>Listing Happy Things

>Nancy Henderson (I’ve since put a hex on her! *evil grin*) tagged for a game of happy things. I’m suppose to list six things that make me happy. The odd thing is, I’m not sure what the statement “make me happy” really means. I know I get pleasure from things, but generally, I make myself happy. IOWs, I’m personally responsible for my own happiness. *grin* Didn’t know someone could get analytical with something so simple as a game of Blog Tag, did you! LOL

Sooooo….I think I’ll list things that give me pleasure. And the top six finalists are…..

1. The scale shows a drastic drop in numbers when I step on it.
2. Putting the finishing touches on a new book
3. Knowing I’ve made someone else’s life a little brighter
4. Hearing a reader enjoyed one of my stories.
5. Camping at Douthat State Park. It’s peaceful.
6. Hugs from my family. It shows I’m loved.

Now I’m supposed to tag someone else, but I’m not sure how to do via Blogger, so I’m going to spare others, unless I can send them Nancy’s way Bwwwwaaahahahahaha

>What’s It All About Monica

>Over at the GabWagon.com, my friend Natalie challenged us to fess up to some different writer questions. Here they are.

What’s the last thing you wrote?

The Sheikh’s Courtesan

Was it any good?

My first reader says so, the jury (my agent) will have the final verdict and the judge (editors) will have final sentencing.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?

If we’re talking novels, that would be Sweet Shrew, which I wrote for HQ (rejected) and is a contemporary take off on The Taming of the Shrew

Favorite genre of writing?

Historical and paranormal.

I’ve tried contemporary, but I don’t think I have the voice for it, although I do have a couple of old stories that might work well for HQ’s line. It’s just finding the time to rewrite. Grrrr

Most fun character you ever wrote?

Simon Carton from A Bluestocking Christmas. He’s an arrogant, son-of-a-bitch in the first part of the story, but as the story progresses and Ivy brings him to his knees, he’s totally redeemed and I love him. He’s just so bold, charismatic and he has a wicked tongue.

Most annoying character you ever wrote?

My characters tend to be love ‘em or hate ‘em. I don’t know of any characters of mine that I found annoying. Now I’m sure that there are readers who would probably find some of mine objectionable, but I can’t name the characters.

How often do you get writer’s block?

I don’t have writer’s block per se, more like “God, I’m so tired of this crap, I don’t want to write.”

How do you fix it?

I watch movies, tv, read, play video games. It’s amazing the number of ideas I get playing a video game with Baby

Do you type or write by hand?

I pretty much type, but when I’m editing I print off the book and I write new paras or rewrite paras on the back of the paper or on a notepad. I also carry a pad of paper in my purse (small spiral) and sometimes I use my PDA…I’ve even used the back of a medical form at the doc’s office. LOL

Do you save everything you write?

Yep, I’ll gut something, but I cut and paste it and then I put it in a file. I’m a digital pack rat. I often will go back into those files and review lines, because some lines that I have to cut are wonderful writing, but I can’t find a way to meld them into the current story, so maybe I can utilize the in a later story. I like to recycle. LOL

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?

Yes, In fact, there are two books I want to rewrite as time permits because I love the story so much but the writing stinks.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written?

Damn, I hate questions like this, because I love ALL my works for different reasons. If I had to choose one that means something special it would have to be Love’s Portrait because it’s about overcoming something terrible and learning to live again rather than shutting oneself from life. It’s truly a personal story for me.

What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

Call me crazy (because personally I can’t take the heat and I’m terrified of snakes), but there’s something incredibly romantic about the desert. In particular the Sahara and Egypt. If you look at the dunes in the Sahara, there’s some exquisite scenery that tells me God loves the raw, primal vitality of the land, despite its lack of water. Maybe it’s the challenge it requires to live in the desert that I like, because I love challenges.

How many projects are you working on right now?

Well, I just finished a book and I’m working on the synop…but I’m also planning out the next paranormal novella, and two historicals are burning up the stove in the back of my head, plus the possibility of a sale with my Master of Sin book subsequent series. Lots popping, which makes life hectic.

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?

Yes, I’ve been published in the Beta Sigma Phi magazine, and I’ve had a photo used by a Biker’s magazine. I also wrote a number of articles for Virginia Business Magazine on technology.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Well, I’ve finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart, the Eppie’s, and the Passionate Plume and the Red River Contests. I don’t consider 2nd or 3rd places or finals anything of substance. If my work isn’t first place, it’s not an award as far as I’m concerned. Truthfully, the only reason I do contests is to hope I final so I can gain a little exposure for a few bucks. It’s amazing what a final in the Eppie’s or GH or etc. can garner you in the online community. It does have it’s advantages in terms of publicity, but rarely translates to sales.

Ever written something in script or play format?

No, although I did explore the idea. My nephew is studying at the UNC’s film school, and we’ve talked about me writing something and him directing it. THAT would be sooooo cool for me!

What are your five favorite words?

that’s a tough question, because I love words period, anything that I don’t get to use a lot of would be a favorite — vitriolic, fragrant, epiphany, pithy, equanimity

What character that you’ve written most resembles yourself?

Lady Aurora Lyndham from Dangerous. I wanna be her when I get old. Tough, feisty and definitely the mistress of her domain. She’s the epitome of tough love

Where do you get ideas for your other characters?

It’s more of a what does the hero/heroine need in order to get to point B from point A

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Some of my best stories have evolved plot wise and dialogue wise in my dreams. I specifically lay in bed and think about what I want to happen before I drift off to sleep, and then while I’m under the Muse does her work. I’ll wake up and while I won’t necessarily remember dialogue word for word, I do remember the gist of it, and when I write it, the words come back.

Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliffhangers?

I think it depends on what type of book I’m reading. I want an ending that’s satisfying, but it doesn’t always have to be a happy ending. Although I do favor them more.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Nah, I’m good at both, and generally Word just ticks me off because it doesn’t want to cut me slack when I know I need to use a comma vs. a semi-colon. Yeah, BILL, the semi-colon might be correct, but it stops readers cold.

Quote something you’ve written.

“He stirred in his slumber, and a long, muscular leg thrust its way out from under the sheet to reveal the limb from foot to hip. The line of his thigh was beautiful. No artist could have created a shape so perfectly male. And there was nothing more dangerous than Morgan St. Claire and the unbelievable maleness of him.” Julia Westgard, Love’s Portrait

>Are You a Hannibal Or A Dalai Lama

>I’ve been writing an epilogue to my upcoming release from Samhain, Dangerous. The epilogue will be offered up free on my website a week after the book goes on sale. When I originally wrote Dangerous, the ending seemed final enough. However, my fantastic editor, Immi Howsen, convinced my muse that the book would benefit from significant changes. With those changes, I realized the ending wasn’t quite so cut and dried after all. It’s not like I left any loose ends that a reader can’t explain away, but there were a couple of things I wanted to delve into. Primarily the hero’s psyche at the end of the book.

Into The Breach Once More

In Dangerous, Lucien Blakemore is under a curse. It’s something that’s haunted him for years, but the heroine eventually makes him see he can come out into the light. But personal experience has taught me that once you’ve been immersed in darkness, there’s always a part of you that will remain in the dark. I wanted to explore that concept with Lucien. I wanted to see if I could take the character back into the darkness and then bring him back out again. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds. I’m not even a 1/3 of the way done with the epilogue, and I’m finding it difficult to yank someone so happy back into the darkness.

A Knife In The Back

Still, I keep remembering a post of Natalie’s titled Killing Your Darlings. While I’m hardly going to kill Lucien, I do intend to put a knife in his back, and that’s not going to be so easy for me. I mean the poor guy has gone through a lot, and now I’m going to make him relive some of that darkness? I know what that kind of a backslide that can be, so writing this won’t be easy.

So how easy do you find it to slice into a character’s psyche or soul? Are you as vicious as Hannibal Lector or are you compassionate like the Dalai Lama?