Friday, January 24, 2014

Just Breathe

I just finished my nightly yoga routine and as I was lying in 'Shavasana' pose I started compartmentalizing my day. By finding the quiet place inside me, I soften the pull every area of my life has on me. During the day, I am the living rope in an elaborate tug-of-war game. Work, kids, husband, chores... fun comes last and at the high price of guilt. My husband is always telling me I should relax and have more fun. Well, for me, fun is at the bottom of the list. But my husband of ten years is still trying to change me. In fact, he was the one who encouraged me to take up yoga. So now when the kids go to bed at the happy hour of eight o'clock, I change out of my business casual and into yoga clothes.

I'm not all about work... I find pure joy when I'm creating a story, playing the piano, ice skating or singing. I don't want to be boring and anti-fun... but laundry doesn't do itself... :)

This week I engaged in another of my favorite past-times - procrastination. Last Sunday, my editor emailed me round one edits and I was too nervous to look. What made me nervous was the sentence in the body of the email about still adoring my story and hero... did that mean the manuscript was completely red-penned to the point I would doubt my self-worth and want to throw myself over the closest bridge... not that I would because I'm terrified of heights... er I mean I'm just being dramatic.  Well, I knew I would have to review the comments this weekend, fix what needed fixed, and send it back so I looked tonight. It wasn't as bad as I thought... it is my first book and first professional writing experience, after all. I can do it. I can make it happen. Breathe, Maya, it's going to be okay. Because my dream is finally within reach. Someday, in the not so distant future, my book will be out there.

So, what was I doing when I should have been editing? Which, btw, is a lot harder than writing. The writing part is easy compared to editing. That's why writing critique partners are essential to the craft... and practice. Some members of my writing group belong to the Nuthouse Scribblers blog. I recently wrote a guest blog there. Anyway, for Valentine's day, the blog will post a daily series of themed, short stories. So, this week I wrote my contribution - a 3K word spa fantasy. And didn't get my editing done. Yikes!

But tomorrow is another day and, in the meantime, I will center my mind and just breathe.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year, New You - How to Make Those Dreams Come True

The start of 2014 meant more to me than merely the start of a new year.

I wrote all the time when I was a kid, but the hobby tapered off when I went to university. Then I took a writing class in 2005 and the bug was back. It took me many unfinished works and a few more years for the nagging urge to write to morph into a persistent fog-horn sounding call I couldn't ignore any longer.

My writing goal for 2011 was to complete a manuscript. I finished a full length novel "Fly Boy" which is still unpublished. I only sent it to one publishing house, got an 'R', and have let it sit on my hard drive ever since. Sometimes I think about taking another look at it, with fresh, more experienced eyes, review/edit, and sub it again. I'm sure it has a home somewhere.

I wasn't overly ambitious in 2012. After four years at home with my two kids, I went back to work. Life became a whole lot busier with even less me-time. So, my goal, once again, was to complete a manuscript. I wrote a novella "Dream Hunter" and sent it to one publishing house. It was rejected and I put it back on the digital shelf.

I wasn't thinking beyond one publishing house. I simply accepted the rejection of my work as confirmation it wasn't good enough and then started a new project. Because the ideas kept coming.

My 2013 goal was to publish a manuscript. After a year back in the trenches, I needed something to keep me going. Publication was possible... books were published every day, after all... there was no reason why someday it wouldn't be one of mine. I took another look at "Dream Hunter", saw the potential, and did a little re-working. Then I started looking for a publisher. Just Ink Press decided to take a chance on me - an unknown novice. When I saw the contract sitting in my inbox on Christmas morning, it was the best present I could have gotten. That doesn't mean the iPad goes back, honey!

If you have a dream, plan for it come true. I don't believe in new year resolutions. I don't join a gym or start a crazy diet just because it's January. But I do believe a new year brings a fresh start; an opportunity for change; a chance to make those dreams come true.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Interview with author Doris O'Connor



Just in time for her latest book release, The Bear Project, on Thursday, I have the lovely and talented Doris O’Connor with me today.

Q: Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing?

A: Thanks so much for having me here today :)

What can I say about lil old me? I'm a multi-published and dare I say it, bestselling Erotic Author of all things naughty. I still have to pinch myself at times, when I say that. To think that readers and publishers alike enjoy the imaginings of my murky mind is humbling and terrifying and awesome all rolled into one. After, all, this is just me, doing what I love. I've been spinning stories in my head all of my life, but it was a writing competition back in 2010 that gave me the impetus to actually start writing them down.

When I'm not writing, I'm managing a busy household of eleven people, that is Hubby and myself and our brood of nine. The eldest has now left home, but that still leaves eight of them, plus the dog, a cat, and four gerbils.

We live in the UK and Hubby/Sir and I recently celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. I write both contemporary and paranormal stories, which nearly always have at least BDSM elements in them—I can't think why….

*grins*

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I've been writing since September 2010, and been published since November 2011 :)

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: Inspiration is a funny thing, don't you think? At least it is when you have a muse as unpredictable as mine seems to be.

A while back I wrote a flash, involving a wolf cub sat in a mountain of clothes. The story went that this cub was the result of a one night stand the heroine had had. At the time she had no idea that the sexy guy she slept with was a shifter, until her adorable little girl shifted into a wolf.

*grins*

When I wrote that, I had it in the back of mind that this premise would make for a good story.

Then came a submission call for an Alpha Shifter anthology, and that idea reared its head again. Only this time round the shifter was a bear. Cole Jackson is the original bad boy, who picks Emmi up in a bar one night on the full moon and….

Bang, my muse went off on a tangent. I quickly realized that there was far too much story to tell and The Bear Project was born.  

Q: Please briefly describe your book.

A: Here's the blurb:

When Animal conservationist Emmi Layne meets bad boy Cole Jackson there is no denying the instant lust between them. She has a thing for bears, after all.  However, you cannot build a relationship on awesome sex alone, especially when you live on different continents, and have nothing in common.

Everything changes, when Emmi discovers that their night of passion has left her with more than erotic memories. She has no means of contacting him, even if she wanted to, but she hasn't counted on this bear shifter's determination.

Cole is not what he seems, and he will stop at nothing to claim what's his—even if that means breaking all the rules.

Can he trust the mating bond to deliver, or will it spell the end of an ancient blood line?

With the odds stacked against them, can this unlikely duo find happiness together? 

Q: Who is your favorite character and why?

A: Cole without a doubt. He jumped into my head with this opening line:

"If he keeps you waiting, he's not worth waiting for, sugar."

I knew immediately that he was some sort of bad boy, with a deep southern American accent, which meant my heroine had to be on holiday, because I always place my stories in the UK.

In came that original idea of a one night stand with a shifter, because I knew that's who he was immediately. He was too intense to be anyone else, too intent on claiming her, and then there was that element of immediate danger, because Emmi is very much in danger when she first meets Cole.

Cole was such a delicious hero to write, because he is very complex. Oh, he's sex-on-legs gorgeous, dominant, and decidedly foul mouthed in the bedroom, but he's also loyal, and protective and you really don't want to cross him.

Far from the drifter he appears to be, he's a man of wealth and position, and he's here to stay, for however long it takes to convince Emmi that she's his—come what may…

Q: This book is a sequel. Will there be a third book in the series?

A: Yes, there will be. Maria's story will be told in The Mating Project. Maria has been a favourite character since the first book, The Orgasm Project. Readers will get a hint of her story in The Bear Project. 

Q: Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there? 

A: Write, read, and write some more. Find *your* voice and never, ever give up. If writing is in your blood, you won't be able to anyway. :)

Rejection is never personal, though it will feel like that to you. Learn from it, act on any feedback, and then get right back on that horse.


Thanks for your time, Doris. I wish you success with The Bear Project and all your future work!


Thanks again for having me :)


STORY excerpt:


Emmi yanked her hands out his grasp, and this time he let her with a sigh.

"I'm sorry," he said.
 
"So, you should be." She glared at him some more for good measure, but Emmi was honest enough with herself to admit that he had a point. She had freaked out, but not once had it occurred to her to not have the baby.

 "I could never get rid of the baby. It's not his fault."

 "His?" Cole asked with a tender smile, which made Emmi glad she was still sitting down.

 "Well, the doctor says it's too early to tell the sex, but everyone keeps saying he's a boy, so I kinda got used to the idea."

 "Everyone being?" 

 "Maria, her brothers, and their mate. Every other goddamn shifter I've met recently. You all seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to simply come up to me and sniff me like some sort of dog, and announce that baby is a boy. I guess I ought to be glad you don't sniff my butt like dogs. I'd never live that one down."

 Cole burst into laughter, and a little bubble of happiness popped in her chest. It was good to see him laugh. He had been too much of a brooding presence in her life for the last two weeks. This felt more like their time in Creek Fells before it had all gone so horribly wrong.

 "I can see how that would be difficult to explain, sugar."

 Cole sobered and stood up. He towered over her, and her mouth went dry. She licked her lips nervously when he rounded the breakfast bar and stared down on her. The intensity of his gaze took her breath away, and her skin heated under his silent regard.
 
"May I?" he finally asked.

 "Wh-what?"

 "May I say hello to my baby?"

 "Oh, right, err, yes sure, what…"

 Words failed her when Cole dropped to his knees in front of her and placed his large hands on her abdomen. He tugged her pajama top up until he exposed her belly, and all the air left her lungs when he inhaled against her skin. He stayed like that for the longest time, not moving. The puffs of hot air against her abdomen were the only movement in the room, until he kissed her and whispered something unintelligible to her belly.
 
Warmth spread through her body, and she tingled from top to toe. Cole straightened, and she could have sworn she saw the sheen of unshed tears in his eyes, before he blinked and the moment was lost.

 "Thank you, sugar."

 Emmi had to clear her throat several times before she could respond.

 "You're not going to impart your wisdom as to what I'm going to have then? After all everyone else has had a shot."
 
Cole smiled, and he seemed to grow an inch in front of her as his eyes flashed to his bear's.

 "You have a very strong little bear in there, sugar, and I want you to know that I heard everything you said to me. I will give you all the time you need to make sure you can trust me, but know this. You are mine, and I will do everything in my power to claim you. You and me, sugar, we belong together, and the sooner you realize that, the better it will be for all of us. I'm here to stay."


This releases on Jan 9th and for all buy links check out this link: http://www.dorisoconnor.com/the-bear-project.html




****

Author Bio:

Glutton for punishment would be a good description for Doris... at least that's what she hears on an almost daily basis when people find out that she has a brood of nine children, ranging from adult to toddler and lives happily in a far too small house, cluttered with children, pets, dust bunnies, and one very understanding and supportive husband. Domestic goddess she is not.

 There is always something better to do after all, like working on the latest manuscript and trying not to scare the locals even more than usual by talking out loud to the voices in her head. Her characters tend to be pretty insistent to get their stories told, and you will find Doris burning the midnight oil on a regular basis. Only time to get any peace and quiet and besides, sleep is for wimps.

 She likes to spin sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, BDSM to F/F, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.
 

Stalking Links

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes



Cinderella said it best when she sang “a dream is a wish your heart makes.”

I dream of being a writer, but it’s a secret I haven’t told many people. (I would also love to be a voice in an animated movie!) I write every chance I get – it’s more an obsession than a hobby – when the kids are asleep and the chores are done. I can write anywhere - I’ll bring my laptop to the lake; sit in my backyard swing; curl up by the fireplace; put my feet up in my recliner. The stories flow, my fingers fly over the keys, and I watch the characters in my mind as vividly as a movie. Inspiration is everywhere. 

All my life, I found it much easier to express my feelings using the written word. I wrote short stories and poetry and composed songs throughout school. My dream was to write. Somewhere along the way, my dreams changed – became more practical? Maybe I grew up; maybe I thought I didn’t have what it takes. But the desire to create never left me.

I have a lot of dreams; some have come true – I have a wonderful husband and two amazing little boys – and some have yet to be realized (like my movie role). But I will never stop dreaming.

What are your dreams? Now is the time to make them happen; life is too short for regrets. Remember, “if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Why I Write

I've been writing stories and poetry for years now; I always had a story to tell. Silly stories when I was a child; moody poetry when I was a teen; partially completed manuscripts as an adult. I was always scribbling ideas in notepads and starting stories, but I was never able to finish one. Until now. A couple of years ago, I found a Facebook group for writers. This interactive and supportive group inspired me to set a goal - actually complete a manuscript. That meant getting past the "this is stupid, no one will ever read this" point and trusting someone to provide honest critique. Once I had a completed manuscript, I set a new goal. Publication. It took time to match the right story to the right publisher, but on Christmas Day there was a contract in my inbox! A real live contract. It feels like a whole, new world now. I always had a story to tell, but now someone thinks other people will want to hear it.

Keep posted as I embark on this new journey . . . adventures in publishing!