Tag Archives: historical

5 Great Lines from Elizabeth Hoyt, Wicked Intentions

5 Great Lines from Elizabeth Hoyt, Wicked Intentions


“Like the legless man, I’m unaccountably fascinated by those who can dance.”


“Every word you have ever uttered, is engraved upon my heart.”


“If he presses, tell him it’s a female matter. That stop any question.”


“You’ve used me to punish yourself, haven’t you?”
He watched dawning realization spread over her face, a confirmation more positive than anything she could ever say, and that arrow twisted deep in his
chest. Yet still he had to ask the last question.
“Am I anything to you but a punishment?”


“I’d walk through fire for you,” he rasped, his voice hoarse and broken. “I have walked through fire for you.”

Ava Delany
The Fetish Club Series, The Homecoming Series, and The Beginnings Series.
Look for my newest release- A Surprising Day – on Kindle, Allromanceebooks, and many other places where ebooks are sold.


Catching up

I know I’ve been away much too long. I won’t be out of the loop from now on, but as they say, ‘life happens.’ I’ll do my best to give you a brief snapshot of where I’ve been during my time away from the blog. I’m only really starting to recover from all the excitement. Great thing is, there’s much more ahead.
Last month passed in a blurr. I was getting ready for my first-ever RWA National conference, (which was absolutely amazing). I caught up with members from The Greater Detroit chapter – my local chapter. I met some wonderful people, my fellow GIAMers, some fellow conference newbees, and Harlequin Romance Senior Editor, Kimberly Young in my hotel elevator. Ms. Young wasn’t wearing her nametag, but I recognized her voice from the podcasts on the Eharlequin website. By the way, those podcasts are chalked full of great stuff! If you’re a writer, and targeting Harlequin, definitely check them out.
While at conference, I spent time with chaptermate Renee Alexis and my roommate and pal, Jodi Redford I wish I had photos of the three of us at Animal Kingdom. If you haven’t yet been to Disney, IMO, you need to experience its allure and fantasy-like ambience firsthand. It really is a magical place. You don’t have to be a kid to have a good time. I’m sorry though, that I wasn’t able to check out the Magical Kingdom and meet some of Disney’s finest.
As for the conference,
RWA did a fabulous job coordinating all the workshops. The presenters of the many workshops I attended during the course of the conference provided me with a plethora of new material to add to my creative and business arsenals. I’ll mention two here, because it’s over two weeks later, and I still remember them. *g* Margie Lawson and the Carina Press spotlight with Angela James who did an excellent job giving the audience a clear picture of Carina and its mission. As a side note: I’ve just finished up Angela’s editing course with Savvy Authors If you haven’t yet taken it, you need to hurry up and get your spot for her next available class! She presents her lessons with no fuss, no frills added but with plenty examples to get her point across. And I loved that! Go ahead. I’ll wait. *g* Back to conference recap.
The Wednesday night literacy book signing, alone, was very interesting. I sat with Jodi Redford who was signing. To our left was Deanna Raybourn who is so down-to-earth and so nice to chat with. I had fun making small talk with her when she wasn’t busy with her readers.
Keynote speaker, Nora Roberts and Awards Lunch-in speaker, Jayne Ann Krentz are wonderful presenters who impressed me with their incredible amount of knowledge and sound advice, while making me laugh along the way.
The Golden Heart and Rita ceremony left me on the edge of my seat. I can’t imagine how anxious the nominees must’ve been. It was an emotional evening at times for me. I found myself tearing up when one of the winners, (any winner) would become emotional. I especially loved when Julia Quinn was inducted to the Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame after winning her third Rita in the category of best Regency Historical Romance with What Happens In London. And my fellow blogger, G. Jillian Stone not only won a Golden Heart, she also snagged an agent. 🙂 Go Jillian!
Since I’ joined RWA in 2006, I learned quickly that the Rita and GH ceremony along with the literacy book signing are infamous with members. Each year, up until now, I’d read others accounts of the conference and events there, and I’d wonder what it would be like to attend and experience them for myself. They were both pretty awesome! After attending this conference, I’ve gained an even greater appreciation for the romance genre, and writing in general. I’ve sharpened my own focus, expanding my dreams while narrowing my goals to the more practical few that I can control.
After returning home from Orlando, , I dove right into my family reunion, the MacInnis family reunion. My relatives from all over Canada flew in for the four-day event. I met second and third cousins, and wives/husbands/children of those cousins it made my head spin. But I had a lot of fun doing it. I heard the Harlequin party was a blast, but trust me, no one can party like my family. *g*
Next up for me, in September, is the year-long mentorship class with Lori Wilde I’m extatic for this course to start. This course looks like it’ll be a blast.
Well, there’s my not-to-concise recap. I hope those of you who attended conference had a fun time just as I did.


Every morning, still in pajamas, with coffee mug in hand, I wake up my computer to check e-mail. This is always a thrill, as New York is three hours ahead, and I have query letters out. I ready my index finger above the delete key, punch through a number of advertisements––and yes, I admit, I often trash my own cousin Dick’s daily e-greetings, without opening them.

Dickey likes to send/forward chain e-mail greetings to everyone in his universe of cyber friends. I’m sure you have received one of these. They often have cartoon drawings in them or funny jokes. Dick makes sure I know they are funny because he tells me so at the start of every e-mail by using a little animated emoticon. Sometimes these chain letters are made up of fantasy billboards or bumper stickers, which often involve Viagra jokes and loads of cornball sexual innuendo, or they can be political and offensive in nature––you know the ones. Anyway, these e-greetings circulate all over the internet. I hesitate to use the word viral, because I refuse to forward any of them……..except…….for this one e-greeting I happened to open and read the other day.

This one actually had some relevance to my daily writerly workload. When the e-mail came, I had received two requests for a new manuscript, one from a contest judge and one from a QL, which caused a week of furious edits/rewrites. Arrrgggh!!! Generally, one of the last things I do, is take a look at how I have used the senses––sound, sight, smell, taste, touch. Which brings me back around to the humorous (?) e-mail of the day. In a way, this odd little piece of prose reinforced the importance of using all the senses. Here is the unedited, (dreadful amount of tell) unexpurgated version, compliments of my cousin Dick:

A new Supermarket opened in Elk Grove, California. It has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh. Just before it goes on, you hear the distant sound of thunder and the smell of fresh rain.

When you pass the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and you experience the scent of fresh cut hay.

In the meat department there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steaks and brauts.

In the liquor department, the fresh, clean, crisp smell of tapped Miller Lite.

When you approach the egg case, you hear hens cluck and cackle and the air is filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying.

The bakery department features the tantalizing smell of fresh baked bread & cookies.

I don’t buy toilet paper there anymore.

Let Jodi Redford Light Your Fire With Her New Release

New Release by Jodi Redford
Well, just as I promised last week, here’s this week’s new release info. 🙂
Out from Samhain Tuesday, June 29, is a new hot and kickass release from Jodi Redford And to celebrate her new release, Jodi is offering to one lucky person who leaves a comment, a $5 gift card to My Bookstore And More
Be sure to check out Jodi’s contest page. To celebrate her new release, she’s giving away an Advanced Reading copy of Light My Fire! There’s also some other cool prizes, but you’ll need to check out her contest page for the rules. But hurry, because the contest ends tomorrow.
Be sure when you leave your comments here to include your email address so Jodi or I can contact you. Best of luck, everyone! We’ll draw the winner on Sunday!

Light My Fire by Jodi Redford (Out this coming Tuesday from Samhain.)
Double the firepower, triple the heat.
Aiden Fortune’s orders are clear: Find the woman, claim her as a sexual
sacrifice-and share her with his horndog twin brother. Distasteful as it is,
the Drakoni council insists the ancient custom be honored. Or Aiden will be
One glance at Dana Cooper, and Aiden is thrown into the dragon version of a
tailspin. Claim her? Hell, yes, he’ll claim her. Problem is, she has no idea
her father signed away her destiny at birth.
Dana has dated enough whack-a-doodles to fill an insane asylum. Two gorgeous
men claiming to be dragons? Par for the course. Until they give her a
tantalizing glimpse of their inner beasts, which makes her think she’s the
one headed for a padded cell-for actually considering their offer of the
hottest sex of her life, for life.
Her resistance melts away under the onslaught of two men who pack enough
heat to set off smoke alarms in a six-block radius. Especially when she
realizes she’s falling for Aiden. But with a town full of dragon hunters and
an enemy lurking in the shadows, surviving a week of Aiden and Jace’s
double-teaming will be the least of her problems.
Warning: Contains two smokin’ hot dragons and their not-so-unwilling
sacrifice. A few wardrobe malfunctions and inappropriate use of
paintbrushes. You might want to have your local fire department on speed

Another new release by Jane Beckenham

For the next two weeks, I’m very excited to share two new releases from two of my good friends and fellow authors. This week,
Jane Beckenham
has a new release out with
Red Rose Publishing
which I’ll share with you in a moment, along with an excerpt to whet your apitite. Next week, I’ll be sharing info on a new hot number by
Jodi Redford
On with this week’s new release!
In Love With The Sheikh
Desert Rose Anthology
Jane Beckenham
Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Interracial/Multicultural
ISBN: 978-1-60435-723-3
Cover Artist: Missy Lyons
Editor: Zena Gainer
Word Count: 49,380
Release Date: June 17, 2010

Desperate to discover her past, Lilly Duprés outbids Sheikh Kalim Raschid for an antique brooch. Her triumph is short lived. She can’t honor that bid. Accepting an offer to solve her financial embarrassment, Lilly discovers Kalim has every material thing yet spurns what she most desires. Love. Family. To belong.
After a lifetime spent watching his father hurt his mother, Kalim has vowed he would never imitate his father. But Lilly breaches his defenses leaving him vulnerable.
Faced with something he never wanted, Kalim must choose his future, and Lilly must accept her past, until life and love can come full-circle.

Replenishing Your Creative Well

Burnout can, and does happen to the best of us. Sitting around day after day, not stretching mentally or physically isn’t in any way healthy. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. [G]
I’d love to sit and write twenty-four seven if I could. With the hundreds, heck, thousands of story ideas I’ve jotted down in some shape or form, plus those jockiing for center stage in my head could keep me busy for years. I don’t write nonstop, but when I do write, I’m more focused on my task because my creative well is full.
How do I replenish my well, you might ask? How do I reduce the amount of stress in my life? How do I manage not feeling burnt out creatively and physically?
I take the time to smell the roses and engage my other senses in the world around me. I listen to music. Read a book, (or several.) I go to a movie or have lunch with friends. I love sitting and talking with my grandma in her backyard. Or taking a drive on a breezy evening with the windows down to clear my mind.
I love to sing – always have. Putting on music or singing with others helps take my mind off my problems.
Doing house work allows me to step away from the computer, while still allowing me to focus on the problem at hand. Dusting, vacuuming or doing the dishes doesn’t take much brainpower. These chores help break the monotony of my day. When I’m ready to get back to work, I try to have healty snacks at my side, such as cold water, (not caffeinated drinks), nuts, fruits and vegetables. I’m still working on cutting back starches. One thing I’ll never stop eating is chocolate. [G] As far as I’m concerned, chocolate should be given its own food group. [G]
Sitting still while trying to figure out a crucial plot point won’t get you far. However, taking a brisk walk, a run, riding a bike, doing some light weight lifting, going for a refreshing swim on a hot day might just get those creative juices flowing once again.
It’s been well-documented that physical activity is bennificial. Here’s a link to the Mayo Clinic to one such article:

Seven Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

Exercise can improve your mood, self-esteem and self-confidence. It can boost your energy level. Ever have those days where you’re just so dead tired, you just want to eat then fall straight into bed? Try taking a walk instead. You’ll sleep better and deeper that night.
One disadvantage of being sedentary for too long is packing on those extra pounds. Exercise can help manage weight and even combat certain chronic diseases.
Just for fun, I won’t give you the second to last benefit listed in the article. LOL I’ll let you discover that particular bit of info all on your own. [wink wink nudge nudge]
If you have a group of friends to exercise with, all the better. You’ll get the benefit of social interaction along with a good workout. I’m a writer, not a hermit. I have to sometimes fight my desire to lock myself in my creative cage – to shut others out. Friends aren’t just good to go on a jog with. They’re good to bounce ideas off of or to simply spend time with.
When I’m having trouble putting new words on the page, sometimes I just need to sit and take in the quiet around me. It’s very difficult, but there are days where I can go without writing a single word. And rather than beat myself up for not writing anything new, I’ll go about my life, and when I’m not expecting it, an idea will reveal itself. When it’s time to go back to work, I’ll be ready and raring to go.
Stress can be found everywhere you look in some shape or form. What’s important is how we choose to manage it. I hope I’ve given you some helpful tips on how I handle stress and burnout. Now I’d like to hear what your methods are. How do you handle stress? Do you have a hobby or activity you enjoy that helps you unwind? How do you combat burnout? Feel free to share, and happy creating!

Using Music As Inspiration

There are some days where I have to drag myself to my desk to plant my butt in my chair. Days when writing a few words seems like an impossible and monumental feat. Granted, those days are few and far between, but they’re still unpleasant. I can only wipe the counter so many times and make sure my black Lab has enough water in her bowl. *g* I need to put my butt in my chair, open my WIP file, (one of them anyway), and write.
Lately I’ve been hooked on all things Historical, particularly movie adaptations of Jane Austen novels. The very popular Pride And Prejudice, (2005 version) and Sense And Sensibility, (1995 version). The musical score can really set the mood and tone for a specific film, or provide inspiration. Either way, there’s much enjoyment to be had.
These film scores, and others, (The Duchess), for example have really given me some wonderful ideas for future stories. I don’t know how this happens. I usually don’t write with music in the background as I find it pretty distracting, particularly music with lyrics. I’ll want to sing along. When that happens, I lose my focus. Oh sure, I get ideas from song lyrics, but I haven’t always listened to classical music. I’ve always found it to be lovely, but until I initially thought of attempting to write while playing something instrumental in the background, it never occurred to me that it could add something truly magical.
Purely instrumental pieces not only keep me focused on what I’m writing, but they add a certain excitement, a richness to my scenes that until recently, to me, weren’t present.
With a waltz playing in the background, my senses are much sharper as I write. In fact, I can’t type fast enough to keep up. I can see the ballroom overflowing with bejeweled ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finest. The skirts of the ladies swirl as they glide in the arms of their handsome partners across the polished floor, the crush, along with the smell of so many bodies crammed into one room can sometimes put me in the thick of things, so vivid is the setting to me. And all this because of music. Mabye this sounds silly, but that’s amazing.
I’m curious to hear from those of you who write with music in the background, what are some of your favorite songs, soundtracks and albums that inspire you? Who are some artists you can’t write without? Whether the mood of your scene is dark, soft, menacing, dangerous, do you put together a playlist or soundtrack for your WIP to match those moods? And if you don’t quite know what song could fit a specific mood, where do you find the perfect music to complement a particular scene? I’m interested in adding to my growing list of film scores, so please don’t be shy in sharing. 🙂

Interview And New Release With Jane Beckenham

Today’s chat is with New Zealand author Jane Beckenham. Jane writes both contemporary and historical romance and next week (Tuesday May 25th) sees her 10th book released. HE’S THE ONE is being released by

Abbey: Jane. Tell us a bit about He’s the One.

Jane: Well, HTO is set here in New Zealand, actually in Auckland where I live, a city known as City of Sails, because we’re surrounded by harbor on both sides, the Tasman Sea on one side and the Mankau Harbour on the other. I wanted to write about a heroine who was a wedding planner, I think because secretly it’s a job I would love to do. And my hero, well he is just pure hunk material. He owns vintage cars, and in particular a red Mustang. When I was out ‘doing lunch’ with authors Eve Summers and Melody Knight one day, this guy drove up and parked beside us in his red mustang. He walked right by. Oh it was drool heaven!

Reviews so far have been great….

Review from Single Titles…. “Jane Beckenham scripts
a beautiful tale woven with remarkable insight to
the emotions of a new couple finding their way. He’s
the One reminded me a lot of the emotions you feel
when you find someone special you’re attracted to.
I thought it believable and felt like I had stepped into the
story with Taylor and Cade. Curl up with a festive drink
and spend the day enjoying this remarkable story.”
Read more….

And from Romance Junkies… HE’S THE ONE by Jane Beckenham is a unique story. So many parts of the plot had this reviewer laughing out loud. The chemistry between the characters is strong enough to keep the reader turning the pages. I would recommend this book for the romantics out there that are looking for a fun, simple read to relax with.

Here’s the blurb: Taylor Sullivan doesn’t trust Cupid, but she plays one for a living. As a successful wedding consultant, she creates a couple’s ultimate fantasy—even though she’s never managed to create her own. And when her clients start asking her for wedding night advice, she’s sensible enough to know when to enlist help.
Cade Harper knows two things about women. They either abandon him, or use him as a walking bank. He doesn’t do commitment, and marriage is a dirty word—witness the string of broken hearts he’s left in his wake
Warning: Contains explicit, straight-to-the-heart sex between a hopeless romantic heroine and an abandon-all-hope hero. No need to dress up for this party—just curl up with a glass of bubbly and a box of tissues!

Abbey: He’s The One is quite quirky, I mean the opening line is out there.

Jane: The opening line Virginity is overrated came to me one night while I couldn’t sleep. My poor heroine is a virgin and her clients (the brides) keep asking her questions about sex she can’t answer. Like a sensible business gal she decides she’s going to learn a new skill!

Abbey: What do you think books set in New Zealand bring to your work.

Jane: Well I’d like to think I can bring a sense of NZ life and culture. I mean we’re upside down and when the northern hemisphere is deep in snow for Christmas, it’s summer here and all about bbqs and the beach. I think that is why I tend to set a lot of my stories around summer time, so I can showcase our different worlds. New Zealand has some spectacular native plans one of which is the Pohutukawa and is our ‘NZ Christmas tree” For example my book Always a Bridesmaid was set in Rotorua and the Ureweras – in the very heart of Nzs North Island, an area steeped in Maori culture and myth and legend which featured in the book. It’s also an area my husband and I lived in over 25 years ago.

Abbey: Do you write every day?

Jane: This is where I cough and splutter and hang my head. I should be, in fact I usually do, but at the moment I’ve been a tad slack and had some time off. I’ve even discovered the joys of window cleaning – which is incredibly sad and pathetic. But I’m slowly getting back into it, now the writing well is getting refilled with some down time, not something I do easily!

Abbey: Since you set a lot of your books in New Zealand, tell us a bit about life there.

Jane: Well NZ is a special place and of course if you saw the Lord of the Rings movies, you will have noticed a lot of our landscape. We’re 2 islands, (the North Island and South Island – not very original I know) though there is a tiny third one way at the bottom called Stewart island. Our native language is Maori and we’re officially part of Polynesia. We have a sub-tropical climate and a population of only 4 million. A nation for outdoor activities, anything from surfing and sailing to bungee jumping and skiing. Plus of course Rugby which is our national sport.

Abbey: What’s next on the writing front?

Jane: He’s The One is being released on 25th May from Samhain, then in the coming months I have a Regency, A Traitor’s Heart and a sheikh story – In Love With the Sheikh being released from Red Rose Publishing.
I have a couple of other contemporaries I’m fine tuning, plus an historical set in the late 1600s (in France/England) which is in edit mode too. No rest for the wicked.

Abbey: Thanks Jane for popping in to chat to us. How can readers find you?

Jane: Thanks for having me Abbey. You can check out my web site at Jane Beckenham.com and I am on twitter

It’s Abbey again. So Jane’s been kind enough to gift to one lucky commenter a pre-released copy of He’s The One. 🙂 So if you’d like a chance to win, leave a comment. 🙂 I’ll draw the winner on Sunday.

ONE MAN’S THOUGHTS: A History of Women Authors in Science Fiction

Women authors, outside of romance, were not common in early science fiction. For a long time the most successful female writers were romance novelist. As romance books grew in popularity here in the U.S. during the fifties and sixties women writers expanded into other fields. I imagine a heavy influence for many of these bold writers was the romance genre and this influence was fortunate.

Romance and the romance style have had a significant impact on our culture, not only in television and movies but other types of books as well. Whether a reader enjoys intrigues, flashing swords or star ships in their stories, a heart felt need for love will always make any setting better. Romantic writing has had an impact on all manner of other genres.

Male writers dominated early science fiction publications. Armed with an interesting view of the future and some talent they wrote tales like Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and Doc Savage. These stories were typically entertaining, over the top and short. Of course those with deeper insights such as H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradburry and Isaac Asimov defined hardcore science fiction writing, however science fiction still had a limited audience.

In the nineteen sixties while the top selling science fiction was inhabited by the giants, new writers were also appearing. Harry Harrison, Robert Heinlein, and Piers Anthony made their debut, but so did Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K Le Guin. Not only were they science fiction writers, but also as women authors they brought a new point of view to the genre— along with new readers.

By the seventies women were much more prevalent in science fiction and fantasy writing. Kate Wilhelm, Martha Randal, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Mary Lee Stettle (who gained a National Book Award for Blood Tie) all had best selling books in that decade. Not only were women writing more in other genres, but also there was a boom in women publisher and magazine editors.

With the changes in audience, writers and publishers for science fiction it allowed for a new type science fiction. The science fact in these stories can be used as tool for characters with more humanized goals. For example, traveling to Mars or through time just to do it isn’t as interesting as doing it for love. With a romantic motivation to a fantastic setting it brings a level of believability that would otherwise be missing. As a writer I certainly fall into that category. I’ve never written a story where the character doesn’t fall in love. It is by far the most dramatic, life changing, wonderful event that can happen to a human being and should be told and retold as many ways as possible. Thanks to women in the field of science fiction, and writing at large, I have book that has a place in today’s market.

Until next time, happy writing.

Michael Matthews Bingamon

Just for Fun

I had a really busy weekend but a great Mother’s Day. I hope all you moms out there did too. Therefore, this week I thought we would just have some fun. I found some fun little quizzes and trivia for you. The first few are for the paranormal lovers out there and the second half for the historical fans. I hope you enjoy them. Next week I will tackle something a little more serious. What that is hasn’t come to me but it will.

Paranormal Quizzes:

Lords of the Underworld Quiz (Which Lord is Perfect for You)


Which Immortal Is Your Soul Mate?


Black Dagger Brothers Quiz


Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark Trivia


Vampire History Quiz


Shifter Trivia


Historical Quizzes:

What Regency Heroine Are You?


Which Austen Heroine Are You?


Which Literary Heroine Are You?


Georgian Costumes: Regency to Romantic Quiz


Historical Romance  Writing Formula Quiz


Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake

ONE MAN’S THOUGHTS: Life Lesson From Literature

I want to share an epiphany I had recently. During a conversation with an acquaintance of mine we were discussing the nature of human beings, politics and the world in general. One particular point that came up was the idea that man is inherently good. That people as a whole, in any civilization, are fundamentally decent folks no matter what rules of that society maybe. To my own surprise I found that I argued that most of us are worthy individuals when separated from exterior influences. In short, I believe that people from any society and any era all have a fundamental desire to be good— and I can prove it.

Great fiction from any culture, from any point in history, has certain elements in common. The reason they have elements in common is that some concepts have a universal appeal to us and hold our attention. Books that retain a reader’s attention do well; books that speak to us about the human experience are the ones that endure. Such as the Odyssey, Lord of the Rings, and any Shakespeare play are epic examples. Each culture and time period has it’s own hallmark writers that capture the imaginations of many readers, but follow the same rules of success. Even those stories that are never famous that touch us in someway usually do so because they reflect something we admire.

What is it these stories all have? Heroic characters faced with incredible obstacles.

Even if the book doesn’t depict the Cyclops trying to prevent the hero from completing his journey home, there are always barriers the main character must deal with. Sometimes a tale of someone falling in love, battling cancer or surviving a disaster is more moving because it we can identify with it. Whatever the situation, we enjoy reading about a noble cause.

For the sake of my argument it doesn’t matter what genre appeals to you, what matters is these stories feature someone overcoming his or her circumstances. That is how people learn and we all have a need to see others succeed by becoming more than what they were. No one cares to read about a character that doesn’t learn anything and merely acts for their self-interests.

Allow me to phrase it another way.

I once attended a writing conference and the speaker explained that heroes are always more interesting than villains. Villains never grow. They seek power or to do wrong because they believe they are entitled to whatever they want. They are villains because they will do anything to obtain their goals. They don’t learn or change and that makes them a poor choice for a lead character. Heroes on the other hand must overcome adversity by learning about themselves and those around them. Exciting drama is the unfolding struggle, both internal and external. What captivates a reader is venturing through that process with the heroic character and experiencing their adventure through them— it always has and it always will.

If that is what makes a successful story, if that is what has always made a successful story, then it is my assertion that this universal attraction to overcoming adversity through the betterment of an individual means we all have the basic moral principals. What is considered admirable qualities among the ancient Greeks is admirable to modern America and everyone in between. This goes for all cultures, for I’m certain that if you were to read ancient Chinese tales, American Indian legends, or ancient Egyptian stories they would feature characters that performed great deeds against evil forces. In the end literature reveals the soul of a culture and mankind as a whole.

Happy writing!

Michael Matthews Bingamon

From Wannabe To Having The Write Success

Here’s another article I wrote a few years ago I thought I’d dust off and share. 🙂 I hope it helps you become more organized, or consider it. 🙂 I can speak from personal experience that by setting annual goals, then breaking those goals down into weekly goals is helping me immensely in moving forward and growing as a writer. 🙂

Have you ever met someone so passionate about something you can hear the intensity in their voice and words, and see it in their eyes? They absolutely love what they’re talking about. But have you ever really sat down with someone who wanted to be a writer but just couldn’t get past the idea of talking about writing—the craft, the business, what their writer friends are doing, and where they’re at in their careers? These people love the idea of what it is to be a writer.

Call me a snob if you must, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned (and it’s a very simple thing, mind you), it’s that if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Many writers have either stated these exact words, or paraphrased them in some manner, so what I’m advising here is nothing new.

I’ve met and known people who have developed their own “method” of writing, one which leads to not writing at all in the end. They use up too much energy being frustrated and worried about what others are doing, what they’re not doing. They allow their own fears to get in the way of going from unpublished to published. Or they wait for the muse to shoot some creativity their way instead of working on without her.

If you want to be a serious writer and build a career, you can’t rely on your muse. You have to put that butt in a chair or couch—wherever you’re most comfortable writing—and just do it. Writing isn’t just about creating stories, it’s a business.

It takes both discipline and consistency and yes, in my case, strategic planning regarding where I’m at, where I want to be, and how I’ll get there. I’m aspiring big, but starting small. You can do the same, but the only way it’ll work is if you stick to it.

There are, of course, no guarantees in life. Sometimes our best-laid plans go awry, but if we do everything humanly possible to stay the course as writers, we’ll always be moving closer to meeting our goals and reaching all we aspire to.

Not exactly sure where you want to be in a year or two, five or even ten? Or how you’ll get there? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed and unsure of where to even begin? Sit down at your computer or grab a pen and paper, and brainstorm for five or ten minutes. Write down every idea you have, no matter how simple it seems.

Here are some ideas:

Write three books, get an agent, obtain RWA Pro status, get a website, build a social network by creating a MySpace, Twitter, FaceBook page, get a post office box, make business cards, create book trailers for your books along with other promotional items. Write for your dream publisher; hit the New York Times, USA Today or other major bestseller lists; start a blog, join a critique group, enter writing contests, judge writing contests, learn and understand the specific publishing models, and determine which is best for you. Get published. Study up on craft and the business of publishing. Sign up for online workshops each month, read books on writing. Read and dissect books from publishers you plan on targeting, familiarize yourself with the legal side of the writing business, and how to interact professionally with editors and agents. Learn how to research agents and publishers. Network with other authors. Attend book signings of friends; attend the RWA National conference, the Romantic Times Convention, or other smaller writing conferences. Design a workshop of your own to present, volunteer in your local RWA chapter or online chapters, and join any other chapters, and Yahoo groups to network with even more authors and potential readers.

Then, once you’ve written down all of your ideas, decide which ones are the most important now. Which goals do you need to accomplish before you begin tackling the others on your list? Do you really need a P.O. Box before you’re published? Order your goals by importance and divide them up into 3-month segments. Some goals might take longer than others, so be reasonable when allocating the amount of time to achieve them.

Break down your writing goals and decide where they fit in your big plan. Can you really write an 80,000 word manuscript in three months? Depending on your writing style, whether you’re a plotter or seat-of-the-pants writer, and if you’re a busy parent with family, kids, day job, you’ll know how to answer this. Be reasonable. You won’t meet your goals if you don’t make them achievable and give yourself enough time. You’ll only end up discouraging yourself.

If you don’t meet a goal as you planned, just move your deadline back by another three months. Even if you don’t meet all of your annual goals, save them for the next year. You’ll have other goals you’ll want to add as you move forward.

Keep your goals in a place where you can view them frequently. Review them often, and be proud of yourself when you cross one of them out. You met it and you’re on your way to success.

Query and wait. Query and wait.

I decided that I would continue to write as long as I lived, even if I never sold one thing, because that was what I wanted out of my life.

—George Bernau

What I love about the George Bernau quote above is how much is resonates with me.  Every time I experience those humble, wonderful words I just feel at peace with the world. Like, I have found my life as a writer, and I will continue to write even if I never sign with a literary agent, or get offered a publishing contract or be excited about a release date or schedule a book signing.

That sentiment is lovely and all, but I also want people to read and enjoy my stories, right? So, I continue to pursue the marketing of my work with as much energy and enthusiasm that I put into writing a new chapter. Well, almost.

At the end of a writing session I can nearly always see the progress I’ve made. Not so easy on the marketing end of this business. Query and wait. Query and wait. Agents and publishers live in their own world, with mysterious timetables. I have decided that a decelerator clock hangs directly above the circumlocution slush pile on the desks of agents and editors. Lately, I have experienced a recurring nightmare triggered by a number of harrowing stories vented by other writers regarding the length of time it takes to get a decision on a manuscript.

Did someone say as long as a year?

Fine. In the meantime I will write a few novels while I wait. From everything I’m told the fiction market environment is tough right now. Tougher than what? A petrified rhino hide? What about all the sales in erotica? And YA? Jeez, how bad could it be? Then again, maybe I don’t want to know.

I began this blog with an inspirational quote and will leave you with a bit of pragmatic wisdom from my crit partner:

Suck it up, buttercup.


I lifted the Bernau quote out of the Art of War for Writers, a writer’s workbook that I somehow managed to get downloaded for free awhile back from James Scott Bell’s website. I’m pretty sure it was a limited time offer, but nevertheless here is a link to his writer’s page: http://web.mac.com/jamesscottbell/Site/Writers_Page.html

G. Jillian Stone

There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

Jillian is a recent Golden Heart finalist for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: www.gjillianstone.com

My Creative Process

Earlier this week I completed a manuscript. I feel equal parts relief that I’m done, excitement because I can start another project, and sadness because although they’re not real, I know the characters just as well as I know myself. I’ll miss them because it feels like I’m leaving them behind.
I’ve had some people ask me where I get my ideas. Truth is, I don’t have an answer for that. I get them everywhere – from the news, from overhearing conversations around me. I love playing the “what if” game. I mostly get ideas when I’m not looking. Song lyrics can spark an idea, and sometimes it’s difficult for me not to abandon my current project and switch to another. Writing with two names it’s easy to do. I’ve gotten much better at sticking with my current WIP, only starting something new once the other is completed. One thing I can feel assured in is that I’ll never run out of ideas.
Before I start something new, I look through my long file where I’ve compiled ideas. Here I have potential titles for future books, ideas where I just write a sentence or two, or in some instances, entire paragraphs devoted to the story. I’m constantly adding to this file. Whether I’ll use the idea or not all depends on what I’ve written down. Thankfully I’m the only one who reads this messy file with all my odd notes and blurbs. LOL I’ve been fortunate enough to remember the jist of the original idea. Even if I don’t use it, I might flesh out an idea before moving on.
Once I find something that holds my interest, the real fun begins. I love fleshing out my characters. I’ll write an autobiography for my hero and heroine letting them tell me their story. It’s amazing the things you’ll find by just closing your eyes and letting your characters guide you. It’s a fun way to learn their back story, their values, and experiences with past relationships. This information is good in helping you discover their goals, motivations, and conflicts.
I’m neither a plotter nor a panser. I tend to fall in the middle between both. Therefore, after I’ve fleshed out my characters, I move on to working out the main points of the story. While writing my hero and heroine’s life stories, I have a pretty good handle on their goals, motivations and conflicts (both external and internal.) Since I like letting the characters guide me through the story, I only figure out the main points, which for me are when the HH first meet, first kiss, first love scene, points of rising conflict, (which for me there are 3.) The turning point for the main character, (when either the he realize their original goal really isn’t what they truly wanted,) black moment and finally, the resolution.
I then write a rough draft of a synopsis. Some of you are probably cringing, but including a synopsis is required for many publishers depending on story-length and publisher. For me, writing one before I start the story acts as another guide for me to follow. I don’t revise and add more detail to the synopsis until after the story is done.
I know it seems like a lot, but I have to know where the story is going. I use this structure as a guide, but I let the characters tell the story. I have the freedom to create as I will, without feeling confined to one plot. If the story changes as I’m writing, I must, on a subconscious level, know where it’s going. However, as long as I stay on track with the plot points I’ve set down, anything can happen. It took me a while to understand this, and to not let it frig. I’ve had to learn, and am still learning through trial and error. What makes writing fun is we all have our process. The amazing thing is, with all our creative ways specific to each of us, we all manage to create wonderful stories that entertain and satisfy.
So, what’s your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panser? How do you familiarize yourself with your characters? Does your process change with each project? The process I’ve shared is the one I use for novellas and longer works, but if I’m going to write a short story I write a little down for the characters and get their goals, motivations, and conflicts. What is the most difficult part of the creative process for you? Is it your characters? Plotting?

How Saying No Won’t Kill You

I always marvel at people who can have their fingers in ten or more pies and never break a sweat. They make volunteering appear effortless, and they should be applauded for giving so much of their time and expertise. I am not one of them. Does this bother me? Since I’m the type of person where saying no is difficult, yes, it can, but I am learning where to draw the line, and just say NO.
There are always volunteers needed, in particular, with writers. If not enough help is found events such as workshops, conferences, contests, RWA and it’s chapters, critique groups, book reviews, various Yahoo loops would not run smoothly or at all. So when do you finally say no, and how can you do it without feeling guilty for believing you let others down?
Part of being a writer is being able to write. The more time you give to others, the less you have to dedicate to your own work. Once your published, you’ll have even more to add to your plate. Things such as promotion, networking, revisions, and galleys will need your time and attention. They WILL need to be done.
Do you sometimes feel rushed or stressed out about not having enough time to get everything done? You not only have demands of your family, day job, and other outside obligations to meet, but the jobs you volunteered to fulfill that revolve around your writing. Do you wonder where the time goes? Hours can pass, and you’re still checking emails? Or you’re playing catch-up with critiques, or cutting it close to finish judging those entries for the three contests you agreed to judge?
Keep track of what you’re doing with your time. Keep a log or a journal, where you record what you do on a particular day, and how much time you spend on such things as email, critiques, moderating workshops or Yahoo loops, fulfilling your responsibilities as a board member of your chapter, presenting workshops, coordinating or judging contests, and contacting speakers for workshops or conferences. Do this for a week, then look back and see how much time you spent not writing.
If it was email that hogged your time, unsubscribe from those groups where you’re just lurking and not participating. If its critiques, tell your partner or group, instead of doing ten a week, you’ll do three, or how ever many you feel you can handle. Same with contests. Critiques and contest entries take time and effort. The feedback you provide is important, and if you can’t give either the time they deserve, than cut back. Your critique partners or those contest entrants shouldn’t be short-changed just because you felt rushed to get them off your to-do list.
Am I sounding harsh? Maybe. But honestly, if our goal is to help other writers, are we really meeting it by hurrying to do all that needs done? Instead, are we doing them more harm than good? Think about this when you feel the urge to volunteer. Can you REALLY dedicate the time that’s needed?
Force yourself to be more selective when the opportunity to volunteer arises. There are always benefits to offering your time. You can make new friends, find new critique partners, network with editors and agents, promote yourself and your books if you’re published, and if you’re pre-published, you can still get your name out there.
If you’re asked to help out with something, and you honestly don’t feel you can take the time, then just say so. You don’t have to explain why, or apologize, a simple, “I’d love to, but I’m not able to right now” will do just fine. Let the coordinator or organizer know to keep you in mind, and contact you when the next opportunity comes around. You might be able to help out then.
It’s difficult at first, to say no, when you’re so used to saying yes to everyone around you. Once you become more selective and yes, selfish with your time, it becomes easier. It feels wonderful and rewarding to help other writers learn and grow, but when you find your own work suffering as a result, it’s time to make a change. Your time is precious, so treat it like the gem it is.