Friday, July 31, 2015

10 Random Thoughts from @mayatylerauthor

My mind never rests. Relaxing on my patio the other day, I had these random thoughts. What kinds of random thoughts do you have? Post in the comments.

1. The flight path of a fly is erratic.
2. Putting laundry on a clothesline is very rewarding.
3. High school never ends. You always encounter people who act like they never left.
4. A little wind can really impact the weather.
5. Someday never comes.
6. Summer rain smells better.
7. Ants are real survivors.
8. The Internet still amazes me.
9. The world is very messed up.
10. Lego is the best toy ever.

In the spirit of lists of 10, stay tuned in August here at Maya's Musings for 7 fabulously talented authors revealing 10 things about themselves...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Spotlight - The Real Deal by @AlannahHarte

A warm Maya's Musings welcome to author Alannah Harte here to promote her latest book!


Hello!  Thanks for allowing me visit your blog today.   I'm here to introduce you to a delicious fighter pilot named Jake and a feisty Irish lady called Caoimhe.  This is one of my favorite writing projects.  It actually wrote itself which I found incredible and I was writing it.  Over five days I put this story on to paper and after that there were very few changes to be made. I must have been inspired.   I love the movie Top Gun and I love Iceman as played by Val Kilmer so watching it for the millionth time one night the story came into my head.  I've visited San Diego the setting for this book and loved it and I always remember the naval base and the ships in the harbor.  It's a beautiful place from La Jolla to the Old Town and taking a trip on the trolley.  So this is what happens when you visit somewhere special, love a movie and have random men take over your head so that they can woo a lot of readers.   And what a guy he is if I do say so myself.  I think he's delicious anyway!  This is a short, sexy read so please check it out and leave a comment here to have a chance of receiving a free digital copy.  


Blurb:

Jake Cummins is on forty-eight hours leave, looking for the prettiest pussy in town. As a fifth generation fighter pilot, he likes everything fast—his jets, his drinks, and his women. After six months on tour of the Pacific, he is in desperate need of a good dose of dirty fucking. His choice is no meek little flower. In fact, this Irish Venus Fly Trap sets his temper and dick on fire. Somewhere the universe has tilted and the innocent beauty in the bedroom has surprised her way into his heart.


Excerpt

He stood behind her, ran a hand over the spiky, strawberry-blond hairs on his head as she danced in happy abandon, unaware that she was about to be caught. She had grace and rhythm and knew how to use her body while vertical. He was going to show her how to do it lying down in another half hour.
   Jake stepped closer. Her rump brushed against his crotch. He saw her back stiffen from its impact.  There was little room to move away. She was trapped amongst the other dancers. Their lower bodies met again, this time for a little longer. Jake pressed home his advantage, taking another half step. He heard the sharp intake of breath from his prey and smiled triumphantly. 
   Come on. Turn around and take a look. He moved when she moved, so that he didn’t lose contact with her. He wanted to reach around and place a big hand on a silk-coated nipple, to tease it into submission. His hot breath scalded the back of her head and the woman turned. The side of her body stroked his as she pivoted on her heels. Forest green eyes glared up at him in defiance and ambivalence. The ambivalence was swiftly replaced by desire. It was there for only a second. Long enough for Jake to know he was on to a winner.
   She was beautiful, with fine bones, a mouth that looked soft and welcoming, and those green eyes reminded Jake of Alabama Forests. His own eyes flared appreciatively. Exquisite. She looked innocent. But you couldn't be innocent in a place like the Bordello. You couldn't be innocent wearing a slip of a dress that begged to be removed.
   "Ever hear of keeping to your own personal space?" she asked, her eyes flashing at him heatedly.
   "I’m only interested in your space. You are a very beautiful woman." Unashamedly he glanced down her front, admiring her cleavage and the round curves beneath the dress. D cup maybe double D.  What man didn’t like a pair of real lush DDs? They were the right handful for him to grasp and knead them for his own pleasure. The right length to place his thickness between, to pump against, to spill his seed over. Christ, he was getting himself off already, and he hadn’t laid a finger on her. He needed to take it slowly. This wasn't a woman who would come to him at the click of his fingers.     
   "My space is none of your business. Bugger off."
   He recognized the different lilt in her voice. She wasn’t local. Intriguing. Her refusal only turned him on. Jake loved a challenge.
   "British?" he asked. "You’re not from here."
   "Irish." She was economical with her words, but her body was lavish with the signals it was transmitting. A pink flush heated her skin. Her nipples were hard beneath the silk. He wondered at their color. Dark like the desert or pink like a morning sky? A subtle tremble rippled through her body. She was his to have.




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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Writing Wheel

You can’t reinvent the wheel.

This is a common saying, but is it actually true? As inventions go, the wheel is a pretty handy one. It has made our life easier by propelling objects forward, as simple as a wagon or as complex as a motorized car. Although the exact origins of the wheel remain unknown, I find it interesting that the concept was perhaps independently and simultaneously adopted in many different cultures. The first wheel is thought to have appeared around 3500 BC in Mesopotamia (southwest Asia), but evidence of the wheel also surfaced around the same time period in the Northern Caucasus (between Europe and Asia) and Central Europe. And the concept of the wheel continues to evolve.

When I think of the saying ‘You can’t reinvent the wheel’, writing comes to mind. Writing is an established process and there are distinct rules to follow. Rules an author cannot break, from writing conventions to book structure. There is standard structural breakdown. Books are divided into chapters. Chapters are separated into scenes. Scenes are defined by point of view (POV). POV is established though sentences. Sentences must follow the grammatically correct placement of words. Words must be spelled correctly.

I attempted to creatively circumvent these rules in one of my latest stories. My story was rejected for publication so, in a nutshell, this departure did not pan out. Rules are in place for a reason. I was disappointed, but I refused to remain daunted. I could learn and grow from this experience, and perhaps help other budding authors, by identifying and correcting my blunders. So, where did I go wrong?

Expectations. A book should be divided into different segments. Chapters are the most common way of achieving this division. Each segment of the book propels it toward its conclusion. A chapter should end in a cliff-hanger and entice the reader to continue on.

The events in my story took place over the course of a week and, instead of using chapters, I separated my story into days. This choice was not recognized as a legitimate division by the editor reviewing my work. Lesson learned: use appropriate (and conventional) chapter headings.

Interpretation. The author is omniscient. The reader is not. I believe the reader should be allowed to experience a book with their own imagination, a powerful tool. There is no room for ambiguity. The author should lead the readers to a consistent, natural conclusion of events.

In my story, the hero conveyed his memories to the heroine through flashbacks. My scene and POV changes were not apparent to the editor. Lesson learned: clearly spell-out the scene and POV changes.

Context. Spell-check is a poor substitute for a second pair of eyes. It takes an objective third-party to find the errors you (and your word processing software) missed.

I know this. I do. I’ve emphasized this point in other articles I’ve written about writing. Breaking this rule was not about creative license. It was about impatience. In my haste to submit my story to potential publishers, I admit to skipping this step. My usual critique partners were involved in their own projects and I didn’t want to wait. This is probably the worst of my mistakes as it would have potentially caught the first two. Lesson learned: be patient and have your work proofread.

These lessons are what I’ve taken away from this particular experience. Knowing the rules is not enough. Sometimes you have to make your own mistakes before you can fully understand them. I knew better and still I did not pay heed. It took a kind rejection note from an editor to open my eyes.

Still, writing creatively and following convention seems counterintuitive to me. I need to actively step back after I write my first draft to objectively apply the rules. I need to understand the ‘wheel’ and my drive to reinvent it. With practice and patience, I will find the right balance. Like the wheel, my writing will evolve.

Friday, July 17, 2015

#Interview with @RavenMcAllan

A huge welcome to the lovely Raven McAllan, today’s guest on Maya’s Musings. I have had the honor of promoting several of Raven’s books on this blog, but this is our first Q&A. Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Raven.

You're welcome, thanks for asking me. I've brought gluten free shortbread and shhh, a wee dram of whisky (no E it's Scotch)

Q: Tell us something about yourself and how you got into writing?
A: Well let me see. I'm a bus pass toting granny who refuses to grow old gracefully. I live in Scotland the land of kilts and midges. I love the first and hate the second. Dh and live on the edge of a forest in a house much too big for us, and I write overlooking the garden and the lane. I frequently have to tell tourists that I am not the local bed and breakfast. (It's around the corner) If I'm in the middle of a tricky bit of a book, I growl at them.

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: Only four years since my first book was accepted and I guess I wrote it a few months earlier. I'm gobsmacked to be honest. But I loved writing as a child until I was told at high school to be factual. It took…oh only 40 odd years to get the muse back.

Q: What is your creative process?
A: Um… Do I have one? I sit and write, that's it. I prefer to look out of the window, but I can and do write anywhere.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I have absolutely no idea. My muse just hits me and I go with the flow. Sorry if that sounds silly, but it's what happens. Mind you I tell my husband I need to travel for inspiration. Wink

Q: Who is your favorite character (from your books) and why?
A: I could say whoever I'm writing about at the time, because I pay them so much attention. But, I love Caden and Anna from Master (Evernight Publishing), because I despaired they would ever solve their differences and boy did they make me work hard. And Ben and Clarissa from The Scandalous Proposal of Lord Bennett, which is out from Carina on September 4th, because it’s a real Regency romp and their banter made me laugh. And yes I have to add Braam and Debra from Hong Kong Heat. I love HK and the heroine was named after a girlfriend.

Q: Do you prefer coffee or tea?
A: It depends on the time of day. Tea (weak let the tea see the cup and no more,) and black first thing, then coffee until the afternoon and then tea again.

Q: What’s better than chocolate?
A: Champagne, preferable with chocolate. I bet you thought I'd say sex, didn't you? But you can have champagne in more places…. Oh yes you can, believe me.

Q: If you believed in this sort of thing and could channel an artist from the beyond, who would it be and why?
A: er…. Degas because his pictures are so heartfelt.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: Alive I hope.

Q: Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there?
A: Write as you can, not as you think you should. Don't give up, and grow a thick skin because by god you'll need one.



 My web, where you can find all you need to know about me, is www.ravenmcallan.com  




Friday, July 10, 2015

Dream Hunter 'Did You Know' Facts

Dream Hunter is my debut paranormal romance novella, spinning a tale which weaves the dream world and reality together...


Here's the blurb:

Cynthia’s dreams are so real, they are actually coming true – complete with the prerequisite dream guy. But things are not as they seem.

Who said dreams are sweet?

Chicago businesswoman Cynthia Courtland is completely focused on her career when a sensual, reoccurring dream disrupts her orderly life. Then a threat against her workplace forces her to take time off. She is lost with nowhere to go--only her empty apartment.

Work is Gabe’s life too; he takes it very seriously and will do whatever it takes to succeed. He's been watching over Cynthia for a long time and he has her best interests at heart, but can he protect her from the danger she is blind to? When Cynthia insists on investigating the threat so she can get back to work, it makes Gabe's job all the more difficult.

When things settle, will there be more for them than a life filled with work? Will she give her dreams a chance to come true?



Intrigued? I originally featured these 'Did You Know' facts about my book on my Dream Hunter Facebook page. Alert - there are a few spoilers ahead...

1. Why did I write a book largely focused on dreams? Well, I find dreams a fascinating subject. I have been studying dreams since I was in high school. I think dreams have always interested me because I am prone to having intense and highly detailed dreams. My imagination goes into overdrive when I sleep. Although dreams have been studied and analyzed for many years, I believe there's still an element of mystery surrounding them. I read a lot about dreams in order to keep my story factually correct. If dreams interest you, here's a cool website to check out... http://www.boredpanda.com/15-interesting-facts-about-dream…/


2. What inspired me to write Dream Hunter? This is a subject for an entire post... The idea for any book starts with a dream. In my case, a literal dream. I woke up one morning and wrote the first sequence, of the book which would later become Dream Hunter, from a dream I had. Since writing my book, I have thought long and hard about the origin of my ideas. Those thoughts were compiled into a post which I wrote for The Nuthouse Scribblers blog and, later, updated for my own blog. Contemplating the sources of my inspiration has also led to a greater understanding of events which were ongoing in my life. Dream Hunter started as a dream and evolved into a way of processing my thoughts and feelings. Here's my post The Inspiration Behind Dream Hunter.

3. The model on my book cover looks like my husband. This is a really interesting fact considering the designer went by my description of my book and its characters and had never seen a picture of my husband. I recently interviewed Lori Lasswell, Dream Hunter's cover designer, and gained more insight into her creative process. I learned she had read my book which made her realize, although I had talked a lot about Cynthia in my description I had provided her, the story was really Gabe's.

4. It took one year to write Dream Hunter, another year to find the right publisher, and one more year before Dream Hunter was released. Writing a book, even a novella, is an intensive and time consuming process. I greatly admire my favorite authors even more having been through it myself. Writing a book is only the first of many steps. The first draft is often not the final version so that means re-writing and editing and re-writing again until the final copy is polished. Once you have your 'best as can be' copy, it's decision time. Do you self-publish or submit to publishing houses? I went the publisher route and I am very pleased with this decision. My publisher Just Ink Press guided me through the formal editing process and provided invaluable assistance with my book release and marketing.

5. I set Dream Hunter in Chicago, but I've never been there. Chicago is on my list of cities to visit. Some of my favorite TV shows are based in Chicago (ER, The Good Wife) which sparked my interest in the city. Dream Hunter is not the first story I've written based in Chicago so I'd already completed a fair amount of research on the city. I think it's really important for a reader to be able to visualize the setting and for the writer to accurately portray the locale. If you're writing a story set in New York City, for instance, your characters might visit Central Park, but not the Eiffel Tower. Every detail contributes to the believability of your story. This includes travelling distance and mode of transportation.


6. Ever listen to Limp Bizkit's song Nookie? I think about this song everytime I read Dream Hunter and it actually inspired part of my story... I love the phrase 'like a chump' and what image it inspires. A chump brings to mind a stupid person. Maybe they're momentarily stumped or puzzled or lost. Either way, they don't know what they're doing. At this point in the story, Cynthia was standing at a crossroads, not knowing what to do or where to go. She wasn't a stupid character, but she didn't have a plan of action either.

7. In the story Gabe named himself after a little boy he couldn't save. It's no coincidence I used the name Gabriel though. Isn't it a fitting name for an angel? Historically, other angels have been named Gabriel although, in no way, does my story have a religious context. 


8. I put emphasis on Cynthia's sore feet during her long trek in high heels. I did this purposefully to suggest she was not dreaming. After all, you don't feel pain in a dream, do you? Actually, it is possible to feel pain in a lucid dream. I learned this little known fact while conducting research for my story. I kept Cynthia's sore feet in the story to keep the reader guessing.

9. Cynthia's resolve to land the promotion at work and her tenacity to solve the mystery were both inspired by my own struggles at work. At the time, I was working toward a promotion for my dream job, but there were obstacles in my way.


10. Guardian Angel Gabe never spoke using contractions to hint he didn't belong to this world. I thought avoiding contractions would make Gabe's speech a little awkward and formal, as if English wasn't his first language. It also helped to differentiate the guardian angel persona from the police officer persona.

I loved writing Dream Hunter. I fell in love with each of my characters and I truly felt inspired to tell their story.  I hope you'll love them too!

Thank you for helping my celebrate Dream Hunter's 6 month book birthday!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dream Hunter's 6th Month Book Birthday

I published my debut paranormal romance novella Dream Hunter on December 30, 2014. It's been an incredible 6 months for me!


Publishing my first book was an absolute dream come true. I imagine most authors start off feeling the same way. With a persistent voice in their head nagging them to write. With a desire to write a book. With a dream of publishing it someday.

I am so thankful I had the opportunity 6 months ago to publish my book. I owe my deepest gratitude to all those who made my dream possible: my husband and my family; my writing critique group; and my editors at Just Ink Press.

Dreams can come true...


Cynthia’s dreams are so real, they are actually coming true – complete with the prerequisite dream guy. But things are not as they seem.

Who said dreams are sweet?

Chicago businesswoman Cynthia Courtland is completely focused on her career when a sensual, reoccurring dream disrupts her orderly life. Then a threat against her workplace forces her to take time off. She is lost with nowhere to go--only her empty apartment.

Work is Gabe’s life too; he takes it very seriously and will do whatever it takes to succeed. He's been watching over Cynthia for a long time and he has her best interests at heart, but can he protect her from the danger she is blind to? When Cynthia insists on investigating the threat so she can get back to work, it makes Gabe's job all the more difficult.

When things settle, will there be more for them than a life filled with work? Will she give her dreams a chance to come true?


Excerpt:

The air in her lungs rushed to escape and time stood still. She was aware of only him. Beyond her control, her head tilted and her whole body leaned toward him; her inner core pulsed and buzzed. He drew her in like a magnet, a moth to flame; she was helpless to resist his siren call. He emulated danger, looked like evil incarnate—black and dangerous, seductive and forbidden—and she wanted him.
When he grabbed her harshly by both shoulders, she snapped out of her lust-induced trance. “What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.
“We must get out of here.” His words were calm, but his eyes stared right through her.
Cynthia opened her mouth to object.
“There is no time,” he announced as he tugged on her arm.
“Let go of me!” She tried to pull away. “I don’t know you.”
Holding her arm still, he stared into her eyes without saying a word.
Okay, he seems a little familiar. She gulped. “How do I know you?”
Giving her a penetrating look, he replied, “You know me. Quit wasting time.”
She opened her mouth to protest again.
“We must leave now.”
Should I go with him? She tilted her head and looked up at him. His gaze was strong and steady and made her feel safe. This is not the time to be indecisive. She thought about the threat at work and shivered despite the heat.
You will be safe with me. There is no time. We must leave now. His voice entered her thoughts like a caress in her mind and didn’t alarm her.
He was right. There was no time to analyze her options and run through various scenarios. For all she knew, every scenario without him could mean danger for her. Her body wanted to follow him, she admitted with reluctance, even if her mind resisted. Yes, she would go, she decided, even as she felt herself following him down the street.
Power resonated from his muscular build. He kept a hand in a firm but gentle hold on her elbow as they hurried down the sidewalk. Unmindful of their destination, Cynthia had ample time to study her new “friend.” He towered over her by at least a foot, wearing a black leather jacket despite the warm day, and dark jeans that showcased his narrow waist. Every beefy inch of him screamed passion and strengthhis tight clothing doing nothing to disguise the sinewy muscles rippling in his legs as he movedbut she wasn’t frightened of him. She hesitated for a minute. Should I be afraid? No, she decided. She felt eerily calm, like all her life had been leading her up to this moment in time, and she was exactly where she was supposed to be. The reason she let a perfect stranger lead her to God-knew-where.
She shifted her thick hair over her shoulder as sweat soaked at the base of her neck. The day’s temperature had yet to peak, but it was already warm enough to be uncomfortable and practically running in office attire didn’t help matters.
“I need a moment,” she said.
They made an abrupt stop. The man offered her an unopened bottle of water. After casting an assessing look at him she accepted the bottle, and took a long, welcome drink.
“Thank you.”
The man dismissed her thanks with a casual shrug.
Cynthia shot him a questioning look.
“Later,” he replied in a brisk voice. “We need to go.”
“Where?”
“We need to go,” he repeated, ignoring her question.
They had covered several blocks and, as they moved further from her office, the sights became less familiar and a tremor of fear shook through her body. Where did this guy come from? Why does he think I know him? Because I do know him. The realization hit her hard in the stomach. It’s him.
“I need
“We need to keep going,” he insisted without further explanation.
“No!” She planted her hands on her hips and her feet in the firmest stance she could manage as she wobbled on the uneven sidewalk. Then she looked down at her feet and a strange sense of déjà vu washed over her as she stared at the cobblestone path. Her mouth gaped, her breathing quickened. With dread she looked up at the buildings on the street. Her vision blurred. Everything around her spun and faded away as she collapsed into strong arms. She had a vague awareness of him lifting her. As he adjusted his hold, she bounced against his solid chest. She must be dreaming. That was the only explanation that made sense. Nothing like this ever happened in her boring, ordinary life. It’s just a dream. Swallowing her disappointment, she glanced up at the determined expression on his face. He carried her effortlessly, like she weighed nothing. When she rested her head on his chest, she could feel his heart beating steadily. She ran her hand lightly across his defined bicep. Wow. He wasn’t real, but she might as well make the most of it; from experience she knew her dream wouldn’t last forever.


Have you read Dream Hunter? Available now... Smarturl.it/dhu