Friday, January 31, 2014

Backcover Promotions Launch Feb. 1, 2014 1pm to 11pm GMT


 Backcover Promotions are very excited for tomorrow!! There will be a LOT going on. They will be celebrating with a Facebook party and there will be going on their website too!!! So check both regularly through the day to get the most out of it with them =) They have lined up some amazing prizes. They have an extensive list to giveaway from their sponsors!!

 24 merchandise bundles are lined up to giveaway through the day. Plus there will be some amazing discounts on their tour packages and some of their other services. To make the day even more fun they have set up a loyalty card for the event. If you enter 6 contests through the day you will get an extra 20% on any discounts giveaway. If you don't win any of the main contests but still enter 6 contests through the day you will get the 25% towards any package you would like. How cool is that?

  Everyone is a winner during the Backcover Promotions Launch Day Party!! 

Please feel free to print the loyalty card and check off your entries or you can check the entries off in any image programme. Once you have a filled card please email your completed card, name, what contests you entered and if you have won any other prize and we will be sure to keep a note of the completed cards through the day!!

Email: kate[at]

  We hope to see you there!!

BCP Launch Loyalty Card

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2013 Rewind #5: Dude, Where's My Voice?

For a few days this month, until I finish some research for my next new blog post, I'm rewinding the clock to some of my favorite guest posts I wrote in 2013. Enjoy!  This short article first appeared on My World in July, 2013:

Dude, Where’s My Voice?

By Mysti Parker

Have you ever wondered what it takes for an author to convincingly write a character of the opposite sex? Well, I can’t speak for male authors, but I can tell you from my perspective as a female author that it’s not an easy task. Here are two ways to make a male character authentic:

1. Get Back to Basics: We are hardwired to have our own distinct personalities, and those usually fall into some sort of gender-specific qualities. While, of course, these traits can vary greatly from individual to individual, in your “typical” man or woman, you’ll find some generalization to be pretty universal.So in writing a male character, I keep in mind that he’s more likely to concentrate on hard facts, strategy, and the most effective methods of reaching his goals as opposed to the feelings involved. Even though he can, and does feel strong emotions, he’s more likely to suppress those feelings until he’s alone or with someone he can trust.
Here are a few more basic generalizations I’ve learned over the years: Men tend to value respect over love. They are often very insecure, but hide it well. They feel a burden to provide and protect. They want to be desired sexually by their mates, and they respond strongly to visual stimuli. (Think of all the times you’ve punched your mate in the arm and said: Quit looking at her!)

A couple of resources I recommend are Christian publications, but give very good insights into your “typical” male psyche. The first two also offer insight into a woman’s psyche. Ignore the marriage advice unless you need it and concentrate on the traits of each gender:

His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

2. When in Doubt, Ask: If you’re married or have a significant other, ask him to read your male POV scenes and dialogue and see if he finds them authentic.

When I wrote Serenya’s Song, I relied greatly on my husband’s input to get a conversation right between Jayden and his friend Zephyrus. It was quite an emotional situation (from my perspective), with Jayden apologizing for having a fling with Zephyrus’s current wife many years earlier. When Bryan read it, he was quick to point out: “No, guys would never be that open about it.” He really helped me work down the conversation until both men said everything they needed to say without really dredging up all the dirty details and emotions women (like me) might focus on.If you don’t have a significant other, then ask a male friend or critique partner. You might even go farther than that and ask males of specific occupations for their feedback, depending on what you’re writing. If you’re writing in the GLBT genre, ask a homosexual male for his perspectives.

These tips would also likely serve you well if you’re a male writing from a woman’s perspective. But, whatever you do, don’t just wing it and assume you know how to write the opposite sex. As with most anything you write for publication, do your best to get reliable feedback and research from the proper sources. You may be writing complete imagination barf (otherwise known as fiction), but if it doesn’t wear the cloak of authenticity, your readers will call your bluff. Write smart, and channel your inner dude or dudette when needed!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Interview with Leona Pence, author of Hemphill Towers

Today, I'm very happy to host one of the most inspiring authors I've ever met as she travels the blogosphere on her very first book tour. I'm also proud to call her friend! Please welcome Leona Pence as she talks about her debut novel and how she overcame some big challenges to publish her first book at age 70. 

***One random commenter will be drawn from all the tour stops to win $25, either Amazon Gift Card or Paypal. So, be sure to comment on Leona's other stops! ***

Hemphill Towers
by Leona Pence
Romantic Suspense
Date Published: 10/25/2013

Riley Saunders has her dream job. As an art director at a leading advertising agency, she works every day with her two best friends, Stella and Birdie. All three have been assigned to ensure that the Grand Opening of the Peterson Art Museum is nothing short of a success.

When a girl’s night out at a hot new Italian restaurant ends with a spilled bottle of wine, it sets in motion a series of events that leaves Stella and Birdie caught up in whirlwind romances, and Riley fearing for her life at the hands of a deranged stalker. But, when the handsome museum curator, Trent Peterson, learns of her situation, he vows to keep her safe.

In a quick-paced tale of fine art, wine forgery, and the Russian Mafia, Riley and her friends soon discover their pursuit of love will require them to expose a crime, thwart a murder, and trust the one thing that has never failed them…their friendship.

  Interview with Leona Pence

Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

I don’t think so, unless it might be the idiom, ‘What Goes Round, Comes Round.’

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The biggest challenge or hindrance is scheduling time to write. Procrastination is a terrible thing in writing. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get started again.

Research is not one of my finer points either. I envy those who love to do research.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

Hemphill Towers is my debut novel. I have a flash story in two anthologies, but they are just 200 and 250 words respectively.

If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

I have three main characters and their love interests. I chose these actors because they’re beautiful people who fit the descriptions of my characters. I’ve added a link to my blog to show you.

Stella: Alexis Bledel                                JB: Gerard Butler
Riley: Amy Adams                                 Trent: Jake Gyllenhoal
Birdie: Rachel Weisz                              Federico: Antonio Cupo
Dierk: Emerson Smith

When did you begin writing?

I didn’t start writing until two years after my husband’s death from lung cancer. I was sixty-five years old, and writing a novel hadn’t even entered my mind.
How long did it take to complete your first book?

I wrote a very rough draft in three months. It spent a lot of time on my computer shelf, but from start to publishing took five long years.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

Barbara Cartland and a gazillion Harlequin authors inspired me to write in the romance genre.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Just sitting at my computer and letting the words flow. And, of course, writing: The End.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Romance, Intrigue, Fraud, Italy

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

My second book WIP uses many of the characters from Hemphill Towers. I’ve only written about five chapters.  I’d like to try my hand at Flash Fiction. An F2K friend keeps encouraging me to try flash. It’s a challenge to put a whole story into an extremely limited amount of words.

About the Author:
Leona Pence started reading romance novels as a teen. She graduated from Nancy Drew stories to Harlequin Romance, and then to her favorite author, Barbara Cartland and her vast Regency romance collection. Happy endings were a must.
Leona began writing late in life after the death of her husband of forty-four years. They married on her 19th birthday after a three month courtship – and yes – love at first sight really did happen.

She enjoys reading, writing, online pool, and especially being a Mentor in F2K, a free online writing course.


MuseItUp Publishing: 
Barnes and Noble:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Relaunch Party for A Ranger's Tale!

My contract for A Ranger's Tale (Book #1 of the standalone Tallenmere series) is expired, so I'm going indie with it! Join me tomorrow, Jan. 21 from 10 AM - 8 PM EST for a Facebook event full of fun, free books, and prizes!!!

Join the event here: 

***Please share this event with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc. The more the merrier!***  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

**ATTN Authors** Introducing...Backcover Promotions
courtesy of khunaspix /
**ATTN Authors** Kate Bainbridge, formerly of Page Turners Book Tours, has just opened a new book promotion service. Here's the info she sent me, and website link. I've worked with Kate for a long time and she has always done a fine job of getting my books some much-needed exposure. Please consider Backcover Promotions for all your promotional needs: 

We would like to introduce you to a brand new website service which aims to suits the promotional needs of everyone in the literary world. Backcover Promotions is fronted by Kate; you may have worked with her before at Read 2 Review or Page Turner Book Tours.

Kate wanted to put together the full promotional service that would be of benefit to those all over the world. To this end she has implemented services for UK Authors and Authors from around the world. All you need to do is stop by and check out what Backcover Promotions has to offer.

We have a launch date of Saturday February 1st 2014. We would love for you to be part of the launch. If you can donate books, merchandise, free advertising on your site or anything else that would be suitable we would love to hear from you. Everyone who contributes to the day will receive a 10% discount on any service booked with BCP and will be mentioned in our sponsors page.

We are looking to work with bloggers too and would love for you to be part of our tour host community. You will receive a link to your website from our tour host page; there are many benefits for anyone who hosts a tour with us.

Indie authors are always welcome at BCP and we would love to work with you to help spread your name, works and voice worldwide.

We would also like to work with Publishers and special discounts will be offered to you if you book in bulk.

Many services that Kate has tested through her career in the literary world and due to this the BCP Reading Group will be a major part of our site. We have our first book set for February - Drowning by Rachel Firasek, a novel not to be missed.

Backcover Promotions encourages you to visit us today, share the word about our services and join us for the launch on Feb 1st.

If you are able to please could you spare 5 minutes to answer a few questions to ensure we have set everything in place that you would want in your field. Thanks in advance!

1) Are you an Author, Poet, Blogger or Publisher?

2) Where in the world are you based?

3) Do you have a website? If so please may I have the URL?

4) Have you visited the Backcover Promotions website? If so what are your thoughts?

5) Is there anything you think we have missed for your particular field?

6) Would you be interested in working with us?

7) Is there any of our groups you wish to join ahead of launch day?

8) Would you be willing to share the details of BCP?

9) Will you be attending the launch on Feb 1st?

10) What offers/discounts would you like to see launch day?

If you would share our social media links and encourage people to visit us. As a one off offer if you refer people and they use the code BCPFEB and let us know who referred them we will offer you, the referrer, 10% on any service you would like to access.

We are very excited about Backcover Promotions and we hope to work with you soon

Many thanks

The BCP Team

Kate Bainbridge
Back Cover Promotions

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013 Rewind #4: What's Your Thing?

For a few days this month, until I finish some research for my next new blog post, I'm rewinding the clock to some of my favorite guest posts I wrote in 2013. Enjoy!  This short article first appeared on Up All Night Reviews in June, 2013:

What's Your Thing?

Everyone has one, even if they don’t realize it. What is this thing? It’s whatever makes you tick, whatever puts the pep in your step, the fire in your veins. Some people are lucky enough to find it early in life. Others never find it at all.

For me, it’s writing. As a full time mom for the past decade, my “thing” became a passion in 2009 when I published my first novelette. Writing is my outlet in these crazy days of taking care of little people 24/7.

I think a lot of people start neglecting their personal interests when kids come along. And I think that’s a huge mistake. Yes, I did it for quite a while, until I realized I had lost touch with the real me—the silly girl who kept her nose in a book and her pen to the paper.

Even those without kids can lose sight of themselves when careers and other responsibilities fill the hours. So, I ask you—have you lost that zest for life, the thing that makes you tick, that makes you you?

Maybe your thing is writing, reading, knitting, painting, cooking, hiking, or golf. Whatever it is, make time for it, especially if you have kids! It’ll make you happier, and happier parents mean happier kids. Plus, you’re teaching your little ones that it’s good and healthy to cultivate their interests.

Q&A: What’s your thing and how do (or how could) you make time for it?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Show me the RECIPES!

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks very much to the talented, bestselling author Ruth J Hartman (she's such a sweetie too) for inviting me to take part in this ongoing tour. I'm supposed to answer 4 questions about my writing process and then nominate someone else. Let's see what I got:

1) What am I working on? My current project is a historical romance set in 1866 Lebanon, Tennessee. That's all I'm gonna say about it right now. I want to get it polished up nice and pretty before I share any specifics.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I haven't seen many post-Civil War romance novels. Many occur during the war itself. Instead of showing life during the battles, I want to focus on the aftermath. Middle Tennessee as a border area between North & South suffered a great deal, not only with loss of life and livelihood, but with families torn apart by diverging loyalties.

3) Why do I write what I do? I've been in love with romantic stories for as long as I can remember. Though I enjoy fantasy romance (as in my Tallenmere series), I've wanted to write a historical for a long time. This idea came to me a few years ago, and I started it, but kept it on the back burner while I honed my skills on my fantasy series and other projects. When NaNoWriMo came around last November, I knew I was ready to finally finish the first draft. I made it to the 50,000 word mark (NaNo winner!) and surpassed it just a few days ago when I finally finished the draft. So far, I'm loving this story and the challenge of writing about fictional people set in a real town and real time period. The research is fascinating!

4) How does your writing process work? 

It begins with an idea that sprouts into scribbled sentences and scenes and a list of ideas. From there, I write up a loose outline. I say loose because the characters often take me to unexpected places as I get deeper into the story. The first draft comes next. I prefer to finish a whole draft while not trying to make it perfect. However, I've also gotten part way through a first draft, only to go back and start the second at the 1/3 or halfway point. Once I've gotten a decent second draft, I'm ready to get critique partners (I recommend Critique Circle) to offer feedback, and vise versa. This step is crucial in my process--getting feedback from others is invaluable in order to write a publishable book.  Once the critiques and edits from those are complete, I give it one last read through for anything I might have missed (typos, repetitive words, wrong chapter numbers, etc) and it's time to start looking for a publishing home. But that's a whole 'nother story!


Next up is award-winning author Amy McCorkle (aka Kate Lynd). You can find her post a week from now (1/27/14), but do go ahead and visit/follow her blog, Letters to Daniel

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

An Interview with Amy Lignor, author of The Hero's Companion

The Hero’s Companion

Series: Tallent & Lowery

Author: Amy Lignor

Publisher: Suspense Publishing

Formats Available In: Digital and Print

Release Date: October 22, 2013

 Synopsis: With their second battle behind them, Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery find themselves still knee-deep in hell. What should’ve ended with a celebration of passion wrapped in each other’s arms becomes a nightmare once more, as a mysterious man demands Leah to return home, or else her beloved father will be found at the bottom of the sea.

Scrambling to figure out what’s happened Tallent & Lowery walk in on a family that has literally gone insane: A mother filled with accusations, three sisters who wish them nothing but certain death, and a frightening story of a blood-red eye that leads to a puzzle with immense repercussions. The woman named Anippe who readers questioned in The Sapphire Storm is back, with an item in her possession that will have Tallent & Lowery heading out on an adventure based on pure emotion and ultimate fear – where victory may just depend on their willingness to sacrifice each other.

Purchase Links:


Where are you from, and what do you do when you’re not writing?

I was originally born on the East Coast in a VERY small town in Connecticut called Sharon.  Over the course of writing and receiving different jobs, I moved to Dallas, TX where I lived for about seven years, and now I am in Roswell, New Mexico (where the aliens love to crash) LOL.

This will most likely sound completely boring, but when I’m not writing or editing for a few companies, I love reading, I LOVE watching movies (I think I’ve seen everything from the 1920s on up), and I love to walk. That’s why I adore NM because it is far warmer down here and the walks are lovely. I definitely don’t miss the horrendous snowstorms of the Northeast.

How did you come up with the idea for this book/series?

I was actually just finishing a YA series called, The Angel Chronicles, and I was at work with a friend during the holidays. We were completely bored; nothing was really going on in the office because of the season, and she decided to look up her horoscope on the computer. Oddly enough, as she was bringing it up there was a reference to an article regarding the 13th sign and how it was ‘thrown’ out of the zodiac chart…I put on my research cap and…Tallent & Lowery was born.

Tell us about the writing process—what were your favorite and least favorite moments?

I love research! And I absolutely love compiling the story in my head. During the research process, if it’s historical; and during the dream/thought process when it’s not – the characters begin to form in my mind – what they look like, how they talk, what their backgrounds are…and that introduction to these people is a thrill. Because I know they’ll be with me for a long time to come. I feel very lucky when they ‘appear’ (not to sound too crazy). LOL. Worst moments is when, A) you wake up in the middle of the night and HAVE to go to the computer ASAP because you need to write; and, B), when you get stuck in ‘real life’ with things that have to be done and can’t stay inside your own head and create the story.

What’s your favorite cure for writer’s block? 

Movies, movies and more…movies. (LOL) If you need to get that romance bug, Pride & Prejudice is an immediate help. If you need to find that thrill for action, Indiana Jones is there for you. When horror is in mind, Psycho rocks; when it’s suspense, Silence of the Lambs is a great one…

That’s the thing I truly love about movies; they do take you out of ‘real life’ and put your writer’s mind back on track!

Can you please share an excerpt? 

“We are about to begin our descent.”
Even though she’d escaped the confines of the plane over an hour ago, the voice of the annoyingly perky flight attendant seemed to be ingrained in Leah Tallent’s mind. She was still saturated with sweat from the claustrophobic cabin; the rancid odor of the re-circulated air that smelled like the regurgitated breath of a minion from Hell, still clung to her clothes.
Leah tried to shake the thoughts from her mind as she stared out the window at the new layer of snow on the fields. A blanket of ice was smothering the dark green New England countryside.
Leah was so filled with anxiety and fear that she could barely feel Gareth Lowery’s cold, clammy hand clenched in hers. Exhaustion wracked her body as pictures flashed through her mind like snapshots from an unbelievable nightmare . . .
It seemed like only yesterday that Leah had rushed from her parent’s holiday table to arrive at the side of Gareth’s sister in Los Angeles, after they’d received a frantic phone call from his sister begging him and Leah to hurry up and come quickly in order to find Kathryn’s missing fiancé, Emmanuel. From there, they’d uncovered a secret that was buried in the words of the ‘Bard of Avon,’ leading the trio to a forgotten cave where two extremely famous brothers were buried, a well-known family that shared a truly unbreakable bond. Leah could still feel the power of the brilliant blue light that’d come from the famous Sapphire Staff as she’d held the artifact in her trembling hands. The news, the secrets uncovered, the legends proven, the battle they faced . . . and won—all of this was a mess inside Leah’s usually well-organized librarian mind.

What’s your next/current writing project?

 I have just completed Book #4 of the Tallent & Lowery series called, The Charlatan’s Crown, and I am beginning a new historical suspense novel that will be called, Loyalty Unbroken. Then it’s on to Book #5 of Tallent & Lowery, The Double-Edged Sword…so there are some very busy months ahead. LOL

Here’s a totally random question for you. Who would win in this fight: Cookie Monster vs. Spongebob Squarepants? 

I would have to say Spongebob! But I would rather hang out and have lunch with Cookie Monster. (I mean Oreos or seafood? Oreos are gonna win every time!)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thank you Mysti!


About Amy Lignor:

The daughter of a career librarian, Amy Lignor’s first love has always been books. She began her career in publishing as the Editor-in-Chief of Grey House Publishing. Working in the industry for twenty years, she is now the Owner/Operator of ‘The Write Companion’, an editorial house offering authors a range of services.

Appointed the Editor-in-Chief of a brand new traditional publisher–Hallowed Ink Press–Amy somehow finds the time to do it all while still putting out the most amazing series that has received every ‘Top Pick’ readers can think of!

Her popular YA Series: The Angel Chronicles (Until Next Time, Gilded Wings & A Privilege), introduced her to fans who now wait with bated breath for the next ‘Tallent & Lowery’ suspense/thriller to arrive.

Inducted into the International Thriller Writers Organization, Amy is also a writer/contributor for various magazines, companies, and review organizations; Authorlink, The Feathered Quill, Suspense Magazine and more.


Check Out Amy Lignor’s HIT YA Series at:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 Rewind #3: Rules Schmules

For a few days this month, until I finish some research for my next new blog post, I'm rewinding the clock to some of my favorite guest posts I wrote in 2013. Enjoy!  This article first appeared on Rose Scented Ink in May 2013:

Rules Schmules

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs...” ~Stephen King, On Writing, p125

Yes, Mr. King is one author who knows his stuff. If you haven’t read “On Writing” yet, and you have any plans to write at all, then by all means, do get it. He offers valuable insights into the nitty gritty of writing that go beyond your usual “anyone can do this if they just learn ___ & ___.”

The sad fact is that not everyone can do the writing thing. Mr. King is pretty clear on that, but it’s not only because some people aren’t talented at writing. There are people who can write very well, but they won’t make a career out of it for any number of reasons. Perhaps they just don’t enjoy it. Maybe the rest of their lives are too busy to focus on writing. Others find it too hard at some point in the process and give up.
But, I’m convinced that those who are serious about writing, no matter what their goals or genres, all have one thing in common.

They know the rules, and they know how to break them.

Like Stephen King, I agree that “good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals (vocabulary, grammar, the elements of style)” (On Writing, p 142). If you want to write, especially for purposes of publication, know your stuff. I’m talking basic, bare bones grammar first and foremost. Expand that knowledge to style and beyond that to fantastic storytelling, and you’ll find yourself at least a competent, if not good, writer.

And it’s these good writers who go on to learn how they can break the rules without readers so much as batting an eye.

Case in point: The first Heather Graham novel I read, “The Vision”, was liberally showered with adverbs and passive voice (was / had), but it was still a darn good story. Not a blockbuster hit, mind you, but good enough to keep me turning the pages. I only noticed these rule breakers because of my wonderful critique partners. I love them, mind you, but some could masquerade as adverb and passive voice exterminators at night.

You see, I’m certain after having written dozens of books, that Heather Graham knows the rules just like Stephen King knows the rules. But, like him and other good / great writers, she’s developed her storytelling ability to the point that she can break the rules and get away with it.

"I broke the rules and I liked it."
Not everyone can do this, especially in the beginning. If you attempt to break the writing rules too early, you risk looking like a drunken wino who smells of adverb dependence and stale clichés. When you reach the point where your storytelling ability can benefit from an exceptionally placed adverb or comfortable cliché, then you’re more like a sexy redhead in a sequined dress sipping expensive red wine at an upscale bar.

Writing in spite of rules takes confidence, people. But, it doesn’t arrive overnight by FedEx. Like a fine wine, it must improve with age and careful tending. Eventually, if you’re dedicated enough, you can hold your head high and proclaim: “Rules schmules—who needs ‘em?”

Sunday, January 5, 2014

By The Seat of Your Pants: The Lie

If you've followed Unwritten for any length of time, you've probably read about my struggles with depression. Some dear writer friends and I have teamed up to share our experiences. "By The Seat of Your Pants" is a collaborative blog from writers who are living with mental illness, but forging their careers despite it all. This is my story. I welcome your comments. 

By The Seat of Your Pants...: The Lie: "I'm fine."  Those two words comprise the world's most common lie. Especially for someone with depression. {click the link to continue reading}

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Review of Carahil's Busy Morning by Ren Garcia

Carahil's Busy Morning: Atha's Tea PartyCarahil's Busy Morning: Atha's Tea Party by Ren Garcia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Carahil's Busy Morning" is sci-fi/fantasy writer Ren Garcia's first venture into children's fiction, and he did it well. This story stars one of the most beloved characters, Carahil, from Garcia's adult Elder League series.

Carahil is a cosmic spirit, who usually takes the form of a big gray seal, but he's also a frustrated dad in this story. Six of his seven children, he discovers one morning, are missing their faces! Carahil and his endearing wife Mabsornath (Mabs for short) have to figure out what happened, and they soon discover their mischievous daughter Atha has something to do with it.

This is a very unique story for children-full of magic, fantasy, and family conflicts that teach good lessons about getting along and keeping one's promises. Artists Carapalou and Ricardo Ayala have filled each page with vivid, eye-catching illustrations that both parents and children alike will be sure to remember.

I would recommend this book for kids (and grown kids) of every age. Grab your copy today!

View all my reviews

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Rewind #2: Love Scenes for the Wary Writer

For a few days this month, until I finish some research for my next new blog post, I'm rewinding the clock to some of my favorite guest posts I wrote in 2013. Enjoy!  This article first appeared on Read2Review (now closed) in June 2013.

Love Scenes for the Wary Writer
Mysti Parker

Free Clipart Images

“Oh, John.”

“Ohhh, Marsha.”

“Oh…we’re being watched, darling. Hands down.”

“But, my hands are quite content here on your...”

“Shh! She’ll hear, darling.”

“Let her hear. Why should we be ashamed of our love?”

“We shouldn’t, but you see, our poor writer’s face has turned at least fifty shades of red.”

“So, what should we do? Continue like no one’s watching or shut the door before we steam up her spectacles?”

“It’s entirely up to our writer, darling. We’ll have to wait until she’s ready.”

“I can’t just stand here with your splendid body in such close proximity and keep my hands to myself. It’s torture of the most horrific kind!”

“I know. So, what will it be, dear writer? Shall we throw propriety to the wind or hide our love behind closed doors? Or something in between, perhaps? You hold the reins, so don’t keep us waiting. Please!”

Poor John and Marsha. Have you ever attempted to write a love scene and instead left your couple hanging because you didn’t know how to proceed? Has the mere thought of describing sexy moves and intimate body parts made your cheeks burn?  Well, you’re not alone. All writers of romantic scenes have faced this dilemma at one point or another.

So, how do you continue? How do you ensure you don’t leave John and Marsha in dire straits?

Rule #1: Don’t force it! If you try to write a love scene that goes against your comfort level, it’ll show. John and Marsha will be as awkward as a stiff Barbie & Ken. This isn’t to say that you can’t TRY for the steam, but if you find your blood pressure rising as the clothes start dropping to the floor, then don’t be ashamed to move it behind closed doors.

Rule #2: Who’s your audience? If you’re writing for adults who are familiar with more erotic activities, you can employ a wide range of steam. If you’re writing for teens or young adults or for an inspirational line, keeping it implied or very light is best.

Rule #3: Read and learn! Many authors can pull off fabulous love scenes, so learn from them. Decide whose scenes you think you could emulate, and give it a try with your own characters. If you find things too steamy for your taste, tone it down a bit, or if you feel comfortable spicing it up, then go for it! Your practice sessions are for your eyes only, after all. Then, when you write something you’re proud of…

Rule #4: Get some feedback. You could start with your spouse or partner (and it could lead to good things—think of it as research), but try to find experienced writers who can give you honest, constructive help. I highly recommend Critique Circle if you want the convenience of online feedback. You can also search for local writers’ groups.

Rule #5: Write, write, and then write some more. Love scenes are like anything else—practice makes you better and makes you more comfortable with them. The more detailed a love scene, the more skill it takes so things don’t sound too repetitious. Once you’ve written long enough, you’ll discover what your limits are. My love scenes, for instance, only splash in the shallows of eroticism, with just enough detail to get the point across and the heart racing. And that’s how I (and my characters) like it.

Now, don’t leave John and Marsha waiting anymore. Open that manuscript and finish that scene. You’ll be glad you did…and so will John and Marsha!

A Review of Hemphill Towers by Leona Pence

Hemphill TowersHemphill Towers by Leona Pence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the pleasure of reading this book before its release. This debut novel by Leona Pence (who is also an incredible inspiration to me) was a really fun read. It contained the best aspects of a contemporary romance--independent women, strong heroes, and a villain you will love to hate.

It all begins with a rather one-sided office romance. Stella is in love with her boss, J.B., but he doesn't see her as more than a secretary, or so she thinks. One night, she and her two coworkers/best friends, end up at the same Italian restaurant as J.B. and one of his clients. When J.B. notices them and waves them over, the ladies end up joining the men for the meal. Little do they know that a spilled glass of wine would set off a series of events that would change their lives. It's also quite a hilarious scene, but I'll let you find that out for yourself.

The story unfolds quickly from that point. Stella has caught J.B.'s eye, Birdie and J.B.'s Italian client are head-over-heels for each other, and Riley becomes the target of a serial stalker. From a whirlwind romance, to a trek across the Italian countryside, and even a run-in with the Russian mafia, these three friends wind up with a lot on their plates. They will have to rely on each other to unravel the mysteries behind each event...and to survive.

If you're a fan of contemporary romance, I highly recommend this book. The writing is crisp and clear, the plot is fast-paced, and though the end is succinctly wrapped up and satisfying, it remains ripe for a much-anticipated sequel. Grab your copy today!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Rewind #1: Be Perfect At Your Own Peril

For a few days this month, until I finish some research for my next new blog post, I'm rewinding the clock to some of my favorite guest posts I wrote in 2013. Enjoy!  This article first appeared on My Book Addiction & More in June 2013.

Be Perfect at Your Own Peril

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” 

At any given day in the Parker household, you might see Pop Tart crumbs on the table. Yes, I’m that kind of mom. I am not an organic movement warrior. I’m more of a Kroger sale surfer.

My house—let’s not even go there. Seriously, call first, because the cleanliness level hovers somewhere between filthy and cluttered unless I’m expecting guests. Maybe I should have more guests…

Perfectionist? Nope, not me. I’ve struck out so many times in motherhood, like just a couple months ago when I threw away my youngest daughter’s test instead of signing it and placing it neatly in her backpack to return to class. I’m glad her teacher couldn’t see me blushing when she called to ask about it.

And there was the time I left the basement door open and the same daughter fell down the steps at about eight months old. Or the time…I really could go on and on.

But, I won’t, because I’m not a perfectionist. I am learning to let go of the impossible. It is, after all, impossible to be perfect. So why do we kill ourselves to be flawless?

Letting go of perfectionism doesn’t mean we become slackers or lose all ambition. Quite the opposite. It means we do our best and let go of the impossible. When we make mistakes, we pick up the pieces and carry on. We don’t set the bar so high that we can’t jump over it. We make realistic goals and accomplish them to the best of our ability.

Trust me; I still battle the perfectionism monster from time to time, especially with my writing. I have to make myself stop editing before I end up with a desperate-looking story with too much makeup and no date. I have to accept that my best is good enough so I can move on to something new. It’s the key to growth and improvement. Perfectionism does nothing but hold you rooted in place when all you really want to do is spread your wings and fly.

Q& A: Do you battle perfectionism? What areas of your life could you let go of some expectations?