31 December 2010

New Year's Eve

Another year is on our doorstep. Out goes 2010 and in comes the promise of something new, something better. New Year’s Eve builds our hope that the coming year will be different. That we’ll be different. Some will vow to finally lose weight. Some will vow to quit smoking, work harder, be a better person or spend more time with the kids. Resolutions are a tradition and yet breaking them is also a tradition. Some of us even make bets on when they’ll be broken.

2010 was a hard year for me. It was a trying year, yet one where I learned a lot. I started off the year living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana because we (Brian and I ) had made the decision to try to live in a smaller environment, to pay down our credit card debt and be closer to family. Brian and I had great jobs, had a new apartment, and life was coming under control.

But through the year I continually learned that though I may be surrounded in a different environment, if I didn’t love where I was then what was the point? Unhappy is unhappy. There were many great things about Louisiana but my heart was back home in Los Angeles. So when Brian got offered a position “back home”, we talked it over extensively and decided we wanted to go back to where we were happiest. And so the last months of 2010 were filled with packing, moving, and driving back to California.

I have decided against making a New Year Resolution. Yes, I could vow to lose the extra 30 pounds I’ve been holding onto since my son was born. But I already know I have to eat right and start exercising. No, what inspires me now is, of course, my writing. I have two novels with Loose Id coming out in 2011 and I’m currently half way through one for Siren Bookstrand. I have ideas and plans for many more and I’m only limited by how fast I can or cannot type.

So to all...Happy New Year, the birth of 2011. I raise my glass and toast to the promise of a new beginning. Happy writing. Happy reading.

21 December 2010

My New Novella!

Today is my birthday and I rec'd the final version of the cover for my new novella, A Man After Midnight. What a great present, eh? The cover artist, April Martinez, did a fantastic job!!! The novella will be released on January 11th in ebook format from Loose Id. My editor, Rory, and I worked very hard to make this a great story for readers.


Caroline Grace has been invited by her best friend, Aldy, to New York City. Needing a vacation because her marriage is almost finished, she jumps at the chance to relax and perhaps take the advice of her friend for a no-strings weekend fling. Feeling too restless to sleep, she is down in the hotel bar when a drunk patron tries to pick her up. Feeling disgusted, she leaves, only to be accosted by him. She is saved by the very handsome Wren Calder, Aldy’s boss, who seems to immediately recognize what makes her tick.

Caroline is immediately swept off her feet by the powerful attraction she feels toward him. She doesn’t hesitate to indulge in a one night stand, but Wren has other ideas. He proposes a no strings weekend fling and Caroline decides it’s just what she needs to get over her divorce. Wren slowly frees her inhibitions, opening her to a sexuality Caroline has long denied herself.

Overshadowed by the mistake she made in the past, Caroline leaves at the end of the weekend vowing to forget him. But she soon comes to the conclusion that getting over Wren is going to be a little more difficult than she thought, because she realizes just how much she’s fallen in love.

Of course, like all my stories, this one has secrets!
Secret #1: The original draft of this story had a bomb scare in the NY hotel they were staying at, as mine did from the Times Square Bomber when I was there last April/May 2010!

Secret #2: The idea of this story came from the ABBA song "Gimme, Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight...)"

Secret #3: The break-up scenes between Caroline and her husband are almost verbatim of mine when I broke-up with my own husband.

Make sure you look for upcoming promo's of A Man After Midnight and a contest to win a free download! Coming soon!!!

18 December 2010

Road Trip Ideas

I have traveled across the United States many, many times. And I’m doing it again as I move back to Los Angeles. One of the things that I absolutely love about the open road and doing nothing but looking out the windscreen is the time it gives my mind to wander and think up stories. In fact, in just two days I’ve a new book playing through my mind, about two different types of men who fall in love.

I’ve never written a book with two heroes but these two men just called out to me and I hope I get the chance someday to put what’s been going through my head onto paperI’ve always wanted to be the type of writer who diversifies her stories. This can be a good and bad thing because on one hand I can appeal to a wide variety of readers, but on the other hand, I can repel those readers for that same reason. Writers are readers and I will be the first to admit readers are a fickle lot. We tend to stick to what we know; afraid to spend the ungodly amount of money for a paperback in case we won’t like it. But that’s the beauty of ebooks, I suppose. It’s easy, ok, and not so much of a risk to branch out of our comfort zone.

For many years I read exclusively Amanda Quick (aka Judith Ann Krentz, aka Jayne Castle). Amanda’s historicals were filled with dashing heroes, quirky heroines with unusual hobbies which caused the hero untold strife, set in the glittering arms of Regency England. Yes, they were somewhat predictable, but that’s what I loved about them. I knew that the titled hero would bring the impoverish heroine out as an Original, and she would be lauded as beautiful, lucky, and intelligent. Each book was better, funnier, more dashing and I would read them over and over. But then something changed. I suppose she was tired of the same old, same old, but unfortunately, I didn’t like her books anymore. I felt she had become stagnant in her love stories and I stopped reading her work.

This is one of my greatest fears. I realize that there will be readers out there who won’t like my writing style or agree with stuff I write about. I can’t please everyone, right? But that’s not my fear. My fear is that my stories will become boring, the romance tepid, the passion between my characters forced and unbelievable. So these road trips are important for my brain to jumpstart, for me to find characters who are unique, different, and whose love is just waiting to be explored. Today is Texas, tomorrow is New Mexico, and a whole different day to think.

13 December 2010

Writing Families

One of the greatest assets a writer has in his/her arsenal is a great group of friends. People who can take the stuff you’ve written and give honest opinions, good and bad, in a constructive manner. People that can surround you when you’ve lost your way, or your drive to create, who can fill up your cup by just being there. People who make you want to sit and write.

When I first moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I didn’t have anyone like that. No friends, no writing buddies, no one who understood how my mind worked. By nature I am very introverted, many of us are, but I recognized the need for others to bring me out of the worlds I created. So I immediately branched out and found the local RWA chapter called HeartLA, and found a wonderful group of people who inspired me.

Some in the group are published, some not, and some are still trying to find their way in the literary scene. They are an eclectic group of individuals whose work crosses a broad spectrum, from adult romance to young adult, mystery, soft love, erotica, thriller and all the nooks in between. They invited me in, shared their stories, and made me feel welcome when I felt very lost. And now, I am going back home to Los Angeles, and leaving all my wonderful new friends behind.

But the writing community is very small, believe it or not, and I know the friendships I’ve made in Louisiana will endure. When we meet again it will be like old times as we pick up where we left off, as if time hadn’t passed. From a distance I will applaud each achievement and offer support at bad news. And I know they will be doing the same for me.

To HeartLA, thank you all so very much. You really have no idea what each one of you means to me.

(Please check them out on their website: www.heartla.com)

09 December 2010

My Writer's Brain

I like to watch HGTV and yesterday morning featured a couple who was trying to sell their home. The woman’s name was Ayonara and instantly my brain tried to come up with a story around the name because it was really unique. I could picture a princess in a far away kingdom or a warrior woman on a quest. I pictured she would be exotic looking, with the darker skin tones of the Middle East, and maybe sea green eyes to set her apart from everyone else. Of course, I had to wonder why she green eyes…maybe her father was a magical fairy. My brain spent all day thinking about Ayonara.

I came home from taking Hadrian out for three hours at an indoor playground in the local mall and sat down to write out what had been playing through my mind. And then I filed it in a folder on my laptop marked “Story Ideas”.

I have a lot of story ideas.

And I don’t even know if Ayonara’s story will ever get written. There are a lot of characters I’ve created that live in limbo and I’m sorry to say that many of them will remain there forever. For every story I finish I create three or four more, but I always know which one I will probably focus on because I get this tingle in my gut. I become obsessed with the heroine and hero, their romance, and their happy ever after.

Every day I see something, hear something, or read something that sends my imagination into overdrive. Many nights I try to sleep, only to have my mind refusing to succumb because I’ve not quite figured out something stupid like ‘Why would Jane Doe do something like that?’. That one question will often give me insomnia.

But whenever one of my Houses agrees to publish something I’ve written, the rush and sense of accomplishment sends me scrambling in my Story Ideas folder. Because writing is a drug. It’s intoxicating. It’s ambrosia.

Hmmmm. Ambrosia, food of the Gods, what if……….

07 December 2010

The Challenges of Writing a Menage

by Stacey Espino

All my novels are character driven. I really like to get into their shoes,
and heads, when I write. While I'm in their POV, I am the character.
There is a balancing act when you're writing a menage. It's important to
make each player distinct from the others. When you're dealing with three
(or more) men that can get very tricky. You have to alternate using names,
pet names, and pronouns, while making sure the reader can identify each
character. Sex scenes really have to play in your head as you're writing for
everything to make sense to the reader. I don't want my books referred to
as porn or a gang-bang. I ensure that, even though scorching hot, there is
a strong storyline and memorable characters.
Emotions play a big role in my books. I tend to write characters with some
sort of damage that affects their life or ability to love. Damaged Cowboys
embraced three distinct men that dealt with grief in a different way. When I
wrote Cowboy Domination, I wanted to lighten things up a bit. Callie is a
fiesty heroine determined to get her farm back from the three sexy Black
brothers. It will be available at Siren on December 9th.

Secret #1 My husband came up with the idea for Cowboy Domination and I
expanded it into a novel.
Secret #2 In Fearless Desires, Selina's best friend was named after my real
life best friend, Melanie.
Secret #3 I wrote Saving Grace during a very dark personal time in my life.
I write certain books based on my moods.

06 December 2010

So why erotica romance…

I’ve had it all. The raised eyebrows, the nose in the air, the disdain very present in the eyes. Even the rolled eyes. Everything that screams disapproval. All because I say I write erotica romance. People can’t seem to get past the ‘erotica’ part of that statement and focus on the part that I’m published. I write stories that are turned into professionally edited manuscripts with wonderful cover art, ISBN’d, copywritten, and marketed. I work very hard to create characters that are real, flawed, and redeemed through love, all in the space of at minimum twenty thousand words. My largest body of work so far has been about 157,000 words, which is 642 pages and represents two years of my time.

And that book will probably never see the light of day in a readers hands.

Now, for anyone who has sat down to write down a story, carried it through days, weeks or even years to fulfillment, submitted to many (dozens) of publishing houses, received many (dozens) of rejections, revised under advice, changed or deleted characters or dialogue you love, resubmitted, to finally get one person who will give your work a chance…then lets talk. Writing is a very solitary life because when submerged in my worlds I live in my imagination. I hear the voices of my characters. I dream the scenarios of their lives.

And I do all of this working full time in the day, being a full time mother to a very active little boy, take care of a household and maintain relationships with friends. I sacrifice sleep, personal time and normal stuff that most people do (don’t ask me who the Kardashians are…no clue).

But I can’t NOT write. I might explode if I’m not at my laptop trying to find a synonym for the words ‘gazed into his eyes’. And why erotica romance? Because I’m good at writing it. The sex is graphic because the love is intense. My stories are not about people who court each other, go to church on Sunday, and sleep in separate beds. My stories are about people with problems…about a woman who was raped at fifteen, a man who was inappropriately touched as a child, a woman who has survived alone in a wasteland for years, a woman afraid of loving after her husband cheated. These characters are raw. Their emotions are encased in ice. These people are helpless, hopeless…until love finds them. So sex between these people and their partners isn’t going to have euphemisms like ‘manhood’ and ‘joined together in bliss’.

What I write isn’t for everyone. I know that. Everyone has different tastes and opinions. There are people out there who think the word ‘cock’ is vulgar. Really, I get it. But I am a writer. I am a published author. And I don’t deserve the eye roll. None of us who write erotica romance do. To my fellow sister writers, I say give me more. Give me more sex. Give me more erotica.

Give me more.

03 December 2010

Revisions Save the Day!

I spent the evening watching a movie I hadn’t seen in ages (“My Science Project”, does anyone remember that film?), while at the same time playing around on my laptop trying to figure out a character I’ve had in my mind for awhile. Questions like “How does he meet the heroine?” and “What is going to drive his arc?” floated around frustratingly in my head. My Catholic upbringing makes me feel guilty for everything so I even if I’m stumped and my brain can’t focus, I still try to write. Otherwise, I’m eaten with guilt over the missed opportunity of having time to write but unable to produce anything constructive.

So I turn to revisions. Revisions are the perfect way to level the guilt while not having to really analyze too many questions, because they’ve all been asked! Right now I’m revising a book called “Kismet”, which is going to be the sequel to my book “Spirals”. I had submitted it to my editor, Rory, a while ago and he suggested some changes that would enhance the story. One of the best things an editor does is to give an author perspective. An author reads and reads and reads the story so many times that having an objectionable point of view is nill and void. So the editor comes in and says “Hey, how about this?” or “What about that?” and suddenly you smack your forehead and say “Of course!”.

So I’ll share some secrets to my book “Spirals”, since that’s been published after this blog started.

Secret #1) All the characters in the book were named after streets in Los Angeles. The names are Tobias, Orion, Noble, and Carnelian.

Secret #2) The original manuscript had the US Government dropping bombs to level the remains of Los Angeles in the purpose of starting over and rebuilding. My editor at the time, Judi, was the one who suggested another earthquake.

Secret #3) Kaori’s dummy in the first chapter is named after a boy I had a crush on in high school!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

02 December 2010

My first blog!

I had surgery about two weeks ago and have had to recuperate at my mother's. Unfortunately, she doesn't have internet so for the first week I went sir crazy. Luckily, I felt well enough after that week to go out, and found a nice bookstore near by where I could set up my laptop, hike my feet up while drinking a green tea frappe, and work on the things I had been putting off. Like this blog. It's nothing fancy but for now it'll work. Of course, I'll have to have my boyfriend, Brian, link this to my website: www.bethdcarter.com

Another thing I had to do was finish the edits on my upcoming novella release for Loose Id, titled "A Man After Midnight". I guess the good thing about this blog is that I can put in some of my work secrets for each story here. Maybe I'll even put a contest attached to it where someone can win a free copy when the novella is released!

So, secret #1: "A Man After Midnight" came from a song. More specifically, it came from Abba's "Gimme Gimme Gimme!".

Secret #2: The heroine, Caroline Grace, has a lot of the emotional issues I had when my marriage collapsed. In fact, many of the break up scenes are actually ones from my own!

And finally, Secret #3: The setting is in New York City, Times Square, and the original draft had a bomb scare in the hotel. That bomb scare came about because I was in the hotel where the Time Square Bomber had put his SUV. In fact, I walked right next to that SUV wondering why all the fireman were swarming around!

This if fun. I like blogging some of secrets to my books! In fact, I may do this with each one released! Thanks for reading and come back soon.