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.




Happy Endings, Expectations, and a Hatchet Wielding Hunk

January 30, 2013

Song of the Day: Slow Burn by Atreyu

This week I finally saw the movie Snow White and the Huntsman. It was a fun, dark, entertaining twist of the classic Snow White fairy tale. And I truly appreciated Kristen Stewart not once swiping her hair behind her ear ala brooding Bella-style. Overjoyed really. BUT, and much like my rear-end, it’s a big but, I was 100% unsatisfied with how the movie ended.

chris hemsworth huntsmanOh sure, there was a happy ending—evil was vanquished and good reigned once again. Just it was not a happily-ever-after ending. As the credits rolled, I shook my head feeling I’d been cheated. It’s a fairy tale, with Chris Hemsworth, for Grimm’s sake. Where’s the damned happily-ever-after?

A good story doesn’t have to end in wedding bells and Disney-esque promises of eternal love. A good story can end in ambiguity. It can end with a tragic, yet beautiful goodbye. It can end with lines like “After all, tomorrow is another day.” It can leave you in stoic thought or just end with a certain finality. Heck, it can even end horribly. But the story should end satisfyingly.

As an aside, there was one movie with an ending so appalling, so shocking (even for me) that I was beyond unsatisfied. I was angry and even a little depressed. It was the 2007 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist. *shudders*

Back to my point.

I got to thinking about books. In romance, there is an unwritten rule (or maybe it is etched in a golden tablet hidden in the labyrinth sewer system beneath New York City) stating there must to be a happy ending for the heroine. The happy ending may include the happily-ever-after or it may allude to a life of happiness with her hero. Oftentimes, the heroine’s quest for love and/or happiness doesn’t end in one book, continuing on throughout a series of books instead. Yet, at the culmination of each tale, there is a gratifying conclusion to her adventure.

In Snow White and the Huntsman, there was a building trust, personal growth, and discovery of the heart. At times, it was subtle, but it was there most certainly. There was even a true love’s first kiss. Much mightier than any sword or incantation, mind you. It stands to reason there would be a happily-ever-after, or at the very least a pledge of one. For all that, the appropriate ending was glaringly neglected in the final scene. How frustratingly uncool. Boo…hiss…

If this happened in a romance novel, I doubt I would pick up another book from that author and I suspect I wouldn’t be alone. It’s the writer’s obligation to fulfill the reader’s expectations. Whether it is to leave the reader sighing from the perfect HEA, breathless with an explosive finish, or anticipating the next installment, authors must give the reader satisfaction. I believe this is true for all books, regardless of the genre, romance or otherwise.

I’m no movie critic. Nope, I’m just another yahoo with an opinion. For the most part I was entertained by the film. But as a romance writer, I’d say the movie makers missed the mark. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must pick up popcorn kernels thrown at the TV screen.

Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts? Has any movie or book left you disappointed? Let’s hear from you.

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!

Talk Back: Do You Ever Break Writing Rules?

March 10, 2012

By Marie-Claude Bourque

Hi writers and friends,

I hope you are all busy writing, revising, submitting, signing contracts and enjoying book tours and writers conferences.

I apologize for having been away so much. I am almost finished with my Masters in Teaching and have spent the few spare time I have polishing my pile of manuscripts to be able to start submitting material this summer.

I had an interesting conversation recently with a Facebook writer friend who told me he loved how I wrote my love scenes. He pointed that he was surprised that I had chosen to break the “one POV per scene” rule just for my love scenes and he wondered whether I did this by accident or if it was a conscious choice.

It was a conscious choice.

I do break rules.

Not too many, because as a beginning writer, I tend to stay within safe boundaries, but in this occasion, I decided that showing both my hero and heroine POV while they were intimate would be the best way to keep the reader deep in the story.

How about you? Do you break rules? I will frankly tell you that I actually don’t know all the rules. I may break them at times without knowing. Do you do that too? Or are all your rule breaking deliberate? Any examples you could share with us?

I’m dying to hear how you Musetrackers think about your craft.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Hump Day Kick Start

December 14, 2011

Song of the Day: Rumor Has It by Adele

Photo by Santian69; Photographer Pierre Vincent

What do you think of this week’s writing prompt?

Tell me about this couple. Are they lovers or perfect strangers? How on earth did they get tangled in the string of lights? Are they decorating for the office party? Maybe this is the aftermath of some madcap decorating fiasco including a cute puppy and wild squirrel. And just why is he shirtless?

Possibilities abound and I want to hear yours!


Hump Day Kick Start

October 12, 2011

Song of the Day:  Would? by Alice in Chains

Randall Mesdon Photography


Oh no! What happened to our boy? Who is he? Where is he? Why does he have a bed roll? And what happened to his shirt?

Use your wild imaginations. Is he Coast Guard hunting drug runners? A man on the run from the law. Or a vigilante hiding out? Environmentalist shooting film of the migrating whales? Lost boy scout?

I’d love to hear your take on today’s photo prompt.



Jumping The Gun by Candi Wall

September 19, 2011

Hopefully everyone’s had a wonderful and productive summer.

Mine wasn’t overly productive, as far as writing goes, but with work and kids out of school for the summer, I planned ahead. Or rather, I told myself to prepare for limited computer time. I’ve been working on the Agent Shop schedule though, and hope you all remember to check back and see who we’ll be having as our guest agents for the rest of the year.

Today I wanted to mention a topic that comes up often in discussion with agents and editors alike.

Premature submitting!

Jumping the gun!

Hitting that send button too soon.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

It’s exciting – and scary – and that dream agent you’ve been keeping your eye on just opened back up for queries – and her tweets say she looking for just what you’ve written – and – and – and…

Yep, you got it. All that time spent writing, and the opportunity is there. You’ve poured yourself, your time, your heart, blood and tears into the manuscript. How can you let this opp go by??? You talk yourself right into it.

I’m here to tell you – STOP YOURSELF!

A rejection is hard enough to take, but one that tells you you’ve got a great idea but the writing just isn’t there…brutal. I’ve heard agents and editors both say they see this A LOT and many times, it’s because the author didn’t give themselves the time or the edits needed. Unless your work has been through the following AT LEAST, and probably much more, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

  • First round edit
  • Crit partners
  • A month where you don’t even LOOK at it
  • Read it out loud
  • Second round edit
  • Contests are great at this stage too!
  • Beta readers 2 or more
  • VICIOUS edit (be brutal on yourself. If the sent makes you go ‘hmmm’ get rid of it or fix it.)
  • A good dose of ‘this is crap, it’s great, it’s crap, it’s great’ limbo. (Okay, maybe that part was just me. But I find chocolate helps.)
  • Final edit (and I highly suggest a final beta read)
  • Make it shine
Quick and simple today. I have insanity clogging my to do list this week.
Happy writing, editing, revising, submitting or any stage in between!
UPDATE: I’m still waiting on confirmation from our guest agent this month…. Concerned that e-mails were lost in cyber space or spam…


September 5, 2011

Hello All,

I’m super excited to have this writer here today. I was lucky enough to find and befriend Saranna DeWylde during the Next Best Celler contest at Textnovel, and I’m extremely lucky we’ve stayed pals since. I could list her qualities (one of which happens to be a ridiculously fast and super efficient crit partner who puts me to SHAME) but I’ll let you get to know her through her writing, which is what drew me to her in the first place.

Saranna recently released her uber sexy THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS and she’ll be giving away one PDF copy to one lucky comment EVERY TEN COMMENTS! Sweet!

I loved this book in its earliest draft and now – awesome.

Love the cover!

Welcome Saranna!

Let’s start out easy! What do you write and is there one genre you wish you could write but don’t?

I write paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary and erotica. I also write a bit of true crime. I used to be a horror author but after my employment as a corrections officer, it sort of changed what I wanted out of my career and what I wanted to put out into the world. I’ve even got a romantic suspense that’s been poking at me to give it some attention.

The second part of the question is harder to answer. I don’t really write in genre, (contrary to labels I slapped on myself in the previous paragraph. *laughs*) I write the story that wants to be told. The one living in my head. So, if I have a hard-boiled cop story in my head, that’s what I write. If I have a historical in my head, I’ll write it. I think anyone can do the same as long as you’re true to the characters and the story that needs/wants to be told.

Um, the correction’s officer part is true and Saranna just sold her memoir about that time in her life. WOOT! Okay, back on subject. Are you a plotter or pantser?

Mostly a pantser. I usually have a general idea of what I want to happen, major plot points in my head when I start. I don’t write it down though, or make a story arc or an *shudders* outline. I do, every so often, write down some GMC statements where I can see them. Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Just to remind myself what drives my characters and that really helps me keep them in character so I don’t have to go back and delete 20K of material because it’s not working.

Can you tell us what made you decide to self-publish Housewives?

It was a tough decision, but everyone who read it as far as agents and editors were concerned told me they thought it was too snarky. But my critique partner and other beta readers loved it. More importantly, *I* loved it. I believe in it. There is so much more to it than the snark and it’s using the gods as they were meant to be used. As an allegory for ourselves and what I like best about romance–in that it shows us redemption and happily ever afters are possible for all of us.

Further, publishing is changing so fast now. It’s shifting with new technology, new ways to get stories to readers and new ways to connect with each other. Platforms, markets, and even product are all in a spin. I wanted to dip my toe in the water and check it out. So far, it’s been great. I got exactly what I wanted for this book as far as character, content, even my cover is exactly what I imagined.

Regardless of whether I’m with a traditional publisher, an epublisher, and indie publisher or publishing myself building a backlist is important.

I had requests for something after I did some promo for my Kensington books that won’t be out until 2012.

So, you add all of that together in a big blender and get the self-publish smoothie.

Smoothies, yum. Okay, even a publishing smoothie is yummy considering so many of my fav authors are putting out titles on their own. So is there one pro and one con you’ve found from your experience self-pubbing?

They’re the same thing. Being responsible for everything myself. It was cool because like I mentioned earlier, I got to produce this product exactly to my specifications and my visions.

But wow, the pressure. There were some things I had trouble with and luckily I have awesome friends who were right there to jump in the fire with me and help me out.

Any advice for those considering the self-pub path?

I’ve only done it with one book so far, but I’ve learned that people do expect more from a self-pub book because of the stigma of being self-pubbed. It’s not as bad as it used to be, there are a lot of good books out there self-pubbed. But don’t let it get to you. Accept it and prove them wrong. Put out the best product you can. Engage an editor, take time with your cover and remember a book isn’t just your creative expression, it’s a product. If you want people to buy it, you have to treat it like a product and you are the brand.

Okay, now some fun stuff:

Who’s your favorite character in Housewives and why?

Thanatos. He’s so modern, kind of cyberpunk. He’s like Death living in The Matrix. He’s one of the most powerful gods, but he wears it so casually. He accepts what he is, a little dark and brooding, (I mean, come on. He’s Death.) but he still has a sense of humor, he’s witty. Hades was the one I thought I’d fall for, but I ended up being stuck on him just a little bit.

Where did the idea for HOUSEWIVES come from?

I was talking shop in chat with a few friends of mine and we were talking about cool titles. I threw that one out there and one of my friends demanded I log off and write it. So I did.

HA! I know that friend. She’s a slave driver. Thank goodness! Tell us a secret about Housewives. Were there any deleted scenes you’d put in the extras category if this were a dvd?

There were not any deleted scenes. Usually, there is something I delete but the words flew hot and fast with this one. I would just sit down in the morning and crank out sometimes three chapters a day and it was surprisingly very clean. Although, I had trouble with Demeter’s chapters. I didn’t like her much and living in her head was hard for me until she learns her lesson.

As I’m a card carrying metal head, it may surprise those of you who know me that this book had its own CD. Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster. Each couple has a song. I don’t write to music anymore, I used to, but I weaned myself away from it. Although, I could hear these songs in my head when I wrote them.

Hera/Hades-Dancing in the Dark

Demeter/Eros- Bad Romance




And if this were a DVD, I’d have an interactive section where you could dress them up like live-action Barbie dolls.

This is always hard, but can you tell us a secret about you?

I, the all powerful Amazon Goddess of Doom, am afraid of cows. I hate them. The neighbor’s bull broke through the electric fence to chase me a 1/2 mile UP-friggin-HILL home. And ever since then, the cows across the street watch me with their big soulful eyes, but inside, I know they’re laughing.

Or they could just be looking for my mini Amazons. They like to feed them Hershey’s kisses. (When my youngest was smaller, she thought if she gave them Hershey’s, she’d get chocolate milk so she’d sneak over and give them some.)

LOL! COWS?!? Hey I can’t say much since I freeze up like Medusa glared at me whenever a spider makes an appearance. Thanks for being a good sport.

Here’s an excerpt of HOUSEWIVES:


     “Thanatos!” she cried when she saw her oldest son lounging on her temple steps.

     “Hey, Ma.” He stood and endured her hug.

     “I thought you were working all week. Wasn’t there a natural disaster in South America?”

     “Wouldn’t you know it, it’s so cool. Red Cross showed up and the volunteers saved a bunch of people.”

     Nyx hadn’t seen him in what felt like a century. In fact, she almost started counting on her fingers to see if it had been that long. “I suppose you’re hungry. Fig cakes with cream cheese frosting?”

     Thanatos patted his flat stomach. “You know me so well.”

     “Why are you outside? You could have gone in, you know.” Nyx pushed the door open.

     “I didn’t want to startle you. Might fall and break a hip and I’d feel bad.” He shrugged.

     “You little shit,” she laughed. He was always teasing her about her age. She was a Titan after all and older than all of the gods. She was one of the last of the old guard; one Zeus was sure wouldn’t try to overthrow his power. He was mistaken about that one, only she didn’t want the power herself. She wanted him to stop treating Hera like crap. Or divorce her. That at least, would be honest.

     He smirked back at her. Of her two sons, Thanatos was most like her. She loved her children the same, but she had a special kinship with Thanatos.

     “So uh, what’s the deal with Persephone and Hades?” he asked as he followed her inside.

     Tartarus on cracker! What was with that girl that these dark types were so stuck on her? Was it because she was blond? Nyx just didn’t get it. Not that she had anything against the girl, but it wasn’t like she was as pretty as Hera. Or as smart as Athena.

     “You have been out of the gossip loop for awhile, yeah? They broke up, so to speak.”

     “He let her go? Dumbass.” Thanatos shook his head.

     “What would you have him do? Sacrifice the world for her?”

     “Well, yeah,” Thanatos answered as if that were the only reasonable response.

     Nyx couldn’t argue with that, but she tried anyway. “Hades released her from the curse too. He didn’t want her to be unhappy.”

     At that, her son was silent for a moment. “So how hard do you think Demeter would smite me if I asked Persephone out?”

     “She better not smite you, or I’ll kick her ass up over her shoulders. She has winter, but I’ll drench the world in eternal night if she tries.” Nyx was thoughtful for a moment. “Unless of course you were unreasonably handsy or demanding. Or acted like Zeus. Or—,”

     “I get the picture, Ma. By the way, you look great.”

     “You’re just saying that because my hair looks like yours now.” She scowled.

    “Moonlight and stardust. No one can resist.” He smirked as if it was just his trial to bear, being that attractive.

   “Nice deflection. I mean what I said. If you want Persephone, do what you will, but don’t be a dick. Got it?”

     “Yeah, Ma. Don’t be a dick. Got it,” he recited dutifully.

     “So I have to ask. What’s with you dark and tortured types and this girl?”

     “I dunno. She’s hot. It’s not like I want to marry her or anything. It would just be a date. Maybe a kiss.” He considered for a moment. “Maybe something else.”

     “That girl is a virgin, Thanatos.” Yes, he was her son and she loved him dearly, but he was one-hundred percent male—thinking with his parts. She had to struggle not to sigh.

     “She’s probably got a family of bats living in there after all this time. Don’t you think it would be okay if she—,”

            “You know, we so don’t need to have this conversation.” She threw her hands up in defeat. Nyx loved that her boys talked to her, confided in her, but there were some things a mother just didn’t need to know.

Thanks so much for coming by hon. Okay everyone, Saranna’s an open book so if you have questions, ask away. And make sure you leave a comment to get a chance at a free copy!
And here’s where you can find THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS:

Hump Day Kick Start

August 31, 2011

Song of the Day:  Tonight, Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae

Photo by Vlsncdiana

Well now, this should be a fun prompt.

Who is this couple? Playboy playmate and her body guard? Co-stars? Reality TV participants? Country boy who just married a Vegas showgirl he’d hardly met?

Look at how they gaze at each other. What do you suppose is going on? Are they plotting a bank heist? Is she seducing him into killing her  husband? Is he a cop playing along to get the information he needs to bust up an underground bleaching hair products ring?

Have fun with this one. Let me hear from you.

Hump Day Kick Start

August 17, 2011

Song of the Day: Still in the Dark by Aranda

Hello, kiddies.

It’s that time again. Your visually pleasing prompt meant to get the blood pumping and stir your muse to life.

Tell me about this one.  Who is he? Biker? Musician? Burned special ops agent? Where is he? What is he doing?  Is he contemplating the woman he left? Plotting an enemy’s demise? About to do chin-ups? What’s going on behind those blue eyes?

Come on, stop biting your lower lip and let me hear from you.