Okay, I was tagged by Dejay, author of Redemption, Strangers, and Sisters, in the #mywritingprocess blog series. Authors blog about their writing process and then tag someone else to do the same. We all answer the same four questions. So, here are mine.
#1 What am I working on?
I’m on high gear right now with all four burners going. Speaking of cooking, I’ve just completed edits on the stories that will be appearing in All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica, which will be released in August 2014. On the heels of that, I will be editing stories for the Ylva Publishing anthology Unwrap These Presents.
This is the year of anthologies because I am also working on an anthology with my writers’ group, The Penheads. We will be releasing a Kindle-only edition that will feature a story from each of us. I’ve been spared the task of formatting it by one of my fellow group members, who has bravely jumped into her first Kindle experience. However, I am doing the cover. In addition, I’m trying to get stories finished to submit to another one of Ylva’s anthologies—a follow-up to last year’s Halloween collection, When The Clock Strikes Thirteen.
Within the next couple of months, I will be launching a novella series and I just finished up the draft of the first volume. And, at some point, I will resume work on my second novel.
#2 How does my work differ from others in the same genre?
I think there are two things that mark my work as mine: wry humor and an obsession with food. My first novel, Twice Bitten, didn’t have much in the way of either, but that was an exception to the rule. I had a whole different mindset when writing that one. But most of my other works—short stories, as well as longer works—all include some level of dry or sarcastic humor and food being used in some way (these days more than ever).
With regard to the food thing, I’m a food writer in my real life and went to culinary school, so food has always loomed large in my life. I finally decided to bring my two worlds together. I dipped my toe in the water when I wrote about an erotic interlude with a restaurant chef for the anthology Women In Uniform. Then, I dunked my head in with my novella Add Spice to Taste. And I decided that the water was fine, so I launched the anthology All You Can Eat with Andi Marquette. And now, the novella series that I’m launching also involves a chef. But there’s a twist. Stay tuned to find out what that is.
#3 Why do I write what I do?
My penchant for vampires and creatures of the night started when I was a child. I read a lot and I was drawn to dark, gothic characters, probably because they were “other,” and I felt like I was “other” as well. As an adult, my interest turned to creating these creatures, not just reading about them. I imagine myself as those characters, living fearlessly, knowing that they can do whatever they want (well, almost). I also like to show these creatures, who have been vilified throughout history, as sympathetic characters. They may not be what they appear at first glance, and they may not be all bad. They have a vulnerable side, and there’s a part of them that knows that eternal life and/or supernatural powers are not all they’re cracked up to be.
And I stated above, I incorporate food into much of what I write these days because food is an intrinsic part of my life, and I find that when I use food as a tool or mechanism in my story, I can do so much with it because my imagination soars. Food can be the entryway to so many emotions, human interaction, and events. It just flows naturally for me.
#4 How does my writing process work?
I’ve tried many times to do the outline thing, but it just doesn’t work for me. I usually come up with a character first, a core character that I then need to create a story—i.e., a vampire yearning to find her one true love (Twice Bitten), a chef who falls for one of her students (Add Spice to Taste), woman who meets a vampire and will do anything to have her (“Love Bites” in When The Clock Strikes Thirteen), a butch stripper in a Marine’s uniform (“From the Halls of Montezuma” in Best Lesbian Erotica 2010), a cool, hot chef who just happens to be—ah-ah-ah, not yet.
Once I have the character, then I have to figure out what I want the story to do to help her get from point A to point B. And with a basic skeleton plot line, I proceed to write. Once I get into the writing process and the story begins to reveal itself to me, that’s when I try to create an outline so I can have some sort of structure to work with. Even then, the outlines just call out the major highlights that I want each chapter to explore, the next “big event” or issue that my character needs to deal with, and it changes and evolves as I continue to write. I can’t be more detailed than that in my outlines, unlike some writers who outline every movement. Hats off to them, but I just can’t work like that. I just write and see how things shake out.
And that’s it. Okay, I’ve tagged:
Yvonne Heidt, GCLS Goldie winner and author of Sometime Yesterday, The Awakening, The Quickening, and The Deadening.
Victoria Oldham, a UK writer whose stories have appeared in Skulls & Crossbones, Women of the Dark Streets, Blood & Lipstick, and Where the Girls Are.
AND I’ve taken Jae, author of almost 20 novels, including books in the Moonstone, Oregon, and Shape-shifter series.
All three of these ladies also have stories in the upcoming anthology All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Romance and Erotica. Woohoo!