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Farewell and Many Blessings…

17 Apr

Dandilian farewellDear readers,

After much discussion and attention to the long range plans of the authors on this blog, we’ve decided it’s time to shut the doors on Passionate Reads. We’ve enjoyed connecting with you and sharing our tales. For me as one of the newest bloggers here, it’s been a great experience and honor to post on the blog, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to connect with you all.

But for now, we must stay goodbye and turn our attention not only to our individual blogs, but our writing too. You can find us all at the links below and the best part is most of us regularly blog at these places.

Nara Malone
naramalone.com
Tea and Strumpets

Nara’s Nook
Therian Verse

Marilyn Campbell
marilyncampbell.com

Siobhan Muir:
The Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked
Buy a Book, Tell a Friend

Brandi Evans
branidevansauthor.com

Shannon Emmel
Shannon’s Blog

Thank you all for joining us on this blog. Take care, be well, and stop by our respective blogs. If you follow them, you can get announcements when we post. Thanks again, and many blessings.

Flasher Fiction: Working Girls

7 Jan

At the start of the New Year it’s nice to strike out in new directions. That’s what we aim to do here at Passionate Reads and at the Greyville Writer’s Colony. The publishing industry and writers are struggling with digital disruption. I’m ready to embrace it, ready to see if we can make digital work for us in new ways.

Author Tina Glasneck shared an article with me this morning on the J A Konrath’s predictions for the future of publishing. He says some interesting things, including plans to explore interactive media more. A similar theme was at the heart of the Future of Storytelling class I took recently at iVersity. The future is interactivity.

If you know me, you know interactive fiction is my passion. I’m pleased to see that the genre is gaining attention just as the Greyville Writer’s Colony authors are hard at work on new ways to bring interactivity to writing and publishing.

Konrath wound up his predictions with this comment:

“The way to succeed in this future is to live and think in this future. That means continuing to innovate, experiment, and refuse to be satisfied.”

At Greyville Colony we literally log into the future of fiction. We walk around in that future and sit down to chat with it. If you want to keep an eye on the future then this blog is an excellent place to see where that future is headed.

My first experiment of the year was to build a scene in a virtual world populate it with characters and use it to make illustrations for a new form of storytelling I wanted to try. It’s not interactive fiction but is was a story created in a pixel world by an avatar. I call it a Flasher.

My definition of a flasher is a story length somewhere between 55-250 words–a page or less. Sixty-nine words being my favorite length and a sixty-niner threesome being a nice tool for creating the beginning-middle-end setup of a story.

I love flash fiction but I’ve always felt it could gain a wider audience if paired with images. Yes, you can create mood, setting, characterization in just a few words. That’s part of the challenge. By employing a few poetic techniques, flash fiction delivers characters and emotional punch that can get lost in longer narratives.

This process, learning to use the poetry of images and words together, was like crack for the creative mind. The project hooked me and wouldn’t let go until I finished.

Get the complete Working Girls flasher here. It’s a free quickie–7 pages in PDF format. I think I’ll write a lot more flashers. Maybe a 69er threesome flash next time.

If you’d like to make a flasher, keep an eye on the NarasNook.com blog. I plan to have a tutorial up in 2 weeks detailing how to make these graphic flash fiction mash-ups–no drawing ability required. If you’re impatient to learn more, drop in and visit us at the virtual Greyville Writer’s Colony where we’re always pushing the limits of what a story can be. Membership is free and open to everyone.

Creative…Inspiration

28 Oct

Writer’s block, lack of inspiration…or just too damned tired to write?

Okay, my lovelies, I’m not quite sure why I haven’t been writing much lately. It could be any or all of the above, but—

It really needs to stop…like, NOW.

33837f3838e5b90787080f870c67aa77It’s nearly November and in trying to figure out where 2013 went, I was reminded of my New Year’s resolutions for 2012.

Go to the Beach,

        Have a Drink,

                Eat What I Want,

                        Read a Book,

                                Write! Continue reading

I’ve Got to Get It in My Ear

8 Jul

Today I don’t have the blues. And that’s a problem.

See, right now, I’m writing some fairly … uncivilized scenes between two of my characters who are about to spend a lot of time together. Seams will give way. Each of them will leave a mark on the other, and I’m not talking about the sweet, emotional brand one might leave on another’s heart. My music of choice for scenes like that is the blues. The blues is all about this sort of thing.

The problem is that it’s tough for me to find enough of the blues online to sustain me until I’m done writing. So much of what I’m finding online is modern blues music, which is not what I’m looking for at all. The newer stuff reminds me of the modern Ford Mustang. The sound it makes is a shallow imitation of the traditional muscle car growl. It’s okay, but a lot of purists would rather do without than settle for the facsimile.

As I started to work today, I ran across Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan playing Blues at Sunrise. That’s the sound I’m thinking of. Something bedroomy, for want of a better word. Middle-of-the-night right. That’s perfect for these two, who really might break the bed if they keep at it like that.

Maybe they will break the bed. She would be mortified, but not right away.

Sorry. That’s a random thought. You don’t have to address that.

As I see it, I have a couple of options.

I could dig in and learn enough about the blues that I don’t have to go picking blindly over the internet to find the right sort of music. If I knew enough about the blues, I would know which of these online sources is going to get me closest to the hard, sexual sound I’m looking for. That’s going to take time away from writing, though.

I could replay Blues at Sunrise over and over again. Don’t laugh. I do that with Pink Floyd’s Echoes when I’m writing creepier scenes.

One day, I should probably suck it up and invest in a sound, baseline blues collection. I still have the Smithsonian Classic Jazz collection I used for my college Intro to Jazz class, and I think there’s a similar blues collection. Hmm. If I bought it for this purpose, it might even be tax deductible. Now that’s worth thinking about.

But first, these two have a bed to break.

If you’ve got blues and you can tell me where to get them, let me know in the comments!

**Alexa Day’s Illicit Impulse is a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick! She’s hard at work on her second novel and hopes you’ll keep up with her (and keep her on task) through Facebook.

 

Summer Staycation

1 Jun

Though I’ve been out of school more years than I’d like to count, I can’t give up the idea of summer break. Nothing spells freedom and potential like the three months of fun, sun and relaxation.

Now I know longer work in an industry that affords me 3 months of down time at the best part of the year — truthfully my current job is more a 364 days a year type gig — but try telling that to my brain.

Friday was the last day of school for most schools up here and I’m just as bad as the kids trying to plan my list of activities. I don’t have unlimited free time, but th

 

1. Go to a concert. Actually have tickets to see Maroon5 later this summer and unlike the last time I had tickets, I’m determined to go.

2. Attend a summer festival. It’s Chicago in the summer! You can’t swing a cat without hitting a festival….or five.

3. Go to the beach. Lived here 7 years, still have never been to the beach.

4. Get into the city at least once. It’s riiiiiiight there waiting for me and the fountains — including the ones you can run through — will be on.

5. Attend a baseball game. Go White Sox!

6. Eat funnel cake!!!!!

7. Write more books. 🙂

 

What’s on your agenda this summer?

_________________________________________________

Sasha

Who is ready for fun in the sun….and mojitos! If you want to hear more of Sasha’s ramblings, visit her at http://www.sashadevlin.com or follow her on Twitter @SashaDevlin. You can also peep her pins on Pinterest here

Write Like No One Is Reading…

20 Apr

I fully remember when I became self-conscious about my writing. In my sixth grade language arts class, I had penned a murder mystery short. My heroine’s pet bunny was murdered and left for dead…in a bloody heap on her doorstep.

There was mayhem! A rival with a motive! A quasi-love interest who was just as distraught about the dog as the heroine! In the end, the culprit was the neighbor’s rabid dog who was later put down and the story ended with her getting a new pet….a puppy.

Now 11 year old me didn’t think about things like logic — I went with a puppy because I liked dogs more than cats. Upon reading this story, my teacher praised it and encouraged me to layer in more details and string out the tension.

My mother and my sister….both laughed. Not the ha-ha-ha, I love this laughter of joy, but a OMG-cant-stop-chuckle of derision. With a single read through they had both pinpointed the issue with the puppy and brought it to light.

Neither of them knew at the time that they had made a huge impact on my creative works. I no longer had the same freedom, the same confidence in my words.

Though they enjoyed subsequent works, though I later earned a writing recognition in front of the entire school, though I continued to write fiction in secret, I could never recapture that same level of I Am Awesome.

Now it’s something I re-learn every time I write a book. I give myself permission to just write, and let myself know that it’s okay if I don’t get it right the first time — that’s what CPs are for and edits. By the same token, I can admit that some of what I write has merit as is.

It’s a delicate balance and one I wish I didn’t have to navigate. But it’s the only way to get the job done: Write Like No One is Reading.

 

___________________________________________________

Sasha

Who wants you to be freeeeeee! If you want to hear more of Sasha’s ramblings, visit her at http://www.sashadevlin.com or follow her on Twitter @SashaDevlin. You can also peep her pins on Pinterest here

Judge Not, Lest … Actually, Just Judge Not

8 Apr

I spent a long time in the Erotic Romance Writer Closet. I hated to tell anyone what I was writing, not because I was ashamed of it – I love writing erotica and erotic romance – but because I know how people judge.

Not you guys, of course. If you’re here, you’re probably not the judgey type. Nothing worse than being judgmental about who’s being judgmental, is there?

Anyway, I’m writing in the open these days, albeit cautiously. (I do still have to be discreet with my day job, since I’m in a conservative industry in a conservative part of the country.) Most people have been very good to me, and I’m grateful to have met such wonderful folks. But some people do still have their preconceived notions about what I do.

I’m used to that. I hear the same old things about romance and erotica all the time. Some of it’s just against the genre at large – it’s not intelligent, it’s for bored and frustrated women with no lives, it’s the source of everything that’s wrong with relationships. Some of it’s personal. I want to say for the record, again, that I’ve written things I’ve never done and would never do, even if you said, “Please please please pretty please with sugar on top and I promise I’m not videotaping.” Some of it is more subtle. You know, the frosty reception one gets from people who want to know when I’m going to write a “real” book.

All of this goes with the job. I used to hear most of the judgmental stuff from outsiders, people who don’t read much of anything or people who will read anything but romance. Some folks haven’t read romance in 25 years or so, when the field was very, very different. I get it. I think of myself as an ambassador for the genre, not an evangelist, so if non-readers have whatever preconceptions about romance, I will stand up for myself and my chosen field, but I’m not going to try to convert them.

Readers are different, though. I feel the need to reach out to a judgmental reader. A reader with a misconception about romance may just need a romance that better suits her needs. A reader who thinks erotica is all sex, no emotion might need an erotic romance with a higher supply of heart and heat. The reader who thinks BDSM is all about abuse may just need guidance to a better BDSM romance. Readers are naturally curious. Part of my job as ambassador is to have a grasp of the terrain.

The most disturbing brand of judgment has a surprising source. It comes from other writers. Yesterday, I read an internet post from a romance writer who described Romantica as “a feminist’s worst nightmare” and equated it to the bodice-rippers of the 1970s and 1980s. A few hours later, I saw a romance writer take a similarly spirited swipe at the sweet romances. It’s really discouraging to see that. I just don’t think there’s any excuse for that sort of prejudice on the part of writers. A preference is one thing; a preference is based on knowledge of what something is. Prejudice is based on perception, but not knowledge.

I’m not immune. I had my own little ideas about historical romance until I heard Joey W. Hill say that Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Ashes in the Wind was on her keeper shelf. It was as if she gave me permission to check out historicals. When I read Deanna Raybourn and Tasha Alexander in preparation for the Virginia Festival of the Book, well, I was delighted to find out how wrong I was about the whole subgenre. Smart, independent heroines, bucking society’s expectations for them – you know, they sound like my heroines.

I hope.

My job as a writer’s pretty complicated. Sure, I have to write the books, and that’s a big deal. But I also feel responsible for helping readers get better immersed in their fictional worlds. I’d love to be a part of their reading lives, certainly, but I find it just as gratifying to help them find other books that will suit them as well as, or better than, mine will. To do that, I have to have a decent grasp on what else is out there, but if I can’t manage that, I cannot retreat to prejudice. I keep inspirational next to historical next to BDSM romances in my library. Why shouldn’t my reader want to do the same?

**Alexa Day promises not to spend two years finishing her next book (her first book, ILLICIT IMPULSE, is available right now!). You can keep her honest by following her on Twitter, liking her on Facebook, or keeping up with her blog at www.alexaday.net. All you have to do is send frequent but gentle reminders that she ought to be working. She’ll take the hint.

 

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