Descriptions for heat levels in book list

------holding hands, perhaps a gentle kiss
♥♥ ---- more kisses but no tongue-- no foreplay
♥♥♥ ---kissing, tongue, caressing, foreplay & pillow talk
♥♥♥♥ --all of above, full sexual experience including climax
♥♥♥♥♥ -all of above including coarser language and sex more frequent

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Along the trail


When I was at Klamath Lake, I got to thinking how much starting a new book is like walking a trail you have never walked before. If you've been on the trail many times, or are doing it only to make fast times, it doesn't apply; but a new trail, one you are seeing for the first time is like writing a new story.

You take your time. You look around. You keep moving forward but also watch the trail to avoid tripping over rocks or roots. You must always look around to be sure you are on the right trail. Are the markers clear? Did that last Y have you taking a wrong turn?


And then what is that over there? Beautiful colors. Was that a butterfly you hadn't seen before? You stop to analyze and try to remember its name if you ever knew it. Beyond, up a tall tree, you hear a sound, a bird you cannot see but can only hear.


What made those tracks along the bank of a small stream? Each step along that trail is savored and considered. You can't go too fast, or you miss the little things that make a hiking experience so rich. You know where you are going when you start out on such a trail, maybe even have a map, but what will be along the way, that's the fun of the hike.

In writing a new story, all that applies to hiking applies to the book. It's important to not rush, to look for what might be alongside your characters, what is impacting their lives in subtle and less subtle ways.

The temptation is to barge forward, set up one of those schedules some encourage of writing say 1000 words a day. I don't think that's a good way. Take some time in between writing to think about who these people are, what hidden aspect to their personality did you miss before but see now.

When I am writing, I particularly try to remember my dreams. They often give me insights into what is happening that my daily thinking isn't delivering. I will write sometimes 5000 words in a day but then might go a week as I mull it all over, go back through and look at what was alongside the trail that I missed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Finding inspiration from audio books



Although this week-end was family time down on Klamath Lake in Southern Oregon, I did get some inspiration for the new book from two audio Louis L'Amour short story collections. A few years back I found traveling with audio books as a way to pass the time. It turns out my grandchildren (ages from 8 to 14) are very into these kind of western short stories.

These were dramatizations which I like best but don't always find. For anyone who is looking for inspiration for putting atmosphere into their stories, I recommend these kind of CDs. This particular set had the stories-- Law of the Desert Born, The Trigernometry Tenderfoot, and Horse Heaven on one of the CDs and Four Card Draw, Get Out of Town, and One for the Pot on the other.

They really helped pass the miles for the kids but us too. It reminded me how important atmosphere is to the kind of writing that carries you into the story. It doesn't take a LOT of words. In fact a lot of words would have lost the children. It takes the right words.

Friday, August 24, 2012

India now part of the Kindle networking system

In my email was notice that India has been added by Amazon to the Kindle network. Welcome to my readers from India. Although I have backed off from actively pushing my contemporary romances because of working on the new ones, they are still available; and I hope new readers will still find them now and then.

Anyone who makes it to this site can see the ten contemporary stories of romance and American life alongside this blog where clicking on their icon takes the reader to more information and how to purchase-- or occasionally gotten for free when I have posted that here.

I realize there is resistance to eBooks. I hear the talk regularly from those who fear they will do away with paper versions, even threaten libraries. In reality it just gives readers more options while it has let a lot more writers get in the door without having to compromise their stories to what a publishing house expects.


A good example are two of my eBooks both set in Portland, Oregon. The first, Moon Dust, deals with some painful subjects, divorce, militia groups, education today, and most importantly adult repercussions of abuse.

It is followed by Second Chance, with some of the same characters, set in the world of wildlife rehabilitation, as it continues to look at how healing comes to those who have experienced abusive childhoods.


Admittedly these are tough topics, but they are placed into stories with adventure. relationship, and the search for love (some healthy sexuality but not erotica) which I think mitigates some as they also inform. Who says we can't enjoy while we learn?   

Moon Dust, however, was just too tough a topic for a publishing house to want to put out as a romance-- at least that is what they wrote back when they rejected it after suggesting possible changes that might change their minds-- like gut the story.  I never tried with Second Chance which although it stands alone, I think is more meaningful when having read Moon Dust first.

I let these stories go until along came a new opportunity where the books can be there for those who find tough topics a challenge and not a turnoff or who benefit from considering how healing might come to their own lives.

Anyway, welcome to readers from India to the Kindle world and whether my books prove to be a temptation, I am sure others will. We don't have to stop buying paper. I still do; but with eBooks we have two ways to read.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Developing a new story and its characters

Writing about writing when I am starting a new book is more complicated than writing about writing when I am editing. I think the reason is editing is more about technical aspects which often reminds me of things other writers might find useful. But when beginning a new story, I don't want to give away too much of what the story will be as I work through it for myself. There are several reasons for that.

One being I might and do change my mind as the story progresses. Although I always know where a story is going to go, have a good idea of the general steps along the way, those things can change. I do not have an outline written on stone.

I've read writers who say the story takes over. This almost sounds occult to me, but I know what they mean. It never happens in my stories. That story will abide by my rules, and it will end up where I want it to be. If I could not control it, I'd quit writing. Frankly life has too much that is out of control for me to invite it into my writing.

These characters and I have a relationship. Developing them, discovering who they are, will change things as I write the action. I create a character and then have to decide what that character's personality is really like. In this new story, I do have such a secondary character where I think I can write about the process with her without ruining the story for readers.


Connie Sicilla is a natural psychic who does readings but not for a career. She does them because it was a natural gift she wishes to use to benefit others. She is cautious about who she will see as well as who might know of her gift as she has had bad experiences in other towns when people fear what they do not understand.

Today, most psychics I have met do it for a business. I've heard though of those like Connie, who don't want money. In a way, a natural sensitive, like Connie, is more free to do one, to say what she gets, to not feel she must provide something even if she didn't 'get' anything because she took money for it. Not saying paid psychics are less honorable but certainly an unpaid one could be more honorable-- unless there is a hidden motive in her not taking money.

 It was fun when I had my heroine come to Connie. Priscilla Wesley, who first appeared in the book before this one, is fascinated by the other side, by possible occult experiences. Hence she is logically interested in going for a reading when she hears of this woman.

When I wrote the reading, I decided it would begin with a Tarot deck. I had a feeling my deck would not have been available then but Tarot itself has been around for thousands of years. To avoid having to research what her cards might've looked like, I opted to have her interpret without describing the cards.

Because I do Tarot myself, I did the reading for my characters, and it came out perfectly for what I needed. It was a good start to the reading for Connie as she went beyond the cards to use her inner sight and her feeling of Priscilla's energy.

Connie is a good person who has a sense of responsibility for what she tells those who might come to her. That much is definite. But where I am undecided is in regards Connie's husband-- Del. He is a faro dealer and bartender at a Tucson bar. Is he a good guy or bad?

The potential for what it will mean to Priscilla's life for connecting with Connie is where it gets iffy. Priscilla is the daughter of wealthy parents. If Connie's husband is not honorable, he could be a danger to her. Or if he's a good man like his wife, he could help Priscilla by various methods. That's the kind of thing you wrestle with, as a writer, sometimes go one way and then change if you see more potential to a different direction.

Frankly secondary characters are very important to a full length book and without them, the stories really don't have the depth. It's how the main protagonists treat others that often tells the most about who they are.

I described Connie in the book but that also could change depending on whether she becomes a more major character or just one of those who come and go through our lives. For now I used an image above taken of me about five years ago along our creek. If I opted to use it in the book, I'd change the background and put her in a more mystical background and definitely desert oriented.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

the making of a great romance

Do these two look like a matched set to make a likely romantic couple?



That's what I think-- definitely not-- which is why they will make the perfect romance for the book that follows my 1883 Arizona western romance. If it comes easy, it doesn't make for a good story, now does it?

The hard part would have been letting this story set until I finished the third in the Oregon series. I mean I hadn't even imagined doing a following story to the Arizona one. I owed something to that Oregon historical set after the Civil War. BUT the unfinished Oregon book is the third in its own series which always meant not out until way into the fall of 2013-- if I follow my projected plan for how far apart for these.

Does that sound like a justification to jump into the story of that couple above? I suppose it is, but I think when the fire is burning, why not feed it! ;)  And after editing the first book, the fire is really burning to write the story of these mismatched lovers.

The writing is actually moving right along. There is a problem though. When I do books in a kind of series, I like the titles to work together. The original title I had for my Arizona historical romance would not fit with the second one. Actually it might have even been misleading regarding the first one as it made it sound more sexy than it is-- not that there isn't sex in it (there's always sex in them), but it's not erotica.

Anyway I'm doing some thinking on titles as I write the first part of the next book-- as in first 3000 words and chapter one already done. I have family time coming up which means I can't rush this, but I can be thinking about it as I now have gotten into these characters.

Beginning a new book, I like going slow on the writing, feeling my way through what happens next even as I already know some of it way down the road. Developing interesting secondary characters for this new one is part of why it's good to meander a bit-- lots of time thinking and not writing.

I love doing this kind of writing, starting something new after a long time of editing and editing and editing again. This is fun.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On the horizon


Between editing, thinking more on my coming new book, writing for the other blog, family stuff, preparing the vacation trailer to actually go somewhere, my mind is also on how do I market the new one? And where?

I have read many who put out a lot of material ahead of a new book including passages from it. They make a big deal out of its arrival date. I guess I could do that. I did create the trailer about photos that inspired the story. Still I am not that great at marketing. For that matter, I still don't like any part of doing it.

Some of the writers who do well do put out paid advertising. I think it must work for them or they'd not do it but would it work for my book? I don't buy books based on advertising. I receive ads from say Amazon and almost never look at the books they are listing. Facebook offers advertising, but I can count on one hand the times I have even looked at the advertisements there.  Besides wouldn't my Facebook friends' list feel used if I did that?

This blog, Rain Trueax, might be my best shot at promoting. I think anybody who seriously wants to write needs a blog like this where it is about sales and belief in the books. Sometimes I admit to wondering if I made a mistake not using the main blog with its larger readership but know how I felt back when others suddenly turned their blog into one to sell. It turned me off. It's different if a blog starts out about writing and promoting as this one has.

The new book is complicated by it being different than the ten already out. It's not building on the kind of book I have already published. It's not though so different in the feel of the story but that this one is set in an historic time.

For the editing, the historic setting has required a lot of second researching as I come across passages where I know I researched them when I wrote it-- but how carefully? If I can't remember, I go back and do it again.  Back then I didn't have the convenience of the internet to double-check my facts.

Monday, August 13, 2012

When one book leads to another


Editing on my Arizona historical romance has proven beneficial in an unexpected way. Always I had known that the marshal in this book, a secondary character, was the ancestor of the later O'Brians both in Desert Inferno and also in Evening Star. He was the one who settled the ranch that family still owned when they had to fight for it again against dangerous smugglers. Randy, from Evening Star, looked like that marshal and even took his career path as a lawman but with cowboy right under the surface.

But I had never figured I'd write his story. I had another hero for this one, and he was the one on my mind. That was true until this final editing when I realized I did know Marshal O'Brian's story and his romance-- even an unexpected connection to the hero of the one coming out in September. Instead of being about the area further south of Tucson and east to Tombstone, this one would go into Tucson's own corrupt history as well as to the southwest to the settling of what became the Circle O.

As a marshal who is disillusioned with the constant battles, Micah (what I think his name will be but that could change) faces trying to find fairness for a town. He is a man who knows the pain of loss as his wife died in Kansas of cholera and he had to leave his daughter there for grandparents to raise as he had no way to do it as a lawman. He makes a totally fantastic romance hero-- as well as a fun way to once again put some history into one of my romances.

Where I had a bit of a problem was coming up with who his woman would be. Once I thought about it a bit, that was also answered in the book I've been editing.

The unfortunate part about this is I am not remotely in a position to start this story. I do though know what it'll be although its title is still iffy in my mind, and I am wondering if this future book might change the title for the book that will lead into it. It would be nice to have the titles fit a bit together as my Oregon series titles do.

My main reason for not starting writing this one right now is my obligation to finish that three book series about the settling of Oregon. I had the first two done and only needing editing, but the third, that one I owe a finish and that will be what I start on right after this book is ready to go. It's been fun though to come up with this new story. Writing new books is a LOT more fun than editing, editing and editing the finished ones.

My excitement though on the plot for this second Arizona story will give me motivation to get busy as soon as I can for the one set in Portland, Oregon, the John Day country, and right after the Civil War.

When writing, often one book leads to another. That's the fun of writing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

thinking


Besides editing, I've been doing a lot of thinking about writing. Some of it has been in my mind a long time. Some fairly new.

Anybody can write.

That's a pure fact. It's not an art particularly but a skill and with training and caring, anybody can write. It's part of human abilities; and if you spend much time online, you see good writing many places.

Not anybody can write a book.

Anybody might think they can, but it's more complex than it sounds. A book means putting words together to be more than they were apart. A book has a beginning, middle and end. It has a direction and goes somewhere with a purpose. It is long enough to qualify technically to be more than a short story or novella. Not anybody can do this.

Even less can write a book that others want to read.

Here's where the rubber really hits the road as with a computer program today, probably a lot more people could turn out a book than do, but those books are often formula writing. People can copy the plots of someone else with some differences and turn out a book. BUT how many of them will prove to be books someone else wants to read? Actually whether it's formula writing or from the soul, still who can guarantee that a book will be one someone else will consider worth their time to read or put out their money to buy?

Okay so it's not great genius thinking but heck, it's the middle of summer. Not exactly a time for great in depth thinking at least not on my part. More a time to lie back and enjoy the [meteor showers] which will begin tonight and some say will be at their peak Sunday and Monday nights. I need a nice dark space which isn't as easy to find as one might think with so many country folk addicted to night security lights. I'll check that out though tonight from the back of the pick-up.

Photo from a couple of years ago in Tucson with a mourning dove doing what she could to turn out a new generation using a time old system.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A bit of this and that

Editing is progressing pretty well on the western historical which I wrote probably fifteen years ago. It will always be a story dear to my heart for assorted reasons including my love of that country, of this kind of western, and my feeling it speaks to my own life in many assorted ways including through dreams. When I wrote it, I didn't know how much that was true.

So I am trying to keep at it, get its facts in order, and at the same time enjoy our northwestern summer as it isn't that long for it to be here, and so much of mine gets caught up in ranch needs at this time of the year.


All the hay is on the property, the fences have been expanded and fixed where needed. The stream is holding up well for irrigation. The cattle are happy with their new tall grass to explore, elk will be less thrilled although they can jump the electric lines. We had a new calf this week; so so far so good. When you raise livestock, you always say that as the future can change very rapidly where it comes to ranching. So, it's good-- for now.

On a personal level I am trying to get my act together regarding diet and exercise. Frankly I have let both go again, and my body is telling me about it. When I was younger, I could cheat that way and pick it back up quickly. At nearly 69, I can't get away with it. I find myself short of breath doing anything which is partly overweight and partly lack of healthy activity. I'm trying to work on both while still getting that new book ready for September.

Our Northwest summer has been great ever since we got past June. Seems June has now become more like spring. I am hoping that means September will continue to be more like summer.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Free for one day

In discussing the writing of a 'series' of a sort, I thought it'd be a good time for a free day for one from that series-- Bannister's Way. As things stand, I am planning to only leave four books in Select which means the rest can go to other outlets but not be free anymore. I think (unless sales elsewhere are better than I expect) that I will keep four with the potential to now and again offer them for free. It helps to get the books out there and ratings go up when that happens.

When I wrote Desert Inferno, I was quite taken with the handsome, manipulative agent who had come to Arizona to catch a smuggler. Trying to save another, he was nearly killed. I began to think about his back story. When I came up with that, I wrote the book which also had Randy and Marla from Evening Star. The series connected through 'Evening Star' to two other books through Barrett, who had her own love story with Second Chance and was a best friend in Moon Dust. You know I really should not go into all of that as it confuses even me. Suffice it to say, 'Bannister's Way' has some similar characters.

It has a Trailer. Actually I've done one for it now twice and the way I like to play with trailers, who knows about another someday. I am into this idea of creating a trailer that goes into the energies that led to the books. This one has a lot of my own experiences within, as well as set in an area right outside of Portland that I know pretty well. I am getting distracted from my purpose here.

 

Bannister's Way will be free on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, for one day. If you haven't already tried romance books, this might be your chance to do so at no cost. Kindle books can also be read on the computer with a free app which is available there.  Always be sure it is free before you click Buy as that shows up with a line through the price.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Writing a series

Being a member of RWA of many years standing, I get Romance Writers Report, a magazine every month with articles by various authors as well as what's going on in the business. This month there was a story that at first I didn't see as about my own books-- 'What I wish I'd known about writing a series before I started mine' by Janet Tronstad who wrote a very long standing series called Dry Creek.

I have never read the books. Looking at them on Amazon, it appears they are of the sweet romance type which isn't really my choice for reading, but they look well done and well... sweet. She now has 24 of them which means she is successful in attracting readers.

She said when she began she didn't know she was writing a series. That led her to not keeping all the details straight and ending up with readers letting her know. The readers of her books are loyal and pay attention to the details. Given she's keeping all her stories in one town in eastern Montana, a fictional town, she saw that she had to recognize some key expectations and meet them.  I won't go further with her article but what reading it did for me was remind me of some of my own problems along the same lines.

Strictly speaking I had never seen myself as writing a series. But I have written a lot of books set in Portland, Oregon. I have written a lot of books that have similar characters and where a secondary character in one has led to a hero or heroine in another. I've had an advantage over Ms. Tronstad-- mine weren't published until I decided to put them all out. That meant I could clean up any messy little contradictions.


The first thing I did, when I decided I would put my contemporaries out as eBooks, was to look at the probable dates of each story. The ones that came first had to fit with those that followed for aging, relationships, etc.

In one book I had intended to use a secondary character who I already knew had been the hero of his own story. The more I looked at how complicated that would be, the more I decided it wouldn't work. I then renamed that secondary character and ended the problem.

Five of my books seem like a series, but they don't have that name. Desert Inferno is the only one of the five not set in Portland. It though connects with the others because of one family and a secondary character who ends up the hero of Bannister's Way. There were two years between which isn't too complicated, and it helped that the stories were not set in the same city.

One of those secondary characters in Bannister's Way was the hero of an earlier book, chronologically, Evening Star. As I worked through the logistics of that one with the age of a secondary character in Moon Dust who was the heroine of Second Chance, my mind nearly went blank.

When I wrote them, I liked the characters and wanted a love story using them, but I hadn't thought of them chronologically. When I did, it took some head scratching to see how that worked. Evening Star and Moon Dust both had to come first and Moon Dust by eight years. Evening Star I leave more vague other than it came well before Bannister's Way. Getting confused yet?

None of these books require reading the others, but in a way they are a series. I won't complicate this article more by mentioning that Hidden Pearl and Her Dark Angel are likewise one following the other, set in Portland, but none of the characters were in the other five which was done mostly to avoid having my head explode as well as understanding that big cities don't require everybody knowing each other (an aspect that wasn't true with the Dry Creek books).

With three historical novels set to come out next year which do follow one family through three different love stories, my problem was somewhat easier. There were two years between the first and second with over ten years before the third. All I had to do then was remember which secondary characters I might enjoy using as well as keep track of ages and the political climate of that time.

When I do a book connected to another, or really any story, I do keep notes. Before the explosion of software advances, I read it should be note cards for each character, but that didn't actually work for me as I tended to misplace or forget to look at them. What I do is write down the characters on a sheet of paper. I keep track of their ages and relationships to each other. This requires at least birth years and sometimes dates as well as arrows that connect one or another.  Frankly I tend to feel I know these people as personal friends; so a lot of what they are like is just in my head. It's the little gritty details-- like eye color-- that can foul me up.

Finally I write again on a sheet of paper what was going on politically and historically during the years of a particular story. When I edited and expanded Luck of the Draw, having lived through that period (1974), I still needed a reminder for what music was popular. Love the internet.

Some of my characters have no interest in the politics of their time; but if say in the settling of Oregon, they cared about statehood, it's important to understand who wanted it and who did not. I use my list of dates and events as well as books with markers where there are important passages I might want to reread. My system isn't modern but it works-- when I don't forget to look at it.

Programs, which have been recommended to me as helpful, include PageFour (free), WriteWayPro and Scrivener. I honestly think I'd have to take a class to learn to use any of them as techie stuff is not my thing; but maybe someday I'll take the time to figure it all out. PageFour sits on my desktop reminding me I should do that. If I do, I'll likely realize I should have been using one of them all along. I am that way.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

marketing marketing marketing or not


A good part of marketing for indie writers today has meant exploring various ways to use social media. Social media is everywhere and the suggestions for how to use them likewise.

For me Facebook was easy that is if I didn't want to come on there with a different identity to do it. Having it purely as a Rain Trueax [author page] for the videos, etc., that didn't take much. Anyone can access it whether a member of Facebook or not... I think. Does anybody else access it? Probably not.

Then there has been Twitter which I still don't quite get how it can benefit anybody. I get people wanting to follow me who have no interest in my writing or me. They do it purely to get me to follow them. This involves even starlets who obviously have somebody running their Twitter for them. Once I understood how this worked, I only added people I thought were in my market which still can end up going nowhere as the numbers go up and down. Sell books? Unlikely.

I joined Linkedin which some have said was good, and likewise [Pinterest] which I can't even remember how to spell but put up book covers and a couple of photos with no clue how any of that can sell books. My theory right now is-- unlikely.

Finally there is YouTube where I have the trailers [Rain Trueax Channel] and again-- does it actually get the books seen by someone new? Seems unlikely too.

The problem of getting books seen is the big one for indie writers. Maybe it comes through getting reviews and that requires either spending some money or sending out the books to various review sites and hoping they not only get noticed but in a positive way. Will that sell books? Who knows.

You can put a lot of time into all of these things and does it actually end up with the books being seen? So far I have no idea. When a book of mine does sell, and some have done pretty well off and on, I also have no idea how they got seen or why. Is it all a crap shoot? Luck? Timing? You already know what my answer to that is. I am, however, hanging in and maybe someday I will know. I can definitely see why some do hire publicists to do this kind of thing for them-- some who have the money to do it!