Friday, May 31, 2013

Mary Poppins Has Nothing On Me

Full Purse
Have you always wondered what other people keep in their purse? I have. For years, I refused to carry a big purse. My reasoning was that men didn't carry a purse and still did fine, so why should I?

I never claimed to be a genius. Of course, that meant keeping brushes and makeup in my desk and car. Do you have any idea how many times I looked in the mirror on a rainy or windy day and screamed? So about five years ago, I gave up and purchased my first big purse since I was a hippy teenager. (And I’m not talking about how wide my hips were . . . quit laughing.)

Billfold
Anyway, here’s what I keep in my purse since I've become published.

First, the normal stuff, a red billfold that looks like a miniature purse. It comes in handy at conventions and conferences. I can place it on my wrist and not drag the two-ton back-breaker with me. My car key stays in my billfold/tiny purse along with the house key on a separate ring with those strange little cards used at the grocery store for discounts.
Extra stuff taken out

Then being an organizational freak that I am, I have my checkbook, payment book, business cards, mirror, pen and old fashioned pictures in the black with white polka dots case.  In the side pocket, I keep lipstick, lip balm, and a tube of touch-up makeup.
Postcard with blurb on back

There’s also my bag filled with an iPod and accessories . . . love it!  And the plastic bag is my lunch.

Bored yet?

No - not this many in my purse
Then I usually carry a book or e-reader, but the newest addition is swag. I have pens, car cup-holder coasters, bookmarks, and postcards to hand out. And yes, I give them to cashiers, waiters/waitresses, people who stand in line with me, etc. In other words, if you’re nice and talk to me, you get something to take home (or throw in the trash). On some days, I'll even have a book or two of mine.

Another postcard
Okay. Did you notice anything? Yes. My swag is not contained. I’m on the lookout for a small bag or case to put them in. I can’t stand looking in my purse and seeing loose items (with the exception of my small hairbrush) or having to search around for something.

Are you an organizational freak like me? Or are you a free bird and throw it in to land where it may? And for those published, do you keep swag with you at all times and hand them out?


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

First Impressions

With all the movie remakes from Star Trek to The Great Gatsby, I often fondly wish to revisit the original – and am usually astounded at how slow the movie starts out and how long it takes to draw the viewer in. And remember those yummy bodice rippers from the early 80s? Rambling, historical tomes where the hero and heroine might not meet until chapter six?

I’m not sure when the story structure changed. Perhaps when the Internet age brought in immediate gratification. Now, authors are told that if their story doesn’t grab the reader (or editor) within the first six pages, the story won’t sell. I take that a step further. To me, the opening sentence of the story must be riveting enough to encourage the reader to continue.

Some of my favorite first lines from classics:

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. ~ Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. ~ Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Part of choosing a first line that makes a strong impact is deciding where the story starts. And while those eighties romances somehow got away with fifty page preludes to the action, today’s readers demand to be dropped into the action immediately.

Here are some first lines from my books:

loverforransom_msrEven though violet twilight blanketed the gently undulating hills of Middle Tennessee, Cathleen Ryan squinted behind her black-lensed glasses.  ~ Lover for Ransom

I killed my best friend. ~ Eternal

“Stand and deliver!” ~ Badcock

“I’d be obliged if ye’d fetch the modiste,” Laird of Lockerbie, Blane McLaren, said impatiently asslavetofashion_msr he made rather a commotion of pretending to be dissatisfied with his service. ~ Slave to Fashion

“Oh my dear, he isn’t received,” Lady Martha Ashcroft whispered under her breath to Lady Emily Blevins. ~ Bad Kitty

What are some of your favorite first lines? And what beginnings have hooked you for the rest of the book?

About Debra Glass

IMG_0261DEBRA GLASS is the author of over thirty-five books of historical and paranormal romance, non-fiction, young adult romance, and folklore. She holds an MAed with emphasis in history from the University of North Alabama.

She lives in Alabama with her real life hero, a couple of smart-aleck ghosts, and a diabolical black cat.

Visit her website at www.DebraGlass.com

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gratuitous Inspiration

I had written the first six to eight chapters of the manuscript now known as Seduction in His Smile when I walked into a Walmart checkout lane and saw Marcus Winfield, Duke of Selridge. Well, I didn't actually see THE duke. I mean, the only Duke I might see in the Wetumpka Walmart is the one-eyed one who works as the city dogcatcher or one of said dogcatcher's prisoners. What I saw was a male model on the back of Cosmopolitan magazine and I knew at once he was Marcus.

Now when it came to Tristan, the hero of my second book, I had written through the first love scene when my then CP sent me an e-mail with an attachment. The message simply said : "This is Tristan."






And trust me, ladies, he is. 


So here is my question. When you write, when you "see" your hero (or heroine) for the first time, have you already picked out an image in your mind? Have you paged through magazines and websites and found that perfect image before you begin to tell his (or her) story?


(This one's for you, Lexi!)

Do you see a photo or a filmclip and think "There's a story there." and begin to write?



I know many authors collage before they write or while they are writing. Do the images you find as inspiration change the way you write the hero (or heroine?)


I don't write westerns and this guy inspires me! Save a Horse! Ride a Cowboy! 






Rumor has it this guy is slated to play Christian Grey in the film version of 50 Shades of Grey. Hmmm. I've read all three books. This guy isn't quite who I pictured. That's the trouble with books being made into films. Each of us has our own vision of the characters we love. I can't imagine Harry Potter played by anyone other than Daniel Radcliffe, but is that because of the image I had in my head while reading the book or because the films and books are so ingrained in my psyche I can no longer separate them?



Now I've read The Hobbit a number of times. I never even fell in "Like" with Thorin Oakenshield, let alone LOVE! My image of the character was somewhere between Billy Barty and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. But let me tell you, after seeing Richard Armitage as the Dwarf Prince I am all over some Dwarf Love!

  





















And in case you are wondering, ladies, I haven't written stories for these gentlemen yet, but I will. You bet your sweet bicep I will. 

So how about it? Which comes first - the image or the character? Does anyone else have an extensive collection of gratuitous inspiration or am I the only dirty little old lady in the bunch? Does having an image of your characters help in the writing of the story or is it a hindrance? And if anyone has some suggestions for inspirational photos please do share! A writer can never have too much chocolate, too much wine, or two much gratuitous eye candy!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Funny: A Reading from Demon Hunting in Dixie

What better way to begin the Memorial Day weekend than with a reading from the delightful Lexi George.  Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's take our local authors to the beach!

Book clubs are everywhere, aren’t they? 

Nominally, I’m in two. With a couple of caveats. 

1) I hate night meetings with wine I can’t drink because hell-oooooo, I’m driving! 
2) I hate reading an assigned book. Even when I love the book, I hate it because it’s assigned. 

Those two factors translate into my not showing up all that often. And even less often reading the book in advance. 

Why do I join book clubs? Even though I’m a rebel, I like seeing my friends. And there’s so much a writer can learn from live interactions with face-to-face readers. The books that others recommend, as well as the different interpretations of what struck a chord,  are enlightening.  

This month, my book club (comprised of friends from high school) is going lightweight. It’s book report club month. Instead of discussing what Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies reveals about the power of reproductive organs, we’re recommending beach reads.  

My plan is to WIN book club this month. That’s right. WIN. I’m not going to report on just one book. I’m going to recommend the full baker’s dozen released by Southern Magic authors already in 2013. 

What I will tell them is this: Don't expect to slog through a weighty load of Anna Karenina angst. Do expect to experience emotion. Do expect to see human nature exposed. Do expect to be entertained.

Everybody loves local authors, and I’ll bet my book club members have no idea how many Southern Magic authors live in the neighborhood. They’ll hear about:

  • Circle of Deception by Carla Swafford (Avon)
  • Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar by Lexi George (Brava) 
  • In My Wildest Dreams by Larynn Ford (Soul Mate Publishing)
  • Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols (Pocket Star)
  • Lost Treasure, Captive Princess by Katherine Bone (Crimson Romance)
  • Lover for Ransom by Debra Glass (Ellora’s Cave)
  • Marriage Behind the Facade by Lynn Raye Harris (Harlequin Presents Extra) 
  • Midnight Secrets by Ella Grace (Ballantine Books)
  • Murder in the Smokies by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue)
  • Omega by Susannah Sandlin (Montlake Romance)
  • The Rogue’s Prize by Katherine Bone (Crimson Romance)
  • Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols (Pocket Books)
  • Storm Force by Susannah Sandlin (Kindle Serial!)
  • Under His Wings by Naima Simone (Ellora’s Cave)

Did I miss any 2013 Southern Magic releases? What book would you choose if you needed to report on a beach read for your book club? And why? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Interview With Rie Warren

If you like wickedly edgy stories, with sharp humor--Rie Warren is one author you cannot miss. She has boundless energy (which I envy) and tons of creativity. It is my pleasure to have her on Romance Magicians--so please join me in welcoming her today!


Author, Rie Warren

Author Bio: A Yankee transplant via the UK and other wild journeys, Rie happily landed in Charleston, South Carolina, with her English artisan husband and their two small daughters--one an aspiring diva, the other a future punk rocker. After earning her degree in Fine Arts, Rie promptly gave up paintbrushes and canvas for paper and pen (because she decided being a writer was equally as good an idea as being an artist, of course it was). That was fifteen years ago, her writing career started! With a manuscript of super epic proportions! Safely stored under a lace doily in a filing cabinet. Possibly in England . . .
Since then she’s done this and that, here and there, usually in the nonprofit arena, until she returned to her dream of being a writer. Even though Rie basks in the glorious southern sunshine as often as she can, she’s mostly a nocturnal creature adjourning to her writer’s atelier (spare bedroom) in search of her next devious plot twist or delicious passionate tryst. 

No matter what genre or gender pairing she’s writing, she combines a sexy southern edge with humor and heart--and a taste of darkness. 


You write in a variety of genres, this one is contemporary, what other genres do you write in? What do you like about the differences?  
 My next novel—In His Command, which releases August 6th—is dystopian/futuristic. It’s also a male-male love story so it is completely different from Sugar Daddy. And just to shake things up a little more, I write paranormal too. I love exploring different genres because of the freedom. With dystopian, I get to create a completely new world, politics, lifestyles and lingo. When I write paranormal, I give in to the side of me that craves a little bit of horror and darkness. I will say, though, no matter what genre I’m whacking around there’s always humor. 
I love your humor, and the fact you have so many stories...awesomeness. Yes, I am looking forward to seeing your stories.  
 
Who inspired your hero and heroine? Tell us something unique about each.
*cough-cough* Hmm, who inspired the sexy CEO Reardon Boone? Lemme see…um…oh yeah, DAVID EYECANDY GANDY! Excuse me for a minute while I try to think up something not completely dirty, hot, wicked to tell you about Reardon. He comes across as slightly arrogant, aloof and in control but once his Forbes 400 exterior is cracked, he’s really just a good ol’ boy at heart. 
You had me at David Gandy...
 
Miss Shay Greer? She sprung from my imagination like Athena from Zeus’s head…or something like that. She’s got a mouth like a sailor, a mind like a horny teenage boy, but she’s absolutely all woman especially when she’s around the bossman.  Now that is imagery!
 
Tell us about your writing process (which totally bloody awes me, just sayin'): Plotter, pantser, mix. When do you write?
Oh man, this would take a thesis, M.V.! I start as a pantser when I have that seed of a story. I keep one major document per series (or single title story) and throw all my daily scribble and so-awesome-omg-fabulous (I hope) ideas into it. When I’m ready to start that story, I plot the ever-lovin’ hell out of it, using a technique called Deep Story, laying out each chapter and slotting all those handy I’m-totally-gonna-be-a-bestseller (uh huh) notes into them. After that, I use a chapter guide/graph, work on each chapter as a separate doc, and basically all bets are off!  This fascinates me--and shows that writing takes a LOT of work.  
 
I don’t have to stick to my plot…in fact once everything is sorted on paper and the wild craziness of writing begins, some of the best/scariest/no-way-you-did-not-just-do-that things happen organically and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Those moments are the best! :)
 
I write mostly at night (I don’t sleep—it’s real fun) and edit/do biz type things during the day.This amazes me--because if I don't have some sleep I turn into a raging wench. Ask my family.  
 
What is your favorite scene in the book:
Sugar Daddy, By Rie Warren
 Dude, that is a difficult question. Hang on, I’m gonna go read it again. Be right back. Kidding.

My high heels were snug on my feet instead of planted up Reardon’s fine posterior when I exited the elevator Saturday night. Fearing I’d mistake the soup spoon for the dessert spoon, have another Pretty Woman moment with Slaughter, and not at all happy about Augie being in on my secret, I tried to squelch my nerves.
At least I looked fabulous. Dressed in a made-to-order, citron colored gown--successfully fending off Momma’s shopping trip to the Maxx for a knock-off dress--I wiggled my boobs in the awesome gown, which had caused cliquey bitchiness amidst the other lesser dresses in my closet.
I looked up from fiddling with my rings, and there he was, waiting for me outside the penthouse. In a tux. Eat your heart out, Scarlett O’Whora.
Creamy white jacket and shirt offsetting the tan of his skin and the blue of his eyes, midnight trousers the color of his hair, Reardon rested his shoulders against the wall and stroked a slim cigarillo between his fingertips. He allayed all my worries because frankly, the stroking motion combined with the visual of him in formal attire put my brain on a permanent leave of absence.
His eyes clung to my gown, which clung to my cleavage.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Thank you for the gown, and the unmentionables.” The buttery silk corset, garters, stockings, and panties truly were unmentionable. “And the shoes.” Shoes were an understatement. Three inches of sexy strappy heels I’d already trilled and cooed over.
Taking me in his arms, he pressed a short sexy kiss to my mouth. “You look unbelievable, Shay.”
I displayed the curve of my leg. “You chose everything yourself?”
“Mm hmm.”
“Sure you’re not gay?”
“At the time I was thinking about taking the clothes off you, especially the unmentionables. Not dressing you.”
Ooh. Definitely not gay.
This is a fabulous example of your writing, thank you! 


Do you have Critique partners or Beta readers? How did you find them? (I know many writers struggle to find them). 
I do! I have the most amazing crew. Basically, without them, I’d be curled up in a ball under my desk, mumbling gibberish. And drooling. This is kind of a crazy story: I found them all through fanfiction. Yup, s’all true. Once upon a time (up until two years ago) I wrote trashy, fabulous, funny Twilight fanfiction and loved every minute of it. My Beta and cp’s are all former reviewers/readers of mine…and of course the most amazing lifelong friends. This is fabulous--years and years ago I dabbled in fanfic, so this to me is very cool.  
 
What are you reading now?
See, now, someone wicked and evil tricked me by handing me her book for free at RT Convention (which you need to go to because I missed you).---I really want to go to this, I lived vicariously through everyone's posts. I was all, ‘It’s free? Sure, I’ll take it. Plus, I really like you…’ Big Mistake. That book was Inamorata by Margaret Ethridge. I tore through that bad boy last week, bought two more of her books Saturday, read Contentment yesterday, and am about start another of hers! She’s evil, and a corruptor. In other words, she’s a damn genius and I am totally hooked on her writing. ooooh, I looked her up and her writing looks amazing.   

 What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, tea, adult beverage...)
I have to have me some loose-leaf, imported from England, Earl Grey tea I adore Earl Grey tea!. No lie. It’s my one must-have splurge (okay, now that is a lie because my other splurge is highlights; gotta keep the blonde alive-This I also understand). For adult bevvies…does it have alcohol? Then I’m in! Nah (yeah). My bev of choice is red wine: petite syrah, shiraz, cab…glug-glug-glug  oooh, I love red wine...
 
Thank you, M.V. and Southern Magicians for having me! You are fabulous and I can’t wait to see you again so we can share that bottle of wine. I hope you can come again, you are wonderful. And I will take you up on that wine one day soon. Congratulations again on your book!  
 
Links for Rie Warren: 
Sugar Daddy, By Rie Warren
 Blurb:

She needs a job. He wants a mistress. Hearts and contracts are bound to get broken.

Shay Greer is pure GRITS—a Girl Raised In The South–but nowhere near a demure southern belle. She’s looking for a way out of her broken down marriage when she lands an unexpected job offer she really should refuse. Position? Mistress. Fringe Benefits? Of course. Fraternization with sexy CEO Reardon Boone? Required. Lured by the promise of intimacy missing from her failed marriage, Shay signs on. She’s barely survived a hellish year of heartbreak and needs a fresh start, but she gets more than she bargained for with lowcountry-boy-made-good Reardon Boone.
  
Bankrolling Shay into his bedroom, Reardon sticks by his tried and true rules: no-strings-attached seduction, no messy emotions, absolutely nothing resembling a relationship. This sassy, sultry woman fits the bill precisely…until she arouses more than his erotic appetite.

So desirable he sets hearts on fire in everyone from downtown debutantes to downhome mommas, Reardon is as irresistible as he is unattainable. Shay falls hard despite their unorthodox arrangement. Determined to discover what’s concealed beneath his Forbes 400 facade, she has no idea how close to home the truth will hit.