Tuesday, October 19, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

I have a bunch of index cards. Every time I come across a bit of writing wisdom, I write it on a card. I now have between fifty and a hundred cards, with one or more tidbits on each.

Here's one I came across, to give you an idea:

Clues to where it goes, goes there

  • -NO! Goes not there
  • or one step further
  • or sideways
  • or back

What are the consequences if she fails?

How does her decision affect the external world?

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - Selling Verbs

 I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published January 20, 2011 for the Samhellion

Cars chasing, crashing, exploding. Fireworks shooting, color splashing in the sky. A fire licking in the fireplace on a cold winter night.

Motion attracts us. I learned this early in my marriage, when I had to compete with a flickering television for my tired husband’s attention after a long day’s work. To be fair, he had to also compete for mine. :)

We writers can’t make words physically dance across the page. Or at least, not yet  :) For now we have to evoke motion with strong clean verbs.

Last month I talked about immediacy. Today I’m pushing (shoving forcing selling driving thrusting) verbs. I’m taking my example from Biting Me Softly, because it’s handy and I know how I changed it—and okay, because it’s coming out in paperback February 1 (bats eyelashes appealingly). “I” in this case is Liese, a girl-next-door computer geek. Logan is six-three of golden graceful vampire. They’ve just met but the attraction is instant and explosive.

 I squeaked, trembling between cold hard steel and hot hard Steel. My lips parted on a gasp and in that instant Logan’s mouth claimed mine.

His kiss was hungry, deep and driving, like he wanted to eat me to my toes. I was instantly on fire. I wrapped my arms around his neck, tried to fuse with his scorching strength to burn more. My breasts rasped against his thrust of chest, my nipples cinching. Logan’s fingers found the hard nubs, tightened around them like vises. Lightning bolts of need streaked through me. My respiration shot into overdrive. I swallowed a cry and arched into his palms. Logan’s fingers clamped harder. I shrieked.

Dropped, eat, fuse, and rasped are good strong verbs. I personally like squeak because it conveys character too. But I “was” on fire? Logan’s fingers “found” the hard nubs?

What verbs would you use instead? How about swept, grabbed, seized?

Fire swept my body, melting bones and muscles. I wrapped my arms around his neck to save myself from liquefying into a puddle of 10W-Liese at his feet. My breasts rasped against the thrust of his chest, my nipples cinched at the scorching heat. He grabbed my breasts two-handed, long fingers seizing the hard nubs and pinching them like vises.

What verbs would you choose? What are your favorites, and why?


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Night's Bliss is coming

Night's Bliss, Elias's story, is nearly here. Coming November 15. One more look at the gorgeous cover.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Cover art, take me away...

The art is a story as much the words. Enjoy this cover reveal for Night's Bliss and let your imagination go.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

3T Writing Tidbit

Ever read a story where the hero wins in the end...but you kinda wish they didn't?

That's because the hero didn't earn their reward. 

Instinctively, we know what's fair and what isn't. If the hero pays a small price but cashes in big, that's not fair. Equally unfair is if the hero pays a huge price but someone else cashes in, or the reward is tiny in comparison.

Rewards can be earned by:

  • learning
  • sacrifice
  • commitment

Has your hero/heroine earned their reward?

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

2T Repeat Performance - Interview With a Cat

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published January 4, 2011 for MeanKitty


Cats with Writers Interview Series, by Meankitty


Living in the Hughes household are year-and-a-half-old brothers Aahz and Caesar II (Mary’s son’s cats, so the grandcats) and grande dame 20*-year-old Skittles. Aahz and Caesar II are tabbies, blond and brunet, and Skittles’s fur is jet black with orange highlights (all natural, dearie).

*Twenty years is anywhere from 85 to 97 in a human, depending on which calculator you use. She’s, um, age-enhanced.

1) So, your human writes books. Does this mean he or she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.

Aahz: Yes and no. During the day she shuts herself in the office with my sleeping chair. Sometimes she’ll even skootch me back during my morning nap, sitting her butt on a full half of my chair! I mean, what part of *my chair* doesn’t she get?

Caesar II: Hey, you’re lucky. When I’m on the chair she’ll lift me and take over the whole seat. Though she makes up for it by setting me on her warm lap and petting me. (Purrs.) Petting is good.

Skittles: She does come out of the office to bring me my 12 and 5 p.m. feedings. But I’m going to have to talk to her about the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. meals and the 3 p.m. treats.

Aahz: Hey. We only get fed twice a day.

Skittles: Whaddya want? I’m old.

2) How large a proportion of her income do you have her devote to your gourmet tuna, cat beds, toys and other basic necessities?

Aahz: Being a writer’s pretty solitary. So we make sure she’s kept active by sending her out for special food, medicine, and treats.

Skittles: I’m old, so I need lots of small meals. And I only eat expensive pate cat food mixed with baby food. Not because of my teeth, which work just fine on crunchy treats. Because it’s expensive, so a great incentive to keep her working hard at her writing. Although I’d rather have a Mustang V8.

Caesar II: I help out by getting her to take me to the vet. That’s super-expensive. And a sacrifice on my part because the vet pokes me with needles. (Turns to his brother.) Although you could go. Why don’t you go?

Aahz: Because you’re the best-mannered of all of us. You get the human women to love you, and never shred any of them with your claws.

Caesar II: Oh yeah. Because then they pet me. (Grins.)

3) What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it's fun?

Caesar II: I like to sit on her lap and spread. My favorite position is my head and front paws on her forearm so she has to type one-handed. And then I demand she pet me so she doesn’t have any hands free!

Aahz: I like to practice my magic tricks. My favorite is where I tug the tablecloth off the table, you know, the table with the big cylinder sprouting green leafy stuff and red flowers on top. I give myself ten points for pulling the tablecloth all the way off. But sometimes when I pull the cloth, the cylinder comes too. It lands on the carpet and makes a big whump! and my human comes running. I give myself an extra ten points for that.

4) What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human's writing career?

Aahz: The chair-sharing that she makes me do. Although she does scritch my neck to make up for it.

Skittles: I have to toddle upstairs to remind her of my two p.m. feeding, very annoying. Hey, I’m old! And she won’t even buy me a Mustang 5L V8 to make up for it. Kitty’s gotta have her playthings.

5) Tell me about the felines in your human's fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play?

Caesar II (hissing): She hasn’t had any of us in her books.

Skittles: Since she writes erotic vampire romances, that isn’t a bad thing. I mean, how would I explain that to my kids? Wait—I was fixed—oh, heck, just feed me!

6) On the off-chance your human has yet to incorporate cats into a story, what are your plans for making sure she rectifies this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

Caesar II: I’m using Big Kitty Eyes to convince her to write a shifter novelba romance with a handsome, dark-haired heroic big cat shifter named Caesar.

Aahz: Or Aahz.

Caesar II: That name’s been used already, in Robert Asprin’s Myth books.

Aahz (bristling): Yeah? Well Caesar’s already a Roman general.

Caesar II (claws coming out): A heroic, very handsome general I’m sure.

Skittles: Hey, you kids, stop that fighting. And get off my lawn…I mean litter box.

7) What works of fiction or cinema involving cats does your human enjoy sharing with you?

Caesar II: I like the Cat Sitter video. I’ll paw that screen for hours to catch the birds.

Aahz: When my human’s trying to wind down by doing puzzles, I like to sit on the puzzle book.

Caesar II: It’s fun to chomp her pencil too.

Skittles: Plebs. I share artistic endeavors with my human and her mate. Specifically, we watch television. I like House, M.D. even though it doesn’t have cats, because I loved Hugh Laurie in Blackadder.

Aahz: Hugh Laurie was in a show before House?

Skittles (ignoring the children): I also like Simon’s Cat videos on YouTube. And Meankitty.com. And Animaniac reruns with my role model Slappy Squirrel. Cranky old lady squirrel squealing her fire-engine-red sports car around town. Awesomeness personified.

8) If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?

Caesar II: She’d give me more pets.

Aahz: Like she doesn’t pet you all the time.

Caesar II: Exactly my point. She doesn’t pet me 24/7.

Aahz: Her hand would fall off. Then who would change our litter?

Skittles: I’m old. Feed me.

User submitted:

Question for pets: Are you happy with your human? If you could tell your human one thing, what would it be?

Caesar II: I’m warm, fed, and well-petted, so I’m happy.

Aahz: Me too.

Skittles: Feed me.


What things does your human do that would mortify it if known? What does your human do that most annoys?

Skittles: Mortifies? Even though she’s way older than me, she wants to buy a sexy red Mustang. Annoys? She hasn’t bought me mine!


Questions for cats: Did your human name a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why?

Caesar II: Not yet!! But I’m working on it. Mental kitty wavelength big handsome heroic cat-shifter Caesar…

And did your human name you for a fictional character? Hate it or love it?

Aahz: My human’s son named me for a main character in Robert Asprin’s Myth series. Aahz is a demon from the dimension of Perv (a Pervert). My original name was Aladdin. I think Aahz is a step up.


How do you give your writer new ideas?

Aahz: My claws make her think sharp. *snort*

Caesar II: Ha-ha.

Skittles: Feed me.