The Rules

I think the biggest obstacle writers face is trying to follow The Rules. Panic over following those bastards can lead to something worse: not being able to write at all for fear you're doing it "wrong." Thing is, they don't really exist, The Rules. They aren't really real. And there are far too many of them floating around, with a ridiculous amount of conflicting views for each.

Also, I happen to agree with many of those Fake Rules.

BUT, butbutbutbut...

The most important thing you can do as a writer is to write the story, without thinking about anything other than the story, and writing it.

Then edit it. Then edit again, and again, ad nauseam.

Don't worry about whether it falls between 67,432 words and 72,333 words exactly. Just make sure how ever many damn words you have count. Every one of them (which is going to give the story the number of words it needs). *

Read each sentence as a separate entity and don't worry if you used "to be." Instead, ask yourself if that is the strongest verb you can use (sometimes it is).

Make sure you really need that adverb to get the point across (chances are you don't, but sometimes they work--voice comes to mind). **

In the end, those Fake Rules exist because they help with the craft of writing, but they won't help you write the story.

What do you think is the hardest rule to follow?


*The first time I stumbled across the word-count rule for genres-- after writing the horrid 150,000+ first draft of my first contemporary romance novel that I so thought was ready to be pubbed on the spot--I freaked out and went through my MS and deleted every extra "that" and contracted every possible phrase I could. This is not what's meant by cutting words. <cough>

**I happen to be a prolific adverb-voice user. This seems to happen with snarky female characters. And I haz those in spades.

Pitch Your Kissing

Finally, a Twitter pitch just for romance writers. It's pretty exciting stuff. Put together by the founders of All The Kissing, this one is dedicated to any subgenre of romance--and even includes novellas--with a fantastic list of agents and editors. This is really rare, as romance can sometimes get overlooked in the free-for-all pitches that get so busy and cluttered.

It's all happening tomorrow on Valentine's Day, which also happens to be <cough> Hump Day <cough> this year. Pretty sure this means extra luck to any participants. ;-)

Unfortunately, I won't be participating since none of my current WIPs are what I'd consider done enough to pitch. I have 3 that are thiiiis close, but just not there. Bummer! But, here's to hoping this becomes an oft recurring event.

Also, here are a few friends with February releases:

Victoria Grant

Victoria Sue

So, is anyone out there planning on pitching for this one? Or any other upcoming Twitter pitches?


Cover Reveal, Release Date & Freebies

This never gets less nerve-racking. Seriously.

But it's time. LAST CALL comes out on March 15, and it kinda needs a cover. Well okay, it has a cover. I just need to share. Phew. here goes.

Breathing again.

This time for real. (Is it too late to pretend I lost the file? Yes? Darn.)

There she is.

So. The blurb would help, too, I suppose.

Newly-single attorney Gwen Cooper’s list of things that make her happy is pretty simple:

1. her teenage sons
2. her stilettos
3. finally taking control of her own life.

While texting the first on the list to warn them she’s missed her flight home, she plows into a hot-shot movie star, has a lukewarm latte dumped down her blouse, and snaps the heel off item number two. When the actor shows up at the hotel bearing an apology of replacement Louboutins, she should be wondering how he got her room number. Instead, she’s simmering over his well-tailored suit and conjuring more sinful ways for him to make things up to her. And why not? The notorious bachelor is the perfect guy to kick off her post-divorce fantasies of no strings attached. Ever again.

Blake Donovan claimed Hollywood’s top spot by playing the self-centered bad boy his manager and publicist created. Lonely as it is, he’s long since accepted the image he portrays to the world. Until the gorgeous lawyer pegs the man behind the fa├žade in minutes flat. After the hottest one night stand in history, he tracks her down in hopes of a repeat performance. And the encore has him craving far more than being tied up in her strings.

Blake will have to step into the role of a lifetime—himself—in order to convince Gwen that taking a chance on him won’t mean giving up on number three.

To make you like me more... um I mean... because I love you all so much (that sounds better, right?) both of my other books are free today and tomorrow. Click on the covers on the sidebar or the links below. Enjoy!

Going Back

Hand-On Therapy


Summer Fire... in Winter

I'm so excited to have Deniz Bevan here today talking about her new release, a super hot short. Summer Fire is packed full of all the good stuff in delicious quick read.

Tell us about yourself and how you got into writing. 

Hi Tara! Thank you for having me here.

I’m a writer from Montreal, Canada, currently living in Switzerland. I’ve been writing stories for as far back as I can remember, since I was 5 and wrote about a boy looking for his cow, who turned out to be on the moon. I don’t really remember what sparked my drive to write, though it had something to do with my first grade teacher. Thank you, Mrs Allan!

It was only after I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series over 10 years ago, and joined the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, that I finally started focusing more on the editing stages of the writing process, and began trying to polish some of my stories and novels with a view to publication. It feels like the end of a chapter to know that the Community will be permanently shut down before the end of the year.

 (side note from Tara: It's still rather surreal that all those years of writing/posts/houseparties will just be going poof in a week. And sad. So sad. But I am immeasurably grateful for all those years of writing and friendship, especially for all the bonds I've formed and kept outside of the forum.)

Favorite author/s and why?

Tolkien, for the language and the history and his impressive level of continuity. But I love and reread many authors, from Canadian YA and MG authors such as Margaret Buffie, Jean Little, and Kit Pearson, to historical romance authors such as Jo Bourne, to contemporary authors such as Kait Nolan and Talli Roland/Leah Mercer.

What is Summer Fire about?

“Ayse had resigned herself to an interesting—but in the end unromantic—trip visiting family in Istanbul. Great-aunts, touristy sites and endless meals…until she meets fellow doctor Hakan.

All tanned skin and defined muscle under his polo shirt, his kisses cut off her breath, making her dizzy. His every touch is a thrill.

Ayse wants all of Hakan at once. His sweet mouth, the heat of his body against hers, their heartbeats slowing together.

A holiday romance might give her some blazing memories come the lonely winter, but maybe, just maybe, the fire between them doesn’t have to be as fleeting as the summer.”

Where did you get the idea for this story?

A dream! I'm surprised by how many of my ideas come from dreams. They generally involve a scene of high tension, such as a spy being uncovered or a great wave engulfing a boat, and then I need to work out who the characters are, what they were doing there, and how they will come out on the other side of the event.

I wrote the original version of this story in one day in 2012. I edited and modified it a bit here and there over the next few years, as I submitted it to at least two different anthologies in its earlier forms.

How did you go about submitting this one?

I was actually submitting a novel, when I saw the open call for the Dirty Bits line from Carina Press, and submitted Summer Fire on a whim. I nearly fell of my chair when I got an email expressing interest.

Tell us a little about the publishing process.

Pleasantly smooth so far, though slower than I expected -- which has made for a nice learning curve. One round of edits, one round of copy edits. I think the fact that Carina is a mostly digital imprint helps -- the staff are all online and accessible in many ways, and quick to answer any questions!

Are you planning on doing more for this Carina line?

I'd like to! There's another open call for stories featuring tropes, and I have a novella that might fit the bill. The heroine is Ayten, whom I think one of your characters knows well!

What else do you have in the works? 

Two novels at the moment. Editing the first one and starting to edit the sequel. I ought to stop calling it a sequel, though, because they're both meant to be romantic suspense, and they can each be standalones in terms of the romance. They simply happen to feature the same couple.

Here's the blurb I first wrote for The Charm of Time:

“A man and a woman meet at a garage and fall in love. Theirs is a whirlwind courtship 35 years in the making -- they've been waiting all their lives, without knowing it, to finally come together, all thanks to a broken down car.

Sounds like a happily ever after. Yet three days after they've met, during a weekend getaway in the Alps, the world-famous chef at their hotel is found dead.

Suicide of a celebrity? A personal murder? Or something more...As threats to their lives come swifter and closer, the couple's new found love is put to the ultimate test. How well can we know another human being? How long does it take to establish trust?”

Of course there's an HEA!

That one sounds fantastic, Deniz. And you know I'm all about the HEA.

Thank you so much for being here and sharing your journey to publication.


NaNo No-No

It's Nano month and I see all the writing tweets & blog posts going around referencing it. But I sit back and watch, for a few reasons. One being that November is a treacherously busy month for me with three separate family Thanksgivings and my kids' birthday (which is sometimes on Thanksgiving). Mostly, though, it's because I have done Nano twice in the past and both times were a huge fail. Not as far as word count goes--that was great--but the aftermath.

I am an edit-as-I-go kind of gal. This isn't because my inner editor is ridiculously anal (though she is). It stems from hatred of deep-editing a final draft--an everything-at-once process sort of thing.

If I leave myself with too rough a first draft I won't go back to it; I'll just toss it to the bottom of the Word pile and start a Shiny New Idea. My process makes drafting longer, and often tedious, but it works for me. So I shall stick with it and skip Nano.

It is nice watching the fun being had by those participating, though. And I wish you all out there Nano-ing a super productive month of magical words.

I am curious--if you are doing NaNo--watchya writin'?