Category Archives: Writing

Thoughts on the Romance World

089Any of you who have been reading my Anderson Stables series may have noticed that I stay away from the level of eroticism many other authors seem to enjoy. Trust me, I’ve tried to write it, but it just doesn’t feel right. Every other aspect of my characters’ lives are written for the world to see, don’t they deserve some privacy?

I, personally, find sex scenes in books to ruin the entire flow of the story – unless done with more emotional detail than physical. Reading feels like meeting new friends, and when those new friends suddenly want to make porn in front of me, that’s really unsettling. My own characters are even better known to me, and making them “perform” for readers doesn’t feel right. Whenever I’ve tried, it has felt like the worst invasion of privacy you could think of.

And I’m writing a romance, not erotica. I’m frequently disturbed to find such graphic scenes in books described as being romances and not “erotic romance.” It seems to be almost expected that romance in general will contain detailed sex, especially in the m/m world. Whatever happened to a nice, sweet love story?

That being said, readers who are looking for erotic romance should be able to find it easily. I don’t want readers finding my books and assuming they will have those scenes, only to be disappointed. Everyone deserves easy access to the kinds of books they want to read.

I prefer sweet romances, so I don’t plan to ever write anything erotic. I’m here for the love story.

On Plotting, Music, and Creative Magic

648So tonight I sat down with the intention to start writing Book 4. Until now I had been plotting out the major scenes, which can be a process.

What took so long was the research I needed to do to properly plot the entire book. Not a ton of research, but enough to delay most of the work.

So I finally sat down to start writing the first scene or two. I pulled up my writing playlist on my phone and hit “shuffle.” Immediately, instead of getting the first scene to start flowing, I got other creative magic flowing. I started thinking through the other major scenes in detail.

Which can be good, but I wasn’t writing those scenes yet. Eventually I forced myself to focus on the beginning (which is always the hardest thing to write anyway) and got just short of 2,000 words out in two hours.

But it’s so interesting to me how music can inspire so much. I spent a while before I finally got to work just trying to get myself to sit down and write. Then I started the music and BOOM. I was in the super zone.

Moral of the story: music is a creative potion and a fantastic muse.

Quick Update

678Just a quick update for you tonight.

I will have another short free read for you all this weekend. I’ve been slowly working on the next installment.

Writing is, unfortunately, going very slowly for me in general. I’m pretty sure that part of the reason is the miserable New York winter. It just puts everyone in that blah, tired mood.

The other issue is that I recently started a new full time job that is rather exhausting. The stress of learning new things and dealing with new people makes me just want to go straight to bed or mindless TV when I get home – or both.

But my New Year’s resolution was to keep my self-imposed deadlines as strictly as my publisher-imposed ones, so I’m getting ready to give myself a kick in the butt this weekend. Days off from the “real” job will be marathon days for my eventual full time job. Won’t get there if I don’t work for it.

I hope you all have a great week!

New Projects and Updates

The update is that I am now on to the final round of edits for Book 3. Yay!

I know I mentioned that I started working on another book that is not part of the Anderson Stables series. Basically, I’m getting the bare bones down before the characters get pissed at me and run away. The plan is to have it ready to go after the last Anderson Stables book.

It is, of course, also horse themed. You can see a glimpse of what it’s about in this really cool video. Sadly, these characters don’t compete during the course of the story (they work behind the scenes – one on carriages and one on breeding horses), but it’s something I want to write more about. Someday, I’ll have some competitive drivers to share!

The sport in the video is known as combined driving. It’s essentially the sport of eventing, but with carriages. In eventing there are three events that horse and rider pairs compete in: dressage, cross country, and show jumping. Scores are combined over the course of the event, and the winner determined at the end of the final phase. In combined driving, the events are dressage, marathon, and cones.

In combined driving, the dressage is more or less the same, except with a larger arena and different required moves. The concept is still the same: do the correct thing at the correct place in the arena, and do it really nicely.

Cross country involves galloping along an outdoor course and navigating jump complexes. In the marathon phase of driving, the only difference is the lack of jumps. Instead, there are obstacles that need to be maneuvered in a certain order, which involve a lot of turning and navigating.

The jumps in show jumping are typically replaced by cones, with the object being to get through the course without knocking a ball off the cones, similar to knocking a rail from a jump.

This is, of course, not the only way to compete in carriage driving, but it’s the part of the sport that has seen international growth and promotion, and is included in the World Equestrian Games.

So I’ll leave you with a neat compilation video I found. Mainly I’m adding it because this is the show that happens near my hometown every year. It shows that there are a lot of things to do in carriage driving.

Still Here!

IMG_3043I’m still here, still working on stories. Got the second round of edits done for Book 3 of Anderson Stables this past week.

But now I have some new characters demanding my attention. I’m hoping to get their story really quickly and roughly written over the next few weeks, despite working overtime at “the real job.” It’s a book that I won’t even think of publishing until Anderson Stables is done, but I just need to get these characters out of my head now, before I go crazy.

So, since I’ve got a new duo to write about, I thought I’d show you guys my super sophisticated outlining process. I’ve tried using typed or handwritten outlines that follow a list design, and I’ve tried using software that makes timelines. I’ve even tried using real calendars or printed tables that look like calendars.

But the thing I have found that I always go back to is the method in the picture. I use graph paper to make a calendar of the duration of the plot. This keeps my plot confined to a few months instead of a few years (each book in a series gets its own outline). Then I use letters to place major scenes. Sometimes I use all 26 letters and add some lowercase ones, sometimes I don’t use all 26. These are just the major scenes, and I list them along the side (I took the picture before filling it in so no one can be curious about the highly undeveloped story yet). Seeing where those scenes are in the plot helps me formulate minor scenes that may or may not get letter placements. Letting the characters and plot move at their own pace and create scenes between the major ones is what keeps the process fun. There is always the “and what happens in the meantime” question that leads to more creativity.

I also feel like doing it by hand helps my brain stay in the creative mindset for some reason. Maybe because it’s almost like drawing and designing.

So now you know the secret to my outlining!