Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Author Feature: Bianca Swan

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Bianca Swan!
Bianca lives in Houston, Texas with her Z3 and baby grand piano.  She has been writing all her life and loves to tell stories about hot heroes and the sexy heroines who love them.  Her favorite things:  Her two sons, music, sports cars, symphony, theater, the ocean, mountains, horses and travel.

Her latest release 
Celestial Sin  
is now available from
Wild Rose Press

I have saved the cover pictures for the end of the post. They are HOT!


     Do you have a writing routine? 
  I work full time to support my habits, but I try to reserve weekends (or at least one day per weekend) to write.  I wish I could be like those people whose muse shakes them out of bed, and they write furiously for an hour then dash off to the office, but I get into my book and don’t want to go to work! 

 What does it look like? 
 Whatever I can greedily fit in – which means my social life suffers.   

Where do you usually write?  
 My condo is small.  I write facing the corner fireplace.  To the left are sliding glass doors with shades which let in the light.  In the bedroom to my left is the piano in its red palace with hardwood floors.  The rest of the house is marble-tiled.

 Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? 
I haven’t achieved what I thought would be the life of a writer.  I’m still writing and working.  What is different?  I wanted the success of Anne Rice!  Why not dream big?

    Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time  and living a normal life?  Unfortunately no.  I’m lucky that my children are on their own now, but the job is still there.  I write when I can and when my muse (and I have to be inspired or I can’t write a parched white word) allows.

 What is the best advice you have received about this journey?   
The same as everyone else.  Perseverance.  My own personal experience would be to advise getting a really thick skin.

 What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out?   
Writing for me is therapy, an escape into the worlds I build rather than those built on TV.  But in a way, I wish someone had told me to write for myself—not for the public.  I’ve had an agent, won contests, and still I doubt my writing because of the rejections.  I don’t know if this is common amongst writers but suspect it is.  After all, we are spilling our emotions onto the page.
     What do you do to fight burnout?  
 I stop writing until I have to write again. 

Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? 
Oh, yes, constantly.  Then a character walks on stage, whispers in my ear, and bang, I’m doomed to months at the keyboard.  How do combat that?  I wait.

     What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing?  Action scenes, but I enlist the aid of my son.

      Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend? 
  No, though sometimes I blend my friends together to come up with a character. 

  How do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story?  
 I let the characters take on a life of their own.  This sometimes leads me to write pages and pages of material that I will never use. 

     What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching) 
The ocean inspires me.  Music is an inspiration.  The Prophecy movies inspired me to write about angels.  I love people watching, especially in airports, but they aren’t an inspiration, more characterization.

     What do you do when you aren’t writing? 
I love to drive.  I compete in rallies.  I go to the symphony, theater and I like to find really good restaurants, especially seafood or good country cooking on which I grew  up, but the latter can add inches to the waistline.

    Tell us a bit about your work in progress.  
 I’m converting a romantic suspense to erotica. 
Cardinal Desires was a semi-finalist in the first Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest and won the Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia award.  A vampire and a forensic psychiatrist team up to catch a serial killer.  My editor at The Wild Rose Press asked for something else, and this one was prime for changing.
    What is next for you?  
 My fallen angel story Celestial Sin  
released May 20 from The Wild Rose Press, The Wilder Catalog.  For a sneak peak at the trailer, blurb and excerpt, please visit me at Bianca’s blog.

You can also check out her other release:

Thank you for being our guest Bianca!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Plot Swap

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
I thought we could do something a little different this Friday. Titles fascinate me. Mostly, because I am terrible at them. 

So, let's play a little.

I'll give you the title of an imaginary book. 
You write the back-of-the-book blurb. 
It can be serious or silly.
I came up with these:
In the Days of Sunshine
Dancing Backward in High Heels
Last Call

Pick one and play along or add your own title and see what book everyone else would write with it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

spring break

Thinking about Thursday

I feel like I have been surrounded by bad news lately.

I've lived in three of the places effected by the recent tornadoes.

I have several people close to me whose lives are in turmoil and I can do nothing to help.

Summer is two weeks away. I should be ecstatic, but last summer began with two funerals, a near-fatal motorcycle accident and my dog passing away. I am little leery of what this one will bring!

So, tell me something good. What's up in your life that you are smiling about?

*This slightly less than uplifting post has been brought to you by exhaustion and a short trip into self-pity. Please return tomorrow for the Friday Plot Swap. I promise to be back to my normal, sunshine spreading self*

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mental Health Day

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Mental Health Day
This is actually a picture of a mud puddle.

I am taking the day off. 
I never just use a personal day unless I have a sick kid, mom in the hospital or a three-inch deep river flooding from my hot water heater through my house.

Thankfully, I am experiencing none of that at the moment. 
I am still taking the day off. 

One of my dear friends from college, a man no less, taught me the value of a mental health day. He would often abandon all of us and take what he referred to as a "me day". It usually involved taking himself to lunch, a movie and some shopping. 
Today, for reasons I won't bore you with here,
I desperately need a "Me Day".

I haven't decided exactly what to do.
Other than, nothing I don't want to do.
So, Tell Me Your Story. Do you take Me Days? If you do or could, what would you do? What would be your favorite place to spend a day alone? 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Plots Swap~End of the World Style

Friday Plot Swap
Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a  plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning? 
Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Maybe you have heard that some are predicting the end of the world tomorrow. In that case, you won't need any of these. 
While I am pretty sure we are all still going to be hanging out on May 22nd, this article about the May 21st believers caught my attention :

 What if the world is still around on May 22nd? I think how these people will go on and if they will manage to rebuild their lives could be a fascinating story.

This article about
caught my eye also.
I particularly liked #23
Last, I know it has been done. 
This is a slightly different take on a 

It would be interesting to incorporate into a sweet romance about someone trying to accomplish these before the end of the world.
(Skip the dying at the end part~I am a happily ever after person. Except for the people I kill off in my murder mysteries, but you know how that goes. )

So, swap with me! There is a good possibility, at least in my world, that we are all still going to be here tomorrow. If that is the case, then I will have some writing to do! 

Any ideas floating around you want to share with us?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thinking about Blog Contests

Thinking about Thursday


Even before the grand announcement from Facebook and Twitter that they are banning contests, I had been thinking about blog contest and their effectiveness.

Ashley March has a great post that lays out the new Facebook rules in plain English. Grace Burrows also had some terrific points about why these new terms may not be as catastrophic as some authors believe.

But, I have been thinking about blog contests in a different way. Basically, what is the purpose and are they effective? 

If you follow/leave a comment on a blog, "like" a page or retweet a link for the purposes of entering a contest, when the contest is over, do you become an active member of that page or is it just another name on your Google reader?

If you have held a contest on your blog, did you find it significantly increased your traffic in the long-term or only for the duration of the contest? 
What prizes do blog readers prefer? Free books? Critiques? Small gifts? 

Please understand, I am not knocking contests. I am genuinely curious if the contests are an effective tool ?
What do you think?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FIGHT! Guest Post By Rayne Hall

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
Today, We have a great guest post from 
Rayne Hall. 
Rayne  writes dark fantasy and horror. She has published more than twenty books under different pen names in different genres, and her stories have earned Honorable Mentions in 'The Years' Best Fantasy and Horror'. She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing, and teaches online classes.

Even if you've never wielded a weapon, you can write an exciting fight scene.
Rayne will show you how, in her workshop on 
which starts on 1 June 2011: 
You can find out more about the class here

The Final Showdown
How to Write a Great Fight Scene for the Climax of Your Book

Does your novel climax with a big showdown between the hero (or heroine) and the villain?
Here are techniques to make this fight powerful and memorable.

* The fight scene during the novel's climax is longer than the other fight scenes in the book. It is also the more violent, and the more emotionally rousing.

* Raise the stakes as high as you can. The climactic fight is almost always to the death. In addition to the hero's life, something big is at stake, something he's prepared to die for: the freedom of the slaves, the lives of the innocent, the future of Earth. This big cause is probably what the hero has been pursuing throughout the novel.

* State the purpose of the fight, that big cause for which the hero is fighting. Spell it out, and keep it in the reader's mind. The more you emphasise the purpose, the more the readers will root for the hero.

* Use an unusual location for the fight, preferably a dangerous place, such as burning house or a sinking ship.

* Stack the odds against your hero (who can, of course, be a heroine): Give the villain the better weapons, better armour, better preparation. Make your hero vulnerable: he's unarmed or poorly armed, without protective armour, maybe even injured or exhausted. The more you stack the odds, the more the readers will root for the hero.

* If several people are involved in the fight, arrange it so there are more bad guys than good guys, because readers always root for the minority.

* If the villain is supported by several henchmen, let your hero defeat them one by one. The villain has to be the last one to fall, in order to keep the tension high.

* Show violence. Even if you've skirted around violence in the earlier parts of the novel, this scene will benefit from injury and pain.

* Create a 'black moment' when all seems lost. Then the hero recalls his purpose, rallies his last drop of strength and courage, and fights on until victory.

* If your hero has a special skill, find a way to use it in the fight scene, preferably in a surprising way.

* If your hero has a weakness, phobia or fear, force him to face it during the climactic fight. For example, if he fears heights, the fight takes place on the roof of a skyscraper. If he has a phobia of snakes, the villain uses snakes against him. If he's terrified of spiders, he must fight in a spider-infested cave.

If you have questions about writing fight scenes, feel free to ask. I'll be around for a week and will respond. 

Thank you so much for being a guest, Rayne! 

So, tell us your story! What do you struggle with when writing fight scenes? Rayne will be around all week to answer questions. Let's give her some!   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Plot Swap

Friday Plot Swap

Dawn's Plot Swap
Have a plot? Leave one
Need a plot ? Take one 
Have you seen a news story that got your wheels turning? 
Do you have a plot in your head that would make a great story, just not one you intend to write?  
Leave it here on Fridays 
pick up a plot for your weekend writing time.
Here is what I have for you this Friday: Weekend
This post brought to you late due to Blogger's little hiccup
This week I stuck on locations. Sometimes, the location itself can be a characters in the story.
Plenty of ideas for a suspense, thriller or paranormal

Great pictures. Perfect for a treasure hunting adventure story.
Pictures from all over with short narratives. 

So, swap with me! What locations do you know that are dying to share their stories with you? Have you ever looked at a scene and just known there was a story waiting for you?