Monday, July 21, 2014

Finally a Finish

On the last episode of "What's Allison Up To (I Bet It's Not Writing)?", you saw us at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. There's been a lot happen since then.

I had a doctor's appointment last week where he none-too-casually says, "Yup, that's carpal tunnel." And also he said something that made me laugh. Or at least, I wanted to laugh when he said, "I'm sure you think it's severe" and I'm going, so you're saying it's not severe, I just think it is, because that's what I really wanted to hear. I kind of almost wanted him to tell me I was crazy and fine. Sadly, he didn't. Anyway, it's bad, but it's not bad-bad-bad, so that's good. He didn't say, "Stay away from computers, lady", so that's both good and bad. What's so bad-bad about it is that it is in both hands, which makes for really awkward sleepy night-night time (that's what I call bedtime when I'm talking to PeeWee). See, they tell you to wear these huge gobbing braces to prevent flexion of the wrists at night. And to be honest, the braces work wonders. Since last Wednesday, I haven't had numb hands, which is really handy (pun!) when I'm trying to slide the alarm turner-offer on my phone to shut the alarm up. I can't blame zombie fingers for dropping the phone any more in the mornings. When it happens now, it's because I'm just a klutz. I'm supposed to have a nerve test and then go back next month, although I can honestly assure them I definitely know my nerves work when I smash the crap out of my fingers (figuratively, not literally, because ewww).

As you all know, I've been working semi-hard on the contemporary western romance for the box set my friend D'Ann invited me to write. Well, Friday night, I sat at home and wrote my little heart out only to stop shy of my word count goal of 20k by about 1500 words. Saturday, my car (gee, not my car!) needed some work (it was trying to overheat and spewing anti-freeze everywhere) needed some work, so while the spousal unit did that, I finished Always, Cowboy.

I haven't read through it, haven't done any editing, haven't done anything except plowed ahead writing. It probably doesn't make sense. I know it could use another scene to clear up some stuff that happened toward the end. I'm going to go over it, check for consistencies, but woohoo! I finally managed to finish something else this year. I'm even 5,000 words ahead of the word count goal on the word tracker program this year. Yay!

Now, if I could wrangle Tell into behaving and getting finished, we'd really be on to something.



Friday, July 18, 2014

Guest Post - The Top 10 with Wanda Kay Fittro

I have another great author friend with a new release. Welcome Wanda Kay Fittro (her book is special because it came out on my birthday. And it's also a great read!)

Thanks Allison for letting me take over your blog today. I hope all your readers aren't too disappointed.

Let's get the self promotion out of the way and then to the fun stuff.

My debut contemporary romance novel is now out and about. Beyond The Horizon is available  here http://bit.ly/1itl3rw from my publisher Breathless Press and here http://amzn.to/Wim1wI from Amazon (check out the great reviews I've received so far) and soon from Barnes and Noble.

Here's the blurb:

When Katie Sullivan makes the hasty decision to run away from an abusive relationship, she has no clue what is ahead of her. She only knows it has to be better than her life up to now. Her boyfriend is a powerful drug dealer who will stop at nothing to get her back. She knows too much. Car trouble leaves her stranded in the middle of Kansas, with little money, and a growing fear of failure.

Widower Josh Warner works and lives on an elderly couples’ farm. He juggles the responsibilities of raising his young son and his passion for the rodeo. Unable to let go of his deceased wife’s memory and on the rebound from a misguided affair, he has no desire for another relationship. But, when Katie appears out of nowhere, everything changes.

Against all reason, Katie and Josh find themselves drawn to each other. If the past catches up to them, their newfound passion, and their lives could be in jeopardy. Can their love win against the evil headed their way?

Now the fun stuff. I was asked to make a top ten list by another blog, but it never got posted.

They probably wanted serious writerly top ten stuff and I went the other way.

I love David Letterman's Top Ten Lists, especially when they poke fun at politicians or famous people who do stupid things. When it was suggested I write one, I jumped at the chance. Seems like a simple premise. After all, Letterman's staff comes up with one every day. Turns out, it's not that easy. Then again, writing isn't a walk in the park either. So here goes. I hope you enjoy.

Top Ten Reasons I Became a Writer

10. You can stay in your pajamas all day.

9. People will think you're rich and famous even though you can only afford Ramen Noodles.

8. You can be a heavy drinker and people will think it's just part of the creative process.

7. The dark circles under your eyes are acceptable because you stare at a computer screen all day.

6. Everyone thinks you are a great speller but you would be lost without spell check.

5. If you're a romance author, writing erotic sex scenes is expected and encouraged.

4. You can deduct things like paper and ink off your taxes.

3. It's okay to look up murder weapons on Google.

2. You are allowed to hear voices in your head without being labeled insane.

And the number one reason I became a writer

1. I've got nothing better to do.

Wanda Kay Fittro lives in the beautiful Ozark Mountains in Southwest Missouri. Born and raised in a small town community, gave her an appreciation for that lifestyle, and provides the inspiration for her novels. A love affair with books started early on while reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the bed covers. She won the prestigious Missouri Literary Festival Reader's Choice award in 2011 for her Civil War short story One, Two, Three.

You can find and follow her at:
http://awritercalledwanda.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/wandakayfittro
https://twitter.com/WandaFittro

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guest Post - The Anonymous Blog of Mrs. Jones by Ellen Harger

Good Thursday morning, y'all. Welcome my friend and wonderful writer, Ellen Harger to the blog today! Her new release The Anonymous Blog of Mrs. Jones is coming out on Monday!

Pushing My Comfort Zone

Where’s Dr. Ruth when you need her? I struggle writing sex scenes. Perfectly choreographed sex in books and movies drives me nuts. When the scene is well written, I forgive many fantastical elements, but considering the statistical evidence about sexual experience (ranging over many questions), I consider easy sex in fiction to be akin to body image issues. Size zeros and perfect sexual encounters are just so normal. That’s one reason why I like reading and writing contemporary and women’s fiction. My characters ask difficult questions.


Wait a minute, when did this become sex therapy for sex scenes in fiction?


So one day, as she and I were getting know Mr. Write, I asked Gillian what she liked? You know, girl talk. What stimulated her after the heady euphoria of initial attraction? She didn’t know. After college and marriage, how could she not know? I allowed the stereotype of college sex to be mostly mindless nubile bodies filled with hormones on speed. Gillian just followed her curiosity through a couple of serious relationships and didn’t ask questions.


Then there was marriage. First it was euphoria of finding someone, then newlywed-bliss. This was where it got touchy. If she and her ex-husband, Evan, didn’t communicate about the little things in a relationship, there was no way they talked about sex. Gillian had never dared to answer,
By chapter fourteen, Gillian was settled into her new life when Mr. Write wrote his first blog post, amplifying her desire. In this scene, Gillian wanted to write a sexy blog post to Mr. Write. Since she’s aroused, it was a good time to  delve into "What do I want?"


Older and excited, she pushed her boundaries by looking for fantasy on the internet. First she searched for erotica, but like Goldie Locks, found the first option wanting--or in her case, repetitious and perfect. Next she tried self-pleasure.

OH BOY. I wrestled with the scene from natural shyness. And frankly, it’s as difficult to write about the scene as it was to edit it! Her sexuality wasn’t the central quest of the story, but I couldn’t ignore a more confident Gillian being honest with herself. So, we both had to look. I looked at sex toys and blushed, I can admit it!


I found a site that used words well, read a few descriptions and knew I must accept the challenge. Time for super-duper creative writing mode.


   Site after site, I search for a thrill until an unusual word catches my attention: recipes. On a sex toy site.
   The accompanying images are benign, a classy overlay. Only one is sexual. At the top is a starfish in a rustic frame, then a vase of tiger lilies, a pair of elegant low heels, and finally a woman draped in black threads. I study the last image. I can’t tell what she’s wearing. It drapes around her shoulders, cinches her at the waist, and then wraps into a thin thong. It’s gracefully erotic.
    It’s not just an advertisement. The story describes how to satisfy your partner with an anal vibrator. My face burns red but I can’t stop. Words I hate don’t slow me down. I’m aroused and it shocks me.
   Mortified I close the tab and erase my browser history. I can’t honestly like that.
But I do. I locate the site again and read the same page. It’s just as thrilling. After checking out a few other product descriptions, I know what interests me. Maybe I’m not so vanilla after all.


Of course, after writing the scene I worried people would presume it was about me. Worry. Doubt. Fear. All of these words get in a writers way. This was Gillian’s scene so I polished her curiosity until we were both satisfied.


Writing both her visits to the sex store was easier. Her embarrassment and expectations flowed from my fingertips. Then in chapter fifteen, she buys a toy. Thank goodness it was a traditional vibrator but she returned home self-conscious and inhibited. That meant I had to help her out again. In the tub. I swear. Then I remembered Gillian’s question--What do I want?


Intimacy with herself.


For too long, sex was hormones and instincts, gagging her mind and sticking it in the closet. Bathed in lavender salts and candlelight, she relaxed. Extending her leg, she admired the curves in the flickering shadows. Water caressed her, arousing her confidence with touch until a serene woman returned to her bedroom to enjoy the desires of her body.


    The floor tom reverberates deeply, leading me through the song. Only the rhythm can penetrate. I writhe as the music creeps. I can’t hear the lyrics but specific words heighten my arousal—darling, lips, hips, tightly, inhale, body, slowly, comes.
    Electric poetry charges through me as my mind dissolves and I shudder beneath the sheets.


While sex scenes can be difficult to write, masterbation scenes may be worse, but I was writing about Gillian’s emotional experience of accepting, then letting go.

About the Author:
I’m a word gypsy and emotion sifter, writing about broken condoms, unhappy marriages and women’s issues at the chick-lit end of women’s fiction and women’s fiction end of chick-lit.

I believe great storytelling asks readers to confront what they've stuffed deep down. We all get blinded by emotion and stuck in ruts. In June 2005, I woke up to a wall of fire. Watching the flames eat away my life was my biggest turning point in life.

My first novel Strong Enough released February 2013. My sophomore work, The Anonymous Blog of Mrs. Jones, debuts this July.

Find us at: ellenharger.com. Contact me at ellen@ellenharger.com.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Feature - The Treasure Hunter's Lady

Excellent news, book lovers! Because it's hot (okay, it's not that hot, we've actually had lovely weather in the land of the big canoes the last couple of days), I've put the entire Legends & Lovers series on sale! For your viewing pleasure, a scene from book one, The Treasure Hunter's Lady:


Gaslights flared to life around Abel.
He spun. The talisman hung against his shirt as he reached for his Bennett. Romy watched him with more than a hint of curiosity on her face, eyes illuminated by the lamps.
“What are you doing? Dammit, Romy, I almost had heart failure.”
She came closer, running her hand along the back of a tooled leather settee. “I found it odd that you professed to be a fan of my father's, yet you left before congratulating him. It had crossed my mind that you were using me to get to him.” Her eyes flickered over the maps. “I see I was wrong.”
He sighed. “I wasn't using you. I didn't even know you were related until you mentioned it. Nothing personal, but I have business to take care of here.”
“So you said. What kind of business?” Her movements were casual, but deliberate. Tucking her hands behind her back, she pushed her breasts out.
He raised his eyes to her face. “The kind that doesn't involve women. You wouldn't understand.”
Ignoring the jibe, she came closer. Her eyes locked on his necklace. “What's that around your neck? A fossil of some sort?”
His hand flew to the pendant and stuffed it back down his collar. “Nothing.”
“As someone who's seen a lot of nothing, I can tell you without a doubt it's something. Full of secrets, aren't we, Abel?”
Her lower lip slipped out in a pout. Strawberry red and glistening with the dew from her soft tongue, it tempted him to put the card down and grab her. She stopped inches from him, turned her eyes on his face and smiled so radiantly he forgot what he was doing.
He barely noticed her fingers loosening his string tie, unfastening his collar, and examining the necklace. His gaze dropped down to her low-cut dress. Her stomach flattened against his hips. The ridiculous skirt bunched against his legs. She swayed just enough to entice him further. Choking back a groan, he struggled to raise his eyes again.
She turned the trinket in her fingers. “It's pretty, but not a fossil. A...dear me. A fang of some sort if I'm not mistaken.”
She looked up at him. Regaining his senses, he retreated until he bumped into the map cabinet. Abel cleared his throat. “You are mistaken. It's an old rock I found in Texas. There's nothing here for you to see. In fact, you should be downstairs luring in a husband.”
Her brow furrowed. “You're a terrible liar. It's a barb or fang, though I can't place what kind. Not like anything I've seen before unless it's prehistoric. It doesn't appear to be a fossil, yet it's so large.”
The fang wasn't the only thing in the room that fell under that description. The borrowed trousers were getting uncomfortably tight. He prayed she wouldn't notice.
His retreat didn't keep her from coming at him again. She plucked the fang from his chest and watched it gleam in the light as it dangled from the leather. She ran her finger from the top to the pointed tip. “There is a curious crack in it. What is it made of?” 
His mind raced to catch up with the conversation. “Obsidian.”
“I doubt that very much. It's too light. I dare say it would fetch a handsome price on the market if it were a genuine artifact.” Blue eyes widened then narrowed, as she looked between him and the maps he'd lifted out of the drawer. Her coyness fell away like leaves in the fall. “You're a treasure hunter. You found out that Papa is going to search for the Diamond of Uktena, but you plan to steal it first.”
He snatched the fang from her fingers. “Why would I want to steal a—” He gave up the pretense. “First of all, it isn't stealing if it isn't in anyone's possession. Second, I'm not a treasure hunter.”
“Then why did you break into the party? Why are you sneaking around Christensen's house and why are you trying to hide the necklace? And it is stealing if you're going to sell a priceless artifact to the highest bidder on the black market.”
Her curls bobbed with each question. He frowned. “I don't need a lecture from some little chit whose daddy is the biggest treasure hunter in the world.”
Romy poked a finger into his chest. “Take it back. He's an archeologist and an adventurer. When he finds valuables he turns them over to the proper authorities.”
He pushed her finger away. “I'll bet you a thousand dollars he's not going to do it this time.”
Her eyes narrowed into slits, half-hidden behind a thick fringe of lashes. “You're wrong.”

The Treasure Hunter's Lady is always .99, but now you can get the follow-up novel, The Sky Pirate's Wife for .99 as well, and the third book for just 1.99. Load that Kindle!

The Treasure Hunter's Lady
The Sky Pirate's Wife
The Turncoat's Temptress

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Long, Lovely Weekend

It was a 3-day, so of course it was better than a regular weekend right off.

Friday morning, I slept in, but I got up earlier than the spousal unit to do some editing. His parents came to mow our yard and we had a little picnic down by the school. After, we met up with my side of the family for some fireworks and a cookout. There were dipped strawberries involved that were to die for. I did get a little burn from the Poopy Puppy firework I set off, but I'm okay, never fear. We took the PW Monster as well and he was a little freaked out by the very loud fireworks, but I was proud of him because he stayed quiet. He slept the whole way to Mom's house as we ventured up the road to spend the night so we could clean out her barn the next day. That went surprisingly fast, and after, we headed up to Pomme de Terre to watch their firework show. I'm sad to say, that show wasn't all that impressive. I'm sure they tried, bless them. It was a beautiful evening for sitting out and watching the lake though.

Then just out of the blue, we decided to go to Ha Ha Tonka State Park on Lake of the Ozarks the next day. The house on the left was built by Robert M. Snyder, who owned 5,000 acres of land, including the settlement of Ha Ha Tonka (which supposedly means "laughing waters"). Construction started in 1905, but Snyder died in one of Missouri's first automobile accidents and the house wasn't completed until 1922. It was far less extravagant than he planned. It burned in 1942, along with the carriage house. You can click here to see photos of it on fire and what it looked like inside before the fire.

This is the water tower that provided water for the estate.
Also, servants lived in the lower levels, I think. It burned
in 1976. Thanks, vandals. 

Because I have some kind of sick obsession with gristmills, I took a photo of one of the grind stones from the mill that was here. They tore it down when they built Lake of the Ozarks.



My husband sitting in a window, looking down at a big
hole below the window. If you fell in there, you'd never
get out. Except in the extremely embarrassing instance
that you called a park ranger for help.
Crane Creek at the park in Crane, Mo. We drove around trying to
find a place that would make us a sub sandwich. We had to
hit three different gas stations and finally wound up here
on Thursday evening.

There was a huge snapping turtle in the water and a bunch
of brown trout. The water is frigid!