My Writing Process

NametheDay 500x750Today we’re discussing my writing process as part of an international blog tour project by several authors gathering to show what we’re working on and how we’re doing it.
Thank you to Sherry Gloag for extending this invitation. Sherry is a multi-published, best selling author of contemporary and Regency romance. Her latest release, Name the Day, is a contemporary story with winning chemistry between her main characters.
We were each given four questions about our writing process:
Heartsight 300 x 480
1) What am I working on?  I currently have several projects in the works – when I get stuck on one, another will usually start talking to me. I’m very close to completing the next of my Heart Stories (the series that began with Heartsight). The 13 of Hearts will tell Rabbit’s story. We first met Rabbit in Operation: Christmas Hearts, a young officer who shared quarters in Afghanistan with that story’s hero, Nick Turner. Rabbit is a very superstitious marine, who is home recovering from injuries that occurred on a “bad luck” day. He meets a young mother and her two children who have secrets…
TheToymaker 453x680I am also about halfway finished with The Acrobat, which is a story featuring Eduard and Elise from my 2012 Christmas Regency, The Toymaker. Eduard is a short man, who has dwarfism. Elise is a spinster and governess who has secrets that could get her tried and executed for treason.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I think the biggest way all of my books differ from others of same or similar genre is the degree of impairment my main characters must learn to live with. When I first wrote Heartsight, I found only a handful of other books in which the hero was blind, and in most of those, the blindness was temporary or curable. In Heartsight, the condition is permanent. When you add in a child with Down syndrome, well, the mix becomes pretty intense sometimes. But I’ve had so many people write and tell me that they want more of this Marine family that it’s apparent they are favored among readers. I’m newer at writing Regencies and I’m still finding my footing there. My heroes and heroines in my Regency books have pretty much been typical for the era. The Like a Lady series that I co-wrote with Kim Bowman is a twist on The Prince and the Pauper (a ladies’ maid and a lady switch places). The Toymaker is about a man who inherited a dukedom as the only living heir of his uncle, and it’s a title he never wanted. In The Acrobat, I’m diverging somewhat from the typical hero in that Eduard is a dwarf. But as a secondary character in The Toymaker, he got a lot of affection from readers, so his story began to gel, and I’m hoping for a midsummer release.

3) Why do I write what I do? I write what inspires me. At any given time, 5-6 stories might be coming together in various stages in my mind based on songs, news stories, pictures, conversations with family and friends. I have to write what speaks to me at the time. Contemporary is the easiest to write because research is far less intense than historical stories (I actually have been contemplating an American historical recently based on my love for Mackinac Island in Michigan, so now American history is tumbling around in my brain along with British history).

4) How does your writing process work? I often tell people that spiders are my muses – and I do write better when the author’s spiders are weaving their zipper-shaped webs outside my office window. But basically, it all zipperstarts with an idea. I often play around with the ideas in my mind for months ahead of time unless one is particularly strong. I might get into character as I work around the house or drive to the store. How does my heroine cook? How does my hero shift gears. I flesh out the characters by feeling the characters. I usually have a soundtrack/playlist that helps me choreograph different scenes or aids with characterization. And I have pretty specific ideas of what the characters look like. notaSometimes I have pictures I work from for inspiration, stock photos mostly. Historical research is intense but thankfully history doesn’t change so my research for previous books applies to current ones. Contemporary research usually revolves around learning about the area in which the book is set.

I don’t plot per se, but I also don’t pants it. I have a definite knowledge of where the story begins and ends, and tangled-string-300x199what will happen along the way, but only as I get to know the characters can I write about their reactions to what is going on. Every once in a while one will throw me a curve ball by reacting in a way that sets the plot spinning in a slightly different direction. But the end point I had in mind from the start usually is intact. By the time I actually sit down to write the story, it’s generally in my mind almost like a memory of something that’s really happened. That makes the story much more solid in my ability to tell it.
Next week, look for these blogging authors to tell you a little about their work!

ruthRuth J. Hartman, best selling author of Regency and DustmansDaughter_200x300Contemporary romances, whose best selling Regency Christmas book, Romancing the Dustman’s Daughter, will warm you on a chilly winter’s eve.

AND

kim bKim Bowman, best selling author of Regency romance and paranormal stories, and owner of the hot new digital-first publisher, esKape ePress. EskapePress(3)

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This Christmas…

IMG_0665Dear 2013 World:

I grew up in a fairly traditional family. My mum came to America from England post WWII. My dad’s mum had come over from there sometime before 1912. So my dad was scan0036born here but my mum had a lot of English traditions that she brought to the family. Somehow, it worked and we had traditional American Christmases while I was growing up. Stockings were hung, Santa visited. All of our extended family – all on my mom’s side – resided in England, so no huge family get-togethers for me. My mom, my best friend throughout my life, made every day seem like Christmas but over the holiday, it was somehow even scan0040better. She made sure we spent time Christmas shopping together, she stood in long lines to see Santa, took me to community Christmas parties where we had visits with Santa, did arts and crafts, and participated in sing-alongs. She taught me how to hide, disguise, and wrap presents, decorate a wicked Christmas tree, write and send Christmas cards. She taught me that it wasn’t what I received on Christmas but what I gave that was the most fun. And I did not get everything I asked for. But I loved everything I got.

mom n dad 023Over the years, the routine sometimes varied. My brother is a decade older than I am, so he spent some holidays away from home during his service in the US Air Force, and when he came home, he got married, and later had a daughter. Instant extended family there, because Lyn had family in northern Michigan, and sometimes my brother and sister-in-law would take me along on visits up there beginning the day after Christmas. Not too often, though, because I always discovered that I missed my parents and home.

And then I grew up and had my own family. And discovered a whole new world as the 0115MOM at Christmas time. Thankfully, I had such a wonderful example with my own mom and dad. We always tried to make Christmas special for the kids and they seemed to have fun. But alas, time continues to pass. We lost our first child at the age of 2-1/2, and the day after my sister-in-law at a young age of IMG_082140. Later, my dad, and then my niece’s first little boy, and soon after that my children’s other granddad. And most recently, only a few years agreading with gammao my mom, and now my children are grown with families of their own – each in his/her own special version. Now… I am the GRANDMA of Christmas. But sadly, we haven’t had a family Christmas where we’ve all been together for years. My oldest resides in Michigan. One of my twins is in Okinawa, where her husband is stationed with the US Marines. But even though I’m not with them, in a way, I am, for they c381547_10150463807639132_232724171_narry on a lot of the same traditions I taught them, which my mom had taught me. Mary and her husband Matt, recognizing that many of those stationed with them have no family on-base, and no way to go home for the holidays, have opened their hearts and home to celebrate with those who would otherwise be alone.

Each new role – child, mother, grandmother of Christmas – has brought to it something special. And I guess that’s the point. Life moves on. Things inevitably change, one’s perspective changes. Some memories are good, some maybe not as good, and some maybe sad or poignant as the people we love pass on and go to Jesus, or just plain cannot be with us to celebrate the holiday. There is, however, one constant – that “reason for the season,” IMG_0816Jesus Christ. I am grateful for every moment I have been able to spend on this earth, happy or sad, spent with all my family or scattered. We are all where we are supposed to be, and whether near or far, on this earth, or in heaven, there is always the glue that keeps us one family. There is always love, the perfect love that Jesus taught.

So my Christmas wishes for all of you this year are three – that you will experience a wonderful, Jesus-filled Christmas, that your hearts385965_10150424310169132_793444164_n will be filled with love and joy for others, and that you have the fellowship of family and friends holding you in their hearts.

Merry Christmas, world.

Release day: ELECT by Rachel Van Dyken

ELECT Release Day Launch BannerI am  pleased to help spread the word about ELECT, the hot new book from Rachel Van Dyken’s Eagle Elite Series! You’ll want every book in this amazing New Adult series!!

Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family’s enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family’s sworn rival, and she Electknows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend… But Trace isn’t ready to give up on a future with Nix–and if he won’t fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .

Excerpt:

I woke up with a killer hangover. My fault. Grumbling, I took a shower and went downstairs to get some breakfast before I went over to the Space to see if Phoenix would change his tune.

“Hey.” Trace was sitting at the table eating some toast.

“Hey.” I waved. Idiot. She was sitting right in front of me.

Her eyes didn’t leave mine. I was frozen in place and could literally hear every beat of my heart in the silence.

“You’re wrong, you know.” She stood and walked toward me. “About a lot of things—everything, actually. And you’re an ass.”

“I—”

“I’m talking, you’re listening.” She smirked and grabbed the front of my shirt and pushed me toward the pantry. She slammed me against the door, pretty forcefully, I might add, and then opened it and shoved me in. I mean, I could fight her but I was too damn turned on and curious to do anything except stare at her.

“I. Want. You.” She took off her shirt. What the hell? “Only you.” Her jeans were next.

The pantry immediately became my number one favorite spot in the house.

Facing me in nothing but her scandalous white lacy underwear, she whispered in my ear. “This. What you see? What’s in front of you, it’s not just about me wanting you. I want all of you. I want to be vulnerable with you, exposed. But you have to let me…maybe the reason I don’t want to open up that part of myself to Chase is because he isn’t you, Nixon. He doesn’t have this.” She placed my hand on her bare skin right above her breast. Shit, I was slowly dying inside. Did she even realize what the hell she was doing to me?

“He doesn’t have our history, our past, our drama. I love him, you’re right. I love him so damn much that I can’t imagine life without him. But he and I—we aren’t this. So tell me, Nixon. Tell me if you want me to forget. I’ll forget what we have, if that’s really what you want. If you want me to jump into his arms without looking back, I will. But know I’ll hate you forever for giving me up.”

“I’m not,” I interrupted her. “You can’t give up something you never had.”

She slapped me hard across the face. “You promised, Nixon. You promised me.”

I kissed her hard on the mouth, clenching her wrists in my hands as I pinned her against the door. “You’re right,” I growled and pulled away. “And I’m sorry for hurting us, for hurting you, but Trace…next time you trap me in a closet, in nothing but your underwear. I will take advantage of you. I’ll screw you until you forget your own name. Don’t play with fire, and don’t mess with me. I’m still terrible for you; he’s better, and I stand by what I did. Now move out of the way before I truly lose control and steal your virginity next to the damn Cheerios.”

She crossed her arms over her chest and glared as I sidestepped her and walked out of the pantry and directly into Tex.

“Whoa!” Tex looked at my face and then lower. His smile widened. “Taking care of business in the pantry or Mrs. Butterworth just make you horny?”

“Shut up.”

“It’s cool! She’s naked, I get it!” Tex called after me, while I raced back up the stairs, grabbed my phone and keys, and then ran out of the house. Away from Trace, away from everything.

Rachel Van DykenAuthor Photo’s Bio:   Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of Regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

 Raffle Copter Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTE3MmMxYTA5NWI0YjhkMjZkNWU0YzM1M2E1YzU2Ojk3/

Links:
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
ELECT Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18210033-elect
Rachel Van Dyken Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

She’s ba-aa-ck! Moriah Densley GIVEAWAY

KingofThreadneedleStreet 500x750We’re celebrating the re-release of Victorian romance, The King of Threadneedle Street!

Did you know Moriah Densley is not only a talented (fabulously talented!) author but an exceptionally gifted jewelry artisan as well? How about I let her tell you!
…………………………………….

Jewelry making is a hobby I’ve enjoyed for years. When writing the scene in The King of Threadneedle Street where Andrew gives Alysia a rare lavender pearl jewelry set, I went wild with my imagination. I created Victorian-style pearl, onyx, and crystal jewelry for the release-day giveaway; here’s where the inspiration came from:

     Before Alysia dressed for dinner, Marsden delivered a small white case and left without a word. She unfolded the note to see Andrew’s capricious scrawl. He wrote, Please wear these for me tonight. She unwrapped the chocolate truffles and nibbled on one as she opened the lid of the box.

She gasped — an elaborate jewelry set glowed in the lamplight. Breathtaking pearls, a smoky lavender color and set in designs she had never seen the like of. The necklace was not merely a strand, but an arrangement that resembled an elaborate tiara, or half of a snowflake. Woven into delicate patterns with graduated-sized pearls, it looked like some priceless artifact discovered in an ancient tomb.

Alysia dropped her dressing robe to hold the necklace against her collar. She fastened the clasp and tried on the matching earrings and bracelet. Exquisite. And that he’d picked the color to complement her eyes? Romantic. She looked in the mirror to see the luster of the pearls reflecting the lavender facets of her eyes, making them paradoxically smoky and bright.

Andrew knew what he was doing.

kots giveaway jewelryAnd, indeed, MORIAH knows what she is doing! Just check out a few samples of her work!

And you could win! Just go to Moriah’s website and blog to enter for a chance to win her fabulous giveaway!

ABOUT the AUTHOR

Bestselling author Moriah Densley sees nothing odd at all about keeping both a violin case and a range bag stuffed with pistols in the back seat of her car. They hold up the stack of books in the middle, of course. She enjoys writing about Victorians, assassins, and geeks. Her muses are summoned by the smell of chocolate, usually at odd hours of the night. By day her alter ego is your friendly neighborhood music teacher. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband, four children, and two possibly brain-damaged cats.

moriah densley cropped(1) Moriah has a Master’s degree in music, is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist, 2012 National Reader’s Choice Award winner, and ’12 NRCA “Best First Book” finalist. She’s the author of the bestselling “Rougemont” Historical Romance series from Eskape Press, and the “Network-One” Paranormal Romance series coming 2014 from Entangled Publishing. Moriah is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburger Associates.

 

 

FIND MORIAH’S WORK ON:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Kobo
All Romance eBooks
Amazon UK

FIND MORE MORIAH:

Website + blog: http://moriahdensley.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MoriahDensley
Twitter: http://twitter.com/moriahdensley
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/moriahdensley/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17826397-the-king-of-threadneedle-street