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Guest ~ Why Did I Write That Book by Skhye Moncrief

Hi, everyone! And thank you, Adriana, for inviting me to mesh with the pulse of your little neck o’ the woods in your part of the universe. I thought I’d share one of those crazy little moments I had that turned into what I think is an excellent marketing tool for a blog post. This epiphany sparked when I saw a friend promo-ing her blog post–Why did I write that such-n-such? I can even recall what in the heck the post was about. But I immediately thought A BOOK! You know, that moment an idea is born! That initial idea the birthed a novel…So, this is the post I created to discuss the significance of the first novel in my Werescape series–set on post-apocalyptic Earth. Get your howl on because we’re talking werewolves! *wink* I’d like to discuss what I tried to do for anyone who wants to give this type of promo post a shot.

1. Keep the subject matter focused.
2. No excerpts, blurbs, quotes. This post is a WHY post. Not a few minutes of forced feeding readers with blatant promo. I keep my blog posts extremely focused to avoid blatant promo unless I just outright post an excerpt. Then I use the title EXCERPT: Story title (genre) or First Chapter (story title/genre). Then people know what they’re getting into. 😉
3. I navel gaze. Always have after studying 80 hours of anthropology. This type of post is introspection. You spill your guts in a focused manner.
4. I’m a pigeon-holer. So, I categorized my reasons the chosen story came to be. Remember, this is an explanation to reveal anything that someone might try to explain after you die. Think analytical!
5. I always have links to previous WhyDidIWriteThatBook posts. This way you have an excuse to list other posts of the same species, hoping the curious might hop over and read another. You know, promo more!

Why Did Skhye Write WERESCAPE: COUGAR?

Why a Futuristic Setting?

I love to read and write about other cultures. This means world build. It’s a byproduct of studying anthropology and geology ad nauseum. So, I always seem to write about the future. You can do anything you want in the future if you make sense out of it. And in the future lies the past. That pretty much explains the subject matter of my stories. Where humans are today. Where they are going. What they did along the way that placed them where they are in the future, i.e. cultural context. Equally important is how change through time is perceived by the members of a culture. Before I became consumed with writing fiction, I pretty much lived to read about the origins of everything in hard and soft science (focus in school–geology [my BS] & bio-archaeology in grad school). No, I never learned everything. That’s impossible. But I realize my interest in such things is definitely an outgrowth of my fear of things being lost…

I remember where I was sitting when I heard the last wild white rhinoceros had been killed.  I also remember the shock on the faces of the old timers who ran the facility the semester I did my museum-curation internship at a small local museum when I insisted they save all the paperwork they’d accumulated through the years. They wanted to trash PROVENIENCE. Sorry, but you just never know what’s hidden in those documents that might make a difference in future analyses. Call me a killjoy. But they muttered and stacked their piles and piles of printouts and ledgers back on the shelves. Archaeology is just one of those fields of science that will improve with time. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! You might need that original documentation for something one day…

So, when excavating in grad school, I often struggled to record everything as accurately as possible while other students were just there for the grade, eyeballing me like I had spiders crawling out of my nose. Call me obsessive compulsive now. They didn’t care about the past whereas I worried some tiny little scrap of evidence, the missing piece in the puzzle, would be lost. I’m not about to hurl my body in front of a truck to save the evidence though. And I’m not one to man a picket sign. But I’ll prop them up along my characters’ paths in my futuristics. This accounts for the subtle or blaring doom and gloom in my stories. I can’t help myself. I’m a pessimist. Gloom and doom is my reality.

Why a Post-apocalyptic Setting?

My main reason for writing the WERESCAPE series is my love of post-apocalyptic stories (rooted back in my teenage years) and the TV series, THE COLONY. Even my 5-yr-old daughter got hooked on THE COLONY. My mind was crunching ideas every episode… Like when the refugees found a truckload of rotten pig carcasses. Yes. They did. Then the little troopers hauled the putrid flesh back to their camp where one knowledgeable old fellow had them melt the fat down and make bio-fuel. AWESOME! My mind was reeling then. Not because of all the refugees were gagging during the episode. I’m certain the smell was horrendous. OMG, then they tried to cook and eat the rotten meat. Ugh! I’m so not going there in my series. But I was enthralled with this TV show because I love survival. Things that intrigue me most are cultural ecology and cultural evolution. Both of these theories will have a huge impact in writing a post-apocalyptic world. And as much as I read post-apocalyptic stories as a teen, I snatched up survivalist fiction as well. Yes, I was a tomboy! One that read bodice rippers when they first circulated in the 80s. I was thirteen. How was I supposed to know better? And Mom, bless her heart, bought them for me with all the other crazy stuff I read back then.

Why Werewolves?

My mind is always crunching ideas, coming up with different twists on a scene I plan to write, splicing these ideas together, sometimes making something that’s half an apple and half spaghetti. Other times, the ideas really work together and aren’t recycled into new potentially-viable ideas. This is how COUGAR gasped for breath. I’d already written psychic werewolves and suffered from werewolves on the brain (still do because I’m still working onthat series), but I had another werewolf image that just wouldn’t piece together nicely within my original werewolf story world. So, I yanked the spaghetti-apple monstrosity apart. One half rooted into WERESCAPE, my latest werewolf series. The other half, who knows where it went?

So, I opted to write two werewolf series. Both series deal with traditional horror-type werewolves. Forget people shifting into beautiful wolves running through pristine snow. I usually go for the jugular in conflict. So, we have large hulking monsters. The WERESCAPE shifters rip off heads and limbs. They bite too. But the biting doesn’t turn anyone into a werewolf. It’s for marking during mating unless the werewolf wants to kill you. In that case, you’re dead.

Why don’t the bites turn the bitten into werewolves? Because I write romantica, and what woman wants to turn into one of my horror-type werewolves? My stories also always have a happily ever after like traditional romance. But the emphasis works best when focused on sex like in erotica. Romantica has plot though. So, I used biting for reproduction and sex–erotic in that vein. WERESCAPE heroes and their inner Wolf don’t seem to mind the focus. Well, until a hero’s Wolf decides it’s found its mate. To me, that’s the common thread in werewolf romance.

Aliens again, Skhye?

Yes. It’s part of the strange kid I was. I had nightmares about nuclear war. I read everything I could get my hands on about extraterrestrials. Oh, don’t forget Sasquatch! Sasquatch was as interesting as aliens back then. Of course, I grew up. Edumacated myself. Even after debunking everything that entertained my young curious mind in earning 80 hours of credit studying archaeology–not to mention all the geology, I can’t resist writing about the things academics insist there is no proof of…Well, those academics who want to look rational. That doesn’t bother me. I stand there with the rest of them saying hogwash when someone says they found evidence of aliens. However, it’s tons of fun to write fiction about a subject that eats at the subconscious and makes people fidget while trying not to mutter “maybe” in deep thought! And in writing about the future, I get to fantasize that there will be one. Oh, humans and their weaknesses. *clears throat* I’m talking about mine!

Why Jackal?

COUGAR’s werewolf hero was one I’d challenged myself to write. Not because of the movie that inspired me, but because of one actor’s eyes. Okay, don’t laugh. I know everyone is going to gasp “Skhye!” But I couldn’t help it. I had to go to the theater to see REIGN OF FIRE twice. Most people probably didn’t go once when reviewers joked every theater during that summer would be filled with teenage males to see that film. Uh, I said I was there twice. I made my teenage nephews go with me to look like I wasn’t going for myself. Really. But I loved it. I had to go twice! Remember, I love futuristics and gloom and doom.

Then there’s the sweaty-muscle factor with ashes smeared everywhere. That bumped up the movie to a must-possess for the home library. But, to explain Jackal, McConaughey’s character had these eyes that just floored me when I pulled the movie out from where it was buried long ago, popped it in my DVD player to watch while riding my elliptical machine, and noticed all the emotion in his eyes. I don’t recall seeing it in NATIONAL TREASURE or other flicks he’d been in. So, I became obsessed with these eyes…And watched the movie every day for a very long time. Don’t ask. My husband thought I was insane. I just smiled and said I was researching the way the dragons moved. No lie. I have a post-apocalyptic with dragons halfway finished. Back to my point…So, Jackal is my first attempt at applying this strange analysis in a writing. The eyes definitely have it in COUGAR’s origins. And another WERESCAPE (book 3) with the same emphasis on the hero’s eyes but a different twist on how characters perceive him just released, BEAUTY & THE BRUTE  (Read Ch. 1 ).

In Conclusion…

So, now you know way too much about me. *evil cackle* Everyone should be warned that these Werescape heroes have sex in their Wolfskins on occasion. Um, oh, well…It happened. I didn’t plan it. And COUGAR’s tough heroine uses it to her advantage against a man who grates on her nerves. But I worried about that sex scene not working for NCP. So, I sent it to my friend, another NCP author who encouraged me to submit FERAL FASCINATIONS to NCP because of the whole “blood fucker” Feral theme. She said Andrea DePasture would love that term. Well, my friend was right. I decided to ask for her slant on the heroine and hero in his Wolfskin sex scene. All she talks about now is getting big hairy wolf cock. I’m sorry. That’s so crude but sheds light on story theme and heat with COUGAR. And a reviewer saw that somewhere online and PUT IT IN A REVIEW at Night Owl Reviews. Well, COUGAR did earn a NOR Top Pick!

Thank you again, Adriana, for sharing your little slice of pie with me. I hope this post helps and inspires many authors! For loads of posts on SHOW DON’T TELL, other posts on the craft of writing–including world building, guest authors sharing references they used to write their books, or to peruse my Reference Book posts from everything I read in graduate school to things I’ve read to research my various fantasy/paranormal series, visit Skhye’s Ramblings: OTHER WORLDS & REALITIES.  And don’t think that Google isn’t the place to research. Even Stormtroopers have been caught in the act. The links to where you can find me online (Twitter, Facebook, my website, my yahoo-group newsletter, etc.) are all there! ~

 

Brick Dust and Bedsprings

Congratulations to fellow Erotic Author Lucy Felthouse on her latest release!

Blurb:

There are chores to be done, but it’s much more fun to stand at the window and watch the rippling muscles and sweaty torsos of the men paving her driveway- her window sill never got cleaned so thoroughly before!

But when sexy brothers Marcus and Jamie catch their customer looking, the action rapidly moves from the front of the house to the bedroom…

Buy links:

http://ravenousromance.com/ravenous-rendezvous/brick-dust-bedsprings.php

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00631J2BI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelthouse-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00631J2BI

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00631J2BI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=lucyfelt-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B00631J2BI

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-brickdustbedsprings-627149-144.html

*****

Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story – so she did. It went down a storm and she’s never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

*****
Excerpt

I heard the rumble of an engine, and craned my neck to look out of the window. Yes, they were here. My lips curved into a smile, and I scuttled out to meet them.

“Morning!” I chirped brightly. The two men turned from their van at the sound of my voice.

“Christ,” exclaimed the larger and older of the two, “I wasn’t expecting you to be up at this hour!” It was nine in the morning.

“You cheeky so and so. I’m not that lazy. Besides I had to get up to move the car. You’d have struggled to dig the drive up with my car on it, wouldn’t you?”

He winked cockily at me. “Mine’s a coffee, please. Two sugars, plenty of milk.”

“Yes, Marcus. God, what did your last slave die of? Jamie?” His brother looked up from the papers he was shuffling.

“Um, I’m alright for now actually.”

“Are you sure? I was only messing about!”

“Yeah, I’m fine, I’ll have one later.”

I sauntered back into the house and started making drinks. I’d already flicked the kettle on in anticipation of their arrival, and as I poured the milk into Marcus’ mug I chuckled to myself. I’d deliberately used a pink one, just to piss him off. It wasn’t exactly the most manly of mugs, as I’m sure you can imagine. Mind you, it would take more than that to rob Marcus of his masculinity. Mmm.

He wasn’t my usual type. I usually go for the more classic good-looking guy. You know, clean-shaven, nicely dressed, and all that. Marcus definitely didn’t fall into that category. He wasn’t ugly, by any means, but he’d never be on the cover of a magazine either. And you certainly wouldn’t take him home to meet your parents. But he still oozed sexiness out of every pore. Whether it was the fact that he was rough around the edges, I don’t know. Maybe I was looking for a bit of rough.

I handed him his coffee with a cheeky smile. After a questioning glance at the mug, he took a sip. He winced as the hot liquid scalded his tongue. He swallowed slowly. I watched his Adam’s apple contract and relax and felt my face start to heat up.

Against my better judgment I studied him: his broad chest, huge biceps, strong-looking thighs clad in denim. Christ. I felt my pussy twitch involuntarily and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, he was looking at me. Oops. A moment of charged silence, then he smiled, all the while staring at my chest. I glanced down, and wanted to die of embarrassment. My nipples were rock hard and straining against the thin cotton top I was wearing.

“Must be cold,” I blurted, not wanting him to know the effect he was having on me. Marcus looked at me, then glanced up at the burning sun. He raised his eyebrows.

“Right,” I mumbled, desperate to get away. “I’ve got chores to do indoors; gimme a shout if you want anything.”

“Anything?” he enquired.

 

Sapphic Signs: Like Water and Water, by Sarah Ettritch

In the summer of 2010, Lara Zielinsky, a fellow Sapphic Planet author (along with Adriana!), had a brainwave: wouldn’t it be wonderful if twelve authors each wrote an F/F story relating to one of the twelve zodiac signs?

She pitched the idea to Torquere Press, it agreed to publish the stories, and the call went out on the Sapphic Planet group. In no time, twelve of us had stepped up to the plate. Lara ended up writing Skylar’s Pride, the story for Leo, and Adriana wrote The Lady Wants More, the story for Cancer.

Last week marked the release of Like Water and Water, my contribution to the Sapphic Signs line. Like most (I suspect), I volunteered to write the story for my own sign. Gemini had also piqued my interest (twins!), but the deadline for that one was too aggressive for me. So I went with Scorpio, which is a water sign, if you’re wondering about the title of my story.

I’ll tell you the short version of a longer story I told on my blog: My beta reader, who happens to be my partner, rejected the first story I wrote for Sapphic Signs, which put me into a bit of a panic. I decided that writing another story would be easier than trying to salvage the one I’d already written, but would I finish it in time?

I put my nose to the grindstone and wrote the first idea I’d had after signing up for Scorpio. Hmm—I probably should have done that in the first place. Fortunately the evil beta reader gave my second attempt her blessing. Phew!

So…Like Water and Water is actually the second story I wrote for the Sapphic Signs line. The first is languishing in a drawer, waiting for me to take another look at it.

Like Water and Water

 

Blurb:

University roommates Rachel and Barb met in their high school’s zodiac club, where they spent hours doing their Scorpio charts and became best friends. Now Rachel has fallen in love with Barb, but Barb is dating the sultry Carla. When Barb and Carla experience problems, Rachel is uncomfortable with being Barb’s confidante, especially since Barb’s relationship issues involve sex. Finding it more and more difficult to hide her feelings and remain impartial, Rachel reaches her breaking point and makes an agonizing decision.

Excerpt:

The laptop and textbook were in her bedroom. Rachel walked down the apartment’s narrow hallway, then stopped when the bathroom door swung open. Barb stepped out, wearing only her panties and a sports bra. Rachel’s breath caught in her throat.

“Forgot a towel.” Barb opened the door to the nearby linen closet and rummaged inside.

 

Rachel’s gaze lingered on Barb’s firm ass. Heat flooded her chest and travelled down to her crotch. It would be so easy to close the short distance between them, slip her arms around Barb, cup Barb’s breasts, slide her fingers underneath…oh, god. She turned away and mumbled, “Forgot something.”

She fled down the hallway and stood trembling in the kitchen. Thank god Barb had been focused on looking for a towel. If she’d seen Rachel’s face, sensed the raw desire oozing from her every pore . . . Rachel swallowed. She’d seen Barb half-naked before, but her interest in Barb’s body had been nothing more than idle curiosity. She’d never ogled her, wanted her, fought the urge to jump her. Christ, she had to be more careful.

Buy link:

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=78_115&products_id=3382

Bio:

Sarah Ettritch writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance stories. An avid computer gamer, she’s usually playing in someone else’s world when she’s not creating her own. Sarah lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her lovely partner and their four cats. Visit her at http://www.sarahettritch.com .

 
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