Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why Write a Series?

I spent some time on the Ellora's Cave fan chat group a while back and "met" someone who had never read any of my books. She asked me some questions, I assume to get to know me a bit better before spending her hard-earned cash on a book by an author she didn't like.

One of her questions had to do with series and why an author decides to write them. Great question, and it made me think about my own books. When I got the idea for Rent-A-Stud, I never thought about writing a series that would include books about the other two Cooper siblings. I wanted to tell Jade and Zach's story. I figured I would type "The End" and go on my merry way with a different set of characters in the next book.

Nuh-uh. Michelle and Brent, Zach's sister and brother, wouldn't leave me alone. They demanded that I tell their stories. Well, when my characters start making demands, I'm gonna listen! Michelle's Men was born, the story of Michelle and the two men who fall in love with her.

While I was writing about Michelle happily making merry with her guys, Brent was standing behind me, impatiently tapping his foot. "Write MY book," he told me. "Hey," I told him back, "I have contracts for other books. You'll have to wait."

Brent wasn't exactly patient. He kept bugging me until I finally HAD to write his book so he would leave me alone.

So two years after the release of Michelle's Men, Brent now has his own story--Almost Perfection. I had a lot of fun redeeming the "bad boy" of Coopers' Companions. He needed a strong woman to tame him and show him how special the love between a man and woman can be. Robin is that woman.

I didn't mean for Zach's book to be the first of a series, but I truly enjoyed writing all three books. Will I do another series? I plan to. I love reading them, and loved writing a series more than I thought I would.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Packing for Nome

It’s that time of year when most of the country is starting to actually believe that Spring might be just around the corner…and here in Alaska we’re watching, tracking and in some cases (mine) obsessing about the Iditarod. It’s an 1100 mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome. There were 67 mushers (yes, that’s what they’re called) who started the race a week ago. The winner is expected to arrive in Nome, Alaska sometime Tuesday night.

I’ll be there. Not because I’m a big enough fan to have to be at the finish line but because my day job includes TV coverage of the start and finish of the race. We’ll do a one-hour live broadcast of the finish no matter when it occurs. Last year that was at 2:45 in the morning. We’re hoping for a daylight finish (makes so much better TV).

But packing for Nome isn’t like going on most trips. My attitude when traveling is “if I forgot it, I’ll just buy a new one”. Can’t really do that in Nome. You can get the basics but it’s expensive and you probably don’t want to arrive and find you’ve left all your undies at home. There’s no Target or Wal-Mart near by.

There is a Subway (attached to a movie theater). I think that’s the only fast food place in Nome.

And the weather is changeable. It’s on the southern coast of the Seward Peninsula in Northwest Alaska. Last week, the temperatures were in the 20s. This week, the highs will be around -5 with a wind chill of -35. Suddenly my plan of wearing jeans and long johns doesn’t seem like it’s going to be warm enough.

So for three days, I’ll pack as many clothes as I would for week in the Lower 48, not so I have the variety but so I have layers. Walking the ten minutes from our production site to hotel could be an extremely uncomfortable trip.

But still, despite the cold and the lack of amenities, it’s a great experience. Seeing that first musher and his dog team arrive is thrilling. It’s amazing when you think about what they accomplish. For nine days, they run across the state, camping, sleeping when they can, resting only when they have to. They carry almost everything but food with them, melting snow for water, cooking over a propane fire.

And I can’t figure out how to pack for three days in Nome. More power to them.

Well, better go finish up. Don’t want to forget my undies.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Is writing therapeutic and life saving?

As writers, have you ever sat back and realized that our environment plays a part in our manuscript's characters? On a snowy day, without thinking, we may have placed our character's in a warm, cozy shack with hot chocolate (spiked of course)and no way out of this private haven until the storm passes.
The mood can go in a selection of several different ways, all of which I feel are dependent of your own mood. If the environment surrounding you is serene, then your characters have a chance at a quite, romantic escape filled with hot sex. But I've found that it's almost never 'serene' in anyone's household. If the writer is angered (let's say by a lovely, no-it-all 17 year old) then this scene can twist into a full blown argument or fight without the author realizing it until the re-read. But as writers, we have the ability to rearrange the words and bring that fight back on track and end our character's up in a romp of purely erotic sexual release due to the high emotion caused by the argument.
Ever wondered if you in author mode (we have to be clear here so no one ends up in lock-up for murder) Killed someone off because you were angry? Did the dead character take on physical aspects of the individual you were angered by?
Does this mean that writing is therapeutic and saves lives?
I believe it is. Because in real life, we can't just kill people off. But on paper...
Can you tell I've had enough of winter and want spring?