NaNo Prep – Getting ready for Nov. 1st

It’s a late post for a Tuesday. As usual, I’ve been slacking on the blog front but that’s because I’ve been doing research. That’s right. Research. I have been plotting. *faints* Dust yourselves off. You read that right. This self-proclaimed pantser has plotted an entire novel. Beginning, end, middle, arcs, characters, and even a few deaths thrown in just to make it interesting.

Why the research and plotting? Well, I’ve decided to write my first historical romance novel. I’ve been giving little hints about it for a month. It was yet another idea that came to me while we were on vacation. The hubby and I visited Newport, Rhode Island. As I started looking up things to do while we were there, all of the Industrial Age stuff popped up. All of the mansions built by the magnates who industrialized our nation and brought our country in to the 20th century.

But as much as I thought I wanted to visit The Breakers and some of the other mansions, the Revolutionary War history stood out more. That could be because I was in the middle of reading the eighth book in the Outlander series, but I also think it was the fact that I really feel like I didn’t learn near enough about the forming of our nation in both school and college as I should have.

As we’re walking through the city, I’m amazed at how many structures there are in town from the 18th century. I’d seen quite a few in Boston, but they’re surrounded by highrises and gleaming modern structures and they tend to get a bit lost in the shuffle. In Newport, there are literally dozens of streets where it’s easy to feel like you’ve fallen back in time as you walk down the narrow tree lined rows.

I was hooked. I didn’t realize just how big a part the smallest state in the Union played during the War for Independence. As soon as we got home, I began researching not only the history of Rhode Island, but also military movements during that time. Surprisingly, those were a bit more difficult to find. So many people left Newport that there aren’t too many accounts of what happened in the town and not many military records that I’ve found as of yet that explain the British garrison stationed there for almost three years.

The more I researched, the more the story solidified in my mind. And before I knew it, the story was there, I had it plotted and I’m almost out of pages in my 70-page spiral notebook where I’ve had to engineer a pocket and figure out how to tape maps to the page where they’re fold-able and readable.

For the month of November, I’ll try to give you tidbits of the research I’ve found and maybe even a snippet of the chapter I’m working on. I haven’t done a November session of NaNoWriMo in a few years, so it may take a week to get into the groove of things.

I can’t wait to see what you all think and hope that my first historical is a hit with at least a few people.

Stay tuned for the madness that is NaNoWriMo. Donations of coffee and hot chocolate will be accepted with thanks ;) If you know a writer participating in the challenge, encourage them and give them the time they need to get the story on the page. If they’re anything like me this time around, it will be difficult to step away from the computer.

Melanie

Happy writing!!!

Want to join the fun? Go to www.nanowrimo.org to sign up.

Wrecked – Blog tour.

 

I am pleased to have Anne Conley here on FP,TD today! Anne is a Facebook friend, though if we met in person, I don’t think we’d lack for conversation ;)  i had the honor of beta reading Wrecked and really enjoyed the story.  I think you will too. I’ll move out of the way and let you get acquainted with the latest Serendipity story!

wrecked banner

 SYNOPSIS

Welcome to Serendipity, Texas, where the days are hot and the nights are steamy. Meet real people with real problems, as they live life and find love in a small town.

One moment of distraction, and Renae causes Jason to wreck his motorcycle, setting into motion a love affair that could be her undoing.
She has big plans for her empty nest, but one night of passion changes everything. He’s perfect. Too perfect, but her own stupidity entwines their lives together forever. What if she finds out he’s gassy, doesn’t like kittens, has a terminal illness, or…hates babies?
Jason is just visiting his dad in Serendipity, not staying. But his plans change when things with his dad are worse than he thought. Renae is a pleasant distraction, and the more he gets to know her, the more she becomes another reason to stay.
When their lives entwine, they both have choices to make, hurts to get over, and ideals to let go of. Is it possible for them to do it, in order to get their happily ever after? Or will things be wrecked?

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 EXCERPT:

  Jason stood too.  “I guess I should go.  As much as I would like to stay… I don’t think you want a repeat performance.”

He sounded hurt, and she wanted to reassure him.  He’d been so agreeable all night, and they’d gotten along so well.  Renae touched his arm.  “It’s not that I don’t want that, Jason, I do.  As long as we’re talking about that amazing night we shared.”  She watched as he nodded.  “But I was really drunk that night, and I want a real relationship with you.  Not like a marriage or anything, but I don’t want something based on great sex.  Does that make sense?”

He nodded soberly, waited a beat, then his face cracked into that grin that made Renae willing to do anything.  “Great, huh?”

She laughed.  “Stud-muffin caliber sex.”

He stilled, a perplexed expression on his face.  “I don’t know what that means.”  She answered with a shrug, secretly amused by his confusion.  “But sex in the future is still on the table, right?”

Renae nodded.  “Yes, I think so.”  It was something she’d considered, repeatedly.  Especially at night when she was supposed to be sleeping.

“Good.”  He lowered his head to hers and kissed her.  It was such a sweet and tender kiss, considering they’d just been talking about how great the sex between them was, that Renae was caught off guard.  She’d been preparing for a conquering kiss of triumph, since she’d just agreed they might have sex someday.  But this kiss was a consuming kiss, his warm lips softly nibbled on her lips and when she opened, he slowly swept his tongue inside, softly overwhelming her senses, until yet again she was a trembling mass of nerves.  He seemed to sense it, and his hand came to her lower back where he supported her.  He didn’t pull her closer, or press himself against her, he just held her, kissing her softly.  When his other hand reached for her face, she couldn’t stop herself from melting into him.

Her own hands tugged on his hair, adjusting the position of his face so she could deepen the kiss.  As much as she loved the tender kiss, Renae wanted more.  She whimpered into his mouth as she pulled his hair, and something seemed to snap inside Jason.  He hauled her against his body and a primal sound came from the back of his throat.  He trailed kisses across her cheek and down her neck, whispering about her smell and the things she did to him.

“No control around you… so fucking perfect… want more.”

She pulled his head back up to her face to keep kissing him and wrapped one arm around his neck while her other hand snaked down his chest.  She felt like a volcano had erupted inside her and her veins were filling with molten lava.  The only thing to quench it was Jason.

When her hand reached his impressive erection, she pressed against it, and that primal noise came again from his throat.

“Stop,” he groaned.  “God help me, if you don’t want this right now, you’d better stop.”  Her t-shirt was balled up in his fists, knuckles taut and white and he was gritting the words out between clenched teeth.  She realized then what she’d done right after telling him she wouldn’t have sex with him.

“I-I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to do all that.”  Taking a step back, he let go, but his hands stayed up in front of him, as if he could only force the fingers open but not make his arms go to his sides.  She straightened her hair.  “I kiss you, and it’s all over.  I guess kissing isn’t such a great idea, either.  Not until I’m ready for the rest…”

The look on his face would have been comical if it hadn’t been so real.  “Are you serious?  I can’t kiss you?”  His mouth wouldn’t close, and the look of sheer disbelief in his eyes was cartoonish, especially with the wrinkles on his forehead.

“Okay, not necessarily no kissing, but I seriously need to learn some control.”

He slowly relaxed his face, and then a slow smile covered his face.  “I think I might can come up with something for that.  Don’t move now.”  He dropped a quick kiss on her cheek and turned before she could respond.

WHERE TO BUY:

Amazon US ~ http://amzn.to/1usPWAI

Barnes & Noble ~  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wrecked-anne-conley/1119721659?ean=2940149833696

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 Anne has written her entire life and has the boxes of angst-filled journals and poetry to prove it. She’s been writing for public consumption for the last four years. Currently she is writing two romance series. In Stories of Serendipity, she explores real people living real lives in small town Texas in a contemporary romance setting. In The Four Winds, she chronicles God’s four closest archangels, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, falling in love and becoming human. She lives in rural East Texas with her husband and children in her own private oasis, where she prides herself in her complete lack of social skills, choosing instead to live with the people inside her head.

 AMAZON~FACEBOOK~TWITTER~WEBSITE ~EMAIL

 GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a1e1b6e339/

As usual, Rafflecopter doesn’t always like to play nice with Word Press, so please let me know if the link doesn’t work.

FREE Novel! 

Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/14ekx5K

Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/14ekx5K

Blog:  www.anneconley.com

Go forth and read, people! And thanks to Anne for visiting with us today.

Melanie

Mob Mentality

With everything going on in the world and reading historical novels have made me think about human nature and how to not only convey it in novels, but what makes a person fall into a mob mentality.

In the case of humans, it boils down to fear. Fear of being different. Fear of being ostracized. Fear of retribution for not following popular opinion.

Between the books I’ve been reading, following the Scottish referendum vote, and a tour on our recent vacation, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would do if ever faced with a mob mentality situation. The Revolutionary period is what comes to mind when I think of it. We’re over 200 years removed from the situation and think it would be easy to say we would choose being a Patriot. A Rebel.  Would I have been able to go against the Loyalists and fought for independence from England?  Could I have risked my family’s security? If I’d been married, would my husband have risked his life, and the family’s livelihood, to fight for a cause in which he believed?

Then I started thinking about mob mentality and human nature. As a member of the romance genre, I’ve had numerous writers, agents, and editors tell me that I needed to write a certain way or include certain things in order to sell. Now, they’re probably right. To a degree. But in a naturally over-saturated market, why would I want to write what everyone else does? I’ve heard tons of readers say they’re looking for a new spin on the old story or something completely unexpected. I know I’ve got work to do, but I’m trying to write something different, bring a new spin to the story, and still enjoy what I’m writing. If I hate what I’m writing, how could I expect the reader to fall in love with the story?

I know I’m on a role here lately. I’ve been thinking about how to make my stories better. In doing that, I’ve been thinking about human nature. Mob mentality is one of those things that we tend to think of as something that only happens in extreme situations. But it’s there in smaller situations. A group of bystanders who see an accident, yet no one comes forward to help. Hearing a person yell for help, yet continuing to walk by. Going with the general consensus because voicing a true opinion would make us unpopular with coworkers, friends, or even family.

I think that’s why we’re seeing such a surge in genre bending stories and people willing to be different. It’s time for a revolution. People going against the grain because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s “cool” or will force a reaction from people. It’s time to break away from the mob. Difficult as it might be. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I’m still not completely comfortable with it, but usually the right thing to do rarely makes us comfortable.

 

 

 

Women in the Media

We find ourselves in a time of change. Same-sex marriages are being allowed in more and more states and women are pushing for even more equality. Equal pay, equal representation, and a change in how women are viewed and used to advertise products.

That last is where I have an issue. I’ve read a ton of articles and talked with people about how women are sexualized in the media. How scantily clad women in sexually suggestive positions frequently bombard viewers on the television, in movies, in ads. I’m not disagreeing with the fact. My problem is women blaming men for sexualizing women. We, as women, are just as much to blame.

I’m sure a few people just clicked away and a few others felt a bump in blood pressure at that last statement. Hear me out. I’ve never been on a casting call, but I would bet that there is a least some description of the job when a person shows up for an audition. If not, then the wardrobe would be a definite clue to what’s expected. As women, we have the power to say no.

We have the power. The power at the theater. Women are scantily clad or serve a minimal role in the overall story? Don’t buy a ticket. Women are shown in bikinis rubbing up against a music artist in a video? Don’t buy the song on iTunes or buy the album.  Tired of seeing women prancing around in leotard on stage that run the risk of exposing more skin than a bikini? Don’t buy a concert ticket. I have to admit, the thought of being bombarded with someone’s thighs and well-groomed crotch for two hours has kept me away from concerts for over a decade. I can honestly say, there hasn’t been a female group or artist I’ve wanted to see in concert since I saw Reba McEntire back in ’95.

I don’t know if its because I’m a romance writer, but it seems to me there are plenty of women represented in the writing field. 90% of editors and agents I’ve contacted or talked with have been female. Women’s roles seem to be shifting in books too. Think of the last three Young Adult novels that have been made into movies. Bella Thorne from Twilight. Katniss from Hunger Games. Tris from Divergent. I’m sure you’re thinking about Harry Potter but even though Harry was the main character, Hermoine, Ginny, Lily, Mrs. Weasley, Bellatrix LaStrange (no matter how deranged she was), Prof. McGonagall. So many strong women had equal parts, especially if you read the books. Heck, even the last three video games my husband has played have had female lead characters.

Where my real problem lies is in the fact that men are now being made to look like the idiots in order for the women to look strong, smart, what have you. Why do we feel the need to make light of the men in order to lift ourselves up? Isn’t that just completely flipping the circumstance? Speaking of flipping circumstances – Magic Mike. Chippendales. Thunder from Down Under. See where I’m going with this? Why is it okay for us to ogle men and post naked or near naked pictures and call them “writing inspiration”? Isn’t that doing the EXACT. SAME. THING. that we accuse men of doing? Granted, I appreciate a nice looking man, but truthfully I think guys fully clothed are so much sexier. So much more is left to the imagination.

I’m not denying that there’s an imbalance in things. Try being a woman in the South working with a bunch of men, raised to be “men” who believe women should be in the home raising the kids instead of bring their hormones and mood swings to the office. They still make disparaging remarks about me being a woman, but I’ve worked my way up and am a person that people come to for information regarding past jobs and where to find the details and they know I’m reliable because I’ve worked hard. I’ve proven my worth in the scheme of the company and have been compensated accordingly. I’ve called them out on some of the comments they’ve made and some comments, they’ve apologized for. It’s all I can ask for. A willingness to think about what they said and maybe not say it the next time. If they do? That’s up to them.

Since I’m on the subject. Working hard. To me, taking off your clothes is not working hard. That’s fighting dirty. If a woman dresses in a way that is guaranteed to elicit a specific response from a man (attraction, a natural sexual response) don’t turn around and accuse the man of acting like a pig or treating you as a sexual object. If your lady parts are easily visible, guys, and some girls, will look…and comment…and possibly touch. Its a DNA deep response to propagating the species. I’m not saying it’s the victim’s fault if they’re raped or assaulted because they’re ” dressed a certain way”. Men need to curb their responses in those instances. But we as a sex need to admit that we play into the system. With the clothes we buy, with what we read, with how we spend our dollars, how we convey ourselves to the world. I’ve never been one to dress in tight or revealing clothes. Mine is a self esteem thing, but if you see my boob hanging out, then something broke.

It’s up to all of us; men and women. Be the instrument of change instead of blaming others.

Melanie

 

 

Plagiarism – A serious issue

Plagiarism – A serious issue.

If you’re an author, please read.