Monday, November 30, 2009

Birth of a Book

This week, I'm posting about the formation of a book. From first word to final product, from a small press author's point of view.

Today's Post: The Birth of a Book
  • The Dossier
  • The First Chapter
  • The Ugly Middle
  • The ReDo
  • Rushing to the End
  • The End
  • Constant Edits
Okay, many people do this many ways. I'm going at this from MY experiences. This is the way I do it. No one way is right, it's whatever works for you, personally. That said, I'm a plotter and a pantser. This means I'm terrific when it comes to plots--that I make up as I go along.

Kind of crazy, but exciting. Still, before I put one word down on the computer, I have a background "dossier" if you will, on my characters.

The Dossier
I like to draft an ABOUT document. In it, I name and describe my characters, traits, issues to overcome, physical and emotional descriptives, and ages. For some reason, I get stuck on ages. They have to be juuusssttt right. Kooky, I know. Then I give a blurb about what I want the story to be about. Five military men who volunteer to be supersoldiers, caught in a conspiracy and needing the love of good women. Beginning, end state. A kind of rough path to get there. All of that might take up a whole paragraph. If I'm feeling frisky, I'll even briefly describe what I'd like to see happen in each chapter, figuring on a ten to fifteen chapter book (think 45-60K words). The longer the story, the more details I like to begin with. Easy-peasy. Then I run with that.

The First Chapter
I do normally toy with an idea in my mind for a few days before I even start writing anything. So once I have those protagonists' names and ages, I'm ready to go. With the story brewing in my head, the words flow. I can, on a good day not interrupted by children (who should be at school), normally bang out anywhere from 7-15K. On a great day I can hit 20K. That's morning to evening writing, and not every day is a great day.

I have friends who work, and friends who write at a slower pace. Just making sure you write every day is good. So you jot down 150 words, that's 150 words toward finishing your book. Don't worry so much about word count, just WRITE.

The Ugly Middle
To catch myself up on mood and pacing, I reread ONLY the part I've worked on the previous day, edit, and move on to the next part of the story. This way I get extra editing in before the book is even finished. Unfortunately, there comes a point when the story is just running around in circles. Happens on every book. I can't move forward. I hate the story. The characters aren't ringing true. Sometimes I need a breather and work on something else. Other times I'll take a break. Walk the dog, listen to music. (I like to write in silence, only the hum of the fish tank to accompany the clang of computer keys.)

When I return to my story, I can normally plow through it. But when I can't, I take drastic action. The Re-Do.

The Re-Do
Though I hate doing it, sometimes I just have to delete. Not just words, but whole scenes, pages, even a chapter, if need be. Rewriting the part that sticks fleshes out the rest of the story. When writing Circe's Recruits: Roane, I had this kick-*ss sexy scene where everyone was going, er, getting down. Sexual healing, at its finest. And it just didn't fit. The heroine needed to bond to her mate first and foremost. The rest would come later. And it did.

It hurts to cut out a chunk of something you've created. But again, if it doesn't fit, you can't make it fit. I've learned this the hard way. I'd rather rewrite a passage than lose a day or two of writing because I'm so frustrated. Time and experience has shown me when to see what's not working.

Rushing to the End
This sounds negative, but what I meant is that once I'm past my ugly middle, I can roll straight through to the end. The characters take on their own voices and move the way they need to. The end is in sight. I normally write a lot more on a daily basis when I'm near the end. When starting the book, I have a desired length in mind. Nothing definite, but novella, short story, and novel are all different feels. When it's a novel, whether it's 40K or 60K, that's up to the characters to decide.

The End
It's almost orgasmic. That rush, that sense of worth. I LOVE finishing a book. It gives me leave to celebrate, and I no longer feel guilty for watching television or not staying up super late to work. A reward in itself. But once I type that final period, I don't immediately rush to send the story to my editor.

Constant Edits
I wait a good week after finishing the book, reread, reedit, then wait. Edit again, and again. If it works, I send it. I'm not one of those folks who writes five drafts of the same story. I can't do it. That would kill me. Yet I know (crazy) people that do. Hey, it's whatever works for you. Still, I edit throughout the story. Writing it, reading it, and rereading it. But I miss a lot, and I'm a grammar Nazi. I've found that time and distance from my project gives me a better, fresher perspective to fix the small flaws in syntax, grammar or consistency.

Once it's all done, I send it to my editor. And then it's time to repeat the process all over again. Yippee.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Schedule...

Next week I'll be blogging about the writing craft. I did this last year (I think) but I like to revisit the ins and outs. I won't be too specific, but if you're curious about the process from a small press author, by all means, check it out. I'll go from first page to published ebook and print book. Edits, final copies, artwork and more.

So if you're a curious reader, an aspiring writer, or simply found my blog by mistake, enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ebook Sale! Save Money, Read More!

Hope everyone out there had a happy Thanksgiving. Just thought I'd share a sale on ebooks. Check out Fictionwise! There's a major sale ongoing. 45% discount on all multiformat books. I'm not sure if it ends today or not, but I DO plan to take advantage of it, myself.

FYI, Lurin's Surrender, my latest futuristic release from Fictionwise, is also 45% off. Total E-Bound, my British publisher, is sometimes a bit pricier with my books. But you can get Lurin's Surrender for only $3.37! Not trying to plug sales, just making a point of saying, if you want a book that's normally over five bucks, now's your shot to buy!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Gotta Have Crust

I found this recipe off the Internet. Looking for an easy crust for your holiday pie? Look no further.

Butter Flaky Pie Crust

by Dana


*1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

*1/4 teaspoon salt

*1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced

*1/4 cup ice water


1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Newsletter

On my newsletter yesterday, I added a short teaser of my newest creation, Fallon's Flame, the first book in the Dawn Endeavor Circ series. I'm so excited by it I might start book two, Hayashi's Hero, early. So far so good. And if you want updates, sneak peeks, and contests, join my newsletter. It's low volume, non-interactive, and just informative.
My plug of the day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lurin's Back!

Lurin's Surrender releases from Fictionwise today. The book came out from Total E-Bound in July 2009. So it's been a good 4 months between publisher and Fictionwise release dates. I really do wish I knew how Fictionwise determines which books to release, because readers have asked me. Alas, it's another of the great mysteries out there. Who knows? The good news is, it's finally there!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Excerpt

Check out the brand new excerpt from a new work, tentatively titled, WOLF WANTED. It's only at Total E-Bound's Hitting the Hot Spot. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Triumph, Oh Triumph!

And like Achilles' triumph at the Trojan War, I too have slain the beast... of deadline. That flagrant defiler of authors everywhere lays trodden under the wheels of progress. And behold, I have finished Fallon's Flame. And readers rejoiced, and they were glad.

Good tidings upon this most glorious Friday. I'm going to celebrate later with a slaughtered lamb, or a Trojan in chains, or maybe a milk chocolate truffle. Yeah, definitely the truffle.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dorky Post of the Day: A Terrific Link

Whoa! I'm a few days late in posting. Sorry. Been busting my butt (not that you can tell) to finish Fallon's Flame (see Fallon, to the left) before next week, when the children will be home, underfoot, on Thanksgiving break.

Something I've discovered that I'm absolutely in love with, this site: I actually printed out the key and keep it by my desk on hand.

Yes, it's geeky, but I type for a living. I've always had such a hard time figuring how people use the degree symbol, an accent over the a, or that funky wavy line over the n, for a word like mañana (Spanish for tomorrow.) But yes, I've found the KEY! Many of you might be thinking I'm quite the dork for my excitement, or because it's taken me this long to discover how to correctly type, but you know what? Thmmbbtttt on you. Inverted exclamation point (¡), superscript 2 (²), and ellipses () here I come!

And just because I can, I've named a bad guy in my book Montaña. How cool is that?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Over the Moon releases today!

OVER THE MOON is out today from Total E-Bound.

Congratulations to Maggie J, who won a free download for commenting on last week's blogs. Thanks to all who commented, and I hope you enjoy the anthology, Maggie! Email me at to let me know what format you'd like the book in.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

OVER THE MOON: Jenna Byrnes &Jude Mason

Double trouble today! The crack duo of Jenna and Jude are sharing about their upcoming story Trapped, which will be part of the Over the Moon anthology coming from Total E-Bound November 16th...just one more day! Enjoy!

Jenna says:
I was really interested in doing a story for the Over the Moon anthology. I’ve written mostly gay books recently because I love that genre, but occasionally I like to write some hetero stuff for those readers who prefer it. The concept of werewolves intrigued me. Jude and I had done a shifter series, including wolves, but werewolves are something different. When they shift is regulated by the moon, not by their choice. They’re more primal, more feral perhaps, than the normal shifters we’ve written.

The problem, when it came time to write the thing, was getting started. I didn’t have a blasted idea in my head. Jude and I co-author books and also write individually, and we were both working on other projects. I tossed the idea out there—sort of an ‘I want to do this, but I can’t do it without you’ kind of thing. Luckily for me, she took pity and agreed to collaborate, then dove in with suggestions.

I’m not an animal person, so Jude’s love of nature and most things wild really came in handy for this story. My contribution was more to the plot and dialogue (which is my favorite part of any story. I have to remember to add some description to my conversations.)

When all is said and done, I think we pulled this one off rather nicely. I hope readers will agree.

Jude says: When I saw this call, at first I wasn’t sure about writing for it. It was an anthology and I’d told myself I was going to write something alone. It’d been a while since I’d done a single author title. The concept intrigued me, but I figured there would be other calls I’d want to write for, Total E-Bound comes up with great ideas all the time.

Then the whirlwind called Jenna struck. She really seemed interested in writing for anthology. She had come up with a tentative plot but hadn’t worked the animal aspect in very well. As I’m a huge animal/outdoorsy type, I knew we could do this together. Voila, she talked me into it, or I did. I’m never quite sure when it comes to these things.

The actual writing was great fun. It always is with Jenna. She writes faster than I do, and at times I curse her for it, but don’t tell her. Once we got the beginning, the rest of the story went like wildfire. The characters, Gareth and Sienna, are people you’d like to have as neighbors: quiet, kept to themselves and never have loud parties. I’m sure you’ll all agree once you’ve read the book.

Here's a short blurb: Gareth and Sienna are a normal, crazy-in-love married couple, who just happen to become werewolves with the full moon. When a trio of poachers captures Sienna, Gareth does everything in his power to free her. But he knows rescuing her is not enough. If the poachers are not brought down, the very existence of the were species could be in jeopardy. He hatches a plan in which the hunters become the hunted. Will they take the bait? And who will be trapped?

Trapped by Jude Mason and Jenna Byrnes
coming to Total E-Bound November 16th

Saturday, November 14, 2009

OVER THE MOON: Marie Harte (That's Me!)

Today I'm posting about my story, Enemy Red, which will be included in the Over the Moon anthology releasing November 16th (Monday!) I'm pleased to be included with such terrific authors as Jenna Byrnes & Jude Mason, Aurora Rose Lynn, Sascha Illyvich, Victoria Blisse, and Jambrea Jo Jones. This is going to be one terrific anthology, and I can't wait to read everyone's stories. No, I haven't seen my copy yet. I've been teased with excerpts like the rest of you. I'm hurrying on my current work-in-progress so I can read the other stories once I get my copy.

I've written a short post about Enemy Red. Check it out, and make sure to take a gander at the excerpt linked at the bottom. You'll have a howling good time... Sorry, I just couldn't resist.


When Total E-Bound posts open calls for submissions, they’re normally snapped up before I get a chance to look at the requirements. I’d been wanting to write something for one of their anthologies for a while now, so when I saw the call for a werewolf anthology, I jumped on it. I wrote the first two chapters of a m/m story that came to mind. A fun, quirky fantasy with wolves, a werewolf, and dark elves.

And then my editor said that this collection needed to be between a man and a woman.

I was stymied, because Anson’s story really worked. While his twin escaped into the forest, Anson was forced to throw a lock of his hair into the Living Wood and wait for his mate to come claim him, a mate who happened to be male. Twin escaped... My answer. Anson’s twin, the one who thought he’d escaped the matrimonial noose. It was Fenris’s time to play.

So I put Anson on the backburner and told Fenris’s story. Sexy men, kick-ass women, wolves and sorcerers and a bear with attitude. Enemy Red has it all. Now I just have to find time to finish Anson’s story, before his dark lover takes it upon himself to write his own ending.

Enemy Red by Marie Harte

Fenris, a golden wolf in the Silver Clan, has always been different -- a rare wolf who can shift into the legendary werewolf form at will. He dreads his uncle’s plans to find him a mate and make him clan leader, and in an act of defiance, escapes the mating ceremony. But his run takes him much farther than he’d planned. The Wolf in the Forest, the spirit that protects his kind, has sent him into the arms of his enemy -- the Red Clan. Their leader, Rudra, is not only a female, but she’s a half breed, both human and wolf. An abomination, but one that draws him like no other wolf ever has. His inner wolf tells him what he can’t believe to be true; Rudra is his mate.

Rudra has no liking for the Silver Clan. Because of them her clan has been exiled from the Great Forest, thrust into humanity’s den. Her mother actually mated with a human, a sorcerer of great power. Though Rudra appreciates her magic and loves her parents dearly, she knows the dichotomy in her heritage will only make her more unwelcome by other wolves. Her plan to take back the land stolen from her clan is helped by the appearance of a strange wolf from the Silver Clan. But as the time passes, Rudra realizes she can’t use Fenris in her plans, not when her heart tells her that he’s more than special, he’s hers. She’ll have to decide what’s more important. Her clan, or her heart.

To read an excerpt, click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

OVER THE MOON: Victoria Blisse

Today Victoria is blogging about her contribution to Over the Moon, a werewolf anthology coming to Total E-Bound November 16th. Take it away, Victoria!

My Favourite Beastly Men

I am Victoria Blisse and I like man beasts. From the hero Spider Man to Cousin It, I've always been drawn to men who have a little bit of animal magnetism about them. Today I am going to share my top three with you. So, in reverse order at Number three we have...

Beast from Beauty and The Beast.

Surely I am not the only girl who was disappointed when Beast turned into the human prince in the end, I mean, he looked like such a ponce. I much preferred the rugged and raw beast man. I'm sure Belle probably felt a bit cheated, too. And number two...

Now granted, this fella doesn't look like a beast at all and that is partly why I love him so. He's George from Being Human, a BBC drama programme that features a Werewolf, a Vampire and a ghost all living in the same house. George does not like the fact he is a werewolf. He hates it, he just wants to be a man again not a werewolf. Poor George, I always felt for him and he was such a nice guy. Now we move on to number one.

Lowell from Moon Shy, my story in the Over The Moon anthology!

Of course, who else would it be? Now reading the last two I am sure you can see where I got my inspiration for Lowell from. Lowell is very much a reluctant Werewolf.He hates it, every time the full moon comes around he locks himself up in his cellar to wait it out. He isolates himself away from society too and when he meets Jenny, a perfectly sweet if a little clumsy human he went to school with he finds himself torn between wanting to stay away and throwing himself at her.

Now, would you like an excerpt? Click here to read more...

Moon Shy by Victoria Blisse
coming to Total E-Bound November 16th

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OVER THE MOON: Sascha Illyvich

Well, it's day two of the Over the Moon posts. Today Sascha shares a blurb of Bound To Her and an excerpt you can read by clicking on the link at the bottom. Enjoy!

Bound To Her
by Sascha Illyvich

Luka is an Alpha and head of the largest pack in Northern California. His greatest concern is finding a mate and achieving balance before the Elders and the Moon Goddess remove him from head of the pack. If he does not remain in control of the pack and establish law among the wolves, the rogue packs in Southern California will start attacking the humans for their own greedy purposes.

Michele is the sister of Luka’s part time submissive and friend. Previous dealings with wolves and BDSM have gone awry so she’s kept to herself until she learned that her sister Tiffany actually occasionally serves a wolf.

Can Luka convince Michele that he needs her and has to bind with her and have her submission or will he lose his pack and leave the fate of the humans to the rogue wolves?

To read an excerpt, click here.

Bound to Her by Sascha Illyvich
coming to Total E-Bound November 16th

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

OVER THE MOON: Jambrea Jo Jones

Next week, the Over the Moon anthology, of which I'm a part, will be released from Total E-Bound. The other authors and I thought we'd share posts. So today, Jambrea will be sharing her thoughts on her upcoming release.Take it away Jambrea!

Seeds of Dawn Book One: Dreams
by Jambrea Jo Jones

June 2008 I worked up the nerve to pitch a story at the Lori Foster event. I was VERY nervous. It was the first story that I actually finished. After my pitch I was told to send in the full. And the wait began. I hit the check mail button a dozen times a day. Until finally I got that email. A rejection. I was sad, but got some GREAT feed back. I put the story aside and didn't think anything about it.

One fateful day I was minding my own business when a received an email saying Total E-Bound had a call out for a shifter anthology. I'm like, hey, I have a shifter story. I opened up the document and took a look and immediately saw why the story was rejected. lol It wasn't pretty, but I knew I could fix it. So I set about making my story better. I used the information from the rejection and some tips I'd learned from another editor and polished it up. Next thing I know, I'm getting my acceptance letter. talk about jumping for joy. My first story is being released, November 16, 2009.

Here is the blub. I hope you enjoy it.
Anabella's dreams bring her to David, but is he the salvation she's looking for?

Anabella Pouge is plagued with powers she can't control, making her life far from normal when all she wants is ordinary. Change is coming her way when she must flee with a man straight out of her dreams.

David Sanders is sent to find Anabella. Without her, the future of his wolf pack is in danger. Forced to travel to the middle of nowhere, David finds Anabella might mean more than just his pack's survival.

Will the two make it back to the pack in time? Can Anabella and David accept each other and the coming changes to their lives?

Seeds of Dawn Book One: Dreams by Jambrea Jo Jones
coming to Total E-Bound November 16th

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Marine Corps

234 years and still going strong.
Happy Birthday Marines.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Uvula, that little thingie that hangs in your throat, commonly mistaken for one's tonsils. Well, mine is swollen, and my lymph nodes are the size of golf balls. The little guy has strep throat, and I think I have a massive head cold. But the sore throat is keeping me from sleeping. I did do some editing today, and am pretty psyched about the next edition of Circs in Dawn Endeavor.

I figure I'll bust out some serious writing next week and the following, because Nov 23rd signals Thanksgiving break and..gulp, kids off of school.

Hope you're all staying well.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sick of being...Sick

Yeah, it's going around. I had a flu shot, but that was for a strain I'm sure I now have. Fingers crossed it's just a bad cold or strep. I'm not feverish, but my eye balls hurt. That's always a sign. That and the swollen lymph nodes in my neck. Ack.

Needless to say I got no work done today. I did, however, read Nalini Singh's latest Psy book when my eyes weren't crossing. Blaze of Memory was SO good. I can't get enough of that series. I'm hoping with lots of juice and a decent night's sleep I'll be recovered enough to write another chapter or two of my own WIP tomorrow. Fallon's Flame awaits!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's My Party...Sort Of

Yep. Today's my birthday. I saw a movie, bought a few books, and received more books for my birthday. (ALWAYS a good thing.) Had Chinese for dinner and am getting ready for bed.

A good day. And it's over. Already. Sigh.

But I did manage to get some great fodder for tomorrow's post: People who talk on cell phones in public bathrooms. Do it or don't? You decide....

Smiles. Marie

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Thief of Mardu Releases Today!!

now available from Total E-Bound

Catam of Mardu has a problem. He's bored. Life as a bounty hunter has begun to pale, so a favour for his brother is just what he needs. Deputised a peacemaker to capture a thief and murderer on the run, Catam is stunned to find a beautiful woman is the culprit. Isa confesses to thievery but says she’s no killer.

Aiding the woman to prove her innocence goes against his orders, but Catam can't help himself. Isa intrigues him on a level bordering on dangerous. And for a Mardu warrior like Catam, a Xema, there's nothing worse than a loss of control.

Determined to master his feelings, he finds himself falling for Isa despite his reservations. But can he accept her thieving ways, or is their love doomed to fail before it has a chance to begin?

To read an excerpt, click here.

Late Winners!

Sorry. I meant to post this sooner but was sidetracked by Halloween. Congrats to Paula from Finland who won the Bundle #3 International Contest. And to Zara H. who won the Bundle #4 contest. Thanks to all who participated!