Blogging Guest Speakers at LARA RWA Meeting

Blog! Blog! Blog!! That's the craze today and I'm, obviously, guilty of jumping on that bandwagon. I'd heard over and over again about how it could do wonders for my writing career, but wasn't exactly sure about how to generate the traffic and hype I wanted. “Ask and ye shall receive!”
 
On Sunday, I went to the Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) RWA chapter meeting and had the privelege of meeting three wonderful ladies who shared their experiences and insight on blogging. What an inspiration! They gave a lot of encouraging tips, suggestions and examples of blogs. I will share a few here, but I would encourage you to visit their blogs for more examples. I will also share some resources for those of you who haven't yet begun blogging and would like to know where to go.
 
The Speakers (listed alphabetically)
Jina Bacarr – Unfortunately, Jina wasn't able to attend the meeting and we were sad not to see her there, but I heard she was working on a deadline, so that means she's doing what her fans love…writing! Jina is also known as the Spicy Contessa and she writes erotica. You can visit her blog at http://spicycontessa.wordpress.com
 
HelenKay Dimon – An ex-divorce lawyer, she is now writing stories with happy endings! She was there to share her experiences with blogging, how she got into it and gave wonderful suggestions on how to market yourself as a writer. She blogs on her own site at www.helenkaydimon.com AND on a group blog, www.accessromance.com/blog. Some helpful tips HelenKay provided were…
  • Make comments on other blogs, lending your opinion and insight and don't forget to link back to your blog in your comments. That will help drive traffic back to you.
  • Blog about other blogs and provide links to their blogs – cross promotion for bullet #1 & #2 is very effective for driving traffic back and forth.
  • Write your own book reviews about your favorite books and link to those author's web sites and/or blogs. Don't forget to tell the author you wrote a review. You have a chance they may link back to your blog – VERY good if it's a popular author!
  • If you have published books, provide small pictures of your books on your blog or web site…people are drawn to pictures!

Fronnie Lewis (also writing as F. Leegh Lewis) – Fronnie has a background in news and is the creator/coordinator/moderator of Cheers for Writers, a series of author interview and book signing events. You can visit her blog at www.fleeghlewis.com and www.awritersgroove.com. Some of her helpful tips were…

  • Blog on current events! People love to comment about what's going on in the world today. Write your opinion on a topic and then ask your readers what they think.
  • Read blogs for agents, editors and publishers! Not only do you find out tips and tricks on writing, they will frequently tell you exactly what they're looking for, what they love and what they hate about getting submissions. This is a great place to do your homework on those agents and publishers you're submitting your work to.

Charlene Sands – This is our Country & Western gal! She not only shared her personal experiences with blogging and how she got into it, but was also the person to speak on group blogging. You can read her blogs at her web site www.charlenesands.com and on the group blog www.petticoatsandpistols.com. Some of her helpful tips were…

  • Link Link Link! Most blogs will allow you to link to other of your favorite blogs. This is more of that cross promotion mentioned by all speakers. AND link to your own web site (if you have one) or where your readers can buy your book(s) if they're available.
  • You don't have to blog about your books or make it all about your writing. But, you can blog about topics that tie into what you're writing. So it's an indirect way of referring to your stories.
  • Write topics that provoke your readers to respond. Ask questions. Ask their opinions. Speak on hot topics.

There is so much more information these ladies shared with us, it's just too much to list here. If you're going to be at the upcoming Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference, be sure to attend their workshop! You'll get all these tips and even so much more than we experienced at the LARA meeting on Sunday. Also, visit their blogs. Charlene has the Top 10 Comblogments with more amazing suggestions and tips!

Blog Resources

Where can you do your own blog? How much does it cost? How do I write a blog? If these are questions you have, I won't be able to provide an extensive answer to all these questions, but I can give you a little shove in the right direction. I'm still pretty new to this myself.

Blog Sites – Some of the blog sites I saw mentioned were www.blogger.comwww.typepad.com, and www.wordpress.com. However, there are literally THOUSANDS of blog sites out there. Here's a couple of sites that list blogging sites: http://topsites.blogflux.com/ and http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/popular-blogs. If you Google “blog sites” you'll get ALL KINDS of results. Have fun!

Cross Blog – One other way of finding blog sites is by the surfing you do back and forth between bloggers. I've just referred you to the blogs for these four ladies, so that will most likely refer you to other blogs from the people who comment or searching you can do in those blog communities. And it goes on and on! Just beware of becoming addicted! 😉

How To Write A Blog – Truthfully, you can write whatever you want! BUT to be effective, you should be engaging your readers and write for your target audience that you select. Seriously, there are soooo many resources for this and everyone has a lot of good tips to offer. Go to Google and search for “How to write a blog” and you'll get a lot of great articles.

Hope this posting was helpful! Do you have other suggestions or favorite blog sites? Please let me know by posting in the comments. What has been your experience with some of the blog sites – as a reader and blogger? Thanks in advance for your input!

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

Ever Try To Interview Your Characters?

As a writer, I’ve come across those times when I just can’t seem to get past a certain issue with a character or my story seems to have stopped. I’ve tried my usual solo-brainstorming where I type away on the computer talking myself through an issue; I’ve put the writing aside and tried to let things take seed and revisited it later; tried to fill in any blanks in the Character Profile Sheet* that I may have missed or didn’t elaborate on…but to no avail. It’s at times like these that I interview my own characters.

The first rule about this is LET YOUR IMAGINATION GO! Don’t censor anything. Don’t rewrite anything. Don’t direct your characters to go in a certain direction. Just let it flow. Here’s how it works…at least this is how I conduct an interview with my characters.

  1. Sit down at the computer and in your mind, picture yourself in a setting…whatever setting comes to mind. You could find yourself in a park, on a subway train, at your old desk you wrote your first book/article/poem at, your bedroom you had when you were five years old…whatever. Let your mind take you to the first place that enters your mind. Write this down. Start typing what you’re seeing, how you feel, your thoughts on why you think you’re mind went here or what you’re thoughts are about the place. Don’t go into a major analysis here. Just make a light comment and then move on.
  2. Imagine your character, now, coming onto the scene. You don’t have to picture them in any great detail, but if it helps to do that, knock yourself out! The important thing is to bring your character onto the scene as if you were going to interact with him/her. Write all of this down.
  3. Let the exchange happen. This is the part where you kinda sit back and watch how you and your character interact. Who is the first one to speak? What do they say? What do you say? Are you both sitting there in uncomfortable silence? Are you at a loss for words? Then tell your character you’re not sure what you two should talk about. They may surprise you. Write all of this down.

This is a free-flowing form of brainstorming that allows you to see your characters the way you’ve buy xanax overnight created them in your subconscious. I’ve had characters come into a room or setting and they won’t sit down. I’ve asked them to relax and they either tell me why they’re agitated; or they say they didn’t realize it; or they tell me to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine and that they’re going to continue to pace.

The fun part about this is your characters will sometimes do things you didn’t expect them to do. I have a vampire character that has lit up a cigarette while we were interviewing. I asked, “Excuse me, but why do you smoke? You’re immortal…drugs have no affect on you, no addiction, no real satisfaction as far as I can see.” He told me, “I do it because I can. I get satisfaction out of the fact that I AM immortal and it won’t hurt me. It reminds me of my invincibility.” Well, there you have it! And his answer was as unexpected as the habit of smoking! Let your characters come alive here and you might end up developing traits about your character that you never dreamed of on your own.

Where you have your setting, what your characters say and how you interact with them has its own hidden meanings. Re-read your interview when you’re done and examine what those might be. What do these pieces of the setting and interview say to you about your character or what you think about your character? If you DID have the setting in your bedroom when you were five and you’re meeting with a male character in his 40s, this might say something about how you see him. Is he childish? Would he be comfortable in a room like this? If he is UNcomfortable, what does that say about you putting your character in an uncomfortable setting? Did you WANT him to be uncomfortable? Did you think he would be at home only to find out he wasn’t? Things like this reveal hidden meanings about your characters and/or story.

Finishing the conversation isn’t necessary, either. The point of this exercise is to move forward on your story and/or your character development. If you wish to conclude the meeting politely, then by all means, do so. Once you get those juices flowing, you’ve accomplished your goal! Hope this helps!!

Midnight Conquest – Excerpt

Greetings!

Midnight Conquest is finally finished! Thank you to all my fans, family and friends for your support during this milestone in my writing career! Woot!

As requested, here is an excerpt of “Midnight Conquest” – When Broderick and Davina have their first steamy encounter! Have fun!

The spicy aroma of incense drifted through her senses and her body tingled from the memories of the last time she stepped into this exotic world.

She turned and faced him.

Her breath caught in her throat. Her memories seemed watered down and faded compared to the vivid reality before her. His burning-red hair and emerald eyes captivated her, entranced her like the blazing dance of a fire. She stood rooted at the entrance of the tent, taking in every angle, muscle, and rippled surface of his body. When her eyes met his, her face grew hot. His dark eyes brazenly assessed her as boldly as she did him.

“Do ye wish to have yer fortune told, lass, or shall we continue to eat each other with our eyes?” His deep voice, smooth like cream, made her legs tremble. She continued to stare at him, unable to speak, and he crossed his massive arms over his chest, a roguish smile turning up one corner of his full mouth. Her heart pattered wildly at the sight of that dimple.

Davina managed a swallow and found her voice again. “You don't remember me, do you?” she asked in Gaelic.

The Gypsy's eyebrows crossed and he looked at her with new interest. “I think I would have remembered . . .” His eyes traveled down her body before he continued. “A face . . . such as yours.” The roguish smile returned.

Though her face burned with irritation and embarrassment from his words, she still felt drawn to that creamy voice and those hooded eyes. Davina uprooted herself and sat before him, trying to keep her disappointment from showing. He didn’t remember her.

Her giant leaned forward, coming very close to her. “Lend me your hand, lass,” his voice whispered seductively.

Davina obeyed, trying to keep it steady. His hands burned her skin and she gasped and reflexively pulled away.

He held tight, his emerald eyes meeting her sapphire ones intensely. “Relax, lass.”

Davina drew in her bottom lip, holding it between her teeth. The exotic incense mingled with her rose oil, causing an intoxicating effect upon her senses. The Gypsy's features softened and his roguish smile returned. “I see blossom oil in a glass vial.” His smile broadened. “Intimate places are touched by this fragrance,” he whispered and breathed in deeply through his nose. “A fragrance I smell emanating from you, lass.” Fire flew to her cheeks. His eyes opened and settled upon her square neckline to linger before they moved slowly up to her eyes. Without releasing her gaze, he dipped the thumb of his free hand into a bowl of oil being heated by a candle.

She tried to pull away, but he refused to let her go. “What is that for?” It was an effort to keep her voice steady.

“The oil makes it easier to read the lines on your hand,” he said, his creaminess moving over her, and he smoothed the warmth over her palm, each stroke of his thumb slow and deliberate. Davina's heartbeat quickened. The ministrations of his hands were maddening!

His fingers resumed their ministrations, a hunger blossoming inside her and her eyes went to his strong neck and broad shoulders. His touch aroused feelings she'd never thought existed. She found herself wondering what it would be like to feel his body pressed to hers, feeling his weight upon her and hearing him call her name, his voice thick with passion. His roguish smile returned and so did the heat in her cheeks, which flowed to her throat. “You haven't once looked at my palm,” she said trying to banish the erotic visions in her mind, hoping he hadn't read them.

A rumble of laughter sounded from him and he dashed around the table and stood at her side before Davina knew what happened. The Gypsy pulled her to her feet and snaked his arms around her body, crushing her arms uselessly between them. Her hands, having nowhere else to go, lay spread upon his chest. She could feel the wild thumping of his heart beneath her palm, matching that of her own heart's cadence. Davina stared up into his fierce green eyes and, before she could protest his bold behavior, his mouth descended upon hers, slanting deliciously across her lips. Davina marveled at the tenderness and when her legs gave from under her, his arms tightened to support her. The tent seemed to whirl around her, the exotic scent of the incense and the Gypsy's own masculine essence mingling to create a drugging effect upon her body. Then she opened her mouth to him and a deep groan rumbled from his chest. Davina returned with her own groaning response, her stomach fluttering, and gained some strength in her legs. Their bodies parted enough for her hand to wrap around his neck and entangle in the silkiness of his fiery hair. At the touch of his hand on her breast, Davina moaned.

The Gypsy's tongue teased her lips before he pulled his head back slightly and smiled, passion burning in his eyes. “You're ripe and ready, lass. What say we indulge in each other in a more private atmosphere?”

His words excited her for only a moment before she realized where she was and how far they'd gone. Davina stepped out of his embrace and cracked her hand against his smiling face.

“What in—” The Gypsy's expression went from confusion to amazement. Hearty laughter poured out of his mouth as he tipped his head back, his fists planted firmly on his hips.

She was speechless. And burning from embarrassment, all the way to her toes. What in blazes did he find so amusing? Before she could finish the thought, he had his arms around her again in a tight embrace. Davina struggled against him, her fists pushing against his broad chest that still rumbled with his laughter, and finally found her tongue. “Let me be, you— you—!”

“Brute?” he supplied, humor lighting his eyes. “Or am I more appropriately a—”

“An animal! That's what you are!” She pushed against him with all her might. “Let me—!” She stopped mid-sentence when his arms released her and the force of her pushing against him landed her right on her bottom.

Davina sat on the ground, dumbfounded, staring up at the handsome giant. His arms folded across his chest, he smiled down at her for a while before stretching out a helping hand. Davina refused to take the offered help and rose to her feet unaided, furiously dusting the dirt from her skirts and hands. His continuing flutter of laughter grated her patience.

When she faced him, they stood staring at each other in silence—his face sparkling with amusement; hers twisted in agitation. He nodded his head toward the basket on the table and she saw coins sitting at the bottom of it. She gaped at it for a moment, then gasping in realization, picked the basket up and threw it at him. “How dare you ask for contributions when you've done nothing but manhandle me!”

“Maybe if you'd gone with me to more private quarters, you'd have been more charitable.”
Davina trembled with fury at the double entendre then stormed out of the tent.

END OF EXCERPT – Hope you enjoyed it! There's more to come. Visit my author web site at www.EnchantedWoodz.com/arialburnz to read about other stories in the Bonded By Blood series of which Midnight Conquest is Book #1.

That's my two pence…
Arial 😀

Romance – Fact or Fiction?

What IS it that women love about romance novels? For me, it's the fact that the Hero of the story can't get enough of the Heroine. She walks across the room and he gets a hard-on just looking at her! THAT'S the kind of relationship I wanted! Eh…that's simplifying it, but it's an element.

Both my ex's said men like that didn't exist…as most men will agree. As a writer of romance novels AND having gone through two divorces, I myself began to wonder if any man would be able to live up to that image. “But,” I reasoned with myself, “there has to be SOME truth about these romance novel heroes.”

Believe it or not, there really IS some truth to those stories. I know. I finally have my Romance Novel Hero! But here's the fact and fantasy that I've learned about finding your true Romance Novel Hero and what the misconceptions really are…misconceptions that I also fell into.

WHAT IS The Romance Novel Hero?
In the books, the Hero usually can't keep his hands or his mind off the Heroine (e.g., libido through the roof), he pursues her with a passion, is physically appealing, and he sees something about her that's irresistible. When you break it down in those terms, doesn't he look a little more realistic? No? Then let me explain…

SCHA-WING!!!
The part most men seem to be intimidated about and why they feel they can't measure up to the Hero is the libido. I've done my research and I've asked a LOT of men about this topic. It's their manhood that is threatened. Having been through two divorces and finally finding my own Hero gave me a lot of insight into the truth about that constant libido. Another source was the book “He's Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Ladies…do NOT avoid this book! This book tells you the TRUTH about men and how they behave toward women…and sometimes the truth hurts. Read it!

The truth about the romance novel heroes is not sexual virility. It's true love. When a man is head-over-heels in love with a woman, he cannot get enough of her! The Hero feels that way about the Heroine because he has found his true love. It is NOT about how he can go “SCHA-WING!” by looking at ANY woman. Any man can go “SCHA-WING!” when he's with his true love.

Look Into My Eyes!
You know the saying…”Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” I understand that sex sells and the eye candy on the cover is what gets us to pick up the book. But when we're talking about the truth, he's sexy to HER. Both the Hero and the Heroine only have eyes for each other. It goes deeper than the eye candy, but frequently the covers of our books distract the average individual from that truth. YOUR Hero in real life is attractive to YOU. He makes YOUR pulse race when you see him. He makes YOUR stomach flip when he draws near. And you should be doing the same for him…it's a two-way street. That's what makes it true love. One-sided is just bordering stalker level.

Simply Irresistible!
Both the Hero and the Heroine find SOMETHING about each other they can’t explain or they don’t understand. Her faults may grate on everyone else around them, but to the Hero they don’t matter as much; and the same goes for the Heroine about the Hero’s faults. This CAN happen. Everyone has faults, but your true love has too many pros to worry about the cons. That’s how you know you’ve found the right person…you BOTH feel that way about each other.

One big lesson I learned about relationships: You CANNOT change the person you’re with nor can you expect them to change in any way, shape, or form. If you list the pros and the cons about the person you’re considering spending the rest of your life with, look closely at that list of cons. Ask yourself one question: “If s/he NEVER changed any of those things, could I live with that for the rest of my life?” If the answer is “no”, then you’re with the wrong person.

Raise That Bar!
Can you find the true love of your life and find the one you dream of? Absolutely! I’m a firm believer of that! So why are we unhappy or our relationships end in divorce? I think it's because we settle for second best. Meaning, we grab onto the first guy that comes along because we think we’re not going to get any better than that. Here are two steps to success in finding your Hero:

  • Look into that mirror and truthfully be able to say, “I love that girl I’m lookin’ at!” And you need to MEAN it! Yeah, you have flaws – and it’s not to say you can’t work on those. But when it comes down to the end of the day, who are you inside and do you love that woman? If you cannot say you love yourself and that you would be your own best friend, then you need to work on that. It really is true: If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else. That's how we attract losers…if we think we're a loser, we get a loser – like attracts like.
  • KNOW what you want in a life partner…AND DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS! The fear that we are going to miss out on the perfect mate is completely unwarranted. There are SIX BILLION people on the face of this planet. Odds are there is more than just ONE person out there that meets your criteria.

Love yourself FIRST. Then know what you want in a mate. Believe it! Put that energy out there and it WILL happen! (Watch “The Secret” if you don't know how to do that.) And don’t give up! I am a firm believer that anyone can find their Prince Charming and live happily ever after!! Go for it!

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

New to the Blog Scene!

Well, I'm not ENTIRELY new to blogging…I've done it on MySpace.com…but this is a new environment for me here. 

Why did I do this?

As a writer, I'm looking forward to reaching out to my soon-to-be readers and fellow authors. Though I write romance novels and also have an interest in writing for the juvenile audience, I plan on using this venue to also buy xanax with mastercard reflect on the world around us and on life in general. I will attempt to remain positive. I'll use my MySpace.com blogging to vent. 😉 

As an artist, I plan to use this space to explore and inspire myself and others about the magick that is all around us! Eh, it sounded good! 

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉
www.EnchantedWoodz.com
www.EnchantedWoodz.com/arialburnz