Tag Archives: author

Acceptance

Moonday Mania

a blog for the monday in all of us

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Before I get to the blog: the Rafflecopter contest for a Kindle Fire 6 will be closing soon, so check out last weeks announcement of CINDER: A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance release and enter to win.

Now, here’s the blog.

What is an author?

Lately I’ve been struggling with what being an author means. It seems to make a living in this new ebook world of ours you need to be the kind of person who gives up sleep, social life, a clean house, all in order to produce enough work to keep the hungry readers happy and satisfied. But then, just when you think you’re doing that, life happens, and you can’t possibly write enough. So what does this mean to me as an author? If I can’t produce a book a month (and let’s face it, I can’t) can I really expect to survive in this frenzied ebook world?

Write fast? Write clean? Write dirty.

I have choices. I could skip the edits….

No, I can’t.

I’m just not that person. If you know me at all you know I have to go over those books and make sure they’re as clean as I can get them. Even the dirty parts. LOL ! I personally can’t just write a draft and send it out. I need to let it sit and then edit it, and then send it to my editor. Who then helps me figure out all the re-writes it needs. And then it goes to a proofreader. So, no, I can’t just whip out a book and get it out.

So, the question becomes…

Do I write short? Do I change what I write? 

I could write serials. Shorten my books into little sections and dole them out. Or, I could write super short stories: more novellas. Complete romances that take place in 40k or less. Actually, I struggle writing short. I’m working on the edits for SCARLETT: A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance, right now. And it’s going to be a short novel, not a novella. Why? Because the story demands it and it’s sneaking up over 40k. I’ve given up keeping it to a novella length because I don’t want to cut out anything, especially the hotter scenes (waggles eyebrows).

So, I can’t write short. I can’t not edit. What can I do?

Roll over and take it.

My health demands that I sleep, get exercise, shop for and cook real healthy food. (Go kale!) My heart demands that I spend time with my family, take care of my parents, my kids, and my husband. And Miss Molly, my Lab mix, demands that I take her on walks.

Molly_021416

I’ve tried skipping some of this stuff and what happens? I get sick. My anxiety shoots to high levels. I just can’t do it all and feel good.

So…

I’m going to keep writing the books I love writing. I’m not moving to what’s “hot” or super short books. I love my convoluted fantasy books. I love the machinations of my villains and the snarkiness of a certain puca. And if I made them super short or left out parts or didn’t write them with the depth that they deserve, I think you, my readers, would be disappointed.

While you and me both would love to for me to write and get more books out faster, it’s just going to happen as fast as it happens. And frankly, this is pretty fast. When I think about the three years it took to write The Dark Huntsman, and I look at how fast I can write now, I’m super impressed. I am writing faster, and that’s a good thing.

Now if I can just get Molly to stop begging me for walks, we’ll be in good shape!

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Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE

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Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Snippets of an Author

Moonday Mania

a blog about authors for readers

prince by blood and bone book tour buttonJust a few reminders, and then on to the blog.

First off, don’t forget to enter to win a print copy of my latest steamy, fantasy romance, Prince by Blood and Bone on Goodreads. And I’m still on blog tour so check out the list of posts and discover reviews, interviews and an excerpt of Prince by Blood and Bone, as well as many opportunities to win an e-copy of The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court.

 

SNIPPETS OF AN AUTHOR

I was recently on vacation and while I don’t usually bring up that I write books, my husband never lets a chance go by to tell people that his wife writes spicy paranormal romance. So I found myself in the position of explaining to strangers what I write. If I’d known I’d be doing this, I would have practiced my elevator pitch, but I was totally unprepared to be lounging on the beach and telling people about my hot romance books.

“Um, yes, I write paranormal romance. Twisted fairy tales.” Look at their confused faces. “For adults. Yes, um, they are very adult.” See the widening of the eyes. “NO! Not Fifty Shades adult, but spicy. Steamy…romance for adults.”

Yes, I should be able to do this. I do it every day on social media and here on the blog, but that’s not face to face, seeing their reactions. And let’s face it, most of the people I interact with on social media are romance fans. I socialize with romance writers and readers. I forget that out in the real world not everyone reads paranormal romance.

So, in addition to having to come up with what I write in a nutshell, I also had that question that authors dread, “If I read your books are they all about you?” Um, no. And yes.

No, I’m not a 22 year old shape-shifting werewolf with a hot body and a sexy alpha male in my bed. No, I’m not dealing with killer step-parents or an evil queen. No, I don’t cast spells (okay, maybe when I’m heading for that green light about to turn red) and I don’t have sex with men who ride snarky pucas or wield magic blades.

Yep, this is fiction kids. I made it up.

But yes, you’ll find out things about me. You’ll find I like men with an edge to them who also have a vulnerable side. How can you know this? I put them in nearly every book. You might find out that I love dark chocolate or walks in the rain. How will you know this? Well, you won’t know for sure, but if I have a character that likes that, maybe I do too.

Or maybe not.

Maybe I’ll have a character whose favorite flavor is vanilla and loves dry, hot weather more than the misty moisty mornings. Then how will you know if I’m a chocolate girl or a vanilla girl?

You won’t.

My characters are all different. Some of them stand up for themselves, like Red in Little Red Riding Wolf. Some of them take longer to figure out how to do that, like Trina in The Dark Huntsman. And they all have bits and pieces of me in them. But they also have bits and pieces that I just made up. And I’m not sure you’ll be able to figure out which is which.

I’m the first to admit, my husband and I do have a fairy tale romance and if I wrote contemporaries maybe I’d be writing our love story over and over again. But I don’t. I write twisted fairy tale romances with magic and mayhem. There are no Monday mornings in my books and cell-phones don’t work in the lands of the fae. But it is still me writing. And my romance experience is still a personal thing that must creep in sometimes, right?

Or maybe not.

It is fiction, isn’t it?

Are you a writer? Does your personal life and tastes creep into your writing? How about as a reader? Do you only choose books with heroines who are just like you, or do you like to read about different lives, explore different ways of being?

Leave a comment

Filed under About the Author, Jessica Aspen's Books, Moonday mania

Five Things to Remember When Reading Your Book Aloud

Moonday Mania

just a random blog

Hi all! I’ve had some questions on Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court and yes, it is nearly ready! I’m so excited to tell you that I think I should be in possession of a cover any day now. Really, very soon. Okay, maybe by next week. It’s been like pulling teeth to get this book to market. The cover has been a challenge and I’ve learned a lot of dos and don’ts in how-to do a series of covers. The next one I’ll get all my covers done at the same time, so I’ll have them ready on time and they will go together. Finding images to compete with the amazing cover for The Dark Huntsman is a challenge!

Speaking of The Dark Huntsman, thank you to everyone who voted for it in the JABBIC contest. I’m pretty excited to see how it does. I think the cover competes very well but it’s tough being so far down on the list. I nearly gave up with all the scrolling through 80+ entries. Thank you to everyone who persevered and got through the whole list of paranormal entries. Whew!

I do have a blog topic today. Of course. So let’s get to it!

Have you ever sat in front of twenty, thirty, fifty people and read your work out loud? I think every author should try it, at least once or twice. Last month I had the pleasure (um, gulp!) of reading a section of my book out loud to my chapter members. I’ve done this before, but I have to tell you it never gets easy. And each time I’ve learned something different, so I thought I would share my thoughts on how to read-aloud.

1. Don’t necessarily choose the first chapter of your book.

I did this both times, and while I feel like the first chapter is good for an introduction, it may not be the best section to read aloud. Don’t get me wrong, it might be the best section, but it might have a bit of introduction that the book needs, but isn’t the best for a read aloud. Pick a section that is very intense and will catch the audience. Hopefully this is the first chapter, but first chapters sometimes have a lot of scene building, and that isn’t as exciting for a read-aloud, especially if you have less than ten minutes. Choose a very exciting passage, one that might take a little verbal explanation for the audience, but has them hopping out of their chairs.

And target your section to your audience. I read aloud the first section of Prince by Blood and Bone, which is very exciting, but it is full of fantasy elements. This was a group of romance readers and writers and some of them are focused only on the contemporary genre. They get speed-bumped by magic and attacking ogres. I would have been better off choosing a love scene with heat and tension between the couple. Different audience, different choices.

2. Do chose your section ahead of time and practice

The other times I’ve read aloud I had the time to sit down and go through the pages, figure out what I wanted to read, and practice reading it out loud. Last month I didn’t. I had to grab my book, sit down and read cold. It made a huge difference. I found myself self-editing as I read and that didn’t make for as smooth a transition as it could have. I wanted to cut things, and re-arrange them, and it made me stumble as I read. If I’d taken the time to choose the section first, I might have chosen a different one. One that read aloud a little more smoothly.

Choose a passage that has action and dialogue, and isn’t packed with internalization, back story, or scene description. Unless one of those is incredibly compelling and packed with tension, you will lose your audience fast.

One note: some of the words in your passage you might be comfortable with using, you know what they mean and you use them correctly in a sentence, but when reading them out loud, you might not be able to pronounce them! Tripping over words or passages is better discovered in the privacy of your own bathroom, um living room. (Okay, you read out loud where you want to, and I’ll read out loud where I want to.)

3. Practice

This one is so important, I am putting it in twice. You need to know how you read and how long it will take you to read what you’ve chosen out loud. Practice slowing down. Most of us read twice as fast in a real read-aloud situation, so be sure to account for that in your timing.You need to make sure you can pronounce all the words, and you need to make sure nothing in the passage is a speedbump. In other words, if you have some illicit words that you can type with impunity, but you can’t read out loud in front of a group without stumbling and blushing, you’d best figure that out at home!

Practice your cadence. Figure out where you want to add emphasis to words and what spots might be good for pausing and looking up. Try out voices for dialogue. That may not work for you, but it could be the thing that makes your reading stand out.

(If you have time, it’s good to video yourself reading out loud. You will learn a lot about habits you have, such as coughing, pausing, or reading too fast. Do it live, because we read very differently in front of an audience than at home in front of the mirror.)

4. Lay out your clothes ahead of time

20140210-074140.jpgThis is good advice for anything you are doing that might make you nervous. Interviews, read-alouds, dates. Take the time to vet your outfit. Try it in different positions and make sure it is comfortable as well as stylish. The very first time I read aloud I chose a lovely modest, cover your knees, pink skirt. At least I thought it was modest. Imagine my surprise when I went to sit down and cross my legs and felt a small draft. It was modest standing up, but sitting down slightly above my audience made it a little more risqué than I truly appreciated. I spent a lot of time worrying about that(tugging it down, shifting positions) when I should have been focusing on my reading!

(At least the shoes look good!)

5. Seed the audience

If you can, make sure you have some friendly faces to look at. Part of your practicing reading should be to look up every so often and make eye contact with your audience. This is much easier if you have made sure you have someone you know at each triangular point. In other words, if the room is like a clock face and you are at 12 o’clock, place a friendly face at 3, 6, and 9. This way you have a target face to glance up at. They will be smiling at you, and nodding encouragement, instead of those horrible blank expressions it’s likely the rest of the audience has plastered on their faces.

Reading your own work can be a challenge. I think it’s important, as an author, to try it out. For your first read-aloud experience you might try reading someone else’s work out loud, that way you will only be nervous about the reading part, and not the actual “OMG, I’m presenting my baby on a plate to wolves!” Because that’s what it feels like. For me, I think it’s worse than sending books out on submission, because you can see in their faces if they are bored or intrigued.

What if it doesn’t go right? What if it’s a bomb?

The odds of your first read aloud going the way you want it to are slim. Do it anyway. Do it because you might garner a few fans. Do it because it’s a challenge. Do it because it’s good to get to know your work in a different way. Just do it.

What challenges have you faced in front of an audience? Have you ever read your own work out loud? Had a wardrobe malfunction? Been reading and realized mid-stream that you’d failed to target your audience? Share with me in the comments, I love to hear from you!

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, facing failure, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

The Vikings Are Coming

Thorsdays Bite

looking forward to season two

I’m stoked! Last year I got hooked on the History Channel’s new show, Vikings. It was full of drama and history, and lovely tattooed men. The seeds of paranormal romance all wrapped into one delicious show. This year they are off to a fantastic start with a brand new video commercial that brought to life the images and mystery of the Norse culture. I posted it below the amazing infographic of Gods and Mythology from the History Channel website and even though it’s a little sparse, you can get the gist of the Norse Gods. For better information at a glance I suggest children’s books on mythology. They give you the tales that really fill you in on the culture.

If you are a huge fan of the show, like me, or even if you aren’t, I suggest you go explore their website. They’ve done a great job integrating the drama of the show and history. You can see clips from last year and catch up on the saga of Ragnar Lothbrok or you can check out a facial reconstruction of a Viking woman, check out ten things you might not know about Vikings, or check out a Viking burial.

vikings infographic

A collaboration between History.com and Column Five

I love the symbolism in the commercial they chose for this year. It is amazing, and I wish they had gone into detail on the site about what influenced their choices for each character. Makes me want to get to writing that Norse fantasy series I’ve had buzzing around in my head all year.

I used to watch the history channel all the time when they had documentaries on Egyptian tombs or digs. I’m lucky I happened to stumble across Vikings mid-season last year, because, not being a reality tv person (with one exception I’ll blog on next week) I had given up on quality programming on the channel. But this show is quality programming! Do you watch the history channel? Are you as excited as I am to see something besides reality tv on it?

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Filed under About the Author, Thursdays Bite

The Top Three Questions Bloggers Ask Authors

Moonday Mania

a blog of questions for the questioner

the dark huntsman blog tourI’m on an author BLOG TOUR for The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, and one of the things I’ve noticed after doing several interviews is that most bloggers ask similar questions. So I decided to answer them here, just in case you missed my answers elsewhere. And of course these answers have a few twists of their own.

Here are the top three questions bloggers ask romance authors:

-Where did you find your inspiration?

For this one they are usually asking about the inspiration for the book itself, but sometimes it’s general. Inspiration for The Dark Huntsman came from desperation. I wasn’t sure what to write, so I chose a fairy tale to twist. Then I had to make it different, so it started to spin itself. I loved the idea of a series, so I had the three MacElvy cousins, Trina, Cassie and Bryanna. But wow! That made it difficult. Especially when I sat down to write Prince by Blood and Bone, book two and Bryanna’s story. I had a series idea, but I had to make it new and fresh and yet connect to book one and three. That’s where I really had to dig for inspiration. Thank goodness book two is super close to being done. I’m anxiously waiting on the cover and will be getting it off to the last editor very soon. A month late, but that’s the way the inspiration crumbles.

-Do you ever get writer’s block?

I always say no. Which isn’t exactly true. Writer’s block, to me, is sitting there not writing. And I never do that. There is always something to write. I can skip to another scene or chapter. I can write down something terrible and know I can come back and fix it later. And, if desperate, I can go to another book and write that. Sometimes I’ve even been known to blog. But I don’t sit there staring at the computer wailing about my writer’s block. So not me! How would anything get done?

I approach life that way too. If I can’t clean the kitchen because someone is in there, I go clean the living room. There is always another job to do in my life, far too many of them are left undone, and writing is the same way. Too much to do to be sitting there doing nothing!

-What do you love/hate about writing?

I love writing. I hate writing. Even though I don’t let myself have writer’s block, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Getting started on a project is tough. Today I’m struggling with writing the blurb for Prince by Blood and Bone. I have one, I just don’t like it, so I tweak it. And tweak it. Then tweak it some more. The hardest thing about writing is the perfectionism. ALL the writers I know have it. They never think the book is ready, or good, or done. But we have to send it out at some time.

And I don’t want to do anything else. I’ve done jobs I’ve truly hated, and this isn’t one of them. Even on the worst day I would rather be here staring at my computer and frustrated with my words, than doing something else. Okay, I always want to be on the beach and on vacation. Just reading. Or off socializing at the coffee shop. But it’s the love of writing that keeps me in the chair. If you don’t have that, you can’t finish a book. You can’t break that writer’s block. And you don’t get the next book done. And it’s always about the next book.

I hope you enjoyed my mini-interview for my blog tour. You can check out the rest of my tour and discover all the other questions HERE and enter the contest by leaving a comment. There are some killer reviews of The Dark Huntsman, as well as some interviews where the questions are more varied and my answers may be a little different. That’s the thing about asking a writer a question, the answer is always different. 

Did I miss a question? What would you like to ask me? Ask away and you’ll be entered in my contest, check the tour page for details of prizes and rules.

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Filed under About the Author, Bloghops, Moonday mania

Five Reasons Crit Partners Rock!

Moonday Mania

a blog for all you partners out there

WOOT! I have some fantastic news. You may have noticed the new Night Owl Reviews Badge  in it’s place of honor on the right side of the blog. The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court had a 4.5 STAR REVIEW! It was really nice to read the review on Sunday and to have a good start to December. Overall, romance readers are enjoying the book and I’m very happy and grateful. And one of the people I’m grateful to is my critique partner, ML Guida.

Mary writes about vampires and demons and I write about the fae and werewolves. We have totally different styles, especially between my Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods novellas and Mary’s Legends of the Phoenix historical, vampire romance. Both Mary and I have tried other crit partners and crit groups before and some of them worked and some didn’t. On my part, I had tried a few crit groups, with limited success. One was a mixed genre group, and it just didn’t work for me. For one thing, I was nervous about exposing my writing to a group for the first time, and these were real writers. (Now I look back on my newbie self and sigh). And another reason it didn’t work, is that they didn’t understand the unique structure of romance. I tried, but it wasn’t good. The other one was a romance group, but it only met once a month and five pages once a month was not enough for me to get the feedback I needed. I also was lucky enough to work with two great critique partners before Mary, but we were at different points in our careers (and lives). Things wavered, then collapsed. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Both helped me with my writing, but neither was at the point of publishing and when the critiquing portion of the relationships naturally fell to the wayside, I was left with a gap to fill.

At the same time, Mary had been in a wonderful crit group. One of the things about a large group is that means a lot of chapters to crit for everyone else, and you only  get one or two done of your own work. Mary was writing very fast and needed someone who could keep up with her. She wanted to put out more than one book a year, and at that pace her crit group just couldn’t keep up.

So we started exchanging two chapters a week. And it’s been amazing every since.

So here are my favorite things about having a crit partner:

1. A crit partner can be your other half.

I don’t mean we have a blissful relationship, although we get along great, I mean that Mary’s writing strengths are my weaknesses. I tend to rocket through my stories. Action! Action! Action! Mary’s writing has a lot of emotional and situational detail. Together, she slows me down and I speed her up. Find a crit partner who is your opposite on the writing front and you’re writing will be much stronger.

2. A crit partner keeps you on task.

When you owe someone chapters, you’d better have them ready. Mary has times in her life when she has more time off and so do I. We’re working on the process of having previously written chapters ready to go for the other person when they are ready to edit, but writing doesn’t always work that way. The nice thing is that I know Mary will be asking, “Do you have those chapters ready?”. The accountability, not just to get their work to them, but to have work read for them is terrific for me. She keeps me focused on my writing goals.

3. A crit partner is critical.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are crit partners who only tell each other the good things. I don’t think that’s a very productive critiqing relationship. On the other hand, criticism is hard to hear, and it needs to be ladled out with a good dose of positivity. (For a terrific article on how to crit, click HERE.) A few nice things, a few critical things. Try not to change the other’s voice, just offer suggestions on what isn’t working. It’s a delicate balance, and not everyone achieves it with their first attempts at working with a crit partner. I was lucky, Mary has critiqued a lot in the past, so she’s very good at balancing. I was also lucky because she is honest, and if something doesn’t work for her, she’ll tell me. Honesty is priceless.

4. A crit partner can help you focus your career.

Mary and I are both at similar points in our publishing careers. We’re both published with an e-press, Passion in Print, and we’ve both just released our first novels, on our own. She has more books out than I do, but we’re discussing similar levels of sales, budget, and advertising. Should we go to Ritas and Readers or should we go to Rom Con? What about blog tours? Who does a good job? Should you advertise? Where and when and how much should you spend? When you are an author you have to make all of these decisions on your own and it’s a huge advantage to have someone who is making the same decisions to bounce your ideas off of.

5.  A crit partner is a terrific source of support and encouragement.

Maybe it’s because we’re at a similar point in our publishing life, but Mary knows exactly what I’m feeling when my books are doing well, and when I hit a setback. And that’s not just in the writing phase of the book. Although the writing is our purpose in our relationship, we also offer encouragement when we read our reviews on line, when we enter contests, when we get rejected or accepted. Most crit partners start as friends, but since we share so much, Mary and I have become close friends. And to have someone to share my writing gripes and successes with, someone who actually knows what I’m talking about, someone who wants to hear about writing and books 24/7, that’s what I want in a crit partner.

Who do you have in your life who acts like a crit partner? Is it a best friend? A mentor? Who offers you support and criticism while you follow your dreams?

A Pirate's Curse by ML GuidaWant a taste of something different? A Pirate’s Curse is 99 cents, today, on Amazon!

Mary writes historical vampire books set in the 1600s. The pacing is different from mine, the voice is entirely different. I’m not sure you can tell we work together, and that’s likely a good thing. We have kept our individuality and our relationship works. 

Like a dark angel, Captain Kane O’Brien rescues Hannah Knight and her father from drowning after vampire pirates murder their crew and sink their ship. Struggling to control and hide her telekinetic powers, Hannah discovers the honorable and bold captain possesses his own secrets.
Every full moon, Kane turns into a vampire. Finding out Hannah not to be the cabin boy she resembles, but a beautiful, luscious woman, tempts all his appetites. Desperate to be free of his curse, Kane considers handing Hannah over to a demon. But after Hannah uses her power to save his ship from his immortal enemy, Kane can no longer deny his attraction and vows to protect Hannah with his life.
To find true love, they must combine their powers to defeat evil vampires, thwart Hannah’s misogynist fiancé and escape a crafty demon.

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Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, writing craft

Nano Envy

Moonday Mania

a blog about writing for everyone

nanowrimo badgeIt’s November and it’s time again for thousands? millions? of people to start writing their novels with Nanowrimo. (National Novel Writing Month). Sadly, this year I will not be participating (too many edits on Prince by Blood and Bone, book two in my fantasy romance series) but next year I am determined to be ready with an outlined novel and have the time and energy to get it won! WOOT!

The funny thing about not doing Nanowrimo this year is that, even though it’s completely my decision, even though I have tons to do and no time to really devote to writing anything new during November, I still have Nano Envy.

I want to be Nano-ing. I am missing out on all the fun. All the writing parties, the prizes, the enthusiasm. I want to be curled up like Jo in Little Women,  pen in hand, stocking cap on, scribbling away on my fantastic work of fiction with little thought to literary merit. Writing whatever wild mysterious story pops in my head, just because it’s fun.

That’s the magic of nano. You can pre-plan your story, but you are perfectly able to wing it. To sit down and type without fear or constraints. Without fear of judgement. Without planning on having anyone look at what you are writing. That’s why I think everyone, readers, non-readers and all kinds of writers should attempt Nanowrimo. You never know until you try how difficult it can be to get words on the page and how exhilarating it is when they flow like a river from your keys to the page. Even if when you go back and  read them in December they aren’t quite as stellar as when you wrote them.

I first attempted Nanowrimo when it was in its infancy. The internet was a rough place, everyone used “Got Mail” and no one had even heard of Facebook. I didn’t sign up on the site, I just tried to write, but kids and life interfered and I didn’t get very far. But it planted a seed. Maybe I could do this. Someday. Maybe I could write an entire 50,000 word book in a month.

Well years later and several completed books later I have yet to write that many words in one month. But last year I wrote over 30,000 and that’s pretty good. Two months like that and you have a novel. One month of that and you have Goldi and the Bear, novella extraordinaire! What could you do in one month of writing?

Have you ever attempted to write a novel? What did you learn about yourself? Did you wing it or did you plot out the entire book?

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Filed under Moonday mania, Nanowrimo, Writer's Journey

The Quarterly Book Release Blog Hop- October Edition!

Thursdays Bite

a fab blog hop with all new October releases

As the last blow-out in October to celebrate the release of my latest twisted fairy tale The Dark Huntsman: A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court I am participating in the October New Release Blog hop. Today  through next week you have the opportunity to check out October’s new releases. And they aren’t all paranormal romance authors. There are fantasy authors, YA authors, even historical authors on the list.  Check out the link to discover fantastic new releases! 

These amazing authors all have releases in October and have banded together to not only let you check out their new books, but they’ve donated fabulous prizes including copies of all my Passion in Print e-novellas, Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods.

So, if you are a regular visitor here and know all about The Dark Huntsman, feel free to hop to the other sites and check out their books and enter to win. And you can hop on by Rafflecopter and enter to win directly here:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2460a64/quarterly blog hop october edition

Now, for all of you new visitors, welcome to the blog!

The Dark Huntsman

A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court

Ebook will be FREE on Amazon on Halloween!

Want a reminder? Fan me on Facebook HERE and I’ll be posting the free days that are coming up.  October 31st and November 1st, 2013

I’ve been twisting fairy tales for several years now and one of my favorite fairy tales to twist is Snow White. Unlike other paranormal romance authors who twist fairy tales my books do not stick to the story. They wind and bend their way through a brand new tale. Here’s the blurb for The Dark Huntsman:

An evil queen, a dangerous man, and a witch, tangled together in a tale of Snow White…

Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.

Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan, is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her…murdering a witch. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.

As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest and makes a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he risks more than his freedom…he risks his heart.

Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of steamy, fantasy romance in her new twisted fairy tale trilogy: Tales of the Black Court…

As you can see the evil queen is not Snow White’s step-mother, in fact, Trina has never met the faery queen and is no relation whatsoever. Trina is an orphan and she has a sad tale, but it’s not Snow’s tale. She’s been on the run from the queen nearly her entire life with her cousins and her aunt who make a larger appearance in Prince by Blood and Bone, book two in Tales of the Black Court (out late December). The Dark Huntsman takes on an urban fantasy feel as we start in windswept modern day Wyoming and jump into the land of the fae, Underhill. We meet two of the seven brothers of the Fir Bolg and Trina does end up cleaning a cottage, but she doesn’t share it with the brothers, instead she and Logan must discover how the two of them can take on the evil queen together and in the process they fall in love.

I enjoy leaving a few elements of the main fairy tale in my stories. You’ll find apples and witches and magical kisses. What you won’t find is a heroine who is passive, or a prince who sweeps in at the end to save the day without putting in some blood, sweat, and his own magical tears.

Click HERE to read an excerpt from The Dark Huntsman.

Do you like new twists on classic tales? Hot paranormal romance? Couples who can take on not just each other, but dark evil as well? Then delve into The Dark Huntsman. Available on Amazon today.

Snow and the Seventh Wolf by Jessica AspenAnd leave a comment about what you like about hot, twisted, fairy tale romance. I’ll have a drawing for your choice of Little Red Riding Wolf, Snow and the Seventh Wolf or Goldi and the Bear on Halloween Eve. Make sure your email is correct in the WordPress form to win as I’ll be letting you know via email. All three of those twisted tales will be in the big prize package, so if you haven’t done so hop on by the Rafflecopter link or on to the other authors sites and enter to win more prizes!

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the dark huntsman by jessica aspen

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Filed under Bloghops, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

Romancing the Sprint

Moonday Mania

a blog about twisting the heck out of my writing romance

fairy tale rose in mirrorHappy Labor Day!

You may have caught my goals re-visitation post HERE and wondered at how I get all that spicy, fairy tale, paranormal romance writing done. Well it might not seem romantic, but like any fairy tale ending, writing romance requires determination, discipline, and grit.

And a timer.

Yes, a timer.

Wonder how I do it Jessica Aspen style? Here goes!

Ready, set, write!

I discovered the art of sprinting through author, Sherry Isaac. We were chatting online and Sherry said that she, and fellow author Gloria Richard, were sprinting- would I like to join? My response? Sure, why not? How do you sprint?

Set the timer for forty-five minutes, and get ready, set, write!

Turns out in writing it’s more of a long running writing session with breaks, than actual sprinting. If you were to run on the trail for 45 minutes to an hour, would you call that a sprint? No, I don’t think so. You’d call it over and done and move on to the donuts. But when you write and only set your timer for forty-five minutes, then it’s a sprint. Who knew?timer and laptop

Well, I do now.

I believe Sherry and Gloria now sprint in sixty minute increments, but I love the forty-five minutes with a fifteen minute break. It feels solid to start every hour on the hour, re-set the timer for my three-quarters of an hour and focus. Do not look at Facebook. Do not tweet. Do not even answer the phone. Unless it’s your mother. Then you have no choice but to answer the phone and re-set the timer for an uneven number of minutes. Sorry writing muse, mom’s come first.

The best thing about sprinting?

I use it everywhere all the time. Those fifteen minutes of break time from writing become house cleaning mini-sprints. Fifteen minutes is enough time to get a snack and clean the bathroom. Or dust. Or vacuum a room and a half. Then it’s back to the writing.

And I sprint in my exercising too. Turns out varying your speed of exercise for short bursts is a very efficient way to boost your metabolism. I now sprint twice a week. Mondays and Fridays you’ll see me flying down the trail, dog in tow, for sixty seconds. Then I walk until I catch my breath and take off again, feet pounding into the dirt, dog’s long pink tongue lolling from her mouth.

That’s the secret. That’s how fairy tale romantic endings fly from my typing fingers at the speed of light, how my house stays clean, and how my thighs are firming up. I’ve learned to do everything in moderation and because of that I’ve become a super sprinter!

Do you sprint when you write? How about cleaning or exercising? Have you ever tried it? What would happen if you did?

This is the last day to enter to win a review copy of my spicy, new adult, paranormal novella with a fairy tale twist: Goldi and the Bear. Click HERE for details.

Subscribe to my new release only mailing list to find out when The Dark Huntsman is released, and for information on special sales, free books, and review opportunities. I promise, no spam, only relevant emails that won’t stuff your inbox.

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania

Interview with author Joan Leacott

Moonday Mania

Today I am interviewing one of my amazing Gaim Goal Setting mates, Joan Leacott. We’ve been setting writing and publishing goals and becoming internet freinds for over two years now and I’m thrilled to bring Joan here for all of you to get to know her better. Not only does she have a terrific book that you’ll find out about, she also has a Giveaway for you, so please welcome Joan and her contemporary romance, Above Scandal

Thank you for inviting me, Jessica. There aren’t any wolves in my neck of the woods. In my series’ town of Clarence Bay, we hear the bark of red foxes from the surrounding forest and the eerie call of loons over the wide water. 

AUTHOR’S PERSONAL SPECIFICS: 

What made you decide to write and furthermore what pushed you to be a published author?

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. At one point, when I had time on my hands, I read a crazy amount of books. One of those books, Like a Hurricane by Roxanne St Claire http://www.roxannestclaire.com/, was so charming and so smoothly written that I thought “I’m going to try that.”

What are your hobbies or other interests that get you away from the stress of writing?

My biggest stress releaser is hot yoga. I never knew I could sweat that much. But I feel wonderful and my skin is so smooth after class. For a positive counter-stressor, I play my piano. I practice for an hour or so every day, and I’ve just passed the Royal Conservatory’s Grade One program. Recitals are whole ‘nuther kind of stress!

WRITING BACKGROUND & THOUGHTS:

Pantser/Plotter/or both? Tell us how you work.

The first book I wrote was done completely panster; 80K words in 5 weeks on a borrowed laptop. That story was completed rewritten twice more, and I swear I wrote 150K words to end up with a mere 83K. That was the end of my pantser career. The evidence is safely hidden under my bed.

For ABOVE SCANDAL, I started with a heavy duty backstory document—all the stuff you’re not supposed to put in the book. Then I created a scanty outline of two sentences per scene: one stating what happened, the other stating the outcome. I played with that outline until cause and effect flowed smoothly through the scenes. When I’d finished with critiques and beta reads, I’d only tossed 3K words. I’m now a confirmed plotter.

What is your favorite part about writing?

The writing that happens after the outline is set. I love having my characters surprise me with how they decide the story will be revealed; their emotional responses, their dialog, how their motivations grow, how their pasts affect their futures. That’s when I really fall in love with my characters.

GENERAL WRITING INFORMATION: 

Have you had many rejections? How did you deal with them? How did they push you?

I haven’t had rejections; some writers would call it a piffling amount. Each one resulted in self-doubt and dashed hopes. After taking a few days to whine to my writer pals, I’d shrug it off, and submit again. It’s the bolstering I got from my real and online friends that kept me going. Thanks for being one of them Jessica.

What made you choose to go the indie route and what are some of the things you love about it? Challenges?

Most of the rejections were form rejections, stating no reason. A few rejections said the agent or editor couldn’t connect with the characters. I was just frustrated enough that I contacted a freelance editor to see if I could get a reason for the disconnect.

Kristin Anders http://www.theromanticeditor.com/ nailed the reason with just her sample edit. The very talented Kristin guided me through strategic edits that buffed my story to a lovely shine. At the same time, I was exploring the ways and means of self-publishing, and decided to take the plunge.

The biggest joy of self-publishing is connecting directly with my readers. It’s just me, telling my story to someone who wants to listen. The biggest challenge is finding those cherished readers. 

BOOK SPECIFICS: 

Title: ABOVE SCANDAL

Genre: Small-town contemporary romance

ISBN: ebook: 978-0-9920028-0-1 print book: 978-0-9920028-0-0

Length: 355 pages

Publisher: Woven Red Productions

Buy links: http://www.amazon.com/Above-Scandal-Clarence-Chronicles-Volume/dp/099200280X/

Release date: June 25, 2013 

Did you have a favorite scene?

The scene where eleven-year-old Hayley proposes to Ryan. At this point, neither of them knows they’re father and daughter. She’s a kid searching for a daddy and he’s a man tempted to let a young girl set him up with her mother.

Is this a series? Will there be any sequels to this book?

ABOVE SCANDAL is the first novel in the Clarence Bay Chronicles set on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, Canada. The second novel, SIGHT FOR SORE EYES will be released on November 23, 2013.

joan leacott above scandalGIVEAWAY 

 ABOVE SCANDAL is now available in print! To celebrate the release, I’m giving away one FREE print copy shipped to the winner’s real live mailbox. Click on my Rafflecopter giveaway and sign up for my newsletter for your chance to WIN a print copy of ABOVE SCANDAL. Click on the other options for additional points to increase your chances.

BOOK BLURB

Three generations of Rossetti women are hoarding secrets.

Cathy Rossetti’s secret is Hayley, her outspoken ten-year-old daughter who’s about to meet her family for the first time. Sadly, it’s taken a terminal illness to bring Cathy back to her hometown.

The elder generation of Rossetti women guards a thirty-year old secret with the power to rock Cathy’s world. Will her mother take their secret to her grave, or will her aunt break her punishing vow of silence?

Hayley hates secrets, so she’s sleuthing around Clarence Bay looking for her daddy. Is it her new BFF’s father or mayoral candidate Ryan Chisholm or Ryan’s handsome campaign manager?

Ryan has a secret, too. He’s still in love with Cathy, his high-school sweetheart. For a man running his election campaign on a platform of honesty, this could cause problems. Will dumping his popular fiancée cost him the election? And if Cathy still loves him after eleven years absence, she’s not telling. 

EXCERPT

Chapter 1. Homecoming

Home. Memories of screaming matches, slamming doors, and bitter tears rose on a sour wave of bile.

Stopped in the driveway of the big red brick house, Cathy unglued her fingers one at a time from the steering wheel and put the idling Lexus in reverse.

“Mom, is this Nonna’s house?” ten-year-old Hayley asked.

Cathy nodded.

“Mo-om, are you okay?”

Maybe. If they let us in.

“Just nervous, Hayley sweetie. It’s been a while.” Eleven years since life had driven Cathy away. Now death drew her back.

Through the rear-view mirror, she glimpsed Ryan’s house across the street. Did he still live there?

Low pewter clouds bustled overhead. If only her memory could be cleansed as easily as the rain washed the dusty roads and sidewalks of Clarence Bay.

Sighing hard and deep, Cathy put her car in park and turned off the engine. She climbed out, smoothed her sleeveless pink blouse over her black jeans, and pushed her eyeglasses up her nose. A chilly raindrop splat on her shoulder and ran down her pristine front. She shivered and groaned at the mess.

Hayley giggled. “Better’n bird poop.”

Cathy’s tension eased just enough to permit a wry huff before snapping back like a hard rubber band. Holding hands, they walked up the front path to the deep porch.

“Well, here goes nothing.” Cathy pressed the doorbell with a trembling finger.

“Don’t worry, Mom. It’ll work itself out.”

Cathy’s jumpy gaze skittered over the old house and its property—the neatly mown lawn, the freshly dug garden without a weed in sight, the sparkling windows. Somebody had a great way with yard tools.

The screen door rattled as the inside door opened. Zia Yola, grown softer and rounder in Cathy’s absence, stood gaping at them.

“Ciao, Zia Yola,” Cathy said in Italian and held her breath for her aunt’s reaction.

Zia Yola’s hands fluttered to her pale cheeks, her dark eyes huge above her stubby nails. Her gaze bounced between Cathy and Hayley as if she didn’t quite believe her own sight.

“Are you my grandmother?” Hayley asked.

joan leacott authorBIO

Joan Leacott lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son. She attends piano classes, melts in the hot yoga studio, and writes authentic multi-generational stories of people living and loving in today’s world.

CONTACT INFO:

Author Web or Blog Site: http://joanleacott.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoanLeacottAuthorPage

Twitter: @JoanLeacott

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Joan-Leacott/e/B00DM8HK6O/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Filed under guest post, Moonday mania