Love in the Cards — Free Stories Just in Time for Halloween

Love in The Cards (small) The Love Lust and Laptops ladies who brought you Lucky’s Charms have done it again.  Beginning October 14th and continuing on through October 25th, the talented authors of the Love Lust and Laptops Blog are providing you free stories just in time for Halloween.  No tricks, just treats.

The unifying set up is the mysterious owner of Dacre House in the Garden District of New Orleans has invited selected people to his annual Halloween Party.  Each attendee receives a half of a Tarot card and when they find the person holding the other half — well, you need to read the stories to find out.

The Schedule is as follows:

October 14th — Jack of Hearts — Jianne Carlo

October 15th — Three of Cups — Becca Jameson

October 16th — Two of Wands — Vanessa North

October 17th — Two of Cups — Parker Kincade

October 18th — The Star — Christy Gissendanner

October 21st — The Strength of a Lion — Lynn Lorenz

October 22nd — Judgement Day — Rosanna Leo

October 23rd — The Empress — Cherie Nicholls

October 24th — The Wheel of Fortune  — Monette Michaels

October 25th — The Lovers — Emilia Mancini

And as we did with Lucky’s Charms, all ten stories will be bundled into a single e-book with pub date and on-line retail sites to be announced soon after the stories end.

As you might have noted, my story is The Wheel of Fortune. Here is the blurb:

Brendan Cooper has lusted after fellow student Abby Hart from afar. When Abby walks into the sex toy party he hosts at the Dacre House Halloween party, Brendan takes fate into his Dom hands and makes sure Abby knows to whom she belongs.

So, mark your calendar for October 14th to get in on the beginning of this ten-day story fest. Or better yet, go to Love Lust and Laptops and follow our blog and don’t miss a thing.

Love Lust and Laptops Blog
 

Muse Wednesday — Inspiration? Where does it come from and how do you get it down on paper? by Lynn Lorenz

This Wednesday, Lynn Lorenz, who has already shared her specific inspiration with us in the past HERE, is “musing” today on the topic of inspiration in general.  What inspires you to write and how do you translate that to paper?  Lynn shares some of her extensive experience with y’all.  Read, learn, and enjoy.

******

ll_rsc3_bayouloup_coverinInspiration comes from so many places, too many to mention, but as a writer, artist, musician or any sort of creative person, most of the time we don’t ask ourselves that question.

It just does.

I know that’s a wimpy answer, but for creative people it’s less of a process as it is a state of open reception.

If you remain open, like a vessel, stuff pours in. And out.

That’s what it’s like to create. An idea comes to you and you have to play with it, mold it, capture it, twist it, and then stick it back out there for everyone to see, hear or read.

I’ve always written, short stories and poetry in high school and college, but I also was/am an artist. I draw and paint in acrylics and watercolor, and have a degree in Fine Art. My inspirations for my work came from all sorts of places. My college senior art project was Porn vs Art – What’s the Difference? I took photos from Penthouse and Playboy of women in provocative poses and painted them. Once on canvas, they became lovely nudes. Nothing in the pictures changed, it was the media. I displayed the photo next to the painting – but you had to lift a cover to see where the inspiration came from. Most people were shocked when they found out it was from a porn magazine.

With writing, there’s no cover to lift, but we still get our inspiration from photos, from music, ideas, situations we see and hear about, television, our families and friends. Basically everywhere. Like I said in the beginning…way too many places to name.

But if you’re not open to what comes your way, no matter how, you’ll never catch the spark. It’s truly a creative person who can take that spark and run with it.

So you’re open, and you catch a spark of an idea. You mull it over, it develops, forms, shaped by you and your creativity into a story. Of sorts. Or characters. In a certain situation. And it starts like this…and ends like this….

But how do you wrangle it all into a story, one that has a beginning, middle and end? One that captures a reader’s interest, one that hooks them on the first line or paragraph, keeps them interested in the middle and drives them breathless to the ending.

Now that’s the hard part. One that most writers struggle with – getting it all down and making it work.

You hear writers say all the time, “I’m a plotter.” Or “I’m a pantser.” Have you wondered what are they talking about? Well, a plotter is just that, someone who plots the book out, from a simple outline, to the most convoluted sticky note/white board/ photo layout you can imagine. A pantser is someone who “flies by the seat of their pants,”

Just goes with the flow, no plot, no outline. Just sit down and write.

Both are good. Both work. But for the right person. So, wow! Guess what? This is not “one size fits all.” If it works for you, then it works. One is not better than the other. If it works for you, then it’s right.

But what if it isn’t working? What if you’re lost, with your hand on the great idea, dragging it along behind you like a favorite teddy bear? You’re not alone. You just haven’t found what works yet but you will, if you write enough. In writing, you learn about yourself, plot, pants or a mix.

We often struggle with the great idea, only to have it crash and burn in execution. That’s so frustrating. In a hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing, wanna-punch-something-right-now sort of way.

So many things go into how to get that idea down. One of them is POV – which point of view will you write the story in? (check out my blog on Amber Allure PAX coming this Friday January 25th http://amberpax.blogspot.com  about writing in 1st person and/or 3rd person.)

Another is setting. Where is the story happening? In just one place, one city, on a ranch or in a BDSM club? So many choices!

Who is involved in your book? Characters? Many or a few? One couple or a ménage? Gay or straight or polyamorous? Earthlings or a race of space aliens? Contemporary, historical or alternate universe? Again, endless possibilities!

How about this – theme? Do you even know what the theme of your book is? What’s the message at its core? Is it love conquers all? Acceptance? Rescue?

What trope are you using? Tried and true, like the Billionaire’s Daughter and the Ranch Hand, or did you think about mixing it up – the Billionaire Daughter and the Space Steampunk Pirate? In my view, tropes were made for mash-ups.

The heat level? Sweet, sensual, erotic? Do we even understand what that means? At each publisher? The mind boggles!

Yeah, a lot of stuff to think about, getting in the way of that once magical spark of an idea. You’re exhausted, but still clinging to it, unwilling to let it go. “It shall be written!” you swear, shaking your fist like Scarlett at the sunset.

Didn’t think so much happened when writing a book, huh?

It does. It has to. Most of the time, for pantsers, it happens as you’re writing it. For plotters, they’re thinking about it before the first word goes down on paper. For pantsers, if they did that, they’d never write the book. For plotters, sitting down to write without it all planned out would be torture.

No matter what method you use to write, if you end up with a finish ms, you’re ahead of most writers. Most writers never finish a ms. Ever. They start, hit a wall, and stop. For all sorts of reasons.

Lack of inspiration is rarely the reason for the shut down.

Because inspiration is the one thing out there that we all have access to – if we’re open to it in all its forms- ugly, mundane, glorious, shocking, awesome, and just plain cool.

Try this – spend one day just writing down all the ideas you come across during that day. Just a one line sentence. From the time you get up, until you go to bed. If you don’t have enough ideas to write about for the next few years, well, I’d be shocked.

Take that list and tack it up somewhere close to where you write. As you go through it, as one idea takes over you, scratch the idea out and get writing. Using any method that works for you.

Just write it.

Bio:

Lynn grew up in New Orleans eating in bars and dancing in dives. She moved to Texas in the late ’80′s and now loves big hair, barbeque and cowboys.  She’s been published since 2008 and has over 30 novels and novellas under her belt, along with too many cocktails to name.

She’s working on her next book, avoiding all housework, and riding herd on two teens, one husband and a slightly neurotic dog.

Lynn loves to hear from readers…contact her at lynnlorenz@live.com

Visit her web site.

Love, Lust & Laptops Grand Opening is December 1st

Tomorrow and the week after that is a special time.

It is the Grand Opening of  a new blog, Love, Lust & Laptops.

I was thrilled to bits to be invited to join the other nine ladies in this blog devoted to all things romance. You name it and one of us probably writes it.  Over the coming weeks, you’ll have a chance to meet every LL& L lady and find out what we do and why we do it. As well as sharing the strange and wonderful things we think you’d love to know, we are also planning blog posts and interviews with some surprising guests.

As if that isn’t enough — to celebrate our launch, we have a blog hop giveaway. Every comment you leave at the LL& L blog between the 1st and the 7th of December enters you in the draw. You can increase your chances of winning by visiting each author’s blogs (listed below) and leaving a post. Each author may also be running their own giveaway.

AND HERE ARE MINE! —

LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS BLOG DURING THE GRAND OPENING WEEK AND I WILL GIVE-AWAY:

1.  One winner will receive a download copy of  EYE OF THE STORM, BOOK  ONE IN MY SECURITY SPECIALISTS INTERNATIONAL SERIES, and

2.  One winner will receive a download copy of  PRIME OBSESSION, BOOK ONE IN MY PRIME CHRONICLES TRILOGY.

So what can you win at the main LL&L Blog Hop Give-Away?

First prize is a $75 Amazon Gift Voucher

Two lucky second prize winners will receive $25 Amazon Gift Vouchers

Third Prize is a gift pack of the following E-books

  • Amazon by Vanessa North
  • One Night Stand by Parker Kincade
  • Male Order by Lillian Grant
  • For The Love of A God by Rosanna Leo
  • and any book from Lynn Lorenz’s backlist

Fourth Prize is a gift pack of the following ebooks

  • The Princes Bound by Robin Danner
  • Leashed by a Wolf by Cherie Nicholls
  • and any book from Monette Michaels’ backlist, excluding her Terran Realm anthology

Fifth Prize is a gift pack of the following ebooks

  • Lindsey’s Wolf by Becca Jameson
  • and The Rebound by Emilia Mancini

Be sure to visit the LL&L site on December 7th to see if you win one of the grand prizes and visit my blog (this one right here) also on the 7th to see if you won one of my extra prizes. All in all you could score some serious swag.

For more chances to win prizes be sure to visit:

Becca Jameson

Cherie Nicholls

Emilia Mancini

Lillian Grant

Lynn Lorenz

Monette Michaels — that’s this blog! 😉

Parker Kincaide

Rosanna Leo

Robin Danner

Vanessa North

Muse Wednesday: Lynn Lorenz

Author Lynn Lorenz is my guest today on Muse Wednesday. She is sharing what inspired her to write m/m romance.

*****

In the first book I ever wrote, before I knew about gay romance, The Avalon Patrol: The Road to Avea, I had two strong male characters – Stephan Bane and Rolf Creel. And I had two female characters, Sarah Tallow and her best friend Lucy. The men and women were supposed to get together, but every time Stephan and Rolf got together, sparks flew.

EXCERPT:
The door to Rolf’s office flew open and slammed into the wall.

He jumped in his chair, his hand flying to his wand.

“Where the hell were you?” Stefan stood in his door, fists clenched.

“Stefan, what are you talking about?” Rolf laid down his pen, opened the drawer, and slipped the paper he was working on inside.

“I’m talking about being at Chester, damn it. I called for you and your men. You didn’t answer.” Stefan stepped into the small office and towered over the desk, filling the room with his power.

A prickle of warning danced across Rolf’s skin. He pushed back in his chair as the fine blond hair on his arms stood on end.

“My men were ready. I waited for your call, but it never came, so I dismissed them.” Rolf gathered his own power, but kept it in check. It wouldn’t be the first time they’d tested each other with power or fists.

“Of course I called.” Stefan’s oddly colored eyes widened.

“Did you use the mirror?” Rolf reached into his pocket and pulled out his service mirror. Opening it, he saw only his own reflection. He held it close to his face, his blue eyes inspecting its polished surface.

“Aye, but before I could contact the castle, the bastards were on me.”

“Damn! Here’s the problem. There’s a hairline crack. How the hell did that happen?” Rolf passed the mirror to Stefan. “By the One God, I’m sorry. I’ll get a replacement from Gustav.”

“Damn right you will!” Stefan didn’t bother to look for himself, but tossed it on the desk.

“Look, I don’t know what to say. It was working the last time I used it.” He looked into the air as he thought. “Two days ago.”

Stefan remained silent, but dropped into a chair against the wall.

“How bad was it?” Rolf sat back.

His guts twisted as he listened to Stefan give a brief description of the encounter with Blackmoor’s men.

*****

To me, it was natural for them to get in each other’s face, but back then, I had no idea I could let them do more than that, let them push each other so far they’d have to fight for dominance of their first kiss.

All my critique partners would say, “You write such strong men.”

Truthfully, I’ve always struggled with my heroines, but I had no idea that inside me, those men were longing to get to each other. I just followed the rules of straight, traditional romance, the only romance I’d been exposed to.

Then I bought a book for my husband. Down These Dark Spaceways. It was an anthology of novellas written by some of the greats of science fiction, in the “noir” style. Sam Spade in space sort of thing. I love a good mystery, so when he didn’t pick up the book, I did. And lo and behold, buried several stories in, was a novella by David Gerrold called In The Quake Zone. As I read it, I think I blew a gasket. He wrote a story about a detective who fell for a young man he was supposed to save, as he struggled with his own sexuality and his desire for this openly gay young man.

It was the first story I’d ever read that involved gay men. Now it didn’t have anything more than a kiss or two on the cheek, and the stirrings of desire, but it slammed into me at warp speed and left me breathless.

At the moment I finished the book, I had my “eureka” moment – I had been writing about men desiring men all along, I just never knew it was possible. Once I realized it, I searched other stories out. Dayum! There were a bunch of them. I could do this. I could leave the ladies out and write about the men.

Men in lust. Men in the heat of passion and desire. Men who love men and find their happily ever after.

I went to RWA that year and pitched a story to Loose Id’s Treva Harte. That story was The Mercenary’s Tale, my first gay romance, set in medieval times.

She loved it, asked for some changes, and I ran with her marvelous suggestions.

It was the first story I ever sold and it opened the door to an exciting and heart satisfying career – sharing my stories of men in love. Even though I do occasionally write stories with heroes and heroines, my heart stays with my men and giving them their HEAs.

Bio:

Lynn Lorenz lives in Katy, Texas with her husband, two kids and a sweet, but neurotic dog. She’s been writing with her heart set on publication for three years. To her, it’s the heart that matters, and she believes that if you open your mind, the heart will follow.  Visit her web site.