Saturday, November 22, 2008

Powering through

I have hit a wall. The free flow of words has ended and the head-banging, teeth-pulling phase of writing has begun. I love my characters and story... I think. I feel like I have lost them a bit. I am completely freaked over the timing of the story. The time frame should be about a year (to fit with the plot line), but my characters are only four months in and are ready for things to move along already. Damn.

I am a bit behind schedule when it comes to word count. That is freaking me out. I wrote about 1700 words this morning, but I am still behind. I had wanted to reach 40,000 by the end of the day tomorrow. Not sure that is going to happen. I need inspiration. Big time.

I took a little time for myself and RL last week, which is what has set me back a bit. That being said, I was actually able to do some reading. I finished Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Gurhke and am over halfway through Demon Moon by Meljean Brook. Two very different books. Once I finish reading and NaNo is done I will put my reactions to the books up here.

I the mean time, I need to get back to my WIP. It sure ain't gonna write itself.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holy hotness, Batman!

I have decided that I must write a scene like this into my NaNo book.  Yup.  Definitely need to.  ::fans self::

Just one more reason why Kevin McKidd deserves to play Jamie in the Outlander movie. Yum!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Writerly things

Last night I attended my second RWA chapter meeting. I have to say it is tons of fun and great seeing other folks who are working at the same goal as me (some far more successfully.) I am starting to wonder if God/Fate/the GoogleMap wizards don't want me to attend. This was my second meeting and the second time I have gotten lost. Oy. But I digress.

The Chicago North group is a critique heavy chapter. Members read excerpts from their current projects aloud and the other give feedback and suggestions. I can see why so many of the Chicago North writers are published. Having that many individuals provide feedback (in the nicest possible way) would be amazingly helpful. Not that I am jumping at the chance to be in the spotlight. There is a waiting period for new members to share, but I would completely freak out. ZOMG!

One of the things they did last night was to have the published writers in the group read from their contracted work. I have to say, I was impressed and now have titles to add to me TBE pile. A couple that really stuck out in my mind were...

Title: What a Scoundrel Wants
Author: Carrie Lofty
The quick and dirty: Will Scarlet. Need I say more?
Seriously, you all need to purchase this book. I will be released the first week of December. Christmas present to self, anyone? Her language and descriptions were fabulous. "flacid corpse" Ew!!!
Title: The Brass Bed
Author: Jennifer Stevenon
Why should you read it?: There is magic and pigeons that smoke cigarettes. Also, the author is on the local roller derby team. How cool (and slightly scary) is that?
Title: Girl of My Dreams
Author: Morgan Mandel
Plot device: Boss/secretary. Add in a Bachelor type reality show and highjinx will ensue. It is also an ugly duckling story. I'm a sucker for both.
There were a few more and others will be reading from their published work next time. Apparenty, the chapter has something like a 46% publication rate. Amazing.
If I ever want to be one of the folks reading aloud at a meeting I need to get cracking here. This darn book isn't going to write itself. I need to get 2000-4000 words written today. No school means butt in chair, fingers on keyboard. I just need to figure out what my hero is going to do when he turns around and sees the heroine staring at his naked, sweaty chest... "we're just friends, really!"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Writing soundtrack

I've seen it mentioned numerous times and by numerous writers: the writing soundtrack. I didn't really get it at first. Being a music teacher, when I hear music I am conditioned to listen. I can't tune it out. I have found music to be a hindrance rather than a help when trying to write.

This has all changed.

I don't know if it is the particular story that I am writing, but this puppy has a list of songs that is continuing to grow. It all started as I completed the first chapter. By the end of it I knew my H/h theme song: Bleeding Love. Yup, this is one angsty couple. As the words have been flowing, so have the song ideas.

For those interested, here is what the ever growing list currently contains:

Bleeding Love/ Leona Lewis
Taking Chances/ Celine Dion
Look After You/ The Fray
What's Left of Me/ Nick Lachey
Almost Lovers/ A Fine Frenzy
Apologize/ Timaland & One Republic
Dancing/ Elisa
Fix You/ Coldplay
Dreaming With a Broken Heart/ John Mayer
Feeling Good/ Michael Buble
Gravity/ Sara Bareilles
Lost Without You/ Robin Thicke
Love Song/ 311

Yeah. Super emo. But it fits for the story. With the music going, the words are flowing. I am currently 17,667 words and 55 pages into this bad boy (just since Nov. 1st Woohoo, NaNoWriMo!) My other WIP was going alright, but this one has a momentum that is simply stunning. I am just holding on for the ride. Hopefully I survive. Hopefully it doesn't suck. Let me tell you, it is putting me through the ringer emotionally. Sometimes writing what you know is not an easy thing.

UPDATE: 20,253 words!!! More than I have ever written on one story ever!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Review: Lord of Scoundrels

Title: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Genre: Historical Romance

I read this book months ago. I am not sure why or how I got away with not writing up a review, because this a a book I want to pimp to one and all.

They call him many names, but Angelic isn't one of them . . .
Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the "Bane and Blight of the Ballisters"—and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He's determined to continue doing what he does best—sin and sin again—and all that's going swimmingly, thank you . . . until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.

She's too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world . . .
Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she's going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him—and with him, her family and future—means taking on the devil himself, she won't back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is—herself!

It is my opinion that Sebastian, Lord Dain, now has the title of most tortured hero in Romance. Like many heroes, he had a father who was distant and, quite frankly, hated him. After being subjected to enough hatred, he chose to embrace the image his father had of him. Deviltry and meanness became his coping device. Stuck in that cycle of bullying, he grew to become a man who valued little. He was rude, vice riddled. He flaunted conventions simply to gain a reaction. If he began to meet someone’s expectations (good or bad) he would take steps to ensure that they gained no satisfaction. It would take extraordinary circumstances and an extraordinary woman to effect a change. He had no interest in Jessica’s brother, Bertie, but her concern for the wastrel lit the fire of challenge in him. He wanted to see how far he could push her, if he could break her. It ended up being Sebastian, a bigger historical Alpha I have yet to read, who would break.

I find myself often saying that I like a heroine because she is strong and feisty. That she does not let the men in her life, no matter how Alpha, dictate the decisions she should make for her life. This is true. I can not abide a weak willed or TSTL heroine. There comes a point where I no longer feel she deserves the hero. The two should be a match for one another. Jessica Trent goes beyond my expectations for a heroine. Yes, she is strong and feisty, but she is more than that. Jessica is not just strong, she is the foundation. For her family, for her relationship. She provided the stability and security her loved ones needed, yet she did not allow herself to sacrifice who she was. Instead of sitting by as her brother ran them into bankruptcy, she found a way to use her talents to support them both, if not in the style he preferred. When she saw that Bertie’s association with Lord Dain was going to be detrimental to his life and her own, she did not simply tell her brother to stop and sit back wringing her hands. Oh no, she knew her fool of a brother would pay no heed, and walked right into the lion’s den. She knew her strengths and accepted her limitations. She acknowledged her attraction to Sebastian, but did not expect him to equate lust with love. Frankly, she knew he was a rake and wanted no part of it. Not that he gave her much of a choice (in the best possible way!)

It was heartbreaking to see Sebastian project his own self loathing onto his son later in the book. He was allowing his father, and his hurtful actions, to impact his ability to reach out to his own child. He was aware of this, yet was nearly unable to stop it from happening. Jessica, loving Sebastian wholly and completely, saw the young boy as the scared, hurt soul that truly was. That was not difficult for her since she saw shadows of that same child in Sebastian’s eyes every time she looked at him. His belief that he was not worthy of love, especially hers, was what took a nasty bastard of a character and made him into a redeemable hero.

This book was like a wonderful stew. Rich and satisfying, leaving you wanting just one more bowl despite the fact that you are full. The ingredients were well blended and hearty, yet peppered with just the right amount of seasoning. Lord of Scoundrels was peppered with just the perfect seasoning of secondary characters. Bertie, the brother you want to strangle. Jessica’s grandmother. Sebastian’s ridiculous cohorts. His former mistress and mother of his child. And that poor boy. Misunderstood, used as a pawn.

Things I loved: The scene in the rain up against the lamp post. Delicious! Jessica storming in like an avenging god and shooting Sebastian. Yes, our heroine shoots the hero. With a gun. Every time they argued, which happened all the time. The arguing was foreplay. Actually, their contentious relationship reminds me of another of my favorite H/h pairings: Sam and Jaine from Mr. Perfect. I would go so far as to say that if you like one of these books you will likely enjoy the other. The same intense chemistry, bickering foreplay. Magic, both of them.

Things I disliked: Um... I’m not sure there was anything. If I had to isolate one thing it was how blind Sebastian was towards his son. Here was a chance to make up for all the evil his father perpetrated on him throughout his life, and he could not see past the surface. True, the story gave us Sebastian journey to a place in his life, with Jessica’s love, that he could let go of the past enough to make room in his heart for his son. He was redeemed. So I guess this is not really something I disliked, since I can see the validity of this subplot.

This book is an absolute MUST READ for anyone who likes historical romance. I would go so far as the say it is a must read for an romance reader. Period. This is without a doubt on my list of Best Romances Written.