Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Work Never Ends

Ya know, you do the work, do the work and do the work and think it's all over, but it's not.


I wrote an erotic novella recently that I sent out to several reputable epublishers. Rejections from every one, but some very great and helpful rejections. It is something to get a rejection that you actually smile when reading. In short, my story is not horrid, it just needs a little extra work here and there. No biggie.

I've been working on these little things for a couple of weeks now and on the outset, the parts I'm making better is just that - making the story better. But at the same time, I am so ready to let this one go.

Take my beginning, a very important part of any story. It needed work. Again, nothing major and I've worked it out in my head so it really should not be an issue at all. But I've rewritten that darn beginning no less than three times. I almost cannot take it anymore. I know, it's too much second-guessing on my part.

Anyway, I had to take a mini-break from the story right now, lucky you!

And now that I've procrastinated and excused long enough, I'm back to it. Later!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Ohhh, I am cursing up a storm right now. I hate computers, I hate computers, I hate computers!

I just spent the past, oh, twenty minutes or so writing a beautiful post about the day after Thanksgiving and relaxing and taking it easy and upcoming writing ideas and all that nice stuff. I even found an awe-inspiring picture of a moon over an ocean with a heron flying off to the side. I'm telling you, very nice stuff.

Then I hit one button, on accident, and POOF, it goes all bye-bye. Can't find it anywhere. So that super nice blog you should be reading has gone to the never-never land of computer-ware, and instead of getting warm, cozy feelings from me, you get my foot-stomping and hair-pulling left-overs.


Not really, but still, it's the thought, right? If you're like me, you're shaking your head. Thoughts don't count for crap in my book, but that's for another post . . .

It's late and I still have writing to get to so I hope your Thanksgiving was great and you're gearing up for December. Later!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Tonight is the night for trick-or-treating. With multiple little ones, our house is abuzz with "is it time to go yet?" Normally, I love to go out with the kiddos, my husband and I, to see the costumes and teach them their manners while amassing an overload of candy that they will never eat within the next year. Check that, they could eat it, but I am a strict Mom when it comes to candy and trust me, not everything their little scary butts will collect will make it past their lips.

But today, this Halloween, I'm not going it for it so much. Mostly because the weather just plain sucks: it's humid as all get out and the forecast is calling for rain. Not to mention my oldest has developed a cough I don't like and there is no way in hell I can tell him he can't go out - -unless he gets progressively worse and runs a fever. I pray it doesn't get that bad. Not today. At least he has a full face mask with his costume and that should keep him warmer.

On another note, as I took my walk this morning, I contemplated Halloween and Romance. These two concepts don't seem to go together. You have scare your pants off and then you have endearing love. Wait a minute, what am I saying (I smack my forehead), of course they have a lot in common. What's better than having your pants scared off you so you can then be ravished with endearing love. That would be my best kind of Halloween. Big, big grin.

So here's to all of you tonight, whether you'll be toting the kiddos around, suffering from sugar overload, or later, playing halloween with your "loved" one and taking turns "scaring" each other's pants off.

Make it fun!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Same Name . . . Different Genre

First off, let me tell you that I am totally and completely rejected. My last story I sent out was in some cases bluntly put down and in others, beautifully let go. I, naturally, like to listen to the nicer ones, but a rejection is still a rejection. Doesn't mean I'm giving up, though.
Still, being rejected does tend to make a writer/reader wonder, and I know you have too: about those books, those authors, who are out there; who do have their stories published. Yes, it is completely subjective. It is completely at the whim of the editor/publisher as to who gets out there. I'm cool with that (I think). These people (and let's say agents too for the sake of argument) have power, period. They are on the side of 1) themselves and 2)the author. Still, you'd think someone would want to stand up for the readers sometimes. Let me extrapolate...
I've had this discussion numerous times with others about authors who write a particular genre. Say, romance, for example. Personally, I believe that if an author wants to write a different genre, like mystery, it would behoove the author to either have a separate pen name for this switch or to demand the publicity for said book ensures the reader completely understands the genre is different. Am I making sense?
Nora Roberts vs. J.D. Robb is a prime example. I love just about anything written by Roberts, but I know what I'm getting in her books based on the two names. No ugly surprises.
Karen Marie Moning and her Fever books is another. She's written a lot of fantastic romance, but her Fever books are not romance, and she emphatically tells everyone and everything these books are not romance. I like that, I can respect that, and I thoroughly enjoy all she's written as well.
So let's take another author I like. I am a fan of J.R. Ward. Her Brotherhood novels were terrific and even though she did veer off a bit with the story on Phury, I still loved the romance (listen here - ROMANCE) in all the other books. She has out now a new (series?) book called Covet. Naturally, as she's a good read for me, I picked up the book straight off the Romance section bookshelf. After I purchased the book, I was then warned that it wasn't really a romance. Okaaay. I still like her voice and decided to give it a read anyway.
This book is SO NOT a romance, I don't care who says otherwise. A good book, overall, but I'm glad that I had been forewarned. The back blurb is completely misleading, in my opinion, and you could chalk the novel up to having romantic elements, sure, as there are two people who do end up falling in love, but really, their story was not, is not the focal point. Now I'm wondering if (and when) she does continue the story of Jim - who these books really are about - if I'll really want to read them. Not to mention, it's touted as the Fallen Angels, but she doesn't truly explain the fallen angels bit enough for me to nod and say, "oh, okay." Maybe it's just me.
How does this snafu help Ward? Given her name and her success with the Brotherhood, many, many people (such as myself) will automatically buy this story. Good monetarily for all her people involved, too.
How does this hurt Ward? Two ways. One, her current readership will be disappointed and she may even loose readership due to misleading expectations. Two, she is losing a huge potential fan base of people who want exciting fiction but not labeled as "romance."
{Let me note that even though the spine is not labeled romance, but it seems it's been pushed as just that}
Ward is not the first author to fall into this pit and I know she won't be the last, but it's simply what's been on my mind lately.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Write What You Know - HA!

Wow. I cannot believe it's been so long since I've posted. I swear in my mind I post daily. Even more than once!

Right now I am very excited about this new story I've begun. No, it's not the one that would be series - that one's on very special hold right now. That would be too easy, you see. Instead, I was hit over the proverbial head with a great story idea that again involves three awesome people. This one is much more complex than my last story but I'm loving it! There is one area of the story, however, that makes me want to pull my hair. Let me explain . . .

A writer is almost always told "write what you know, the story will follow," or some similar words. I love Love. And Romance. And Sex. Sounds pretty cut-and-dry, right? Well, these same mentor-type-thoughts neglect to inform the writer that even though you may know love or romance or sex (or you think you do at any rate), that's not necessarily what your characters know. And vice versa, you don't always know whatever it is your characters know.

Case in point: in my new story, all three main characters love basketball. I mean, they love it almost to obsession. And their love of the game is integral to the story. Well guess what? I don't know jack about basketball. I've seen a game or two in my life. I remember the basics of the game from whatever seeped in during the endless hours of PE somewhere back in high school, but that's it. Players, Teams, important games, etc., forget it. My knowledge is nil. I am not looking forward to this research. I only say this because I'd so much rather talk to someone about basketball instead of looking it up online. Wish me luck with that, by the way!

That's it for now. I think in some earlier post I mentioned talking about books I've read. I'll try to get that soon. This past month alone I've read so much my eyes have crossed from lack of sleep, but I'm back on my writing horse so the reading is to the side temporarily. Very temporarily. (Truth, there are a few books I'm waiting to get. If I had them, I'd be reading right now.)

Until next time, why not curl up with a good book and get yourself snared!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Hey out there. I can't believe it's been so long since I've put my 2 cents in here. I've written so many blog posts in my head lately I'm ashamed to say I've not put them online. Oh, well. I'm here now and that's all that matters.

I've begun my next story. I am so excited about this story and the fact that my idea is set for a series of books to boot.

Despite my enthusiasm, I am trudging along with the beginning. I don't know - for you writers out there - where your sagging points are: the end, the middle, where ever, but for me, it has always been my beginning.

Take my current WIP. I know the hero and heroine, I've worked out their conflicts and their locations and hook-up and issues. I'm pretty confident how the story line will work across multiple books and even how the characters will resolve their personal and relationship issues. Kinda sounds like it's set in stone and just go from there, right? For me, wrong.

I'm opening this story with the heroine in discussion with her girlfriends. Only, the discussion is being led into topics I hadn't anticipated and the heroine has already shown me a side of herself I never knew existed and you know what? It's frustrating, yet exciting. I'd compare it to jumping onto a new horse who is chomping at the bit to be off in his own direction. I'm stuck on his back and struggling with the reins to force him to go my way. Yes, it is a fierce struggle, but the story's worth it and then some.

On a different note, I skipped school today for the kiddos. Hadn't planned on it, but we got Direct TV today and between the hook-up then checking out the totally new everything about it, it was already lunchtime. I've learned the hard way that trying to get the little ones to listen up in the afternoon is a near impossibility unless we've already been at it all day. So the kids are happy and playing games and I have a few minutes to steal away. What is a productive, busy girl like me to do? Finish this up and hop back on that horse to try to break him in some more, of course!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Random Thoughts on Movies

What's new, what's new, what's new . . .

Ah, the movies. I get out to the movie theater practically NEVER, so I rely on everyone's favorite stand-by: Netflix. I LOVE this place! Not only can you make a queue of any movie you'd ever want to see, you can browse to your heart's content any older or obscure movie you'd never even heard of.
I've seen a few interesting movies lately that I thought I'd share with you. New in Town stars Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. A formulaic, sweet story that wasn't bad, but I'd see the thing over again just for Harry. Yummy!

If you want something a little bit zannier, try out Just One Time. It stars Joelle Carter and Lane Janger and is an interesting take on an engaged couple where the boyfriend begs his future wife to fulfill his fantasy before they wed -- to engage in a threesome with (what else!) another woman. The interesting twist comes when she finally agrees, but with one condition: he has to reciprocate. This movie did not make me yearn to see it over and over or to buy it, but I liked the storyline. It gave an interesting perspective beyond the fantasy to the "what if" of the reality, or almost reality. Overall, it nicely assuaged my curiosity from when I first spied the movie.

A movie that fit the bill for my esoteric needs is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. A side note, I really like the movies Carrey does where he portrays "regular" individuals, not simply zany ones. The movie premis is that Clementine (Kate) and Joel (Jim) have been friends/lovers for a couple of years. In an upset and impulsive move, Clementine goes to a clinic to have all memories of Joel erased. When Joel finds out, he wants the same done to him. A fascinating storyline and intriguing concept! You have to really pay attention to the movie, however, because it begins in the now then flips to the past then catches up to the now interspersed with two years of memories Joel has of Clementine. I don't know that I'd want to rush out to see it again, but if you're looking for something different, this'd be one to see.

I want to post a bit on some reads I've indulged in lately, but I'll save that for another day. And on a completely side note, now that my novella is submitted, I am working on the next story. A great story I can't wait to share with you soon.

Hope your day is going great and I'll post more soon!

Monday, August 31, 2009

To the mailbox, to the mailbox, to the mailbox it will go!

Okay, so I'm implying snail mail by this pic, but in reality, it's all email, baby. I've been a busy little bee this past weekend: reading my story with a fine tooth comb, making sure my submission guidelines are met to perfection, devising a synopsis that encapsulates all the ins and outs of the story, and polishing a query to make the editor beg for more. Then - deep breath - and then, I sent it out. Gone. Good-bye. Outta here. Never to be heard from again until sometime between now and the end of the year. I don't care what they say, waiting does not make the heart grow fonder.
So now, my first manuscript is out into someone else's hands, er, email inbox, and what's a girl to do? For starters, I'm planning on catching up on my TBR pile, including hot picks like Gena Showalter (The Lords of the Underworld are amazing) and Christine Feehan. I also have lesson plans to update for my kiddos. Ironic, I think, that I'm reading Showalter and teaching my kids about Ancient Greece. Of course, I keep Showalter's spin on the mythology to myself (don't want to confuse the little ones), but it amuses me at how life's little points sometimes intertwine.
After all these other bits I will begin in earnest my next story. I have several ideas down and several stories that have been started sometime in the past, but I believe I have it narrowed down to three different tales. I'll let you know the gist of the next one, perhaps within the week?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Will it ever end???

Okay, I finished my story what? Two or three weeks ago, right? I dug in and worked on my query/submission letter. I have this just about polished and good to go. I should be set to zip this awesome story out to eager publishers, right? Wrong. There always seems to be "just one more thing." I have a friend that tells me to get used to it. That it's always "just one more thing." Hahahaha. Okay, sure, I'm game. Doesn't mean I have to love it, but I'll do what it takes.
Oh, that extra bit I have to do? It's the synopsis. Basically, a book report of my story. It has to be short, concise, and explain the characters and the story from beginning to end. Sounds easy? I suppose, but it depends on to whom you speak. Some love 'em, some hate 'em. Me? We'll see. I can't say I'm jumping up and down about doing one, but I know it's necessary so I'll roll up my sleeves and turn on my machine and read my story again and make notes and turn out one kiss-a** synopsis!
I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Sweet Smell of Victory

Okay, okay, so I'm jumping the gun a little. After nearly a year of work, I think I deserve to jump ahead.

I finished my story! Yea! Truth be told, I finished the thing last fall, but had to edit the story so extensively I decided to scrap that and simply rewrite it. Better. And it is, at least I think so. Now, I'm beginning work on the dreaded query letter. For me, it's a drag. How do you write a brief something about you, your story, in such a way that the editor/agent/publisher will set aside his or her coffee and declare "This is it! I want it!"...? I mean, I can push the heck out of someone else's stuff, but as for mine - it's the creative flaw in all artistic endeavors I believe. I know my story is good. I know my story is capable of being published. But will I be able to write the perfect letter that the right person will read who will be in a good enough mood to respond back to me with a yes letter instead of rejection?

Yep, I can do it. Yes, I will do it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wasted Time

A friend and I were talking the other day about how when we're handed golden opportunities to write, we often, stupidly, do not take such opportunities. Mine happened last night. Kids went to bed great, husband went out with a friend, just me and my story, right? Wrong. Try me and someone else's story. Yep, I read the night away. Do I feel good about this? Of course I do . . . not. So today, with everyone hopping around, I'm sneaking a sentence or two or three in on my work in progress. I'm calling it just punishment for not taking advantage of undisturbed time last night. It's tough to be your own "boss" sometimes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What have you read lately?

I've been writing a lot recently (always good in my book) and my reading has been haphazard. But I have read a few great books that I want to share with you.

Now, my first genre of preference is Romance. Always has been, always will be. Funny, I haven't read one in a couple of weeks but I did pick up Stephanie Lauren's newest one for the Bastion Club today that I cannot wait to sink my teeth into. I've read each one of the Bastion Club novels and this last one is about the mysterious Royce. I know it'll be good. Don't you love to pick up a book simply because you know the author and you know proof positive you'll enjoy it. Then again, on the other hand, I can name a few authors who have fallen in my esteem. Authors who I used to buy blind, but no longer . . . but this is another story, another post.

On to another genre - Fantasy. I love a good fantasy. A favorite author of mine, James Rollins, I recently discovered writes Fantasy under the pseudonym of James Clemens. It took me awhile to find one of his latest (and this is from 2005), but I got ahold of Shadowfall, Book One of the Godslayer Chronicles. LOVED IT! I have Book Two, Hinterland, on order to arrive any day.

Now, have I finished writing my own contemporary yet? No. But it's nearly there. One more good night and then brush up a few edits and finally, I'll be able to send it out. Can't wait!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I'm Still Here

It doesn't seem like I'm around since I haven't posted since, oh, months! But never fear, good ol' Ayla is still here.

I've been sweltering this summer. The incessant heat leaves me feeling like a wilted flower all the time. Give me warm clothes, a fire and a book to snuggle down with and snow outside and you've got a happy girl. What am I doing locked in the south???

Can you believe my story is not yet done!? My girlfriend is completely exasperated with me. I know because she hounds me every week. But I need that from her or it'll drop. My life is brimming with kids, pets, husband, teaching . . . basically what any author deals with. I am simply not selfish enough.

Even though the story's not through, it's almost there. I've had to completely rewrite the thing, but I did this willingly as now it's a much tighter, better written tale. I can't wait to share the good news of where you can purchase it!

I'm on a roll now with the story and the husband and the kiddos are playing outside so I'll take this opportune time to get back to work!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's a busy life

Yes, I've been extremely remiss with my posting. Almost a month now! Shame on me. Kids, part-time work, homeschooling, a new exercise plan, housework, sicknesses and life in general notwithstanding, my writing has sadly been pushed to the wayside. But not for long. I have complete edits on my threesome story and let me tell you, it's times like these a person is tested on her passion and desire in continuing to write.

Thank God I still have my drive or I'd give up now. Pat yourself on the back, Steph. I will pass this test presented by your edits. THANK YOU for doing this for me. I don't think my story will end up anything like I'd originally intended, but the story should end up being a tighter, more entertaining read.

My husband gave me the "night off" from the kids to concentrate on the story (yea) and my revisions are going at the speed of moving through molasses. Do I change this word or that? What's another word for "slid??" Do I completely cut out the threesome deal and just go for the MF main story? So many decisions. But it's working. I still need several more "nights off," if you're seeing this, love.

So for now, I've exhausted my brain with the story for the night and I've exhausted my body from my exercises, of which I'm not real happy about. My latest progress report showed very little change. Very little. I'm working toward what you see in this pic. I'm not quite near it. My husband says any progress is good and I keep telling myself that. It's tough. I do vow, however, to publicly wear a swimsuit this summer. God help me with this.

Monday, January 5, 2009

For the love of sexy love

Oh, I love to write about love. There is nothing better, to me, than to create a couple of characters who want to connect to someone out there on all levels. The level I explore more in depth, of course, is the physical side of a relationship. It works for me because if people in a relationship cannot connect physically, it will hinder any other aspect of their relationship.

Right now I'm working on a really hot story about a guy who's slow and easy and a woman who has never been in a relationship where the guy didn't want to get to business as soon as possible. I'll keep you posted on this yet-untitled work as well as my other story, nearly finished, The Deciding Factor.

Enjoy the fruits you create of this brand new year!