kiss her (maybe he even gets as far as brushing his lips against hers) and the kiss is interrupted by someone or something else. Always a favorite trick of mine.  Also, by introducing just a few steps at a time, you can build the suspense, leaving your reader wondering whether the first kiss (or the more intimate, deepening kiss) is going to happen and when.  
But please, don’t make your reader wait too long. Nothing drives me crazier than having to wait ¾ of the book before the main character and her love interest finally kiss (as in the YA paranormal novel I recently read). What I do love, though, is not knowing if they’re going to go all the way. Obviously that doesn’t work for all subgenres of romance. If you’re reading an erotic romance, you’re expecting some action to happen pretty quickly. Heck, you’re expecting action. Period. This is why it’s important to be well read in the type of books you want to write.
Questions: do you like waiting for the first kiss to happen or get frustrated if it takes too long? Do you prefer things to get steamy pretty quickly (depending on the genre, this could be a steamy make out scene or a mind numbing rump between sheets)? And what is your favorite type of first kiss?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Secret About Corsets

What's the first word that pops in your head when you read the title? Sexy? Appealing? Victoria? RWA? BDSM?

For me - SEXY. 100% The lovely, sexy, intelligent and totally awesome Camryn Rhys took me corset shopping this past weekend. The shop we went to was iffy to say the least from the outside but omg women - it rocked inside. Why we didn't buy any shoes I have no idea. (Camyrn - why girl? Why?)

I might not be attending RWA this year but I didn't want to be left out of the whole 'corset' revolution. I've read about these torture devices in my historical romances, seen them squeeze the life out of women on the screen but NEVER had any idea why they held the appeal they did. Until now. I want one. I feel greedy. But damn it all - I had curves for those few moments and I felt SEXY. Rip clothes sexy. Granted - my breasts were almost touching my throat (my girlies are large and proud) but I had an hour glass figure and I miss it. Damn it.

For those like me whose girlies can't handle a corset, go for a cincher. They still emphasize your curves without the whole 'tea cup resting on chest' look. Sure, I couldn't breathe for a moment or two. But the look? OMG. Okay, and yes, my shoulders felt like they were raised to my ears .. but that was only with the corset and not the cincher. One day ... one day ... Have you ever tried a corset? Tell me you didn't feel sexy as all get out! Anya

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Young Love -- YA Romance

Ever wonder why so many of us (non-young adults) can't seem to get enough of reading stories about teenage love? Not that some YA can't get pretty steamy, but there are far smokier scenes in adult romance novels. So why do we still love our regular doses of young love?

Some of my guesses?

We Miss Being the Center of Attention

Bella & Edward - Twilight
There is nothing like that rush of realizing -- for the first time -- that his sun (pardon the pun, Edward) rises and sets for you. Adult men have just as many responsibilities as we do. Teenage men can make the girl of their dreams the center of their world.

Our Complicated Isn't Really So Complicated
Elena & Stefan  - Vampire Diaries
It may not feel that way, but our lives are fairly unfettered during our teenage years. Emotionally challenging, you bet, but most are spared the worrying about bills, mortgage payments, shuttling the kids to soccer practice. A teenage girl can enjoy falling in love without a mile long To-Do list waiting for her when she gets home.

You Can Only Experience Your First Time Once
Joey & Pacey - Dawson's Creek

First kiss. First love. First sexual experience. First heartbreak. Those things only come along once, and because we don't have any experience with them all our senses are running full tilt. We're constantly caught in a state between terrified and exhilarated.

We Still Believe Fairy Tale Endings Are Possible
Sam & Austin  - A Cinderella Story

Not that we all turn into jaded shrews as we age. . . but after we suffer a broken heart or two, we often  guard our emotions a little more carefully. After we lose our first love, we tend look at new romantic partners with the hope that he'll turn out to be our Prince Charming. Whereas the first time we fell in love we were sure it was going to last forever.

Those are just some of the reasons why I think I tend to get swept up so easily in a good YA romance. How about you?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Writing for the Market?

This past weekend on Twitter I tossed around a phrase I heard about on a few blogs.

"Write for the Market".

I don't know about you, but writing for the market doesn't generally work. Or does it?

what if you were to take what I said about and use the following formula: Write one project for the market and one project for yourself.

Does that make a difference?

I have two thoughts. I haven't quite drank my pot of coffee yet, and I'm chocolate free for the morning, so my thoughts might be a bit scattered, but ....

This works if you are writing short stories or novellas for epublishers. But for novels? Writing about something your not passionate about, or something totally away from your genre just because it's hot - doesn't sound like a winning formula to me.

This also works if what is hot is something you enjoy writing about. If I'm a contemporary romance writer and the market is screaming for sci-fi, well ... no amount of chocolate is gonna help me then.

I'm curious. What do you think? Since this works mainly for novellas and short stories - do you use this formula? Write for the market and for yourself? You make money with your backlist, or so they say. If your backlist includes what's hot right now, then fantastic. If it doesn't - will it make a difference?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I want to be like . . .

For the last two weeks, Tracy, Anya, and I have focused on the mouth watering guys. But what about the heroines? Which of these four would you prefer to be like?

Kick ass . . .

Proud yet witty. Not ready to swoon for any handsome man . . .

Sweet and innocent . . .

 Or sexy.

And, of course, I can’t have a post without some yummy eye candy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's Your Heat? Sweet and Sensual or Hot and Steamy?

How hot can you handle your romance?
Are you the kind of gal who likes to blush while reading your romance story but not necessarily get aroused? Maybe you prefer stories focused on the relationship more than anything else. A little bit of kissing, touching is okay. To you, the sex isn’t an integral part of the story and if you skipped over those steamy pages you would still be able to follow the plot without noticing any gaping holes. HEA or Happily Ever After is necessary for this type of story. Sex is just an added spice.

But what about the stories that get your body flustered? You know, the ones where you experience heat flashes just reading about the rippling muscles. The relationship growth of your characters is developed through sex, not around it. If you skip over all the juicy details, you’ll miss the whole story – and wouldn’t that be a shame! The only time you put the book down is when you want to test the authors theory on certain positions ;) When you finally do close the book you’re beaming from head to toe because the HEA is exactly what you thought it would be.

But – what if those are too tame for you. Then my friend, you turn to a pure erotica story. Yep, the full dirty ;) The sexual journey is crucial to the character’s growth – notice I didn’t say romantic growth? You could have two strangers meet and have the most amazing sexual experience and still part ways. But something inside of them changed. HEA’s are rarely an integral part of erotica. It could happen, but don’t expect it.

Alright – if that still isn’t good enough – what then? Porn. Good old fashion porn, where plot, character development and romance have nothing to do with what you are reading. As long as your body is aroused from start to finish, then the author did his/her job.

(You'll have to use your imagination for this picture ... )

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Forever = Sexy

In honor of St. Patty's Day, I was planning to post pictures of hot male leprechauns.  Unfortunately, after an extensive Google search, I've learned there really aren't any.

So instead, I decided to take a quick gander as to WHY the paranormal market is so booming. From young adult to adult. Dystopian to romance. Paranormal characters are taking the literary world by storm and have been for quite a while.  

But why?

I think the answer is pretty simple. Because the larger majority of readers are female. And though we all have different tastes there are some common themes most of us have a hard time denying.

1) We're greedy with the idea of romance. We want to be loved like we're the most important thing in his world. To win a man's heart & devotion for one lifetime is a wonderful thing, but to win it for eternity . . . VICTORY!
Legolas - Lord of the Rings

2)  We love men with depth! The more delicious layers we can peel from a man to get to the center of who he truly is, the more we fall in love with him along the way. We melt over the notion of all the late night, post-coital, secret-sharing talks it'll take to begin skimming the surface of the man who's been through so much. 

Louis - Interview with the Vampire

3)  We're more superficial than we'd like to admit. Yes, we want a man who stirs our heart first and foremost, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't also appreciate it if he had a face & body we could stare at for hours! Immortal men provide the best of both worlds: They possess the wisdom of age & the beauty of youth.

Damon Salvatore - The Vampire Diaries

I think this is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to tapping into why, as a reading community, we just can't seem to get enough of the sexy creatures of the paranormal variety.

Any personal faves?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yummy Treat of the Day

I'm in the mood for some fun ;) We all enjoy eye candy, so why not indulge on a daily basis?

I'll be posting a daily 'yummy' with thoughts on how he would fit a story.

This one is a treat for sure. I see him in a YA novel (oh Stina .....). His smoldering gaze would set off a flood of butterflies in my teen body when I was that age, for sure! I wouldn't trust him with my daughters though, he has that 'I'm so innocent' look down pat. Wonder if he has a 6-pack under that sweater or not?

What about you? How would you use him?

Monday, March 14, 2011

E-Pub, Self-Pub or Agent? How To Choose?

Most writers have a goal. Many writers have plans to achieve that goal. Few writers actually make the goal.

So what happens if you are one of those writers who not only have a goal in mind but find yourself passing the goal before you have the time to hit the breaks?

I'd like to think we (writers) all have the same want/need. Publication. How we reach it is another matter. Do you spend years throwing your novel out there to agents and wait for one to see the passion? Do you decide to do it yourself and self-pub? Or do you decide to forgo the agent and send to the publisher directly? Either of these ways will work. Which one you choose is up to you.

For me, I decided to bypass the agent (with this story) and sent it directly to an e-publisher. Why not? With our market today in romance, the ereaders are expanding faster than anyone thought to project. To be honest though, it was a crapshoot for me. I wrote a story in a weekend and spent a month editing it. Then decided to just 'do it' - I hit send.

Can you imagine my surprise when Liquid Silver Books wrote me back saying they wanted it? Anya is my pen name - with my 'real' name, I've been trying for over a year to grab an agent's attention for a women's fiction I wrote. Go figure - I can write steamy romance - something I decide to try as a 'distraction' ;)

There are many ways to reach our goal, but I think as writers we need to be a 'tad bit' pliable when choosing the path to take. What works for one (hello ... Amanda Hawking) may not work for another.

Although, on that note ... have you noticed that some agencies are now bringing on agents who only deal with ebooks? Hmmm .... another venue to pursue perhaps?

What about you? Have you thought of a plan to reach your goal? Are you open to other means or are you stuck on the one path?

(thoughts on my contract and ... OMG ... my books is getting published ... later)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lunch hour Romances

I did the unthinkable.

I indulged in a lunch hour fantasy while sitting at my desk. And yes, the full blown type of fantasy, complete with the clenching, the tightening and whatnot ...

I wasn't the only one I'm sure :)

Since the wonderful invention of the e-reader, I bet you a Cadbury Egg chocolate that millions of women have done the same :)

Mine was all for research mind you. I'm delving into the 'submissive/dominant' lifestyle for a story and since I only live vicariously through my favorite writers, I need to do lots of research. Lots and lots of research.
(if you want to do 'research' too ... my favorites right now are Desiree Holt - Delight Me, Dominique Adair - her Jane Porter series and Tiffany Reisz.

Only a few years ago I remember riding the bus to work and seeing countless women reading books covered by fabric book covers. I never quite understood what the new 'fad' was for until someone wiser than me and more in tune to her own romantic fantasies confided that those homemade covers hid the barely clad yet amazingly hot romance covers. GO FIGURE!

But now we have the e-readers - the Kindle, Kobo and whatnot - where NO ONE needs to know what you are reading. I wonder how many woman have a mini "O" on the bus, the train or even while sitting at their desk during their lunch hour???

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who’s the Hottest Hero of Them All?

In the world of romance fiction (both adult and YA), at least five types of heroes dwell among us.

The Alpha

He’s the dominant male who walks into the room and takes charge. Not the best person for you if you’re a take charge kind of gal (of course this makes for great conflict in fiction).  He tough and rugged, and most often in a leadership position. His career path often lies in the world of the military, espionage, corporate CEO. He’s definitely hot in romantic suspense since saving lives is what he lives for.

The Beta

He’s the complete opposite to the alpha. He won’t tell you what to do, but that doesn’t mean you can walk all over him either. And talk about a world of jobs open to him. He can do anything. Whereas the Alpha won’t tell you what’s bugging him, the beta will. But he won’t dump all his woes on you all at once. In YA, he covers a number of types including the sweet boy next door and the slightly nerdy classmate.

The Bad Boy

A favorite in YA, apparently. There’s something appealing about him, especially the edge of danger that seems to be part of him. Of course in real life, this is one guy you want to avoid. He’s usually not tameable like he is in fiction.

The Tortured hero

Something bad has happened in this guy’s past that has put him emotionally at a distance . . . until the right girl comes along. Like the bad boy, this is one guy you want to avoid in real life, but he’s a real hottie in fiction.

The Playboy

This guy has tons of girlfriends, or at least flirts a lot, but when the right one comes along (aka the heroine), he’s more than happy to settle down.

My question for you is: Which is your favorite romance hero(es)? And if you read both YA and adult romances, do you prefer the same type of guy for each?

(This list was adapted from Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eye Candy - Oh So Sweet

Eye candy.

There's nothing sweeter, more tempting or more appealing than having that eye candy right in front of you while you fantasize er... write.

I'm dabbling with a paranormal romance right now - my lovely Tabby has her choice of two men, one is chocolate and the other vanilla ... and the way she figures, why pick one when she can have both? (gotta love that girl!).

I knew right away how I wanted me yummy treats (characters) to look. The first one who popped into my head was Shemar Moore. Talk about yummy candy. Melt in your mouth smooth ...

What about you? When you are writing your character, you have their picture in your mind. Are they usually actors you've enjoyed watching or someone completely made up? Do you go searching online and in magazines for your characters?

Tell me ... where do you get your eye candy?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where does YOUR inspiration come from?

Inspiration comes in so many different venues. There's no right or wrong answers. For some it comes from watching movies or shows, talking with other writer friends, reading a good book, a tweet or comment on a blog. Inspiration can hit you literally anywhere.

What about when you are in the process of writing and you hit a blank spot. What then? What do you do? Where do you go? Do you pick up a book from your TBR pile and lose yourself?

I'm asking because that's where I'm at. Deep in a scene (bondage) and the words refuse to come.

So what do I do? I go to my favorite twitter persona and re-read her novel she recently published. I loved her story. She teases the reader, tantilizes them with a fantasy world some only wish to discover and leaves them begging for more.

If you have yet to read Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz, then you should download it today. She delves into erotica in a way that leaves your body wanting more. And she's my inspiration for today.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Romance Genre? Take Your Pick!

Growing up I always thought there were two types of romance. Silly girl that I was (actually I was shelted and it was an advertous girlfriend who introduced me to a secret side that I never knew I had).
Harlequin and the other kind (you know, the kind that let you think there was something going on between the sheets but never spelled it out for you ...)

It took a while, but I found out that I loved the historical romances (something about that scottish burrrr and english gentry that stirred the juices ...) and slowly found the modern day romance.

Since then, the genres for romance are numerous. Whatever suits your fancy. And I mean that literally. Erotica, homosexual, sweet, inspirational, paranormal ... take your pick.

As a reader, what do we read? As writers, how do we pick?

I'll share my secret. When I meander through a book store with a latte in hand, I choose three books. Supernatural, historical (I still need my scottish fix) and contemporary. I enjoy all three and depending on my mood, I tend to favor one over the other. Currently I'm into paranormal, although I just finished writing a contemporary.

So here's my question.

Why do we have to choose when there's so much out there?

Why not broaden our horizons and experiment? With the explosion of e-readers now there's no need to stick to a genre. On my iphone I have the Kindle app, the e-reader and the Kobo app. There are so many FREE books for you to download and test read. Take advantage of them. Then, when you find either an author or a genre you love, go ahead and start buying them. Support your authors. But don't stop there ... explore, expand ... find new loves ...

Then come back here and tell me about it!