Monday, July 28, 2014


photo credit: annadahlstroem via photopin cc
There’s something about going on vacation that casts a magical spell on us.  We imagine ourselves on a beach, or in a hammock, or in a fishing boat, or in any of a hundred other places that aren’t our current reality.

How come nobody talks about the crazy chicken dance before and after vacation? 

Could it be that this is because it’s just so traumatic that we suffer a collective brain fart and forget about it?  Maybe it’s denial.  I’d like to think it’s an evolutionary defense mechanism designed so that we actually come back from vacation, and so that we don’t kill anyone prior to leaving on one.

So here are five special tips to survive the pre- and post-vacation period that we are all subjected to during vacation season.

1.  Don’t tell anyone you’re going on vacation until the day before you leave.  “Oh, I can’t give you that next week, because I’ll be in Aruba.”  This will avoid the pre-vacation overloading of projects that you could do just fine when you get back.

2.  On the other hand, you could pack everything and bring it in to the office a week early, just to make sure that your coworkers remember that you’re going on vacation.

3.  Build a fort with your suitcases in front of your inbox.  If folks can’t find it, they can’t give you work, now can they?

4.  If you are a homemaker who doesn’t work outside the home, and you end up getting extra carpool duties or some other chore to “make up for when you’ll be out,” just keep a tally.  You can even put it on your fridge so your neighbors can see it when they visit.  When they ask what it is, you can say it’s for your “job share” calendar and look very serene when they give you a somewhat panicked look.

5.  Remember that no matter how much preparation you do, no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.  So relax.  It’s just vacation, and you’ll be back soon enough to be able to pick up all the balls that you normally juggle.

6.  Consider leaving some of the balls where they fell.  If you don’t juggle them, they can’t hit you in the head when you drop one.

Six?  That list of five has six items?  I’m going on vacation, sorry.  Pre-vacation brain.  I can’t count.  Why don’t we talk about it when I get back?

Sealed by Fire

Vanya is a sorcerer’s apprentice who finally achieves his goal, initiation as a sorcerer – only to find that he, himself, is the intended sacrifice in their ritual. When the ritual goes wrong, his master flees and he is left with the creature that his master summons.

Stranded on this side of the portal, Nash is a powerful being with only one desire – find the sorcerer who stranded him and wreak his revenge. Vanya agrees to help, and in the process, he and Nash find more than they ever bargained for: love, friendship, and belonging.

Can they protect themselves against the sorcerer’s growing power, or will he destroy all that they hold dear?

A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder

For author and textile artist A. Catherine Noon, it's all about the yarn, both metaphorical and literal—spinning a yarn, knitting with yarn, weaving, sewing, painting, sharing stories and good times over a cup of coffee with dark chocolate. She teaches creative writing, creative expression and textile arts.

Author and image consultant Rachel Wilder is passionate about the masks and costumes people wear. She loves exploring that with her characters. Living in Las Vegas gives her an ample backdrop to pursue her curiosity.

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's About Time

After being published, readers will ask writers really difficult questions.

"How do you come up with your ideas?"

"Where do you write?"

"What will my favorite character do next?"

"Will you hit me with these flounder paddles I found on the Internet?"

Okay, so maybe not the last one, but I really wanted to use Jodi's "Fun With Flounders" tag.

Some authors have really set schedules. I know some that get up and write five to ten thousand words a day. Some of them have intricate plotting boards with highlighters and post-its. Some have book bibles where they keep track of all the secrets of their characters and some even have maps drawn of their worlds.

When I try and plot it looks something like this....

When I do manage to plot or get something settled in my brain as to how it will go, my characters give me the middle finger and take me in a completely different direction. 

I gave up trying to control the voices in my head a long time ago. I assume at some point I will be able to plot effectively, but right now, it seems like more work to write a plot that will be mocking me from my notebook when it doesn't turn out at all like those "brilliant" ideas I wrote down.

The hardest thing that I am dealing with as a published author is managing multiple projects at once. Depending on publisher there can be a significant amount of lag time between when the initial rough draft of a book gets submitted for review, and when it hits an e-reader or paper copy. 

During that lag time authors are writing another draft, editing a third, doing promo work for the books that are already out, filling out forms, writing a synopsis or two, and trolling Pinterest under the guise of "research".  Try and do all that while writing down all the voices in your head. It's not easy.

Me? I am still learning the juggling act.

My muse keeps me on my toes, and never performs when asked.  I let life carry me away a bit more than I should sometimes. But I keep my Keurig stocked, down a few cups of coffee and I get back at it...eventually.

Right now I am biting my nails while I wait to hear back about the status of my Hart Clan Hybrids book 3 from my editor. I am working on a fun project with the other Lusty Linguists that blog here, and I am looking for a home for my first attempt at Contemporary Romance. 

Will I ever be the disciplined authors I adore and admire? Will I get those time management skills that I envy? Only time will tell...but don't hold your breath. I couldn't find time to take that CPR class either, so I can't save you if you pass out.

What about you? Are you a planner and someone who always sticks to a list? Or are you someone like me who ends up accomplishing everything but what you put on your list? 

Let's chat, because I really need an excuse to stay online and refresh Twitter.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Music & Sex…I Mean Sexy Novels

Most people know that during those special scenes the sound of Barry White echoes in the background and they fade to black with the sensual moans of pleasure.

Even in books they fade away. Just usually there is descriptive words about the curves and feelings of the skin and throbbing pulse of his growing member. I said member because the various words for the anatomy vary book to book. In this one they call it a throbbing python of love, in another it’s a meat stick, or it’s compared to Thor’s Hammer.

What was I talking about?
Oh ya, music and writing.

For me, I love music. All types. My preference is hard rock but setting a romantic scene to the sound of Metallica in the background may ruin the mood a little. Unless it’s the scene where he savagely fucks her silly like an animal in heat, in a bathroom stall in a club, with a glory hole and some pervert in the next stall trying to poke the guy in the ass. Then a little edgy music would help. So would the condom machine inside the door, unless you don’t have quarters and need to use Saran Wrap and a rubber band.

I’m easily distracted, sorry.

Music is in all the movies setting the mood for the scene. I use music when writing to put me in a mood. I write as if the music is playing and gives a cadence to the speed of the scene.

Making out to harder edged sex, music can set the tone and as a writer I love imagining the sound echoing softly in the background.

I do prefer female singers when writing. It is so nice to hear Sade or other sultry singers seductively talking about love and emotions.

A few of my books were inspired by songs or musicians. BROKEN was inspired by Keith Urban and his way of describing heartache. It touched something about losing love and feeling lost in your world. So I decided to use the songs I heard by him to set the tone for the story.
LOVE SONG was written right after I saw Evanescence in concert and fell in love with Amy Lee. Her amazing voice was just, wow, and I imagined an idea about what really happens after the show in real life instead of the Hollywood ideals.

A little off topic but I think you all know what I mean. You’ve all sat in bed and heard some sultry music and the slow groove made you think of romance. That’s the joy and the power of music. It can set your mind free by making you smile, or better yet, your mood a little more frisky.

I can’t believe I got all serious and almost, dare I say, mushy there.

As a writer I find music as a great tool to put me in the mood to write. From the hard edge bondage scenes to the more romance and sunset and cuddles stuff I use music as a way to make me drift away and express my inner feelings. 

People that know me see me post about music and sex and funny stuff and they all are a part of everybody in one way or another. I was just asked to write a little about it and think it is so universal. Movies use the background music in the scenes and they have the climactic love scene where the first kiss is about to happen and they kiss and the music hits a crescendo and everyone goes "Awwwwwww". Action scenes with the fast rap music or rock blaring loudly making your ears bleed as the carnage flies across the screen

I mean can you picture a porno with no music? Just the bad dialogue and the close-ups. Scary stuff. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Want to read more from S.L. Carpenter? Check out...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fun With Covers

Ask most authors what is one of the most exciting aspects of their book being published, and nine times out of ten they'll mention getting their book cover designed. No matter how many books we've written and cover request sheets we've turned in, it never gets old seeing that cover mock-up hit our inboxes. I can't tell you how many squee moments I've had seeing my covers for the first time. Well, actually that's not true. I have 16 original covers, a repackaged cover, an anthology cover, and 2 yet-to-be released covers, so I guess than means I've had exactly 20 cover squee moments to date. Side note: Clearly that math in school paid off.

I've been super fortunate with my covers. I can honestly say I've loved them all. It  helps that Samhain has a kick ass art department with uber talented artist in their stable. I'm also lucky that my good friend Becky McGraw--who does my self pubbed covers--is exceptionally gifted in cover design and knows exactly what it takes to make my covers stand out in a good way.

But no blog post on book covers would be complete without acknowledging some of the less fortunate recipients out there. To protect the innocent, I won't single anyone out. But I'm sure y'all have seen some real doozies. This post has some particularly astounding WTF offenders. A quick browse through any stock image site usually leaves me scratching my head over a few of the image offerings. Buzzfeed has a great post that pretty much sums up everything I've ever thought on the subject. The only thing I can figure is the folks at these stock image sites have a really twisted sense of humor for thinking this qualifies as sexy menage material.

So what's the strangest cover/ and or stock image you've ever seen? Did it turn you off from wanting to know more about the book? Or the opposite?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Feeling up trouble--my "sense" of humor

I have a weird sense of humor. You've been warned :) For me, humor is like sex--it feels great and cleans out part of me.

Cyanide & Happiness is a comic that skates in and out of my comfort zone--and sometimes tramples all over it. But I think this recent one is funny:

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

Notice it's "sense" of humor? Like seeing and feeling, it's individual, but 80% of folk are within the comfortable part of the bell curve. Mine isn't always, and sometimes that gets me in trouble. What really gets fun is when I find another outlier soul like me.

Another favorite is xkcd, sarcasm and math. Seriously, the combo rocks. Here's one just titled "Frustration".

Another favorite is Sinfest, which pokes needles into everything from sex to religion to the artist's life, complete with cute-but-cynical cat and cute, goofy dog. No preview, but here's one on BDSM I like.

These, plus User Friendly, Free Fall and Facebook posts by Stephan Pastis, George Takei and Zits get me going with a smile in the morning.

What are your favorites?