Link Of The Week-Boroughs March Madness

March 8, 2016

Wanna get over the winter blahs? Join 30 Boroughs authors for a little March Madness. Gifts & Prizes galore.

I’ll be there tomorrow at 3pm, Central time, with some special things to give away. Also, Boroughs Publishing Group is giving away two prizes of $50 in Boroughs Bucks. All you have to do is sign up for their newsletter – go to their website – and follow them on Twitter.




Talk Back: Are writing conferences necessary?

August 5, 2013

On my Kindle: Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!

What do you think? Now that Jenn has made us all totally jealous with her RWA photos, I feel like I am totally missing out.

Yet, unlike her, I have no real reasons to justify the price of going to a writing conference right now. I don’t have any book to sign, no agent or editor to meet and while I would love to learn more about the craft by attending the many workshops offered, the benefits would not outset the costs for me at this time. If I’d go, it would be a total splurge just for a little time out and to meet all my writer friends.

And I’m afraid that right now I don’t think attending writing conferences are necessary for me to reach my current goal (make a sale).

That said, this is only my own opinion and I may totally be wrong. So I turn to you for input. Do you think writers need to go to writer conferences to meet their goals? Is it different for writers at different stages of their careers? Are some conferences more useful than others?

What is your experience and thoughts on this?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Talk Back: Writing goals half-time!

July 8, 2013

On my Kindle: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!

And here we are, half way into the year, and I ask: are you on your way to meet your yearly writing goal? Are you ahead? Not quite there?

As usual, I am in the not quite there team but not as bad as it could. My writing goal for this year is definitely process-oriented and totally in my control. I had planned to finish the manuscript I had started (done) and submit it to agents (done). I also planned to start the sequel (done), finish it (half-way there) and edit it (it looks like I will be about to do this by the holidays).

I had also hoped to edit another manuscript I have under my bed, returning to my roots with a sexy paranormal romance, by the end of the year. But as I look at how long it takes me to write and edit, I see that it won’t happen. I may have time to write a paranormal romance novella which would be very cool.

All is well though because mainly my goal was to write for an hour a day on most days, squeezing time before and after my day job, and I have done just that. The habit is here to stay.

So your turn now, how are you doing with your goal this year so far?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox


You’ve heard it before… You can’t write, if you don’t read.

June 30, 2013

It’s the truth!

cross my heart

Cross my heart!

Whether you like what you read, or the novel is a wall-banger/quick-click-archive (and you resist throwing your e-reader)… Reading is the only way you’re going to stay on top of your game in the publishing industry.

Beyond knowing what’s hot and what’s not, you learn from Every. Single. Author.

I read THREE books between Friday evening and today. (Yes, I just closed THE END on the third book at o’dark thirty this morning and I’ll HATE myself for staying up this late. And maybe I should have been writing instead. BUT…)


Here’s what I took away from reading…

Book 1: (And no, I’m not naming books/authors, because I’m not an asshat.)

I loved book 1’s author’s voice. I really did. It was engaging, fun, very true. Because of her amazing grasp on voice, I had to remind myself to to make sure my writing was as fun and engaging as hers was. But come about chapter 5, I found myself skimming, hard-core. The pace lagged. The characters started acting out of, well character. The premise was intriguing, and I finished the book, but I saw fatal flaws that could make a reader second guess buying another book.


Lesson one from this read? Remember my characterization and pacing.

Book 2:

I’m not going to go into great detail, but the plot holes were big enough for the Starship Enterprise to side-swipe through, with a full 360, without fear of damage.


Yeah, it was that insane.

The worst part was, I think this author had the mechanics of characterization nailed. I mean, really NAILED. The hero was to-die-for! Sweet in the right moments, sexy in others, tough when he needed to be – and sometimes when he didn’t. Alpha male to the max. The whole freakin’ package. Which made the plot issues  that much more damaging. Will I buy again? Maybe. But it reminded me of the color coordination fellow Musetracker, Marie Claude-Bourque, uses to make sure she’s using everything in her writing. When she goes through her manuscript, she uses a color for emotion, a color for action, a color deep POV, a color for setting, a color for plot… Everything has a color so she can see what’s missing/wrong and needs work. This author would have benefited from using a color theme for her plot, because from beginning to end, a reader has to understand the mechanics moving each character.

Lesson two: PLOT! If it has a great big black hole, it ain’t workin’.

Book 3:

I. Want. To. Be. This. Author.

She nailed it from page one to the very last page and left me wanting more. I not only read this novel in record time, but I immediately went to her Goodreads page and reviewed it, then traveled to her webpage and drooled over the next books I wanted on my TBR pile. Even better (for her)… I bought one of her novels and started it ahead of others. The only thing that stopped me from reading was the fact that I had a blog post to do.

don't wanna


Do you carve out time for writing?

If you don’t… To the corner with you!


Happy writing/reading!


Warning: Erogenous Zone Ahead

February 13, 2013

Song of the day: Excitable by Def Leppard

In the spirit of romance and Valentine’s Day,  let’s talk about erogenous zones for women and men. Erogenous zones are those special little areas of the human body which have heightened sensitivity. When stimulated these areas kick start sexual arousal. Yeah…we like that. Aside from the obvious hot spots in and around baubles, treasures, staffs  and crown jewels, I’m just going to hit a few high notes. Great information for writers and readers, alike.

For the ladies…

Behind the knees: Warning! It tickles. A grazing touch or sensual kiss to this sensitive spot is oh-so sexy and tantalizing. Talk about getting weak-kneed.

The lips: Kissing id good. Mugging is better. But the pad of a finger or thumb drawn across the lips or a nip on the bottom lip can also be spine-tingling. Face it. The lips are one of the most erotic parts of the body. Just think of all they can do.

The scalp: Yup. It’s super sensitive on your noggin. A massage on your head releases tension, which in turn helps blood flow. Blood flow makes you all feel-good. Especially when the blood is flooding the girly parts. And don’t forget the pleasure/pain factor. For some, a little hair pulling can be just as stimulating.

The mons pubis: In English, that’s the pubic mound. It doesn’t take a genius to know any attention here gets the pot boiling. It’s a tease above the tease—and the arousal meter is in the dangerous red zone.

Getty rf neckingThe neck: Ah…sexy, yet vulnerable. How else can I describe the feathery-soft pecks, the ravaging kisses, or the lascivious tongue upon the throat.  Makes the toes curl.

The feet: Speaking of toes, did you know there are pressure points on your feet? A foot massage can really trigger the right GO buttons. As an aside, many men love women’s feet. Some, to the point of fetishes. Especially when we wear high heels. The heels lengthen our legs and women feel ooh-la-la sexy in them. Having a lover slowly strip you of your heels (or beg you to leave them on!) can bring both partners to mucho caliente arousal.

The ears: O.M.G. This spot seems to have a direct electric connection to all parts below. A hot breath, a teasing lick, and let the fireworks begin. Yowza!

For the gents…

Lower abs: Stroking the area between the navel and pelvis sends signals of things to come to men’s sacred points, creating, ahem, tension. The good kind.

The inner thighs: Could it be that attention in this uber sensitive, tragically underused area is like lightning to the lightning rod?

The nape: Just as with women, the boys appreciate suckles and caresses along the base of the throat and along the collarbone. Especially when free hands are a-roamin’.

The eyelids: You betcha. To kiss an eyelid, the eyes must be closed. Closing your eyes leaves you with a sense of loss in control. We all know how most men like to be in control. Having their eyelids kissed leaves an impression that someone else is in charge. For many men, that’s, well, a turn-on.

The mind: While not necessarily a place you can physically touch, the male brain is an easily accessible and potent erogenous zone. All you have to do to unlock it is whisper something sexy in his ear. Talk dirty to him. Hoo boy, does he have an imagination to go along with sweet and spicy words. Or give him a visual treat—sexy underwear, leather dominatrix outfit, or simply your birthday suit.

There are plenty more erogenous spots than the ones I’ve listed, many of which are shared by both men and women. And not everyone’s hot button is the same. But it’s fun to explore, wouldn’t you say?

What other erogenous zones would you like to share? What flips your switch? What makes your partner go va-voom? I’d love to hear from you!

Is your manuscript ever, really, ready?

February 3, 2013

I know… It’s almost 11:00pm on a Sunday night. I SHOULD be sleeping…


I usually post on Sundays and I totally flaked today. I have an excuse, and it’s a good one. It is NOT that my dog ate my homework.

I’ve been busy editing a 86K novel in less than 48 hours!

WHY? you ask.

Because when a publisher asks to see your manuscript, the world around you halts. And it’s okay!

Really. It’s okay. Give yourself a break!


Everything in our lives can stop because of other commitments, other responsibilities, other holy-crap moments. Why not for writing?

I don’t care how many times that manuscript has been edited. There is always something else to fine-tune, something to delete, something to fix. Even after your book comes out, you can find things that make you cringe, or you wished you’d built up more, or even wish you’d made more important.

It is, what it is.

But while editing, I found that I had to be very careful. In the search for perfection, I was losing my voice. I was editing out me. It’s important to remember NOT to edit out our own voices. In the grind to make a manuscript as enticing as they can be, sometimes we OVER edit.

Don’t lose your voice. It’s what sets you aside as an author. It’s what makes you – well – you.

And let’s face it. We all want our work to be as good as it can be, but we also want to stand out from the crowd.


We now return you to your regularly scheduled program… 🙂

Happy reading and writing everyone.


Agent Shop w/ Jessica Alvarez of Bookends LLC.

January 27, 2013

Good Morning Everyone!

I’ve had one of those super busy weeks, but it’s at its end today. YAY! And since things are a bit slow at work, I have THREE days off next week. Anyone wanna guess how I plan to spend those days while kids are at school? 🙂 Big wordcounts planned!

Anyway, I’m happy to say that Agent/Editor Shop is becoming something of a buzz. I’m constantly amazed by the amount of people who know about it, and have participated. We’ve even been getting e-mails from agents/editors interested in being guests for future Shop dates!

So thanks to everyone who’s participated, blogged about us, mentioned us to writing/professional friends and such. Musetracks was based on the concept of giving back to the writing community for all the help we all received and continue to receive over the years.

February’s Agent/Editor Shop will be Feb. 16th around 10:00am EST. and as you can see from the title, we have Jessica Alvarez with Bookends LLC as our guest agent, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve spoken with Jessica several times via e-mail, and she is not only a super nice person, but it’s easy to ‘hear’ the love she has for what she does.

Here’s the link to Jessica’s information:

Jessica Alvarez


After ten years as an editor, Jessica Alvarez joined BookEnds in April 2011. She began her publishing career in 2001 as an editorial assistant at Harlequin Books. There, she had the opportunity to acquire and edit a wide array of fiction, specializing in historical romance, romantic suspense, and inspirational romance. Jessica left Harlequin in 2008 to pursue a freelance editing career, and completed projects for Harlequin, Scholastic Books, Thomas Nelson, and independent writers. She uses her editorial background to help writers hone their skills and develop strong, marketable stories. Jessica is actively building her client list and is proud to work with a wonderful group of clients. She is a member of AAR.

Jessica read her first romance at the age of nine when she pilfered from a friend’s mother’s Harlequin Presents collection and was instantly hooked. Though her pilfering has passed, her weakness for alpha heroes and exotic settings remains.

A New Jersey native, Jessica still resides in the Garden State. She is perpetually over-caffeinated in an attempt to keep up with her young son and two energetic wheaten terriers.

You can contact Jessica via email or follow her on Twitter

Jessica’s areas of interest include historical romance (particularly 18th and 19th century!), inspirational romance, contemporary romance, category romance, erotic romance and smart, female-focused erotica, women’s fiction, and cozy mysteries.

Her authors include Andrea Laurence, Jennifer Delamere, Lorrie Thomson, Melissa Cutler, and Stacy Henrie.

Hope to see you all here! Until next weekend, happy writing, reading and life.



It’s Pitch Day with Rhonda Penders EIC of The Wild Rose Press!

December 15, 2012


I have to work today, so I’ll be checking in from time to time throughout the day.

Wait until you see the word GO posted BEFORE you start pitching, and send your pitch to

I’m super excited to welcome Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief at The Wild Rose Press.

She’s our first, brave editor, so be gentle so we don’t scare her away. 🙂

This is a great interview with Rhonda. HINT: She gives some great info about TWRP here.

Remember to click on the Agent/Editor tab at the top of this page and read the rules carefully. I have a funny feeling there will be a lot of pitches coming in and I’d hate to delete your pitch because you didn’t follow the rules!

Good luck!

OH! And I almost forgot… Leave a comment using the words WILD and NIGHTS and you’ll be entered to win the top pitch slot. I’ll also be giving away an ARC of PRIMITIVE NIGHTS to one lucky comment! (Winners chosen randomly.)

As Good As The First Time… by Candi Wall

October 28, 2012

My Bliss Track for the week – Watching my children jump in the huge pile of leaves we spent hours raking.

My Bitch Track for the week – Why is there always that one person at a party that has to get so drunk no one else can have a good time?

So hubby and I went to dinner the other night at a restaurant we’ve loved since the day it opened. The first time we went, we sat in our chairs, having food-gasms over everything from the wine and salads to the HUGE prime rib that covered his plate. I had steak tips, sautéed onions and mushroom and a slightly spicy rice pilaf. I ended with a huge slice of cheesecake and hubby had the molten lava chocolate explosion thingy.

Let’s just say, we just about rolled our overstuffed selves out the door.

I was satisfied. I was hooked. I was coming back for more.

Then a funny thing started happening. We don’t eat out very often, but around our fourth visit, we noticed the servings weren’t as large. The lettuce wasn’t as finely chopped or fresh. The ultra thin curls of Parmesan cheese that used to top my caesar salad were just crumbles instead. We ate and left satisfied – somewhat. But it wasn’t the mind-blowing, euphoric satisfaction we used to gain from this restaurant.

And instead of screaming out this restaurant’s name the next time we went out, we questioned if we wanted to go there or if we wanted to try somewhere new!

Ruh roh Raggy.

Then – as with everything – I started thinking about writing. About how often this happens with authors I fall head-over-heels in love with. And how easy it could be to become lazy.

When the restaurant owner opened the doors, he/she had passion in their heart. They were pouring everything they had into the endeavor. They were willing to spends HOURS and HOURS perfecting what they were going to give to the public. Sound familiar? Then, over time, the restaurant gained a following. “They love me! They really love me!”

So what happened then? COMPLACENCY.

Complacency can kill a restaurant, and it can kill a writing career. Don’t let your characters wilt. Don’t downsize the intensity or conflict. Don’t rush to give a product  that might make your readers think about going elsewhere. Remember, as you perfect your craft and write more and more novels, to keep writing with your heart. Keep writing with the passion and drive that you had when you first started out. Yes, as we write and learn and become more sure of our talents, we can complete a novel faster and cleaner, but in doing so, it’s easy to lose the passion that drew our readers in the beginning.

There’s the thought for the day. Write with the drive and passion you had when you started out. Make it as good as the first time, and you won’t have to worry about your readers going elsewhere to eat!

An Update from Candi

July 3, 2012

Dear friends!

I can’t tell you all how much I’ve missed you all and this blog.

A blog still thankfully ‘on the air’ thanks to Jenn, Stacey, and Marie-Claude.

So much has happened that I won’t bore you with details, neither will I promise to be regular on the scene for a few more months, but I wanted to let you all know that life CAN and WILL get in the way of writing, blogs, social networks, and unfortunately, our muses.

All I can say is hang in there. All trials eventually end or even out enough for us to find the time to do what we must as writers. And that right. YOU, and you, and you, know what I’m talking about.

Writing! It’s a need. An addiction. A catharsis. A MUST!

I’ve had some hardships hit in the past two years that took my feet out from underneath me, along with the ‘pen’ out of my hand. I barely had time to breathe, let alone write. But we have to keep pushing for that time. I can do it. YOU can do it!

Make a plan and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet every goal. Think small and revel in the smallest achievements.

Here’s mine:

1. Write at least 30 mins every day.

2. Research – New story, agents, editors, contests – when I have a minute or two.


4. Don’t beat myself up

Sounds simple, but we all know it isn’t.

I plan to start Agent Shop again this fall. I think August will be my ‘back in the saddle’ date.

Again, I miss you all and hope everyone has HUGE news to share when I return for real.

Until then, happy writing and best in your real world lives!