Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Photo Tuesday Tease: Hug, please


If you've read a few of my posts (or my stories), you may have realized I believe everything contains inherent sensuality. I believe that, by tuning into the sensual richness of life, by celebrating & examining your sexuality, you can find deeper, richer meaning. In other words, I believe sexuality and spirituality are linked.

However, not everyday comes up roses.

Life's snapped a few of my nemesis triggers of late. I'm drained & my wellspring of sensual richness, for the moment, is dry. So instead of pretending & posting one of my usual photos, I'm going to be true to the moment, and post a less provocative picture.

The photo is still full of love, tenderness and connection, it's just not as sensual as some of my other "teases."

This picture reminds me that, even when the well is dry, you can still connect. It says to me: The rain will end, the flowers will bloom...but for now, just hug like you mean it, and let go of the worry.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

On Sex Shops and Toys

When I wrote the follow-up to Bound to be Mine, my intent was to stay with the bondage theme, but mix it up. The heroine of the next story, Christina, appeared in the first, so I knew she was sarcastic, slightly more inhibited than her friends Lisa and Gillian and (intentionally) repressed. Of all three heroines, though, Christina seemed to me to be the one that would be the most curious about "toys," and I wanted to have a little fun.

Well, I was pretty certain I wanted to include bondage tape in Christina's story, but I had no idea if the hero would need sissors to cut a length of tape from a role or not. There's no shortage of sex shops my neighborhood of NYC, so, in the name of research, I set out to explore. In the first shop I braved, the clerk was, thank goodness, a lovely, helpful woman. I left with all the information I needed to finish Bound to Surrender....and a bit more.

The last time I went to a sex shop was in the 90's. Believe you me, variety and novelty have exploded since then. Just for kicks, I thought I'd post one of the more intriguing vibrators available: The Pirate Pendant. It looks like a necklace, but wait! A discreet button allows you to choose one of two speeds.

I can't say I'm in the market (for starters, it's plastic) but I enjoyed the creativity of this one so much, I just had to share.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photo Tuesday Tease: Ungrounded

I love the composition of this Tuesday's Photo Tuesday Tease. It feels sort of ungrounded--just the way a good kiss does!

Two more stories in Contract with The Wild Rose Press!

Yesterday I received the news that The Wild Rose Press accepted two more of my stories! These two will round out my "Jersey Heat" series. In Bound to be Mine, my heroine Lisa turns to her friends Gillian and Christina for support and advice. Bound to Ignite follows Christina's story and Bound to Surrender concludes the series with Gillian's story. All three take place within the same super-hot South Jersey summer.

I'm so excited that all three will be released by The Wild Rose Press! I'll post updates when as they become available!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photo Tuesday Tease: I Want to Hold your Hand

What's happening in the hazy-unfocused background of this pic is hot, but the reason I chose this pic was the hand-clasp.

Hands are so under-rated as a sensual body part. I happen to find the finger-threading in this shot intensely romantic, intimate and sensual. Even as they are occupied with more, um, intense foreplay, they remain connected.

And that's about all I have to say today. My apologies. One thing that is DEFINITELY NOT sexy is a head cold. Hope to be on my feet again soon....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Photo Tuesday Tease: Kiss

Um, I'm having trouble thinking of a tagline for this photo. Bed kiss? Foreplay? Hand in hair? Whatever you want to call it, the heat jumps right off the screen, doesn't it?

I'm wading into tricky territory here, but I think that the difference between porn and erotic art (in pictures anyway) is the presence of intimacy--an obvious emotional connection between the people in the photograph. There is something about the way he spreads his fingers across her back that is both sensual and protective.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Photo Tuesday Tease: Blissful sleep

Alright, here it is...the photo Tuesday Tease shot for today: the aftermath....blissful sleep.

I've been married for almost 10 years, but I can remember what the first experience of falling asleep in a man's arms....can you?

There is such mystery in attraction, even now I can spend a lazy Saturday morning wrapped up in my husband's arms and feel perfectly in balance: centered, loved, cherished.

I think the thing in this pic that stands out is there is absolutely no tension in their bodies or on their faces. Bliss.

Monday, March 1, 2010

In search of a Writing Process

By the time you've hung around RWA (Romance Writers of America) for a few years, you've probably absorbed terms into your vernacular that confuse and vex your non-writing friends, like HEA, promo, author-loop, author branding, hook, contest slut, etc.

One word I've heard and contemplated quite frequently is the word "process." As in, "What's your writing process?"

When I first started writing, I figured I didn't have one. Or, if I did, my process consisted of painfully bleeding words into my laptop between periods of panic. I knew that couldn't be right. So, I began to explore other people's "processes." I tried so many different things: storyboarding, using various plot arcs and themes, collage-making, question-and-answer sessions with my characters and NaNoWriMo, just to name a few. However, not until I finally dropped the idea of a "right" process and relax a bit did my own personal process start to evolve.

Now each story takes shape in a similar fashion:

1. Inspiration. A line, a picture, a theme or character spark the bare bones of an idea. For Bound to be Mine, it was the thought of a man coming to grips with his Dom nature--when a therapist and 12 step program are telling him his urges are wrong.

2. Shake the idea. Next I shake the idea until I have a hero, a heroine and a few mental "movies" of them interacting. I note everything at this stage (if the original idea is a tree, the notes are like fruit falling). Most of the images I use, some get tossed as the idea refines.

3. Bare Bones Outline. Third, I write the barest of outlines. I hand-write images and scene progression in bare detail, just enough to jog my memory once I start writing. I think of it as a short-hand outline.

4. Rough Draft. I transfer the Bare Bones outline to Word, creating a story as I go. At this point I employ April Kihlstrom's advice and just write. No editing. No worrying about verb agreement or spelling or pesky cliches.

5. Rewrite. Rewrite, filling in and correcting some of those cliches.

6. Rewrite. Rewrite again, doing more of the same.

7. Listen. When I feel I've gotten the heart of the story down, I cut and paste the whole thing into Free Natural Reader software. I LOVE this software. It helps me find missing prepositions and misused words. But it also helps me see where the story flow is off or more description is needed. (I discovered this program AFTER Bound to be Mine was edited and scheduled for release). I listen and make changes as necessary.

8. Listen again. There is always something I miss the first time, like an adjective used twice on the same page.

9. Submit! Woo Hoo!!

If it sounds like a long process, well, it is. Perhaps I'll need less polishing as I become more experienced. On the other hand, whenever I think it's too long or too hard I remember the best writing advice I've ever read. I'm paraphrasing because I always end up giving away my copy of this book, but in "If You Want to Write," Brenda Ueland writes "don't think of writing as work, it's a privilege." (The Artist's Way says something similar: art requires enthusiasm more than discipline.) Without the thought there is a "right" process, writing can be fun.

So, if you are looking for your process, I'd recommend throwing out the idea that there is a right way, and accept your process as it evolves. Since I learned to trust what feels right, writing never feels like bleeding onto the page anymore.

Writing is world-building, and creating a world takes time. To remind me of this, I bought the poster pictured above and put it on my wall. You can't pit cherries all-at-once and you can only craft a story like you pit cherries: one small, juicy detail at a time.

Does anyone out there want to share their process? (or their advice for finding one?)