Friday, October 19, 2012

Readers loved him. . .I didn't

When I write, I expect everyone to like the characters I love and hate the ones I don’t.
It doesn’t always work that way.  When I wrote The Business of Love, I thought I’d created the most annoying younger sibling ever in Cleveland Alexander (More Than He Can Handle)

He was rude, arrogant and so unsupportive of his brother’s relationship with Jill.  Quite frankly, he was acting the same way I did when my brother and sister got married. But hey, I was a teenager losing my buddies – I had an excuse. 

Cleveland, on the other hand, had an attitude problem. But he had something else too. Fans. 

I got so many emails from readers asking “when is Cleveland’s story coming out?” My initial thought was never-- ever! 
I just couldn’t see myself dedicating months and months to being alone with this man.  What kind of woman would want to deal with him?
That’s when you have to be creative. I decided that Cleveland’s woman had to feel the same way I did about him – at least at first. As I got to know Cleveland, I realized that he wasn’t that bad. And he actually became one of my favorite heroes. 

See, I didn’t know Cleveland when we first met. And as much as I don’t like to admit it, Cleveland and I are a lot alike. Pig-headed. Fiercely protective of our older siblings – as if we know so much more than they do – and dedicated to that one special person we love.
It looks as if the readers were right. Cleveland deserved his story and I’m glad I got a chance to tell it. 
Coming in May, 2013: Forces of Nature

Crystal Hughes is mad as hell
No one is going to tear down the farmland that’s been in her family since the turn of the century—certainly not multimillion dollar Welco Industries. And until Welco's president meets with her, Crystal will wage a fiery one woman protest to prove it! But when he finally appears, Douglas Wellington III is far from the elderly curmudgeon she expected...
Tall, lean, and fabulous, Douglas is in for a surprise of his own. Crystal's cafe au lait beauty takes his breath away. Still, if she had any sense, she'd realize his project will save the impoverished community. With battle lines drawn, Crystal issues Douglas a challenge: spend one week on the land he wants to destroy. He agrees, if only to be alone with her. But when nature takes over amid North Carolina’s lush countryside, these two warriors just may discover what happens to even the best laid plans...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Sweet Addiction

As a writer, one thing I have noticed about my readers is that no matter how many books I release, their favorites are always the series. I get emails all the time about the Beaumonts, and requests for me to finish the Campbell series, and then there are the Sexy Simmons brothers. Readers become so addicted with authors' series that I had to poll the question, what is it about them you love so much? And the majority had the same response.

They’re sexy.

Hmmm. I can’t disagree with that. Most of the men are tall and have generously been dipped in dark chocolate. And then there is Reggie a crowd favorite, who I haven’t the guts yet to try and resurrect in a sequel. Reinventing that man requires time. LOL!

Readers also like revisiting and catching up with the families. According to them, book series are like watching the soap operas. You begin to connect with the characters and start to feel like part of the family.

I’ll be honest, I have a reader that I email every time I need help with one of my characters to verify information before I even try and write a sequel. I know, that sounds pretty sad that I can’t keep track, but it’s readers like her that give me the 411 on my characters. I get confused, but she (bless her heart) has created a catalog of all her favorite characters down to the size of their… Well, you get the idea.

I’ll let you in on a secret. Writing sequels are hard work because they require authors to revisit their characters again. I have to review my notecards and make sure I keep my facts straight, not to mention, I must ensure the hero I have created has the same voice, style, etc. Whoo-weee! It’s hard work but worth every second just to hear the excitement, and read the comments.

Well, it’s back to my holiday novella. I’m creating another chance for readers to revisit with their favorite family just in time for Christmas. The Beaumonts.

Until Next time,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Things that go bump in the night

As I was thinking about my post for this month, I couldn't come up with something interesting to say. When I thought of that, my post came to me: fear. I don't want to talk about general fears like big, hairy spiders. I mean fears of authors.

"Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Bridget?" Yes, authors have fears.We're all insecure. Okay, maybe I shouldn't talk about all authors. I'll say that I have lots of fears.

My first fear: the ideas will stop. I think that's the main one. As authors and readers, we always hear that there are no new storylines. Authors are supposed to create fresh characters, settings, and plots to make their stories seem less cookie cutter. I think how I do it is by punching up the norm. I write interracial romances, and I did it in a time when they were seen as fetish fiction. Then I started writing interracial BDSM romances. So now I pressure myself to take it up another notch, not only to keep it interesting for you readers, but also keep challenging myself as a writer.

My second fear: the readers will stop reading me. I think besides not getting inspired to write new stories, losing readers is right up there as a genuine fear. I love writing to entertain. If I fail to entertain, I fail as an author.

My third fear: I'm misunderstood. This fear goes hand in hand with my second fear. If the point you try to make as an author doesn't get translated, then you run the risk, as an author, on losing readers. No reader wants to read an author who is a one-trick pony, trotting out the same plot with different characters and slightly different settings. Readers want to be pleasantly surprised.

So with all of these fears, how do I get over it? For one, I have to trust my muse. The ideas will come. And if they don't, I scan news stories on the Internet. I pay attention to my dreams. I people watch. That's right. So don't pick your nose in public. Or do it. I'll make a story about it.

Now that I bared all to you, just know that as an author, I'm trying. And as an author, I appreciate every reader. And with that, I have to go and do edits for one of my publishers.

Stay sexy,


Friday, October 5, 2012

What's on the Horizon for the Hot MAMAs

Hey, Y'all,
It's fall! This is my very favorite time of year. Around my neck of the woods, (NC), Mother Nature must have missed the memo- the last two weeks we've had temps in the eighties and very high, sticky humidity. Not cute. Finally, the weather is beginning to break as we head into the second week of October. Here's hoping fall weather is here to stay.

We're all busy this time of year- kids are in school, groups are meeting, people are gearing up for the holiday season. The Hot MAMAs are not exempt from this fall induced busy-ness. Here's the lowdown on what's coming up here in the warmest corner of the Internets.

I'll be releasing a  new adult paranormal short story, Second Sight, on October 25th. It will be available for only .99 cents on an ereader of your choice! Don't be scared, I don't do blood and gore, and no vampires are involved. Like Altonya, I enjoy the YA genre, and want to spread my writing wings. Also, if you'll be in the Cary, NC area on October 13, I'll be signing books at the Embassy Suites on Harrison Oaks Boulevard from 5-6pm.

Guest Posts Begin This Month

Hot MAMAs like to spice things up from time to time, so we've opened up the blog to Sunday guest posters. That's right, now you can expect even more variety of great authors when you visit us. Nancy Lee Badger, an author of paranormal and Scottish Highland themed romances, will kick things off for us with her post on October 14th. Next up will be Laura Browning, contemporary romance author, on October 28. Be sure to stop by and show them some love!

 November- Reader Feedback Month

All through November, we'll be asking for your feedback on works in progress, books we've already released, and on what you'd like to see here at Hot MAMA Land. So stay tuned- and let your voice be heard!

December- Hot Holiday Giveaway Days

No matter what you celebrate, this time of year is full of parties, and the Hot MAMAs love a party! All month long, there will be giveaways for you, the reader. Every single post, including the guest posts for the month, will offer you a chance to win fantastic prizes. Books, gift cards, swag, and all manner of awesomeness will be yours for the winning, so don't miss a single post!

I know you don't want to miss out on any of the great things happening this fall at Hot MAMA Land, so I encourage you to follow the blog. Use the blue follow button in the right sidebar to do so, so you won't miss a moment of the excitement.

Also, tickets for the Hot MAMA Land Fly Hat Society Luncheon will go on sale in December/ January, so stay tuned for updates on that. The event will be held March 9, 2013.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

African American Fantasy

Okay so in my WordPress blog from this past Wednesday, I mentioned my next YA title Eternal. I announced that the rough draft was complete but that I hadn’t had time to devote to it. I’ve been contacted by readers about the project since I first mentioned it but all I’ve really revealed about it was that it’s to be a YA Fantasy story and vastly different from my previous YA title Expectation of Beauty.
            No, there are no vampires- love reading about ‘em, love movies about ‘em, even TV shows (a girlfriend just got me hooked on The Vampire Diaries) but writing about ‘em is NOT my cup of tea. I adore the YA market as a whole but many more things about this project appealed to me aside from the fact that the main characters are young African Americans.
            The Fantasy Element: I’m sure that I’m not the only African American in love with The Vampire Diaries, Twilight, and True Blood, Harry Potter or the Divergent series. Unfortunately, when I watch these shows or read these books, the African American element is sorely lacking. I’m sure that Eternal is not the first African American fantasy to feature AAYAs (African American Young Adults) but I’ve always selected my projects on the basis of ‘If I want to read it and I can’t find it, I write it.’ So there’s a huge chunk of my motivation right there. While working on the concept of this story, I was very interested in exploring how the Fantasy aspect could be played out among a predominantly African American cast. Then there was the plot. As I said, I don’t write about vampires so I wanted the supernatural element to revolve around something not consistently (or perhaps ever- ha!) explored (or overdone).
            As with my historical novels, the Eternal storyline will combine entertainment with education. Much of my inspiration for the story involves the Yoruba culture and religion of Southwestern Nigeria. For purposes of this story, I was especially interested in the mythology. I spent several months researching its various aspects and how what I uncovered would or could pertain to the characters, their motivations and choices.
            When asked about my own motivations to becoming an author, I’ve often said it had a lot to do with reading stories and never finding characters that looked like me. I can’t help but think that younger readers have those same concerns at one time or another. I hope that Eternal will provide the intensity, entertainment and enlightenment fans of suspenseful fantasy or paranormal stories will crave in addition to characters of color that I hope they will champion.