Category Archives: Uncategorized

Giveaway and Book Tour: If I Were Fire by Heloise West

Hey guys, this is out tomorrow. Really good MM historical. Go check out the excerpt!

Misadventures of the Heart


Author Name: Heloise West

Book Name: If I Were Fire

Release Date: September 16, 2015


In 18th century Siena, Count Salvesto Masello has returned home to find the family villa and his father’s estate steeped deeply in debt. In order to save it, he has been selling off valuable family heirlooms, but he is running out of silverware. Somewhere in the villa his deceased father had hidden the art treasures that will pay the debt, but Salvesto can’t find them anywhere.

Amadeo Neruccio has been on the run from the vicious pimp, thief, and pawnbroker Guelfetto, but his toughs finally catch him and bring him to the cellar where Count Masello is selling off his silver. When the count learns what fate Guelfetto has in store for Amadeo, he intervenes and trades the last of his mother’s dowry for the young man’s freedom.

Salvesto had left home over…

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Guest Post and Giveaway: The Back to the Sky Blog Tour with Katey Hawthorne

Source: Guest Post and Giveaway: The Back to the Sky Blog Tour with Katey Hawthorne

Lead Me To You Now Available for Preorder!

Lead Me To You thumb

Who takes their claustrophobic boyfriend spelunking for his birthday?

Henry can’t say no to Jaime. So, despite his misgivings, he lets Jaime lead him into the bowels of the earth for a surprise. In the intimate dark, he discovers that his love for Jaime is stronger than his fear of imminent death at the hands of Mother Nature.

And Jaime has an ulterior motive that will make all the hyperventilating worth it.

Find it at:       

200So ridiculously excited about this. I feel like a big girl author now, with my own self-pub stuff and all. Lol. It’s also going to be in Kindle Unlimited, because that’s what you do with shorts, right? I’m curious to see how it does.  With Unlimited being so fluid, it’s hard to predict what might happen. Fingers crossed it goes over well. 🙂

You Might Be a Writer If…

This is so true. And she’s given me some ideas. (Hey, NSA, my job has just been made redundant. Got any application forms? I can type, and I make a mean coffee.)

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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A lot of “stuff” has been going on in my life lately. Hard stuff. Heavy stuff. The kind of stuff that just makes me want to write massacre scenes….except I am so brain dead I had to google how to spell “massacre.”

Masicker? Missucker?

WHAT AM I DOING???? *breaks down sobbing*

I am supposed to be an adult an expert okay, maybe functionally literate. Fine, I give up! I have nothing left to saaaaayyyyyy. I am all out of woooords *builds pillow fort*.

I figured it’s time for a bit of levity. Heck, I need a good laugh. How about you guys?

We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us. Am I the only person who watches Discovery ID and critiques the killers?

You are putting the body THERE? Do you just WANT to go to prison? Why did you STAB…

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Conversations With My Editor

Me: While out picking up broken branches under the old poplar tree, my subconscious set out the fix for my issues with the pacing (ie. trying to keep Julian out of other people’s beds, but in Leo’s for a while).

And, it has proved to me, once and for all, that I’m a pervert.

Editor:  That’s one of my favorite things about you.


The Most Glorious Friday Ever

The dayjob is done!  And, for a few wonderful moments, I contemplated all the free time I was going to have.

Until I remembered all the stories I owe to various places. *waves a sad goodbye to wasting time on the internet*

But cool that I now have all sorts of time to spend on writing. But maybe not tonight. Soooo tired…

We’ll see if this coffee kicks in. Lately, I’ve been finding that coffee doesn’t have the effect it used to have. Probably from downing anywhere between 6 and 8 cups a day just trying to stay vertical. (Oh my poor liver!) Time to wean myself off. Do they have a methadone equivalent for coffee?

I think tonight I might have a long bath and read the rest of James Scott Bell’s Super Structure. Sure, he poked my red button by saying that pantsers were lazy, but other people have spoken highly of it, so I’ll give it a whirl.  And maybe I’ll clean up the disaster zone my office has become. Once it’s clean, you guys can see the new computer. But not until then. Because I really don’t want the world seeing the depths of slobbery I can descend to.

So, I have until August first to finish the FBI story. September first for the Christmas story. I should finish the weresquirrel soon. The fireman I will pick at, because it’s related to something else that is in revisions right now. Culture Shift is a ‘pick at’ story, and I should really get back to Furface, because I think I need to figure out some of that before I can finish tweaking the prequel in that series. And, at some point, I want to start working on Garnet’s story. Who’s Garnet, you ask? She’s a very special, lovely lady, whom I hope someday you will have the opportunity to root for. 🙂

Friday Hot Flash: Midsummer Madness Flash Fiction Blog Hop

I should write something for this…

Misadventures of the Heart


Is it Summer yet?

Join us for the Midsummer Madness Flash Fiction Blog Hop!

July 4th, 2015

 We’re looking for MM Romance flash fiction of 1200 words or less for our blog hop.

Original fiction, no sketches or excerpts, and can be from previously published stories and universes.

photo credit: N05/7423442168″>Strawberries via photopin(license)

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Three Dirty Birds Talk about Take Your Pants Off! Another try to convert Kate

Okay, that really isn’t the title exactly. It’s Libbie Hawker’s Take Your Pants Off! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing.

The Three Dirty Birds are back, once more throwing themselves into the fray and trying to turn Kitty into a plotter. Today we’re talking about Libbie Hawker’s Take Off Your Pants! (which seems weirdly appropriate for people who all write erotic romance)

Ana: I feel like I’m in a sect and trying to get Kate to join.

Kate: One of those cults. Oh no, they’re brainwashing me!

Ana: I never thought I’d be in a plotting cult.

Zoe: I wish I’d had this book two years ago. 😦

Kate: If any book is going to do it, it might just be this one. She strikes very close to the Seven Point Plot Outline that I’ve had some success with. (Mostly because it just points out the signpost moments in the story.) But the story she tells at the beginning–I’d love to be able to do that.

Zoe: Someone in another group I hang out in said that they’re a lot like the Save the Cat beats with different names.

Ana: I might have to look into that because I wasn’t happy with all the names.

Zoe: I’m not familiar with the Save the Cat beats, but in the discussion it was said that it calls the Ally the Love Interest, so I’m not sure the names are much better. 🙂

Kate: We could do a comparison for our next book.

Ana: The Ally isn’t the Love Interest in my plotting. But maybe that’s because I write Romance?

Kate: That’s what I think.

Zoe: No, I think it’s just that the “love interest” doesn’t have to be an actual love interest—it’s just a weirdly named beat.

Kate: Zoe, you’re going to have to explain that a bit more, because I’m not getting what you’re talking about.

Ana: Maybe that there isn’t a love interest in every book?

Zoe: I can only explain so much since I haven’t read Save the Cat, but apparently his ally role is called “love interest,” although it doesn’t have to be an actual “love interest.”

I think that Libbie’s beats pair nicely with James Scott Bell’s 14 signposts from Super Structure (also mentioned in Write Your Novel from the Middle). They hit different points, different aspects.

Kate: Another one I have to read. I got sidetracked by a book on character naming, which is way more interesting than I thought it would be.

Ana: There’s a book on character naming?

Kate: Sherrilyn Kenyon, through Writer’s Digest. She goes into naming conventions, then gives a bunch of names by nationality.

Zoe: Naming conventions would be useful if you’re writing non-Anglo-Saxon characters…or fantasy.

Ana: If I were writing non-anglo-saxon characters from a country whose naming conventions I’m not familiar with, I’d probably look at a few of those top 100 baby names list for a few years… I mean, from a few different years, not that I’d be looking for years.

Zoe: lol I thought you’d be looking for years at first. I’m not sure the baby naming sites would help—they just give first names. I had to name a Hispanic character in a book recently, and looked up those naming conventions specifically. (Then I had to look up how it was handled once the family was an American Hispanic family because the character is actually second generation.)

Kate: That’s how this book handles it. There’s a section on Japanese and Korean, Ana.

Ana: Ah yes, I rarely think about last names. I’m good with Japanese! Probably won’t write Koreans.

Kate: The Japanese section talks about last names too, and how a married couple can take either his or her last name. Interesting, weird little tidbits.

And, we’ve gotten off track again. (Not like there’s ever a day where we don’t 🙂 )

Zoe: We have. So Libbie sets out in the beginning to tell you that her method will help you gain more confidence in your stories at the outline stage and write faster. Having now read it and done three outlines and gotten back to work on my WIP, my thoughts on that claim are “yes” and “maybe.” I can see myself taking less time in rewrites because I’ll have fewer story problems to fix, but I’m not sure that I’ll first-draft any faster.

Kate: I’m looking forward to trying it out on something from scratch. I have two in-progress stories that I’m trying to work on where I plan to give it a whirl, but I don’t think it’s the same thing.

Zoe: Ironically I started a new story from scratch last night…and haven’t outlined it yet. (But her book still helped, because I wouldn’t have been able to grasp what I have if I hadn’t just learned all that stuff about character flaw.)

Ana: I tried the outline thing on a short project I’m working on now, and it’s going well so far. I’ve yet to test it on something longer, but will probably do so soon. At least, with this outline I get my story split into chunks that I can make into story goals so I know how much to write each day and about how long it’ll take me to get to the end.

Zoe: Yes! I made a list of scenes in Evernote with little checkboxes next to them, then broke them into days, with more scenes on weekends than weekdays, and now I can see that I can finish this draft by the end of the month. (I love ticking the little boxes…though I’m contemplating switching to index cards for the next one.)

Ana: I want little boxes to tick!

Zoe: Get you some Evernote!

Kate: I love having a goal to write toward, which is why the 7 Point Structure worked pretty well for me. But it would be nice to have more smaller goals, so I’m not spending days writing toward one goal, but can accomplish one or two each day. (Push the button, get a pellet. Repeat.)

Ana: I’m almost sad this story I’m writing isn’t going to be submitted anywhere. I already have a synopsis!

Zoe: Lol!

Kate: 😀

I can certainly see the point of having an outline, or a serious plan, when you start writing. Libbie’s story about taking two years to write one book, then three weeks to write the outlined book, is one of the reasons I keep coming back to the “There must be some way to make it work with my brain!” idea.

Zoe: Kate, I have to ask now that you’re about halfway through the book: have you been an irritated bird yet?

Kate: Not once. How’s that for strange?

Zoe: (True story: I only wound up buying this book because I wanted to see if it was going to piss Kate off. Then I got hooked.)

Kate: And this is what I live with–writing buddies who do things just to see how far my tail will fuzz.

Zoe: I’d have told you not to buy it if it had been cranky-making. (After quoting all the cranky-making bits in chat.)

Ana: I would have been there for moral support. And popcorn.

Kate: That I can believe. But I have to say I’m glad you bought it and got me to buy it. I’m finding the specifics of the plot section a little harder to get into, but part of my method is that I write myself into the characters as I go. There’s a lot of stuff that comes out on the page that I have no idea where it came from, but then later something else comes out and the first one turns out to be foreshadowing, or necessary characterisation. And that all depends on the characters.

Zoe: Some people I’ve talked to had problems getting their heads around some of the stuff in this—I’ve seen discussions going on about the antagonist, the plot stuff, and the idea that the character has to overcome their flaw, which should make for interesting discussion in our chats as we get more into the specifics of the book.

Ana: To come back to what Kate said about the specifics, I think that even if you don’t follow the outline in the outlining part of the book, it can still help you if you got your character flaw and theme figured out before you start writing. (And possibly also how you want the book to end.)

Zoe: Yes. I think this book works for pantsers as well as plotters.

Kate: It does feel less “This is the word of our Lord” to me, which means I’m more likely to take a kick at what she says to try, and be less frustrated when and if it doesn’t work.

Zoe: I also see most of the book as more what you’d call “guidelines” than set-in-stone rules. I’ve been loosey-goosey with a lot of the plot stuff, changing headings, moving them around, grouping them together. But the book indicates you can do that as well.

Kate: One thing I figured out right away, and haven’t had time to go back and apply my new knowledge, is that you have to use this book either with notecards or a computer–you can’t just pull out a sheet of looseleaf and go to town. It’s definitely designed to be flexible, and for you to move stuff around, add and subtract, etc. Which is very much my way of doing things. (Although I do love my looseleaf)

Zoe: (I have a binder full of blank looseleaf. I bought it with the best intentions. Over a year ago.)

So, are we ready to dive into the Story Core in our next discussion?

(Ana: Nice, Zoe, ending the chapter with a question.)

Three Dirty Birds Talk Bunnies. Plot Bunnies, that is


Since Zoe got plot bunnied during our Monday discussion, we thought it was only appropriate to talk about plot bunnies on Ana’s blog.

Three Dirty Birds Chirping about Sequels, Series, and Sequelitis

In which Zoe is bunnied while we watch, and the Dirty Birds risk excommunication.

It’s a Random Dirty Bird Day! Today we’re talking about…what are we talking about?

Ana: We’re talking about how sad we are that we can’t get guest birds.

Kate: We need some guest birds. That whole work-life balance thing is doing us in.

Ana: I have to eat so much chocolate because I can’t get people to bird with me. -puts it on her list of excuses for her chocolate lifestyle-

Kate: Mmmm, chocolate. I’m eating the first Easter bunny of the year right now. I can’t wait for the kid to come up looking for some, so I can offer her his bum.

Zoe: I keep eying the Easter bunnies at the store, but I haven’t bought one. Yet.

Ana: I don’t have any either.

Kate: Now I feel special. 🙂

Ana: Only because you got the first Easter bunny bum of the year.

Kate: The Great Fluffy Orange Hunter triumphs!

Actually, today we’re not talking about how much chocolate we’re eating (though I’m sure it’s going to come up, because we are who we are). Instead, we’re talking about sequels, and series, and sequelitis.

Ana: Actually, did you make that last word up?

Kate: It’s the illness you suffer when the stuff you wrote in your original story makes it impossible to do the cool thing you thought up for the next one, because it violates canon. It’s an illness that involves much weeping and eating of chocolate.

Ana: I want to say that’s an illness I’m deeply familiar with, but the only time this has happened is with a story that was never, well, officially published so I just went back and changed the first story. Again and again. While eating chocolate. (Now when I sent stories to publishers I’m always scared that I’ll think of things I want to change later.)

Zoe: It would be handy if we could publish our stories on those Magic Doodle pads, so we can just change it as we go and no reader will ever know. (They’ll just think they went crazy.)

Kate: Live action editing!

Ana: I like making readers think they’re crazy.

Zoe: I just love erasing my tracks.

Ana: Is it just me or does Zoe get scarier every week?

Kate: I sleep with a cross and holy water now, because garlic makes me wheeze.

Ana: I thought you did that because you live with a teenager.

Kate: Naw, that’s the ring of loose change in front of my bedroom door. By the time she’s picked it all up, she’s forgotten what she wants me for and is rejoicing in her new-found riches.

Zoe: : I need to try something like that with Mr. Rider. He’s starting to become inured to the sounds of gay porn playing loudly at the doorway.

Kate: Lol, here we go again. It’s like herding cats–we never seem to go in the direction we plan, even when we’re the ones making the decision. And we promised ourselves!

Ana: Sorry, my brain stopped at ‘gay porn’ and didn’t hear what you were saying.

Kate: Lol.

Zoe: I’m writing a sequel right now. I’d say “remind me to never do it again,” but honestly it’s on par with writing any book. A lot of work.

Ana: When I wrote my sequel to my first book, I liked that I had most of the characters worked out already. But at the same time it’s more difficult to give them new arcs.

Kate: I find I have to keep rereading the first one, even though I’ve made notes, because I don’t remember some of the little details and things that were said or implied, and those are often the things that the next book hinges on.

Zoe: Since Word takes so long to open an 82,000-word file, I’ve just been sticking brackets in the sequel to remind myself to look up the info later. Fortunately it’s been minor details, not anything I need to verify in order to make sure I don’t go down a wrong road.

Kate: I’ve been considering a third monitor, so I can keep the original open on one screen and flip through it. Or that might just be my tech greed showing it’s ugly head. I do like toys…

But seriously, I do find myself going back to the original a lot, for stuff that wouldn’t be covered by Weiland’s character interviews or extended outlines.

Ana: There’s things she didn’t cover? Oh right, kinks and such….(Not that I’d have to remind myself of those)

Kate: I’ve kind of got myself coming and going, because I’m doing a prequel and a sequel for the same book, so I’m writing in both of them at the same time in order to keep things in line with each other. It’s weird, but it’ll be fun to see stuff foreshadowed in the prequel and show up in the sequel.

Zoe: I wonder if I started working on book 3 of the trilogy now if I’d finish it before book 2. What I didn’t think about before I decided to do a trilogy was that the sloggy middle would now be an entire book long.

Ana: Poor Zoe.

Kate: It’s an idea. Even if you only get part of it done, it might shake things loose for number 2.

Zoe: It gets more exciting in the later half of book 2, but the set up… *sigh*

Kate: Add some zombie Easter bunnies, that’ll liven it up. “Eat them, before they eat you!”

Ana: Zombie Easter bunnies are your solution to everything. It’s like a substisolution.

Kate: High risk, high reward.

Ana: I was pondering adding a third book to my… book with a sequel. But I’m not sure about it and that makes it difficult because I want to get book one and two out of the door, but I keep thinking that if I eventually want to do a third book, I should set it up in book 1 and 2 before publishing those. (As I tend to want to go back to change things so other things can happen)

Kate: I wonder if all pantsers feel that way. I know I do.

Ana: I just have to stop dragging my feet and come up with a definite plotline for book 3 so I know what’s needed. (And then I’d have to somehow stick to that plotline.)

Kate: Hahaha, that’s funny! We both know how that goes.

Ana: Remember how I said I was going to pants my Goodreads m/m group story? And then I was all “I accidentally plotted it like I’ve never plotted a story before” ? Yeah, I’m back to pantsing already. 7k in. I think the outline lasted all of 3k.

Kate: Not surprised at all. I would dearly love to outline something and have it stick beyond the first five paragraphs.

Ana: So we’ve talked about sequels. Do we have thoughts on series?

Kate: I think you need to have strong characters for either of those. And a real goal in mind, growth for the characters and a gradual increase in the conflict over the whole thing.

Ana: I’m not sure. In romance, I often see series where you have side characters take over the next book of a series, even if they were barely present in the ‘original’ book and then the prior main couple gets a few cameo appearances.

Kate: I’m a bit iffy about those. If a character is going to get his own story later on, he should really play more than a bit part in the first story. At least, have some impact on it. Although, I’ll admit to reading books, not because I’m interested in the main characters, but because of the cameos of previous characters. Although, if you’re going to do that, it better be a damn good cameo, where they still have some agency, and not just a quick, “I know you like these guys, so here they are for a total of two pages doing nothing.” (I was just disappointed by a book that did that.)

Zoe: My fear with starting a series is that it will suffer the GRRM effect—plot threads multiplying like rabbits beyond any possibility of being able to tie them all up without having to write forty-seven-zillion brick-sized books.

Kate: Oh, yes, that’s a tough one to keep on top of. The plot-lines I’ve killed off…

Zoe: What if our existence is all the result of a series God decided to try writing, and it just got way out of control?

Kate: I hope he has something good planned for me. Wonder where he keeps his outlines?

Zoe: He gave you a bunny butt. What more do you want?

Ana:I think he’s more of a pantser.

Zoe: I have a feeling that’s the case.

Kate: That makes me nervous.

Zoe: Now I’m imagining him up there going, “Shit. I shouldn’t have killed Kennedy off back in ‘63. I could have really used him here.”

Ana: Better throw a random hurricane here to distract people from my poor plotting skills.

Zoe: I see that he only tried the “Shit. What if I bring this character back from the dead?” trick once before realizing how cheesy it was.

Kate: That was probably a good choice. Though, did he not do it twice? Or was the first one foreshadowing?

Zoe: At any rate, he did it less often than GRRM or the American Horror Story writers.

Ana: There’s an anime studio called Studio Sunrise who does it so often fans have coined the term ‘sunrisen’ for resurrected characters.

Kate: Lol, gotta love the fans.

Zoe: “Sunrisen” is an awesome term. ~Is totally not thinking about how to work that into a vampire story~

Kate: Like an un-vampire? How would that work?

Zoe: I’m thinking more that sunlight turns vampires into zombies.

Ana: How do vampires turn into zombies. Are they suddenly undead? Wait…

Zoe: Okay, it’s probably not perfect. Scratch the vampire part – what if sunlight turns dead bodies into zombies? (I guess that would cut down on the incidence quite a bit. Just bury them overnight.) (So scratch that idea too.)

Kate: Depends. How fast does it happen? Is it like being infected where if you die and the sunlight hits you, even if they bury you, you still turn? Or do they change within minutes? That would make car crashes fun. Imagine a train or a El going off the tracks…

Zoe: What if sunlight just brings dead people back to life? They seem perfectly normal. But of course, over time, you discover they’re not. But for a while…they look and act normal. Some people wouldn’t even know they’d died, because they’d pass out, then wake up.

Kate: Oh, you have to write that.

Zoe: People’d be digging up the recently buried, dragging their loved ones out on the lawn.

Kate: This is such a creepy idea. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.

Zoe: Poor Kate. Just eat the bunny bum. It’ll make you feel better.

Kate: Nom, nom, nom.

Zoe: The what-if part of the idea is always the easy part. The real work is in figuring out what the story is. And then, to get back to the discussion topic, WHAT TO DO IN THE SEQUEL!

Ana: Luckily we have a talk on plot bunnies coming up!

Kate: Are they chocolate?

Zoe: I wish. Then they’d be easy to get rid of. Om nom nom.