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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

POV

Putting this blog on inactive status where it becomes a place I can always show someone my entire list of books as well as explaining the heat level.



This excerpt, the last for a while, is from one of my personal favorite contemporary books, Her Dark Angel. One scene in it came right out of one of my dreams. I consider it a bit of a beauty and the beast story (the beast more the soul of the hero than his appearance as he's a very handsome man-- actor and model, Daniel Sobieray well captures the complexity of the man). 

With angel in the title, it might seem it's a supernatural story; but it's not-- even though there is one hard to explain event-- but more metaphysical and the sort of thing that shows up in the papers once in a while.

The main reason for sharing this excerpt is how the styles of writing have changed from when I wrote it in the mid-'90s to today regarding point of view. Back then to have the points of view switch around was perfectly acceptable. Today a few writers still do it, but it's much less favored. Today, it's more common to have a point of view last a scene, chapter. or more rarely a whole book. So here's the excerpt as it appears today in the book. Below it, I rewrote it keeping that scene in one point of view. I could redo the whole book and might (most of my books from the 90s were written in this style). The problem with shifting points of view is always being sure the reader knows whose head they are inside. Head hopping takes some skill to make that obvious.

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 For a moment, Dill forgot what he'd intended to do, that he'd wanted her to fight him off, to have Johnny catch them like that. Johnny's anger with him should be cause enough for them both to catch a plane to safer ground, but the feel of her against him, the softness of her body pressed against his made him lose track of his intentions. One kiss. What could one kiss hurt?
          He bent, his lips brushed hers. She started to pull away, but his hands left the wall and he wrapped his arms around her, drawing her against him. "God, sweetness," he murmured, half prayer, half entreaty as he felt her press against him, her lips softening as he again bent to claim their sweetness.
          Katy opened her mouth, letting his kiss more fully possess her. Her body was alive with the feeling of his lips, his tongue, his hands, his hard body against her. She gave up the battle and brought her arms up around his neck. In some distant corner of her brain, she thought, this was wrong, but she couldn't remember why, couldn’t push away, couldn't do anything but claim what he was offering.
          She heard a door open, felt Dill’s body tense and from somewhere found the strength to push away, except Dill held her, the smile on his lips cold as he shifted to cup her breast with his hand. She slapped ineffectually at him, beginning to feel a real anger as she understood what he was doing, all but the reasons for it
          "What the bloody hell," her uncle's yell came from the doorway.
          Dill moved away, turning to face the enraged rush of her uncle. "You punk," Johnny roared. His fist lashed out and caught Dill on the point of his chin.
          Dill made no attempt to defend himself and took the next blow too, letting Johnny vent the anger he'd known he would feel. Not wanting the older man's heart to be over worked by a fight, Dill stepped into the next wild swing and felt it lift him almost from his feet and stagger him against the wall where he slid to the ground, half dazed from the blow.
          Johnny turned back to Katy. "Did he hurt you?"
          "He… he was just kissing me."
          "I saw!" Johnny's voice rose with his anger. He turned to stare down at Dill who was rubbing his jaw. "I trusted you, and you treated her like one of your whores," he said, his voice now coming back to a more normal range.
          Dill pushed himself to his feet. "Trust?" he asked. "You used me, old man. I've always known it, and this proves it."
          Johnny stared at him, the hurt in his eyes. "How could you lay a hand on her? Don't you know what kind of woman she is?"
          "Too good for my kind? Is that it?" Dill asked, deliberately lighting a cigarette. Go for broke, that was his only thought now.
          "She's... You're..."
          Johnny stopped, unable or unwilling to voice the gulf between them. Dill wanted him angry, wanted him protective, wanted him gone, and he used a crude obscenity; then added, "She's just another woman."



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For a moment, Dill forgot what he'd intended to do, that he'd wanted her to fight him off, to have Johnny catch them like that. Johnny's anger with him should be cause enough for them both to catch a plane to safer ground, but the feel of her against him, the softness of her body pressed against his made him lose track of his intentions. One kiss. What could one kiss hurt?
Bending, his lips brushed hers. She started to pull away, but his hands left the wall, and he wrapped his arms around her, drawing her against him. "God, sweetness," he murmured, half prayer, half entreaty as he felt her press against him, her lips softening as he again bent to claim their sweetness. It shocked him as she opened her mouth, allowing him access. He felt her body come alive with the kiss-- worse, so did his. When her arms went up around his neck, he knew it was wrong, a mistake, that this had been way more than he intended.
He heard the door open and tensed his body, found the strength to push away but he had one last thing to do. He knew his smile was cold, soul destroying when he cupped her breast with his hand. She seemed to come awake and slap ineffectually at him, he saw the anger in her eyes. Good. He wanted her furious.
          "What the bloody hell," Johnny yelled from the doorway. There was shock in the old man's eyes, as his mouth dropped open. Dill moved farther from Katy ready to face the enraged rush of her uncle, the man who had done so many things for him, for whom he would have given his life. He was doing something even harder-- giving up respect and even his soul but it had to be this way.
"You punk," Johnny roared. His fist lashed out and caught Dill on the point of his chin. Dill made no attempt to defend himself and took the next blow too, letting Johnny vent the anger he'd known he would feel. Not wanting the older man's heart to be over worked by a fight, Dill stepped into the next wild swing and felt it lift him almost from his feet and stagger him against the wall where he slid to the ground, half dazed from the blow.
  Johnny turned back to Katy. "Did he hurt you?"
  "He… he was just kissing me."
  "I saw!" Johnny's voice rose with his anger. He turned to stare down at Dill who was rubbing his jaw. "I trusted you, and you treated her like one of your whores," he said, his voice now coming back to a more normal range.
 Dill pushed himself to his feet. "Trust?" he asked. "You used me, old man. I've always known it, and this proves it."
  Johnny stared at him, the hurt in his eyes. "How could you lay a hand on her? Don't you know what kind of woman she is?"
  "Too good for my kind? Is that it?" Dill asked, deliberately lighting a cigarette. Go for broke, that was his only thought now.
   "She's... You're..."  Johnny stopped, unable or unwilling to voice the gulf between them. 
Dill wanted him angry, wanted him protective, wanted him gone, and he used a crude obscenity; then added, "She's just another woman."

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I have to admit, I like the version all from Dill's view but do I really want to rewrite this book? I can't afford the time right now. So if anyone reading here is willing to give their opinion, I'd appreciate it... 





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Price to be Paid


With the need to inspire myself for the book I need to finish, here's a snippet. It's paranormal, and third in the Hemstreet Witches Series. The problem has not been that I don't like the characters. The issue the hero will be facing is a huge one, and I have not been sure how to handle it. 

The story is about reincarnation and the question of redemption. Can a soul who has done bad things find a way to redeem itself in a future lifetime? If so, what is the price? In the newspapers, we read about human monsters, are shocked at what they have done, and some say they go to hell for eternal punishment. What if that's not what happens after they die? 

It's definitely not the light topic that many want in a romance. He's a complicated character as a rancher, multimillionaire, father, lawyer and considering a run for major political office in Arizona.  What he has to deal with in terms of his soul, that's not even on his radar as he is a very practical minded person. The life he was living when he was killed in 1901 is someone he's heard very little about. He's about to learn more, and it won't make him happy.

The political aspect is probably what stopped me in September. I needed time to really think about it. I've had the time and still not sure of how to proceed but proceed I will this week.


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    He had barely gotten in from working, taken a quick shower, and opened a beer when he heard a car driving in. Out on the porch, he watched as Jason got out of his low-slung sports car.
    “Hot for March,” he said as his friend stepped onto the porch. “Maybe be an early summer. Want a Nimbus or a Lager?”
    “Make it light. I have work yet to do.”
    A few minutes later, they were sprawled on the porch lawn chairs and sipping from their beers.    “You said you needed to talk,” Asa said.
    “Your mother in town?”
    Asa shook his head. “On her way back to Flag.”
    “All right. Well, for one, we need to go over your meetings for next week. You will need some endorsements.” He handed Asa a sheet of names. “These would be a good start.”
    Scanning down them, Asa looked up. “This could all have been covered in an email.”
    Jason handed him another sheet. “These are issues likely to come up where you need to have positions.”
    “Again—why not an email?”
    “For what I want to discuss, emails are less than safe if you are being hacked."
    "Am I?" 
    "You could be and besides, I wanted this conversation face to face.”
    Asa nodded. “So spit it out.”



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bannister's Way with new cover and excerpt


 I am supposed to be writing on the new book; but this week-end, with all the snow to admire and knowing the coming week would see it all turned to slush and disappear into the creek or ground (depending on whether we are lucky to avoid flooding), I actually spent my time redoing some covers. One in particular has now had four covers. Covers are so important to getting a book seen. They need to attract interest but stick to the story that will be inside. 

There are a lot of elements to Bannister's Way and deciding on which ones to emphasize on the cover created part of the problem. One of the things I used in the book was my experience in taking life drawing as well as years of painting and sculpting nudes. I thought it'd make for an interesting side element to a mystery/suspense romance. 

For added fun in writing, I chose to have four old ladies as minor characters. These ladies share various bits of wisdom they have gathered over the years. One has the same name as my mother-in-law :).

Whether a new cover will bring this book out of Amazon's black hole, of course, is debatable. The important thing for me is that it fits the hero and the story. Since I do my own covers, I never say never on changing them. There are many though that have had the same cover all along. It's all in hitting the mood of the book right from the start-- a little luck doesn't hurt. 

I do not plan to totally edit the writing (at this point) even though it has some aspects regarding point of view that were more common when I wrote it in the '90s than today. I don't mind reading books that change points of view within a scene, as long as it's clear whose head I am inside. Today, I prefer keeping a scene from one viewpoint, but I've learned that changing one written in the other style is pretty difficult. I still prefer reading books that do share the viewpoint of the hero and heroine, and maybe one other characters, sometimes the villain.

Excerpt:

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     Raven frowned. This was not going to be much fun. The stresses of teaching, of inspiring those who had no desire to be inspired, left her wishing--not for the first nor probably last time--that her own artistic efforts gave her enough funds not to need to teach those with no interest in being artists themselves. Oh well, show time.
     "I'm Dr. Lawrence, but you can call me Raven as that feels like me. You are in Life Drawing 301. If you are in the wrong room, leave now. If you belong here, I want your registration cards. As the basket comes past, put them in it. No chatter now. Listen up. I want to explain to you something about the class you've registered for."

    David only half listened as he heard her tell them about the value there was to be had from taking seriously a study of fine art, how throughout the ages great artists have seen the study of the body--the musculature, the bone structure, in short the anatomy--was important to make their work come alive. They must take seriously the study of the nude--" 
    Whoa! What had she just said? Nude! Who said anything about... nude? And then he knew and wished nothing so much as that Vance was nearby where he could get his hands around his throat. A good dodge, a natural way in, his friend had said. Friend, hah! He'd kill him!
He barely heard the rest of Raven's instructions. It was impossible. No way under this earth or above it could he take off his clothes in front of all these people! He looked at the students, at their interested gazes in a new way. They must know he was the model, the guinea pig, the sacrificial lamb, the... No!  He would not strip. It was out of the question. No way could he do it.