Archive for the 'Guest Blogger' Category

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 by Sasha White
Guest Blog: Kate Pearce.

Years ago, when I was a wee babe in the publishing industry…okay, so I’m not a giant, but I’m not a babe anymore either. *g* Anyway, years ago I met a woman named Kate. Little did I know at the time that she was lovably referred to as Queen Kate by some, but it didn’t take me long to hear it, and to figure out why. This lady is amazing. Not only is she talented, and prolific, but she’s fun and generous and helpful, and all those things you fear are lost traits in people nowdays.

Not only is she an awesome person, but she’s a kick-ass author too. Kate writes in several different romance sub-genres under different names. She’s a member of RWA and is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Ellora’s Cave and Virgin Black Lace/Cheek.

Every now and then Kate publishes a very thought provoking post on a writers group I hang out at, and this time, I begged her to let me post it here. She said yes!

Please welcome Kate Pearce….

Let’s talk about “No.”…

So you sell your book.
There are rainbows and unicorns and confetti and those golden gates swing wide and you shade your eyes and look forward and there it is… your path to success. It’s shiny and goes straight up that hill to that golden trophy marked NYT Bestseller or USA Today Bestseller or #1 on Amazon kindle! (or billionaire-whatever your vision of ultimate success is).

You stride forward and it beckons to you, that golden prize so you keep after it. You write more books, you hone your craft you get your first fan letter and then something happens…

Someone says no.

Now this can occur in many ways. Here are a few (most of which I’ve experienced myself)

1. Your editor loses interest and enthusiasm in you.
-this can result in them taking a long time to look at your new submission.
-being slow to respond to your emails.
-sending you back your manuscript with either a revise and resubmit or a flat out No.

2. Your editor gets too busy.
-see above.

3. Your editor gets fired or leaves the publishing house.
-leaving you-where exactly?
With the task of convincing a new editor to love your work, which quite often leads back to the above, -lack of enthusiasm or an overworked editor who doesn’t get you or need you.

4. Or worse. your publisher folds usually with debts and bad feelings.

5. Your particular line closes or your publisher merges it with another, or changes the criteria, or the word count or…

So that career path?
Not so straight and uphill after all.

What do you do?
If the publisher is still standing-
1. Send something new in.
2. Revise and resubmit the original piece.

And what happens when you still hear no? Or there’s no one to send anything to?
At this point you’ve usually lost time rewriting and waiting and your slot in the schedule has gone or been moved back, or disappeared meaning you’ve got a gap in productivity that your readers might notice.

Don’t panic.

I honestly believe that unless your name is Nora Roberts, almost every writer at some point in their career will have the above happen or be told a project is either being canceled or hasn’t lived up to expectations.
It doesn’t matter who you are, or what the reason is- it’s soul destroying.

Good writers pick themselves up, dust themselves down and Move On.

I’m not saying it’s easy but it’s what we do.
Ultimately you are the only person who knows your goals and cares about them. Publishers don’t. They really don’t. You might be the sweetest person in the world, the hardest worker, best promotor, and an unflagging supporter of the company principals. They look at the numbers and how much money you are making them. That’s ultimately it.

And still we feel like we are the failures, that our magic gift and career trajectory is all destroyed and that we are worthless hacks… (or maybe that was just me)

And then maybe you will get angry and think “I’ll show them” and come up with something new and sell it to someone else. (or maybe that is just me too. )

That’s the best revenge. Sell it to someone else or self-publish it and makes millions for yourself.

What I’m trying to say is that almost every published writer I’ve ever met has been rejected, struggled to find a publisher, had to change sub-genre, pen name, publisher editor etc etc and have done it because ultimately the writing is the thing they need to do. Always keep your eye on the business side of the job-without becoming a slave to it-be aware of what’s going on at your publishers, feel the vibes, trust your instincts and survive by diversifying and being ready with a back-up plan or three.

At the beginning of this year I had one contract ending and a terrible sensation that my Tudor Vampire series was not going to be picked up. (editor enthusiasm had disappeared) It was hard to accept that I’d failed at one of my dreams-getting in to mass market paperbacks. Well, to be honest, it was hard to accept I’d failed, period. But it taught me a lesson and reminded me that everyone has their ups and downs. It also inspired me to continue self-publishing and launch proposals for three new series. Okay, so they all got picked up and now I’m back in deadline hell again (which is why those of you who know me know why I’m writing this) But you have to be brave and put yourself out there-and that can be in any format you choose. You don’t even need to go with a traditional publisher anymore.

Again, this isn’t me telling anyone how it is or that my experience is more valid, its just to make you all think about what you want from publishing, whether those goals have changed over the years (mine certainly have-I just want to write excellent books), whether you’ve had slips and twists and unexpected slip ups in your careers and whether you plan ahead, pay attention and diversify.


Kate’s Latest Release:
Disowned and disinherited by his aristocratic family, Jack Llewelyn survives on his wits and his ability to nurse officers returning from the Napoleonic Wars. He is prepared to go to any lengths to clear his name, but fate, and the Duke of Diable Delamere, have different plans for Jack. Soon, he will be hunting a missing spy, discovering old family secrets, and risking his life pursuing a woman who has changed beyond recognition. Only then will he be able to face his lost love, ask her forgiveness and finally deserve his very happy ending.


Visit Kate’s website and learn more about her and her books.

Saturday, August 4th, 2012 by J.A. Pitts
Think like an old man

My grandfather told me this story.  I have no idea where he heard it, but I like to share it with folks from time to time.  It’s a story I need to remind myself of far too often.

There was this old man who was known far and wide as the greatest wood cutter in all the land.  He lived a quiet life in the deep woods enjoying his twilight years.  One evening, a young man showed up at his door step and challenged the old man to a wood-cutting contest.

“I’ll prove I’m the better man,” the young’un declared. “Starting at sunrise tomorrow I’ll be right here in front of your cabin and we’ll chop wood until sunset.  At that time, whoever has cut the most wood will be declared the greatest woodsman.”

The old man just smiled and nodded.  “Sunrise then.”  And went to bed.

The next morning as the mists hung heavy along the forest floor, the young man arrived and called the old man from his cabin.   As the first light of the new day broke across the forest they began.

All that morning the wood chips were so thick that the young man couldn’t see the old.  After a couple of hours, the old man paused to drink a bit of water and rest.  The young man just laughed and cut wood faster, spurred on by the old man’s weakness.

By noon the old man had stopped again, ate a bit of bread and had more water.  The young man cut faster, hewing the wood with perilous strength.

Twice more the old man paused and drank or ate.  The young man wolfed his food, guzzled his water and went back to the cutting, his axe flying so fast it was a blur.

By the time the last rays of the sun winked out for the day, the young man stepped back admiring the mighty pile of wood he had cut.

He turned to face the old man and the gloating jibe died in his throat.  The old man’s pile of wood was twice that of the younger man.

“I can’t believe this,” the eager young man said.  “I worked harder than you with nary a break.  My axe was a blur.”

“True enough,” the old man said, shaking his head.  “But every time I rested. I sharpened my axe.”

I love this story.  It reminds me that when I take some down time, read a book, watch a movie, lay on my deck and watch the clouds skate across a deep blue sky, I’m not shirking my duties.  I’m not wasting time.  I’m sharpening my axe.

Are you taking care of the most important tool in your life?  Are you honing your blade, readying yourself for the next round of cutting?

Too few of us do, and too often when we do, we allow guilt to eat at us.

Better to be rested and ready.  Unwind, let go, learn to breath again.  The work will be there, I promise you.  There is always a challenger in the wings, another crisis for you to take care of, another deadline.

But if you do not take care of yourself, if you do not sharpen your axe, you will work like a demon and get less and less done over time.

Breathe deeply, put on some amazing music and let your shoulders relax for a while.  Do something frivolous.  Trust me on this.  More days than naught, I’m the young man, muscling through on grit and blind determination.  It’s time I start learning to be the old man and deal with the important things.

Life is just too damn short to do otherwise.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 by Sasha White
Words To Live By

I’ve had various critique partners over the years. Some have been friends, some not. Some stick around for a long time, others don’t. It can be hard to maintain things what with schedules and life and, often, only being in touch through the internet. Vanessa Jaye is someone who’s both critique partner, and friend, to me. And she has been for about 8 years. Despite not keeping in touch everyday, or sharing everything, she’s one of my closest friends who has listened to me whine about balance, and weightloss and writing, and well…you get the idea. So, when she emailed me today, and I read the email, I asked her to post it here…Please welcome talented author, and my friend, Vanessa Jaye.


I’ve been striving to find balance in my life for some time now. Trust me, it’s kinda hard to get the old creative juices flowing when your stress is at defcon level 1. Today a friend emailed me this list and it really struck a chord, enough so that I promptly forwarded the list to a bunch of other friends (Sasha included). I figure if we could all remember to do at least half this list on a consistent basis, we’d all be on a pretty even keel.
1. Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.
2. As long as you wake up in the morning, you have one more day to change your circumstances.
3. Pray or meditate.
4. Get enough rest. Go to bed on time.
5. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
6. Say ‘No’ to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
7. Delegate tasks to capable others.
8. Simplify and unclutter your life.
9. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
10. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
11. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.
12. Take one day at a time.
13. Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
14. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
15. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
16. Do something for the Kid in You every day.
17. Carry a Book with you to read while waiting in line.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Make friends with positive people.
24. Keep a folder of favorite sayings or scriptures on hand.
25. Laugh.
26. Laugh some more!
27. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
28. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
29. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
30. Sit on your ego.
31. Talk less; listen more.
32. Slow down.
33. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
34. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often gratitude. Every night before bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before.

Vanessa Jaye writes the stories she likes to read, romances with emotion, humor and a whole lot of sexy, in several subgenres. She likes her heroes edgy and her heroines more than woman enough for the men that love them. Visit her at

Vanessa’s Latest Release:

His darkest secret could be her only hope.
Tessa Archer is sick of sitting on the sidelines of life, but the man she’s just met on her first Caribbean cruise is way out of her comfort zone. He’s dazzlingly handsome, compelling…and she swears she can hear his voice in her head before he speaks.

When Nathan Barcza touches Tessa’s hand, the jolt of recognition is unmistakable—and impossible. Werewolves mate only once—for life—and his mate was murdered by the creature he hunts, a Pithcus that hides somewhere aboard this ship. This is his final chance for vengeance.

The last thing he can afford is any distraction, but the siren call of Tessa’s open heart is irresistible. It also makes her a target of the creature who’s had a taste of her and wants more. To save her, Nate will have to unleash his last secret in a confrontation with no hope of survival.

For if the Pithcus doesn’t kill him, Nate’s partner is under orders to finish the job…

“A short novel but it really packs a punch. This is a very creative story and not your typical shifter scenario.” — Nookmom, Bitten by Paranormal Romance, 4 out of 5 – a pack howl!

Monday, March 26th, 2012 by J.A. Pitts
Hey, wait. I liked that movie. Why does it suck again?

Went to see the movie John Carter Saturday with my good buddy, Jay Lake.  I loved the movie.  I’ve read some reviews where people were disappointed, but that’s okay.  I don’t go to the movies to look for critical approval or even correct grammar.  I go to the movies to be entertained.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t Star Wars or anything, but I found echoes there.  I doubt a generation of new science fiction fans will count this movie as a life changing event.  But I think it is a damn fine way to spend a couple of hours.

What I don’t understand is why this huge pulp/space-opera is doing so poorly at the box office.  Some folks have mentioned a rather odd and awkward ad campaign, which I can sort of agree with.  Some blame it on Disney, and others seem to be apologetic for the fact it’s a huge, pulp/space-opera.

I find this amusing.  It’s got action, it’s got adventure and it’s got romance.  what more could you want?  We go to movies to be entertained, do we not?  I’m not in college anymore where I need to write a critical analysis and earn a grade.  My goal is to settle into a comfy seat, hunker down in the dark and let my mind be taken over by an amazing story.  John Carter did that for me.

When I was in the third grade my grandmother handed me the entire Burroughs John Carter of Mars series and promised me that it would change my life.

And she was correct.  I devoured those books, learning that sleep is for sissies when you have a great book to read.

I knew they had flaws, even at a young age, but I fell in love with the characters, the adventure and the story.  That’s what I’m in it for.

So when I watched John Carter I went in with the expectation of being entertained, wowed by the special affects and stunned by the beauty playing Dejah Thoris.

Afterwards I got to thinking about the value of success and critical acclaim.  As an author, I want nothing more than to connect with readers and sell a lot of books, maybe get a movie deal somewhere and become a full-time writer without losing my house or family along the way.

I find the movie John Carter to be an excellent metaphor here.  I loved the movie, others didn’t.  The sales are not what the studio or the media pundits thought was good enough for the blockbuster budget this film had.  But I know several people who have already seen this movie in the theaters two or more times.  I plan to go see it again, paying the stupid price for the 3D and loving every minute of it.

I’ve seen many reviews that talk about how this movie was true to the books, and true to the Edgar Rice Burroughs vision of the characters, the world and the story.

So is it a  success or not?  I’m sure the film-maker is delighted with his product and perplexed why it isn’t being received better.  And here is a very important lesson for authors.  We cannot control what the audience does.  We cannot control sales, marketing and most of us don’t get a vote on the cover art of our novels.  We may truly love the work we’ve produced, have good art, great editorial support and still the books are not overnight sensations.

Hunger Games is in the theaters now.  I’m sure it is going to break some records, earn some amazing box office numbers —  similar to Harry Potter before it.  But we can’t all get struck by lightning.  We don’t all get to ride at the head of the parade with the prom queen and smile while adoring fans throw roses.

What we get to do is produce another work that shows our obvious love for what we do.  Then we can send it out into the world and hope that there will be people who will fall in love with those things we love.

I’ll buy John Carter on Blue Ray when it comes out.  I’ll also go back and buy another set of the Mars books to read again.  I’ll always love those stories as they formed the foundation of my own journey into becoming an author.

But when I start to worry about whether or not my books are selling well enough, or see a review by someone who didn’t care for my style, I’ll look back on the movie John Carter and remember that we don’t always love the same things.  Nor do we always meet the expectations of others.  In the end, we have to entertain ourselves, pour our heart and souls into our work, and trust that someday we’ll reach a reader and change their lives the way Mr. Burroughs changed mine.

Besides, what do critics know?


Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 by Sasha White
Guest: Yasmine Galenorn

New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn writes urban fantasy for Berkley: both the Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon Series for Berkley and the Indigo Court urban fantasy series. In the past, she wrote mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and nonfiction metaphysical books.

Yasmine has been in the Craft for over 30 years, is a shamanic witch, and describes her life as a blend of teacups and tattoos. She lives in Kirkland WA with her husband Samwise and their cats. Yasmine can be reached via her website at and on Facebook and Twitter.

Success can change some people, but it hasn’t changed Yasmine. When I met her she was already a multi-published author with Berkley, but she’d just sold the first three books of her Sisters Of The Moon series and was super excited about it. When I heard the concept, I understood why so it was no surprise when the series put her on multiple Bestseller lists. The series is still going strong, and Yasmine is still an intelligent and awesome woman. Please welcome her as today’s Guest Blogger.

Paranormal Experience—When Life Intrudes on Fiction?

Thanks to Sasha for inviting me here to blog! I’m Yasmine Galenorn and I write two series for Berkley—both urban fantasy: The Otherworld Series, and The Indigo Court Series. I used to write mysteries and metaphysical nonfiction. My newest release—Courting Darkness, comes out on November 1st. It’s book ten in the Otherworld Series.

People often ask me just how much I use of my real-life paranormal experiences in my fiction. Well…first—yes, I am a shamanic witch—I’ve been in the Craft for over 30 years. No, I’m not Wiccan. I follow a different path. I started out my “official” publishing career by writing eight metaphysical books before breaking into fiction with Berkley. I had written seven novels and—after hundreds of rejections—hid them in the closet before I received my first contract for the nonfiction. And yes, they’re still there.

So, when people ask me about the merging of my paranormally-focused reality with my fiction, there’s really no easy answer.

In my perception, life itself is a paranormal experience. Every inch of my life is touched by my spiritual path, every aspect of nature seems magical to me. Science and magic blend in a mystical dance in my world. And yet…this paranormal white noise exists mainly in the background, a part of my very being without always being on the surface. So how does it color my stories?

In my first mystery series—the Chintz ‘n China series—Emerald O’Brien was the town witch—she was psychic and accepted her abilities as normal and natural. And some of her experiences had their foundation in things I’ve experienced, but to turn an interesting tidbit into a great story, I exaggerate and change what happened. For example—Mr. Big & Ugly from Ghost of a Chance was a composite of several nasty spirits I’ve encountered, although amped up quite a bit. So those experiences became the skeleton on which I built the rest of the body. Because reality, while fascinating, doesn’t always make for the best of fiction.

And the entire plot for A Harvest of Bones stemmed from a terrifying incident where two of our cats got loose (they’ve always been indoor-onlies). Somehow, the combination of losing the gurlz (and subsequently finding days later, both alive and relatively unscathed, thankfully), a picture of an autumn path, and the poem The Lady of Shalott, all merged in my mind to create the plot for the book.

Once I started writing the Otherworld Series, (aka—the Sisters of the Moon series), I totally let loose. Based in the genre of urban fantasy, this series has much of its foundation in my study of various mythologies of the world, as well as the ravings of my own warped imagination. What personal paranormal experiences there are, are exacerbated to be almost unrecognizable because of the very nature of the genre. And, after ten books, I have gone farther afield for inspiration. But there are snippets of my reality tucked away in the pages…you just may never know what they are.

With the Indigo Court Series—two books in, I have entered the realm of dark fantasy, verging on horror, and while the monsters are out of my imagination, a great deal of the magic is based on the way I perceive my shamanic witchcraft—only, once again, exacerbated. I very much view the entire world as a magical place, with a spirit inhabiting just about every living thing.

I’ve been asked before how much of personal experience to infuse into the work—and to that, I can only answer, “As much as you need to, with care and thought.” When you insert your experience into your books, unless it’s nonfiction, the writing must seem seamless—as if the incidents were created specifically for the story, not plundered from real life.

Author intrusion can be a big problem. It removes the reader from the story and makes them too aware of the storyteller. But if the experience truly fits the story, then by all means use it. Just make certain to take it out of reality and tailor it to be part of the character’s life. How you do that will depend on the voice of your narrative, on the pattern of your writing and characterization—there’s no one-answer-fits-all. When in doubt, run the scene by a trusted writing friend to see if it feels contrived, or if it sucks them in.

So, to answer the question: Do my personal encounters with the paranormal influence my writing and show up in my novels? The answer is yes, they provide inspiration. And no—because in the novels they are changed beyond recognition.

I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon or gift card to one person who leaves me a comment or question here before Friday the 28th. Winner will be contacted by my assistant on the 1st of November (Courting Darkness’s release day—and there was much rejoicing!!!!). Make sure you leave your email addy with your comment/question for me to contact you if you’re interested in entering!


Courting Darkness (book 10 of The Otherworld Series)
November 1, 2011 * ISBN: 978-05150070

We’re the D’Artigo sisters: sexy, savvy ex-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But being half-human, half-Fae means our powers go haywire at all the wrong times. My sister Delilah is a Death Maiden and werecat who belongs to the Autumn Lord. My sister Menolly is a vampire who’s dating a gorgeous werepuma, and the godfather of the undead-set. And me? I’m Camille, Priestess of the Moon Mother, married to a dragon, a youkai, and a Svartan. But my dragon father-in-law has decided that he doesn’t like having me for a member of the family…
It’s Winter Solstice, and Aeval welcomes me into her Court of Darkness. With Morio still dangerously weak from his injuries and Vanzir alive only thanks to my silence, the thought of training under Morgaine doesn’t seem as daunting as it did. But then, Hyto returns to shatter my life. Captured and swept off to the Dragon Reaches, can I manage to stay alive long enough to escape, even as Smoky’s father intends to break my spirit, then my body?

Print, Kindle, Powell’s,, BAM, B & N

Thursday, August 18th, 2011 by Sasha White
Guest Blogger: Eve Berlin

Eve Berlin aka Eden Bradley On Research & Writing Sex (With a Little Discussion About the Kinky Stuff)

We’ve all heard the saying ‘write what you know’—or at least, we writers have. Over and over. I believe this is mostly true. Of course, none of us can actually ask anyone what it’s like to turn into a werewolf, so it’s impossible for this to apply in every circumstance. But I do think our work is more believable if we’ve done our homework, and sometimes that means actually doing something ourselves rather than reading about it.

I’m very open about my real life experiences with some of the topics I write about. I’ve been on Playboy Radio talking about sex, have done a number of writer’s workshops on writing sex, and about kink in particular, so it’s no secret that I’ve been involved in BDSM off and on for most of my adult life. And I think it makes a difference in my writing. There are some people who are very good at writing BDSM who’ve never made that foray into extreme sexual practices, but I can (almost) always tell when an author is writing from experience. I think it’s something many readers will pick up on, even if it’s on some subtle level they don’t quite recognize.

Before I continue, perhaps I should define what BDSM means: bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism. That can cover a lot of territory, but basically it addresses a power exchange between partners, where one—or more—person is in a position or role of domination, and the other—and yes, this can be more than one at a time, too!—is in a position or role of submission. This can include pain or sensation play, or simply the roles themselves—because BDSM is, at its most basic, about symbols and how we respond to them. It’s all about the psychology. And that’s something that can be difficult to research. You have to ‘get’ what the power exchange is all about in order to write about it effectively and realistically.

As I mentioned before, there are some people who get this on a very deep level without having experienced it themselves, but my real life experience is one reason why I write about it. The psychology of my characters is always what fascinates me most, and putting them into extreme situations naturally elicits a more complex psychological dynamic. And since I’m drawn to BDSM in real life, those more complex dynamics are more interesting to write about. For me, it’s a sort of kinky ‘the chicken or the egg’ question.
Kink is also fun to write about, and one of my intentions in becoming a writer was to enjoy what I do. But I also feel a sort of responsibility to write about kink in a realistic way, to present it to readers in such a way that they can perhaps accept something they might usually shy away from. And I’ve read too many BDSM stories where the dominant is just a jerk with a riding crop, which can happen in real life, of course, but that is absolutely not the ‘norm’ for those people who practice their kink under the ‘Safe, Sane and Consensual’ credo.

When I’m writing kinky characters I always ask myself what might be behind their need to express themselves in this way. For a dominant, it may be some trauma that left them with a sense of hyper-responsibility. For a submissive, it might be that in their everyday lives they are always in control, and letting go, turning that control over to someone else, is an enormous relief. These are actually very common themes in my writing and in real life. And understanding what fuels these desires is half the battle when formulating a realistic character. As a writer, I have to ask myself not only what a character is feeling, but why—and that’s in every instance, not just my kinky characters.

I’ve been asked a number of times why I’ve chosen to write erotica and erotic romance. The answer takes me back to my fascination with psychology. I believe we as humans are at our most primal, our most raw and vulnerable, when it comes to sex. And that’s when our deepest fears, needs and desires come out. Exploring our sexual selves can be incredibly revealing. And I think that’s a necessary part in writing a good romance. I can’t see writing a romance without addressing the sexual relationship, because for me, anyway, there will always be something crucial missing in the character and relationship arc. I think it’s important to do that in any romance, if even in some small way, where the character’s response to a sexual situation is the only thing that makes it onto the page, rather than the act itself. Sometimes this may be simply the tension between two people who haven’t actually had sex yet. But writing about it on some level, and especially in a realistic way, is crucial in developing a believable relationship.

I’m not saying don’t write about your heroine being spanked unless you’ve tried it yourself—although I definitely recommend you do try it if it’s something that captures your interest. But if you’re not going to try it, then do your reading, and that means more than basing your spanking scene on another author’s fiction. The Internet has opened the entire world to us, so start clicking. Of course, if you want to buy your own riding crop, I’m totally behind you…*G*

CONTEST! To help you get started on your road to literary kink, I’ll give away a signed copy of my first Eve Berlin BDSM novel, PLEASURE’S EDGE, to one commenter (this is for US residents only), ~and~ I’ll also give away a copy of my Eden Bradley erotic contemporary ménage e-book (a different brand of kink!) SUMMER SOLSTICE to any commenter (US or International). I’ll announce the winner in the comments section tonight, so be sure to check back!

* * * * * * * *
Award-winning and best-selling author Eve Berlin aka Eden Bradley writes dark, edgy erotica and erotic romance for Berkley Heat, Harlequin Spice, Bantam/Delta, Samhain Publishing, and soon for HQN. You can find Eve Berlin aka Eden Bradley online:

**You can find Eve’s latest release DESIRE’S EDGE now on Amazon, at your local bookstore, or other online retailers!

Thursday, August 4th, 2011 by Sasha White
Guest Blogger : Tawny Stokes

Alright folks, I’ve invited one of my best friend to guest blog today. Not only is Tawny a talented writer, she’s a truly good person with a strong and loyal heart. I asked her to guest blog because I think she’s smart, and has some cool shit to say.

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens. You can visit her at, but for now.. please, read on, and make her feel welcome here at Genreality

PS: Tawny also writes adult fiction as Vivi Anna

From Page to Screen and Back Again
By Tawny Stokes aka Vivi Anna

I actually started my writing career with screenplays back in 2001. I bought some books, read a lot of scripts and started writing. I wrote seven scripts in a year. Then I tried to sell them. It was hard. Really really hard. I got a lot read—I write a mean query letter. I talked to one amazing producer on the phone and he was so awesome. He loved my writing and would’ve bought my script if he hadn’t been moving in a completely different direction. I still email him now and then to catch up. But nothing stuck and I didn’t get the interest that I needed to make a real go of it. So I decided I’d go in the back door to Hollywood and write books. That was in 2003.
So because of that, the way I write books is different. It helped form my process. And why almost all of my books are action-packed fast-paced thrill rides with little to no exposition and probably a lot less emotion then most books, especially in the romance genre.  Just ask any of the wonderful authors I’ve critiqued with over the past. I’d always get the note…more emotion!! What are these people thinking?
Now after seven years, I’ve gone back to writing screenplays and find that my novel writing has totally helped me to write a better, more structured script. Now I get requests all the time, and I’ve secured a manager and have developed a TV show with a producer that is at the networks being read.
There are a lot of similarities between scripts and novels. But there are also key differences that define each medium. Knowing them can help you become a better writer. Also, remember just because you are a great novelist, doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a good screenwriter. And vice versa. You have to work at your craft constantly.
I’ve actually heard in Hollywood that novelists usually make terrible screenwriters because of the tendency to overwrite and the fact that novelists are married to their words. Screenwriting is 90% rewriting and collaboration.

There’s a beginning, a middle and an end, following the three Act structure
Follow a story arc – inciting incident, rising action, black moment, denouement
Character arcs – each character starts as one thing and ends up as another at the end

Length obviously – feature scripts are in a range from 90-120 pages, novels can be anywhere from 250-500 pgs or more if you are JK Rowling or Stephen King
Scripts are heavily structured, and have a format that has to be followed, using screenwriting software is a must
There is little to no exposition in a script, only write down what can be visually conveyed
In a script what the character looks like and is wearing is irrelevant, unless it is part of their character
Describing the setting in detail is irrelevant as well, unless it is important to the plot and or character
There is no introspective in a script, it is about what the characters say and do, not what they think
With a script the idea is paramount, with a novel it’s the writing

Writing both is a challenge. I have to constantly switch mindsets. But I believe my work on each has strengthened my ability to tell a story regardless of the medium. And Story is what really matters.
Advice I’d give to novelists, especially to better their dialogue, is to read a ton of scripts and really study the dialogue, read it out loud. Then sit down and write a script. Use the story you’re already working on for your book. You’ll totally see where you are failing in your story arc and in your dialogue. Punch those up and you’ll have an amazing addition to your books.

Tawny’s latest release: Static
During the summer before her senior year, 17 year old band groupie, Salem Vale, has been following her favorite punk rockers, Malice, from gig to gig hoping that one night she might get backstage and meet the sinisterly sexy guys. She’s been saving her virginity for the lead singer Thane. One fateful evening she gets her wish. It’s a dream come true.

Except the dream turns to a nightmare when she wakes up in a dumpster, tossed away like yesterday’s trash, with no memory of what happened the night before. She feels strange, different, as if something is trying to get out. Soon she realizes she’s changing…turning into something not quite human.

Now a hunger deep inside claws at her to feed, to siphon energy from those around her. Before she can do just that, Trevor, the band’s roadie shows up and stops her from killing. With his help she learns to control the hunger inside, because he’s just like her. And in return he wants her help to do one little thing…

Help him kill the members of Malice.

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