Go Inside the Insanity That is a Writer
As a writer, I belong to numerous discussion loops whose evil plans are to crash my in-box under the weighty heft of insightful discussions on the industry, craft and whether your cover should feature more or less skin. However, one day someone sweetly shared a link to a very insightful blog about being a writer. After picking myself up off the floor, I quickly forwarded it on to the other, like-minded individuals of my critique group, and then, because I’m mean, I made my hubby sit down and read it.
I sat on pins and needles (okay, so I basically stood over him with a blunt object) and waited for him to be swept away by the genius evident in the post. He laughed, which was good–nice to know the warped sense of humor I married him for all those eons ago is still there–and then he looked at me with (gasp!) pity?!!! What the hell? No, no, no, he was suppose to say, “Oh honey, now I understand why the Prankster Duo and I have to exist on unidentifiable left overs and delivery, while you sit in a dark office illuminated only by the flicker of a computer screen and why you sometimes resemble Gollum from Lord of the Rings (that’s the weird little dude who glows in the dark for you non-nerds). It all makes sense!”
Did he say that? Um, nope. Instead his response is, “It’s okay baby, I knew that when I married you and I still said ‘I do’.”
Seriously?? Did he not see the mad genius that exists in each writer’s mind? It’s a mad babble of voices that fight for supremacy while leaving minor things like groceries, doctor appointments, eating, and basic hygiene, scrambling for solid purchase in their frenzied wake? There’s a reason a writer will stare at you with a bemused smile while their eyes keep darting off to the side in the midst of your conversation. Really, they’d love to listen to you but it’s a bit hard when the characters in your head start to get pushy and demand exclusive attention. I know, it sounds a bit psychotic, but it’s not our fault. It’s why we write!
Growing up, every book or movie that caught my attention (Star Wars, Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three, Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising, and oh so many more) would end up being rewritten in my head. A new character would join the cast—the female bounty hunter that made Princess Leia look like a wimp, the female wizard that kept Taran the Wanderer from wandering, or the brand spanking new character that joined Bran and Will in overcoming the looming evil to wake the Old Ones—and the story would adjust accordingly, starring a character that eerily resembled, well, moi.
Eventually what transpired in my head made it to paper via an electric typewriter. Now days, my shiny desktop fruit helps me capture the worlds and characters in vivid detail for others to enjoy. On some level, I’m hoping to spark that same need to add and rewrite in my readers. If I’ve done my job right, it should work and I’ll have dragged another poor, unsuspecting soul into the maddening world of a writer. If not? Well, then I must try again, and again…
I once read something that clicked even though it was directed at musicians. They said to make great art, you had to expose your soul, even though some things are better left safely in the dark. Those that fear exposing such darkness are constantly tormented by the fact they can almost touch the creative beast, while those who grit their teeth and reach out may burn, but the beauty of such exposure ensnares those around them.
Much like playing or creating music, writing demands a price from its creator. Every writer uses their own experiences in some way or fashion to help put life into our characters and create believable worlds, but it’s also one of the scariest things we’ll ever do.
The next time you run across one of us, be gentle and understand, regardless of the genre (poetry, children’s books, songwriting, screen writing, mystery, romance, etc.) published or unpublished, we are writers and it’s not as simple as sitting down and typing out a string of words. We’re sharing with you something infinitely precious, so if you damage it, expect repercussions. You may find something familiar about that character we killed off in horrible ways in our next book. Yet, if you share how much you enjoyed our stories, you’ll make a writer’s week. Heck, maybe even our month.
Pick up SHADOW’S EDGE for FREE for a limited time and dive into the shadows of the Kyn…
When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.
As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.
Come find me if you dare…
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Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.
Much of the year we take our daily walk in the daylight or early twilight. But southern Nevada June temps have driven us to wait until after nine in the evening – and even then sometimes it’s still over ninety degrees.
The upside? Getting reacquainted with the night sky. Our RV resort has an irregular shape, so as we walk its one-mile perimeter, we can take in the 360 degrees of the night sky from a range of viewing angles.
To the west as we begin our walk, Venus, Jupiter and Leo’s largest star, Regulus, hang suspended like brilliant spangles on the strand of a necklace. I can’t remember seeing Venus look so large or so bright, but it turns out this happens every eight years or so, a combination of when it is closest to earth, and when its angle to the sun illuminates the greatest portion of its surface, from earth’s point of view. Watch your night sky the next two or three nights to see the waxing crescent moon in the vicinity of this stunning necklace. Here’s a photo I took at dusk in April in southern Arizona, waxing crescent and Venus.
Our next turn takes us facing south. Arcturus is nearly overhead – but we’ve learned we can always find it in any season by following where the handle of the big dipper points. Dropping toward the horizon from there, we find Virgo’s largest star, Spica.
As we turn east, the Summer Triangle of Vega, Deneb and Altair (in Lyra, Cygnet and Aquila, or the Lyre, the Swan, and the Eagle) is just starting to rise. When we first bought our telescope and began to study the night sky, this landmark – or perhaps skymark – formed the anchor of our summer sky. In that season it sits directly overhead in the evening, is visible from dusk to dawn, and is a roadmap to the Milky Way.
And finally the north, with the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Cassiopeia, and the North Star, probably the most familiar part of the sky, Why? Because our night sky circulates around the North Star, and these constellations never set, though this week, here, Cassiopeia is lost in the haze close to the mountains on the northern horizon.
This doesn’t always happen, but last night as we gazed north, I suddenly experienced the sensation of being wrapped in splendor and flooded with gratitude.
Feast on this collection of 22 Contemporary and Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy Erotic stories from bestselling, award-winning and multi-published authors, in this limited-time anthology. All stories are exclusive new content and can be read without reading the series, but will be icing on the cake for readers loyal to each saga.
JUST DESSERTS – A Collection of Bite-Sized Delights
22 Bestselling, award-winning and multi-published authors bring you the naughtiest delights.
Michele Bardsley ~ Honey Bear ~ The Pearson’s Security Series
Renee George ~ Alpha-Bites ~ The Cull: Claimed by the Alpha
Jodi Redford ~ Perfect Passion ~ Perfect Chemistry
Zara Cox ~ Indigo Velvet ~ Indigo Lounge Series
Renea Mason ~ Tasting Paris ~The Good Doctor Trilogy
Piper Denna ~ Confidential Craving ~ Fantasies Inc. Series
Erzabet Bishop ~ Black Magic Café
Iyana Jenna ~ Strictly Professional
Anne Lange ~ Blind Taste Test
S.J. Maylee ~ Common Grounds
Terri George ~ Feast on Me
Lee Rene ~ The Sweetness in the Pudding
Mindy Larson ~ Sweet Tooth
Felicity Kates ~ Super-Sex Me ~ The Little Miss Kick-Ass Series
Emma Nichols ~ Sinfully Sweet ~ The Sweet Series
Libby Sinclair ~ Cake Topper ~ The Incarnation Chronicles
Rissa Blakeley ~ A Little Taste of Naughty ~ The Shattered Lives Series
Mariah Kingsley ~ Sugar and Spice
Rosemary Rey ~ Always the Last One
Persephone Jones ~ Cherry Tart
Christine Severin ~ Cherry Lips
J.S Snow ~ Claiming
Let’s talk about sex
… All about writing erotic… A mini multi-author interview guest post.
Why did you choose to write erotic works?
Erzabet Bishop: I started writing erotica after 50 Shades. When I read it, I thought ‘I could write this. How much fun would that be?’ And so I looked for a book on how to write erotic romance and it led me to the ERWA site. From there I found my first submission call and wrote a holiday fetish story and a zombie story. I’ll never forget that first payment for a story I’d written. It was an amazing moment. I haven’t stopped since.
Iyana Jenna: Because that’s what thrills me. It gives me ‘feel.’ J Though maybe my work is more leaning toward sweet romance.
Kate Reedwood: I fell into it by accident. Or maybe it fell into me? Either way it makes a fun, ah…diversion from writing traditional romance
Persephone Jones: I don’t know if I so much chose to write erotic works as what I write happens to be classified for marketing purposes as erotic romance. I just transcribe what pours out of me. I love writing about relationships and how people relate to each other through their sexuality. Plus, it’s fun. I write what makes me happy.
Libby Sinclair: All my stories have an erotic element that needs to be experienced or the characters don’t feel as real. Humans (and aliens) are sexual creatures and hiding that part of ourselves only leads to problems. Passion drives most of what we do so the reader needs to feel it too.
Mindy Larson Gilbert: Not to copy Renea, Persephone, and Kate, but I don’t feel that I chose to write erotica, but rather, my characters chose me. And just like everyone else in the world, they choose to have sex. Again and again. I’m just lucky enough to give them life. And love. Hopefully I can fulfill all their wishes and make their dreams a reality in the pages I write.
Autumn Piper: I also write mainstream (read: not quite as hot) romance as Autumn Piper. When the characters demand the love scenes are more detailed, it becomes a Piper Denna story.
JS Snow: Erotica is really not my scene, it’s more for my alter ego, and I’m more typical romance genre. I love the naughtiness I can get away with in erotica where it wouldn’t fly in contemporary romance. Take a walk on the wild side baby!
Renea Mason: I don’t know that I chose anything. My stories pick me. Perhaps it’s my affinity for character driven stories that makes the allure of writing sex so appealing. The way we make love reveals so much about who we are. It’s a mystery in itself, and my books are always part mystery. It’s the one time, all that a person hides from the world is revealed. Sex is always more than sex in my stories, it’s a journey. And since sex unearths a character’s secrets, it tends to build curiosity for the reader in addition to the physical erotic response to seductive words on a page.
Rosemary Rey: I’ve been reading them for much longer than I should have. I think it is beautiful to describe a sexual encounter and the emotions and thoughts of the characters. I love books which connect sexual relations with a mysterious plot. I read once to write what you want to read, I love erotic suspense and it was a natural fit. However, Erotic works are an exercise in writing. I plan to write a fiction book that will have romance but no sex. If I can write descriptively in Erotica, I think I can write this fiction book.
Rissa Blakeley: When I started writing, I was going to leave all that behind closed doors. To be honest, I was embarrassed to write such…interesting scenes. I had been reading paranormal books with some erotic scenes for quite some time. Once in a while I would share a scene with The Boss (my husband). He asked me a few times if I was going to write those types of scenes in my books, and I said ‘NO WAY!’. He mentioned he thought I would do well at it. So, with The Boss’ encouragement, I wrote my first scene of naughtiness in Broken Dreams. After I shared it with him, he said, ‘You need to write more of that!’ And here we are…
Anne Lange: When I hit the first sex scene in the first story I wrote, I didn’t even contemplate leaving the bedroom door closed and letting the reader use her own imagination for what was happening. Frankly, I wanted her right there, experiencing the same sights, scents and sounds as my characters. Living and breathing the moment with them. Relationships, sex, love and everything that goes with it is part of our lives, whether we openly admit it or not. And it’s through those moments, real or fantasy, that our strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and vulnerable spots are exposed. And, honestly, it’s fun. I like to write about things we’re not necessarily comfortable talking about – those sinful things – even if it’s only in our fantasies
What is the hardest thing about writing a love scene? (No snickering)
Rissa Blakeley: Worrying what my mom is going to think! She reads all my stuff and sometimes I cringe at the more aggressive or more detailed passages
Erzabet Bishop: You have to think about where all the moving parts are and after you write several love scenes, it takes some creativity to get things moving in a fresh new way. Sex is sex, but a writer has to give it that spark that makes your toes curl and draws you in.
Rosemary Rey: None! My problem is writing dialogue, knowing what is necessary in a scene, but sex scene is description and feelings and those of us who’ve had sex can visualize the action and know the feeling when he touches the nape of your neck to bring you in for a long lingering kiss, and your breath halts–expectant and needy. It is simple for me. Everything else seems like work.
Libby Sinclair: I have difficulty with mechanics. I’ll get my couples twisted into pretzels then realize if so-and-so is bent over this, legs can’t be over there with arms over there. I might write about sexy aliens with special abilities but I’m sure they can’t detach limbs.
Persephone Jones: I would say the most challenging aspect of writing love scenes is keeping them fresh and interesting every time. As authors of erotic romance, we write a lot of sex. How to make each scene unique and specialized for the characters is hard but fun work. J
Iyana Jenna: Writing a love scene IS the hardest thing. I usually slow down and sometimes stop writing altogether when I come to that part. I really need to learn a lot about it. Hot scenes are the hardest part!
Mindy Larson Gilbert: You guys took all the good ones! I totally agree with all the above. Guess I should’ve answered quicker, but one other aspect that springs to mind, is staying focused on the story as a whole and not get completely sucked into just the sex scenes.
Kate Reedwood: Finding a quiet spot to do so. One cannot write a sex scene on the couch with people looking over one’s shoulder. Unless there is titanium strength duct tape handy to mute the snickers…
Anne Lange: Not making it sound just like the last one I wrote. Repetition in action, narrative, logistics, etc. is, I think, a big hurdle. It can’t become predictable or mundane, or a bunch of flowery prose, but at the same time is has to be believable, realistic and something the reader will (hopefully) really get into.
Renea Mason: Since I write ménage, it’s making sure I have all of the appendages doing the right things.
Is it difficult to write erotica?
Erzabet Bishop: Sometimes when I’ve done several in a row I have to think about what I’m doing with the sexy scenes. You have to be creative and make it sing.
Mariah Kingsley: Yes. I watch a lot of porn to find different things to do.
Anne Lange: I personally don’t consider myself an erotica writer. I prefer the label erotic romance because the focus is on the love story, it just happens to have (sometimes) naughty sex with BDSM or muliple partners.
Kate Reedwood: I close my eyes and imagine I’m a camera in the room, watching what my characters do. The problem is in the language, and finding new ways to keep things fresh sounding without it becoming too technical or flowery.
Rosemary Rey: Not for me. I think the hardest part is feeling like there is never enough time to write innovative stories. The hardest parts are the story surrounding the sex. You still have to grip the reader. If your characters and their relationship don’t develop properly, then you can lose your reader, regardless of how hot the sex.
JS Snow: It is because there is a difference between erotica and romance. You want to write something great, but most of the time it ends up reading like a porno movie complete with the cheesy music.
Rissa Blakeley: Yes. I spend a lot of time visualizing the scene in my head over and over, while putting the words down. Making sure the scene is believable, sexy and not too much or too little can become overwhelming.
Renee George: I think it can be difficult to write erotic scenes well.
Libby Sinclair: Yea and no. Yes in the fact that society has such a stigma against healthy sex and no b/c in the end, writing is writing. You just have to make sure it makes sense and conveys the emotion you want.
Persephone Jones: It’s not difficult to write but it is difficult to love it when you’re done. I’m my own worst critic so I’m never satisfied with the finished product.
Mindy Larson Gilbert: As long as i’m alone, I can do it. It’s difficult to let go and get in that magical place to evoke the sex gods if I have someone reading over my shoulder.
Terri George: I’m not sure that what I write is Erotica. More Erotic Love Stories. If you mean do I find it difficult to write sex scenes, yes. I’ll sometimes move on to the next part and go back to ponder on them. It’s all about the emotions my characters are feeling at the time really (hot intense passion, or emotionally damaged after a major fight etc) once I’ve tapped into that, I go from there.
Renea Mason: Not At All.
Join the Just Desserts Release Party on June 20th on Facebook… to meet with the authors and for a chance to win prizes…