Tuesday, 21 July 2015

the logic of a dieting man

Hubby came home from work this week and declared he was going on the "playero" diet. After some discussion I discovered he meant the Paleo diet. He'd been talking about it to a fellow nurse and decided he'd spend this week dieting.
"You don't eat carbs," he announced, like he knew what carbs were.
"You eat a loaf of bread a day," I said. "You realise this means no sandwiches."
He looked worried, but nodded. "I can do it."
"There's no dairy allowed on this diet either," I said.
There was stunned silence for a minute. "If I can't eat dairy what the hell am I supposed to eat? What kind of diet is this? I don't want to starve."
I took pity on him and gave him a healthy low carb cookbook and told him to do that diet. At which point he said, "I have to read this? Can't you just tell me what to eat?"
I glared at him, told him it was his diet and he had to do the work. He stomped off in a huff.

It went down hill from there. I was in the middle of writing a difficult scene when my office door thudded open. "Are cornflakes carbs?" he demanded.
"Yes," I said on a sigh.
"What about muesli?"
"What the hell am I supposed to eat for breakfast?"
"Read the book!" I slammed the door shut and got back to work.

Half an hour later the door opened again. I ground my teeth together and felt my eye begin to twitch.
"What about sweet potatoes?"
"Even if I deep fry them?"
My jaw dropped. "Frying them doesn't change their molecular structure. They'll still be carbs. Only they'll be covered in high fat oil as well."
"What if I used a 'healthy oil'?" He used air quotes.
I slammed the door shut on him.

There was silence for a while. I sighed in relief before heading to the kitchen for a drink. He was eating breakfast. I stopped dead in my tracks. His plate was piled high with fried eggs, bacon and sausages. He grinned. "This diet is great."
I shook my head. "Did you read the part where it talked about a low fat approach to eating?"
"I used healthy oil."
"How much did you use? A barrel?"
"Did you know sausages have carbs in them?" he said. "I read the package." He motioned to his plate. "I figured the carbs were in the skins so I took the skins off and now they're carb free." He grinned widely.
I left him to it and went back to work.

An hour later the door opened again. "Are peanuts carbs? What about Macadamias? Or cashews?"
I clenched my fists and resisted the urge to pummel him. "They have some carbs in them but they're mainly protein. But they aren't low fat."
"So I can eat nuts?"
"Fantastic! I'm going to the shop," he declared.
He disappeared. I took a deep breath and tried to get back into my writing.

A while later I heard the door slam and he shouted. "I'm making lunch. Do you want something."
"A bagel and cream cheese," I shouted back.
His grinning head appeared around my door. "Bagels are carbs," he told me in the same tone my five year old uses when she gets a math question right.
"Well done. Good boy," I told him.
Obviously pleased with himself he headed for the kitchen.
A while later I got a shout that lunch was ready. I followed the smell of cooked meat to the kitchen. At the table was a small plate with a bagel on it and facing it was platter loaded with three steaks, bacon and a mountain of coleslaw. He looked so proud of himself that I didn't comment. He pointed to the coleslaw with his knife. "They sell sugar free."
"Did you read the part in the book that talked about portion control?"
He looked at me like I was nuts. I took the bagel back to my office to eat.

That night's dinner was pasta for me and the kids. Hubby made himself an omelette with at least half a dozen eggs, a block of cheese and a pack of bacon.
"You can eat as much bacon as you like on this diet," he informed everyone solemnly.
"Shouldn't you be eating vegetables?" I said.
He gave me a superior look. "The key to a good diet is plenty of protein."
I pointed at his plate. "What about all the fat?" I asked.
"It's healthy fat," he told me then rolled his eyes as though I was too ignorant to be believed. The girls giggled.

After the kids went to bed that night, I went out with a friend. I came back to find hubby watching TV and snacking. He'd eaten a family sized bag of mixed salted nuts and half a block of cheese.
"I don't know why you complain about dieting," he said. "It's easy and you never feel hungry. You can't be doing it right. Next time you diet, I'll help you."
I didn't say anything because, seriously, what could I say?!

It's day three of his "diet". He's gained five pounds, feels like crap and can't figure out why. He thinks he might be using the wrong 'healthy oil'.

Friday, 17 July 2015

FREE Magenta Mine for Apple, Kobo and B+N

FREE for a limited time!

MMagenta Mine is now FREE to download from AppleKobo and Barnes + Noble. Go nab a copy before the offer ends! And if you already have a copy, don’t forget to spread the word. :)
Magenta 3D copy

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

mud, mud everywhere!

Our home town was hit by the worst flooding in memory this past month. People were evacuated, houses were ruined, roads were blocked by landslides. It's absolutely heartbreaking to drive through the worst hit areas and see the piles of belongings sitting on lawns waiting to be taken away in the trash. 

We were fortunate. Our house was undamaged, the animals were fine and the kids got a day off school when it closed! The hill behind our house fell down. The slip wiped out most of hubby's many, many, fences and swept away the path and steps he's dug out of the hill so the girls could walk to school. We lost our little bridge and half the culvert is gone. But the thing that's getting to me the most is the mud!

There is mud everywhere! You can't go out your door but your covered in it. The local kid's park is under at least two feet of the stuff. Most of town is mud streaked from cars and people trailing it wherever they go. And our hill??! Our hill is one large mudslide. Here's the before and after.

All the fences and gates have gone. And you know how much my hubby loves to build fences!

Needless to say the kid's love it. So far they've lost two pairs of leggings, a pair of shoes and gumboots to the mud... 

Kept the leggings this time, but lost more shoes. I'm shaking my head as I write this.
Every time I take my eyes off them they're in the mud!!!

That dot near the middle of this mud pool is my five year old.

And all my husband's many, many fences have been swallowed by a slip. Which means more fence building in his future - and you know how I feel about that! At least it will stop him from hanging around my office door asking when the book will be finished. 

Guess everything has an upside. :D

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

diary of a novel being written...

Day 1 - Last night I had the most amazing idea for a book. I woke my husband up with my laughing. The characters were chatting away in my head and they were hysterical. Can't wait to write it!

Day 2 - Can't remember most of the idea as I was half asleep when genius struck, but I have the gist of it. The characters are still chatting in my head, which helps. This book is going to be so much fun!

Day 10 - I have the plot and characters all worked out - I think! I wrote a detailed outline and I'm ready to start the actual writing. Can't wait.

Day 21 - Feel like I've written this already because the outline was so detailed. I'm a bit bored and worried the reader will be too.

Day 30 - Having a few plot problems and one of the characters isn't behaving the way she should. Added something else to the story and had to go back and rewrite chunks to make it work. Still going strong though.

Day 35 - The plot isn't working. There are huge holes in it and I don't know how that happened. I'm about halfway through the first draft, I've rewritten it about a million times and I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever finish this book.

Day 38 - I hate my Heroine. She's insipid.

Day 40 - This book is so shallow. It needs more depth. The plot has gone to hell in a hand basket. I have no idea what's going on or how to fix it.

Day 43 - This is the most stupid idea for a book that I've ever had!! Seriously. A chimpanzee with an iPad could write a better book than this. The characters suck, the plot is ludicrous, there are holes everywhere and as fast as I patch one up another one appears. I've taken out the sub-plot because I don't think it adds anything to the story and now the book is 20,000 words shorter!! I'm actually going backwards in the writing process. At this rate all I'll have left is a title. And, FYI, the title is crap too.

Day 44 - Couldn't face the book so I spent the day 'marketing' instead. It mainly involved liking all the cat videos on Facebook.

Day 45 - Made the mistake of reading reviews for my other books. Some of them are lovely making me think that I'll never write another book as good as the ones I've written. Then I reread the bad reviews. I DO SUCK!!! Why am I even writing???? WHY??? I don't know what I'm doing. I have no qualifications in this. What's the point??

Day 58 - Need to get back to the book. I took a few days off to think about it and spent my time watching Buffy reruns and reading books by people who actually can write. I will never write as well as Kresley Cole. Is there any point writing at all when other people do it so much better?

Day 60 - Okay. My husband has told me to get out of bed and get dressed. Apparently my angst is scaring children and animals. He says I'm overreacting. He says it's ONLY A BOOK??!!! Yeah, unfortunately, he has a point. I'm awake, I'm showered and I'm going to reread what I've written to see if it's salvageable. Deep breath. I can do it!

Day 61 - Relief. It's not as bad as I feared. There are some good scenes in the book and the structure, overall, isn't bad. It's going to take a lot of work and won't be brilliant, but I'll plod on and get it finished. I can't stand the thought of it hanging there. Plus the characters are still arguing in my head and the only way to get any peace is to write their damn story!

Day 70 - Feel like I've been beaten up. Every waking minute has been spent wrestling this book into submission. I'm making slow progress, although the writing quality still needs work - I used the word 'just' 17 times in one paragraph! Will fix that on the second draft. If I ever get there.

Day 80 - FIRST DRAFT DONE!!! It still needs a lot of work, but overall it isn't bad. It won't win any prizes, but it's possible I won't die of humiliation when its published.

Day 94 - Working my way through a second draft. Laughed myself silly at one scene. That's a good sign - right?

Day 98 -  Really pleased with the hero. The sex scenes aren't too cliched, which is good and the ending is a blast. Feeling cautiously optimistic about this one. Emphasis on the cautious.

Day 110 - I have a second draft!!! Now I need a bottle of wine and a bucket of chocolate.

Day 121 - Got the final draft done. Yay me!! Sending it to my editor.

Day 129-  My editor didn't vomit when she read the book so that's good. Not many changes to make. Really excited. Hoping people enjoy it. I would enjoy reading it and that says something- right?

Day 140 - The book is off to print. I think it's best if I don't read the reviews. Not sure my heart can take it. What if people hate it? What if they think its silly or stupid? Just expressed my anxiety to hubby who informed me the world would not end if people didn't like my book. I'm toying with writing a crime novel next, just so I can off him in it every time he says something stupid.

Day 141 - Time to forget about the book. It's out of my hands. Onto the next project. Last night I had the most amazing idea for a book...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Calamity Jena out now!

It's release day and Calamity Jena is now available pretty much everywhere! If you've bought a copy then THANK YOU!!! I hope you really enjoy it. If you want a copy, there are links below. :D

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let's talk about sex...

Lately, the sex scenes in the books I’ve been reading have annoyed me—and not because of the usual clich├ęd language and twisted attempts at coming up with new ways to describe nipples! They’re nipples people. We all have them. You don’t need a new way to describe them!!! And for the love of all things alcoholic, they are nothing like cherries. Please. No more cherry similes. Please... :D

Anyway, I’m straying off point here. The thing that annoys me most is the complete lack of purpose in the sex scenes I’m reading—other than the need to titillate. (Titillate! Funny word. Moving on…) It seems to me that a lot of writers are shoving sex scenes into their books just for the hell of it. Sure sex sells, but unless you’re writing straight erotica, where the intention is to titillate then there should be a reason for putting the scene in your novel.

So here are my thoughts on the matter. A sex scene in a good romance novel should do at least one, preferably more than one, of the following:

1. Move the plot forward

The scene isn’t there just for the sake of cramming some sex into the book, it’s there to build the story. If you can take the scene away and the story isn’t affected in the slightest, then you don’t need the scene. In that case, either you need to rewrite to get some plot into the scene or get rid of the scene.

2. Develop the characters

The scene should reveal something about the characters—and not just what they look like naked! It should give them emotional depth. It should reveal a little of what motivates them, or what they believe to be true about themselves. A sex scene is a good place to reveal a character's weakness or need. It’s also a good place to make them vulnerable, not necessarily to the other character in the scene, but definitely to the reader. If by the end of the scene you don’t feel you know the character better than you did at the start, then you don’t need the scene.

3. Deepen the relationship between the characters

If two characters have sex, it should change them in some way. Whether the scene causes a positive or a negative affect in the characters depends on what kind of book you're writing. Sex scenes are a good way to deepen the conflict in your story, or to deepen the emotional content of the relationship the characters have already established. We should see the impact they have on each other, and the affect that has on the story overall.

4. Enhance the love

Unless you’re writing erotica, romance novels are about love and happy endings. Every action in a sex scene should be constructed in such a way that it tells the reader that these two people are either falling in love or are already in love. Their passion should have depth and meaning.

5. Be character and story appropriate

I’m not against graphic descriptions or down and dirty language—if it fits the overall story and character development. If you have a Disney princess for a heroine and she suddenly starts behaving and talking like a porn queen then you have a sex scene that doesn’t fit your characters or your book. Put yourself inside the character’s head. Make the whole experience unique to them and don’t worry about squeezing in the language and description you’ve seen other writers use. Write to suit your story, not to suit what’s hot in the market right now.

6. Concentrate on emotion not description

Your reader knows that tab A fits into slot B. They know what nipples look like. And for the love of all thing chocolate please stop using the phrase ‘velvet over steel’ for anything to do with a penis!!! You aren’t writing a sex manual. You’re writing a love scene, an experience between two people that’s charged with hidden meaning, vulnerability and raw emotion. What’s more important? That the reader knows how big the hero’s dick is—in graphic detail—or that the reader knows how vulnerable he feels when he’s holding the woman who means more to him than any other?

7. Be unique

And I don't mean that you've to opt for descriptions of whacky situations or more extreme kinks. Having the hero and heroine get it on while flying on trapezes without a net isn’t going to make your scene stand out. (Well not in a good way anyway!) It isn’t the logistics that need to be unique; it’s the experience as seen through the eyes of those particular characters. Writing a sex scene isn’t one size fits all. Each character will react differently to each situation. What one person thinks while being intimate is different to another person’s thoughts. You need to make the experience unique to the characters. And in doing so you’ll give even the most boring missionary sex depth and sparkle.

Okay, that’s my thoughts on sex scenes.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Magenta Mine FREE on Amazon

Just a quick note to let you know that my Invertary novella, Magenta Mine, is FREE to download on Amazon over the next few days. So if you fancy trying one of my Scottish romantic comedies, now is the time! It also contains a sneak peak of the first chapter of Calamity Jena. Enjoy!