Friday, August 31, 2012

WRITING T. ONYX




The romance genre is such a diverse, exciting place. I feel extremely lucky to be an author amongst stories such as these. I mean, think about it, here you can craft tales of mystery, tales that take us back centuries, ones that explore the paranormal, sweet stories of the handsome guy meeting, losing and then winning the girl in the end, ones where a vampire or a guy that can shift into a powerful lion are the good guys- can someone say Chisulo Nkosi? And ones that make your cheeks (both pairs) burn… Yes, the romance genre has something for everyone.

Not only do I feel lucky to be an author in this genre, but I feel lucky to have crafted stories in more than one sub-genre. Reading and eventually writing have proven to be my great escapes but it wasn’t until I delved into the world of erotic romance that I really felt I had ventured into a new world. Deciding to don the cap of T. Onyx was about a lot of things for me. It wasn’t just because I wanted to write those cheek burning stories, although that was a big part of it J. As a traditionally published author you eventually come to a point where you crave more freedom. It doesn’t have to be total freedom, but you will start to crave having more of a say in what you put down on paper and the way you put it down.

T. Onyx translated into another level of freedom for me. I had already tasted a bit of writing freedom, when I took the reins of my Ramsey (and Tesano) series but there were additional cravings I wanted to explore. I enjoyed crafting my first Young Adult series (next year, I’ll begin work on the final draft of my new YA). Still, I desired a trip further out of my comfort zone. I read an article that stressed the importance of reading erotica before writing it- as the nuances of the writing style are so very different from traditional romance. Boy am I glad I followed that advice- the erotica genre is definitely a world of its own- a steamy, no holds barred world where there are almost no limits aside from the ones that exist in your own imagination. Here, I found the freedom I sought. Stories that may not fit in a traditional romance are right at home here. Only as T. Onyx could I craft a story about two adult entertainment actors who realize they share more than what they do on screen, only as T. Onyx could I craft a story about three childhood friends who discover they want to take their friendship to the level of lust and only as T. Onyx could I craft a contemporary fantasy about a two families of feline shifters.

The ideas are abundant, extraordinary and oftentimes scandalous. The stories are as hot as the characters that grace the pages. I think I’ll enjoy being T. Onyx for a while longer.




A day in the life?

Okay, let’s break this down a bit. Sixty seconds in a minute. Sixty minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week and a whopping 365 days in a year. So what does a writer do on a daily basis? Well, when I am not writing, thinking about writing or dreaming about writing I am a registered nurse and I work as case manager in a hospital. I’ve been a registered nurse for 27 years. Wow, what a long time to do that, however, I asked a fellow peer today how long she’d been in nursing and she told me 42 years. Yikes! Now that’s a lot of nursing. The funny thing though, writing is soooo much more exciting. Sure in my nursing career I’ve saved a life or two, seen some really crazy and bizaar stuff, but that's just not as fun as killing off people and I do that with flair and pizzazz. I’m known as the person who said on a local television show, that I was a nurse at a local hospital and a few minutes later stated I killed people for fun. Hehehe. What a blast that must have been when people heard it. I’m just glad I didn’t mention what hospital. But I digress. I try to write something each and every day. It doesn’t always work like that because as we all know, sometimes, life gets in the way. I wake up at 5am during the week. Get ready for work which only takes me roughly 45 minutes depending on what I’m doing with the hair. Laugh if you must but it’s true. I know the women out there understand. This gives me over an hour to eat a little something and get a bit of writing in. And writing is where my day begins and where it ends. Even as I’m driving to work I’m thinking about the book in progress. I find myself sitting in the hospital parking lot jotting down notes on something that came to me while driving. It could be a word, a character’s name, a paragraph or a scene. I’ve been late on more than one occasion because my muse was alive and awake and wouldn’t let me get out of the car. And yes on a day or two I have had to pull over to the side of the road to write something down. What’s a writer to do? These past few days I’ve been finalizing the edits to Yesterday’s Promises and its going great. I believe everyone is going to love this book. It’s the sequel to Sleeping Beauty. We are finding out that yesterday’s promises may have been lies. How’s that for a teaser? Thinking about another day in the life, I remember when the conception of these books came to light. I was sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for a connecting flight and the prologue to Sleeping Beauty popped into my head. All I was doing was sitting there minding my own business watching the people. I do that a lot too. It’s another one of my favorite past times. Sleeping Beauty was born and was supposed to be a one book deal. However, as I approached the end of that book, the characters said they weren’t finished. So what’s a writer to do? I couldn’t possibly go against the characters now could I? Well anyway, as I was saying, I start my day writing. I find myself jotting notes on sticky pads and tucking them in my pocket at work. And yes, when I get home it’s my goal to write some more, about 3 hours or so. The very last thing I do each and every night before I close my eyes… I read someone else's book and most likely it's a romance. Go figure. I bet you weren’t expecting that. Sometimes it’s only a page or two, sometimes it’s a chapter and if the book is really great, I’m gonna be late for work the next day. So if you break it down, I write or do some type of associated writing process at least 4 hours a day. That’s 28 hours a week and 1460 hours per year. Oh my goodness, I need to kick it up a notch. So hold on to your seats, because coming your way very soon: Yesterday's Promises (a romantic suspense with paranormal elements). Lies. Redemption. Love. Until history is brought to the light, the days will remain in the dark.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Little Musical Inspiration



Music is the mirror to my soul—period. That’s where my inspiration comes from. I’m going to take this opportunity to serenade you with a little of what inspires me. When I was in college there was one song I would play over and over and over. It was, “Always and Forever” by Heat Wave. Old School, ya’ll don’t know nothing about that…but here’s a little taste. To make matters worse, Luther came along and did a remake of the song that rocked my world all over again.  

For each book that I write, I put together a playlist of songs that fit the emotions of the story. Whenever I sat down to work on a story, I would play that sound-track to keep with the feel of the love story and the characters.                                                                                  
In Once You’ve Touched the Heart JD Harrison was literally losing his mind over Tracy Washington. Hence, the song, “Going out of my Head,” by Luther Vandross, was the lead song for their love story.  








With A Lost Heart, it was Frankie Beverly and Maze, “The Morning After” as the catalyst for this love story. Brian Thompson and Caitlyn Montgomery lost love could only be explained by the smooth sounds of Frankie. 














Cynthia Thornton did all she could, but she just could not shake the moves Samuel Lassiter put on her in Look Into My Heart. Tamia’s, “You Put a Move On My Heart” was the motivation to their love story. 





In Teach Me, we all thought it was Zackary Davenport that was going to teach Diamond Lassiter how to make love. In the end, it was Diamond that taught Zack the lessons he will never forget, with Al Jarreau singing Teach Me as the back drop.  








The book I’m currently writing is tentatively titled Spark of Magic. I had to reach back to one of my all-time favorites for this love story between Jarrett Bryson and Paige Cartwright, by The Stylistics.Yeah, I know I went back a little on you, but you know Phyllis Hyman did a remake so here’s a little taste of her. 

I hope you enjoyed a taste of what inspire me to write love stories. 
Just to stir you curiosity a little, here’s something for you to think about. Xavier Davenport, Zackary’s little brother from Teach Me has a book coming. Here’s leaving you with a little motivation. 



Until the next time,
Iris Bolling

Friday, August 24, 2012

Overwhelmed By Life! How Does One Deal?

I had it all figured out; what I wanted to write and share with the land of HOT M.A.M.A.'s...

And then LIFE got in the way.

Yes, LIFE, that thing which requires 99.9% of your time and demands prioritizing.

Let's just say that I lost the battle this week, but not the war!

Allow me to embellish...

My brain was reeling while by body was attending cheerleading practice (thanks to my lovely daughter) and in the midst of trying to finish "Fifty Shades of Grey: Freed" there was a nagging feeling going inside. The kind of feeling that makes you wonder if you're doing enough as a writer to gain new readers.

For those that know me, I'm rather crafty when it comes to promoting. It's loads of fun and for some reason, the knack is there. I don't fight with it anymore, Iris Bolling won't allow me to. Thanks, Iris! :)

Anyhow, I decided to post a status on my Facebook page inviting anyone to free promotions for forthcoming releases via my influence. A few authors responded and even one today, but I was surprised at the lack of participation. I left this opportunity open for almost a week, and seriously considered extending the invitation.

Well, far be it from me to twist another's arm to promote their work. Either you want new readers or you don't.

As authors, we desire insight on our works but how are you going about acquiring it? I don't know of very many that are disciplined to seek out readers. If anything, the author has a better chance due to word-of-mouth and being recommended.

How do you feel about that? Are we paying it forward or just looking out for ourselves in this industry?

So there you have it, my perspectives keyed out very honestly but quickly thanks to a text message.

As my step-daughters say, "I've got to get my life together!"

I'm going to take heed to that and re-prioritize my time.

Until next time,

Loretta R. Walls



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yeah, so, you just made the next book . . .

There's a reason why you should never make a romance writer mad.
All of our books need a bad guy or girl.

I've found inspiration in being pissed off. It was either write about it or go to jail. Since I decided that I'm way too cute for prison, I put my anger on paper. :)

Here are my top five "inspired by real life" novels and the events that shaped them. (The names have been changed to protect the guilty, I mean the innocent.)

  • A condom brings Jade and James together. In real life, my best friend and I took a weekend trip to Las Vegas and we spent more money and time at the prime outlets. Sadly, the airline was only allowing two carry on bags. Damn! I asked her if I could stuff one of my bags in her shopping bag. She agreed. Then, when I put my unzipped overnight bag in hers, it toppled over and a condom slid across the floor. It landed at the foot of a really cute guy who happened to be on our flight. 




  • People always tell the reporters the best things off the record. While I was a police reporter with a North Carolina daily, I interviewed a school resource officers who was being promoted in the department and leaving the high school where he worked. I spent the day with him watching what he did. During one of those "off the record" conversations, he told me about meeting his new wife at the school. He also told me that he was a single father. When he and his first wife divorced, he fought for custody of his son. Officer Calvin Jackson was born.


  • Somebody broke me heart a long time ago. Well, in 2003. When you find out that the love of your life is a lying cheating dog, you can go all Carrie Underwood and risk jail or kill him between the pages of your next book. Caprice Johnson, the heroine of Cautious Heart didn't kill her cheating ex fiance but she wasn't sad to see him die. Too bad that made her a suspect in his murder. Fortunately for me, my cheating and lying ex is still alive. 




  •  Have you ever watched a man with his son and just fell in love with both of them? That's what happened to me while I was trying to figure out how to tell Serena Jacobs's story. I was visiting a guy I was crushing on and his little boy woke up from a nightmare. He scooped him up in his arms, whispered some words of comfort to the little boy and took him back to bed. My heart melted and I knew I had to write about him. :) 



  • When you have established characters, you think you know how you're going to tell their story. Initially, my hero, Devon Harris, was going to fall for his friend Alicia Michaels. Alicia, just happens to be best friends with his ex girlfriend. My crew--Alica, Jade, Serena and Kandace -- got to talking to me and they said this story is not happening. I was going to ignore them, until I got a text message from a (now former) friend about her desire to date my ex. Yes, the same ex I killed in Cautious Heart and the same ex  I cried on her shoulder about. That didn't feel good at all. Story aborted! But I still wanted to write about Devon. Then good inspiration stepped in. While working on a story about a shelter for homeless women in Charlotte, Devon told me he'd so volunteer in a place like this to help these women.
The most important thing to remember when dealing with a writer, be careful what you say or do because this book could be about you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Airing Dirty Laundry

Pssst. Pssst. Come closer.

Sorry I’m whispering, but do you see that couple sitting behind me? Well… I’ve spent the last twenty minutes eavesdropping on their conversation.

Hee-hee!

I can’t help myself. Readers ask me all the time how do I come up with the material I write about, well, this is definitely one of them. There isn’t much these eyes and ears have missed, and then within seconds my mind's working overtime, spinning a story. I know you’re probably shaking your head, but you’d be surprise at the stuff people discuss in the airport when they think no one’s listening. Yeah, I know. I really should be minding my own business, but hey, it’s not my fault they’re airing their dirty laundry in public.

Anyway, getting back to the drama…

Now this couple has been dating for the last eight months, and are on their way to her best friend's wedding in Los Angeles. Well, apparently while waiting for their flight to depart, she discovered that Brett (the boyfriend), who was supposed to have been working late last week, wasn’t where he’d claimed to be. Oh yeah, and check this out …

The reason why she knows is because some chick tagged photos on his facebook page of them at a happy hour all hugged up in the corner.

Oh no she didn’t.

Yes, I’m afraid she did. You should have seen his face when she flashed the evidence in front of his face. Ever since, the heated whispers have had me on the edge of my seat. I’m serious. This story is so good all I need is a bag of popcorn and an iced cold Pepsi while I wait for the rest to unfold.

Now let me add that she’s a sista, petite, cute, and he looks like he could be a professional football player with all those muscles and sexy dark features. The chemistry is undeniable, yet so is the pain. Brett swears up and down things aren’t as they seem. While she (I still don’t know her name) seems seconds away from yanking that big ole diamond off her finger and flinging it across the airport.

Okay, so you can see where this story is going, right?

Well, as an author, the possibilities are endless. I could spin so many different storylines, especially since they are traveling to a storybook wedding. Imagine the tension and where the evenings (if he’s an alpha male) could lead. Hopefully between the sheets of a king size bed.

Oooh-weee!

What’s even more amazing is that if I decided to write about those two, they’ll have no idea they were the inspiration for my next short story.

Ahhhhhh. The day and the life of an author.

I am a story telling. Have been since I was a little girl spinning tales to get attention, and not much has changed except that the stories have become even more vivid and creative. I wake up every morning thanking God for giving me the ability to do what I do, because I couldn’t even imagine doing anything else.

When my friends say, don’t you dare tell Angie anything unless you want to read about it in a book.

Well, they aren’t lying.

Hee-Hee!

Angie Daniels

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kicked My Heels Up in Nawlins!

Well, I must say, this has been one interesting summer. I have traveled to new places each month and have loved the people and richness of various cities. I will tell you though that nothing beats New Orleans (Nawlins), LA. I mean to be in an area that is so steeped and rich in culture is unbelievable. The people there are wonderful and friendly. I wouldn't call it southern charm, because the ice tea needed a little work at some of the places, nothing like North Carolina. LOL. However, it was a down home laid back mentality. They just smiled everywhere and seemed happy to greet each day; from the hotel staff to the people in the vintage stores.

I was there for a conference geared toward romance readers. One of my favorite types of conferences to attend, I must say.

Now, lets talk music. I love all types of music and generally find myself inspired by it. In Nawlins, especially within the French Quarter, you are inundated with jazz, blues, soul and other blends. One night I found myself setting back with a drink in a jazz club and I started getting a story idea. So, I listened and plotted in my head. That is the best thing about being an author is seeing a story work itself out in my head like a motion picture.

Food is just as inspiring to my writing as music. The food in Nawlins, oh, man, de-li-cious. I got drunk on some etouffee the first night in town. One of my friends told me it was not possible. But, I tell you, those little crawfish were doing a musical number in my body and I was lightheaded and tipsy. I loved every bite. I went to Cafe Du Monde and consumed cafe au lait and beignets. Tried to eat my weight in beignets they are so good. Instead I just picked up a mix box and decided to attempt to make them at home. Grabbed some salt water taffy, and pralines to go as well. The chickory drink at the Jazz Legends: Cafe Beignet was good. I think it is a blend with coffee so it was mild and nice to drink. You know I had to get myself some red beans and rice, with smoked sausage...yummy.

Sadly, I only have a moment to write down the idea of the story at the moment, since I'm working on Evidence of Desire, the third story in the heroes series. The first two, Fire and Desire and Restrained Desire. My hope is to have the third released by the end of the year. However, I need to get my butt in gear. As an author, usually the story you want to work on most generally falls to last place after the stories your editors are waiting on. :)

That's alright, I love writing, just like my Hot MAMA sistahs. So any good story I get to bring to my readers is worth the time and energy.


Romancin' You,
~Monique Lamont

Monday, August 6, 2012

Inspiration

I often get asked, as I'm sure other authors do, what inspires the stories I write. I draw inspiration from lots of things: dreams, newspaper articles, news stories, TV shows, songs. If it's interesting and I can twist it in a sexy way, I'll write about it.

The very first story I published with a publisher was "Adam and E.V.E." through Phaze Books. This futuristic erotic romance (yes, I said futuristic) was about a human and a female cyborg who discover that when she gets turned on, it can stop the opposition's weapons. Who said sex wasn't a weapon? So where did I get the inspiration for that story? The tabloid, Star Magazine, used to publish these 850-word romances and paid $300 for each story. So I wrote them a few stories that they published. Then they changed and said they were only publishing science fiction stories. So I wrote "Adam and E.V.E." where E.V.E. could stop the opposition's weapons with just a kiss. Stories in this magazine had to be pretty PG. Not even heavy petting. I once wrote a scene where the hero is locked out of his hotel room with only a towel around his waist and the woman he wants is in the room across the hall from him. His towel is stuck in the door. So when he can't take it anymore, he drops the towel and goes across the hall. The publisher said "Oh no!" The implication that this hero could be nude in public was too much for them. So I changed it so that he wore a robe and ripped a corner of it to get to his woman. Anyway, getting back to my cyborg. I submitted "Adam and E.V.E." and they rejected it. They wanted straight science fiction without any romance. So that gave me permission to expand the story to a novella and add A LOT more sex.

So that's how a submission call inspired me. As I mentioned above, I also get inspired from songs. I am definitely a child of the 80's. If you look at most of my book titles, you can definitely tell that. That's What Friends Are For, Fascination Street, Love My Way, Woman in Chains, hell, even Reignited. Whenever I say that title, I'm tempted to sing the old Peaches and Herb song, "Reunited." When I hear a song or hear a song title, I think of a story behind it. Some songs are easy to conjure a full story. Has anyone heard Christina Aguilera's "Sex for Breakfast"? People are drawn to songs. Some songs have the ability to conjure up fond memories...at least I hope they do.

One other thing that inspires me is a topic that challenges me. If you read my initial Hot M.A.M.A. post, then you'll know I write a lot of BDSM erotic romance, and I've done a lot of research to pen each story. What was harder for me to write was the futuristic works. I can't research cyborgs and how they act like I can with a Dominant and a submissive. I have to use my imagination and see where it takes me. In that way, it's fun to push yourself and see where you go.

And speaking of inspiration and pushing myself, I have got to go. I have a story to finish. The title is "O, Come." Yep, another song title. What can I say? I am consistent.

Stay sexy,

BridgeT
www.BridgetMidway.com

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Release Jitters, And Hot M.A.M.A News

Hi, all,
This past week, the Kindle version of my second historical romance novella, The Preacher's Paramour, went live on Amazon. (Don't worry, Nook and Print are coming soon. You can click the cover to get the Kindle version.) As soon as it did, I got the same feelings I always get when I set my work free to be (hopefully) read and enjoyed by the public. I feel giddy, then thoughtful, then I begin to ask questions in my mind.

Will folks buy it?
Will folks like it?
Will a reviewer curse me from here to eternity, demanding that I lay down my pen and never write again?


Unfortunately for my neurotic self, I can never know the answers to these questions in advance. I do what all writers do: write the dang book, edit and rewrite it, polish it, put it out there, and see what happens. Other than promoting it to anyone who will listen, there's not much else I can do. So, new release jitters will probably be my companion every time I have a book come out. If I polled the other MAMA's, they would probably report a similar feeling when their books are released.

You many be wondering if you, the reader, can assist with this problem. I'm glad you asked! If you're so inclined, purchase the book. If you like it, please leave a review wherever reviews are generally left. (Amazon, Goodreads, it's all good with me.) As readers, your support is a powerful motivator for us as writers. You're the whole reason we got into this solitary, often difficult profession.

Now, on to some MAMA news! We're planning a can't miss event for the first Saturday in October. Readers will get to meet the MAMA's, have your books autographed, hear about our latest releases, and just hang out with us. There will be contests for the Flyest Hat, and the Sexiest Shoes. Oh, did I mention you'll also get to eat? That's right. Tickets will go on sale within ten days for:

The Hot M.A.M.A. Fly Hat Society Luncheon
October 6, 2012
Durham, NC


As fans of the MAMAs, you ladies have been dubbed the Fly Hat Society. Kind of like that other hat society, only,well, more fly. You get my meaning. If you're interested in attending, make your plans now. Tickets will start at $35, and as the date approaches, the price will go up. Only 25 lucky ladies will get to attend our inaugural event, so get on the good foot! Send your inquiries to me at kiannaalexanderDOTgmailDOTcom.

We'd love to hear from you. What do you think of our little moniker for the fans? Tell us in the comment section.

Until Next Time,
Kianna