Tag Archives: Rayna Vause

Happy Holidays!

I know that many of us are busy with holiday prep so I’ll keep it short. From all of us here at Attacking the Page, we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous new year.

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Rayna

Forbidden Love by Ellis Carrington

Forbidden LoveAs you all know, I’m a huge fan of gay romance. I love to read it and I write it. So, I figured I”d use my post today as a bit of blatant promotion for my my good friend, Ellis Carrington.  Ellis’s latest release is a novella entitled Forbidden Love (Amor Prohibido).  It’s a great story, in English not Spanish as the alternate title might imply, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

Jacob Freehan has no job, no man, and no motivation. In pain both from ending a long-term abusive relationship and a severe back injury, he escapes to the sunny seaside town of Puerto Morelos, Mexico for a little yoga, a little R&R, and possibly a place to quietly end his own life.

Pakal is a centuries-old immortal Mayan spirit guide who has been charged with getting Jacob on the path toward healing. Romantic involvement with a spirit charge is strictly forbidden, and it has never been a problem…until now. Pakal sees something special in Jacob, but failure to keep a rapidly growing attraction at bay could result in Jacob losing his life and Pakal being condemned to the Underworld forever…

Now meet Ellis:

Romance requires a hopeful ending and that is why Ellis Carrington is driven to write it. She loves to create original stories that are gritty, witty, and a little unexpected, just like the heroes who inhabit them. Her guys come in both human and non-human form because spirit guides and vampires deserve love too. Her favorite things are great friends, great music, and books that make her laugh and cry like there’s no tomorrow. You can find out more about Ellis at her website, Twitter, or Facebook.

If you’re looking for a little man love mixed with your paranormal romance then check out Forbidden Love.

Elements of a Good Critique Partnership – A Repeat

Since I’m on the topic of Beta Readers, I thought I’d replay a post I did a while back about critique partners.

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I am very fortunate. I have an awesome critique partner. Melinda won’t hesitate to tell me when I’ve gotten it right, and at the same time she’ll tell me when I’m stinking up the page. I like to think I offer the same to her. What makes our partnership work? There are many factors involved in finding the right critique match, but here are just a few things that work for us.

First, and most important, is trust. Without that you’re finished before you start. You’re putting your work in your partner’s hands in the hopes of receiving honest feedback and help in improving not just your manuscript, but also your overall craft. Bottom line trust is vital.

Complimentary skill sets are a plus. Both Melinda and I bring something different to the table. Things that I tend to be completely escape my notice she’ll pick up on and vice versus.

Have a thick skin. Being in the publishing industry, you’re going to need one anyway. You’re going to need to be able to take constructive criticism whether it comes from your critique partner or your editor. On the other hand, a good critique partner won’t try and tear you down or make you feel bad about your work. A good critique partnership is about mutual respect and honest input.

Be honest with each other. When I send pages to Melinda, I’ll tell her to tear it to shreds. Why? First, because the only way I’ll improve the story and my skills is if I have someone combing through it with a critical eye. Second, I know that the dissection will be done thoughtfully and with respect. Third, because she may have suggestions that would never occurred to me.

You don’t have to write in the same genre, but it helps to be a familiar with the genre your partner writes. A critique partner who is not familiar with your genre may be able to offer suggestions on the basic technical skills of writing, but not the nuances of the genre.

Communication is key. If you don’t feel that you can offer a helpful critique you need to let your partner know. For example, I write M/M romance. I realize it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Before I started sending chapters to Melinda or before I send to a Beta reader I let them know up front the nature of the story. I never want to send someone something they are not comfortable reading. Also, if life has gotten crazy, you need to let your partner know what kind of turn around time you can give them.

Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and be supportive when disappointments happen. Your partner will most likely be the one you turn to when things happen along your publication journey. It’s nice to have someone one to support you who also understands what you’re going through.

These are just a few suggestions of what makes a good critique partner. Do you have any other to add to the list?

~Rayna

The End…But Not Really

The EndSomething really exciting happened for me recently. I got to The End of another book. Woohoo!! But as I’m sure my fellow authors out there know, getting to the end is just the beginning. There’s still a lot of work ahead. But before tackling edits, I like to have someone read the story. Generally, I pick someone who has never seen the story before because I like to get a fresh opinion.

I consider myself lucky because I have many writer friends that will be very critical beta readers.  But sometimes you get back those comments and you just want to go hide under the covers. When I got back my friends comments on this draft I had a minor freak out. It wasn’t because the comments weren’t expected, I sort of knew my trouble spots.  It was that I had no idea how to fix the issues, and I was dreadfully afraid I was going to have to star from scratch.

Have you ever been there? Maybe it’s because you’ve already spent too much time with the characters and their story. Maybe you’re just sick to death of your books, as I tend to be when I get to the end.  But whatever the reason, it’s like you’ve slammed into a wall and you just can’t see a way around it.

Some say take some time away and let it soak in. I’m not that patient of a person. I like knowing that I’m done and I’m free to move on to other things.  What worked for me to tear down that wall was hashing it out with my brilliant beta reader. With a fresh round of brainstorming I pulled that wall down brick by brick and found a solution to my story problems that was manageable.

 

Knowing When to Hit Send

Send ButtonHow do you know when it’s time to stop editing and just hit send? My writing group was recently having a discussion about the editing process. It stemmed from a comment an author made about how once they finished a manuscript they just send it out and they don’t bother with revisions unless and editor sent them a revise and resubmit. Was I surprised by the comment? No. I know there are writers out there who want to be assured of a sale before investing the time to do extensive revisions. Me, I could never do that.

 Being a part of professional writers organizations, polishing a manuscript until it’s as shiny as I can make it is sort of ingrained. For myself, I need to know that I’m putting my best work forward. I think about my most recent submission. I went through multiple rounds of critiques and beta reads before I was finally ready to hit the send button on the submission email. Believe me, I was half tempted to have someone do on more read through just in case. I stopped myself from doing that, but largely because my massive impatience kicked in. I just couldn’t deal with looking at those pages one minute longer. I wanted to be done with it and have it out of my hair. I wanted the sense of accomplishment that came with hitting the send button.  

I think all of us writers could go round and round reading, critiquing, and tweaking a WIP in the hopes of polishing our manuscript to perfection. But, at some point we have to let it go. We have to put it out there for the world to view. So writers, how do you know when you’re ready to let that manuscript fly? If you haven’t submitted anything yet, why not? What’s holding you back?

What Makes a Hero Sexy?

word-sexyWhat makes a hero sexy? When a friend of mine posed this topic to me a while back, I figured this would be a pretty easy question to answer. The more I thought about it, I realized it wasn’t as easy of a question to answer as I’d hoped. Why? In part because sexy, in my opinion, is very subjective. What one person finds attractive another won’t. So,  I started thinking about some of the characters I found sexy in books and what traits made made them so appealing.

At the top of my list is Roarke from J.D. Robb’s In Death series. I’ll also include both Joe Morelli and Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series. What do these particular characters have in common?

First they’re all attractive. That’s part of the fantasy after all isn’t it.  As a reader, I like to have pretty people wandering through my head as I’m told a story.  Depending on the writer they run the gambit on how descriptive they are in describing their characters attractiveness, but they leave you just enough room to formulate your own image of that character whether it be a celebrity of something that’s purely a figment of your own imagination.

Another shared characteristic of sexy heroes is intelligence. Let’s face it, your character could be an Adonis, but it they’re dumb as a stump no one is going to read on.  Me personally, I have a thing for the  geeky hero. For me super smart is extremely sexy.

A third trait that I think is part of the sexy hero formula is confidence.  Jumping back to the three characters I mentioned everyone one of them is a badass and they know it.  It’s not only because they can kick ass.  It’s their attitude it just drips with power and self assurance. It’s because of that confidence that it’s uber sexy when they make themselves vulnerable to the person that they love.

I’m sure there are more traits that make up a sexy hero these are just a few that come off the top of my head. But I’ll put it out there to you. What do you think makes a hero sexy and memorable?

~Rayna

 

Thank You from the Conference Chair

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Thank you flowers from LSF Writers. Aren’t they lovely?

Yes, I am tooting my own horn, but IMHO this weekend’s Create Something Magical Conference went wonderfully. There was so much energy, excitement and enthusiasm in the air from start to finish.  I have to give a huge thank you t o my conference committee. They are an amazing collection of individuals and I certainly couldn’t have pulled it off without them. Because I did have such a great committee I was able to set the conference chair on the shelf for a few minutes and pitch my manuscript.  I received multiple requests for my work SQUEE! Go Me.  But in all seriousness, the conference ran as smooth as it did up to and through the actual day of the conference because of my fabulous committee.

I also have to offer a HUGE thank you to Jonathan Maberry. He was an incredible and inspiring keynote speaker plus he’s been a great support of the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference from the beginning.  There are not words enough to thank him.

Much gratitude goes out to all of the speakers who offered their time and expertise.  I’ve heard nothing but great things about every workshop.

To all of the editors and agents that attended we so appreciate you give up your Saturday to join us. Thank you for listening to pitches and for speaking on panels and offering your insights on the industry.

Thank you to all of the attendees, readers and writers alike. The conference certainly wouldn’t happen without you and all of the excitement and energy you bring with you. To all of your who pitched I wish you much luck on your submissions. For those who didn’t next year will be your year.

Finally, I’d like to send a mega shout out to Kim Rocha and all of the Book Obsessed Chicks. You throw one heck of a party, ladies. I was thrilled to have you there.  Next year, I’ll have to make a point to get in on at least one line dance. ;-)

It really was a magical weekend. I hope to see everyone back next year! For now, the conference chair is going to take a nap.

~Best
Rayna

Merry Christmas

 MerryChristmas

All of us here at Attacking the Page wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and a very Merry Christmas. Since I’m sure we all have a ton of things to do to prepare for tomorrow, I found a short by fun holiday video for your entertainment. I love Christmas lights display synchronized to music and I found a pretty cool one to share. I hope you in enjoy it. Travel safe and have a wonderful Christmas.

Listening to Our Muses

Four MusesA short while ago, I got together with a group of friends, most of whom were readers not writers.  It’s always fun  to get together with people who are strictly readers because they are always so fascinated by the creative process.  The things that are mundane to a writer, because that’s just how we operate, hold endless wonder for readers. I think that’s so awesome. When reader/writer gatherings occur, without fail, the question Where do your ideas come from? always gets asked. All artists have muses. They provide us with fodder for the next project constantly. Inspiration for stories is all around us everyday. Any little thing that sparks our interest can be the spring board for an entire novel, be it a news article, the scenery around you, an off hand comment from a friend/family/colleague.

What I find more interesting as both a reader and writer is how those ideas are in turn communicated to us.  I have writers friends that talk  about having characters pop into their heads and start talking, telling their story.  While I sometimes wish it would, it does not work that way for me at all.  I get movie clips in my head of these terrific scenes. It’s then up to me to translate them from an image into words. I have to figure out how bring the scene to life  so that a reader can generate their own version of that scene.  I probably function this way as a byproduct of being plot driven more so then a character driven writer. However, once I have the scene, then the trick becomes figuring out what characters are right for that scene and the story as a whole.
So I pose this question to all the writers out there, as I find is infinitely fascinating,  how do you get your story ideas? Do you see movie clips? Do you have characters wondering around in your head in search of the right plot? Please share.

~Rayna

 

 

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo LogoI’m glad to say that my little corner of NJ survived Sandy with little incident. My heart goes out to all of those who have been devastated by this storm. I sincerely hope they can start to get back on their feet soon.

It’s November 1, do you know what that means? It’s day one of NaNoWriMo. If you’re a writer, you probably know what that is, but for those who don’t. November 1-30 is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th.  There’s even a website that has forums and tools to help support you in you quest. Check it out here at www.NaNoWriMo.org. This can be a really great motivator because there are so many people across the country working towards this same goal with you and encouraging you along.

Whether you get to 50k or not this endevour can be a great way to get your story out on the paper. It’s about speed versus finesse. It’s a month long spew. Regardless of what you put on the page, by the end of the end of the month you’ll either have the skeleton of a novel or a solid beginning. As someone once said, you can’t edit an empty page. So, even if, in your opinion, what you produce is a flaming pile of cud, at least you’ve got something to fix.

Personally, I’m thinking I’ll do it this year. I’ve got something that I’m working on that I’d really like to knock off my plate and this may be just what I need to get it done. So who’s with me? Who else is going to take the NanoWriMo plunge?

~Rayna