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Category: Chatting

Collaborating Muses; Or...Switzerland!

Weekly-ish Update:
Collaborating Muses

I just got back from 10 days in Switzerland with a writing friend who I’d never met before.

Let me say, that is NOT like me. 

But I decided mixing up the patterns of my life–and my muse–might be in order.  And it wasn’t as if it was totally a blind date.  We’ve been collaborating on a screenplay for DEFIANT for over a year now, exchanging extremely lo-o-o-ong emails where we plotted and re-plotted, scripted and re-scripted and generally argued collaborated, rewriting the storyline, honing it to make it work for film.

So, basically, we had an online marriage for a long time before we met in person.

I mean, if you can give up your story to someone, have them hack away and hand it back, bruised and battered, and listen to them say, “It’s better now, see??” and you don’t want to kill yourself, or them, you know you’re onto something.

So, we took a  chance, and planned to spend 10 days together in a foreign land, no family around.

It was AWESOME. We wrote like manics, and plotted like fools, said “no, no, no, no,” to each other a hundred times, and “omg, YES!” two hundred.  It was invigorating and exciting and fun!

I’m working on the screenplay now that I’m back, and already losing the sharp edge of driving focus her contributions gave me.  But I’m committed to getting it back, and making this story work for film. 

Also, I know as soon as I send her my over-blather, she’ll hack away at it, leaving it once again bloody and battered. #sorelieved

I feel like I have my own personal hatchetwoman.  It’s nice to have a knife-wielder you can trust.

Full disclosure: I have a lot to learn.

Do you have any friendships where you know you make each other better, even when–maybe because–it’s sometimes hard to handle?

Hope your summer is starting off with good things, and if you need it, your own personal hatchetwoman..or whatever you need!

Weekly-ish Update-April 7

I had a little moment of panic when I saw my last Friday post had been on March 31. “March??” I thought.  “Aw hell, you mean I haven’t posted since March?”

Yep, Kris, that’s right, you slacker. March. i.e. last week.

Shaking Up The Muse

I’ve been trying to shake up the muse, who keeps wanting to write big old plots rather than honed-in-like-a-laser-beam romances.

I tried dictating.  I tried through a mic, which was incredibly unsettling, to watch the words try to appear, after a huge delay, on the screen, as I was saying them.

So then I set up an entirely internal system, where I dictate to a digital recorder, download the mp3 files to a software program, that runs yet another software program, and the dictation happens software-to-software. 

 

Dictation Results

Much better results, distraction-wise. As far as output…? Here’s a sample

The line I dictated, which had some ‘administrative’ type instructions for myself, ran something like, “She was standing by the window, in a wash of spring sunshine–remember to use the original typed paragraph for this intro–when Brian de Lisle walked in. He smiled at her, tray of food in hand, and kicked the door shut behind him.”

What did it transcribe for me?

–> “Next field decrease her organs store Foster handler for two Mesa County pointe shoes undercover with some bubbles it was a finders crisis.
So are shine.” He said <–

Close. So close. Should speed things right up. 💩

 

Short Story

I’m writing a short story, to use as bonus material for an anthology I’m going to be part of in the summer.  The anthology will include three other historical authors, and we’re going to use existing stories, but include little ‘extras,’ as a way to reach new readers & cross-promote our work.

My bonus contribution is a short story that connects to Defiant.  A paragraph of the short story is above. As is the word-vomit hallucination of a transcription.

 

Contemporary Romances

Dare: I’ve written about 110K on DARE, my sexy contemporary romance  follow-up to SPIN, featuring Finn & Janey Mac, but it’s all circling the romance.  So I’m rejecting all this nonsense, and will keep hammering away.  My goal here is another 50K super sexy story.

Out of His System: About 20K in, and we see, again, the too-much-plot problem.  Curse this story.

Untitled Christmas Novella: DONE!  But it’s in a super rough state, right down to the fact that there are still a lot of incomplete sentences. But at least this shows me I can still actually write.

 

Recent Reads

I finished J.A. Huss’s Anarchy Missing: Alpha Case. Super fun!! Sex and violence and love and crazy shit. So. Much. Fun.

Then I started in on a re-read of Lord of Scoundrels by Lorette Chase.  Because…shaking up the muse.

Hope your week was everything you needed it to be, and your coming weekend is everything you want it to be!

Friday Excerpt! King's Warrior

Instead of an update on the anti-productivity of my week, I thought an excerpt was in order. Read on if you’ve ever wondered if it’s worth it to fight back..

The answer is yes! A resounding yes. Especially if you have an Irish outlaw at your side. 🔥 A word of warning, though: you have to pick your outlaws carefully, and at first, it might seem like you’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake…

King’s Warrior

♥♥♥

She’d never done such a thing before. Never defied, never fought back. It quite stirred the blood.

She felt ten feet tall— no, twelve. Surely her heart was larger now too—it was certainly beating harder than she ever recalled. She felt flushed and hot and full of energy and vigor. Like some wild thing, fierce and unrestrained.

It was…wonderful.

She spun to the knight, who was examining his sword. “I do thank you, sir,” she breathed, her eyes shining.

As if just recalling her, he jerked his head up, then strode over with such intense focus she took a step back. But her heart was still hammering with excitement and power, and she did not feel fear.

He drew up in front of her and cupped her cheek with a gloved hand, then tipped her face up to the dim light of fire and oil lamps.

“Are you hurt?” he asked in a gruff voice.

“No. No, I am quite well, thank-you,” she said politely.

A smile flickering across his face. “Den scoth.”

“And you?” she stammered.

Another flicker of amusement, this time in his eyes. “I am well, thank-you.”

Their eyes were close, so close she could see his were as dark as the rest of him, so deep a shade of brown they were almost black. Their mouths were closer even than their eyes, and their whispered conversation was being held at such close quarters, she felt his breath gust over her lips with every word. Hers skidded across his too, until the air between their mouths became a small heated geyser of the warrior’s breath and her own.

“I’ve never fought off soldiers before,” she said in a whisper.

“One would never know it.”

She smiled, recklessly happy. “I did rather well, did I not?”

“You were magnificent,” he drawled, a low male sound, and the hand cupping her cheek tightened ever so slightly.

Then, proof she’d turned entirely to a wild creature, she grinned into those hard, enigmatic eyes and said in an exultant whisper, “We did it.”

This time, amusement appeared as a full-on, darkly handsome smile. “Enjoyed that, did you? I’ll have to see if I can’t find us a tavern brawl later.”

She laughed, and his gaze dropped to her mouth. He was still cupping her face in his powerful, shockingly gentle hand. For seconds—three, four, five—he simply stared at her mouth, and all that had been fluttery and flushed in her became a veritable river of fast-moving heat and desire.

He is going to kiss me.

The thought made a wash of chills rise through her body as if she was a vessel being filled, then he brushed the calloused pad of his thumb across the corner of her mouth. “Your lip, lass. ’Tis cut.”

As if in a trance, she lifted her fingertip to the corner of her mouth and felt the smallest of cuts. Her fingertips came away with a spot of blood.

“Does it hurt?” he asked.

“Oh no,” she whispered.

His thumb still rested at the corner of her mouth as his gaze made the slow climb to her eyes, and her head tipped back the barest inch.

Oh, yes, he was going to kiss her. And she was going to let him.

♥♥♥

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay

Behind The Scenes: Writing King's Warrior

Thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes at the writing of King’s Warrior, which just released last week. 

His plan was heartless, ruthless, and simple. Until he met her.

My plan for this story was simple, too.  (Not so much ruthless, but then I’m not an Irish warrior….)

I wanted to write a story where the hero exploits the heroine while appearing to help her, a story that would set up the new series I was starting, Renegade Lords.

I originally wrote King’s Warrior (originally titled The King’s Outlaw) for an anthology with three other author friends, Eliza Knight, Vonda Sinclair, and Jennifer Haymore, Captured by a Celtic Warrior (out of print now).  It was terrific working with these ladies, and if you haven’t checked out their stories, do!

The theme for our Captured anthology was, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘captured.’  All the stories were also going to have a jeweled dagger running through them.  The same jeweled dagger. And yet, the stories were going to span hundreds of years.

Since my story was appearing first in the anthology, I  knew I wanted to set up a compelling, exciting ‘story’ for the dagger that the other authors were going to be working with.  But I also had to keep the storyline relatively tight, because these were all novellas—no sprawling 400 pg epics here!  And of course, it had to be über-sexy. All within a ‘captured’ theme.

I wrote and wrote, but kept writing around the story, until I wrote what is now the opening scene with Tadhg, the Irish hero of our story. He’s on the docks in a grubby little French seaport, trying to get out of town before he’s captured by the villain, and, boom, the story took off.

I really loved the challenge of this story, and when it came together, it came together fast and tight. Really fun!

But that was only half of it. Because as I wrote, the story morphed and grew (of course!) and kept getting longer. This hero had a backstory, a big one, with complicated relationships that were going to yanked brought back to the forefront and tested.

Clearly this was not a novella.  And so not all of it could make it into the anthology version. But I knew Tadhg (pronounced /tie-g/) needed to have his story told.  As did Magdalena, his simple, innocent heroine, who, Tadhg is about to find out, has the heart of a lion.

King’s Warrior is their story, in a full, single title release, with loads of adventure and scorching hot passion.

Travel to medieval France & England and get a taste of the Holy Lands with King Richard the Lionheart. Visit a sea town shrouded in darkness and corruption, sneak into hidden caves, and get snowbound in a firelit cottage with no one but a dangerous outlaw and the way he’s looking at you, firelight glinting in his eye… (Yes, there is snowbound-ness!)

I hope you love it.  Let me know; I love to hear from readers!

Have fun in there! 

Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

Weekly-ish Wrap-up: Feb 10

The past couple weeks have been filled with productive but unexciting events of me with my head down, writing. This will undoubtedly result in die-hard readers of this blog turning to one another, if they could turn to one another, and muttering, “Why are we standing here peering through this window when all she’s doing is cursing at a computer screen?”  A fair question.

Rebranding Continues

The rebranding of the historicals continues apace.  And when I saw ‘rebranding,’ I  mean “branding for the first time ever.”  (Full disclosure: you’re in the presence of the worst marketer ever born.)  A couple covers and titles are being revamped, and the entire Renegades & Outlaws series is being renamed, along w/ a new logo.

Gee, I wonder what the new series title is…?  🤔  Okay, actually, I know.   Anyone want to take a guess, comment section is below!

I’ll announce & post pictures when all is done.

King’s Warrior (formerly The King’s Outlaw) off to edits!

Closing in on release date of Feb 28th…. 

You can check it out at Amazon & iBooks and soon, on GooglePlay!  The old title remains on booksellers for now, until the new cover is finished.

Knighting ceremony & Medieval Custard Pie

In the ‘If It’s Medieval, It Counts’ department…at my children’s school, they’ve been studying the middle ages, which includes a “Knight’s Challenge.” This involves the kids setting personal goals related to physical and character improvement (including a 3 hour stint of silence one day!)  and working it on for a month. They also had to do community activity, some service to others.

It’s all wrapped up now, and they’re ready for the solemn occasion of a knighting ceremony & feast to follow!  :rubs hands together:  The kids each make a medieval dish and the parents eat it all.

My child committed to making & bringing apple crisps, which involved very expensive saffron threads (!!) and a deep frying experience none of us will ever forget. Think ‘traumatic.’  It was difficult not to say “I told you so,” but I resisted.

A hasty conference ensued, and the new menu item is a Custard Pie.  Should be easier. And filled with more fat, so it’s a win-win.

A 15th c recipe for fruit daryoles (custard pie) which is NOT the one we used. And aren’t you glad romance writers don’t write in authentic period language??

 

If you’re interested, here’s the amount-adjusted recipe we’re using (God save us, I helped do the math to reduce the original recipe from 2 pies to 1. Will check in after and let you know how it went):

Ingredients FOR ONE PIE

• 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
• 1/4 cup blanched almonds
• ½ c + 1/8 cup cold water
• ½ cup half-and-half cream
• ½ pinch saffron powder
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 ½ eggs
• 3/8 cup white sugar (= 6 TBSP ?)
• ½ teaspoon rose water (NOTE: we may skip because I already bought saffron threads)
• Add all ingredients to list

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Press pie crusts into the bottom and up the sides of two 9 inch pie pans. Prick with a fork all over to keep them from bubbling up. Bake pie crusts for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until set but not browned. Set aside to cool.

Make an almond milk by placing almonds in the container of a food processor. Process until finely ground, then add water, and pulse just to blend. 

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then strain through a cheesecloth. Measure out 1 cup of the almond milk, and mix with half and half. Stir in the saffron and cinnamon, and set aside.

Place the eggs and sugar in a saucepan, and mix until well blended. Place the pan over low heat, and gradually stir in the almond milk mixture and cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken.

When the mixture is thick enough to evenly coat the back of a metal spoon, stir in rose water and remove from heat. Pour into the cooled pie shells.

Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is set, but the top is not browned. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving.