I Can’t Believe You Voted For This Writing Prompt! LOL #kdsuspense #amwriting

Between the blog polls and Twitter you all voted for this as the winning prompt, to create this week’s short story.

I’m back bitches, now panic!

Didi and I love this prompt! It really fits in well with the theme she lined up “back with a bang”,  to celebrate the return of our weekly writing challenge Kim and Didi’s Suspenseful Collection. Remember you can join in and write with us. We’d love to read your stories using the prompt. Be bold and be brave!  Thank you for all your votes! The writing has commenced, we’ll be back Tuesday with the story for y’all using this writing prompt. Have a wonderful end to the weekend.

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Kim’s Top Tip: Editing Vs Proof Reading, So What’s The Difference? #writerslife #writingtips #amwriting

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Good question! Okay so as part of the writing tips I want to share here and there, this one came to me last month after writing, editing and proof reading two books to release.  I’m not an expert, I don’t claim to be one, I would never swap my role as a writer for an editor. This is my take and advice on what I’ve learned. Let’s get into it!

To me editing comes before proof reading. This is the natural progression I follow when I write. Write, edit, edit, edit, proof read, then proof read!

What is Editing?

To me once I’ve wrote the last word, in the last chapter, on the last page, in the last paragraph I’m ready to edit. I don’t edit as I write. Why? Personally… I’ll never get any writing done. I’m a hardcore editor of my own work before I put it in front of my actual editor. If I spend to much time on this I’ll never create, so I don’t do it until I’m done writing.

Personally what I do is read through my work checking for these things in general:

  • Consistency in names, places, dates, times.
  • Plot holes.
  • Tense, spelling, use of English etc.
  • That I am happy with the storytelling, build, heat, crime scene, suspense, all that jazz. It’s as I want it to be told.
  • Check facts. I often use real places and events when writing.
  • Character development, I like to make them pop as best I can and not be flat.

My aim: to ensure it’s accurate factually, consistent.  (Hopefully) no one will read it and go huh?.. What Kim?

What is Proof Reading?

In my view once I’ve got my work cleaned up, and my characters stand out, it’s then time to proof read it. My focus is not on the nitty gritty above, as all this is as best as I can get it. It’s now time to read through my work and check the flow of the story also see if I can spot a missed full stop, capital letter the minor details that make me shriek in a high pitched voice, what’s that b*tch typo doing there??  🙂 . I’ll proof read maybe a day or two after I’ve done the edit(s). Then hand to my editor to look over. She then works her red pen magic, and hands me back my work with her personal edit and proof read. I also send a rough copy to my Beta Readers at the same time, they come back with comments…. the whole process of correction (edit) proof read starts again based on what I get back!

Aim:  Personally, proof reading for me is to pick up the minor things and polish up, check the flow.

So what’s the difference Kim? You’re doing the same thing.

Yes and smarty pants! To me the edit is more focused and I really cut up my work, chop scenes, add scenes, develop characters and plot. I don’t do that in a proof read, as this is already done. The proof read is to check what I’ve done in edit makes sense to me, and hopefully you… and there is logic, it’s readable.

Do You Really Need To Do Both? Can’t The Editor Do it?

Like I said when I posted a tip on how to find an editor and who should editor your work, you can read it here, editors don’t write the best sellers, page turners or five star rated books writers do. Personally, as a writer I feel  it’s my work, don’t be lazy. My advice and personal view is don’t fall back on only your editor, or Beta Readers to write that page turning five star book, you do the work.  Wanna write? Good …Writing = editing= proof reading= your A-game = happy readers hopefully= some five star reviews hopefully.  You do the math, still not convinced you should do a bit of DIY, and not leave it all in the hands of an editor?  Great glad you agree 🙂 .

I’ll see you soon with another tip! Happy writing.

Writing Prompt: Mid Point State Of Your Year? #reflections #inspiration

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I pulled out my writing prompt book, one prompt for every day of the year. Under today’s date this is the prompt, write up your mid- year  “state of year”... well all-righty then. Hmm, this prompt has really made me stop and think, pull out a bar of chocolate from the fridge (I’m not kidding). Sit back, listen to the rain beat down on my window at a silly hour of the early hours of  Sunday morning, and reflect. I can’t believe we are half way through 2017. For me the year has been a  year of personal growth in a lot of ways. I’d say if I were to sum it up this is what I’d say “growth” as a person, human being, mother and woman.

I took a lot of s*it personally over the last few years. This may surprise you, as I may come across as probably a no nonsense kinda girl. You’re not wrong. But I think sometimes we do things because we feel obligated to, so I did.  I got to a point where I stepped into the last half of 2016, and start of 2017 singing a different tune. It served me well, I’m in a complete new head space. This is personal growth.

So far this year, I’ve knuckled down in what I wish to achieve. I remember I did a writing prompt asking romance writers what their dream would be? Mine is to have a large collection of works our there in the world! So, I’m taking steps toward writing more seriously. As in completing my novels and novellas. I actually can’t believe that in almost one year of signing my first publishing deal, I have six books under my belt. That makes me smile. I’ve also decided to start submitting my work to publishers again. My  full completed romance thriller has been requested by a publisher in the USA, a different one to my last one. They liked my three chapters I sent, all I need to do is write it! With my contemporary romance/ suspense stories I’m browsing publishers that seem to work with romance authors mainly. No more random publishing places, I’d like somewhere I can call home long term for my works. Until I find it, I’ll happily keep self- publishing.

I think the first half of 2017 has been about hard work  and learning too, it’s now I feel like I’m seeing the fruit of this. This fruit has put me on a path to write a whole romance series, of stand alone novellas. Now three books in the hard work has put me on a nice track. Don’t get me wrong it has pulled me away from what I was working on, before this creative idea came to me. I was working on the romantic thriller that got called up from a publisher. It happens to be my first ever real serious idea for a novel before I wrote A Stranger in France!

As a mother I have grown into this role so much and I love it so much. My son is now at an age where his personality is blooming.  I feel like I know who my son is,  and what he will and won’t do as much as I can at this small age. Sounds strange, but I’m sure any parent understands what I mean when you look at your child’s personality. At just three years old he’s a handsome ball of fun, laughs, caring nature,energy and sometimes tantrums.  This first half of the year has allowed me to bond differently with my boy due to his age, and awareness of the world around him. We can do different things now he is a little older and can understand, he can understand what we read in the picture books a bit better now too. He is a true mama’s boy. But not a push over.  A few months ago  his nursery school reported to me one afternoon when I went to collect him ” errm we had an incident today Blake had a fight, yes, yes hmm, we caught him sitting on another boy’s head. The young boy called for help, that’s when we realised Blake got him down on the floor, pinned him down and would not let him go.” Now most parents maybe upset by this or disapprove. My poker face said nothing, inside I was like ” that-a-boy Blakey, hold your own in that playground.” Why? because I  know my boy he is no bully, he is an loving boy, the kind that will come and kiss and hug you and say sorry after a tantrum, he won’t fight unless he is provoked. I’m glad those other boys now know Blake is no push over in the playground, if you provoke him. Did I tell him off? Nah what for? Standing up for himself? That said, if I get poor behaviour reports that’s another story.

This year I’ve also completed a goal I have had for so long! I finally sat three exams in FRENCH back in May. Yep, speaking, reading and writing and listening. My results will be out in August. I swear if I get a B grade or above I’ll be so proud of myself.

Overall, my mid point year review is growth, hand work and learning, a clear direction of where I’m going as a writer and human being. How’s your mid year review? I’d love to read it?? Blog it let me see and link in below if you want.

Kim’s Top Tips: How To Write A Steamy Sex Scene *wink #amwriting #romance #sex

Hmm well that got your attention didn’t it! Step right up, this is Kim’s class on creating steam in your stories. So last month, or maybe earlier this month… I can’t remember the days roll into one I’ve been so busy. Wait.. wait no it was this month, I set up a new  blog habit of  writing a tip or tick I use or have learned. I started to get messages from aspiring published authors and writers asking me to read their “hot new shit”, they wrote LOL.  They asked for some tips and advice. I was like of course! Lemme see it. So here I go with tip #2 you can read tip #1 on editing right here.

First I want to say, I’m no expert I’m not a know-it-all I too am learning, these tips are just my take on things. Second, I’m not an erotica writer at all. All I do when I’m not writing crime or general thriller /suspense is write romance, with a bit of steam. I like to add some heat to my writing. Second, I’m not overly explicit with sex, I’m a mother and one day my son will read my work *cringe.* Also I’m fed up of my mum looking at me over her glasses like “Kimberly… I’m on page sixty six?!” Then I’m like what the hell did I write on page sixty six?! *cringe* so let’s get into it! Here’s my tips.

What is steam/heat?

Well according to standard romance writing norms, it’s the level of sex  / intimacy in your writing. The amount / frequency and how sexy it is. eg is it very explicit with graphic details, or in the middle more sensual but there is a clear idea of who is doing what, and to who, or less so and all the characters do is hold hands.

High heat: lots of sex, graphic, explicit language. Your kindle will be on fire. ( Erotica).

Mid range heat: moderate levels of sex,  or often, graphic but maybe not as explicit. But the word cock is used! For example 🙂 Your kindle will steam up for sure.

Low level : nothing to write home about.

How to decide on your level of steam/heat?

Personally, I….

  • Let the story talk to me, the plot kind of dictates how steamy I get.
  •  Consider what else has happened in the story.
  • Consider my characters, their age, who they are as people, and what is suitable realistically for them as people.

Personally I’m mid range heat, generally as I’m not an erotica writer. My advice to those wanting to heat up their writing, is to consider the points above. Also remember you don’t have to write romance to bring the heat. A classic example is when Didi and I wrote It Was The First Time I Killed A Man,  for The Suspenseful Collection that’s a crime short story with mid- high range heat levels in terms of how descriptive it is. However the character (Lisa) made it appropriate to bring the heat, because of who she is. Do you see what I mean? Work heat into your writing regardless of genre  based on your characters, and who they are if it fits. You don’t have to just be a romance writer. Just make sure it is appropriate, and the level is good for the characters, don’t write a sex mad underage kid.

Okay smarty pants Kim, how do I actually write sex, I’m nervous and shy

Good question. Again, personally I approach writing about sex, love and emotions from this angle

  • Get over shyness, sex is natural  write like you’re proud regardless of who the characters are, I stepped into the shoes of an explicit lesbian serial killer for God sake. I got over the “what will people think” by the time we blogged it.  Mean what you write give it heart. Don’t write like a chump!
  • I’m a girl, as you can see.. so for me naturally I tend to focus on the emotional side, not just inserting body parts and the “ohhh ahhh do me now part”. I get into character emotionally. What do your characters feel, about the moment, the other person, the situation etc. I express this or show it via their actions and dialogue. I try not to “tell it” if I’m writing third person too much, some times you have to but try to focus on the character’s actions showing feeling.
  • Be natural, what do you honestly think is a hot sex scene?? I interviewed the erotica author Ava Sterling a few months back, her take on is was to use your experience… within reason so go for it. I’d agree with this advice from an actual erotica author.
  • Use more than just “oh it feels so good” “don’t stop” lol let the dialogue flow in a realistic way.  Also, would a real man/woman stop in the middle of doing the deed and say some dumb sh*t?? No!!… Well I hope not anyway. Keep it realistic, focus dialogue on the moment and heat of the scene, not the weather.
  • Hype up the five major senses.  This will ramp up your writing so much. Again, this is a personal thing how I write, but do what works for you. Try not to just focus on feeling or how good it feels, and characters say this over and over. Sure it feels good. We have other senses, vision, hearing etc.  What about touch how does a part of the body feel?, Taste ?* Raises eyebrows* get creative with whatever your character is tasting, that kind of thing. Or smell, I love a man who smells goooooooooooooooooood ladies you get where I’m going with this right? The weak feeling you get, when you smell a man’s aftershave unexpectedly when he’s up close. AND it’s fresh or whatever your preference is.  Whoah!!

  • I’m a sucker for it. Use this, work it into your writing how do the characters smell?
  • Don’t be over sexual and think that’s the best way to go, sometimes sensual is just as good. Unless you are writing dark erotica where foul language is needed, and most suited. In your everyday romance you don’t need to really take it there. Some raw language but not over kill.

And my best bit of advice, send your scene to someone to read, I did when I wrote Lover’s Retreat there’s a really steamy scene in there, the person I sent it to wrote back and said  “I think I need to call a babysitter, and go jump on my husband, that’s how you do it!! ” HAHA :).  Get feedback, it’s so helpful and think about what reaction you want from readers. I did in that particular scene want to make readers feel a bit hot under the collar, send your work out and see if you’ve delivered. Take all feedback and perfect your craft if you did not deliver. It’s fine, no one will know just re-work your scene.

If I’ve missed anything writers our there let me know, drop me a comment.

Happy writing!!

Meet The Author: Gavin Ough Contemporary Romance & Paranormal Author @gavinough1 #amreading #amwriting #author

 

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It’s the 25th so it’s time for Meet The Author. This month, I am very happy to feature author Gavin Ough. Gavin is a British author (like yours truly), he hails from Kent in the UK.  I read Gavin’s interview with a smile and real admiration, it’s so refreshing to see a male writer turn his hand to contemporary romance :).I feel warm inside at this thought. Gavin is clearly a writer who does not do what is expected of him as a man… not write about love, feelings or relationships. Or try to make a romance junkie smile with his humour in his stories. Gavin is multi -talented now he has published his first book, he’s creating a  paranormal romance genre novel. I’m intrigued by him and excited about his paranormal work, are you? Good. Let’s get to know his style, what does our male romance author have to offer us romance junkies… Over to you Mr. Ough.

Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Hi, I’m Gav. I live and work in Herne Bay, Kent although I grew up in Whitstable. I’m married with three daughters; one’s a secondary school teacher, one works in a pre-school nursery and my youngest is in junior school.

Needless to say I love a good read, but my latest hobby is woodturning. I bought a cheap lathe and have been trying to create things of beauty – with varying degrees of success – ever since. I managed to make a walnut bowl I’m quite proud of so that’s going okay at the moment. Other than that I like playing video games with my youngest and watching The Amazing World of Gumball with her (don’t judge!)

Kim Haha Gavin, I’d never judge you, I have a three year old son I can quote Paw Patrol and Postman Pat theme tunes.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

I’ve loved reading since I was just a liccle boy. I clearly remember reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings in junior school so I suppose I must have been a precocious reader. I always had the dream of being a writer but never thought I had the talent (the jury’s still out as to whether I’ve got any now). So I trained in the horticulture industry before getting jobs cleaning other people’s muck off other people’s toilets, ended up as a landscaper for ages. Work dried up in about 2008 and so my wife said I ought to give writing a try. I’d been trying to write a fantasy novel off and on for about ten years but didn’t have any real idea how until I started reading other people’s hints and tips. Joined a few freelance sites and managed to get work with an online publisher called Serialities. They gave me the little boost I needed to realise other people thought I could write as well and the rest is history.

Kim: Oh your wife rocks, what support and encouragement. I wish you all the best with creating your “new world” in your fantasy book. Be sure to let us know when it’s released.

Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

I was a fan of the old Fighting Fantasy game books, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone when I were a lad which probably fuelled my thirst for all things fantasy. David Gemmell and David Eddings continued the theme. For horror I love a good Stephen King (obviously) but the English Shaun Hutson is a master too as are Richard Laymon and Dean Koontz. As for chick lit authors, my wife recommended Trisha Ashley and I was hooked on the humour so started reading as many different authors as could. Sophie Kinsella, Sue Johnson, Dawn French to name but a few. Sorry if they don’t consider themselves as chick lit writers but I think they fit the bill.

Kim: *raise eyebrows* you’ve read Sophie Kinsella, now that’s refreshing. I’m sure she’d be thrilled to know she’s reaching male readers.

What Genre Do You Enjoy Reading?
Fantasy – end of. I like other genres as well but not as much as a well written and engaging fantasy. Swords, magic, dragons and killing – I’m such a bloke sometimes. I do like sci-fi but usually as a romance sub genre. Horror and paranormal but not vampire stuff so much as it’s been overdone. Needless to say I like a good old rom-com too.

Kim: Ya know, the only vampire stuff I got into is True Blood. I’m such a True Blood junkie. When it aired on TV in the UK, I would sit and watch back to back episodes with my mouth wide open. Love it.

 How Did Publishing Your First Book Change Your process of Writing?
The Spaces in Between was based on a twenty part serial story written for Serialities. I suppose the biggest thing I learned was about having some kind of an outline or plan to work to, even if it’s just a list of ‘things’ that are going to happen in your story. I was lucky as I’d been paid to write the outline over twenty weeks so just had to add a load of extra content to it.
And revisions – endless, relentless, repetitive revisions.

Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?

Just the ones I’ve mentioned. Fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal. Actually I’m working on a paranormal book now.

Kim: keep us posted.

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

Getting published by Serialities. Even though it hasn’t sold a billion copies I think that’s more to do with our combined marketing skills (or lack thereof) and the fact I haven’t quite reached a million followers yet. Not yet but I will.

Kim: A million copies, that’s every author’s dream we’re behind you with your vision! Good luck.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

Not really. If I do have problems writing something, I just stop and do something else entirely, shut the laptop and cut the grass or let the dog walk me or watch something with the missus. By the time – usually the next day – I get back to it I can usually carry on without much hassle. You need to enjoy writing even though it’s hard, even when it’s hard so if it gets to the point you’re getting frustrated you need to stop for a while.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

More a pantster than a plotter I would say although I’ve gotten better at planning and plotting as the works have got longer. I started out by writing 500 word pieces easily read on a phone and the readers voted on the plot twists so I couldn’t so much planning. Now I write a few short character descriptions and a very brief outline with what I want to happen in each chapter then virtually ignore the whole thing until I hit a stumbling block. I suppose I’ve got a good idea of where it’s going when I start so the plan is in my head rather than on paper but I don’t spend weeks with worksheets and plot diagrams, no. A list of major events from start to finish and then I just start typing.

Kim: massive respect to all pansters out there!.. I sit there and plot my heart out then write like no one is looking. I’m learning with these weekly writing challenges  I’m doing with Didi Oviatt to be more of a panster.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?

I used to be a complete grammar Nazi! Everything had one way – the RIGHT way – and that was it. I think that was just the way I was taught and being born before the internet – fetch me pipe and slippers – was invented meant things didn’t change much. Language is fluid, always changing especially globally, so I’ve relaxed my perspective. I’ve gone all Zen and become enlightened, at peace with the world of the comma. Apostrophes though those little…

As long as what you write is easily readable and makes sense I don’t think there need be any hard rules about punctuation.

Every writer has a word(s) that they always slip up on when they write, then slap their forehead when they notice their typo. For me it’s further and farther exit or exists-  but hey I’m over it now.  Do you have a word (s) that make you go blah! Go away not another damn typo.

It’s an odd one and just down to muscle memory but I find my writing peppered with ‘fro’ instead of ‘for’. It’s literally just down to the sequence my hands tap the keys in but as for is a word, the spell check never picks it up. I have to run a search/replace at the end of everything just in case I’ve done it again. Apart from that I’m a fairly good spellist but it also depends on what version of English I’m writing in. US publishers obviously want US spellings and grammar so I end up typing neighbour instead of neighbor but I set the language at the beginning of every document so the machine picks it up for me. I have got to the point I’ve been writing ‘realize’ with the ‘z’ no matter what version of English I’m writing in too.

Kim: Interesting, ya know I write and spell in British English only. It used to really annoy me when my publisher in the USA changed my spellings. I’d go back in and change them. In my head I thought, this is how I spell this so I want it as I spell it, see the logic.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?

Choose whether you’re writing for fun or profit and if it’s for profit, make sure you know the market you’re writing for. Don’t try to be different or quirky because you won’t sell. Find out reader expectations by reading as much in the genre as you can and emulate the style. Don’t plagiarise obviously but try to copy the style and voice of the top sellers in your chosen genre or, I’m afraid you’re not likely to get anywhere.

Believe in yourself. It’s cliché and trite and all that but if you don’t, you’ll give up. I did for years, never believing in myself, never thinking I was good enough but I think I am and I’m gonna make a living from being a writer.

Learn the business of marketing. I never bothered and again thought I’d be no good at it but I found out how much people were making from my ghostwriting just by knowing a few marketing skills. It’s a long, slow battle and takes away from your writing time but I think it’s the single biggest thing you need to know how to do whether you’re self published or traditionally published.

Kim: Amen to the last point, this is a must. Thank you Gavin great tips.

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

A sort of paranormal romance I’ve called Time to Turn Back.  It features a guy, Xander, who can see the past by connecting with people and objects. The protagonist, Katriona, loses her Gramps (who raised her after her parents were killed) and discovers he had a secret family she never knew about before he married her grandmother. Needless to say she discovers Xander who helps her discover the truth about her Gramp’s past. It’s got Russian gangsters, a little bit of funny and a cat called Humboldt.

Kim: Ha! A lil’ gangster ha? As well as romance. It’s on the read list keep us posted. 🙂 I’m quite excited for this.

So…where can we get your books?

Amazon, unfortunately. I’m not keen on all their policies and how they treat authors but they’ve managed to become the biggest name in the book industry and by making it free to publish your own stuff they’ve just about cornered the market. So yeah, there it is until I can generate a massive following and publish elsewhere as well.

Amazon UK link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071CR7GS4

Kim: Take a look at smashwords.com good luck, shout me if you need a hand with publishing here.

What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”

I think if I was able to pay all my bills and live the life I would like to – a humble one – from writing I’d call that a success. I wouldn’t want to be a celebrity but a few nice emails from fans would be nice. I actually enjoy what I do so in a way I’m a success already.

Kim: Gavin you’re just too cute, fan mail? Really? … I’ve read your first book I’m “a fan.” *chuckles*

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I think big egos hurt anyone don’t they? I suppose it depends on how people handle the ego they’ve got. If they’re the kind of pleb that goes around belittling everyone they meet I expect it’s going to hurt them in the long run. Karma, baby! Watch out for it.

Kim: Yes, karma is very real.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Sickeningly little as I’m lazy. If I have to look something up I do it in the middle of writing then shut the internet back down. I’m one of the infuriating people who aren’t addicted to the internet. (sorry) I’ll let you into a secret as long as you promise not to tell anyone. I don’t have a mobile phone. Not even an old Nokia kicking about in a drawer somewhere. Here’s a funny story though, I’m just finishing up Time to Turn Back and it features the baddy, Dimitri, searching for this necklace his grandmother gave to Kat’s grandfather. When I had a brief search for the Russian royal jewels it turns out a few pieces went missing during the Bolshevik rule one of which was a necklace! Weird eh?

Kim: Ha ! That is so bizarre, it’s a sign you need to finish up that book. As for not having a mobile phone, I had to sit for a moment and imagine what that might feel like. Probably quite stress free I’d imagine. The internet will really put you as an author out there Gavin… join us friend!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I’ve only had a few so far and yes I’ve read them. Luckily they’ve been either positive or not so nasty they’ve ripped my heart out. You’re going to get bad reviews as you’re never going to please everyone but if you’ve put your heart and soul into a book and you believe it’s the best it can be, just let the bad ones wash over you. If the criticism is constructive – use it to improve.

Kim: well I bought and read your first published contemporary romance book. You’ll have another one on Amazon soon!

Do you Google yourself?

Not myself no. I do usually check to see if any new blog posts come up just after I’ve written them. If not I try and adjust the keywords until I come up somewhere near the first page. No one’s going to see you if not.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Couple of months for the first draft then about twenty years redrafting until I get it right! No, I try to get it done as fast as I can without reducing quality so I’d aim for about six months or less from idea to published.

What’s your favourite movie?

OMG how can I even pick ONE? If I was in some kind of ‘Desert Island’ situation I suppose it would have to be Love Actually.

Kim: *Smiles* you really enjoy romance don’t you. *chuckles with laughter.*

What’s your favourite book and why?

OMG again! It’s a series actually, The Redemption trilogy by Mike Smith. It’s one of those that I can read over and over without getting bored. The characters are like friends at the end and although it’s sci-fi it’s a romance too. The main character, Jon Radec, is so devoted to the woman he loves that he’ll do anything to get to her. And if he can’t get to her he’ll destroy anything or anyone in his way. Have a look, the first book, The Last Praetorian, is free so why not?

Kim: *On her way back over to Amazon.*

What music do you like?

A little bit of everything from Country to Heavy Metal, cheesy pop to love songs. I was a hardcore Dire Straits fan for a long time and love ZZ Top but just about anything goes from back in the day to current stuff.

Where would you like to travel to and why?

Promised the wife I’d take her to see the Northern Lights so I suppose I’ll have to go somewhere cold. We both like the idea of Canada so maybe we can do both there. Italy to see the coliseum and other architectural marvels. Venice for the same reasons – tourist stuff. I quite like the idea of going to somewhere like Angkor Wat or any kind of ancient civilisations ruins.

Tell us about how you develop your characters?

I write a very (VERY) basic one page outline with physical appearance and basic characteristics. If they’ve got a catchphrase or particular manner of speech I note it down but other than that, I just grow them during the story. Like I said with the research bit, I’m lazy.

Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?

I like Poppy in Poppy’s Proposal. I think I might have subliminally based her on me a bit more than I liked to admit at the time as I can actually recognise some of her flaws as mine. Of course she’s magnified a hundred times and put through the wringer for comedy effect but I relate to her more than other’s I’ve written.

What would you like readers to know?

Even though I’m a man I can write funny, romantic and realistic stories they’d like to read. Chick lit is so female oriented that the few men that do write it feel the need to use pen names or be relegated to the realms of obscurity. Like ABBA said, take a chance on me.

Kim: Gavin, us female romance readers and lovers of all things romance paranormal, suspense, sci-fi , erotica, comedy whatever … we salute you as a male author entering into this genre. I for one can’t wait to see what you publish after Poppy’s Proposal.  I I really enjoyed it. Very best of luck with with building your readerships and bond with romance junkies.

And that’s a wrap! I really enjoyed getting to know Gavin, I hope you did too. Let’s watch this space, I have a good feeling that Gavin has a good idea about what makes a romance reader swoon. This could be very interesting. Please go ahead and connect with him below and wish him well on his ventures.

Connect With Gavin:
Facebook – Gavin Ough
Pinterest: Gavin Ough

Next month: another fantastic author is lined up. Stay tuned! 

If you’re an author and you’d like to feature in Meet The Author contact me here.

 

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Meet The Author: Ms. Ava Sterling – Erotica Author #amreading #amwriting #author

It’s the 25th of the month! That means I have another author for you to meet. This month it’s erotica author Ms. Ava Sterling. Ava caught my eye last year, we started to follow each other’s author site. What made me take note of Ava is 1. her genre, I have so much respect for writers who can comfortably write a good sex scene. Erotica  is my guilty pleasure when it comes to reading. 🙂  and I hate it when people call it “smut” it’s not. As a romance author myself I write the odd sex scene (okay I write a lot). I like to see how others create emotion and sensuality  (which is more along the lines of how I go about writing). I also  like to see how others create  down right dirty red hot scenes! …  Ava ‘s writing is red hot! 2. she is soooo damn productive as a writer. I remember liking one of Ava’s new release posts, then within a few days there was another one. I said to myself didn’t Ava just release one the other day?? Ms. Sterling knocks them out rapidly, I love it.  I  had the pleasure of reading a good few of Ava’s stories. The first time was while at the airport passing time in April.. I was sat in front of my mum, each time she raised her eyes to me from her newspaper I hid my smile and raised my tablet . :). I also got lucky one Saturday night, I decided not to write that night, I wanted to read and escape. In my inbox was one of Ava’s stories just waiting for me. I indulged again.  Ava is very sexy, her scenes are hot, steamy and well written. I as a woman can relate to what I’ve read.  Let’s get to know her style… Ms. Sterling over to you.

Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Thank you, Kim! It’s great to be on. I’m from the Midwest area of the United States. It’s fairly moderate when it comes to temperature and it can get a little humid in the summer. Other than writing, I enjoy running, watching movies, archery, and reading.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

I started writing like a lot of people have, by just jotting down story ideas and wandering into it from there. I get asked a lot whether my stories are based off of my personal experiences, and sure, some of them are. I imagine it would be difficult for writer not to write about his or her personal experiences at least in some way.

Kim: *lifts her eyebrows* okay… hmm. Ya know I’ve never actually created a sex scene based on my own experience- consciously. Or have I??

What genre do you enjoy reading?

I try to read widely. Of course, I read the expected erotica and romance, but I also enjoy fantasy and even some science fiction.

Kim: I really respect paranormal and fantasy stuff, it takes a special kind of creativity to create a whole new world. I like paranormal romance  too.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Oh gosh, everything. It’s an experience publishing your first book, and you never quite go about it the same way, for the better. Probably more accurately, my writing and publishing process changed quite a bit after the first dozen short stories, as it became more systematic and more of a natural process.

Kim: yes, agreed. The first one is like child birth, slow and painful in places.

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

My favorite moment as an author is receiving positive feedback about my stories. There’s just something about that moment when someone reaches out and says that they like what you created. It’s a natural high that fuels many authors.

Kim: nods her head * smiles*

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

It might be a boring answer, but not really. Although I do enjoy writing actual, believable plots into my short stories, because they aren’t long, I don’t have to concentrate much on intricate plot threads. I just focus on the characters and how they interact, and it seems to go pretty naturally from there.

Kim: I’m so jealous, NEVER Ava are you sure?? I’m happy for you that you’ve never experienced this.  You have a very good point though,when I wrote A Stranger in France (90,000 words) I almost launched mine right out the kitchen window, a few times LOL.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?

They used to trip me up a lot more than they do now. I used to be a prolific comma putter-inner. In other words, I would overuse commas. I’ve gotten better about it over time.

Kim: I’m trapped in between putter-inner and taker-outta. Blah!

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?

These days, it seems to be about volume. Quality will always be important, but with so many self published authors cranking out stories and novels so quickly, it seems like an author needs more out there than ever before.

My main advice would be to keep going beyond what is comfortable for you. Continue even when it seems fruitless and you want to stop. My two other tips would be to keep an eye to the market and what sells and to develop a solid social media presence.

Kim: Sounds good to me. Especially encouragement to keep going.

What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”

For me, success would be living comfortably solely on the income of my writing. I don’t need or expect a lot, just being able to pay my bills would be fine with me, but not having a boss breathing down my neck is the ultimate dream. I’m a very independent person, and I would much rather perform for my readers then perform for a boss at a day job.

Kim: Ditto.. day jobs suck when you’re a writer. It’s always nice to be paid for what you love doing.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Ha. This question holds a bit more meaning when asked of an erotica author. I’d love to be cheeky and say that I have performed long hours of research for my books, but really, I just write about either my personal experiences, experiences I wish I’ve had, or experiences I would rather not have because I’m not brave enough but like to explore in a story.

Kim’s reaction: Practical “hands on” research as an Erotica author could be fun. 

 

 

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

Right now (today actually!) I’ll be publishing a story about a woman who receives a happy ending from her male massage therapist. It’s my first massage therapy story, and I’m pretty excited about that. My last published story is about a married couple who decide to visit a swinger’s club. It’s their first experience in the swingers world, and of course they’re shy and unsure of themselves. Luckily, they find another couple who takes them under their wing.

Kim: Thanks for the update! Now I’m wondering how much of  what I’ve read, and will read in the future is real??

 Where can we get your books?

I try to put up my books on as many places as possible, such as Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble’s, Apple, Smashwords, etc. That way, it removes all barriers from anyone around the world who wants to read my books. The best place to view a list of my stories is on my website. I also have a grid view for even quicker perusing.

What would you like readers to know?

That I appreciate each and every one of them. It is for them I write, and without them, none of this would be possible.

Kim: aww how nice Ava.

And that’s a wrap, it’s been lovely meeting Ava this month. It’s official I love this woman, her stories and bravery.  I will for sure be reading more.  If you’d like to take a look at this author’s ” toe curling stories” and indulge in a little connect with her below.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ava_Sterling?lang=en

Website: https://avasterlingauthor.wordpress.com/

Amazon profile:  https://www.amazon.com/Ava-Sterling/e/B0109O8U9Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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 Excerpt from House of Pleasure:

Is this for real?” Grace flipped over the gold embossed invitation in her hand, the parchment paper thick and expensive beneath her fingers. Whoever made it must’ve spent a fortune. “A swingers club? Really?”

She eyed her husband curiously, watching as he pulled off his belt. Was he serious? They had mentioned branching out to spice things up and keep their marriage interesting, but this was quite a move without a baby step in-between.

Steve nodded, removing his sports coat. “Yeah.” He took a seat beside her, the mattress dipping down under him. He loosened his tie, pulling it off to toss on the chair by the bed, along with his blazer. “We talked about this.” His voice was melodic, soothing. It was the thing that always pulled her in, lulling her into a state of compliance.

“Yeah, but I didn’t think you’d tell your friends!” Her tone was incredulous, but not upset. To say she was surprised would be an understatement. “Who all knows?” Studying his face, she awaited his reply. Boys and their locker room talk, she thought to herself. Strangely, that thought gave her a little jolt. What all did his friends know about her? When they had visited, did they envision her in all sort of slutty scenarios? Grace wasn’t sure she hated the idea. What would it be like being passed around all his friends?

Jesus, she definitely needed to lay off the erotica.

“Only Pete.” He slipped off his sleek, black shoes next. As an ad executive, Steve dressed his best every day, and she loved watching him peel off each layer of his designer suits. “He told me he had a way to help, then the next day he came to work with that.”

His gaze scanned her expression as he gestured to the invitation still clasped in her hand. “Do you know how hard something like this is to get? We’re going, aren’t we?” His voice lifted like an eager schoolboy. She knew how excited this topic made him; he’d mentioned it every night since it first came up. “Pete tells me it’s the cream of the crop. Serious business. Everyone is vetted, so things are safe. I know how careful you are. Background checks and such. I think they even have guards on duty.”

“I’m guessing we’re having background checks done on us as we speak?” It was smart, though; she had to admit that. There was a sense of security in taking a chance on sexual matters when they were handled by responsible adults.

He moved the hair from her neck, and she shivered. “Probably.”

“So, Masquerade Night, huh?”

She thought about all the variety that offered and the idea of shopping crept into her mind. A lovely new dress. Something sleek and tight, clinging to every curve. Something clandestine had always appealed to her. A mask gave a sense of anonymity and allowed one the excuse to act like someone else, to indulge the parts that were usually kept hidden.

“This coming Friday.” He smiled, trailing the backs of his fingers over her freckled shoulder before pulling down the thin strap of her camisole and placing a kiss there. “I’ll even buy you something new and sexy.” His teeth raked across her skin. “What d’ya say, baby girl?”

Excerpt from Cougar’s Fling.

 

“I hope you took him for all he’s got.” Brenda gestured with a piece of cranberry biscotti, then dunked it daintily into her coffee. “You gave him ten years of your life! The best years in my opinion. The least he can do is shell out alimony.”

Evie’s stomach twisted into a knot, a never-ending Celtic knot by the feel of it. Thirty-five and already divorced. It wasn’t what she had envisioned when she met Richard in college. “Can we stop talking about this, please?” All of it was beginning to give her a headache.

It was enough the divorce papers had just been finalized that morning; she didn’t need the constant reminder of how crap her life had turned. She merely wanted to move on. Richard was the past. Who knew what her future would be–hopefully something better. Younger. Blond with muscles and maybe some tattoos. She smiled to herself.

A bundle of brochures lay in front of her on their small table for two. Traveling, she hoped, would help life make some sense again. A few months abroad just to get a new perspective on things. The problem was, she couldn’t decide on where to go.

“Help me make a decision,” she pleaded with her friend. “You know me, I’m thirty shades of indecisive. I’m the type of girl who spends ten minutes in the front of the freezer section just trying to decide what flavor ice cream to get.”

Brenda sighed, clearly bothered that she wasn’t allowed to bash Richard. That was one of her favorite pastimes. “What are your choices?” Her fingers spread out the various pamphlets as she looked them over.

“Prague, London, Jakarta, Melbourne, and Toronto.”

“Eh, not Toronto. That’s still North America. You want to go somewhere different so it feels more like a vacation.”

  She has a good point, Evie thought.

“London’s nice,” a soft male voice said, drifting from behind them. “I was there last summer. Had a blast.”

Evie turned her head, and her gaze met with one of Richard’s former students. He was young, sporting a baby face and a mop of tousled, brown hair. But she remembered him. Richard used to tutor him at their house during the kid’s senior year. That was two years ago, right when things started to head south.

“Mrs. Leeds, yeah?” the boy asked as he bussed a table near them.

He barely looked the same now. His lanky body had filled out nicely to be lean, taut muscle. The white T-shirt he wore clung to his arms, displaying enough bulk to be muscular, but not beefy. She always had a soft spot for men like that. Runners. Gymnasts. Swimmers. Lithe, agile bodies were incredibly sexy to her.

“Hey…um, I’m sorry.” She shook her head, pulling herself from her thoughts. “I’ve forgotten your name.”

He wore a blue apron, and in the center of it was the logo of the coffee house; she couldn’t make out the name on his placard, however. He smiled the most attractive grin she’d ever seen. It lit up his entire face, causing his eyes to crinkle at the corners. That always made her melt.

“Craig.”

After tossing the discarded cups into a nearby garbage can, he stepped closer to her but stopped short of extending his hand. “It’s really great seeing ya again.”

Brenda chose that moment to clear her throat, announcing her presence. “Who’s your little friend, Evie?” Her voice dripped with curiosity. Evie could only imagine what she was thinking, and it couldn’t have been good.

 

Next month’s author: A little different from the norm let’s just say…  Stay tuned. if you’re an author and you’d like a feature contact me here.

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Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge Week #16: My Biggest Dream? #MFRW

Hmmm ask an author this question and they’ll all say the same thing… New York Times Bestseller, Bestselling Author. These are all the recognition awards and titles we’re after right? Wrong, okay maybe, but not always in this order. 🙂

For me personally living the dream would mean  a  HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE catalogue of novels and novellas in both the romantic suspense and thriller genres. When I think of this dream, the one author that comes to mind is Stephen King. On my last check he has over fifty published novels. And my all time inspiration Jackie Collins the author I salute, as it was her who introduced me to romantic suspense when I was hardly in my mid twenties. I stumbled across  her novel Deadly Embrace , I then read everything by Jackie I could get my hands, on before I became an author. Surprise surprise I sleep and breathe this genre! Creating my own spin on romance and suspense. Jackie had upon her death something like thirty two novels  published I think off memory.  I was so upset when she died, I feel like some part of life is now missing. I’m one of her fans who would wait impatiently for the next hit, I’d check her site regularly to see what’s coming next and curse when I could not see my next hit coming. My other inspiration the great British crime author, Martina Cole has about twenty odd crime novels from memory. A lot of them I have also read.  When Martina publishes a book, a wicked grin comes over my face! I’m excited.  This is the level I’m talking about in terms of books I’d love to write and the kind of buzz I’d love to create in my genre one day as an author. Considering I’m only thirty four if I get a wiggle on and stay focused,  just maybe it could happen! I could knock out plenty of work.

I’m not focused so much on all the awards or labels authors can get, as nice as they are, it’s more about productivity. I’m also not that focused on becoming rich, this is the last thing I’m writing for.  I had an author mention this who will feature in my Meet The Author – I won’t say who it is look out for them on the 25th.  I’d personally like to give up the part time day job, write more full time, pay the bills by doing what I love and feel my talent really is and not worry. That’s the dream. I’d also love an endless supply of M.A.C and Kat Von D make-up, to create a line of clothing, a house with a pool and large garden for my little boy and to live in the sun…. pretty please if God’s listening LOL.

What’s your dream?? What are you doing to make it happen? If you’re an author reading this is it all about the label, money or the volume of work you put out?

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