Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Road Trips, Blizzards, And Truth Stranger Than Fiction

It's my pleasure to have Lori Foster as my guest Over Coffee. I thoroughly enjoy Lori's books. Although I've only recently discovered them and quite by accident.

One day, making a trip with some co-workers to a three day seminar, I realized I left my book at home. The car group stopped at a little mom and pop store that had a small selection of book. A few I had already read, most were authors I hadn't heard of. A book caught my eye by an author I hadn't read before. It was Lori Foster and the book, Too Much Temptation. I read the back cover and thought, wow, this sounds like a fun read. It was. After that I bought several of her back list, like Jude's Law and Murphy's Law. Then I read one of her Mixed Martial Arts books and loved it.

I'll admit it, I'm hooked and I'm really looking forward to Drew's story (excerpt link below).

Like most authors, I sometimes need a break from writing. Not often, because whenever I’m away from writing too long, I start to get antsy. Usually, even when upsetting things happen, my writing is my escape, my entertainment.

But losing my dad... that was a blow. He passed away on the 11th, and I’ve been struggling with writing ever since. I did manage to finish my last single title not too far behind the deadline. But then I was supposed to do a novella that is now late. (It was originally due Feb 1st!)

So anyway, hubby and I decided on an impromptu trip to Tennessee to look at gorgeous lakefront vacation property. Usually a short road trip will rejuvenate me and I get back ready to leap into a story. This time, I came back exhausted!

See, we blundered into one of the worst winter storms Tennessee has ever had! It didn’t really hit until we’d cleared Ohio and Kentucky – two states that know how to deal with snow. We had already travelled too far to turn back, so we pushed on – past a lot of semi tractor-trailers that were overturned, in a ditch, upside down and demolished, past several police cars that had slid off the road, past numerous cars that had spun out of control – too many to even keep count – and past a horrifying accident that involved an ambulance upside down in a ravine. We said a quick prayer that the ambulance hadn’t already been carrying an injured person.

It was a harrowing ride – what should have taken 6 hours ended up being almost 9. Given the pile-up of snow on either side of the road, there was only enough room for one vehicle. You couldn’t see the exits even if you wanted to take one, so forget potty breaks. The wiper blades kept freezing over, meaning we could barely see out of the windshield. Hubby drove hunched over the steering wheel, holding it in a death grip.

When we did finally reach the hotel, it was all but buried so we had to plow our way into the parking lot, and then got snowy to our knees getting in the door.

As I took my two little Chihuahuas in and hubby was unloading, we realized we’d forgotten the suitcase holding our clothes.

We had the bag with our shower supplies, my hair stuff (brushes and blow dryer) and make up, and a mostly-eaten bag of snacks. We had several other bags filled with things that my doggies needed. THEY were set, with their cushy bed, their leashes, their food, water bowl, medicine, blankets, a variety of treats, etc...

Of course, once at the hotel, we weren’t about to head back out in search of food or clothes. The room was awesome, but I was uncomfortable and hungry and I wanted clean socks! Thank heavens the internet worked! I’d have gone bonkers if I had to do without that, on top of not eating and not having cozy PJs.

Everything was so snowed-under, that even that next morning we couldn’t get out to see the vacation property. The roads were all but shut down, and you can imagine that roads surrounding new building sites near a lake sure wouldn’t have been a priority for road crews.

Totally bummed, we ate a wonderful breakfast supplied by the hotel, and then headed back home. It was again rough travel until we hit Kentucky, then smooth sailing. But along the way... I got a neat plot idea! See, that novella I have to start is all about spring break and flings and I can’t think of a better way to get things going than to have my couple get sidetracked by a snowstorm when they’re expecting sandy beaches. Heaven knows, I’ll have plenty of experience now to pull from! Every complaint you just heard from me will be in that story!

So now you know, much of what’s in my books is complete and total fiction, but every so often, some of it is based in fact! I’m not going to tell all of the “real” parts, but this time, I don’t mind sharing. LOL.

  • Do you use real experiences in your writing?
  • How much ofreal life goes into YOUR writing?

    Back Cover Blurb:
SBC president Drew Black is as controversial as they come. But the hot-headed entrepreneur is a perfect match for his popular sports club venture: uncompromising and extreme. Maybe too extreme. With a reputation for saying what he thinks, Drew's been causing a lot of friction. That's why someone's been called in to clean up his image—before he does any permanent damage.

The lucky lady is Gillian Noode, a PR expert who's smoothed out the rough edges on many a man. But Drew is rougher than anyone she's ever met, and he refuses to change for any woman, for any reason. To make matters more complicated, Gillian's starting to like him raw. Now, opposites aren't only attracting, they're igniting. But in the rising heat, which one of them will end up on top?
First Chapter Excerpt

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has routinely had 6 to 10 releases a year and has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martins, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain. She is currently with Berkley/Jove.

Lori believes it’s important to back to the community as much as possible, and for that reason she ran special contests in conjunction with a publisher, facilitating many first sales for new authors. She routinely organizes events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

Along with her good friend, Dianne Castell, Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester Ohio. Proceeds from the event go to benefit worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, and The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

In 2007, Lori put together “The Write Ingredients” a cookbook of recipes donated by popular authors. Proceeds from the cookbook go toward Lori’s ongoing “Troop project” of collecting and mailing fun, and sometimes necessary items to our troops.

In 2008, Lori coordinated eleven other authors of her choosing, and through Berkley, arranged for the publication of a special anthology of novellas about empowering women. Proceeds from the anthology will go to the Battered women’s shelter.

In 2009, another anthology with Lori and a new set of authors will be published with proceeds to benefit The Animal Adoption Foundation.

Stop by Lori's website for the lastest from LL Foster and Lori Foster

Monday, February 1, 2010

Keeping the Balls In The Air

My guest is Cecilia Tan. Cecilia writes Erotic Romance and Sci-Fi, sometimes writing on more than one project at a time.

As writers, we have often have to juggle our life tasks to be able to write. Many authors work full time, others work part time and raise children, or taking care of parents, spouses receiving medical treatment, or jobs and college.

I've always been able to multi-task, but after reading what Cecilia does and how she does it, I know the men in the white coats would be coming to take me away, if I even tried to follow her schedule, lol!

I've always been a juggler, and by that I mean a multi-tasker, although I did learn to actually juggle when I was younger. I think my brain just likes lots of variety in stimulation. It's why I like tasting menus at restaurants better than just one big serving of something great. A little of this, and a little of that, and always more coming... but you never get bored or tired of any one thing that way.

I get the workaholic multi-tasking streak directly from my mom. When I was a kid she was always doing a million things, balancing shuttling me and my brother around with cleaning the house, working part time, running fundraisers, being band booster president, teaching classes for the Girl Scouts, being a quit-smoking counselor, and still getting dinner on the table every night so we could sit down as a family together.

But lately I haven't just been juggling my fiction writing with freelance editing, volunteer work, and a few other part-time jobs (teaching tae kwon do and doing massage therapy), but juggling multiple writing projects. It's exciting and a little scary at the same time.

I told a friend that I was writing two romance novels simultaneously, as well as an erotic serial, and a couple of short stories, all at once (not to mention my baseball blog, tea blog, et cetera...) and she told me her head would explode if she tried to do that. I pointed out, reasonably, that she did quite well in college while taking four classes per semester, and for me that's a lot of what it is like.

Some days I work more on one project, some on another. The real secret is that whenever I get blocked on one project, I can "procrastinate" writing it by writing one of the others! It is a lot of balls to keep in the air, and when Christmas came, all the balls hit the floor for a bit and it took me a few weeks to get them all back in the air again. Oops.

One character in particular was trying to hold me hostage. Kyle, the main character of my
Magic University paranormal romance series, just would not do what I wanted him to do. He reached a certain point in his book and then just dug in his heels and wouldn't go any farther.

Magic U is probably one of my most ambitious projects in 20 years of professional writing, because it is a four book series. It was a more intricate level of plotting than I've done before, and of course I can't go back and change things in the earlier books now that they are out. It was while writing book two,
The Tower and the Tears (which literally just launched last week! Excitement!) that I realized just how complicated a multi-book project really is, especially in terms of the kind of character development that can take place over multiple years/books.

Kyle's book, of course, was the one with the nearest deadline, but I had to just take a deep breath and let him stew on the back burner for a while. I concentrated on getting ahead in
The Prince's Boy instead, a serialized m/m romance I've been writing and posting as I go along. Doing a serial is kind of a high-wire act because I have to get a new chapter out every week. And what if Prince Kenet decided to dig in his heels like Kyle did? I'd really be up a creek. Fortunately for me, Kenet cooperated, and I wrote several chapters ahead on his story while I had the "free" time.

Kyle and I eventually came to an understanding about what was going on inside his head, and in his heart. I'm not giving anything away by saying that in the Magic University series, part of our hero's fantasy quest is the quest for true love. It being a quest, he isn't going to find it in the beginning of the story, but toward the end. As such, he ends the first book somewhat on the lonely side.

Well, actually, that is the problem. Some traumatic things happen to him in his freshman year of college, and I had planned that by the time I started book two, for his sophomore year, that he'd have gotten over them. As it turns out, he hadn't gotten over them at all. If anything, he was in denial about not having gotten over them, too, so with both him and me in denial... we had a lot of baggage that needed to be dealt with once it had dragged the story to a complete halt.

Of course, one of the things I like best about writing romance is I know my readership won't shy away from emotional highs and lows; they come to me for the rollercoaster ride, and so when a character has a lot of emotional baggage to deal with, ultimately it's like handing me more wool to weave. I can keep layering in more and more...

Until the deadline comes, anyway. And then I have to tear it free and hand it to the editor.

  • How do you multi-task your work or writing projects?

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Cecilia Tan has been writing professionally since she was a teenager, which she definitely isn't, anymore. She is the author of several romances for Ravenous Romance, including her "Harry Potter for adults" the Magic University series and Mind Games, as well as the BDSM sci-fi adventure Royal Treatment just released from Torquere Press. Her literary erotica has been published nearly everywhere. She loves tea, baseball, cats, and books, and more of her thoughts on these and other subjects can be found at her blog: