Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sometimes I think NaNoWriMo is designed simply as an exercise in frustration.

Nationa Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a movement begun several years ago by a group of writers who vowed to write an entire novel of 50,000 words in one four-week period. The intent was to stop getting hung up on the editing and just let the novel flow out. Editing could happen later.

It was a wonderful idea and caught on with other authors. It spread through genre and age levels and now is a yearly, highly-anticipated event that authors from around the world choose to join. For the past three years I've participated, at least unofficially. I didn't sign up at the official site or join an offshoot group, but this year I've posted about my progress on my blog and Twitter stream. Needless to say, it ain't going so well for me.

I always start out with such high hopes. This year I wrote just over 9000 words the first week which kept me on par to complete 50K by December 1st. But the same problem came up that comes up every year. In my day job, I teach and grades are due by the end of the second week of November. That means I spend every "extra" moment the second week reading essays and senior papers. I worked late this year to get everything graded and came home exhausted. I didn't write but 2000 words the entire week.

Tried to catch up this week and had other RL issues get in the way so that I wrote not one single word on my manuscript. From 9000 to 2000 to 0. I'm more than halfway through the month and less than halfway to the target halfway point of 25,000 words.

The reality is what the reality is. I cannot add more hours in the day (I know, I've tried) and caffeine only gets me so far. I'm not offering these as excuses, but frustrations. Come retirement (2.5 more years, but who's counting?) and I can write 50K every month if I want. Right now, however, I am still squeezing writing time in the odd hours where I can.

I think it's safe to say I won't make the goal this year. I'm considerably further on my current wip, though, and that's always good. It's a full-length work with two couples I'm beginning to like--a lot. I'll be sorry when their story is finished because I enjoy spending time with them. I hope you will, too.

So, for those of you out there still aiming for that magic number -- good on ya! Keep going and I'm rooting for you from the sidelines. Get that novel out of you and onto the computer screen where you can work it in December. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

As for me, I'll keep writing but I'm a little less hopeful about getting this novel completed before the end of the month.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Writing of Always Room for Four

I discovered Ellora's Cave back in 2002 by following a link from an author's website. Whoa! I was so excited to find a publisher who didn't close the bedroom door. I bought one book, read it, and was immediately hooked.

I'd published three sensual romances with another e-publisher, but longed to write something more edgy, and definitely sexier. My problem was I'd never used "those words" in a book. I don't even say them in real life, so didn't know how I could use them in a book. My two wonderful critique partners urged me to go for it. That's how The Birthday Gift was born. It became the first of four stories in my collection, Happy Birthday, Baby.

Now nine years and twenty-five Ellora's Cave books later, I decided it was time to tell Patrick's story. He was introduced in The Birthday Gift, the hero's cousin and the third person in the ménage. I wanted him to meet the woman of his dreams, but I also wanted that woman to have a past relationship with another woman.

Writing about two women together was a first for me. So was writing a foursome. I had an absolute blast doing it.

Here's a little taste of Always Room for Four. I hope you enjoy it.

* * * * *

Tera looked at Amanda's soft hand on top of hers. So many times in college, that hand had touched Tera with tenderness and passion. She and Amanda had remained friends for years, yet had never been lovers again. They'd both become involved with the men they planned to marry. Anything between them had been pushed aside to make room for their soon-to-be husbands.

Tera no longer had a soon-to-be husband, but she had her best friend close enough to touch.

Turning her hand over, she laced her fingers with Amanda's. She focused on their hands as she asked her next questions. "What about us? Does this foursome include us being together, or would we only be with the guys?"

Amanda remained silent. Afraid she'd said the wrong thing, Tera lifted her gaze to her friend's face. "Would you like that?" Amanda asked softly. "Because I would."

That confession surprised Tera almost as much as Amanda's idea of a foursome. "You would?"

"We haven't been together in a long time, but I've thought about it."

"You never said anything."

Amanda shrugged one shoulder. "I figured you weren't interested anymore since you had Roger."

"You had Jake."

"That doesn't mean I stopped caring for you."

There hadn't been anything sexual between them in seven years. After that much time, it shouldn't seem so natural for Tera to lean closer to Amanda and kiss her tenderly. Yet it seemed as natural as drawing her next breath.

Amanda's lips were just as soft as she remembered, just as giving beneath hers. Tera parted her lips, her tongue searched for Amanda's. When she touched it, Tera inhaled a sharp breath. She gripped Amanda's hand, tilted her head to deepen the kiss. Amanda answered each stroke of tongue, each slide of lips.

Blindly reaching out, Tera found Amanda's other hand and gripped it too. She moaned low in her throat when Amanda's tongue swept over her lips. She scooted to the edge of her chair, needing to be closer, needing to touch more of the woman seated next to her.

Much sooner than she would have liked, Tera ended the kiss. She rested her forehead against Amanda's, wanting to continue but knowing they couldn't at this time since Jake and Patrick waited for them in the bar. "We have to stop."

"I know." Amanda's voice sounded thready, breathless. She squeezed both of Tera's hands. "Wow."

"Yeah." She moved back so she could look into Amanda's gorgeous blue eyes. "Tell me again why we stopped making love."


"Well, I won't make that mistake again."

Amanda laughed and Tera joined her. She slid from her chair, tugged Amanda to her feet to hug her. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you too." Amanda moved back, but kept her hands on Tera's waist. "No matter what you decide about Jake and Patrick, you and I need some time together."

The thought of pressing her naked body against Amanda's made her clit gently pulse. "Yes, we do."

* * * * *

Happy Birthday, Baby is available in print. The Birthday Gift and Always Room for Four are available as e-books from Ellora's Cave and other online retailers.

Have a great week!