I’m so lucky to be an author. Writing allows me to tap into my creativity. It stretches my mind.
(It drives me bonkers.)
I can do a writing binge and type my fingers off attempting to put everything whipping around inside my brain onto the page. But, I can also have terrible bouts of nothingness where words Just. Won’t. Happen.
At my local RWA meeting, we were asked to write a goal that we would try to reach by the end of three months. I chose a goal I think I can achieve which means I didn’t go for something easy and I didn’t reach too high for fear I might just give up. Do any of you feel like that when you set goals?
So, this post is essentially my–> How I am going to achieve this goal (OHMYGOD what did I agree to do) list.
1st up: I will attempt to write 3 thousand words at least 5 days a week.
Next. I will turn off the television/netflix/streaming/tablet– anything distracting– from ten in the morning until 2 in the afternoon.
Also, I WILL NOT SELF EDIT each and every scene I write.
Finally, I will follow a loose outline– so I can’t complain about not knowing what the heck to write.
So, I guess that’s a bit out of order. I think I need to write the outline, before I start the daily word count thing.
Well, then, that should give me well over 20k words by the second weekend of April.
I’d take bets in favor of me completing this goal…and would understand those who’d want to put the money in the HAHAHA Christa you are delusional box. But, I can’t, I think that might be a conflict of interest. Plus, you should keep all your money to buy other things like books. Or just to save it, you know.
Now. It is time to settle in my comfy chair and close my eyes. And, hope a story comes into my mind.
Hint–it’s the Kan Asma Princess Anastasya’s story. And, it is going to be one helluva ride.
Maybe I will add a word count ticker, just to keep me honest.
I did it! After a 5 year hiatus–thanks rebellious body– I have started a new series and finished two books in it. The Kan Asma Vampires series is going to be coming soon. This is an exciting moment for me. I feel almost giddy. These vampires are truly like my own family, minus the fangs and biting and stuff.
A few things happened when I wrote those awesome words.
Well, I am still working on the scene from yesterday. I spent a lot of time searching for images and not as much time writing. Before I knew it, my kids were home from school and the afternoon rush had begun.
So today I am not going to go overboard on the image searches. I will only search for one photo and it will be my proverbial carrot to finish the scene I am working on. This “carrot” is going to be highly sensual and embody the scene that comes next.
It involves a tight space. A wall. And the romantic couple engaged in something sensual.
(This should be easy. Easier if I turn off safe search mode, too. Probably could be time consuming. Okay must limit myself to searching for only 15 minutes. Right now it is 12:02. I have until exactly 12:17 to get this post done and back to writing.)
Ready. Set. Go……
Oh and because I am nice, here’s a bonus picture:
Okay. Now I really have to get back to the scene at hand, erm, I mean, the scene I’m writing.
Share your sensual wall kiss images if you can find one that you like–operative word there is 1.
Wow, yesterday’s inspiration seems to have done the trick. I wrote 7 pages and finished the scene that so needed completing. Mind over matter? Or Subject matter over mind? Hmm.
Today we must think of inspiration for one of two scenes. There’s dastardly and bad. And, there’s naughty and sensual. The romance author in me wants to go look at pretty sensual photos of a couple in complete abandon. The realist in me says get to the difficult stuff, first, then you can play.
So, as I drag my feet to Google Image Land, I reluctantly decide we must search for the bad stuff.
Search Tags: Eerie parking garage, man in the shadows, daybreak–hey that’s a no-go for vampires, evil bad guy (who is sexy), men in suits talking–that can be sexy too…
Alright, now on to the searches. Like yesterday I will post my top favorites and get to writing.
On my first try, Google rewrote my search as Erie Parking Garage. Nope Google. We are not in the Midwest here. We are in Los Angeles. I want eerie.
Scratch eerie. Only a few popped up and they were all copyrighted. So, changed search to “scary.” Seems a lot of people post photos on the internet of their scary, almost vacant parking garage snapshots. Here is one that I think captures this scene, well….
Oh yes, something bad is going to go down in the parking garage. But, what we need now is the actual villain. On to the next image search: A man in the shadows.
Oh, I like this one:
And this one:
Okay Sunrise over West Hollywood is a bust. Every photo is not open for sharing and the rights belong to the photographer or stock sites. I found one that works and it is sunrise over Los Angeles. This shall do just fine…
And finally, gentlemen in suits. I am sure there must be something perfectly delicious that would work for this scene inspiration. Let’s search.
Wow, this is the hardest search yet. The images I am seeing don’t fit. However, it is helping me to shape the way I see the scene in my mind with every return of a smiling gaggle of men in GQ suits, hippies and boy bands.
Alright it has been over an hour. Have you felt time ticking away? I have. I must get to the manuscript and do my writing before the day slips away from me. So, I concede, the last tag of three men in suits, talking seriously, is not going to magically appear in any image search I do. So, in conciliation I am posting three photos that are fairly close resemblances to the three males in this scene.
Well then, it is off to write now. Do you have any ideas for image tags that will bring actual results in those searches I had such trouble with? Please share.
I am so close to the finish line with Sevastian and Thalia.
I know what is happening next in the story. I know there’s going to be a supply closet used for some interesting moments between Sevastian and his female. I know that there is still going to be something dastardly afoot. I know what is going to be the turning point of everything the female is experiencing. I know what is going to occur right before I type the words: The End.
But…Those are all fragmented thoughts in my mind.
It is difficult to admit that I have struggled for several years completing this story and the one before it: Mated in Treason. I am sure I could list my reasons here but I do plan on doing that in a separate post…someday. The biggest issue I have come up with is lack of creativity. I WANT IT TO BE PERFECT
Side note: Does anyone else struggle with this perfection affliction?
So, in order to combat this debilitating road block in my writing I am going to post daily inspiration for some of the scenes I am working on. In a way, it could be a bit of a visual teaser and also a way for me to connect with these parts of the story. Feel free to add pictures to inspire me, too. The more the better.
Today I am working on a pivotal scene.
My heroine is a bundle of nerves.
My hero is a bit at a loss at how to fix a situation.
They are relying on each other for comfort and encouragement.
(Right, this media journey might be harder than I expected, I don’t think a Google image search will be turning back anything worthwhile with those tidbits.
Okay, so maybe I should use some tags.
Tag 1: Romantic couple and comfort
Oh Wow. There’s a ton of them. Here are my top three favorites:
Aren’t those lovely? They really define the emotion of the scene I am currently writing.
Those images are quite provoking. The colors and images leap off the screen with different tones and messages but they all say one very important thing: Togetherness.
AHA So, this scene should definitely have more of the H/h sharing an intimate togetherness while they face the road ahead.
Well, then, on to the writing.
See, this inspiration thing just might do the trick.
T-minus 4 chapters to go.
Up next…dastardly things! Bad guys. Bad news. Bad situations. Think about tags for that one and do share. I would love to see your image results for today’s tag… Romantic couple and comfort. And Tag ideas for tomorrow’s visual inspiration.
Thank you for stopping by.
All images were found on a Google image search. No copyright infringement intended.
I love research. It is one of my favorite aspects of being an author. Learning about foreign lands, historical events and various cultural traditions always excites me. Recently, my research has taken me to diverse places and some of it was exotic while others were a bit creepy. Today I want to share a few of these research jaunts with you so you can have a glimpse into some of the things I am working on currently.
If you haven’t heard our exciting news, Vivien Jackson and I have contracted another sweet Regency for Ellora Cave’s Cotillion Christmas series. This story was a challenge to write mainly because our hero was not your typical British aristocrat. No, indeed not. He hails from India. So, you can imagine my excitement at hunting down information to include in the story. Some of those aspects were extremely intriguing and sometimes I found myself lost in the early 1800’s far away in Bengal. One of the distracting research jaunts I took while gathering details for A Christmas Scheme took me to Regency era India.
Fort William Kolkata:
There are many interesting locations in Fort William. Also, the history of the British colonization there is extensive. Here is a glimpse of places, events and people that I researched for A Christmas Scheme:
Fort William College
Saint Peter’s Church
Fourth Anglo-Mysore war
On top of our Hero’s native land we found ourselves knee deep in snow during a cold winter at an English country estate. Vivien and I mused many different aspects of this Christmas setting and that came with a Google image search so that we could imagine the way the estate looked, the various entry points and an important building that plays a role in our romantic couple’s interactions. There were fascinating links about architecture including gables and eaves, gates and latches, corridors and libraries that enthralled me.
What to wear in winter!
And, don’t get me started on fashion for men or women, British or Bengali…I’ll spend way too much time finding every last detail from stitches to cloth because I want our story to be accurate to the Regency period. I will say that I really enjoyed learning the cultural words for Bengali clothing. I think I spent an entire day on Google Books trying to find the correct word for trousers in Bengali. If you want to know, check out A Christmas Scheme when it comes out in November 2014!
(Thank you Stefan Salvatore for that fangtastic segue.)
It is always fun to switch from the Regency to my vampires. The Kan Asma Vampires series has a race of people who have extensive histories. This allows me the opportunity to research a plethora of things. In my current WIP, Gunnar is not of the typical Turkish decent that the majority of Kan Asma people come from. He is half-Viking and I had fun looking up the history of trade and shipping routes, language and customs as well as names from Scandanavia. But, the aspects of the Kan Asma culture that I really enjoy researching are always those from the Abkhazian rites and traditions. Though I don’t hold to these rites completely, my Kan Asma vampires have roots with this culture and they’ve adapted many of the ceremonies to fit their own rituals. Recently I looked up a few things that will be included in Gunnar’s story.
Birth traditions, wedding ceremonies, death rituals all tied into the Kan Asma mating rites and the Goblet Ceremony
Metal work and weaponry
Food glorious food…
Oh, and after a very long time trying to figure out an integral scene I finally found what I was looking for and it turned out to be something I never expected.
(Yes, I did spare you the icky disgusting real photos because they make me cringe!)
Well, there you have it. Can you imagine living inside my brain on research? It is full of random things like Bengali pants and creepy worm-type creatures that suck blood.
Now, I am sure there is something else I am supposed to be researching today.
Vivien Jackson tagged me for the Next Big Thing blog post. Thanks Vivien, it is always fun to play along with these fun activities.
The deets: The Next Big Thing blog post is basically answering 10 questions about your wip.
So, these are the questions I have to answer:
1. What is your working title of your book? Mated in Treason
2. Where did the idea come from for the book? Expanding the world of the Kan Asma Vampires.
3. What genre does your book fall under? Paranormal romance featuring vampires.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Gunnar I would cast Trevor Donovan.
For Nadia, I would select: Beren Saat a beautiful Turkish model and actress.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? By mating in secret, they defied the dictates of their people but now they must decide to accept the consequences or join forces against those they love. (This blurb is a work in progress.)
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I intend to have this series published through a publisher.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Still writing it, so I don’t have an answer to that. I’d say from start to submit-ready about 9 months to a year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’m not sure, I’d say there are a few Prime novels from Susan Sizemore that have some of the forbidden lover tropes, and there are many books with paranormal societies that have tight regulations about mating.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? Gunnar, the hero, gave me a nice look at what he was suffering through and I just had to write what he was showing me.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Mikhail shows up and reveals a little more about his very secretive backstory. Also, there is an across the railroad tracks romance and a huge rift that happens within the Kan Asma culture. Things are really going to get heated between the high born ruling class and an uprising called the Faction.
This has been fun. Anyone who wants to take this blog prompt for their own, consider that my passive tagging style.
There is something alluring yet mysterious about wearing a veil. In my first Blood-vine story, Bound By Deception, the heroine Anna has a veil on during the blood-rite ceremony. She hates the archaic practice and yanks the material from her head the first chance she gets.
Fast forward a few books to the current story that I am writing. This time, the heroine Nathalia has no choice but to be veiled. She wears a traditional covering for a while in the story. The customs of her people demand that she conform to the dictates of their culture.
It is also a contentious point for the hero, Sevastian, because the reason she is wearing it is a constant reminder of the circumstances that are keeping them apart.
I thought I would share with you a few snippets from the story that pertain to the veil.
So here we go:
Kholed and Covered
Vastian looked on as she stepped into the antechamber. Her eyes were heavily kholed, the eyelids dusted with a shimmering eye shadow. He grimaced at the sight of Thalia all covered up, completely hidden from his view. The garment cloaked her from head to toe with an embroidered cloth arranged like a heavy robe. One little push and the thing would slide off of her, revealing her to his gaze.
Fucking archaic practices, he seethed. She looked shrouded, like a Bedouin princess. His fingers itched to reach out and tear it off of her, to reveal the youthful bounce of her ringlets and show the sweet dimples on her freckled cheeks.
Then, later in the scene:
“Take the damned veil off.” His growled demand startled her.
“I’m not supposed to.” Could she sound anymore childish? Thalia groaned inwardly.
“You will for me.”
Even though he didn’t speak it out loud, Thalia heard the underlying statement of ownership in his tone. It said, you are mine now, and that didn’t settle well with her. So, she acted like any frustrated girl and shook her head in defiance.
She didn’t even see his hand snap out and take hold of the tie. In a blink of an eye, the cloth covering her face swung loose. Next, the heavy shroud situated on her head was pushed off, the thick material of the hood draped across her shoulders.
“Shit, you’re pale as a ghost.” Vastian’s fingertip tracked across her tear-stained cheek and glanced along her lower lip. “You’ve tortured this spot here with your teeth.”
Thalia shrugged, defeated. “Your mother told me not to cry.”
The symbolism of Thalia being shrouded goes further than an actual covering of her body. Throughout the story there is much secrecy going on and she is in the center of it all. Sevastian and Thalia have a lot to overcome in order to find true love because they are both hiding behind more than the veil she wears.
What do you think about veiling practices? Do you think veiling can be beautiful and sexy? Or, do you think it takes some sort of freedom away? While Thalia is being covered for a religious-type ceremony, it is a religion wholly designed and created for the vampires of the Blood-Vine.
*All images posted are royalty-free and the rights for use purchased from Dreamstime.
I spend a ton of time driving my kids hither and yon. Thursdays kick my butt ’cause I feel like I spend hours just driving back and forth to places. I have been listening to the Love Never Dies soundtrack as a way to balance the non-stop One Direction noise my kids are obsessing over.
Have you heard the song Beneath a Moonless Sky? I don’t think I have ever heard a song so precisely written about the intimate act of loving paired to such a melodramatic tune. My kids hate it for the sheer operatic moments. I love it for the one line where Phantom croons, “And, then I TOOK you.”
Yes, please may I have another?
So, after listening to several of the songs my dancer began to protest and I agreed, simply because hearing that shrill vibrato Christine is belting out can become tiresome after a while…unless we are talking Phantom of the Opera and Past the Point of No Return with Gerard Butler. Hello, eye candy in sexy tight pants and black mask.
But, I digress. To appease my youngest, who has a great deal more flexibility when it comes to music, I thumbed through my CD collection. Since traffic wasn’t being kind, I blindly grabbed for a CD. The one I selected is a play list I made a while back for Sevastian and Nathalia, the vampire story I am supposed to be working on right now.
I started envisioning a scene that has been out of reach for a long time. Just as the picture became clear and things started turning into actual musing, everything went blank inside my mind (Phantom are you in there?) Nope! There was just a blank canvas of white. Oh, and this tall, imposing male was standing there with his arms crossed over his massive chest. He was precisely dressed in an expensive suit. His hair was perfectly styled. The harsh glint in his cobalt gray eyes pinned my inner muse in place. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid rear ending the dude in front of me. Because, I wasn’t paying close attention to the road due to the male’s narrowed gaze and hard-assed expression. I knew in an instant who was hijacking my mental thoughts, so, I confronted him.
I said, “What the hell are you doing, Ivan?”
Both his eyebrows went up and his glower could have frozen sunshine.
“I’m not afraid of you, Mister Vampire hard-ass,” I added with a harrumph.
“You should be.” That was all he said but the edge to his words would make a lesser being shiver in dread.
As a side note, I know I should be freaked out, the bastard does bad bad things to people he doesn’t like or who disagree with him.
Instead of cow-towing, I shrugged my shoulders and tried to be charming. “So, what brings you here, into my head, while I am musing dreamy scrumptious Vastian?”
He licked his lips, like he was wondering what I might taste like and how long it would take to sink his razor-sharp fangs into my teenie tiny human neck. Instead, he took two long steps and stood right next to me. Mental-me, had to look up and up some more just to glance into his austere face. His mouth quirked at the corners as he stared at me all cool and aloof.
Someone needs to put him in his place, I think to myself: Like a mate. That thought gets doused with ice cold water and is replaced with annoyance when he grabbed my virtual chin and forced me to look at him more fully. “What?” I managed to squeak out, though my lips make a little moue and the sound is garbled.
“I didn’t like what you did with Traian. I’m not happy with your thoughts for Sevastian either. He’s important in ways you don’t yet know. Mating him will… add complications.”
Since Ivan is a character in my own head, you’d think I would pop off a one-liner and tell him to knock his shit off.
But, since I DON’T know what is going to happen next in the story, I wonder if Ivan might just give me a hint by his protesting.
Right, big breath and ask….”What, you don’t like him going house shopping with Thalia? You have something against them living in Flintridge?”
He remained motionless, deadly calm. The tips of his fangs were barely noticeable but since I was watching him talk, I got a gander. His thumb traveled along my jaw to my cheek while he scrutinized me.
Then, he shook his head. “Nathalia won’t be able to handle the truth.”
WHAT? What truth? Crap. I thought her part of the heart ache was done. What the hell did Vastian do?
“I’m not telling you.” He simply breathed the answer. Damn, I must have spoken that last query out loud.
“Ivan.” I stomped my foot and the car lurched a bit. And, well, hello there little Prius driver. Sorry I scared you and you can lay off the horn now thanks. “Ivan, damn it. You have a strangle hold on my muses. Let them go. You freakin bastard.”
He lifted that long, muscled arm and my heart beat a little faster knowing that he could zap me with his mind bending powers and I could easily end up in Fantasy Land. But, he simply shook his pointed finger in my face and tsked. Asshole I thought. He’s fuckin with my mind. It must be him keeping me from writing the vamps. SOB needs a kick in the ass.
“Better watch it, Ivan Komar- the Kartal- I can just as easily write your story. Don’t think you want everyone to know where you hid all those bodies…..”
Oh, score. He let go of me.
“Don’t go there with Vastian. He’s important to my cause.” His warning rang loud as a bell toll.
Go where? I pondered again. Come on, throw me a bone. “I am going there Ivan. So, why don’t you just stop playing puppet master and let my muses go free?”
One side of Ivan’s mouth kicked up. “You know I am not the one in charge. That’s Aleksi. But, in this, he and I are on the same page.”
Me, blink…smirk…aha! “Very well then. I will take this up with Aleksi. I’m sure he and I can come to a solution.”
“I wouldn’t count on it.” Ivan pivoted on his heel and strode into the vast white canvas. A few beats passed and he stopped. Peering over his broad shoulder, he pinned me with a heated stare. “You know the scientists would love to get their hands on Nathalia. Her father is searching for her.”
Me…lamblasted. “Huh?” was my stellar reply. But, wait, her father is dead, was my mental rebuttal. HOW do I not know this, aren’t I the author? Sheesh.
“Let that be a warning.” He slashed his hand through the air and on a blink vanished.
And that leaves me with more questions then before. All I could think of was that I could be relieved that Ivan didn’t mention Gunnar at all. If he knew what I was doing with that male and his mate, all hell would break loose inside my head. Ivan is going to be soooo pissed.
Freaking Ivan. Someday, he is so going to get his comeuppance.