Features

Where I Write: Website Launch Blitz

Where I Write: Website Launch
Inaugural Authors:
Carly Phillips – Mari Carr – Katie Ashley

Launch Date: February 6, 2019

Take a look behind the books of New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Carly Phillips, Mari Carr, and Katie Ashley!

“Where I Write” is a new window into the writing lives of your favorite authors. Whether they prefer noisy coffee-houses or quiet offices, discover where acclaimed authors spin their stories and craft their characters. With this glimpse of the surroundings in which writers work and think hard, be inspired to celebrate your own creative space.

WEBSITE: http://www.whereiwrite.com
FACEBOOK: 
https://www.facebook.com/whereiwritesite
INSTAGRAM: 
https://www.instagram.com/whereiwritesite
NEWSLETTER: 
http://eepurl.com/gf6BHX

GIVEAWAYS

There are 3 giveaways for gift boxes including signed paperbacks and special treats (3 winners, open internationally)

Carly Phillips, Mari Carr and Katie Ashley are each giving away a HUGE gift box including signed paperbacks and special treats. Make sure you enter all 3 rafflecopters.

#1 The Carly Phillips “New York Dares” Giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba3ffd552130

#2 The Mari Carr “Wild Irish” Giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba3ffd552131

#3 The Katie Ashley “Red White and Blue” Giveaway 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba3ffd552132

Features, This and That

I Have a Dream

Have you ever had a dream? One that filled you with such joy that the very thought of fulfilling it consumed your every waking thought?

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Every dream doesn’t just happen, sadly. I wish there was a magic wand that granted every thing I wanted and “poof” instant success. However, my fairy godmother is either taking her sweet time, stuck in traffic, or there truly are no mystical wish granting-midnight striking-ballgown granting-prince giving-fairy godmothers. Sigh.

My dream of becoming a published author began over 20 years ago. Shocking, I know. I must have been a toddler when this dream began, right? Okay, maybe just slightly older. Anyway, I had dreams and I dreamed big. A little over 20 years ago I was young, er-younger, working the best job in the world (in a bookstore) and still at a time in my life where I had little to no responsibilities. Not only was I beginning my journey of how to become a writer, but I was also engrossing myself in the authors who were already paving the path of what I wanted to write. You see while working at the bookstore I had my pulse on what has happening in the romance literary world. Reading everything I could get my hands on, I had instant access to magazines such as RWA, which I always read on my breaks, I was able to buy books at a deep discount, which I took great advantage of, and I stocked my home bookshelves with guides on how to research, write, and publish my finished manuscripts. It was pure heaven.

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Yes, I still own everything I ever bought all those years ago. This is just a small sample of my vast dreaming library. I wonder if any of those publishing addresses still work? I also wonder if anyone actually get’s “Happily” published? Hmmmm.

Anyway, it wasn’t long into my young and foolish youth that responsibilities came home to live and dreams had to be shelved. No longer was I able to spend all my earnings on books or spend all my free time on dreaming. A home, a job, and a family took precedence over living a fictional life.

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For the past 20 years my dream would peak out and remind me that it was unfinished. All the books that I had packed away when responsibility took precedence would resurface and the itch would instantly return. I would try to write during quiet times, which were sometimes few and far between. I would research late at night when my kids were sleeping and before I had to sleep and go to work the next day. Somehow, my dream refused to die.

go-live-your-dreamHowever, with each manuscript time passed and with each story idea more time passed until eventually fear settled in to the point that I haven’t picked up those helpful books I purchased 20 years ago in a very long time.

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I’ve focused on raising a family, my job, and so many other things that all the dreams I had so long ago I now face with fear. I dreamed big for so long and even though I’m finally at a point in my life where I have time to focus energy on those dreams I’m completely full of fear. What if I completely fail and everything I ever wanted to achieve never happens? What if I completely suck and then what?

I know that fear is the killer of dreams more than jumping in with both feet and just trying.

It hasn’t been until the past couple years that I even created a writing space and completely unpacked all of those old and outdated resources knowing I’d be forced to face my dreams every time I sat in that space. I find I’m very good at avoiding this spot when I want. Dreams are scary.

Now you should ask, why did I write this and why are there so many Disney or more appropriately Rapunzel themed pictures?

I have a very good answer.

Walt Disney was a man who didn’t let anyone stand in the way of his dreams. He is the ultimate dreamer and Rapunzel was a girl locked away in a tower who was full of dreams, it was all she had until Eugene came and rescued her. She also rescued him from his thieving ways and pretty much from running from his past. I love how Disney portray’s women in their films. The damsel is never a true damsel in distress, it gives young girls so much to look up to besides just looking beautiful awaiting their prince in a tower.

Anyway, Rapunzel had a dream that consumed her every waking thought and she didn’t let anything stand in her way of fulfilling it. No matter what obstacle came in her way she was bound and determined to see it to completion.  Thank you Rapunzel and Disney for reminding me that I can do this. I can’t let fear rule my life.

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This is also important, especially considering just a few years have passed and I’m no longer 20 years old.

Keep Reading. Keep Writing. Keep Dreaming.

This and That

Expanding Opportunities 

Here I write, there I write, everywhere looks good when the opportunity looks right.

Dr. Seuss never fails to get the message correct when you need to say what’s on your mind.

Well, most of the time.

A couple weeks ago a blogging site contacted me about writing and contributing to their site. As I’ve done with most things in my life, I researched, rehashed, debated all the pros and cons, all while my mind was reeling with the possibilities of what I could contribute to the world. Then I made a logical decision, jumped right in and said, “yes”.

Don’t worry you will still find me here, because romance is my first true love, but you can also find me posting on MyTrendingStories.com

https://mytrendingstories.com/profile/kay-daniels/

Be sure to follow me on this exciting me journey as this platform will allow me to expand on ideas beyond just romance.

I hope to see you there.

As always good writing, good reading, and good fortune.

This and That

Perspective

Everyone, no matter where you are in your life, can understand the word perspective. I’m not talking about the definable word, which is clinical and horribly boring. No, I’m talking about a moment in your life where you are either at the bottom trying to work your way up so your perspective could be one of struggling. Or perhaps you are at the top and now your perspective is one of victory.

Do you see where I’m going with this? The road of perception is different for everyone.

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As a writer, in developing characters, you want well rounded character development. Point of view (POV), the voice you give your characters, is one part of how you flush out your characters flaws, quirks, and overall oompf that makes us fall in love with them. That is just part of how the character perceives himself. Is your main character experiencing everything first hand in telling the story, using I, me or my? Will your characters merely observe their own actions as the story unfolds using he, she, his, hers? What will their perception be as their story is written? Your readers learn as your characters learn so perception becomes important when choosing a voice.

You’d think outside traits are high on the list because who is going to star in the movie version of your book, right? Wrong, or partially wrong. This is fiction, so of course make your fictional characters colorful, then cover artists will craft something stunning. So don’t lose sleep picking eye color, hair color, and other outside package features. Yes, you want to help fill your readers with visuals that correspond with your character traits and coordinate with the world you have created.  Readers will fill in voids from their own experiences and the visual cues you’ve already given them.

Next on your list of character development, you need to fill your characters with morals, values, basically everything that makes them who they are. Whether the character you are developing is the hero or the antagonist they have the same common thread. They both have their reasons for how they act, how they live, what they believe and trust me on this, whether they are hero or villain, they both perceive themselves as doing the right thing for their cause.

WHAT? A villain is right? What is wrong with the world?
  
A look back in history proves that a villain believes they are right until their dying breath. They are even more “right” in their convictions than the hero is in their vindication of defeating the antagonist. How else would they gain followers unless they believe in their cause undoubtedly.  The hero more times than not fights the fight alone. The question you want to ask yourself is, what lead them down this dark path to begin with? Why is this cause so important to them? You may or may not use the answer to these questions in your story, but it will help create and shape your characters. Making them richer and more evolved for your readers. Don’t forget when crafting your villain everything is based on perspective.

Let’s stop and think about this for just a second.

To a mouse, a cat is an evil terror. To a cat, a mouse is a delightful treat. Who is right in this scenario? Both and neither. It’s all based on perspective.

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As a storyteller you get to decide. Which side do you want to take, who is the villain and what voice do you want to use? Whatever side you pick stick to your guns until the bitter end. Don’t waffle. Don’t make the cat a vegetarian right at the end. The cat wants that mouse and will do everything in its power to entrap, ensnare, and eat that mouse.

Now if you can come up with a great twist that isn’t cliché you have a major blockbuster on your hands. You will get the opportunity to use your sparkly shoes. The struggling writer finally victorious.

So don’t forget life is all about perspective. No matter who you come across, who you write about, or who you strike up a conversation with everyone takes away a different perspective. In every scenario you may be the mouse or you may be the cat.

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Until next time, keep reading, keep writing, and good fortune.

-Kay Daniels

This and That

Writing; time, all or nothing

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Recently posed with a difficult question that not only a lot of writers face, but probably people in general when faced with difficult life decisions. I hope anyone facing these same issues can find some comfort that we all are looking for the same answers:
To paraphrase the question presented:
I’m struggling and just looking for some insight. Have you been in a similar position? Advice? 
My question is for those of you who have full time jobs (or had in the case of those who are already published)… how did you find the time, motivation and dedication to continue with your writing? How did you separate yourself from your work life and your “book life? What do you do if you actually LIKE your job but you also REALLY want to be published? Does it always have to be an either/or or all or nothing??

What I responded with was this:
I don’t know if this will help or not, but this has been my experience:

I’d been a closet writer for years secretly daydreaming of the day when I could quit my full time job and burst onto the NY Times best selling list as this year’s latest and greatest. My imagination is so vast that I would even practice the interviews I would have on Oprah and local television shows while washing my hair in the shower.

Oh, one slight problem. I actually had to have to courage to put myself out there and actually get published. Um, I kinda like the daydreams better, true life is scary.

Well, soon life moved on and Oprah retired (dang it, there went some really great interviews) and as I realized I was living in an irrational fear; not really knowing if I would really fail or not because I never really tried.

Last spring I thought it was fate that my fav of favorite authors posted she was attending RT (Romantic Times Convention) at that same time I had decided to make a change in my life. I had to do more digging. What was this mysterious RT she talked about? The sleuthy stalker in me had to investigate and when I discovered it was a convention for not only published authors, but aspiring ones as well, I about fell off the couch. Not only had fate delivered exactly what I needed right into my lap, but it was also in my backyard. I didn’t need airfare and I certainly didn’t need another sign to tell me “dummy, you need to go to this event and get your ass in gear.”

Not only did I get to meet my favorite author and get a picture with her (squeee), but I was able to tell her in person that she was my inspiration for being able to attend the event. Ok, fan moment aside I learned a ton, but I’m still in the beginning phases of what I need to do to even come close to make my fantasies come true.

What I brought home from RT was this:
You are not alone. There is a huge community of writers out there and they are just like you. I meet people from all over the world and the common bond we all shared was romance. Whether you write steampunk, young adult, paranormal, contemporary, it didn’t matter because at the core of the matter, at the real heart (pun intended) of your story it has the elements of romance.

You will forever be changed by your experience by attending RT. There are no words to describe the overwhelming, exhausting, jam-packed, knowledge filled, and fun time you will have during the time you are there. The moment I was home I couldn’t wait until next spring to go back. Well, first I wanted to catch up on sleep, unpack all my swag and goodies, then make sure I signed up for the conference again the following year.

Now to get to the tough question and answer section of what a lot of authors face. When I attended last year, all shiny and new. The naïve virgin that I was. I went as myself. Huh? In my daydreams I had thought about pennames, but nothing concrete because again, that was just fantasy. So again, being new to the whole scene I went to RT as me. It was actually at several workshops that I discovered that authors really are not who they are. They have pennames. Mind blown.

They keep their personal life and writing lives totally separate. A few even said that within their personal life no one even knew that they were a writer. WHAAAAAAA!!!

Why would you not want to advertise this? After all I’d pictured myself on Oprah-right? Haha. But after more and more stories were shared I began to understand.

Fantasy is soooo far from reality. I’m horribly shy and would probably throw up and run away before actually taking a step on Oprah’s stage. But that isn’t the point I’m trying to make. I have discovered over the years that not only do I get this pained look like “oh, you poor dear, you must lack a proper education” when I mention I read romance novels (and I read them by the truck load I’d like to add, but instead I just smile and nod like the idiot I am), but heaven forbid I mention I write them. You will find a large sympathetic pool of authors who have had this same experience and yet romance novels comprise the largest selling market out there, so you tell me who is buying them? Hum???

I’m not ashamed to have my name out there, but I still have children in school and like I said I was not alone in this large community of writers and readers.  I also knew how I was received when I mentioned reading romance, and suddenly a talk show on Oprah didn’t seem so great and I certainly didn’t want any backlash on my family. My own skin is thick enough, but I worried more about my little kiddos

The more I learned the thought of creating an alter ego was kind of thrilling. I felt like I was stepping into tights and putting on a cape now when I enter my writing cave. (theme music begins rolling)

I know I’ve had these voices, fantasies, whatever you want to call them floating around in my head for years, but to be able to put another name on who is actually running the show (well sometimes I get to run the show and then sometimes the character I’m working on takes over and then everything goes a totally different direction) is actually kind of nice.

I still work full time and it doesn’t leave a lot of time to squeeze my writing in between working, running kids to and from different events and getting pulled into every volunteer organization possible. I have a great boss who understands that I love to read and that I do write, but I have a horribly high work ethic and being shy seems to make it hard to say no. I seem to have this beacon, besides my bright red hair, that screams to people “pick me to volunteer”. There was a time when the girls were littler and there wasn’t a single day of the week or weekend that we were actually home. I’ve gotten braver (ok, actually I’ve just gotten better at hiding) so that I have a few nights to myself and can dedicate it to writing or just kick back and read.

I’m not sure I’ve been able to answer the question to any real degree of firmness, aside from showing with enough dedication, will and lunacy, you can achieve anything you want to achieve. I still hope and dream to become a published author someday. Until that time I’m still writing and enjoy doing all the other things that fill in the gaps in between.

Keep reading, keep writing, good fortune!
-Kay Daniels

This and That

Fictional Characters vs. Real People

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Fictional Characters: Whenever I begin a new book I usually have the character’s traits all mapped out, however as the story progresses it doesn’t always work out that someone gets to stay a certain way.  Sometimes the characters take over and tell me what to do or what they want.  Heck it is their world after all, if I could be a blonde I would be and if it makes the story better, why not?

What I love about fiction is just that; it’s fiction.  I can slip into a world where everything is better, I can pretend that I am a blonde and nothing else matters for just a little while.  How fantastic is that?
Reading introduces us to a world or worlds where anything is possible.  You can fly off to other places and times, be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do and yet be home by supper time.  It opens an entire world right before your eyes.
I always imagined myself stepping right into the pages as I opened a book.  I could literally envision I was right there, sharing the experience along with the characters until it was either time to put the book down for the night or until someone came along and snatched me out of my reading zone.
I do hope we can journey on this path together as author and reader.  As always reading should be a fantastic journey and enjoyed to its fullest pleasure.

I think what I detest the most when it comes to fictional characters is when a real person gets attached to them.  Not that I mind the hunky eye candy that usually comes with it, but some people don’t quite get the concept behind what being obsessed with a fictional character is vs. being obsessed with a real person is.  Let’s see if I can clarify this for you.

I adore Legolas from Lord of the Rings.  I have him as my screensaver, my desktop photo and even in my car since my car now allows an icon on the console.  So you could say I have a deep obsession with the tall, blonde, arrow-wielding elf.  Just a small one.

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Others walk by my computer at work and ask if I’m in love with Orlando Bloome.  Um, not so much.  If I was, you would see pictures of Orlando, the man himself.  I would also have photos of him from the Pirate movie, Orlando not in character, Orlando, Orlando, Orlando. Not Legolas in every way shape and form.  I love the Tolkien story and the elf he created.  I love the banter between Gimli and Legolas.  If this was one story I could step into and actually stay in, I would so be a stalker of this particular elf. Sorry Legolas, but your daddy would probably have me banned or jailed or something I would guess.

The tall, leggy elf is not my only obsession.  I’m also a Twimom.  What can I say I read the books with my daughters and anything to inspire reading, I’m all for it.  Besides when it comes with men being shirtless most of the time, even better.  So this was another instance where, even to my daughters, I had to explain the difference between having an obsession with a character and an obsession with boys who were jailbait.

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I had to explain to my girls that these boys, that brought back memories of when I was a young girl, were so devoted to Bella and the fact that they would never leave her side to the point of death, especially Jacob, even when she was in love with someone else.  That he would always be there for her and loved her unrequitedly.  Damn, how could you not fall for this guy?  Again, would so stalk this guy in literary land.

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Now on to a man that wouldn’t land me in jail, Spartacus. Sigh.  This male specimen not only represents delicious eye candy every episode, but is the story of how one man proves he can make a difference.  Is Liam a delicious man to look at, don’t get me wrong, he is, but the story of Spartacus itself is one of inspiration.  How did one man lead an army against the entire Roman empire?  What is it that drove this man to stand up and say, “No more.”  Now that is a story I want to sink my teeth into.  Not to mention perhaps his pectorals 🙂

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So I hope this gives you some insight into what makes up a fictional character vs. who plays them and perhaps will help if you someday read one of my literary works. And maybe, just maybe it might help when you see someone have an obsession with a character and you begin to question their sanity.

This and That

Small scene from current work….

A little section from something I’ve been working on—-

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“I believe I still owe you,” the mischievous gleam in his eyes said that payback was going to be a fun and tortuous at the same time.
He picked her up without waiting for a reply and walked quickly back to his bedroom. Rita didn’t even get a chance to see the route he took for future reference. It truly was as if he intended to keep her as his sexual prisoner for the time they were in San Francisco. Not that she was going to complain.
Before she knew it she was dumped on a soft mattress and Rick’s hard body came down on top her. His lips began an assault on her senses. He started behind her ears and slowly descended south making lazy circles on her neck. it was driving her crazy. She wanted him naked, she wanted to be naked. She really needed them both naked so they could enjoy each other naked right that moment.
“Rick.”
He was still licking lazy patterns across her collarbone, seeming to be in no hurry. Yet Rita’s skin felt like it was on fire.
“Rick, please.” She scratched at his back, hoping her nails were sharp enough to tear the shirt from his back.
He was working his way up the other side of her neck. The opposite direction of where Rita was hoping he was headed. She let out a “humpf” and started in earnest wiggling her hips.
She finally heard Rick give a deep chuckle. The sound vibrated straight through him and right through Rita’s core. “Oh, God. Do that again,” she begged.
He lifted his head and looked down at her. “Feeling frustrated baby?”
She stuck out her lip and pouted. “Just a little.”
He reached up and smoothed a lock of hair from her face. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.”
“Thank God.” She began untucking his shirt from his pants and started running her hands under the material when he began chuckling again.
“Whoa. Slow down Sweetcheeks.”
“What?” Her eyebrows crunched down into a v, as she looked into his face trying to find the joke displayed there. she was burning up and really was hoping he was going to douse it soon.
“We,” he kissed her forehead, “have,” he kissed her left eyelid, “all,” he kissed her right eyelid, “week,” he kissed the tip of her nose, “and…” he hovered right above her.
“And?” she licked her lips anticipating where he was headed. God, she really needed him to kiss her. More than she needed to breathe, more than she needed food, or water, or anything else. She really needed him to kiss her.
“And I plan to kiss every part of you before the week is over.” The look in his eyes was so intense. Rita knew she was lost right at that moment. Lost to the man. Lost to the feelings he was swirling in her. lost to the cravings he seemed to dredge forth. She knew she would never be complete again for she was totally lost to him.
He crushed his lips to her and Rita revealed in the swirling feelings his kiss invoked. His tongue sought entrance and she craved the taste of him. The taste that was purely Rick. she ran her hands through his hair, bringing him closer, trying to climb into the very essence of him.
His nimble fingers walked a path up her side bringing her shirt with it. He finally broke their kiss long enough to drag her shirt over her head, then his mouth was back, nibbling, sucking causing her to burn up from the inside again. Her hips began to involuntarily grind against his thigh. She needed the ache within her core to be doused or she would combust.
As if Rick read her thoughts he left her lips and began his decent, this time making a straight beeline south. he unclasped her bra and tossed that the same direction as her top. He suckled first one breast than the other causing Rita to arch her back from the bed.
“Rick,” she thrashed her head back and forth. “I’m on fire.”
“Patience, baby.” He licked a trail down her stomach, drawing circles around her bellybutton. Her fingers clenched tighter in his hair. “Please, I can’t take much more,” she begged.
He grinned as he unbuttoned her jeans and kissed the spot right below her waistband. “You’ll take all I have to give you and more.” He unzipped her jeans and slowly slid them from her legs. He licked his way back up the insides of her milky, white thighs, but before he got to the juncture of her thighs he started on her other leg.
Rita was gripping the bedsheets, thrashing her head back and forth, her bottom lip pulled in between her teeth. She was riding the edge. The moment he touched her core she was going to go off like a rocket.
Finally he reached her center and he licked her through her panties. Her hips came off the bed involuntarily. “Oh, God!”
Rick took advantage of the moment and hooked his fingers under the waistband of panties. He pulled them down and took a deep breath of them before they also went the way of all the rest of her clothes. “You smell delicious baby.”
Rita didn’t have time to feel embarrassed by his lewed comment because his tongue was doing delicious things to her and her eyes rolled to the back of her head.
He sucked, nibbled and tongued the entrance to core. He licked everywhere but where she needed to be touched. He would just move a little more…ah…ah….damn. His tongue ventured south again.
Rita huffed out a sigh.
Rick chuckled and the vibration went straight through her. “Needing something baby?”
“Are you just toying with me?” She looked down at him. Seeing his dark blonde hair at the juncture of her thighs was a total turn on, but she would rather have his massive cock at her entrance instead.
“Just enjoying my treat, Sweetcheeks.” He licked her from the bottom her slit to the top avoiding her swollen nub. “I could eat you for hours.”
Rita threw her head back on the bed. Her arms came up and covered her face. “Oh God. I can’t take this for hours. Please, Rick.”
Suddenly he was there, over her, covering her with his strong body, his face right before hers. He removed her arms from her face and looked deep into her eyes. “This is the torture you’ve had me in for months, Rita. You gave me a sweet taste of you months ago and I’ve been in agony, burning for you.”
Rita didn’t know what to say. The Rick she knew didn’t wait months for a woman. The Rick she knew wasn’t this intense man hovering over her. She didn’t know how to handle this intense Rick. She was about to tell him to let her up and so she could leave, but then he kissed her. All thoughts escaped her after that.

Hope you enjoyed.

Yours in Romance
-Kay Daniels