Monday, November 15, 2010

The difficulty of "getting down to work".

I should say that right now, I am rife with ideas for new work. I have probably half a dozen workable ideas floating around in my brain right now with tiny little seeds breaking soil just about every day - spinoffs involving characters I have already introduced. Everything inspires me!

It is like a writer's playground, my brain. I should be rolling in romance right now, swimming in stories, wallowing in words! Should being the operative word, here.

I used to live that good life... spending several hours per day writing... though that was in conjunction with a time that I was only employed seasonally and "the good life" involved getting an unemployment cheque every two weeks that barely fed me (thank God for parents who loved and encouraged me in my writing). Unfortunately, at that time, I was still developing my craft (who am I kidding? I am still developing my craft and it's my belief that when you feel like you know everything and are the best you can be, you start to get stagnant and you really aren't the best you can be), and didn't even have a completed manuscript, or really, any other ideas.

Since then, I have acquired a (very good) full time, year round job, with benefits and weekends off and all that fun stuff. I hate to say it, but now that I have a better idea about myself and the things I am capable of, I regret not spending the "starving artist" months writing. It feels like there are never enough hours in the day, and when there ARE, I am so tired from everything else that is going on in my life that I can't settle my mind enough to write.

Take yesterday, for example - Sunday morning... I slept in, got up and puttered in the barn for a few minutes and then came in and snuggled up in the sunshine on the couch, laptop in hand, ready to work on the synopsis for my NO ONE ELSE, which I am hoping to query to Samhain in coming weeks. I kept getting distracted. Dogs wanted in, or out. Laundry needed put in. I needed a drink of water. Wanted a cookie. One thing after the other until I realized I wasn't making any progress at all. I couldn't settle my mind.

I have experienced this same problem with writing new stuff. I just can't settle my mind enough to just get to it - I am so used to having eleventy billion things on the brain at one time that it is hard to focus it on just one or two things or just one story. I often even find my OTHER stories interrupting on my time with NO ONE ELSE. It drives me!

With that said, I think I am going to start forcing myself. Thirty minutes of undivided attention to my writing, no matter what, every single day. No tv, no MSN, no internet, no checking my email obsessively (nothing from an agent or publishing house wanting to publish my work is going to land there until I actually get my work written!). Now, more than ever, I want to be an author. I want to be published. I want someone to read my work and fall in love with my hero. I need to get down to work and stop letting my brain make excuses.

And I am going to finish that darn synopsis tonight.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mills & Boon New Voices Contest Results

I know it's late to be giving my reflections on the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest, but I have literally been so busy I have hardly had time for anything at all, never mind blogging. Heck, I have hardly had time to piece together my reaction to the results!

The short of it: I didn't get picked for the top 10. In the end, there were over 800 entries, which I think is completely wild. A fellow Diva from the Romance Divas site, Kat Cantrell, made it into the top 10 with her chapter, Thigh Noon. I am super happy that someone I "know" made it to the next level!

Graciously, Mills & Boon also decided to offer 10 critiques on random entries, drawn "lottery style" from those who wanted to hear more. I signed up for that, but didn't get picked either.

Further - there will be, apparently, a list of authors from whom M & B would like to hear more, posted publicly on the website. I think it is neat that they are doing so much more for those who have not been picked for the top 10, but not sure how I feel about that one.

The long of my reaction: I know why I didn't get picked. Sadly, there is no way for me to really write this without it sounding like sour grapes, even a week or two after the contest has ended for me. My novel would not fit easily as a category romance. It's long - I understand most category romance are around 50k words - mine is 90k. There are subplots going on in it which lend themselves to further novels in the "series" (just the way I planned it). My novel is more of a single title if anything. (Listen to me, talking like I know what I'm writing about. Lies!)

So, I was disappointed that I didn't advance to the next round, but I think I already knew. One thing I can say, though, is how awesome it was to get feedback (both positive and negative) on the chapter. It was nice to hear what others were thinking, even though it got many positive reviews and several low "rose ratings" (there was a lot of talk of people intentionally voting lower on entries to try and bump them down to the bottom of the judging, but fortunately, the first round was all judges!).

Also, this whole thing really inspired me to keep pushing with my novel. I am in the process of revamping my query letter (have I mentioned I hate query letters? I am convinced it is the only thing standing between No One Else and a publisher... or at least that is how I sleep at night.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Oh boy.

Where have I been hiding?

Hello world, we need to discuss this!

Firstly: Why aren't there more of these in Canada?
Secondly: Where can I get one?

And lastly... seriously. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

I have to write a character for him now. I have no choice. Unfortunately, he does not fit the mold of any of the men in my New Sentry City series full of mafia men and otherwise that I am writing right now, but he could be a part of a peripheral story that I have percolating in the back of my mind... and the thought of using him in that story suddenly makes me leagues more excited about it than I might have been previously.

This is Matthew Goode in his role as Declan in Leap Year, by the way. I am a huge sucker for Rom-Com... and this was no exception. I found myself squealing with delight at the impending happily-ever-after that I knew was coming with the claddagh ring, and I tend to grin like a silly idiot most of the way through a good romance - and this was no exception there, either.

I further decided that I am holding out for an Irishman. At this rate, I am holding out for an Irish musician with dark hair and blue eyes who loves dogs and has a way with horses, rides a motorcycle, is articulate and surfs once in a while, and has no shame about snuggling. It's not that unrealistic, right? I mean, I'm sure he's right around the corner. Until then, I will satisfy myself with thoughts of this Irishman.

Have a wonderful week, everybody!

(Net)work it out!

I have spoken before about being a member of the Romance Divas Forum and how awesome it is for me - but I realized last week that I need to do some real networking. It is all well and good to be a writer, and tell people I am a writer, and query agents and BE a writer but never share what I write... but the only way to gain exposure for myself and my characters is to actually SHARE what I write.

Oh, I've done this with my writer's group a time or two (when I am able to get into town to be with them) - and I've emailed chapters and the full manuscript to friends of mine that I know will be gentle... but sometimes I think it is easier to submit my queries to agents for a form rejection than to accept specific criticism and have to (gasp!) learn from it.

With that said, when someone brought up the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest, I entered. My heart was pounding in my throat about a bajillion miles an hour. Not only am I opening up my 'secret' to judges, but also hundreds of other aspiring writers (I sometimes think writers are harder on other writers than anyone else!) who will have something to say about it. Then I took it a step further - I shared the link to my entry (which can be found here) on my Facebook profile.

I had completely forgotten that it was a little steamy there in my first chapter, and also forgotten who was on my Facebook list. The best response was in email, from my mother, who has never read the novel (my sister, on the other hand, is a voracious reader of any and all romance and has read mine lots), saying it was a bit "steamy" for her taste. I just find it slightly amusing that my sister and I are such sponges when it comes to romance, reading pretty much any and all stories that have an alpha hero and a HEA (Happily Ever After - something else I learned from Romance Divas!), my mother prefers not to read that stuff. My father, on the other hand, one must be careful with - he will pick up anything - ANYTHING, from Nicholas Sparks to Sherrilyn Kenyon, to read, and you won't see it ever again because it will likely end up in the head of their bed or under it.

Anyways, now my brain is even filled with ideas about Facebook pages for my authorhood (spellcheck says that is not a word, I insist that it is!), and a Twitter account, and other ways to spread the word that "Hey! I want to publish a novel, and HEY! I want you to validate that by being my fan on a networking site!". It's completely scarifying (scary+terrifying) to sit down and consider the possibility of opening myself up to the opinions of hundreds... maybe even THOUSANDS of people.

Anyways, without further ado - an excerpt from my 1st chapter for the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. Again, you can read the full chapter here: No One Else by Amity Lassiter

Unable to resist himself a moment longer, Luc reached over and tweaked one of the dark curls tumbling down her back, tugging playfully at it like a naughty boy in grade school. He realized too late that it was a mistake, because as soon as he got close enough, he inhaled. Her hair smelled of caramel and more brown sugar. His mouth watered, imagining the taste of her under his tongue.

You have to be more careful, he chided himself, you're getting impulsive. Luc was a man who was successful because of his absolute control and unwavering confidence. He was not the rash sort, but wasn't it only moments ago that he imagined the smell of her hair and now he was smelling it? If he imagined the taste of her, he wasn't convinced that he wouldn't find himself leaning to just brush his lips across the tantalizing line of her stubborn jaw. And if he went that far, who knew where he would stop?

A deep-seated, and long dormant hunger in the pit of his belly yawned open, demanding to be fed.

This is silly, Luc thought as his fingers twisted in her curls. He could satisfy whatever craving it was that this simple serving girl had awakened with any number of women at any time. This was just a desire to fulfill the basest of needs. This behaviour was because he had been occupied with business for so long and wasn't thinking straight, and clarity was the most important thing to him right now. Unfortunately, it seemed, his thoughts would have no respite, or at least they hadn't since he'd first laid eyes on her.

Tristyn looked into his eyes as he leaned over her, her gaze unwavering. That stubborn chin tipped up as he got close enough now that she could draw in the clean, ocean smell of him mingling with the absolute and unfaltering scent of masculinity. It was no surprise to smell the ocean, but the underlying scent of him was like a pheromone.

She swallowed heavily, her eyes flitting away from his only a second to flutter to his lips, the strong curve that begged for her to close her lips around it. All he had to do was drop a couple of inches closer and he would close the contact, and Tristyn would not say no. She couldn't say no; her pulse raced with a throbbing yes. Her body tensed as his fingers wound themselves into the silken fall of her mahogany locks, in anticipation of his next movement, aching for it to be to her lips.

It did not end up quite as she had hoped, but was devilishly pleasing and intimate nonetheless. Luc dropped his lips toward the curve of her throat, stopping just millimeters from flesh. She could feel the erotic heat of his breath against her skin, warming it. His breath swept across her throat, over the column of her neck and to the sensitive spot just behind her ear, tickling as he went. Goose flesh rose on her arms involuntarily as she sat nearly frozen in place under his attentions.

She let out one heated breath that she couldn't hold a second longer, causing him to draw in a sharp breath in return, clearly aroused by the minuscule reaction that was a mere fraction of the desire stirring inside of her. Only a true man could cause this kind of reaction without even touching her skin.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Well, the laptop is back!

Originally, they had told me it would be Tuesday (tomorrow) before it got in with their regular shipment (according to the guy I talked to, it was the next shipment they would be receiving), but on Saturday, they called and said they had gotten a "drop shipment" and my laptop was in. If you ask me, it had probably been there all week and they just couldn't find it in their disorganized store room.

Once again, though, my WiFi works, and nothing had better screw up again, or if it does, it had better happen before Thursday, which is when my warranty runs out!

Either way, things have been blossoming in my brain idea-wise since the laptop went in... nice, right?

So I get the laptop back and huzzah!, let's get back to writing, I say.

Fingers disagree.

I finally had to institute for myself a BICHOK night. I spend some time on the Romance Divas forum and it is a pretty snazzy place for inspiration and commiseration and time wasteration. They like to tell each other "BICHOK!" - Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard... just write it. I figured a good hour of BICHOK would be great for my story.

If I had been a tiny child, I would have been doing the equivalent of kicking and screaming in the candy aisle because I couldn't get what I wanted but secretly what I really wanted was just to get the hell out of the grocery store. I was so uncomfortable with my internal dialogue regarding this new book I am writing, or lack thereof, anyways. It was not flowing the way I wanted it to... I spent an hour with the laptop in front of me and allowed myself to be (read: begged for) distracted by a puppy in my bed, checking my email, fiddling with Windows Media Player, and sometimes just staring around boredly as my characters were not speaking to me. I wrote 1597 words, but every single one of them was mindless drivel and not a letter of it should be published. Even within my writing, I let myself keep getting distracted by my old characters from my first manuscript, who support a large part of the story in THIS one, I just wanted to keep writing the stories of my old characters in the vein of my last book instead of writing the story for these new, foreign characters. So easy to get back into my old comfortable hero boyfriend and heroine best friend!

Nonetheless, I will chug away and I think that my BICHOK hour is going to become something a little more regular... perhaps every night, at least an hour. EVENTUALLY, I am going to churn out something worth sharing!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The least of my virtues...

... may just be patience.

Though I have been interested in recording stories my whole life, I only got my first laptop a few years ago, and it was just a cheap eBay deal that didn't even have the capability to hook up to the internet (well, without some tech-savvy-ness that I don't posess), and was probably built before the dawn of the WiFi card. I hacked away at that, wrote the majority of a 100k word manuscript on it (and edited the majority of that manuscript on it), lugged it to writer's group meetings where I was ridiculed for it being held together by black electrical tape and babied along. It never died, per se (I just booted it up last week for fun!), but I was blessed with a new-to-me laptop as a Christmas gift last year.

All I can say is "I will never buy another computer without a warranty again" - I have had this HP Pavillion for less than a year and I have taken advantage of the warranty 3 times in the last six months - once was for a motherboard replacement (it was giving me the black-screen-o-death), once to replace the adaptor cord (which was way more than fair of FutureShop to do because, well, my dogs kind of killed it), and at the moment, it is back in for another motherboard replacement. Can we all insert a collective "AAARRRGH!" here?

I have been going through a creative dry spell as of late, and allowing myself to be distracted by other things, including a non-writing-related-non-fiction blog that has a pretty decent fan base/following... but I have been desperate to get back into writing. Right before the wi-fi died (which is why it needs another motherboard replacement), I had decided I would JUST WRITE. Unfortunately, didn't have time for that as the warranty (that was graciously left over when it was bought) runs out on the 9th of September... so had to get it in ASAP.

They projected 2-3 weeks... Monday was two weeks. I started calling. I couldn't talk to the tech guy that keeps track of those things, so I decided to drop by. Last night, I dropped by again. Tonight? Might just drop by again. Every. Single. Night. Until they give me my laptop back. I want to write, damnit!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Me, me, and more me!

A few short notes to help you get to know me:

- The thing in the world that disgusts me most is anything touching my feet in the shower.
- Old food in the sink drain comes a close second!
- I like to take a nap with a dog in the bed, but not sleep for the night with a dog in the bed.
- When I was a child, I used to take a voice recorder and tell stories into it. They were romance, even when I was 7 or 8.
- I have never truly been in love - I've not been burnt enough to be a cynic which is why I think I enjoy writing romance so much!
- I am very passionate about animals and have been known to take in those that are written off as "not useful anymore" or "dangerous".
- I love the appeal of a "bad boy", but at the end of the day, someone who is kind, funny and compassionate wins out.
- I am turned off by self described "good guys" - they are almost always whiny and believe they are owed something by the Universe.
- I believe in spirituality and a greater being, and think that the most important rule to live by is to love others - beyond that, everything else can be traced back to that one rule.
- I eat certain things methodically - restaurant breakfasts, ice cream cones, watermelon - there are specific ways to prepare and consume these things and I lose interest if I am not able to eat them in that specific way.
- I am beyond busy with a "day job" and a farm, along with a personal mission to lose 144lbs (I am 76lbs toward that goal, only 68 to go!), so I have been browsing free personals sites because I feel I'm too busy to meet someone... I may write about this. It's funny, it's fodder. :)

My ideal man is tall, and broad - not necessarily cut, but solid, with hands calloused from a little work, kind eyes and smile lines. He has a specific destination in life that he is working to reach, is reliable and easy going. His quality of being laid back is in direct proportion to my quality of sometimes being uptight. This man is passionate and not afraid to play his hand away from his chest once in a while and lay the cards on the table. Straight forward and honest, he says what he means and means what he says. Hair colour, eye colour, and other variables aren't that important to me, which makes it easy for me to write aspects of my "ideal man" into every hero that I write.