Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sugar Plum Kisses on Sale 12/26-12/27

Right now Sugar Plum Kisses is free on Amazon. This is a sale so it won't last at this price...FREE! Pick it up now.

http://www.amazon.com/Sugar-Plum-Kisses-ebook/dp/B00AK2UN4Q

Twelve days to entice her...

Two years, two missed opportunities and Blaine Tucker refuses to have another chance pass him by. This Christmas he's going to risk it all to have Simone Michelson. Unfortunately the woman of his dreams, his wants and desires ties his tongue into knots. She's kind, sexy and funny as hell. Even if she could see him in a new way, he's not sure if the heartache of her past will stand in their way. There's only one solution: entice her with gifts. The kind of gifts that don't say he's a nice guy. A nice guy who also happens to be her boss.

Who in their right mind would take one look at Mousy Simone and want to leave her seductive gifts and love notes? No one she can think of. She hopes like hell it's Tucker, but if he felt anything for her, he'd have said it by now. The man could smile at any woman and get her to forget her name or morals. He's vibrant and she's drab. He's nice and she's prickly. Even if her Christmas wish came true, how could she trust what he felt was real?

Together they must face their fears and doubts to make this year's Christmas unforgettable.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December: All the Places You Can Find Me

Er, my schedule is kind of full this month. Anyway, if you're interested in all the things I'll be doing or the places I'll be, here's a list:

December 14-25th @ http://trindiebooks.com/giveaways/ You can enter into a massive giveaway on Trindie books for a chance to win some great prizes. Also, a copy of my See Her Fall Series. Here’s a review:
"The See Her Fall Series by Melissa Blue features two contemporary romances that are funny and entertaining...It was very satisfying to experience the journey as both women find the perfect man to compliment their lives." ~ Susan Plummer, ARe Cafe Recommended Reads 

Here’s a rafflecopter to make it easier to enter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
December 15th @ http://www.irmcbooks.com/ IRMC Holiday Blitz Blurb. Sugar Plum Kisses cover, blurb and buy links will be featured on this fabulous site dedicated to IRMC romances. Gotta support.

December  17th @  http://reading-romances.com/  Nat’s Reading Romances It’s a guest post y’all. Make sure to stop by. 

December 23rd @ http://www.theereadercafe.com/  Author Interview on eReader  Café.


Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I've been tagged. I said yes to a very short and sweet blog hop. :) Here it goes.
I've been tagged. I said yes to a very short and sweet blog hop. Here it goes:
 
Rules of the Next Big Thing
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. Be sure to line up your five people in advance.

What is your working title of your book? Thirty Days, Thirty Ways
Where did the idea come from for the book? I was thinking about how in three years I'm going to be thirty. And freaking out a little bit over it.
What genre does your book fall under? Definitely an erotic romance.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Kerry Washington would definitely play Jocelyn. She has a sweet quality about it. She's smart. And after the scene in Scandal, we all know she's probably a little dirty.

Almost forgot the hero...James McAvoy. Yeah, I know. But, I have a total thing for him. I do. I do.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Jocelyn has spent the first twenty-nine years of her life being a stick in the mud and all that's going to change with Ian—her newfound lover.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Not sure yet, but I'm really starting to lean toward putting this story out on submission. But who knows.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It's not done yet, but I'm thinking I'm about four scenes away from writing the end on this novella.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Oh, this is a tough one. I'm totally going to chicken out and pass. lol
Who or what inspired you to write this book? NaNo, actually. I was writing a YA Paranormal and I missed having a place to put all the frustration. And then of course I started to think about how long ago I was a teenager...
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The hero is Scottish. A dirty Scot.
And I'm dragging in Jennifer Leeland and Aimee Duffy. It's payback for all the times they've dragged me into something on Facebook or Twitter. Lol Lovely ladies and they've got books out, too.
 
Right now I'm on Aimee's blog talking about why I love Christmas.
 
There might also be a mention of my newest release Sugar Plum Kisses:

Twelve days to entice her...

Two years, two missed opportunities and Blaine Tucker refuses to have another chance pass him by. This Christmas he's going to risk it all to have Simone Michelson. Unfortunately the woman of his dreams, his wants and desires ties his tongue into knots. She's kind, sexy and funny as hell. Even if she could see him in a new way, he's not sure if the heartache of her past will stand in their way. There's only one solution: entice her with gifts. The kind of gifts that don't say he's a nice guy. A nice guy who also happens to be her boss.

Who in their right mind would take one look at Mousy Simone and want to leave her seductive gifts and love notes? No one she can think of. She hopes like hell it's Tucker, but if he felt anything for her, he'd have said it by now. The man could smile at any woman and get her to forget her name or morals. He's vibrant and she's drab. He's nice and she's prickly. Even if her Christmas wish came true, how could she trust what he felt was real?

Together they must face their fears and doubts to make this year's Christmas unforgettable.
You can find it here:-
Amazon UK; Amazon US
 
 
 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cover Pretties: Everything He Dreamed

Have sent off Tony's story for its first round of beatings. Right now I've got nothing better to do with my time than to stare off into space while thinking up the next story.

That's all right. I usually make covers in times like these. Made this one a few weeks back...

 
Hmm. Tony. Can't wait. Can't wait to release this book.
 
But first...
 


A special Christmas story. Unfortunately, it'll only be available at Amazon.
 
There's one more cover, but I'll wait to show ya. I know. I'm cruel. (said in a Stewie accent.)
 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Do You Smell That? Autumn: Blog Hop


Up until a few days ago I despaired about this season ever making it to my side of the world. No, I'm not in some nameless, obscure country. I'm in the US. In CA. But I'm telling you, I could step outside without a jacket and work up a sweat if I stood in the sun too long. This is by far my favorite season. Summer lasts way too long where I live and I'm not a fan of hot. Spring and Winter lasts about a week. But Autumn is just...I don't think there's a word for it. So, as I'm wont to do when I can't encapsulate something in a few words...there's a list:

 

1.      Not quite Christmas, you can still willfully ignore all those damned commercials with happy people who are trying to part you with your money. For things you'll use for less than a week.

2.      I have a thing for fuzzy socks. I actually gasp and make an embarrassing noise when I see fuzzy socks in the store. Now, I'm saying this and I'm not a sock person. Yes, I know ewwww, but that's beside the point. But fuzzy socks, in the cold...hog heaven. They come in a million different colors and styles. They just feel wonderful against my feet. Fuzzy socks are the epitome of living.

3.      The leaves. How can I not talk about the color of leaves when I'm talking about autumn? Once, when I was flirting with the idea of being a photographer, I went out on the town and took pictures of leaves all over town. Red, light green, orange, yellow. Deep wonderful colors that's all nature...And, yeah, I might unleash my inner child to jump into a big pile of leaves every year. What?

4.      Tradition, which is another name for ritual. I don't know, it's so comforting to bring in a time of year with something you do every year. Fuzzy socks, jump into leaves, maybe a cup filled more with marshmallows than hot cocoa—happy sigh.

5.      Last but not least, it's not hotter than Hades or colder than a polar bears—well, I'll leave that to your imagination. It's just perfect weather to find any excuse to snuggle under the covers and read a book. And really, reading is my fav past time.



Tell me about your favorite season.
 
Don't forget to leave a comment with your email to get your name thrown into the Grand Prize hat. What are the prizes? There are  THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!
Now what are those prizes?
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
Website to find more blogs in this hop: http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/

******
Out of the comments I'll pick a commenter to win Down With Cupid, the follow up to Weekend Lover.
 
Sebastian Clark and Nicole Harrison hadn't shared details—no last names or what they did for a living during a weekend tryst. Unfortunately, one detail was tantamount—Sebastian Clark is a publicist and now he’s gunning for her job. They’ll have to work side by side and somehow ignore what feels like unfinished business.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Dragged Out of the Archives: Confessions of a Romance Author NaNo Edition 2008

*This post first went live long, long ago. I find it apt just the same.* It’s been, what, a week? I have no grasp on time only word count, since I’ve last confessed. For the I-told-you-so’s in the back *Cynthia*–hush. I’m still able to write sentences.

It’s been 30, 874 words since I last confessed….

I’m thinking in scene sequence though. So guard your loins and read on. It won’t be pretty…It has a Joss Whedon ending….

*Melissa wakes up and makes tea.*

*Melissa writes more dreck and calls herself triumph when she makes morning word goal of 600 words. Only 8k more to go.*

*Melissa notices wet substance coming out of her left ear. Fear sinks it’s teeth into her gut. It has happened*

*Brain leakage!*

Scene two:

*Melissa makes it to work with a different pair of shoes on each foot, a shirt stained with more brain leakage, and a zombie like smile*

*Melissa locks office door. “Must get to THE END.” Her motivation is simple in this scene: Hopes boss doesn’t come in while she’s typing. And not to ruin keyboard with the riptide coming out of both ears now*

*Sometime during lunch, heroine takes a break. Puts cotton in her ears. By now her eyes have a zombie like glaze to them. “Must Get To THE END!!!”*

*Twitter’s word count. Doesn’t realize she’s only typed “#*$($#(!*#&$” Melina and Karen become concerned.*

Segue into next day…

Scene Three…

* Heroine wakes up. Her hair looks like something a bird lives in. Her children whisper behind their hands, “Mommy, looks strange. Let’s not fight today. She has the look.”*

*By lunch time Melissa is sobbing over keyboard “There is no end in sight. All I wanted to do was finish a book for NANO. I wanted to win. I didn’t want egg on my face this year. The YA idea was incredible. I had to write it. But WHY, OH, WHY THE HUMANITY.*

*Children are now hidden safely in the room*

*Twitters “All…most…done…must..finish…”

*With no brain left for coherent thought, heroine finishes story. Goes back to read the first chapter.*

Segue to next day…

Narrative voice sounds over novel pages: Melissa Blue was fine until she read her novel. She ran out into the streets screaming “THE HORROR!” Her writing friend *Cynthia* predicted her head explosion. Melissa Blue will be remembered for her foolhardy feat. And taught as a tale of caution for all those who NaNo.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good Times To Look Forward To

I wrote a series that consists of three books that will be rolling out in 2013. There's no overarching plot. These books are contemporary romances that are connected. They standalone, but if you read all three your reading experience will definitely be enhanced. Because of this they were easy to write. The only thing I had to get right were the facts of who they were and what they looked like. Because I wrote them in succession that killed most of the headache.

Right now I'm gearing up for NaNo. I am determined to put out this YA paranormal I've had sitting on my harddrive for eons sometimes next year too. (I'll be busy just like this year.) I keep going back to it because there's magic in the story. In a literal sense in the worldbuilding and the story in general. That's the hardest thing to get right in a book. I've pounded on this first book and am getting it ready for another round of betas and crits. I'm starting the second one and writing it for NaNo.

And, I'm in a bit of a pickle. I don't think this YA series can stand alone. I personally hate cliffhangers. SPOILER! It's why Weekend Lover's ending is the way it is. I wanted people to walk away from that short with a sense that the story, that characters experience had the promise of more but could end the way it was.

Will you be able to understand the world walking in on the second book? Yes. Will you be able to get a satisfying ending with each book? Yes. Will the story be complete at the end of each book? Yes and no. That's the pickle. A trilogy, a true trilogy has an overarching plot. The main story's question won't be answered until the last book, which at this point I have a very vague idea what it's about. What's really at stake won't be fully realized until the end of the second book though there are hints in the first.

So, the pickle...what the hell was I thinking? The pickle is that once I've invested in characters I have to know how it ends for them. I am compelled to find out their HEA whatever that is. I have no idea how things end in a concrete way for this trilogy. I have a vague sense that's becoming clearer the more I plot book 2. And every once in a while I'm hit with the fact I'm writing a true trilogy.

What the hell was I thinking?

I have no idea.

Yes, that's the gist of this post. Thrilling, isn't it?

So, what you can look forward to? Next year I'm rolling out a contemporary series that's full of uberly good romance that are vaguely, VAGUELY based on Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The heroines are best friends. The heroes are hawt. There's an epic HEA to be had by all six characters.

And, there's also some YA paranormals. Maybe. Under a different name that will have me rocking in a corner wondering what the hell I was thinking.

Good times to look forward to.

P.S. There's also Tony's story. First draft is complete and I have to say it's good. Really good.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Little Things


I live across street from a high school. Let me tell you that alone should be enough fodder for a gazillion young adult novels. But that's beside the point. Right now they're building on this high school.  To get a breath of fresh air every now and again I sit outside and watch. They come in early to work and leave a little after two. Their cars are lined up on the street. Every single one of them start up their car, take off their gear and then just stand for a moment outside their car. Next, what they do is so simple and yet so specific it's a little mesmerizing. It's something the average person wouldn't think about it. They slap off the dust from their clothes. Depends on the person, but they either began at their chest and work their way down or they start at their feet. Puffs of dust float off their clothes and it's a ritual. 

While I'm sitting there outside I'm capturing all this and it's so well timed. Tony, my hero, works in construction. Now, I've assembled furniture before. I've glued together popsicle to make this or that either as a child or with my kids. But I know absolutely nothing about what it takes to build something. What the aches are at the end of the day. I don't know anything about the small things that make up a profession. 

I would have no idea that before these workers get into their car, they'd slap the dust off their clothes. It's so little it could have been something I've seen before but never paid any mind to. 

Yet, it matters when you're building a world. It's a little thing. I love those.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Craftastic


I'm not exaggerating when I say I’ve read practically every book written on How To Write my first year of writing. If the title had writing, plot, character, writers, writing market, publishing, Big Author Name (expect it was actually a name, of course), craft, etc, I read it. I immersed myself fully into learning all there was to learn about writing. Ninety percent of it went over my head because I simply didn't have the writing chops to get motivation or what makes natural dialogue or even what makes great character. I didn't understand good writing is subjective anyway. It would have never crossed my mind or seem like a possibility that there could be some alternate universe where the writing is good, there's nothing wrong with it craft wise, but it's not engaging in any way possible. 

I've found, even after all this time later, my go to is craft. When I'm truly stuck on a story I don't just watch other movies or read other books, I pick them up and tear them apart. This may seem like a strange way to fix my own book, but this method has never failed me. There's something about reading or watching something that works or doesn't work that helps me see where I'm going wrong. 

Why?

Because no matter how many books you write, you still may write something where the pacing is off. You may, Whedon forbid, break character. That scene you wrote and loved and it's brilliant beyond the telling of it, may derail the whole damn story. 

Watching other movies, reading other stories, never fails to remind me that craft isn't something you learn and never go back to. Craft is something you have to take with you into every story.  

So, right now I'm stuck, but I'm taking in craft because I know for a fact it'll save the mess of a story I've written. 

What's the one thing you do to unstick a stuck story? Or unstick something in your life?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Down With Cupid: The Must Have Conclusion

Ok. One or two people felt they must have the conclusion. I'm going with it. Here's the links so far where you can pick up Down With Cupid, the follow up to Weekend Lover. Now hold onto to your shorts because there's about to be some serious linkage in this blog. First...

Here's the blurbage:

Two months have passed since Nicole Harrison’s weekend of forbidden pleasure. It should have been more than enough time for Nicole to forget Sebastian’s charming smiles and wicked kisses. Except, during those nights together, she managed to leave behind her driven lifestyle as a publicist and took what she wanted, experiencing freedom and the wild abandon of their reckless agreement of no last names, no shared details. The woman she was with him is the hardest part to erase from her memory.

Unfortunately, one detail was tantamount—Sebastian Clark is a publicist and now he’s gunning for her job.

Sebastian never allows himself to get tangled in knots by a woman, and, yet, he can’t stop dreaming about Nicole’s silky thighs and ripe lips, how she'd shuddered under his touch. He doesn’t need a woman who is more of a shark than he when it comes to PR, except he’s seen every, single soft inch of her. Now they’ll have to work side by side and somehow ignore what feels like unfinished business.

Will the weekend they spent together turn out to be more than they could have ever imagined, or will past hurts and career ambitions stand in their way? Only Cupid knows...   Here's where you can get it:   Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
ARe

If you haven't picked up Weekend Lover or any of the Down With Cupid Shorts, don't worry...There are bundles.

Amazon
Lovers' Weekend
Down With Cupid Shorts Bundle

Barnes and Noble
Lovers' Weekend
Down With Cupid Shorts Bundle

ARe
Lovers' Weekend
Down With Cupid Shorts Bundle

Ha! This title has a rating already on Goodreads. You can see Weekend Lover's ratings here.

Ok. I think that about covers all the serious linkage. And that's it for my 2012 publishing schedule.

Maybe.

But, totally for now 'cause I'm going to go take a nap.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Release Frenzy And A New Book

I'm about to propel myself into another release frenzy. Down With Cupid is slated to come out in a few days. Along with the bundled versions of all of my Down With Cupid Shorts. I'll be rocking in a corner in no time, sipping on cognac.

But right now, right this second (or after I finish writing this post) I'll be heading back to a story I've been wanting to write for ages. One reason or another, it's been put on the back burner. What story you ask?

Tony's story i.e. Everything He Dreamed.

Me = Hog heaven.

So, I'm adding to the story board I've got on Pinterest.

I repeat: Me = hog heaven.

TONY: http://pinterest.com/pin/112519690660408931/

Phoenix: http://pinterest.com/pin/112519690660396977/

*thud*

Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Post: Rosanna Leo and the Selkie


Please give a warm welcome to Rosanna Leo to the blog!
*****
I am so happy to be visiting with the lovely Melissa Blue today, and to be able to share the news of my newest book The Selkie. It is an erotic paranormal romance set in Orkney, Scotland. In that part of the world, there are legends about the mythical selkie folk, shape shifters who shift from seal to human form. They merely need to shed their seal pelt and they can live on land for a time. Selkies are legendary lovers. In fact, the myths say that if a human woman is unsatisfied with her love life, she need only cry 7 tears into the sea to call an immortal selkie man. He will love her as no human man can.  Tantalizing, don’tcha think?

In preparing this post, I was trying to recall why I wanted to write about a selkie in the first place. Certainly mythological creatures of all sorts have always attracted me…the males in particular. It could be the allure of the beach. Perhaps it’s the Scottish thing, but selkie men don’t tend to wear kilts. In fact they don’t wear much of anything.

That could be the reason right there.

No, I think one of the main reasons is my fascination with sea creatures. I’m not talking Nessie here. I’m talking about those fantastical beings who dwell beneath the depths, the ones whose very existence cannot be disproved. Ethereal mermaids who lure sailors to a watery demise. Sirens who call to hapless men from their craggy rocks. Selkie men, who are reputed to be unbelievable lovers whose good looks can devastate. What’s not to love?

Actually, now that I think about it, you can blame Aquaman. Was I the only little girl in the 70’s who lusted after this buff cartoon character? That shiny blond hair. Those hardened abs. His insane swimming ability. Think of the things we could do underwater!

Well, so there you have it. I suppose The Selkie is my homage to Aquaman, although not a direct reference in any way. Indeed, all my books have an origin in the interests of my childhood. Greek myths, vampires, firefighters. They all show up in my stories.

Should I be concerned that I also had a crush on Snap, Crackle and Pop? Menage literature…here I come!

*****
Blurb:

This was supposed to be her year. However, after losing her job and discovering her fiancé cheating, Maggie Collins has her doubts. When her grandmother dies, she hits rock bottom. Maggie travels to her grandmother’s home in Orkney, Scotland to sort through her gran’s things, only to discover the old woman has left her a seal pelt as her inheritance. She also learns that others are after the pelt.

To add to her frustration, Maggie’s dreams are filled with luscious images of a long-haired man, images that draw her to the magical beaches in Orkney. Although she’s lost her trust in men, this dream man inspires her with a lust she’s never known before.

Calan Kirk has also been dreaming. Dreaming of Maggie, the mortal woman who arouses him as no other woman ever has. Meeting her in the flesh when she arrives in Orkney is nothing short of spontaneous sexual combustion. But she is a human, and not to be trusted. He needs the seal pelt, not a red-haired temptress.

As a thief ransacks Maggie’s grandmother’s house, Maggie and Calan are thrust together. They must search for the animal skin, a mythical relic which once found, will either bring them together or rip them apart forever.

 *****

Excerpt:

She was attempting to stand on her wobbly legs, only to fall back down on her bottom, when she heard the sound of splashing water. Thinking it was her seal, Maggie turned to look.

Her breath caught in her throat. It wasn’t the animal at all.

It was a man. He was rising out of the waves, walking toward her. She froze. He was nude, utterly nude, and was staring at her with overflowing intimacy. As if they’d had, God help her, relations.

And she realized, with sudden panic, they’d had! In her dreams. He was the seal-man from all her sex dreams.

No. Impossible.

Her first instinct was to call for help, but there was no one near. And then she realized with frightening awareness that she didn’t want any help anyway. Glued to her spot, she couldn’t help but drink him in.

He was beautiful, if unnervingly wet and naked. He had long, shiny, brown hair that hung down past his shoulders. His face could have belonged on an ad for expensive cologne, and he had a body to match. Sculpted shoulders gave way to arms corded in muscle. His defined chest was blanketed by a smattering of sparse, brown hair that led tantalizingly to his rock-hard abs.

Maggie held her breath as her gaze traveled lower on his body, taking in trim calves and thighs a quarterback would envy. And, she noted with simultaneous hunger and horror, his penis was the biggest she’d ever had the pleasure of seeing. It was thick and long and glistening with the droplets of water that yet cascaded over his body. And it seemed to be reaching for her. She gulped, and forced herself to look back up at his face.

There was a faint glow about his skin, a shimmery aura. Dismissing it as a trick of the moonlight, she shook her head.

He was almost upon her, and his full lips were taut in a teasing grin. Maybe he was a surfer who’d lost not only his board, but his shorts in the waves. She knew she should be frantic, but wasn’t. There was something in his brown eyes that was so familiar, so soothing, even as they swept over her own body with lustful appreciation.

He stopped in front of her, and stood boldly, unashamed of his glorious nakedness. She managed to spit out one hushed word. “You.”

“You,” was his equally awed reply.
 *****
Buy Links:

 

Monday, September 03, 2012

Weekend Lover Unleashed



The weekend that started it all...

Sebastian Clark's and Nicole Harrison's boundaries are clear—no last names, no shared details. A single night of giving in to temptation turns into three, and their naughty little weekend becomes more than just sex.

As a publicist for Snapshot, Sebastian's days are long and his moral code is to always keep things light. Until he touches Nicole and lust fades any last hold on common sense.

On the fast track for a promotion at Limelight, a PR boutique, Nicole has given up dating, especially handsome men. One kiss, one touch, one night won't break her own rules.

One weekend of shared passion sets Sebastian Clark and Nicole Harrison on a course that could ultimately destroy them both, or bring them a love for all time...

Amazon: The price is $1.67 http://tinyurl.com/cphfpj8

B&N: The price is $1.67 http://tinyurl.com/bnoj7x5

For free:
Smashwords
http://tinyurl.com/9d4mquh

ARe
http://tinyurl.com/8kp8efv
Kobo
http://tinyurl.com/d69x29z

Like it, love it, hate it, leave a review if you are so inclined.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Top Ten Signs You're Reading A Romance: Romancing the Hop Blog Hop





There's no question I absolutely love the romance genre. Love it. Even when I tried to write a mystery the hero and heroine looked over the dead body and there was insta-lust going on. Hence the beginning and the end of my mystery writing career. It lasted shorter than my romantic suspense writing career. 

All that aside, here are some signs that you're reading a romance novel.

1.      The hero describes heroine and you can almost imagine wind blowing through her hair and she's walking slowly, even if she's standing still. His loins are filled with lust despite everything he should be feeling.

2.      The heroine describes the hero and you can almost imagine him shirtless pouring water down his body, even if it's winter. Her loins are filled with lust despite everything she should be feeling.

3.      If one and two weren't dead giveaways...boy meets girl. Or boy meets boy. Girl meets girl. Or boy, girl and girl...Ok. You get the picture.

4.      Either one, or both, of the characters have a deep, dark secret that keeps them from loving on anyone.

5.      Speaking of which… secrets, there's a secret baby. Now how exactly a baby could be a secret still confounds me. A secret is only a secret if NO ONE knows.

6.      A friend looks over at a friend and thinks I would so totally be more than friends.

7.      12 hearts-a-leaping. Or two if you want to be technical about it. And then there's...

8.      2 loins-a-burning. Yes, I know how wrong that sounds but I'm totally leaving it.

9.      The hero, at some point in the story kidnaps the heroine to make sweet, aching lurve.

10.  I love you doesn't need to be said but they both better say it.

Ok. This list is by no means complete. There are many, many more signs. You can tell me some in the comments. 

Don't forget to leave a comment with your email to get your name thrown into the Grand Prize hat for the Romancing the Hop Blog Hop. Here are the grand prizes:

*1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet*

*2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card*

*3rd Grand Prize: A Large Swag Pack*



*****
*Out of the comments left only on my blog I'll pick a winner to get my upcoming release Weekend Lover.*

The weekend that started it all... 

Sebastian Clark's and Nicole Harrison's boundaries are clear—no last names, no shared details. One single night of giving into temptation. One night turns into three, and their naughty little weekend becomes more than just sex. 

One night of consenting pleasure sets Sebastian Clark and Nicole Harrison on a course that could ultimately destroy them both, or bring them a love for all time...


You can read excerpts here.


*****

To find out more about this blog hop, the grand prizeyou can go here to Carrie Ann's blog for the full list.

 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Excerpt City: Weekend Lover and Down With Cupid

There will be new releases next month. First up will be Weekend Lover. It's a prequel to Down With Cupid. Both of these books are part of my shorts series--Down With Cupid Shorts, which include Talk Nerdy to Me and The Sixteen Year Itch. It was months after the fact that I thought about how Down With Cupid Shorts sounded. Who is taking off Cupid's shorts? But since I have a dirty sense of humor anyway...)


I digress. I've got excerpts for both of these shorts. Yes, shorts. Weekend Lover comes in at 11k and Down With Cupid rolls around 17k. Check 'em out. If you'd like an ARC to review you can email me at melissab dot author at gmail dot com.       
Down with Cupid Excerpt: First Two Chapters
Weekend Lover Excerpt: First Two Chapters

Thursday, August 09, 2012

News and Updates

I'll be in several places during the next two months. There will be releases (Weekend Lover Sept. 7th) and such. I will keep ya updated, but here's the tentative list:

All Romance Ebooks has made See Lynne Chased and See Megan Run a recommended read for the month of August.  So in honor of that I've put the See Her Fall Boxed Set on sale until Saturday, August  on ARe, B & N, and Amazon.


I'll be participating in Romancing the Blog Hop a blog hop on August 31st to September 3rd. I'll be doing a giveaway for Weekend Lover.

Beautiful Trouble Publishing Blog Talk : Sept 17 @ 5:30

Trindie Books: August 20th  How Much You Want to Bet? will be the book of the day.  Sept. 5 See Lynne Chased will be the book of the day.


Ooook. I believe that is all so far. Like I said, I'll keep ya updated.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Brick by Brick: Three Act Structure, part two


Yesterday I talked about how telephone in essence screwed up a perfectly, foolproof understanding of Hauge's structure. What follows is my version. It's not special or unique. It's the bastardized version of something that is foolproof in my eyes. Yet I use it again and again without fail:



Catalyst: The point in the story where the introduction ends and the story’s core conflict is presented.

The best examples are what you read on the back of every book–the blurb.



Paige Darlington is finally free of the literal boss from hell–Satan. There’s just one hitch: she’s cursed and will soon lose her soul. The only way to reverse this ultimate buzz kill is to skinny dip in one of Heaven’s cleansing moats. But Heaven has defense against girls like Paige...and they typically involve being charred to a crisp.

~Sex and the Immortal Bad Boy by Stephanie Rowe



The bolded portion is the core conflict of the story. Paige has to figure out a way to get there. If she can’t get there, she had to figure out a way to make herself less evil. If all else fails what will she have to do in order to save the world from herself?



Another example:

Secrets she (Emma Corrigan) wouldn’t share with anyone in the world....Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plan. At least she thought he was a stranger...

But come Monday morning, Emma’s office is abuzz about the arrival of Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO. Suddenly Emma is face to face with the stranger on the plane, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Or could they?

~ Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella



Yes, Paige in Sex and the Immortal Bad Boy had a huge problem already by being Satan’s ex-minion, but then the heroine finds out that she’s a ticking bomb of evil. At this point in the story we've gotten to know the heroine. We want her to succeed.

Can You Keep a Secret? starts off with the heroine sitting in a meeting where she’s only supposed to be there as a bobble-head. Yes, yes, whatever you say. Things go off-course and she ends up making a complete, excuse my language, ass of herself.

All this leads to a hilarious scene where she makes an even bigger ass of herself. That builds up to the moment when Emma realizes the stranger is really her boss. Her boss knows all her secrets. You cringe with the character.

Now imagine for a moment someone knows all of your darkest secrets. The stuff you won’t even tell your best friend, especially if that secret is she knits horribly. It makes your friend happy to give you the things she has made with her hands.

Or that your cousin, who lost her parents at a young age, is the golden child in your family. What if someone knew when you were in desperate need of a job she refused to give you one?  What would you say or do to keep those secrets, well, secret? What would happen if those secrets came out?

So, yes, the core conflict is a narrowed focus on the novel, but that doesn’t mean it can’t act like a crack in a window shield. If you ever had a crack in your windshield you know that small crack, eventually, starts to grow. It gets worse and worse.

The Difference

The Catalyst isn’t any different from a combination of The Opportunity and the New Situation. Emma has to learn to live with what she’s said to her boss. Paige now knows what she needs to do in order to not end mankind. A snafu in understanding that a Catalyst could be broken down in two stages led me to a simplified version, but I still had the same problem. What did it mean to start where the story starts? Wouldn’t that automatically be the Catalyst? It’s where the core conflict is presented, but what about Stage 1: The Set Up?

The Conundrum

A novel is not a movie. You won’t have the benefit of a montage to show who your character is and what their life is like before the Catalyst.

By now I’m sure you’ve been scared to death by the knowledge of an agent or editor deciding your fate by the end of page one. If not by the end of the first paragraph. One page, and the agent/editor has already decided to ask for more or reject you. (Yes, really, go check out some agent and editor blogs if you don't believe me.)

 This knowledge has caused many a writer to pass out. It’s okay to take a moment to breathe into a brown paper bag. It’s a lot of pressure for 250 or so words.

It could tempt even the most secure writer to put their Catalyst on the first page or believe the Catalyst is the first page. If putting the Catalyst on page one fits your story, then go for it. If not, then it can kill the urgency that a proper build-up brings to your novel. Most people don’t keep reading because the plot is interesting. They keep reading to see what happens to the character.

Anyway, below are some examples:

gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

Part of Blurb: When Arlene Fleet heads up north for college, she promises God that she’ll stop fornicating and lying, and never, ever go back to her hometown in Alabama. All she wants from Him is one miracle: make sure the body is never found. Now, ten years later, God breaks the deal when a dark secret from her past lands on her Chicago doorstep.

“There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus. I left one back there myself, back in Possett. I kicked it under the kudzu and left it to the roaches.

I made a deal with God two years before I left there. At the time, I thought He made out pretty well. I offered Him a three-for-one–deal: All He had to do was perform a miracle. He fulfilled His end of the bargain, so I kept my three promises faithfully, no matter what cost. I held our deal as sacred for twelve solid years. But that was before God let Rose Mae Lolly show up on my doorstep, dragging my ghosts and her own considerable baggage.”

    

     The Catalyst is right there on the first page. God breaks his promise to Arlene by allowing Rose Mae Lolly to stand on her doorstep. It works for the novel because the past and the present are told in a way that blends the NOW with the past. The NOW isn’t the prologue and it isn’t the backstory or flashback. It’s what’s happening right at that moment in the character’s life.

Jackson creates a sense of NOW when she goes over the events that made her make that deal with God. She creates a sense of urgency to keep reading. Yet when you look at that first paragraph you can see the character, and it takes you for one hell of a spin. I mean, who would say big tits and Jesus in the same breath?

     Evermore by Alyson Noël

Part of Blurb: After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, her their thoughts and know someone’s entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school-but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste...He’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head...

     “Guess who?”

     Haven’s warm, clammy palms press hard against my cheeks as the tarnished edge of her silver skull ring leaves a smudge on my skin...”

     This sort of set-up goes on for pages and pages. No catalyst to speak of. Ever doesn’t find out Damen can silence the “noise” until page 25.



The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Part of Blurb: Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.



     Would you consider yourself stressed?

     No. I’m not stressed.

     I’m...busy. Plenty of people are busy. I have a high-powered job, my career is important to me, and I enjoy it.

OK. So sometimes I do feel a bit tense. But I’m a lawyer in the City, for God’s sake. What do you expect?

    

By the time the big mistake happens (page 47), I want to take a vacation for Samantha.



When Does the Catalyst Happen?

From the examples the Catalyst occurs on page 1, 25, and 47. There’s no pattern to speak of, so it would be easier to pin down at what point it doesn’t happen. If you have made it to page 100 and the Catalyst hasn’t occurred, you might have a problem. Unless you are Nora Roberts and can make 150+ pages of backstory work.

Why is it likely to happen in 100 pages or less? It’s the chicken or the egg theory. Partials sent to agents/editors are usually 100 pages or less. Most places that sell books have a sample and it will be, maybe, the first chapter and part of the second. Maybe more, but never 100 pages. (At least none I've read.) The answer: There’s no exact science to where the Catalyst should fall. Put it where it feels most natural.

*****

By now, if you're still actually reading, you're eyeballs have dried out. You might be slumped over half-dead, I'm going to stop now and pick up in the next installment. It's going to continue on with my jacked up version of the Three Act Structure.

 As usual I'm more than open to questions or outright disagreement. Do so in the comments.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Brick by Brick: Three Act Structure, Part One


(Three Act Structure will be the epic posts that will seem to have no end in sight. Settle in and bring snacks.)

Have you ever played telephone as a kid? I did. I loved to see how distorted the message ended up by the time the last person heard it. Great game. Unfortunately, this is the way I learned the Three Act Structure.

I’d successfully completed and written three novels using the “wrong” method of the three acts before I realized I was doing it wrong. Thankfully, by then my newbie author status had worn off and I wasn’t afraid to do things in a way that worked for me.

I had also learned one other valuable lesson, but first I’m going to walk you through the “right” way. The Michael Hauge’s way (Turning Points and How To Use Them In Fiction), because it’s a brilliant breakdown of the ebb and flow in movies that also can be applied to the structure of novels. It involves six stages, and five turning points.



Summary of Michael Hauge’s Three Act Structure

Stage 1: The Set Up

Here the hero/heroine is seen in their natural habitat. It’s the handshake. Hi, my name is Susie and let’s look at my world as I know it now. The purpose of the Set Up is to create attachments to the character. It’s to make you care enough to keep watching. Or pluck down your hard-earned cash and walk out the store with the book.

Turning Point 1: The Opportunity

Something in the character’s mundane world changes. This is the chance the character has been waiting for or didn’t know they were looking for.

Stage 2: The New Situation

You will see the character react to the opportunity. That choice brings about a whole set of other avenues, and the character must choose one road for their journey.

Turning Point 2: Change of Plans

In a sense it’s self-explanatory, but let’s use See Megan Run as the example. Megan has decided to stay for her mother’s wedding. The carrot at the end of the stick is getting the deed for her father’s home. Should be simple, right?

Yet, Megan has to deal with the emotional landmine that is the relationship with her mother. Also, she needs to deal with the ex-boyfriend she left behind. So the plan to keep her head down and wait leisurely for the wedding date to roll around is shot to hell.



Stage 3: Progress

In which the character deludes themselves to believe she has a handle on the situation. She might have a handle but just barely. If anything else comes along in their path that hold will become unsteady. Of course....

Turning Point 3: The Point of No Return

Something else is thrown in their path, and the character will have to make a choice that will forever change them. Hauge’s says this happens exactly midway through the movie.

Stage 4: Higher Stakes and Complications

If this is a 5-mile marathon, your character has just reached mile 3.5. So what’s 1.5 more? Except that small hitch in her side has turned into a full-blown muscle cramp and that healthy, fruit-only breakfast isn’t feeling so good in her stomach.

Turning Point 4: The Major Setback

All hope seems to be lost. There is no way she will get what she wants. In the romance world we call this the black moment. The hero is found out to be a liar. The heroine can’t seem to trust the hero no matter what he does. Cue the Angela Basset scene where she burns her ex-husband’s car, or at least the heroine feels like she wants to do the same.



Stage 5: The Final Push

Despite the odds not being in her favor, the heroine pushes through. She has reached .5 left in the final mile. The finish line is in sight. Even if she has to crawl bloodied-soldier style across it. She will do it dammit.

Turning Point 5: The Climax

Remember that locked door? The character breaks out the key they would have never used.

Stage 6: The Aftermath

The resolution, the happily ever after, or if it’s a mystery novel, a huge info dump that explains everything in a nice neat bow. This happens at this point of the movie. Roll the credits and outtakes.



This structure is foolproof. Hauge even gives you percentages on when the stages and turning points are supposed to happen and for how long. You can use it again and again and come up with different scenarios.



How did Telephone distort something so simple?



Easily enough. I spent the first year of being a serious writer learning as much as I could. I did my best to incorporate everything I learned at the same time. Bad idea. If you’ve been on this hamster wheel long enough you know that information can conflict with each other, bleed together and make you dizzy. You can end up with a novel that you’d rather burn than edit if you followed every rule.

So, at the same time I was trying to take in the Three Act Structure, I was learning a new rule of thumb: Start where the story starts. I needed to apply this knowledge, because I had fallen in love with a writer’s worst friend–backstory.

Susie received a red letter in the mail that would change her life forever. Holding the thin parchment in her sweaty palm made, Susie remembered the first letter she received. It was 1992 and her once A cup breasts had finally turned into solid a B. It hadn’t mattered to Bobby Macky as long as he...

On and on and on it went until I circled back around to the red letter. But, by following that advice off the edge of a writing cliff I ended up smashing together The Set Up, The Opportunity, and The New Situation. I went from one extreme to the next. I did not give myself or the character breathing room, for fear it was really backstory. Eventually, I swung to the middle. (Refer to the spreadsheet to see the layout of my version.)

*****

Today's post was brought to you by why my way is so totally jacked up. Next up is a hard look at my jacked up way.

As usual I'm more than open to questions or outright disagreement. Do so in the comments.
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