Sunday, February 24, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- Jacqueline Driggers


Hello everyone!  Please help me welcome Jacqueline Driggers to Special Guest Sunday, as she discusses following her dream.

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 Following my dream, 30 years later

I’ve always loved books and reading, going all the way back to my childhood. One of my favorite activities as a kid was going to my grandmother’s house and packing home old books. And during my early years, I was a reading demon. I started writing in high school, and when I graduated from high school in 1979, I wanted to be a writer as a career choice. But breaking into writing back then was quite different than it is now.

Back then, at the beginning of the 80s, the internet was pretty much nonexistent. Desktop computers were brand new. Laptop computers, ipads, ipods, and cell phones were still dreams on some inventors drawing board. Back then, if you wanted to be a writer, you had a limited course to follow. You could write for magazines or newspapers, but if you wanted to do that, then you better have a degree in journalism or something like that. You could go into advertising, writing jingles and ads, yet again, the college thing. You could write books. But ah, to get into this, you needed a lot of luck and probably an agent. It was, put plainly and simply, a hard road to follow.

So after high school, I spent the next two years at home with my parents, and learned to cook really well while I figured out what I wanted to do next. My husband will forever be grateful for these years. What I ended up doing is to go to a local business college, where I graduated with honors with diplomas in secretarial work and computer operations. Turned out to be a great choice. Then I went on to work as a legal secretary and a bookkeeper. During this time I continued to write, more as a hobby. I wrote a Star Trek story for a fanzine put out by a girl I had connected up with somehow. Can’t remember how now.

When I turned 30, I entered a new phase in my life when I got married. During all this, over all these years, I had continued to write as a hobby. It was how I expressed myself best. I wrote one fictional story, poems, and some non-fiction pieces. Which brings us up to now.

I used to be a big reader, but had gotten away from it over the years. With the advent of ebooks, I got back to my enjoyment of reading again. I also had been reading about the new self-publishing trend. With facebook, and computers, and the internet, and self-publishing; I kept thinking about how I wished I had all of this when I graduated from high school wanting to be a writer.

Then in April of 2012, I opened up my word processing program and started writing a fictional novel. And so began the process of my finally pursuing my high school dream of being a writer. That novel I started back in April is up to 4 chapters now, and I know what I want to do with it. I also have a cookbook in the works, as well as a poetry and short stories book too. Besides this, I have the ideas for over 40 separate books.

But before that, when I first got online, I started writing. First on the gather website, then in my blog. I still have that first blog, which was just about me sharing my opinions on stuff. I simply call it ‘Sharing About’ now.
-- http://jdshare.blogspot.com/ --

Now I have 8 facebook pages and a total of 6 blogs. Also, I have several groups as well. See my facebook note for the links for all of these. -- https://www.facebook.com/notes/jacqueline-driggers/links-for-my-blogs-facebook-pages-and-groups/10150947645299887
Plus I now have a website as well - http://emforjd.wix.com/jdwrite --

I have started doing book reviews. And I have started doing editing work as well. To learn more about my editing and what I charge, check out my website.

So yeah, some 32 years later, I am finally pursuing my dream of being a writer. And I’m staying quite busy these days. Anyone needing an editor, just get in touch with me. I would love to work with you.

Want to get in touch with me? You can do so via my website (link given above), or my writer page on facebook --
http://www.facebook.com/jdswrpg
--jd--

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Thank you so much for stopping by Jacqueline!










Sunday, February 17, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- Gayl Taylor



 Hi everyone,

Please help me welcome Gayl Taylor as she shares her best advice for aspiring authors.


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Hello Readers! And thank you so much Sally for having me today. Admittedly, I had a hard time coming up with an interesting topic. I am still a very new author despite the fact that I have been writing a very long time. My first book was published nearly a year ago. I am still finding my way, and discovering what drives a story.

The best advice I could give aspiring authors is write something every day whether it is 500 words or 5000. Don't get too caught up in the mechanics, it can distract you from reaching the end, and tell the story that's in your heart. Stay true to who you are. I adore and immerse myself in many romance genres, especially paranormal or Regency. I love them, hands down. What draws me to the genre is the fantasy aspect, the way I am transported to another time or place. Yet, I couldn't write a Regency or paranormal to save my life.

So…

I write what I know and I infuse bits of me in everything I write. Each of my characters can be a reflection of me and my experiences. My books are contemporary erotic romance with an emphasis on the romantic and sensual aspects. My characters are not perfect; in fact, they are far from it. This is what I hope makes them and their story believable to readers. My characters are flawed, stubborn, willful, sexy, and loving.
My current release, The Hero Sandwich, was co-written with a good friend and critique partner, Karyn Gerrard. This story is a f/m/f cougar erotic romance about three people who have endured loss. This story is close to my heart for many reasons.

Links:

Blurb:
A wild night of meaningless sex is all best friends Connie Hollingsway and Nicci Sullivan have in mind when they approach a beyond handsome, younger man in the Cougar Cave bar. They soon realize they have taken on more than they bargained for.

Barrett Michaels just found out he was cut from the Double A baseball team he played for. To drown his sorrows and ease his pain, he goes to the Cougar Cave looking for a one-night stand with an experienced, older woman. Imagine his surprise when not one, but two women suggest a night of mind-blowing sensual pleasure with no strings attached.

Can three lonely people keep pain, bitterness, and grief at bay or will emotional fireworks tear down the walls surrounding their hearts?

Excerpt:
As far as Connie Hollingsway was concerned, she'd just found the meat filling for her hero sandwich. She cast a quick glance to her best friend, Nicole Sullivan, and amended her statement to our hero sandwich.

Bass from inane techno music reverberated off the wood-paneled walls of the club called the Cougar Cave that she and Nicci were at tonight. Connie's gaze slid back to the man sitting alone in a booth directly across from them and further down the wall. The man, in a word, was perfect. Ascertaining his age was difficult under the flashing strobe lights, plus he sat directly underneath a neon sign for Budweiser, which cast a reddish glow over a stunningly rugged, handsome face. The layered and tousled hair looked as if he had just rolled out of bed. Milk chocolate would be the way she'd describe the color. Like all young guys, he had a scruff of facial hair, but Connie's keen eye could make out the sexy cleft in his perfectly shaped chin. There were six empty beer bottles in front of him, and he'd just waved his arm to the waiter for more. A sly smile curved about Connie's mouth. If man-meat was drunk enough, he may be open and willing to consider her suggestion.

Leaning toward Nicci to talk about her idea, the words died in her throat when man-meat stood, shook off his leather jacket, and hung it on the coat rack attached to the back of the bench seat. He was taller than she first imagined, a few inches over six feet to be sure. A skin tight black T-shirt hugged every valley and plane of his powerful physique. Man-meat was cut, chiseled, honed, and sharpened into hardened precision, enough to rival those marble statues of Greek gods. The T-shirt, tucked into a pair of incredibly tight blue jeans, showed his torso to sculpted perfection. Fabric strained across rock hard thighs, a muscular ass and—Connie's held breath whooshed out in a moan—showed off his impressive package to perfection.

She had to get a closer look.

While his build and his aura evoked a certain maturity, there were no telltale lines fanning out from the eyes to show he may be in his thirties, nor were there heavily cut lines around his mouth. Damn, how young was he? Who cared? He was getting drunk at the Cougar Cave so naturally the man would be interested in an older woman.

Wonder how he would feel about two women?

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I love hearing from readers and you can find me at the following places:

Blog: http://gayl-taylor.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GaylTaylorAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gaylschat
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/gayltaylor







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Thank you so much Gayl for stopping by!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- Dianne Hartsock


Hello everyone!  Please help me welcome Dianne Hartsock as she discusses how to keep the romance alive.

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Keeping the Romance Alive

Hello! As the writer of m/m erotic romance, I'm often asked how I keep the romance in my stories and not let it fall into strict erotica, where it's all action and no passion. It's fairly easy for me to do. I'm a hopeless romantic! I couldn't possibly write a story without my men being very much in love.

For inspiration, I not only turn to my husband, who loves to romance and spoil me (I'm so lucky!). But I have an extensive collection of romance novels from 1880-1920's. Talk about romance with angst! These men go through fire and heartbreak and separation before they reach their HEA with the person they love. I've shed many tears over these sweet, pure love affairs.

I like to approach my stories with this same goal, having my men find true love by the last page. Of course they have to suffer first! I want my readers to feel and relate to their struggles, and cheer with them when they finally hear those beautiful words, I love you. 

I've been reading romances since I was thirteen, Jane Austin, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, all the classics. They write of love as a pure ideal, something to strive and sacrifice for. I like to think I take that romantic fervor and apply it to my own writing.

But I not only read these old classics. I love the m/m romance gender and gobble up every book I can find! They not only help sharpen my own writing skills, but if they can make me laugh and cry, I know I've found an author I can enjoy and who reminds me what love is all about.

In my newest release, WEE WILLIE WINKIE, Willie has fallen in love with a man far below his caste in society. The perfect setting for heartbreak, but also for true love to find a way to bring two lonely men together. Yes, I think being a hopeless romantic has made it possible for me to keep the
romance alive in my stories!



WEE WILLIE WINKIE

For the past three years William Wilkerson has led the life of the privileged rich. Head of his father’s shipping business, Willie indulges in the pleasures of Boston’s fine young men to his heart’s content. That is, until he meets Fredrick,, the one man who has captured his heart , again.

As his former tutor, Fredrick has been declared off limits by William’s father. Fredrick also believes he's beneath the attention of Wilkerson’s heir. Willie disagrees, but is he willing to throw away rank and privilege for the man he loves?

Excerpt:
Fredrick held up his glass and stared at the candle's flame through the amber liquid. He took a sip, savored the rich, biting taste on his tongue. He welcomed the burn down his throat. This was the very last drink he could afford, and he had to make it last.

A giggle erupted from the booth in the corner, the one whose curtains were drawn against curious eyes. A smile tugged at Fredrick's lips despite the dire state of his wallet. The laugh had been carefree, joyous, naughty. Fredrick shifted on the cushioned bench. Only a few straggling customers remained in the dining room. He wondered if any of them would notice if he shifted his cramped cock as it throbbed in sympathy with the bright laughter.

Rather than risk it, he watched the fruit vender outside the window beguile a customer. Another giggle and stifled moan swiveled his attention back to the corner. A silk-clad foot and slim calf peeked beneath the curtain. He grinned even as the delectable sight emphasized his own loneliness. It had been far too long since he'd had someone in his bed.

"Excuse me. Sir?"

Fredrick looked up, distracted from his memory of lush lips and white skin and wide, hazel eyes, and blinked at the stout innkeeper at his elbow. "Yes?"

A frown fleeted across the man's homely face at another bout of laughter from the corner. "If they're disturbing you, I can have Wee Willie take his guest upstairs. Excuse me, I mean Mister Wilkerson." The man broke off, flustered by the slip of the tongue.

Fredrick's heart leaped on hearing the name mentioned. Is William really here? How could that be? The innkeeper coughed, and Fredrick frowned at the intrusion into his thoughts. The man was so damned serious about such a minor indiscretion. "They're no bother. In fact, I'm almost done anyway." He lifted his nearly empty glass. Hearing a shout, they looked over in time to see a young man tumble through the curtains onto the floor. Fredrick caught a glimpse of red hair and an embarrassed cheek before the gentleman crammed a hat on his head and strode passed them, face averted. The innkeeper shrugged and followed, likely to be sure he paid for his drinks.

Fredrick stared at the silk-clad foot still protruding from the parted curtains. He loosened his hold on his glass but had no way to stop the wild hammering of his heart. Before he lost his courage, he stood and swallowed the last of his brandy, then walked the short distance to the booth.

A grin tugged the corner of his mouth at his eagerness. It had been three years, after all, and they'd parted in anger. Would William acknowledge him? His hand trembled as he drew aside the heavy curtain and allowed his gaze to travel up the silky hose to bright blue trousers. Blood heated his face when he found the laces undone at the waist and the silk shirt open to expose white skin and rosebud nipples.

A sigh brought his gaze up to the pretty face that stirred his dreams. Rich brown curls surrounded lovely hazel eyes and full, pouting lips. He groaned when a delighted smile revealed the even, white teeth that had nipped his collarbone on more than one glorious occasion. "Freddie, is it you?"



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Thank you so much Dianne for stopping by.  This looks like a really hot read!



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- Gerald Hornsby

Hi everyone,

This week, please help me welcome Gerald Hornsby as he discusses how to become a writer.

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HOW TO BECOME A WRITER

Writing is tough work. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. I know, we all have this mental image of being a writer, sitting on a stone balcony overlooking a Tuscan or Proven├žal vineyard, a parasol protecting us from the harsh midday sun, typing a few words into a laptop every now and again. A couple of weeks later, the novel is finished, and off it gets sent to the publisher to become (yet) another best seller. Ah, the life.
Cue reality stepping in. Jobs, families, children, social media, even sleep do their best to interfere with our writing tasks. The distractions for writers are worse than they have ever been, and it’s so easy to say to ourselves “I’ll write tomorrow. Definitely.” Then tomorrow comes around, and it’s the same old, same old.
But the key thing here is forcing people to write. The habit of writing every day, once learnt, becomes difficult to unlearn. Consider this: a page of a typical paperback book contains around 250 words. Anyone can write a page of a book a day, can’t they? If you did that for a year, you’ll have written a 90,000 word novel. What were you doing a year ago? Pretty much the same as now? If you’d have made a commitment this time last year, you would have written your book. How good does that sound?

The arithmetic is simple. The practicality is difficult. Finding time in our busy lives is hard, especially if you have a full time job, have children at home, or you’re a carer for someone.

I can type at around 1,000 words an hour if I know what I’m going to write. Allow for some thinking time, and you could say that 500 words in an hour should be straightforward. Writing a page of a novel should take me half an hour.

Read any ‘how-to’ on writing, and they will almost invariably say something like “as an author, you need to have a space to work, and a time when you shut yourself off to write.”

I totally disagree with this. Finding a place in a house full of children and toys and clothes and washing and games consoles is difficult at best. So a lot of writers don’t try. “I don’t have a place where I can write, so I can’t be a writer.”

Nonsense. My most productive period as a writer was when I had a full-time job which took me all over the world, especially driving around the UK and Europe. I wrote in hotel rooms, I wrote in lunch hours, I wrote when I got home before I went to bed, I wrote on trains and planes. You must learn to writer wherever you can.

I remember watching one of those “Building a Dream Home” programmes on TV, and one of the main themes of this particular episode was that the man of the house needed a writing room, overlooking a forest and open countryside, where he could be inspired to write his novel.

After completion, the house had a wonderful room, with a desk and a laptop positioned for the cameras, overlooking the forest and the open countryside. “I can now get on and write my novel,” our man said.
In the catchup 2 years later, the house was still beautiful “Have you managed to write your novel?” the presenter asked. “No, not yet,” was the reply.

You don’t need a special room or house or hut to write. You need a laptop or a notebook and pencil. That’s all.

Stage two of my “How to Write” book addresses the when. “When can I write? I don’t have an hour to myself during the day, what with housework / kids / cooking / working / etc / etc / etc.” And if you look at it from the point of view of ‘needing’ at least an hour or free, uninterrupted time to yourself, you won’t do it. It’s impossible to find that chunk of time during the day for most people.

How to address this? Lesson 2 - learn to write in short stints. Put the kettle on for a cup of tea or coffee, pick up your work in progress, and write. Don’t wait for the ‘muse’ to visit you. Don’t sit there dreaming of how great your novel would be, if only you had time to write it. While the kettle is boiling, write a paragraph. If you’re stuck on your novel, write something else. I always have at least 3 works in progress.
If you don’t feel like writing on one WIP, don’t go and mess about on Facebook or Twitter. Write a blog post, or a short story, or put down into an ideas document that brilliant idea you had while you were down the shops or driving to school or sitting in the bath or walking the dog.

Most of us have clever mobile phones. Find out if there’s a way you can make voice recordings. There are a number of apps around for doing just that, and you can talk into your phone for 20 seconds, and that brilliant story idea is stored until you can transcribe it later.

So, to recap, there is one way you can become a writer. Write! And there are two don’ts.
* Don’t try to create a ‘space’ to write in. Learn to write sitting in front of the TV, in the kitchen, in bed, whilst sitting on a train / bus. During your lunch hour.

* Don’t put off writing until you have a ‘proper’ time to write. Learn to write in short stints. During the news on TV. While you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. When you’re waiting outside school to pick the kids up. Set your alarm for 15 minutes early, and write.

You need to actually write something before you can sit on that balcony, overlooking the vineyard. Write a page of your novel today. And the next one tomorrow. This time next year, you’ll have written a novel!
This piece was written over a period of 2 hours, during which time I also walked the dog, prepared and ate lunch, watched a programme on TV, and took the rubbish out to the bin outside. And as I type, this first draft consists of 1058 words. The equivalent of four pages of a novel.

http://geraldhornsby.wordpress.com/


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Wow, Gerald, that is something I'm struggling with right now, is trying to train myself to write in little bits and pieces.  I find the easiest way to do that is to keep doing it.  The more often I do it, the less I have to reread what I wrote, and then pick it up after where I left off.  If I write in little chunks constantly, I already know where I left off.  Very inspirational and practical.

Thank you so much for stopping by!