Category Archives: Writing

Hot, Steamy, Dirty Parcheesi

What about friends and family? When you’ve written a book that contains explicit sex, what do you do about the people who might want to read the book, but be a little uncomfortable reading the steamy bits? My sons, for instance, who knew I was writing this book? We talked about it frequently. In fact, I’m sure they grew bored listening to my incessant chatter about Sara and the hot guys.

They wanted to read the book. One of them is an adult, and the other is a fairly enlightened teen. In other words, they know about sex. But knowing about sex, and knowing what your mother knows about sex are two rather different perceptions.

I wanted them to be able to read it, so I thought I could create an abridged version, just cut out the parts that were heavy with sex. Knowing this would leave gaps in the story, they suggested that I use some code, or euphemism to replace the content. Thus the Parcheesi version was conceived.

They suggested that whenever the characters in the book were making particularly descriptive love, I should just insert “They played Parcheesi,” or some variation thereof. That is what I did. It actually turned out to be fun, and often funny. I used our newly created euphemism even in places it wasn’t necessarily warranted, for instance, “Eric was a notorious Parcheesi player,” and “Sara couldn’t imagine playing Parcheesi with someone she just met!” My personal favorite: “If I was going to play a one night Parcheesi game, it would definitely be with you. Really! It’s not that I don’t want to.”

The Parcheesi euphemism has now established itself firmly in our family lexicon.

Is this a dirty picture‽

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They simply took up residence

I had been hard at work on a sequel to my first novel when something unexpected  happened.  A new couple, Claire and Aaron, dropped in to my imagination, and demanded that their story be told. They were quite insistent, and I could not convince them to wait their turn.

So, I veered onto another road – a quiet a cul-de-sac in a distinctly upper class neighborhood in Ann Arbor. Claire and Aaron Delecroix live in a beautiful house on the tree-lined street. It seems they have everything – love, success, family and friends.

Claire is a middle-aged woman, and she loves her much younger husband passionately and deeply. Aaron returns her love with steady devotion and tender regard – he wants only for her to be happy. A perfect couple …

Yet it seems that things are not as idyllic in the Delecroix home as they appear on the surface. What happens there, when the curtains are drawn? What drives Claire to seek fulfillment elsewhere?

black-dress

I was compelled to find out, as Claire refused be silenced. I wrote everything down as I followed her through a byzantine labyrinth of love and betrayal, lies and broken promises, and ultimately, redemption, and a triumph of sorts, of the heart.

Release date TBA.

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It was so real …

Like many authors, I have a day job.  And a teenager.  And a life.

So, I write when I can.  A couple of hours in the evening, as much as I can on weekends.  Scribbling notes furiously at lunchtime.  Sitting in the customer lounge, waiting while my car is serviced…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oops! I said my car! My car is being serviced! (Perk of being a writer: you can let your thoughts take you anywhere …anywhere.)

This past week, I did something different. I took the entire week off specifically to work on my current novel. There was some procrastinating, but mostly, I worked diligently. I had a complete draft at the beginning of the week, and wanted to spend the time editing.

It was an enlightening experience. I’ve never been able to spend such a large amount of time with my characters all at once. Immersing myself in their story, so deeply, and without interruption proved intoxicating! I fell asleep in my story at night, and woke up with my characters in the morning. It reminded me of the clear and unfettered imagination of my youth.

This is what it must be like to be a full-time writer! Days spent watching the story you created as it unfolds. Arguing with your characters when they won’t do or say what you want them to. Feeling their joy and their hurt as you lovingly guide them on their journey. I’m so sorry, Claire, that I made you weep so much!

Today is “back to reality,” and I feel as if I’m waking from a dream. I did not know I was still capable of being so deeply absorbed in the fantasies of my own mind. And while I don’t mind too much that I need to wash clothes and dishes, and run to the grocery store, I feel just slightly despondent, because I don’t know if the same Claire and Aaron will greet me when next I sit down at my desk to type. Will we still be as intimate as we have been the past week?

I hope so! Claire still needs to navigate the labyrinth of shame and guilt she is trapped in, and I’m pretty sure only I can help her. And Aaron? Well, who wouldn’t want to come home to him?

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The Internet is SO Shiny! The Uneasy Author/Internet Relationship

The author/internet relationship is never easy.

As a writer, I love the Internet. There is no better tool for researching even the most minute of details. I needed a timeline of cell phone development – when did they become commonplace? When did texting become the most prevalent form of communication? At what point did a camera become standard on a smartphone? When did phones become smart?phone

The novel I am working on now scans decades, and It was only a couple chapters in that I recalled cell phones were not widely used prior to the 90s, and texting and connectivity came even later. A quick Google search returned a number of results that gave me the details I needed.  Did you know that the Nokia 3510, released in 2001, had a functional calendar, and an FM radio? Très cool …

It is so convenient to be able to find the menu of a particular restaurant, an exotic vacation destination, or the name of an interior design technique without ever leaving your desk. You are already at your computer, because it is here that a writer works. It allows you to keep the rhythm of your writing while not requiring a come back to this notation. “1978,” you can type with confidence, “was the year of the Great Blizzard.”

On the other hand …

As a writer, I hate the Internet. It is so damn shiny! It is so easy to be distracted from the task at hand. So many ways to veer off track and waste some time! There is social media (FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram and more!), news, videos, cooking sites, travel sites, history, humor, pictures, shopping, books, discussion forums from a-z, pages with lists of links to things you never even knew you wanted to look at, and CATS! So many cats!phembly

And all that is before you’ve even opened the file containing your current project!

Even when you are really working you can be so easily sidetracked! For instance, for this article, I found myself scanning articles and looking at old pictures of the snowstorm that paralyzed Michigan in 1978. That was a helluva storm! Or when researching cell phones, I read about the Motorola Razr, and remembered when I had one, I hacked it so I could use my own ringtone … which led to finding the song, which reminded me of another song … and next thing I know, I’ve spent 45 minutes listening to old songs I love on youtube.

While it’s true I do get a giggle out of telling people that part of my job is scrolling through endless picture of hot guys, this can be a serious pitfall. Go to the Adobe stock photography site, and do a search for “sexy man” You’ll see what I mean! I don’t consider that time wasted, by any means, as marketing is part of our job, and a romance writer needs pictures, but certainly it can be a distraction (albeit a super pleasant one).

So what is the solution? I do not know. Most days, I can put my blinders on, and stay focused. Other days, I strike an acceptable balance.

Then there are the days I am so completely distracted, I wonder if I should be writing a retro sci-fi story about what the Great Blizzard of ’78 would have been like if hot guys had cell phones back then …

melting snow, hot kiss
melting snow, hot kiss

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Resolution for the New Year

Write something every day. Every single day! Whether a chapter, or a blog post, an article for my newsletter, or a guest post somewhere.  Twitter posts and Facebook updates do not count. The criteria will be meaningful content that moves my current projects along.

I’ve become so lazy! I will do better in 2017. Plan for the year:

everyday

I still have a week to get started with my new habit …

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

The Stunning Wit of Dorothy Parker

dorothy

I am in love with Dorothy Parker this week. I like to think she and I would have been great friends. It’s said she sharpened her tongue in the morning after brushing her teeth. She was a wise, witty woman. A bit ahead of her time, perhaps, but her words transcend such constructs.

Dorothy Parker on writing:

I can’t write five words but that I change seven.

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem

I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money.

On sex:

Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

It’s a small apartment, I’ve barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends.

Ducking for apples – change one letter and it’s the story of my life

On love:

Look at him, a rhinestone in the rough.

By the time you swear you are his, shivering and sighing, And he vows his passion is infinite and undying- Lady, make a note of this: One of you is lying.

On life:

I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn.

And my all-time favorite:
fresh-hell