Author Archives: AJ Best

Romantic Gestures – Romance Books vs. Real Life


I’ve been thinking about romantic gestures lately. What is considered romantic? When you delve into a good romance book, there are GREAT feats of romantic gestures.

In a romance novel:

  • A man will take you and whisk you away to a getaway where you can make sweet beautiful love in the luxury of a cabin on a snowy mountain.
  • A man will pick you up when you are feeling ill and carry you in his strong arms away from what is making you ill and hold you close till you are better.
  • A man will buy you diamonds, cars, houses.
  • A man will scale mountains to rescue you from a kidnapper and will beat/kill the man who dared to harm you.

I don’t know about you, but I think I want to go in a romance novel and live. Romance is not like that for me. What about you? But…My real life romantic gestures are much better, at least to me.

In real life a man may:

  • Rub your back while you’re being sick with the stomach flu.
  • Carry your purse in public – without complaining.
  • Kiss you in public.
  • Wash your hair for you every day for three years.
  • Walk past you while going into another room and touch your shoulder.
  • Let you lie in his lap and play with your hair while you watch TV.
  • Indulge you in your desire to be kissed anytime he asks you to do something, as payment of course.
  • Hold your hand in public.
  • Hold your hand in private.
  • Open the car/store/house door for you and let you walk in first.
  • Call you in the middle of the day just to hear your voice and make sure you are OK.

I’ve decided – I don’t wan to live in a romance book. I like the romantic gestures I have now. What are some of your favorite romance book or real life romantic gestures?

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Remember: Tomorrow Never Comes with AJ Best


OK, here’s the deal, tomorrow will never come.  That sounds like a very philosophical statement coming from me and I’m not normally a philosophical writer, but hear me out.  To prove my point check out my waistline.  I know, what does that have to do with writing!?  EVERYTHING!  I keep telling myself that I will diet, and I will exercise, but I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow because I’m too tired, or that roast beast (beef) looks too good to only have one helping.  I can’t diet today because that Almond Joy cake Momma made for dessert can’t possibly be left for her to eat!  She’s a diabetic for crying out loud.  I’m saving her from herself.  I must save her and I must do it twice TODAY!  So TOMORROW I will diet.  But for some strange reason it is always today.  Today is the only day that we have to think about, so let’s make the most of it.

You need to make yourself write sometimes.  At first it will come easily.  You are going to be so stoked by a great story. You are going to do nothing but write, write, write.  They ideas are going to flow from your fingers.  The sparks will fly, and your significant other will be standing nearby with a fire extinguisher to make sure that no fires are started.  Then your darling child comes up to you and says, “I’m hungry!” or my personal favorite, “I’m bored!” So you get up quickly and run to the kitchen to make a quick PB&J and then you are headed back to write.  You then see the mail on the table that has to be put away.  Dang is that the credit card bill that was due last week?  Why didn’t that get paid?  Now you are making a mad dash for the check book to pay it before too many late fees get added.  Hold up, the check book’s not balanced?  It’s always balanced, do you have enough to pay the bill?  By this time, you have forgotten that you were writing in the first place. 

It’s especially hard on a nice sunny day.  But you need to set a goal, even if it’s small. 

  • My goal for today is 400 words, in other words, you can set a word count goal!

So if you decide that you are going to write that 400 words act like the Nike commercial and Just Do It! Sit down and write 400 words.  It needs to be something.  It doesn’t have to be the most wonderful thing you have ever written and if you are stuck on the story that you are writing, start on something else.  Don’t force the words to come that makes for something that will only frustrate you and drive a very painful and potentially LONG writers block into your near future. (I hate writers block!  In the infamous words of my children, “It sooooo       sucks!”)

  • My goal is 5 pages, I’m sure you get where this is going, a page goal right!?

It’s time to be selfish.  Have your spouse watch the kids.  Go somewhere quiet, or semi-quiet if you live in my house and close the door.  Put several full laundry baskets in front of the door and sit down to write.  You have to take the time to do this.  If you don’t take the time to be selfish with your writing, no one else is going to do it for you.  If you don’t take care of this child, (Yes, your writing is your baby too!  Don’t believe me?  Wait till your first not so good review when you want to beat the heck out of some reviewer for having an opinion.  And do remember folks, it’s just an opinion.  OK?) no one is going to do it for you.  So you need to get off your duff and take time for it.  You can not blame anyone but yourself if you don’t get it done. 

  • My goal is to write for 30 minutes and last but not least…a timed goal!

 

I know you’ve heard it before but use a timer.  The advice is sound, tried and true guys.  If you don’t have an egg timer, a timer on your microwave, your stove, your phone, or an alarm clock, I do have solutions.  I absolutely love this site: http://www.nakedalarmclock.com/ because you are able to set it and have it go off whenever your goal time is complete. Besides, the name is fun.  (I bet over half of you have already clicked on the link thinking you would find something naked on there, HA fooled you.)  Make sure that when you set a timer for yourself, you are not punishing yourself.  Try not to make this a time out like you would give your child.  So, don’t do it for 3 straight hours in a row.  When I tutored college Accounting, I always told students never to study for more than an hour at a time, take a 10-15 minute break and then go back to studying.  That way your brain doesn’t go into overload.  If you force your brain to work non-stop for 3-4 hours then you may end up resenting the time that you are sitting there, and won’t enjoy what you are doing. Another fun thing that I can tell you about is http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html.  You can go to that site and put in your word goal, a time limit, and if you would prefer the program it to go easy on you, be strict or just be plain evil.  It’s a little difficult to explain, so you may want to go there and play with it just for fun!  If nothing else, it kicks you in the butt and gets your mind working and breaks the monotony of a brain fart or writers block.

Be Prepared to Catch the Bug


Most of the authors reading this blog have their book published in ebook format prior to it going into print. Most of the time they don’t even consider getting out there into the real world to promo.  Remember, it’s very important to get some face time with your readers and/or potential readers.  So it’s time to get up, get out and talk, talk, talk.

It’s important to get out there face to face and hand to hand to meet people.  It is the real life person that buys your book.  You aren’t the boogie man behind the computer that wrote the book, and they are not the nameless face behind the credit card.  I’m not sure about you, but I would be far more likely to buy a book from someone I have met in real life (Nancy Henderson) than from someone I have not.

Imagine this….You are a writer from Georgia, your book isn’t due out for several months, but there is a book fair or conference coming up in about 83 days.  What you should do is email a chairperson on one of the committees and more than likely you will be handed your fifteen minutes of fame.  Fifteen whole minutes to read a piece from your book.  Guess what?  Hundreds of people, who are now fans, have just heard your book and want more.  Do you have business cards?  Maybe some post cards with information about your old books on them?  Your web address?  Anything?  Come on, now’s the time!

Another step you can take is to stop by your local library, let them know that you are a local writer and you would be interested in donating a copy of your book to their local authors collection.  And while you’re there, ask them if they would mind if you did a book signing or reading in the near future?  Try doing the same with local book stores.  They enjoy having local authors stop in. This shows that people from your home town can make it as a writer.  Now let’s say that your book has a scene in it that is set in a hair salon, would your local salon be interested in holding a book signing for you?  Use the resources you have at hand.  You never know what possible networking contacts you may end up with while you are at one of these face to face events.  Until you are out there and are ready to catch the bug (possibly in the literal fashion, sniff sniff, can you pass me a tissue?) you may never know the extent to what you have passed by.

Local radio and TV stations love to do pieces on local artists.  You could contact stations and see if they have a community section that would be interested in spotlighting a local writer.  BUT BE PREPARED, most of these spots are taped EARLY in the morning.  Trust me I have tried.  And be prepared with every answer you could possibly think of to answer, because they will ask one that you are not prepared for.  If possible, ask them for a list of questions ahead of time to prepare yourself mentally for the interview.  The interview I did was over the phone and I was a wreck. I stuttered and stammered and couldn’t get the answer right to save my life, but it was a very early segment and I am sure only several thousand people heard me anyway.  Nothing like listening to a blubbering idiot on your commute to work.

Remember the most important piece of information that I can possibly give you.  The worse thing that someone can say to you is, “No.”  You will not be out anything if they do, but you will have gained more confidence by getting out there and exposing yourself to one more line of questioning.  You will have one more ‘no’ behind your back and are one more ‘no’ closer to a ‘yes’.  When you receive your nos they may actually be accompanied by a “but”….and a compromise.  So don’t give up, and keep plugging.  Your writing deserves to be put out there and given just as much work that you put into the writing!  Now Remember, Tomorrow Never Comes!  So come back next week and see what you can do about it.

PS…..have to leave you with a few that my friend Kissa told me about as she was reading this for me before posting.  When she is traveling, she leaves business cards with her tips.  She leaves them in book stores on the shelves.  (I think I personally would put them at the register, but that’s just me!)  When she sends promo items to her readers she sends extras and asks them to pass them along to their friends.  Thanks so much Kissa for sending those ideas along to share with my great readers!

Love at First Sight & Why Must We Fight?


I write Romantic Suspense. I love the genre. Who wouldn’t? At its best, it combines spine-tingling suspense with hot romance. However, I believe two accepted “conventions” associated with the Romantic Suspense genre are overworked by authors in their efforts to earn acceptance from agents/editors, who say these elements are key.

Convention #1: When the hero first appears on the scene (preferable in the first couple of pages), the heroine must find him so sexy and exciting her heart goes into overdrive—even if she’s in shock and initially thinks he’s a despicable human being with the personality of Attila the Hun.

Convention #2: For the romantic arc to succeed, Convention #2 argues that each time it looks as if the hero and heroine will find bliss in each other’s arms an internal conflict must arise to pull them apart. This push-pull aspect of the relationship is credited with building tension and keeping the reader flipping pages to see if the star-crossed lovers will overcome these roadblocks. Of course, all these horrendous conflicts disappear like magic at the end of the book with the happy-ever-after ending.

Okay, what’s my problem with Convention #1? In Romantic Suspense, the book often opens with the heroine in great danger and/or scared out of her wits. Someone’s just tried to murder her…or kidnap her child…or rape her. You get the picture.

Now I ask you would a woman who’s just been used for target practice by a madman with a sniper rifle waste any brain cells cataloguing the physical assets of the hunky policeman interviewing her? I don’t think so.

She might find the cop’s size frightening or his brusque tone intimidating, but I doubt her frazzled mind would let her notice the officer had chocolate brown eyes, a strong jaw or a firm butt.

I’m much more apt to buy into a story premise if the author doesn’t stretch/abuse the heroine’s point of view in order to establish that the man who’s just come on stage is, in fact, the hero. Let the reader discover the man’s heroic qualities when it’s logical that the heroine would start to appreciate his physical and/or mental attributes.

Convention #2: I get it. Internal conflicts up the stakes and build tension. Yet I find it difficult to swallow that a heroine and hero will squander time squabbling if they’re fighting for their lives. Once the hero and heroine join forces and begin working as a team against the exterior threat, I think all their energies would be directed toward eliminating the threat not nitpicking their relationship.

Yes, the couple might be allowed to have private reservations about their long-term relationship because (fill in the blank). However, too often it seems that stupid misunderstandings are used to pry the heroine and hero apart at a crucial moment simply because it’s “time” for a breakup.

I think author J.D. Robb has aptly demonstrated that a couple (Eve and Rourke) can have a hot romance, fight bad guys and treat the reader to lots of tension without wasting time on quarrels that make a reader want to scream “You idiot!” at the hero or heroine or both.

What do you think? Let’s hear it from you readers of Romantic Suspense. How do you feel about these conventions? Are they overdone?

About the Author

Linda Lovely is the author of DEAR KILLER, a mystery with strong romantic elements that’s set in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The heroine is a 52-year-old retired military intelligence officer who works part-time as a security officer on a private island.

Despite the author’s objections to Convention #1, Lovely freely admits that Marley Clark, DEAR KILLER’s heroine, notices plenty of appealing aspects about the hero—Braden Mann, a 40-year-old homicide detective—the minute she meets him. However, Marley has just discovered a body and she’s not in personal danger.

Once the duo forms a partnership, Marley and Braden may debate tactics and strategies but they don’t waste a lot of mental energy on imaginary slights. When they’re not chasing the killer, Marley and Braden savor the opportunity to rediscover the joy that comes with a new romance.

 

Spending time with Abbey MacInnis


I want to thank April Dawn and the other contributing authors of Let’s Talk Romance for having me here today.

I love reading books in several genres. My favorite genre, obviously, is romance. Within romance, I love contemporary, paranormal, erotic, and everything in between. Historicals though, have always held a special place in my heart.

As a teenager, I fell in love with authors Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsey, Elizabeth Lowell and many many many others, and the fabulous historical romances they penned. There’s just something about historicals that I absolutely love. It’s a combination of the characters, the story, and the setting that reel me in.

It’s easier for me to get swept away into a story that’s an historical than any other genre. There’s so much that an author can utilize to up the conflict between the characters that simply wouldn’t work in any other genre. It’s fun to see how a regency miss will get herself out of a compromising position with London’s most notorious rake. Or how a Medieval damsel will rescue her knight in shining armor. LOL

For years, I always said I’d write an historical someday. It’s extremely daunting and fun to finally do it. I love doing research, and could get sucked into it all day. I’m a stickler for accuracy, so when I finally pinned the bull by the horns, and decided to write one, first thing I did was the research. His Fifth Avenue Thief isn’t set in a setting or time readers are probably familiar with. I didn’t plan on setting it in NYC in 1850. I was aiming for twenty years prior, but once I did the research, I knew that time would be perfect. The big famine in Ireland in 1848 killed millions, and sent thousands from their homeland and turning to America as a place where they could make a new start. My hero and heroine were no different. Congress passed the compromise of 1850, or the Fugitive Slave Law, making it a crime to aid a runaway slave. This act, and the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin a few years later, would send the country down the inevitable path to war. I wanted to capture a time of peace.

I love writing books that I’d want to read. I got the idea for this book, in part, from Jenny’s character from the movie Gangs of New York. As a refresher, Jenny’s a turtle dove. She dresses as a maid, sneaks into mansions, and robs their occupants blind. Other than that commonality, that’s all my heroine, Cathlene has in common with her.

Once I established the setting, Aaron and Cathlene took over. It was their story, so I let them tell it. And boy did they. I was just along for the ride.

I have several more historicals planned. I had to get over my initial fear of writing one. LOL I had fun, and I feel my voice is more suited for historicals, but I’m not ditching contemporaries. *g* I’m so glad I confronted that fear. If you’re a writer considering writing something different, go for it. Things might turn out better than you anticipated. If you’re a reader, what’s your favorite type of Historical to read? What would you love to see more of?

I’m continuing my blog tour on Tuesday at the

Mystery World of P.A. Brown

Where I’ll be giving away an Amazon gift card. I’d love it if you stopped by.

Bio:

Abbey MacInnis is a published author of Contemporary Western romance. Along with Contemporary, she writes Historical, Paranormal and erotic romance. Whether she’s being swept off her feet by a Medieval knight, regency rake, or cowboy or cop, her heroes are always strong men who’ll love their women unconditionally.

On most days, Abbey can be found at her computer, penning her latest tale. A tale where love, respect, and passion combine to create a satisfying and happy ending. She invites you to step in to the pages of her romances, to leave your worries behind and get swept up in her world.

His Fifth Avenue Thief blurb:

Two years prior, Irishman Aaron O’Connel took his life from rags to riches. Chance and wits have kept him alive in 1850’S New York City. But no amount of money or success can bring his love Cathlene back from the dead. When a thief sneaks her way into his mansion, the last woman he expects to find absconding with his belongings is his long lost wife.

Abandoned on New York’s shores, a widowed, penniless, and ruined Cathlene O’Connel was left to fend for herself in an unfamiliar world. Fear and circumstance drove her to a life of thieving in order to survive, but her heart risks the biggest danger of all when Aaron hands her a scandalous proposition: A son in exchange for her freedom.

Now that he has her back, Aaron doesn’t intend to let Cathlene slip between his fingers. He’ll do whatever it takes to regain her trust and love. But when an enemy from Cathlene’s past resurfaces, Aaron not only faces battling for Cathlene’s heart, but also her life.

To read an excerpt, go

here.

Buy it at:

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Gathering All Your Friends Around with AJ Best


OK, you’ve finally got some people following you around.  (Relax it’s just me and about 1000 of your closest fans!)  It may be that manly body spray or the pheromones that you put on this morning, but whatever; it’s working for you.  We’re here and we want to know where you are going.  You need to make sure that you are SPECIFIC when you tell us where you are hanging out.

  • Instead of, “Hey, I’m going to be over at AJ’s blog tomorrow, why don’t you stop on by!”  Consider the following.  “Hey guys, I’m going to be over at AJ’s blog tomorrow (www.ajbestwrites.com)  The blog post is going up sometime around 8am and I will be answering questions on and off throughout the day.  So stop by and see me!  I need all the support I can get!”

When you give all the pertinent information make sure to include everyone in there.  There may be people who honestly don’t know who I am.  (I know, I know, I can’t imagine it either, but seriously they don’t!)  And there are people where you do your promo work who have never been by AJ Best’s website (shock of all shocks since I’ve been slow to post!) and don’t know when the blog normally posts.  So tell them these things.  Maybe AJ is a night owl and likes to have her posts run at  night, so your friends and followers may end up confused and lost in a time warp.  (You may stop dancing now, we are not at a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show! Attention here people, attention!)

  • Signatures lines baby, signature (sig) lines!  Now don’t get over zealous here.  I have seen some sig lines that are actually longer than the email message that the author sent me.  That is a little bit much. If your audience gets bored after two lines then you have just over two lines too many!  So keep it to the point.  Where do you REALLY want to have them come see you?  Where do you spend the vast majority of your time working the crowds?  Start with the most important thing first your website.  They have to know where to find your important information.  Then list things in order of importance from there — blogs, and then social networks. Now let’s say you have a MySpace page, and a Facebook, but spend 85% of your time at MySpace, well for goodness sake, put that one in your sig tag and leave out Facebook.  No need to clutter it with everything else.  And if you have 12 lines of text about all of your books that you have out, do you really think that a flashing neon sign flashing the book covers, your name AND your website will get them to pay more attention to you?  All things in moderation.
  • OK, so you have the readers hooked on you, and they are on your website.  They are searching frantically for your contact information so they can tell you just how wonderful you really are.  Hold on, they can’t find it?  It’s not there?  WHAT!?  Make sure that if you want readers to contact you, that you are available.  Even something as simple as a contact form enables them to get in contact with you without giving out your email address if you are afraid of getting too many emails or getting spammed.  Remember, you can’t gather your friends around if they don’t know where to find you!
  • Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a great way to get in touch with people quickly to let them know what is going on in your life.  You have 140 characters to get in there, and leave a message letting them know where you are. You can shrink the URL down by using a number of different methods (http://bit.ly/) which is a website you can go to that will enable you to shorten the URL.
  • Calendars!  They are the easiest way in the world to keep in touch with your readers.  I have created calendars for friends and they have added them to their page so their readers can keep up with where they are blogging, chatting, and guesting.  It’s very easy to do with Google (www.google.com/calendar) and you are able to give access to all of your friends, family and relatives.  It’s a great way to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on in your life.

So you need to make sure that people can see where you are, when you are, and who you are hanging out with.  Make sure to keep the lines of communications open, because we all want to be around you, — Don’t You Know That You Are A Shooting Star?  Don’t believe me?  Just ask Bad Company.  Catch you next week when I have to tell you to Be Prepared to Catch the Bug!

I Wanna Talk About ME by AJ Best


My all time favorite thing to do it go to my Ning groups.

It was here that I was able to find like minded people.  You know, those wonderful people that eat, sleep, and breathe romance books.  I go into the groups and find a book blog,  and head right to the contact page to see if they have a someway for me to say hi. If they do I might say, “Hi, My name is AJ Best and I was wondering if you do author interviews or guest blogs on your site?
Because like Toby Keith says I Wanna Talk About Me!”  The worst they can say to me is no. (Hopefully it’s not because they don’t like that song.)  If they do say no, then I go to another blog and start the process over and over.

What I hope will happen is a buzz will stir and it will sound something like, “Oh, some chick named AJ Best or something like that will be blogging with us next week.”

Then it will build to, “OMG, AJ’s coming on Friday, I can’t wait, let’s go tell Val!”  Now let’s all hope that this is a good thing.  We are trying to not scare away the readers here.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/  There are hundreds of thousands yahoo groups out there and they are varied in subject as well as in context.  You will have no trouble finding local area writing groups, romance writing groups, sci-fi writing groups,  … OK, so you get the point.

    And with most of these groups they have rules as to when you are permitted to promote your work.  Make sure to read the rules CAREFULLY and if they are not crystal clear and the rules seem more on the terms of mud, sit back and watch.   See what the local yokels are up to and go with the flow.  If you still don’t have a clue, then you may be on my wavelength. Now is when you should take the time to contact the group leader and get all the basics down. This makes sure that you aren’t stepping on any toes.  There are many readers attached to these groups, so get in there and start promoting yourself and your work!  If your publisher has faith in you, you should too.

  • Going back to step #10 (Get Your Name Out) get your own blog, and blog consistently.  You don’t have to always talk about writing and your books, you can talk about your real life.  Believe it or not readers sometimes put writers up on a pedestal.  They see you as “writers” and not real people. (Yeah, yeah, I hear ya!) So get on your blogs and show them your real side.  (Hold on guys, maybe you don’t want to get that real!)
  • Nine chances out of ten your publisher (if you’re published already) will have a blog of their own.  Take advantage of the free publicity man, it doesn’t come around every day.  Your publisher and their team work hard to get your name out there! Make sure to help them along in any way that you can.  But remember, they are working with more than one author, so give them everything you possibly can.  A wise man once told me (and seems he was told from Huey Lewis or Springsteen), “It’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have.”  So give them a blog with cover art even though they created it, it saves them the trip.  Give them your website, I know they have it on file, but that makes it one less thing for them to look up!
  • Review sites are another GREAT source of free publicity.  Most review sites that I am aware of will give a courtesy email to the author to say, “Hey, our site reviewed your book!  Come check it out!”  What they really want you to do is make a comment!  Say thanks.  Common courtesy goes a long way in the real world folks.  And while you are thinking about the review site, hit the reply button and say, “Hi!  Thanks so much for the review.  I appreciate the time your reviewer took to review my book.  I was wondering if your site did author interviews or guest blog posts.  I am available any day that you may have available except for Sundays.  Thanks in advance.  AJ.”  What’s the worst that they can say? NO?  Guess what, you are only out a little bit of time if they say no and it’s well worth the effort to make that contact.

So get your tail out there and talk about yourself.  Get out and let the world know who you are and what is going on in your life.  Let them know the real you and the writer side of life as well.  Get them hooked on you and your writing so when the next book comes out, they won’t be able to live without it.  Stop back by next week where we will be talking about Gathering All Your Friends Around.

26 Lends and You’re OUT


A news article on the 13 News website informed me of something that I was quite sure could not possibly be true. Unfortunately, I have heard the ‘rumor’ several times in the past couple of months.

Harper Collins is allowing libraries that have purchased e-books only to have them checked out 26 times before they ‘disappear’. Let’s take a walk on the wild side and see what this means.

Michael Crichton comes out with yet another book (Pirate Latitudes) and this book is on the top sellers list for quite a while. My local library purchases this book for $27.95 and, as of today, has had that book checked out 13 times. This book hit the shelves November 24, 2009 which makes it about 15 weeks old. We will round that up to about 1 check out per week. So in another 13 weeks, if it were an e-book POOF it would be gone. Luckily, that is not the case with hard copies of books. My local library stated that their hard copy books last at least two years in their system.

Now let’s get some stats for that same book in e-book format. The library would pay $8.99 for this book (approximately). They have 26 checkouts until it goes POOF. The same book in paper will last for 2 years, that is 104 weeks (rounded to the nearest whole number) at one check out per week you would have to purchase the book 4 times per the 26 check out rule. This would then cost the library $35.96.

I know that a mere $8.01 is not going to break the bank, but if you look at the state of affairs for the local library system, you may have a slightly different feeling on this.

I love e-books, I write e-books, but when it comes at the expense of the library system in any state, or country, I can’t ban together with Harper Collins and say they have a good idea.

So where does this leave those of us who write romance, and read romance, and want romance from our libraries? Are we stuck with the Harlequins of days past? My library is small, and is stuck with that as their ‘romance’ section. So the romance we could check out on our e-book readers isn’t going to help our library but hurt them? Do we support the library system? Do we purchase for ourselves and say, “To hell with big brother?” I don’t know.

What are your thoughts on this?

*****

AJ Best can be found and harassed at http://www.ajbestwrites.com. She tries to make sure that there is a touch of real life in every one of her stories. Feel free to drop her a line at ajbestwrites@gmail.com.

Writer’s Block – Fixes…or not!


I’ve spent an entire week trying to figure out what I’m going to put down for this post. I really hate when I get a writer’s ‘brain fart’. I’ve talked to author friends and told them that they can get through their block and given them GREAT advice (if I do say so myself), but implementing that advice is harder than I thought.

1. Sit down and write anything. Type out exactly what you are thinking.

‘OMG, this post has to make sense to someone. What if I make a total fool of myself? What if….my brain just fried. Now what do I do? Um. Help?’

2. Go to my favorite site for motivation: http://writeordie.com/ Put in 500 words in 10 minutes. Have it in Kamikaze mode and Evil grace period. So this is what comes out of that:

I’m trying to get the writer’s block from my head and to the paper. Do you think that I am going to be able to break it out of my head and onto the paper? Will it work? Can I do it? OH, flashing red lights, focus. I can do it. Yes, I can. I wonder what my brain is doing wrong….maybe it’s not my brain.

3. I tell my friends not to be too hard on themselves. (So much for that advice for me!)

Come on AJ, why can’t you pull something good from what you have in your brain? Maybe you don’t have a brain. Why do you write anyway! You suck.

4. Writing is a job not a hobby – set aside time. (My hardest solution.)

I’ve really lost the battle with this one. I sit down to write and nothing comes out. So I get distracted by email, Twitter (yes, I’ve gotten sucked back in), Facebook, cleaning, family, music, eating. If I were at what I call a ‘real’ job, I would have my butt in the chair doing what I was supposed to be doing. Why do I not consider writing a real job? It is, but I’ve been kicked so often lately that sometimes writing hurts. I think back on the recent rejection letter for my story forgiveness, and hear all they have to say and wonder if they are right. I know they aren’t. My friends who have read it say they aren’t. But why does the horrible mean things that people say about your work stick, and the good things don’t? I guess that’s the same thing with life. It’s hard to realize that you can do it.

So, it’s time for me to stop making excuses and sit butt in chair and write. Even if I think it sucks (which it might) just write. That’s what edits are for. To fix spelling, plot holes and other inconsistencies. No writer I’ve ever known has a perfect MS from the first draft, no one I know who has been contracted has ever had to skip edits. It’s OK to make mistakes, and it’s even better if you take the time to realize them and fix them.

What keeps you from writing the way you should? What do you do to overcome it when it happens? I’d love to hear from you!

*****

AJ Best can be found and harassed at http://www.ajbestwrites.com. She tries to make sure that there is a touch of real life in every one of her stories. Feel free to drop her a line at ajbestwrites@gmail.com.

Let’s Talk About Sex with AJ Best and Salt n Pepa


I’ve always been one to put a song with every topic or sentence in my life. So when this topic hit me in the head, a some came with it.

Sex Scenes SUCK!

Calm down – I have nothing against hot sweaty bodies writhing with with passion. Their nakedness sliding against each other, flesh to flesh, body to body.

Actually, I love sex, just ask my fiance. But he’s one of the reason I don’t like sex scenes. Imagine this situation:

AJ sits at her work computer, tucked quietly away from the family in her upstairs writers cave. The door closed, esentially saying:

I’m writing, GO AWAY!
Unless you are bleeding, and that’s still ifffy.

He edges her ass to the end of the silken sheeted bed. Her damp core leaving tell tale spots of the desire that has been plaguing her dreams.

“Hey honey, what’s for dinner?”

I haven’t looked.”

You have an idea?”

“I haven’t looked. I don’t know what we have.”

“Me either.”

**heavy pause**

“So, you gonna come look?”

I’m writing.”

**pause again**

“How about now?”

It’s at this point that I throw in the proverbial towel and give up. I put the computer to sleep and head off to fix dinner.

Dinner done, I’m headed back to my comfy balance ball. It sits a whole lot better than the stupid office chairs.

Her damp core leaving tell tale spots of the desire that has been plaguing her dreams.

…..

…..

Come on guys, there’s sex to be had.

What did you have for dinner,” he says huskily thinking about a nice juicy t-bone steak.

It doesn’t matter what I had, you guys are HAVING sex! Now get to it.

Did you have desert? I love desert,” She says, her fingers playing in the soft curls leading to his flacid manhood.

“Oh, I love chocolate cake, and whipped cream. There was this one girl I used to date,” he muses with a far off look in his eyes, “boy did she taste good with some whipped cream running from her pert breasts,” he sighs.

“What, my breasts aren’t good enough for you now? You were seconds away from putting your throbbing member into my damp core. And are you trying to say that my breasts aren’t pert? You don’t think ‘I’ would be tasty with whipped cream on me?” she blasted at him while pulling the sheet up around her breasts.

“That’s not what I was saying at all. You are the most beautiful woman in the world. I just brought up Tonya because we were talking about desert, and I wanted you to know that I like desert too.”

“TONYA? You’ve slept with her? I can’t believe it. The things I learn when we should be having sex. It’s a good thing that AJ went to dinner and we had to wait for her. Can you belive the mistake I would have made? AJ? Get me out of here, I don’t want to look at him again,” she stormed out the door sheet in hand covering her more than ample breasts. As she slammed the door the sheet caught and you could hear her muttered curse all the way down the hall.

“You see AJ, this is why I’d rather masterbate, you chicks are just too moody for me.”

I’m quite sure that I can make sure he never has to have sex again, I weild the pencil that rises or lowers his sail.

DAMN INTERUPTIONS!

*****

AJ Best can be found and harassed at http://www.ajbestwrites.com. She tries to make sure that there is a touch of real life in every one of her stories. Feel free to drop her a line at ajbestwrites@gmail.com.

Write What You Know


Throughout my writing career I’ve read and been given the advice that says, “Make sure you write what you know.” If you take this suggestion and run with it, your writing will be quite interesting and realistic. This is something that all readers want. Something that helps them escape from reality and enter into another world for a while.

I’m not sure how this piece of advice works. When I first started writing in junior high school I wrote love poems. I knew NOTHING of love, I hadn’t even been kissed. So how in the world was I able to write such ‘moving’ pieces. In all honesty they were only moving to me, but they seem to make sense.

Let’s take a look at my first poem:

Lazily we walk along the beach
You and I hand in hand
Nature has its things to teach
We listen and learn
But never turn
To see what we left behind

I ‘ve been told that the poem is pretty deep for a 7th-grade-know-nothing kid. That advice seems to hold no bearing for me. What enabled me to accomplish meaningful words about love?

I’ve thought about authors who write science fiction and fantasy? How are you able KNOW genre? I’m pretty certain that we don’t know aliens or fly spaceships able to land onto the planets of far-away galaxies. What talent would help them accomplish that feat? Were they abducted by aliens? I find abductions quite difficult to believe.

Ooo, think about horror books, or murder mysteries? I’m not sure that I’d want to go through the possibility of having a poltergeist, a killer car, or a rabid dog attack them? I’d be in a mental hospital in a padded room when ithe end of the ordeal finally arrived, not a good thought. Murder mysteries are pretty much just scary. I would hate to think that someone who did all of those crimes would be out writing books. So how do authors get into their killer’s head?

I am able to say in my case that my understanding came, not from experience but, from a great love of books. Since I was able to run around town on my own I would go to the library. During the summer months my step-mom didn’t have to worry about me. I walked to the library in the morning and didn’t go home until four o’clock. I sat in the children’s section of the library and read non-stop. The summer reading program was never a problem for me, I surpassed the requirements tenfold.

Every author I’ve ever talked to, most authors I’ve read about, have an avid love of reading and they’ve had that love for years. Don’t think for a second that I’m dismissing the advice that was so kindly given to me, but there has to be more to the story. There are life experiences that make you a better author, and they should be taken and used. But never underestimate the power of a good book.

~~~~~

AJ Best can be found and harassed at http://www.ajbestwrites.com. She tries to make sure that there is a touch of real life in every one of her stories. Feel free to drop her a line at ajbestwrites@gmail.com.