Talia Carmichael, Writing Between the Lines

The Prose Speak: With Talia Carmichael

Between the Lines

Seeker of Quirks…

By: Talia Carmichael

We all have things that make up who we are. There are habits that we follow that we might not even be aware of. A mannerism that people who know us when they see it think “that’s just like (insert name)”. These things all come together to make each and every one of us unique. Makes up our quirks. I believe that everyone has their quirks and love finding what it is. I’m a seeker of quirks and I’m a people watcher. :) I like to sit and just watch people interact with each other. I’m that observer in the corner whose mind is wandering on ways I can use the idiosyncrasies I see and work them into my stories.

Okay, I’ll admit many of my own quirks are in the books I write. :) And no I’m not admitting which. I’ll let you wonder which ones. For other quirks of my characters, I use what I see around me to include in what I write.  It can be that person who tends to lean their head to the side as they listen intently. Or the person who, when very amused, makes a snorting noise. Or that person who tends to find ways to change the subject when they get compliments or praise. How about someone who says whatever comes to their mind? Hmmm…I’ve had or experienced so many of these moments. These are spontaneous moments that someone does that make them who they are. And I love seeing these. As mentioned I watch people and many times I am writing in my head about them. I’m curious about what makes that person who they are. What quirks they have and how that is viewed by others. I imagine where these idiosyncrasies fit my characters. There is so much fun in being a seeker of quirks.

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Talia Carmichael LogoBio: Talia Carmichael is a romantic who believes that family, no matter if it is by blood or those you choose as family, is integral to who you are. She is an author who writes sexy stories in a variety of genres. She believes in creating stories that encompass all that falling in love or lust entails, from the highs of that first blush of attraction to the lows of not knowing if you can make your coming together as a couple work, and then finally to the acceptance of the reality of making a life together. It’s all about the journey.

Among her books you’ll find contemporary, futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal settings with M/M themes that will have a happily-ever-after. Her books are passionate, intense, and real… to fill the craving. Check out more about Talia at taliacarmichael.com or  taliacarmichael.com/blog. Contact her at taliacarmichael.com/blog/contactor check her out on facebook and Twitter.

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Brita Addams

Guest Post: The Newbie Blues by Brita Addams

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As I approach my sixth year as a published author, I’ve thought a lot about the things I’ve learned and the growing pains of being a newbie. And yes, I was president of the club.

We all feed from the same trough in the beginning, until we learn to eat from the table of knowledge.

The first draft we think is epic is, six years in, trash. I shudder when I recently read back over those unpublished writings from the early days. I couldn’t write for beans, but I had ideas, stories, and the will to sit down and pound them out, no matter how many technical errors.

Prior to writing, I gorged on 1980s and ’90s romance novels. In attempting to emulate the craft of those authors, I greeted head hopping straight on. Yep, it used to be in style. How enlightening when I met an editor who showed me a better way.

Passive voice, filters, adverbs where there is no need, weak verbs, and the ever present quickly, suddenly, immediately, whiplashy wordy sentences, like this one. The “I started to run,” instead of “I ran,” the endless descriptions of dresses and rooms. Yes, all new writers make the same mistakes. It’s in the DNA of a writer.

Clunky dialogue with the characters names and ridiculous dialogue tags. “That’s right, Joseph. I am fine today, what about you?” Frank inquired. Rinse and repeat with boomed, whispered, demanded, ordered, etc.

Everyone had a POV, including the dog, though I’m pretty sure I never had a dog in any story. The maids, butler, and every town’s person, because we can’t tell a story in less than a dozen or more POVs–otherwise known as omniscient. I will say, I enjoy omniscient and I’m not in favor of changing the style of writing to accommodate some trend, but that ship sailed years ago, so we have to play along.

Part of the Newbie Blues is the idea that we have invented a new way of writing that is so unique, that if we can only get it out there, it will catch on and become a rage. A little research shows that isn’t so and that what might appear new and unique, is unrefined at best.

Now, bad writing has been around forever and proliferates our virtual shelves. If you have a DNF folder on your Kindle, you know what I’m talking about. Why use ten words to say the same thing fifty words can say? My bike was stolen by the neighbor’s son who hid it in his garage and painted it black because he was going through a Goth phase, or so said his mother when my mother confronted her about the stolen bike.

Or – The neighbor’s boy stole my bike.

Passive voice eats brains, of both the reader and the writer. It’s a proven, scientific fact.

The sin isn’t in committing the crimes against the English language. No, it is in doing it repeatedly without a thought to correcting what editor after editor tells us.  Sometimes we hold on to our phrasing because we’ve fallen in love with our words. That is the worst thing an author can do.

And then, we have the dreaded edits. The reckoning, if the book accepted and gets as far as edits. This will happen if the pub sees something in the story.

There are stages of editing acceptance, but as there is in the grieving process, for editing is a grieving process, if we’ve invested ourselves in every word, or if we can’t accept criticism, a necessary evil if we want to become an author.

How many of these steps do you recognize?

  1. I had this story in my head and only I know how to tell it.
  2. They can edit all they want, but I’m going to reject all. No one is going to tell me how to write.
  3. No way. They aren’t going to screw around with my baby.
  4. The editor is trying to edit out my author voice and then the story will be hers.
  5. I concede on commas. Accept all.
  6. WHAT!!!!!?????? No exaggerated punctuation??? How in the world am I going to tell the reader that my hero is screaming!!!??? Or that the heroine is screaming and asking a question at the same time????!!!!
  7. Why are there a hundred and fifty comment bubbles with passive voice written in them?
  8. Dangling modifier. Wow. Dear editor, you must have written that, because I wouldn’t have. Here, let me look. Oh, wow. Forgive the ring. Well, okay, that is a valid point, but the other eight hundred, no way.
  9. TAKE OUT A WHOLE SCENE????!!!!!! No way! I’ll never do it. That means I’d have to rearrange things and, wait, that scene is pivotal to the story. What do you mean it doesn’t relate to the story at all? Sure it does. Well maybe it isn’t important that he bought a new suit, but the reader should know that, because that makes the character more real. Doesn’t it?
  10. What does the editor mean by episodic chapters? Are they all supposed to be about one story? But each character is so unique, never has anyone written more unique characters, and I need to tell all their stories. I don’t know how to weave their stories with the core story and this episode thing is easier.
  11. Present tense, past tense. Tomato, tomatoe. I concede I might not be up on tenses. Accept all.
  12. Eliminate a chapter? Why? No way. I refuse. It does to relate to the story? I promise. You’ll see. What do you mean you read the whole book and you don’t see where a weekend at the beach had anything to do with the hero’s vision quest? I beg to differ. Really, I’m begging. Don’t make me take that out. That brings my word count down by twenty-five hundred words. That’s a whole day’s work.
  13. Write this chapter from the other main character’s POV? Yeah, I guess that would work.
  14. Now here’s something new. Filter words. You’re picking on me. Never heard of them. What do you mean I’ve heard of ALL of them? Look here. He felt his heart beat wildly. Isn’t that a nice sentence? Emotional. Heartfelt. Okay, bad joke. It isn’t a big duh. Don’t say that. Okay, smarty pants, how else should I say it? His heart beat wildly? Well, yeah, that’s more concise. Yes, it does say what I intended.
  15. Oh, damn, that reader hated that I didn’t change that scene, like the editor suggested. Oops. Maybe six POVs wasn’t such a unique idea. What does she mean I shouldn’t give this character a POV? She’s the maid. She has to see things the heroine or hero can’t, so she can bloviate about it to the rest of the staff, out of earshot of the main characters. That’ll take up at least two chapters all told. Yay. Up to 40k.
  16. Oh, that reader liked how the editor had me change that scene. Cool.
  17. This reviewer likes my author voice. Even after all the editor’s changes.
  18. Okay, editor. You didn’t catch this misspelled word. Gotcha!!!!!

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bitmoji295528056About Brita Addams: Brita Addams was born in the wrong century, though she couldn’t live without her air conditioning.

Her travels have taken her all over the world, but she enjoys nothing more than time at home with her husband and family.

Brita’s Tarnished Gold has won a Rainbow Award for best historical and readers in the Goodreads M/M Romance group chose the same book as a finalist for best historical and best book of the year.

On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others—at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and she has even kissed Mickey Rooney.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter.

Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places: Website/Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Fan page || Goodreads || Pinterest || Booklikes

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Look for Beloved Unmasked, third book in the Tarnished series, in October, from Dreamspinner Press.

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Torquere Press

Attention Authors: A Torquere Press Special Call For Submissions

SEPTEMBER – OUTSERVE CHARITY SIP BLITZ

Every year, the great authors at Torquere Press put their money where their mouth is, donating their time writing stories for our chosen charity. Those same authors donate any royalties earned on their stories to the chosen organization, with Torquere matching those donations 100%. In the past we’ve raised $5000.00 for Lambda Legal, over $3000.00 for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and more than $10000.00 combined for organizations such as NOH8 and Doctors Without Borders.

For the 2013-2014 Charity event, which will premiere in September 2013, we’ve chosen OutServe-SLDN as our donation organization. OutServe is an non-profit that provides legal services and support to LGBT military individuals and families, working toward equal representation and benefits.

This year’s theme for Charity Sips, or short stories, is “In Uniform”. Who doesn’t love a man, or woman, in uniform? While OutServe is primarily a military charity, we want to encourage authors to use their imaginations. Soldiers, sailors, pilots? Absolutely. But we’re also open to stories about first responders like police, firemen and EMTs, as well as security guards, park rangers or anyone else who wears a snappy uniform to work. Give us hot, romantic, fully realized stories with happy endings about all the unsung heroes and heroines in the world.

Word count for Charity Sips ranges from 3000-8000 words. Deadline for submissions is July 1, 2013. Please send stories to submissions@torquerepress.com with OutServe Charity Sip and your story’s title in subject line. Include full manuscript in RTF or Word formats, and in the body of the email include a cover letter with your full legal name and address information, as well as a synopsis of your story. Please our general submissions guidelines for formatting and other information. Feel free to emailkristi@torquerepress.com for more information.

OCTOBER – LIGHTS OUT SIPS!

They say there’s nothing there in the dark that isn’t present in the light. We disagree! Halloween is all about things that go bump in the night, and October is all about Halloween here at Torquere. Give us romantic, fully realized, LGBT tales about Halloween and/or paranormal activity, from ghosts to were-creatures to vamps and everything in between. Give us all the things that only come alive when the lights go out!

Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Lights Out in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is August 1, 2013. Length, 3000-8000 words.

NOVEMBER – THANKFUL SIPS

We should all stop and be thankful for something. Whether it’s the big things — like love and family — or the little things — like flavored lube — or simply the HOT things, we want to know! For our Thankful sips, we’re looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about love during Thanksgiving holidays. Make us laugh or cry, surprise us and make us glow with happy endings! Length is 3000-8000 words.

Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Thankful in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is September 1, 2013.

DECEMBER – ALL I WANT SIPS

All I want for Christmas (or Hanukah or Yule) is you. Or you and you… Who doesn’t want to be with someone they love for the holidays? For our All I Want sips, we’re looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about love at the holidays. Make us laugh or cry, surprise us and make us glow with happy endings! Length is 3000-8000 words.

Please send your submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with All I Want in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Deadline for submission is September 15, 2013.

Happy Reading,

Kristi Boulware
General Manager – Submissions Editor

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Authors, Ramblings

In Which I’m About To Piss Some People Off…

Yes, here it comes, more crap, but I’m not an author, I’m a reader, dammit, and I think if anyone has the right to weigh in on this one, it’s those of us who support this genre with not only our love and commitment but our hard earned dollars as well, so here I go…

I woke up this morning to the one thing I’ve been waiting for since I came home from Albuquerque in October: news about the upcoming registration for GayRomLit 2013 in Atlanta. This is the one and only author/fan event I’ve ever attended, ever, as in, in all the history of my reading. I mean it literally; I’ve never even been to a book signing… Okay, you get it. And while I’d love to be able to paint the picture that I scrimp and save my spare change for it all year long to up the “poor pitiful me” quotient, it’d be a lie, so I won’t go there. Where I will go, however, is here:

We’ve also taken the list of must-have authors (bolding mine) that you the readers have given us and are doing our best to pre-register them before the general author registration begins.

Now, I missed a memorandum here, folks, because I don’t remember participating in a poll in which I was able to weigh in on my “must-haves”. And I’m going to be perfectly honest, some of my “must-have” authors have never even attended a GRL event, so to say that these elite few writers have been selected for me from a random sampling of readers pretty much pisses me off in ways I can’t even begin to describe, and quite frankly, it smacks of the same cliquish attitudes that kept people like me from sitting at the cool kids’ table in high school. What this seems to boil down to, from where I’m sitting, is a popularity contest, and a questionable one at that, in which some pretty amazing toes, and maybe a few feelings, just got publicly trampled on, and I’m almost certain I’m fairly angry about that.

So, I remain puzzled on why a select few authors deserve preferential treatment. When registration opens, you either sign up for the event, or you don’t. I read/review somewhere close to three-hundred books a year, many, if not most, of them bought with my own money. Where’s my preferential treatment, as a reader, huh? The answer is that I don’t deserve any, so why does anyone else? I can understand if an author is on the financial fence or is unable to commit early for whatever reason, I do, but that doesn’t mean I believe registration should be withheld from other writers in the meantime. I hope that’s not going to be the case. I also don’t understand the “author cap” that’s being placed on the event. Readers are coming to meet and greet the authors, after all, so why exclude anyone who has a reason and the means to attend? My feelings on the matter are: the more the merrier!

And now I wait. Before I even consider registering for Atlanta, I will wait to see whom these chosen ones are. If it’s being determined by sales, I remain skeptical. If it’s being determined by how prolific the author, I remain doubly so, because we all know quantity and quality are mutually exclusive propositions, in many cases, and I have news for you GRL organizers—I have a “must-have” author on my list who’s written one, count it, one book to date that I can guarantee was far more brilliant and original than the half dozen books some writers spew out in a year’s time.

I’ll finish with this thought: to see any author excluded from GayRomLit on the basis of his or her popularity would be, to me, the height of irony in a genre, and for an event, that prides itself on inclusivity, wouldn’t it?

And that’s my two cents on the subject.

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