Kay: The Art of Love

Al and Roey Stickles dancing at the trailer park: Sarasota, Florida 1946. Photo courtesy of State Library and Archives of Florida - https://www.flickr.com/photos/floridamemory/7157828142/

Al and Roey Stickles dancing at the trailer park: Sarasota, Florida 1946. Photo courtesy of State Library and Archives of Florida.  www.flickr.com/photos/floridamemory/7157828142/

I’ve started writing a scene that I think will be pivotal in my book. It’s a scene in which my hero and heroine have sex, but the sex will propel them into a new stage of their relationship. My critique partners have emphasized that it’s important that I show why my heroine has been unwilling to move forward quickly with the romance—she won’t move in with the hero—even though she must make a decision soon about whether to return to her old job across the country. If she goes, the relationship dies.

So to write this sex scene with as much sensitivity and weight as it needs, I wrote a scene that sets it up—my heroine tells the hero about her mother, and in so doing, reveals her feelings about family, home, and security. I wrote this scene from the hero’s POV, because I wanted readers to see his reactions to her story, and I wanted him to ask the questions I thought readers would be likely to ask if they’d been in the room with her. I spent some serious time on the scene, and it’s not bad. I’d give it maybe a B-.

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Kay: Writing Sex Scenes

Cupid and Psyche (1817), by Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825)

Cupid and Psyche (1817), by Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825)

I’ve been chugging along on my WIP for a very long time. For a while, Life intervened. But even after I got Life wrassled to the ground and stomped on, that WIP just didn’t cooperate. No matter how I tried to gas it up and drive it someplace, it went nowhere. And as I don’t have to tell most of you, nothing is more depressing than writing 500 new words and deleting 600 old ones every day. A person starts to wonder if she’ll end up with an empty tank and no place to go.

But over the last few months, things have turned around. The book’s going okay. It isn’t there yet, but these days I’m writing 500 words and deleting 50. That’s what I call progress.

Until yesterday. Yesterday I looked at my blank page with fear and loathing. I’ve come to that spot in the book where my characters need to have sex.

I hate writing sex scenes. I know they’re supposed to be like any other scene, where things happen and characters grow or change, or the plot moves (or maybe that’s the earth) and so on. Continue reading

Kay: Joss Whedon on Getting It Done

Don't let your manuscript expire in the cold of winter over this holiday season

Don’t let your manuscript expire in the cold of winter over this holiday season

Now that we’re well into December, I’ve been squaring away travel plans and thinking about Jilly’s post on not letting your WIP go stone cold dead over the holidays. I’m planning to take my laptop with me, but it’ll just be dead weight in my suitcase if I don’t open it up and turn it on. Will I have time to write between the demands of old friends and a three-year-old? Jilly said that even five minutes is enough to jot down a note or a thought that you could expand later. That’s probably true for a lot of people. It takes me a lot more than five minutes to get my brain into the book. It takes almost five minutes just to boot up my laptop.

I’ve tried various techniques in the past to boost my productivity. I envy the writers who write one, two, or even ten thousand words a day. Is a five-minute sprint worth the effort, or should I just invest in a pack of Post-Its? How can I cram some decent writing time into my holiday vacation time?

While pondering this question, I sought enlightenment from the masters and found an interview with Joss Whedon, he of Buffy, Firefly, and Avengers fame.

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Kay: A Story for Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for that one day a year hardly seems adequate. Among other things, I’m thankful for my friends and colleagues here at Eight Ladies, the writers and readers who share this space. In that spirit, today I’m posting a short Thanksgiving story. Just so you know what to expect, it’s by O. Henry. In the edition I found, O. Henry had written an introduction ostensibly for children; I have omitted that.

Photo by Noel Feans (2011)

Photo by Noel Feans (2011)

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen

By O. Henry

Stuffy Pete sat down on a seat in the New York City park named Union Square. It was the third seat to the right as you enter Union Square from the east.

Every Thanksgiving for nine years he had sat down there at one in the afternoon. Every time, things had happened to him. They were wonderful things. They made his heart feel full of joy—and they filled another part of him, too. They filled the part below his heart.

On those other Thanksgiving Days he had been hungry. (It is a strange thing. There are rich people who wish to help the poor. But many of them seem to think that the poor are hungry only on Thanksgiving Day.) Continue reading

Kay: Post-Election Correction Reflection

Photo by Mikapon, 2006

Photo by Mikapon, 2006

This blog, as the name says, is about writing—the writing lives of the eight participants. But today, I had a hard time writing because I was depressed about our election results. No doubt many of you are also depressed, so I don’t have to go into the reasons here.

But writing has fixed my depression before, so I opened up my manuscript and set to work. And the first thing I did was delete 2,000 words.

Well, they were probably boring words. But I realized that I wasn’t assessing my work with my best brain, so I decided that before I reduced my poor WIP to no words at all, I better find a way to crawl out of the wallow and come to grips with the new reality. So I went looking for comfort. Continue reading

Kay: Google This

keyboard1Just recently a friend, a web designer who doesn’t read romance, decided to google me and found my web site.

“Hey,” he said. “I’ll give you a special rate on a web site redesign.”

Gulp. There’s a lot to do if you’re a self-published author, and if your main interest in publishing is doing the actual writing, not all the associated business tasks, then those associated tasks tend to languish. But a web site for writers—even pre-published writers—is important.

It’s not that hard to create one—I did mine myself on WordPress, and I’m certainly no tech expert. Of course, as my friend the web designer would attest, it’s not that good a web site, either. I know it needs improvement. It’s just a matter of time.

However, I shouldn’t let it languish for long. A recent article by Chris Mandeville on the Kobo Writing Life site says that your official author website is a tool, like a business card, for providing readers with information about you. Your website gives a sense of who you are and what your books are about, which helps you engage with readers. And it “legitimizes” you as an author in the eye of the public.

Mandeville suggests ways you can present your best front to readers and meet their expectations about content. For a lot of good advice, go here.

How about you? Do you have a web site yet? And is it ready for prime time?

 

Kay: Big Harlequin Sale On Now!

pregnesiaGreat news for Harlequin readers! The folks at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books let me know this morning that Harlequin is running a $1.99 sale  on most of its lines—a total of 18,000 books. The sale ends October 25. Stock up now!

Smart Bitches had some recommendations for those who can’t choose among the multitude of riches. I can give a personal shout-out to Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy, which has an amazing review  on the SBTB site, with 133 responses. If nothing else, read the review and the comments at least until you run into Ms. Cassidy’s authorial response. You won’t be sorry. The book costs $1.99. The review and comments: priceless.

Gotta run now. Amazon is waiting.