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Posts tagged with: Unsinkables

Guest Author: Abigail Sharpe

I am so happy to be hosting my friend and fellow Unsinkable and Forever Romance author, Abigail Sharpe today. Her debut novel, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy?  is out this week.  And since I have a real weakness for cowboys I can’t wait to read it.

Abigail is blogging today about a subject I struggle with — writing that all-important sex scene.

Sex and the Reserved Romance Author

AbigailI wrote a romance novel.  It’s called Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? and it’s out this week.  And yes, it contains that three letter word, SEX!

I see a lot of sex questions on author message boards for romance novels.  How much is too much?  Do you even need it at all?  Can you just throw one of those scenes in there to up the word count?  And I know the answer:  You do what’s right to advance the story.  Sex for the sake of sex?  The reader will know.  And not be happy.

There is one question I don’t hear at all:  How do you write it when you can’t even look at your monitor?

Yeah, that was me.  I could *read* the physical scenes without a problem. I’m not shy and I’m not a prude, but WRITING lovemaking?  Or just some down and dirty sex?  Geesh.  I blush when I just think about penning an erotica.

I mean, I crack dirty jokes with the best of ‘em.  (Two horses fell into the mud.  See?) But I didn’t create those jokes.  I heard them from someone else.  The sex scenes in Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? come straight from my own imagination.  Listen – I’ve been married for 15 years and have two kids, but… what if my MOTHER reads my story?  She’ll wonder how I know some of these things AND will realize I’m no longer a virgin!  And if she shows her friends?  Oy.

I remember when it was Time.  I was at the point in Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? where the hero and heroine were ready to DO IT.  They had been interrupted several times over the course of the story already (looking back, that was probably my own reluctance to actually WRITE the scene) and I had deprived them for long enough.  So, in my technical-writer-as-my-day-job way, I wrote their sex scene.  Very step-by-step.  And with my eyes closed and facing away from the monitor.

Editing was even worse.  Because then I had to actually READ what I had written.  You can’t do that with your eyes closed. Oh, and READING it at critique group?  Fugetaboutit. I talk fast normally, but MAN!  I was like a horse at Preakness.

Once I got more comfortable with the idea that I had to write sex if I wanted the characters in my novels to have sex, it got a little easier.  A little.  I’m fortunate my critique group will tell me if there are flying body parts or if it reads like a technical manual.  Even if I am still trying to read the draft with my eyes closed.

So how do you DO IT?  I mean write sex scenes, of course.  I need all the help I can get.  And one commenter will win a digital copy of Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy?

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WWTMACCOVERThere’s nothing florist Ainsley Fairfax won’t do to help her sister get the love of her life-even if it means taking her place on a bachelorette weekend at a Wyoming ranch so Cecelia can sail off with the man of her dreams. Ainsley is determined to spend the time keeping her head down and her heart safely tucked away-until an encounter with the ranch’s hunky owner gets her heart-and steamy desires-to bloom . . .

Riley Pommer doesn’t want to be lassoed into any relationship. But with the family ranch in dire straits, Riley knows his sisters’ crazy plan to turn the ranch into the setting for a dating competition-and using Riley as the bait-is the only thing standing between them and foreclosure. But the rules of the game change the instant Riley lays eyes on the spirited Ainsley. Now, as others try to stampede over their love, can Riley prove to Ainsley that true love is a prize worth fighting for?

***
Abigail is a Boston-bred Yankee now eating grits and saying “y’all” in North Central Florida. She dreamed more of being a stage actress or joining the CIA than being an author. While she still enjoys participating in community theater productions and singing karaoke, the secret-agent career was replaced by hours at her computer, writing stories of love and laughter and happily ever after.  Her first novel, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? is being released May 7, 2013, by Grand Central Forever Yours.

Abigail lives with her husband, two kids, and one crazy princess puppy who masquerades as a sock thief when she thinks no one is looking.

 

Unsinkables Rising! How the Golden Heart Class of 2010 Has Soared This Year

Hard to believe, but in JUST ONE WEEK, calls will be going out from Romance Writers of America notifying the as-yet-unnamed Golden Heart Finalists for 2011 that one of their writing dreams has come true.

Many hundreds of talented hopefuls—all driven enough to have finished romance manuscripts, and brave enough to have sent them off for RWA judging—are probably already glancing anxiously at their phones, wondering what might happen to their writing careers if they get that “Golden” ring.

What does it really mean to be named a Golden Heart Finalist? How fast do things change once you get that call?

Guest Debut Author (and Unsinkable) B.A. Binns

Today we welcome back 2010 Golden Heart Finalist and BRAND-NEW DEBUT AUTHOR B.A. Binns!  Her book, PULL, is getting great reviews, including this  shout out from Courtney Milan, who said on her blog (courtneymilan.com):

“Pull by B.A. Binns is one of the most powerful Y.A. books I’ve read all year….[The protagonist’s] character is so strong, so powerful, that even through (especially through) his terse denials, you can feel so much. I got more raw emotion from one of David’s curt ‘I don’t cares,’ delivered at the right time than I do from most books….I was up until 1 AM reading, even though I had a 6 AM flight the next morning, and I got up half an hour early just so I could finish….This book is seriously, utterly, powerfully compelling.”

Wow! Can’t wait to read it!

Thanks, Barbara, for blogging with the Rubies today!

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Readers are rude.

I heard this from an editor at a recent conference who went on to explain: If a reader finds your words boring they will put your book down and may never pick it, or anything else you write, up again. And my experience in publishing my debut Young Adult novel, PULL, has shown me that readers aren’t alone.  Agents and editors share that quality: you bore them, you’re done. Which leaves me thankful that contest judges do not. They read the entire submission and send back their response, good, bad or very ugly. I treasure their efforts. How else would I know if my work was ready for that toughest audience of all?

Guest Author Erica O’Rourke: Fun-Sized Candy and Entry Fees – Strategies For The Golden Heart

We’re delighted to welcome back 2010 Golden Heart Winner Erica O’Rourke, who graced the cover of the most recent issue of RWR:


In addition to radiating some serious RWR glamour, Erica’s got  tips and insights today for those of you contemplating entering the Golden Heart:

Abigail Sharpe, 2010 Golden Heart Finalist, asks WHAT SCARES YOU??

Fill in this blank:  I really wish I could_____, but I’m too scared.

I bet you could ask that of your characters, too.  What do they fear most?

Whether it’s fear of rejection, fear of failure, or even fear of success, it can be a paralyzing experience.  Sometimes sitting down to write a story can be scary.  Submitting it to your critique group is even worse.  And the most terrorizing of all?  Clicking SEND after writing that email to your dream agent.

Meet 2010 Golden Heart Winner G. Jillian Stone

A Tale of Two Book Offers

Hi, my name is G. Jillian Stone, and in the space of less than one month I have gone from 2010 GH finalist to Golden Heart winner for THE YARD MAN. And as the Aussie guy who sells the onion chopper on TV says––but wait there’s more!

Meet 2010 Golden Heart Finalist Nan Dixon

Nan_Dixon_(Nancy_Evertz)

The things I learned in business and how they apply to writing

I wasn’t always an aspiring writer.  Until my second year of college I was an aspiring actress.  Burned out from the grind of performing in 50 productions, I turned my sights to business, specifically accounting.  I climbed the corporate ladder in a railroad, a group medical practice and a pharmaceutical company, and attained the top of the Finance positions — VP and CFO.  I was used to working 60 to 70 hours a week, surviving on minimal sleep and juggling all the balls in my life with a husband and 5 kids.  When the last company I worked for was purchased, and it gave me the chance to do what I was passionate about – Write.

For most of my life I’ve been a closet writer.  Commuting hours were spent developing plots.  For years, I never told my family why I kept my laptop next to my bed.  I actually dictated an entire book while commuting and could barely keep up with the transcribing.

I learned a lot in the corporate structure that has helped me pour my passion into writing.  I thought I would share some of my thoughts today.

Make a plan

  • Define your long-term goal

For me the ultimate goal is publication.  Once you know your goal, you need to define the steps or short-terms goals in order to actualize your goal.  You can either work forwards or backwards.  Let’s work forwards.

  • Complete your manuscript
  • Make it shine

Completing the manuscript was never a problem for me.  I have almost ten first drafts sitting around.  (The head-hopping in the first books makes my heart ache.)  I also spend one week a month on new WIPs through Book-in-a-Week .  The remainder of the month I revise and edit completed manuscripts.

Making my books shine is a problem.  So I took local writing classes and joined MFW – my local RWA chapter.  I take on-line courses.  My bookshelves hold half-read craft books.  (Come on – you think they’re boring too.)  I’ve found great critique partners who have helped hone my craft.  I think they like to read craft books more than I do!

  • Test the waters

I am a contest junkie.  I’ve gotten great – and not so great – feedback from contest judges.  If I agree with the comments, I make changes. 

  • Take Risks — Expose yourself to possible rejection

Initially, I only submitted partials when requested through a contest.  Now, with the 2010 Golden Heart Finalist in my credentials, I’ve begun querying both agents and editors.

I also submit to on-line or conference critiques.  This netted me a manuscript request through the Golden Network Retreat.  You just never know when the door to opportunity will open.

  • Make a professional impression

Dress for success and work the conferences.  I’m an outgoing person, but sometimes I love anonymity.  You can’t fade into the crowd at conferences.  You are working.  In Orlando, I introduced myself to every person who had a partial or full manuscript in their offices.  Hopefully, I made a positive impression.

  • Writing is a business – suck it up

Rejection isn’t fun, but it is part of our world.  Don’t let it get you down.  They are not rejecting you as a person – just your book.  As much as it hurts, you need to have really thick skin.  Everyone will not like your writing style, or plot or characters.  You need to find that one person who can be your advocate.

I visualize myself one day standing at a podium holding up a stack of rejections and saying “I got published.  You can to.”

Writing isn’t easy.  It’s a job and one that I sit down to 7 days a week.  I keep a spreadsheet (yes – number crunching is in my blood) to track how much time I really spend writing.  This does not include checking email or the loops.

In both business and writing, putting in the hours to learn your craft, polish and be professional should pay off.  I’m hoping so at least!

What life lessons have you learned that translated positively into your writing?

Meet 2010 Golden Heart Finalist Lynda Bailey

lynda bailey

You Write What?

Romance, baby.  With a capital “R.”

Why?

Because in romance, the good guys win – all the time.  It’s what separates romance from love stories.  Only bad guys die in a romance.  Romance stories always have an emotionally satisfying end.  After three or four hundred pages of the hero and heroine fighting the odds–and each other–they wind up living “happily ever after.”

And then of course there’s the sex.  With a capital “S.” And that can be pretty darn satisfying, too.  On several levels.   😉

Meet Golden Heart Finalist Kenneth Zak

Kenneth_Zak

Confessions of a “man” in romance, 2010 Golden Heart Finalist Kenneth Zak:

 Golden Heartfelt thanks Elisa for my first ever guest-blog invitation.  Talk about trying to squeeze into ruby slippers, well here it goes.  I’m a Vespa-driving poet, writer, surfer, swimmer, attorney from San Diego, California.

But a man in romance you ask?  Well, I was haunted by a poet contemplating suicide and a woman searching for eternal love and realized they were plodding along opposite ends of the same path.  Realizing nothing more than a breath separated the two, poetry and prose poured into a tale filled with mystical sea turtles, mermaids, sunken treasure and the young woman’s search for the reclusive poet, his muse and the myth of eternal love, culminating in The Poet’s Secret, 2010 RWA Golden Heart Finalist (romantic suspense).

Chatting with MFW’s Unsinkables!

Midwest Fiction Writers, the Twin Cities-based chapter of The Romance Writers of America, had a stellar contest showing this year, with two members (Helen Brenna and Kathleen Eagle) being nominated for RITAs, and five – count ‘em, FIVE – members being named as Golden Heart finalists.

Four-time Golden Heart nominee Greta MacEachern, nominated in the Romantic Suspense category for Dangerous Summer, couldn’t be with us today (hi, Greta!), but Minnesota’s other four Unsinkables are here for a round table chat!

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The Latest Comments

  • Darynda Jones: I’m seeing so many familiar names!! Hello everyone and thank you for joining us. Congrats on all...
  • Hope Ramsay: I love these posts. So inspiring! And keep those beautiful covers coming.
  • Tracy Brody: Fabulous to read more GH success stories of friendship and using the GH creds to move forward. Best...
  • Julia Day: Thanks for visiting us today and letting us check in with where you are.
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Thank you so much for your honesty about your experiences, Starcatchers & Lucky 13s!...

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