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Con times 2013

WOW!!! What can I say? What an amazing trip! What an amazing Con! Kudos to the GCLS for another fantastic event!

Before I get into my recount of the AWESOME time we had, I want to say: THANK YOU LAYDIN MICHAELS!!!!! Yep – in case you haven’t heard, I was a bad person and forgot to thank her in my awards speech. So, now I’ll say THANK YOU to Laydin for everything she does for me and is for me in my life.

We arrived in the great city of Dallas Tuesday evening. We had dinner at The Old Monk, thanks to Carsen Taite’s recommendation. It was delicious. We had great burgers and fries and sampled local brews. Then Laydin treated me to an 18 year old Jameson. YUM!!!!

After dinner and the pool, we headed over to the con hotel to see what was up. We met up with Isabella and her wife for a couple of drinks. They are such fun people. It was soooo good seeing them again!

The Con officially started Wednesday evening at the Meet and Greet. It had been seven years since my last con and it was amazing to see everyone again. What a friendly, welcoming group! We saw old friends and met new ones. We got lots of hugs and I introduced Laydin to about a million people! Here I am with the awesome author BL Miller!Image

Thursday, the games began in earnest – we started off with a class by JM Redman. She’s an amazing speaker and a wonderful author. If you haven’t read the Mickey Knight series, you need to! The title of the class was “Sex is better than breakfast” which I happen to agree with. We learned a ton!

Next it was time for me to read. OMG! I was a nervous wreck. There was a decent turnout to hear us. Laydin teases me that I speed read. We had five minutes and I must have done mine in about three! LOL I read from Initiation by Desire and it seemed well – received.Image

After lunch, we heard an amazing panel about creating series. That was way interesting. I haven’t written a series book myself. but I think I might like to try that sometime. So I paid close attention.

So, after classes, it was time for brewskis (LOTS AND LOTS of brewskis were consumed over the past week!!!) We hung with Michele Mostoller and Stu Gresh. Michele is an aspiring author and is always fun to hang with. After brews, we were hungry so we hit Humperdinks for dinner and more local brews. I love to sample local beers. I had a great Irish Stout and a delicious Hef. Image

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Friday morning we got our booties up bright and early to go hear Carsen Taite speak. Her speech was so much fun, peppered with Vlogs she’s done with different authors. Carsen rocks – there’s no two ways about it.

We took a little break then and hung at the pool. It was so beautiful in Dallas. Nice and warm and just incredible. We stayed for a while then back to the con for more learning. We hit a panel about reviewing books. That was really informative to hear what different reviewers look for when they read books. And it was a real treat for me to meet Salem West, who’s the Rainbow Reader.(http://rainbowreader.blogspot.com/). She did such a nice review of Forbidden Passions for me. I was thrilled to meet her.

The next panel we hit was Law and Disorder, featuring Carsen Taite, VK Powell, Ali Valli, Renee Bass and Baxter Clare Trautman. SUCH a great panel. It was great hearing about the research they do, how they apply their real life histories to their writing… And I could listen to Ali talk about Cain all day. It was a great panel!

Friday evening was dinner with the Bolds Strokes group. We had a great time. A lot of talent in that room. I want to be like them some day! LOL! Rad asked me what I was working on and she was excited to hear I’m writing a mob story, so that was encouraging.

After dinner was Western Night Karaoke! Laydin dressed the partImage

We heard some amazing singers!!! Chris Paynter was amazing! As was Pennie Hancock! There were other great singers, but they really stood out. We left before we heard Michele, tho. I heard she rocked, too!

Saturday morning – OY VEY! Did it come early! But was it ever worth it to hear Georgia Beers speak! She was phenomenal! And, if you haven’t seen her video about a day in the life of a romance writer, you need to:http://www.georgiabeers.com/

After that, was a class that KG McGregor taught. There was a lot to learn, but mostly what I took away was – if my book was chosen for a lesbian studies class fifty years from now, why would it be chosen? Really makes me want to better my craft to be the book chosen, you know?

Next panel was Marketing is Not a Dirty Word….THAT was interesting… Learned how the masters do it – Chris Paynter, Carsen Taite, Georgia Beers and Marianne K. Martin. They talked a lot about social media, etc. It was very informative. I have a heck of a hard time marketing and it was good to get tips from those that do it so well.

Dinner was an impromptu BSB dinner. Everyone was all decked out and we enjoyed great stories from Ali and the rest of the crew. Thank you again to Rad for dinner.

And then it was time for the awards ceremony. I was a presenter so was nervous as all heck, but what a treat it was to give an award to the great Lee Lynch! I was thrilled to tears to read her name and present her.

Then it was back to sitting with Laydin while the rest of the awards were given out. You can imagine my surprise when they read my name for the Erotica award! ImageI was blown away!!! Seriously – I figured I didn’t have a snowball’s chance, so I hadn’t even prepared a speech (hence my slight of the lovely Laydin!) Image

I want to say again – thank you to everyone who made that possible – all the readers, etc, who have been so supportive of me over the years. Y’all are the best!

After the awards ceremony was the dance, which was a blast. We danced a few songs, but mostly hung out and had fun. I even serenaded my girl for a while, during the Pina Colada song.Image

It was another late night, but we got our sad bootays out of bed Sunday and got packed for the airport and Laydin’s drive home. We hit the con hotel for breakfast and said our good-byes. It was wonderful seeing everyone again and meeting all the new friends we made. Thank you everyone for such an incredible experience.

Next year, the con will be in Portland and I hope to see all of you there!

Comments welcome. Please share your memories with us!

 

 

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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Writing

 

Erotica vs. Romance…and…writing naughty bits

I was recently asked how one decides if a book is going to be erotica vs. romance when an idea first comes to me. I don’t know how it is for other authors, but for me, well, it usually depends on the characters. Sometimes characters come to me and demand to be sexual beings throughout the book.

It’s all about getting to know the characters first. How do I do that? Well, I take my characters out for drinks. Now, in my book that will be out next year, the main character let me know right away, over a few beers, that she was a playboi and liked to have sex often and with lots of different women. ImageThe more I talked to her, the more obvious it became that her story would be erotic. Sex was too major a part of her life not to have that.

Now, over a couple of bourbons, the main character in my latest book informed me that, while she loves the ladies,Image she runs a gang in Chicago in the 1920’s so she has a lot more on her mind most of the time. ImageThis was interesting to me and we started out with her in a sex scene, but she made it clear that wasn’t to be the norm. So her story is being told as a romance.

My characters drive my story. I’m much more character-driven than plot-driven. And what they tell me generally goes. I don’t write from an outline, so the plot develops around what the character dictates. It may make me sound a little nutso, but I listen to my characters and let them call the shots.

Now, about those “naught bits.” Almost all of my short stories, and three of my four novels, have been of an erotic nature. Oh, that sounds fancy. Heck – they’re all about sex! So, the question comes up – how does one write them all the time? Where  is the inspiration? How does one keep the scenes fresh and exciting?Image

Let’s face it – lesbians rock! LOL Women love each other so deeply, so completely. And my characters are lesbians, so….. 

Actually, writing sex scenes is the hardest part of writing for me. I can picture it (Of course) and feel it, but putting it on paper isn’t easy. Why? Because I want to do it justice. I don’t want to write “See Jane kiss Kaysi.” Booooring. And I don’t want it to read like a how to: “She inserted body part A into body part B.” Still boring. And I never, ever, want the reader to think, “This is the same scene we had in chapter 2.”

So, writing sex scenes is very difficult.Image I want it to excite the reader. for sure. I want it to be an integral part of the story. It has to feel natural and real- not contrived or forced. And it has to be fresh and original every time.

Once again, we’re back to the characters. The sex scenes are based on the characters – what they like, who they’re into, how they behave. For instance, the main character in the book out next year is playful and fun loving. She’s more likely to use toys and maybe enjoy more than one woman at a time (you’re gonna love that book!!!)

The main character in the Prohibition book is more serious. She’s the type to really take her time with a woman. To find out what makes the other woman tick and please her accordingly.

I hope this blog answers the questions that were asked. Did they generate any more? If you have a question or comment, please leave it and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Writing

 

The Next Big Thing – A Blog Hop Post

The Next Big Thing – Writers Discuss New Work
As part of ‘The Next Big Thing Blog Hop,’ I was tagged by the incomparable Sacchi Green in her post last week. http://sacchi-green.blogspot.com/ The purpose of this hop is to expose folks to writers and their work that perhaps they haven’t heard of, whether a new release or a Work in Progress (WIP). This is week 26.
According to the rules of the hop, I will be answering some questions (the same ones for every other blog hopper) about either my newest release or my WIP and then at the bottom of the post I’ll listed authors who will do the same thing in their blogs next Wednesday Dec 26th.

What is the working title of your book?

The working title of the book is Escapades. The title fits the book very well, so I’m hoping it’ll stick!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea really just hit me one day. That’s usually how it works for me. Random thoughts float through my head until some coalesce enough to form the idea for a novel.

What genre does your book fall under?

Erotic Romance (What else? LOL)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d have to go with Katherine Moennig as Joey and Portia DeGenerous as Samantha. I realize they’re older than the late twenty-something characters, but they could pull it off, I’m sure!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Two women with painful pasts struggle to accept that true love could happen again.

 

What is the longer synopsis of your book?

Joey Scarpetti is set in her ways as a single, carefree playboi. Until she meets Samantha Brewer. She tries to convince herself she just wants to take Samantha to bed, and is surprised when she finds herself developing real feelings for her. The twist is Samantha is pregnant. Is Joey ready for a relationship, let alone a ready made family?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published by Bold Strokes Books

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Working time, it probably took about 8 months. I say working time because I took about a three month break from it before going back to finish it.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As usual, life inspired me. It’s set in a fictional town based on the area where I grew up, but outside of that, it really just grew out of an idea in my head.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Escapades has a strong erotic content,  but it’s also a sweet love story between two women that you really can’t help but want to end up together.

Next Wednesday check out these author’s blogs to find out about their Next Big Thing:

Carrie Carr: http://carriecarr.wordpress.com/

Jeanine Hoffman: www.jeaninehoffman.com

 

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Writing

 

Women’s Week – Here we come!

It’s October. College Football is in full swing (And the Ducks are ranked number two in the nation!), leaves are turning, Halloween decorations are popping up… all this can only mean one thing – it’s about time to hit Women’s Week in Provincetown, MA.

For those of you who’ve never been, I strongly recommend it. The quaint coastal community is so queer! And during women’s week, it’s easy to put the stress of daily life behind and commune with women from all over the world. The energy is amazing.

Now, it’s not all play and no work for a BSB author during WW. LOL. I’ll have three readings and three signings (One reading and one signing will be via GCLS – the other two are with Bold Strokes).

But, when there is time to play, I do love to drink Pumpkin Ale at The Squealing Pig.

Or, who doesn’t love a delicious dinner at The Lobster Pot?

There’s lots to see and do in PTown and I hope those of you going this year will stop by and say hi to me at any of my events. Or even just on the street! PTown is a very special place and I’m really looking forward to experiencing it again this year.

From what I understand,the weather is supposed to be gorgeous this year – perfect Fall days with highs in the low sixties. Beats the heck out of the snow we had a few years ago. LOL And rain is not forecasted, at least not that I’ve seen.
So here’s where you’ll be able to find me next week. I mean it when I say, please come up and say hello! I’d love to meet you! Or re-connect if we’ve met before.

Thursday: I’ll be reading a kissing scene at Gabriel’s from 2 – 3. I”ll be on a panel with:

Carsen Taite
Melissa Brayden
Radclyffe
Rachel Spangler
Ali Vali

We will be signing at Recovering Hearts from 4:10-5.

That eveniing, there is a meet greet from 5 – 7 at the Harbor Lounge! Come hang out with all your favorite BSB folks!

Friday is GCLS day. From 10 -3 there’ll be authors from several different publishers to hang with and say hello to and listen to them read.

Saturday, I’ll be signing books from 11:30 -12:30 at Womencrafts

Then back to Gabriel’s for reading an adventure scene from 2-3. Stop by and hear me try to read a sex scene out loud to a crowd! LOL The panel will consist of:

Lee Lynch
Ali Vali
MJ Williamz
Barbara Ann Wright
Shelley Thrasher
Jennifer Lavoie

Signing at Recovering Hearts at 4:10.

So that’s where I’ll be next week. I’m all sorts of excited. I love Women’s Week in Provincetown. I hope to see you there!

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Writing

 

The calm before the storm

It’s that time again. One project finished, myriad unfinished and I’m biding my time before I get sucked into editing Hell.

Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on a current project knowing that the evil editing monster is lurking just beyond the horizon?

I have about four works in progress and should pick up one and work on it. But do I? No. I wrote a short story. That was fun. I’ve been on Facebook a TON! Suddenly I’m the best email correspondent ever. My kitchen is almost clean. I’ve even signed on for an online course about writing conflict in romance. But I need to settle in an write.

One of my works in progress really has my attention, meaning I’m thinking about it all the time. It’s a suspense-kinda book. It’s got its sex scenes, don’t worry, but it’s also got a lot of drama in it. I really like it. It’s about a drug dealer, Sara, and her unsuspecting new girlfriend, Cullen. The drug dealer finds herself in hot water. Does she admit to her new girlfriend what’s going on? Or does she handle it on her own? And is there really anyway for Sara to keep it from Cullen as they get closer and closer emotionally?

What do you think? Sounds like the premise for a decent book, no? But how can I give it the attention it deserves knowing that soon my attention will be ripped away from it as I delve into the edits and rewrites of Escapades (yes – if you didn’t know – my fourth novel has just been accepted for publication – more on this as details become available)

So now I guess I can add blogging to my list of procrastination methods.

I’d love to hear what other authors do in the lull before the editing starts. Do you keep writing? If so, how do you find the motivation?

OK, I feel better griping for a few. I think I’m gonna go write now. Really… after I check my email… one.. more.. time…

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Writing

 

Reading and Writing and Football, oh my!

So, it’s Labor Day and that means summer is officially over. Well, actually summer ended Friday for me. SInce Saturday was the first official day of College Football in my world. And, as it should be, the University of Oregon Ducks kicked some ever lovin’ bootay on the field Saturday night.

Somebody asked me recently how college football season affects my writing. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know my world now revolves around the Ducks!
So what does happen to my writing? And what inspiration do I get, if any, from watching my beloved Ducks in action?

Most of you know by now that I work two jobs. One regular 8-5 and one evening job.So writing time is at a premium in my world anyway. But take away the three hours-ish every Saturday to watch the Ducks and you’d think I’d really be hurting, wouldn’t you?

Not so much. With even less time to write, I find that I’m actually more able to focus and get the words done when needed. Plus, there’s that drive to produce that comes on strong for me during the season. Yep, I know it’s corny, but I watch those kids leaving their hearts and souls on the field and, while I’m old and fat and not about to try my hand at the game, I’m able to feel the desire to do that on my playing field – the world of writing. I want to write the best book I’ve ever written. I want every word to evoke emotions in the reader. I want every reader to think, “That MJ Williamz is a lesfic genius!” LMAO!!! OK, OK, OK…so maybe that’s a bit extreme, but the desire to rise up and write better than ever really comes through for me during this time of year. It’s my competitive nature. And football season brings it out in me.

Now, what other sort of inspiration do I get from watching college football?

I’ll let y’all use your imaginations.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Feel free to post any comments supporting your college team, or talking about what inspires you to be the best at what you do. I love comments and they’re always welcome.

GO DUCKS!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Writing

 

Learning to write

OK, So I’ve got about 30 short stories published. And three novels out there. And yet I still consider myself a newbie. I still have so much to learn about writing.

My last blog talked about a class I attended recently where my short piece was shredded to bits by Rad, the class instructor. But it’s ok because I learned from it. And I’ll continue to learn as I go.

So, here I am. Escapades (hopefully my next published work) is being beta’d so now it’s time to start working on a new project. And I have a great one. I’m writing a romance between two very different women during the Civil War in what is now known as Lafayette, LA. It’s not going to be an erotic novel, I don’t think. I’m hoping to make it a pure romance, but we’ll see how I do.

Which brings me to the subject at hand – learning to write. My head is still full of Point of View lessons from Saints and Sinners, as well as other suggestions from the Master herself – put more depth in my characters, show more emotion. And there’s the challenge of writing a romance versus erotica. Now, you’d think it would be easy for me, since I have such a hard time writing sex scenes, but it’s hard not to think, “This would be a good place for them to make love…” And then of course, there’s the historical aspect of the novel. Not only must clothing and social issues be accurate to the period, but the way people speak must be true to the time and place.

All this is playing through my mind as I’m working (slowly at this point) on the book. I’m constantly second guessing myself and questioning whether what I’m writing has the umph it needs. Is it believable? Are the characters likeable? Do we want them to be together?

And through it all, there’s one aspect of writing that I want to master – write the first draft without editing yourself!

How is this done? How can one write the story without stopping constantly to question and edit what one has already written?

I welcome any tips on this. I really want to get to that point where I can write without self editing, at least the first draft. Any suggestions? Thoughts? Comments?

As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 
11 Comments

Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Writing