August 13, 2015

A Low Down Dirty Reader Shame

Head-in-hands A few days ago, I read a fabulous post by Jami Gold on the topic of Subjectivity and Reader Shaming. Granted, the subjectivity part had to do with contest scores for RWA’s (Romance Writers of America) RITA and Golden Heart contests, but it still resonated with me.

I’ve been reading adult romance since I was a freshman in high school and have been reader shamed from Day One.

By co-workers.

By complete strangers.

By my friends.

By my father.

Even the older male cashier at a Barnes and Noble! The one place in all of readerland where no person should be judged for their reading preferences.

The comments are usually pretty consistent:

“Oh, you read that smut?”

“That’s just straight porn.”

“It’s for entertainment. You don’t learn anything.”

I think I actually did the Snoopy Dance when eReaders came out because then I wouldn’t have to worry about carrying around a paperback book. If people saw the cover, I would get the sneer before they even opened their mouth. I was not embarrassed to be reading romance, but man, it was hard not to when I was made to feel that way.

To be honest, talking shit about a genre you’ve never read is working my last nerve. It’s more prevalent for romance readers, and unfortunately, it’s influenced by magazines like Playboy, Playgirl and Penthouse. That’s porn, people! You make assumptions and we all know what that means: you make an ASS out of U and ME. But let’s get real here, you’re just making out of yourself.

One of Jami’s quotes was “Reader discomfort can be individual.” In our society, we’ve been brainwashed to believe that sex and sexuality is a dirty thing that should be kept behind closed doors. We’re uncomfortable talking about it and reading about it. Unlike the Europeans, who probably think we’re a bunch of prudes. Romance–in all of its forms–may not be your cup of tea. I get that and understand it. But making others feel ashamed because they do like it is just plain ignorant.

I don’t read historicals, dystopian, comic books, young adult, memoirs, autobiographies (except for that one about Olympic pairs skater Sergei Grinkov), thrillers, steam punk, westerns, poetry (although I like poetry slams), or themes on BDSM, ménage, M/M, F/F and motorcycle clubs, for one reason and one reason only: I’m. Not. Interested. When I was writing YA, my parents bought the two books I wrote and indie published because I wrote them and they wanted to support my writing. They’ve never read them and I’m okay with that. Because it’s not the type of stuff–or the genre–they read. And I totally get that.

It’s SUBJECTIVE.

I never read 50 Shades of Grey and I never will. Why? Because it involves a topic I don’t like to read about.

People were saying that the writing was horrible. That’s fine. It’s their opinion. I can’t say yay or nay and I’m not about to talk shit about something I’ve never read. Because 1) it’s subjective (oh, look, there’s that word again) and 2) romance is kind of a big-small world and I don’t want to alienate myself before I even get started.

Another of Jami’s quotes is “Readers can have different levels of pickiness”. This is true. That’s me, right there. I’m picky about the type of books I read (as you can see from the list above). But even within the romance subgenre, I’m picky. I prefer mostly contemporary with a little bit of paranormal thrown in for good measure. Just because I don’t like reading about certain things–or certain genres–doesn’t mean somebody else will feel the same way.

My Mom used to read Stephen King and Dean Koontz books, but she wouldn’t keep them in the house because they freaked her out. I find that hilarious, but I’m not about to make her feel ashamed for reading them because I myself don’t read those kinds of books.

My friend Bryan reads comic books, works in a comic book store, and even writes comic books of his own. I’m not going to make him feel ashamed for reading those types of books because it’s not my thing. It’s what he loves to do and I think it’s fucking awesome that he creates his own. For the record, I’m a huge fan of Storm and Gambit from X-Men. Just sayin’.

But you see where I’m going here, right?

It’s SUBJECTIVE (are you choking on this word yet?).

Your reading tastes aren’t mine and mine aren’t yours. But if they are, FUCK YEAH and welcome to my Friends Circle.

So the next time you curl your lip up and succumb to Foot in Mouth Disease at someone’s choice of reading material, remember that we all enjoy stories for different reasons and we all have different reasons for reading what we do.

And there’s no shame in that.

So, have you ever been “reader shamed” or done the “reader shaming”  yourself? Do tell. This inquiring mind wants to know.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

 

 

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August 12, 2015

Wet Panty Wednesday #31

This month’s theme: Native American Men

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August 11, 2015

Writing Tip Tuesday #20: Alexander Limberg

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I can honestly say the one thing I’m really good at when it comes to writing is description. I remember seeing INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE and wanting to read the book by Anne Rice. The way that woman described things–and her descriptions could go on for pages–sucked me in. I felt like I was really there, at that house in New Orleans. She made that house so real to me that I felt like if I ever get the chance to visit New Orleans, I’d be able to find it house by description alone.

I felt that was a sign of a good writer and vowed to do the same thing myself, even though I know it can be a little overkill on my part.

When I was writing dialogue for my YA books, that was easy-peasy. I’d immersed myself in that culture for so long, that it was second nature.

Writing from an adult POV, however, has been a little intimidating. I don’t want Remy and Shao to come off sounding like teenagers. In the scenes that I wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo, I honestly think there was more narrative/description than dialogue. As I let those scenes marinate, Alexander Limberg ’s post on Balancing Dialogue and Description in Your Story couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ll have to go back and edit those scenes, connect them, and he provided six ways to let  description support the dialogue.

  1. Advancing Plot – When the climax finally arrives, make the description of the action short and spend more time on the characters’ psychology: we want to see the drama unfold, that’s what we tuned in for. It’s also a good idea to cut the scene not too long after its high point. Describing unnecessary ordinariness will be a big turn-off for the reader at that point.
  2. Orientation. It’s absolutely essential that, during the entire dialogue, your reader is clear about who is speaking. Your characters should also be individually recognizable simply for what they say and how they say it. In case your characters’ positions within the scene’s location matter, make sure the reader is clear about whereabouts and movements too.
  3. Information. For each piece of information you give your reader during a dialogue scene, you have two options: including the information in your dialogue or in your description.
  4. Characterization. The little side actions we perform while we are speaking don’t lie. Be smart about it and you can use even the smallest movement or action of your character to tell your readers a bit more about her.
  5. Atmosphere – Any description is a great chance to let some moody details slip in. Sow your details sparsely, because most of them will likely be static. Only when the big picture becomes clear during the scene will your investments in mood and vibe pay off, and your carefully woven atmosphere will creep up on the reader.
  6. Entertainment and Variety. Don’t forget what your story is there for in the first place: to entertain your reader.

 

What about you? Are you good at balancing description and dialogue? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

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August 7, 2015

Follow Friday #92

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Question this week from Parajunkee and Allison Can Read.

How does this work? You follow a blog, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! With that being said, be sure to check out my Follow Policy before you make any rash decisions.

This week’s question: If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?

1) Enough money to never have to work a day in my life.

2) My nonprofit creative writing center for youth to be up and running and successful.

3) A Mini Cooper. I really want one of those.

 

What about you? What would your three wishes be?  This inquiring mind wants to know.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

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August 6, 2015

Story of my life…

When you come up with an idea…

Only to change your mind days later.

So, my idea was to post the random scenes I wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo on Wattpad.

About a day or so later, I read a blog post about serial fiction.

So off I went, doing research on what serial fiction is all about and basically, it’s a story that’s being published as it’s written. It’s edited, but not professionally. And then, at some point, I could publish the complete version through Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, whatev.

For the record, serialized fiction is when a completed story is published in installments. So, I could complete Remy’s story, get it professionally edited and then post it on here in installments.

Once again, I was on the fence about which publishing route to take: serial fiction, serialized fiction, or just straight up novel and indie publish.

After some thought, here’s what I’ve decided: serial fiction.

I’m gonna try it out with Remy’s story first. I’m a little superstitious when it comes to my writing and people reading it before a first draft has been completed. If I do all right with this, then I’ll see about trying it out for the other books in the series.

With that being said, no Wattpad. I’m going to clean up the random scenes, put them in some sort of order and post them on here. I’ll make an official announcement when I’m ready to do that.

This should be interesting.

Hope you come along for the ride.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

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August 5, 2015

Wet Panty Wednesday #30

In honor of my WIP, Remy – TNG #1, this month is dedicated to Native American men. Remy is part French, part Native American and is based off of actor Billy Wirth.

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August 4, 2015

Writing Tip Tuesday #19: Tracy Hahn-Burkett

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I have yet to decide how I want to proceed with the whole “book in stores” thing. Once Book #1 is complete, I plan to post it in its entirety on the website here for free, just to garner readership. I don’t know if I’m going to advocate to have my book placed in stores, but Tracy Hahn-Burkett ’s post on Advice for Authors from a Bookseller’s Perspective was certainly interesting. By the time this post reached my inbox, Tracy had completed a two-year stint as a part-time bookseller at an independent bookstore, and came away with a new perspective regarding authors and how they approach their close allies: bookstores.

*Write a good book and have it professionally edited. Someone’s eyes have to be on it other than yours, and I mean someone other than your best friend/mom/spouse/etc.

*Understand that the bookseller wants to carry your book. if you, the author, can approach the bookstore with a superior product–your book–and present it in a manner that demonstrates you understand the business aspect of books as well, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a mutually beneficial and lasting relationship.

*Respect the bookseller’s time and process. You were told: speak to a certain person; call Dave, email Judy, send a copy of the book to Steve, wait two weeks because it’s the holidays and the store is swamped, etc. Follow these guidelines.

*Know how to do a professional pitch. Learn how to do a one-sentence logline, an elevator pitch, and a couple of follow-up points if either of the first two gain you an engaged audience.

*Know your market. When the bookseller asks you who your target market is, don’t answer, “I don’t know. It’s very hard to categorize.” Lots of books cross genres, but the bookseller has to put it on the shelves somewhere. Telling her you don’t know makes the bookseller’s work more difficult and demonstrates you haven’t done your market research.

*Related to the last point: don’t say, “There aren’t any other books like this.” A better strategy is to tell the bookseller how your book differs from similar books in its genre.

*Don’t begin any sentence with “I assume you” or “I’m pretty sure you” and end it with something involving the how great is the store’s desire to carry your book.

*Do be flexible. Whether you’re trying to encourage a store to carry your book, attempting to schedule an event, or make arrangements for something else, be as flexible as possible given your own time constraints. As in any other professional situation, a little give can go a long way.

*Don’t become angry or vengeful if the bookstore chooses not to carry your book. There are any number of reasons a bookstore might choose not to carry a book; it doesn’t mean the store hates you, or won’t carry local authors, or will never display a self-published book. It might be a reflection of the quality of your book. Or any number of other reasons.

*Don’t say, “My book is a fiction novel.”

I especially liked this particular pearl of wisdom.

“Remember: booksellers love books as much as you do, and they are always searching for the next book to adore and recommend to readers. Try to be an author who is easy to work with and who generates warm and fuzzy feelings in the bookseller whenever your name is mentioned. If you write a great book and make sure you are always prepared, professional and considerate, you’ll be able to establish a good working relationship that should endure throughout your career.”

What about you? As a writer, what’s been your experience with booksellers? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

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August 3, 2015

Feedback from the Masses (and by “masses” I mean women only)

One of the things I love about my favorite romance authors is they’ll hop on Facebook and ask for reader feedback: character names, character careers, names for businesses, names for pets, vote on book titles, etc. Just recently one of my authors has a character that owns a pub in San Fran and needed drink names from her readers. If I drank, you can bet I would’ve been on there giving my two cents. Sadly, I’m only the occasional sipper of Moscato Rivata wine and hard ciders (Woodchuck and Strongbow, to be exact). I mean, how cool would it be to open one of their books to see that they used a name or an idea you came up with? It’s like I was part of their writing process.

Recently, I decided to do the same thing. A few days after Camp NaNoWriMo started, I went to see MAGIC MIKE XXL with my girl, Rhonda. After seeing that movie, I got an idea for my own book, which would undoubtedly change Remy’s day job.

A little back story here: The Hook for this book is that a former EOD Specialist, Shaolin Li, falls in love with male exotic dancer/artist, Remy DuFrene, who happens to work undercover for an organization (The Nemesis Group) that rescues kidnapped children from human traffickers. This is book one in a series of six books. Originally, Remy’s day job was teaching his medium of art, mixed media, to children with behavioral issues. And he was dancing at a nightclub/event venue (The Acropolis Club) two nights a week (Friday and Saturday nights).

That was the plan.

That’s what my research stated.

That’s the type of club I had my friend, Adrienne, create a visual layout for.

Until I saw MAGIC MIKE XXL.

The concept of Jada’s Place just Blew. My. Mind. A Gentleman’s Club, but for women. Genius!!

The next thing I know, when another random scene came to me that was located at the club, it was with that concept in mind. When I get to the point where I’m actually revising those scenes, I may do some additional research on how to run a place like that. Maybe. Since nothing like this exists in real life, I may just have to improvise. That’s why I love writing fiction.

But I digress.

I pulled a Favorite Author and took to Facebook to get a female perspective on what a “women’s club” would look like to them.

So, I created a survey and posted it on here. It was password protected–for women only–so if anyone was interested in taking the survey, I had to IM them the link and the password. I only got 9 responses, but they were enlightening. Here are the results:

67% would prefer to pay a monthly membership fee over an annual membership fee: $15-$75

Types of perks expected: guest passes, private party rooms, champagne with fine chocolate, top shelf alcohol, good food, complimentary first drinks, birthday specials.

78% felt The Acropolis Club should be open for a specific set of hours.

67% felt The Acropolis Club should serve gourmet food.

67% felt The Acropolis Club should serve both typical bar alcohol as well as the top shelf stuff.

45% felt The Acropolis Club should be a medium-sized building (3 stories)

Additional suggestions

I would also like there to be an outside area with a lawned area as well as patio seating. Personally, I would like (if there is a cellar/basement) for it to be available for more risqué tastes; fetishes, perhaps a little light BDSM. I know not everyone is into this, so it would have to be discrete. [For the record, it’s not going to be That Kind of club. LOL Although I do like the patio seating idea.]

This instantly made me think about the woman’s club in Magic Mike XXL. The one where Jada Pinket Smith’s character runs things & refers to all the ladies as Queens. [Yes! Exactly!]

I envision it as exclusive and intimate, but not like a sorority. There would have to be something to convince me that’s it’s not going to be like that! [Nope. Nothing like a sorority]

Include daytime hours for married women with children to visit the club while kids are in school or daycare, say from 10 AM-2 PM. Hours 2-4 PM are for special services. (wink, wink). 4 PM-2 AM are for employed women after work. [For the record, there will be no “special services.” It’s not That Kind of club, either. LOL]

Being a practical sort of broad, I would be willing to pay more if the surroundings/perks were more “upscale.” [Good to know]

The Acropolis Club sounds like a more upscale, pricey club that caters to maybe the middle upper class. And they would likely have top talent when it comes to the male dancers. I imagine it would be one of the top three rated clubs in the city! [In my imagination, yes, it would be. LOL]

Interesting idea… I’d make this like the Playboy Club only classier and much sexier… levels of membership.. top tier gets the real perks. [Isn’t it though? Too bad it doesn’t exist in real life]

The people who participated were bribed with a $25 gift card to either Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. Winner’s choice. This will probably be the only time I offer a bribe, but for this one random time, I wanted to offer an incentive.

However, I so enjoyed getting the feedback that I hope I’ll have plenty of followers/readers willing to participate if I need help again.

A tip for all you writers out there: if all else fails, use public opinion. You never what you’ll get.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

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August 3, 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo: Lessons Learned

campnannowrimoI really wish I could’ve stuck to my original word goal of 55,000. But out of this experience, there are two lessons that I’ve learned:

1) I’m a pantser.

I can’t plan/outline shit out beforehand.

Based on my original word goal there was a certain amount of words I needed to crank out everyday..and I hated that. I hated the pressure of trying to reach that daily goal.

The words started to become stilted and they weren’t flowing.

As a pantser, writing is an organic thing for me.

And it doesn’t always come every day.

During this challenge, I wasn’t writing linearly (meaning starting from the beginning). I was just writing as scenes as they were coming to me. So, now that it’s over, not only will I have the enormous task of finishing the story, I’ll have to figure out the order of the scenes.

Before I even do the revising part.

I’m thinking that I would’ve been writing linearly, something I normally do, if I’d done #2. Which is…

2) Be more prepared. For some reason, I’d wanted to try something different and be a little more prepared. Even though I’m pantser, I wanted to see if there was a way I could plan a little without my Pantser Panic Sensor going off and ruining everything. Turns out there was. A few weeks ago, possibly last month, I posted an article by K.M. Weiland that posed the question of whether you can structure if you’re a pantser.

If I could identify my Hook, First Major Plot Point, Midpoint, Third Major Plot Point, and Climactic Moment, I could fill in the blanks as I wrote. I thought “Well, that sounds reasonable.”

I had every intention of doing that…

Until I got caught up in book research.

I was pretty much doing research up until the day of so I never really got around to figuring out everything but the Hook. I already had that.

I was even planning on using Jami Gold’s Romance Beat Sheets to help me out.

And it did. To a certain extent.

The sections helped when it came to finding a home for those random scenes. So, thanks for that, Jami. LOL.

So, the million dollar question is…Would I ever do Camp NaNoWriMo again?

I’m glad that I finally participated. It’s my second attempt and I’m proud of myself for not bailing out.

BUT….

No, I would never participate again. It’s just too structured for a pantser like me.

What about you? Any lessons learned while participating in Camp NaNoWriMo July 2015 (or any previous times)? Did you reach goal? Would you participate again? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

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August 3, 2015

Wet Panty Society – August: Jesse Metcalfe

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Fall is coming. In most states. But not here. It’s our hottest month and it’s about to get hotter. Welcome to the Wet Panty Society…Jesse Metcalfe!

 

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Name: Jesse Eden Metcalfe

Birth: 9 December 1978, Carmel Valley, CA

Height: 5’10

Where You May Have Seen Him: On the soap opera PASSIONS (1999-2004), the lead in JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE (2006), as Eva Longoria’s boy-toy on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (2004-2009) and most recently playing Bobby Ewing’s son on TNT’s reboot of DALLAS (2012-2014)

I was first introduced to Jesse on the soap opera PASSIONS. There was a lot of eye candy on that short-lived soap, and he was one of them. When he ended up on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, I thought Eva was the luckiest bitch ever. I tuned in. For a little bit. I stopped watching it long before he left the show. And while I was a big fan of DALLAS back in the day, I thought it was really cool to bring it back with some of the original characters. I checked out one or two eppies, and despite the eye candy that was both Jesse and Josh Henderson, I was unimpressed.

But I still wanted to honor the hotness that is Jesse, so welcome to the club.

Peace, lurve, and wet panties,

Evolet

 

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