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How Long Should Your Story Be?

Words count. When writing a piece you need to think about the length of the final story. Will it be a short story or an Epic? There is also a difference between Novelette, Novella, and Novel. Here's a run down of the different categories:

What do you prefer to write? Short or long pieces?


Interview with D. Krauss

What genre do you write and why?
Mostly horror and scifi, because the "real" world is far too frightening and depressing to write about.

Tell us about your latest book.
It's called Partholon, a title derived from Irish legend. A biological attack on the northeast US leaves it a quarantined wasteland. John Rashkil, a university policeman in DC, survives the attack and elects to keep doing his job, adding judge, jury, and executioner to his duties. He tries to help his teenage son, who is outside the quarantined area, navigate this newly Byzantine America, but things spiral out of control rather quickly.

It's the first title in a series, the next being Tu'an, which follows John's son, Collier, as he serves in what's left of the US Army. The whole series might be subtitled, "How the Next American Civil War Gets Started."
It's available from Rebel E Publishers.

Who are your favourite authors?
Ooh, boy, there are so many. Ray Bradbury is my all-time, overall first place winner, and I freely admit that his style strongly influenced mine. I am a huge fan of Mary Doria Russell, and I consider her novel, The Sparrow, as sharing first place with Michaela Roessner's Vanishing Point as the best scifi novel ever written. Kate Elliot is my favourite fantasy writer, and her Crossroads Trilogy is a primer for the genre.
Alastair Reynolds is the best hard-scifi writer around, no question. His Revelation Space series just blew me away. And when I need humbling, I pick up Umberto Eco.

Coming back to earth, I'm in the middle of David Downing's Station series, which follows the exploits of an American journalist-permanent-resident-of-Germany, holding a British passport and surreptitious membership in the Communist Party, trying to survive pre-WW2 Berlin. Whew.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Pens are too light/ Take a chisel to write. Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Nobody knows what I'm up to. 

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
Because it has no illusions about this thin veneer of civilization we so smugly take for granted. We are just one temper tantrum away from the Dark Ages, ya know.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
I learned that characters will not behave. They are an unruly, anarchic bunch who are going to do whatever they want no matter how much I scream.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
It's called The Ship to Look for God, and is dangerously close to actual publication. It lacks a cover and formatting, both of which are being completed by Damon at damonza.com and EJ Knapp of Rebel E, respectively (unintended poetry). It's about a government analyst named Otto Boteman, who suffers a massive heart attack and wakes up in what can only be Heaven, except God is nowhere to be found. So he joins a group of misfits slapping together a rocket ship to go find Him.

It was an absolute hoot to write. There were times when I was sitting at the keyboard just giggling, evoking suspicious queries from local residents. I didn't want to stop, so there's going to be two sequels: The Ship Looking for God, and The Ship Finding God. Looking is done; well, at least the initial version, and if I will just stop having so much fun rewriting it, then it'll be out post-haste.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
I am in both camps. I really wanted an agent and trad contract for all of my writing, but I never got much interest for Partholon or Ship or another WIP called Frank Vaughn, Killed by his Mom, which concerns the strange odyssey of a ten-year-old across the South in 1965 (deft slipping of a shameless plug in here, doncha think?). I attribute that lack of interest to this: my writing is of insufficient caliber to attract it.

That is the wise and safe approach any writer suffering constant agent rejection should take. I do suspect there are, these present days, some political factors that didn't exist five years ago; namely, that agents and editors are looking for photogenic MFA grads writing about strong women protagonists and/or politically correct exotic settings. I believe that's due to the interns screening the slush pile, who are, themselves, mostly photogenic MFA grads in possession of WIPS with strong female protagonists and/or exotic settings. This, of course, means I don't stand a chance of getting an agent, not being photogenic or MFA'd and without a politically correct bone in my body.

But that’s sour grapes. Agents and editors have to pay their mortgages, and if the present climate means my stuff wouldn't draw enough sales to cover their costs, then they'd be insane to take a chance on me. Most agents/editors are not insane, reports to the contrary notwithstanding. I regard my writing as niche, which doesn't make it in trad circles these days.

But it does make it for small press/self-publishing, and that's where I went. The Partholon series is with Rebel, and the Ship series will be my own, primarily because I want to control the pricing. If, at some point, I become photogenic or write something currently acceptable to the zeitgeist, then I will think about querying agents again. But, the odds of that happening are slim, especially the photogenic part.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Mostly doing all the necessary maintenance and chores to keep the house from falling down about our ears. I am genetically incapable of executing any kind of handyman function, so a lot of my efforts border on the hilarious. I'm a far more successful gardener, and usually have tomatoes and peppers and cantaloupes and watermelons to tend. A mysterious crop of pumpkins that I didn't plant always appears in late August. I blame aliens.


A Dollop of Sweet With a Dash of Spice: Insight of an Erotic Romance Author

Put it here.

Tuck it there.

Assorted parts are thrust, screwed and banged into place.

Screaming, hair pulling, tweaking and if everything works out, you’ve got a big old smile on your face.

No, I’m not talking car mechanics, I’m talking about sex.  More specifically, the way it’s written.

Have you ever come across an intimate scene that left you scratching your head, wondering how the main characters seem to have all of a sudden become athletes in the Sex Olympics?

I bet even the best of contortionists or world class gymnasts wouldn’t be able to replicate some of those moves!

In my case, becoming an erotic romance writer happened purely by accident.

Here I was, writing some new romantic thriller when the idea struck me.  Why not  break a few personal writing boundaries?  I knew I had a knack for writing romance, so I thought, “How hard can it be?”  Right!
Today, come to mind, when I look back at the journey that’s brought me to publishing Once Written, Twice Shy and Almost Forgotten, the first two books in my Broken Men Chronicles series.

The way I blushed fifty shades of red as I wrote those first few scenes is one of them.  Hell, I still blush, particularly when I come up with something outrageous!

The second: how many times I would rewrite said scenes to get them just right.  I guessed that the most basic sex could turn out so hot!  That’s also when I realized where a lot of authors, who toy with erotic writing, go wrong.

Sex doesn’t need to be all acrobatics and mechanics to be good.  It’s nice to write a shower scene that’s a little over the top, sure—I myself am guilty of doing it a time or ten—but if the words flow, the emotions show, you don’t need all those fancy death-defying positions and a minute account to make your reader feel like the proverbial fly on the wall.

The third is that there is such a thing as too much sex.  Build the story and add some “spice”.  A novel can contain a lot more than the average two to three scenes in it without coming off as crass.  It really can be a beautiful piece of art.

All in all, my foray into erotic-styled writing has definitely led me down a path I never expected.  Suffice to say, it’s not for everyone.  Am I happy with my achievements, of course!  Do I plan to write more erotic romances?  You bet!  Will I still be blushing by the time I reach a dozen erotic-themed novels?  You’re darn right I will be but I’ll still be putting them out!

In closing, I’d like to thank my host for having me.  And for those of you reading this post, I hope that you’ve laughed, been educated and gotten curious as to the inner workings of this particular erotic romance author.

Born and raised in small town Northern Ontario, Canada, Carey Decevito has had a penchant for reading and writing for as long as she can remember.

As an adult however, more than a decade had come to pass before sleepless nights plagued her with exhaustion, demanding that she put pen to paper (more like fingers to keyboard) and start writing again.

And the rest, as they say, is history!

A writer of erotic romance, this lover of food will throw in a bit of heat, a dash of sass, a pinch of comedy and a dollop of real-life experience in order to provide her readers with a story that will mess with their emotions from start to finish.

Family and friends are her lifeblood but Carey also enjoys conquering the outdoors, sports, travelling and playing tourist in Canada’s National Capital region.  When life gets crazy, she seeks respite through her writing and submersing herself in the latest addition to her library.  If all else fails, she knows there’s never a dull moment with her prolific story-teller of a five-year-old daughter, her goofy husband and their two cats who she swears are out to get her.
With three published works under her belt, Almost Forgotten is the second of her The Broken Men Chronicles series.


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Excerpt: Someone Like You by Karen Rock

Title: Someone Like You
Author: Karen Rock
Genre: Contemporary, Sweet Romance

Purchase Links:

Book Description:

You can't program love…or can you? 
Kayleigh Renshaw has come up with the idea for a brilliant "compatibility app," a new kind of matchmaking software. All she needs is a programmer to help her bring the idea to market…and she knows exactly who she wants. But Niall Walsh—a code whiz and her former best friend—has been avoiding her since he returned from Afghanistan. In spite of their history, and some sparks that go beyond friendship, he's proving reluctant…. Is it her, or is something darker holding him back?

Author Bio
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time author.  With her co-author, Joanne Rock, she’s penned the CAMP BOYFRIEND series with Spencer Hill Press under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. She also writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Enterprises. Her wholesome romance, Heartwarming novels have won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the 2014 Golden Quill Contest. When she's not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes and hiking. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of "fetch" though they know a lot about love. To find out about her upcoming releases, appearance and latest news, visit http://www.karenrock.com or follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites or Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5 She’d love to connect with you!

Book Excerpt

Strong hands slid into hers, and Kayleigh shivered with pleasure. “I wondered where you went.”
She forced herself to meet his kind eyes. “I’m sorry about that, Niall. Sorry for what I said. Sorry for lots of things. You’ve always been such a good friend to me, and I treated you badly.”

“A friend?” His eyes searched hers, and she felt her heart open up to him like a flower touched by dawn. He wanted more than friendship. She couldn’t predict how this would go, but after years of knowing each other, they had a good start.

“No. Not just as a friend,” she admitted, and felt herself melt at the passionate flare in his eyes. She angled her head and leaned closer, aching for his kiss.

“We have to get out of here,” he said suddenly and stood, pulling her with him.

“Huh? Why?” His words broke through her romantic fog, and she flushed, embarrassed. Had she misread the situation? Either way, she wouldn’t regret it. But another look into his soulful eyes reassured her. She was right about him. She knew it down deep.

“Because I can’t kiss you here.” His eyes slid to Gianna’s open door then back to her, and heat raced up her neck and flooded her cheeks.


He lifted her fingers to his lips, then pulled her out the door.

Giveaway: Autographed copies of WISH ME TOMORROW, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL, and SOMEONE LIKE YOU  as well as a $100 Amazon Gift Card.


10 Mistakes Aspiring Creative Writers Make

I came across this great article at http://www.lawritersgroup.com/ten-mistakes-aspiring-creative-writers-make/ about the mistakes aspiring creative writers make and just had to share it with you all. 

Far too often I see writers getting caught up in "all the other stuff" that they seem to forget that they actually need to write the story. 

Number 1 on this list is one that I come across a LOT and whilst it's a good thing to consider how you would like to publish you need to have something to publish first. 

Number 2 is a good point too. If you wait around for inspiration to hit you may find that you never write anything. This is one reason why I love challenges like NaNoWriMo because they force you to get the first draft written. Also remember, a first draft doesn't need to be perfect. You can revise and edit later. It's just about getting the story written.

Number 8 is another point that I feel really needs to be highlighted. You need to know why you are writing the piece. What do you want to communicate to your readers? Having a clear goal will make it easier to keep your focus and make sure your message comes across.

Which are your favourites from this list? What other mistakes do you see aspiring writers making?


To all the unpublished writers out there...

Just being able to write that phrase makes me realise how incredibly fortunate I am that a publisher (ok not one of the big guns, but hey) liked my book enough to commit ink to paper and text to Kindle. I know that all the advice says to believe in yourself and your writing, but so much easier said than done ad rejection after rejection arrives. My recently published novel The Value of Something was in serious danger of being consigned to a drawer, or even worse a box in the attic and ‘put down to experience ’ as they say. It would of course still have languished in the far flung files of the computer to pop up and haunt me occasionally with its oh so familiar listings: ‘Final Draft,’ ‘First 30 pages,’ ‘Synopsis’ and of course the carefully composed covering letter. Then just in time, it was saved the indignity of being consigned to obscurity.

Believe me the sheer jubilation when that acceptance finally arrives (and you can finally admit you always secretly believed it would) is immense. You will go around with a smile on your face and a spring in your step- and then comes the big decision; do you tell the world or do you keep it as your triumphant secret a while longer? In my case I told only my nearest and dearest and swore them to secrecy. It all seems too good to be true, and having no experience of the editorial process, there was always the possibility in my mind that I still might fall at one of the fences before the day. In the event, I hope that like me you will find the bat and ball game that is editing, a fairly smooth process, with well defined rules that guide you through the whole thing.

So, the words are sorted and now for the final touches. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions about the front cover- and then be prepared to bow at least a little to the greater expertise of the design team! I always read the dedication page, and writing my own felt such a privilege. It’s there for all to see so make it count.

Then, albeit a few months down the line, the first copies arrive. You hold them in your hands, scrutinising the cover- and what jumps out at you is the reward.  YOUR name as bold as brass emblazoned beneath the title. You did it!

Shirley Gladden was born and grew up in England. Since obtaining her degree and teaching qualification she has worked in schools there as well as in Germany and Cyprus. She now divides her time between her career on that warm Mediterranean island and her base in England. She enjoys playing the saxophone, though by her own admission with more enthusiasm than raw talent, and now that her four daughters are grown up she has more time to devote to her writing. 

The Value Of Something by Shirley Gladden is available at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Value-Something-Shirley-Gladden-ebook/dp/B00KPHLOBM
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