April showers bring May flowers…or something like that

It’s April. Yay. The wind is currently howling outside my building, and I’m desperately wishing it was 75 out instead of 43. Springtime in Iowa is similar to a teenage girl. The mood changes as quickly as the weather. That’s Iowa, though. Hate it or love it. We all live here still for some odd reason. It must be the cheap real estate.

Do you ever lose yourself to a character in a book? As in, you become the character you’re reading about. For me, if a book doesn’t do that, then I stop reading it. This happens more often than not. An author needs to be able to pull me entirely into the book so that when I come up for air, I think I’m that character. It may seem weird, but it’s the way I am. I’m sure I’m not alone either. As a writer, that is what I want for my readers. The ability to create characters and a story that pulls you into their lives so thoroughly that you look up and have no clue what life you’re living.

Losing yourself to a story is the beauty of reading. I can escape from droll Iowa and spend time in sunny California for a while. At the moment, I am doing exactly that. I’ve been working on my DDD sequel lately, and I keep second-guessing myself. What if this one isn’t up to par with the first? What if no one likes it? Blah, blah, blah. I have to keep reminding myself that this story isn’t the first one. The characters are different. The scenarios and story line are polar opposites, and there is nothing wrong with that. Though, sometimes I wonder if I should be charting my stories better. ;-p

As I write, I jump into that story’s alternate dimension and habitat. For  me, it’s hard to come back to reality at times. Some days, I would much rather be sprawled out on the beach instead of bundled up in my living room. Dimension hopping is the only way I can function as a writer. I need that escape. I crave that first touch from the sun’s brilliant rays as I check out my awesome surfer boyfriend recreate Baywatch. Suffice to say, losing myself in a story is a way I find myself. I want that for my readers as well. I want them to feel so connected to the story that they react to the pitfalls and mountain tops as the character would.

I’m well aware that I live vicariously through my stories. If anyone tells you that you shouldn’t do that, get rid of them immediately. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. You go jump ship in Bali or fly above the Alps. You be you. Don’t conform to anyone else’s standards. Life was meant to be lived and for heaven’s sake, get lost in a book!

~Skye~

Dastardly Charming

Winter is slowly coming to a screeching halt in Iowa. At least, I hope it is. I’m so done with winter and cold. It’s depressing. Bring on the sunshine and days so hot you just sit in front of the AC. I’ll take that any day over freezing temperatures.

While minding my own business as I often do while working, an idea formed for my sequel to Donuts, Diamonds and Assorted Details. Obviously, I charted a sequel previously, but this one trumped by last sketch. I whipped out my handy-dandy mini journal from my purse (I always carry one. I mean what writer doesn’t?) and started jotting down the story plot. I easily filled four pages and felt the need to write that son of a b down in a real notebook. So, I yanked out one of my spare legal pads, I bought it calm down boss, and started writing it all out. That was on Friday, today is Wednesday and I’m excited at the prospective story. My hand feels  like a zombie, but it’s worth the pain. The first draft for me is to mainly get the story out in the open and keep my creative juices flowing. The magic happens somewhere in between editing and first draft.

Thus far, I’m liking the direction of the story. It deals with characters from the debut novel, but obviously this is someone else’s story. Can you guess who? I like to have twists along the way in my stories, and I think I found this one. We’ll see how it comes out. The title? Yeah, good question. I have no idea yet. I scribbled down a few, but it’ll reveal itself eventually.

Publisher updated: Yup, got nothing yet. Soon-ish is the goal. It would be fabulous if I got one interested in this series, but I have a couple other books up my sleeve as well.

Forgot to mention, I edited DDD a bit after I got it back from my previous publisher, so now it leaves the door ajar for the next books in the series.

Keeping it short and sweet today. Thanks for the read. Don’t forget to subscribe and tell your friends as well.

~Skye~

Keep Moving Forward

I had a blog post all ready to go about two weeks ago and keep forgetting it. I’ll post it at a later time. Right now, I want to address my current publisher status. Beau Coup Publishing is dissolving on January 31, 2016. This news was extremely saddening and quite stressful when I found out second-hand. Not my preferred method, but social media tends to leak things before the important people know. I think I’m currently going through the 5 stages of grief since Donuts, Diamonds and Assorted Details was just published in October. Don’t ask me what stage I’m in. I don’t really know at the moment. It’s difficult for me since I’ve been trying for 8 years to snag a publisher, then I find one and my book is getting incredible reviews and then not even four months later there is a huge let down. I don’t blame anyone for this. Businesses disappear just as quickly as they are erected. If I could afford to create a kick ass publishing house, I totally would, but I’m really not that tech savvy.

I received a sixth 5 star review on Amazon yesterday and it pains me to know that in a few days people won’t have the opportunity to love the book as much as I do. That being said, I have tossed around the option of going full Indie and putting it up on Amazon by myself in e-book version alone. I’m really not fond of that notion, but I may end up doing it for the time being. We’ll see. I’ll post the reviews on here at the end, so you can see the glowing notes 🙂

So, since I just sent my release to BC, I’m currently publisherless. Is that a word? It is now. I choose to see this as an opportunity to move forward to bigger and better things. (Don’t tell my wine at home. We’re still hooking up later.)

To be honest, ever since publishing DDD, I’ve wanted to pull my hair out because of a typo I saw that somehow made it through and because I wanted to add another paragraph or two to the ending so it leads to a sequel. I actually have three more books in mind for these characters, so I really would like to add that tidbit. One of my colleagues knows a person involved in a much larger publishing house. Obviously, I’m not holding my breath. I’ve received my overabundance of stock reject letters from publishers, but I still find myself holding out hope. It really is about who you know.

To recap: my publisher is no more; DDD is soon to be off Amazon; I’m excited to work on DDD to include openings for a sequel; I’m anxious to begin the process of wooing a new publisher; and I’m moving forward. Staying in my current place won’t benefit my writing career, so I’m stealing Walt Disney’s quote to keep my head up during these times of uncertainty.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” –Walt Disney–

~Skye~

As promised, all of my Amazon 5 star reviews. Thanks to all those that took the time to review my book. It means so much <3

on January 27, 2016
This was a best friend’s turned lover romance with a twist that wasn’t expected. It kept me wanting to see who she would choose but in the end there never was a choice. When one drunken night leads to Gwen and Jeremy sharing a night of passion will that be the end of their 15 year friendship? Maybe. When you add in a date with tall dark and handsome Devon. That’s when things get complicated. As the story unfolds things just aren’t always as they seem. Beware of your gut feeling as Gwen discovers, that’s where the truth is.
on January 10, 2016
This is a very interesting love story. There are many twists and turns. It actually made me cry at certain points. The book itself is written well and edited well.
on January 10, 2016
I was given this book for an honest review. When I started it I wasn’t sure I would like it but I was willing to give it a chance. Beau Coup Publishing hadn’t disappointed me before, they have fantastic authors. I couldn’t put it down. It is worth you time and effort. You will not be sorry you picked this one up. I am not into spoilers. Get the book, I think you will enjoy this one!!!!!!
on January 6, 2016
I give this book 5 stars … I love it … I just could not put it down until I finish … I highly recommend it …
on December 10, 2015
So I was not sure I would like this book. I could not put it down and enjoyed it greatly. I hope a sequel comes out very soon!
on November 25, 2015
Where to start to explain my opinion of this book….. Wow, I loved it! warm, romantic, lovely, thrilling, intrigue, gorgeous guys, great heroine, an unexpected twist, and great ending. congratulations on a great read. if you like a book that gives that nice warm fuzzie feeling, this is for you. Love triumphs, read it.

New Year, New Book?

Well, a new year has begun yet again. Bring on all the resolutions that last two weeks! But seriously, they only last until Valentine’s Day comes around because obviously you want to look good for that romantic day. If you haven’t picked up on my sarcasm, please re-read.

I’ve been furiously typing one of my stories, which remains untitled, and wonder if this will be the year of the novel boom. Obviously, I’m extremely pleased how the year 2015 went as I now have one of my works circulated in public. There is still the desire to really explode my novels and get my name out there. One of my ultimate goals is to be on Jimmy Fallon. Don’t judge. I like him as a talk show host and he was hilarious on SNL. Obviously, I don’t expect to be the next J.K. Rowling, though everyone keeps referring to her when they talk to me about my writing, which sort of irks me. I don’t write fantasy (which she does amazingly) and she doesn’t write romance (not under that pseudonym at least) so we really can’t be categorized in the same writing family. In other words, please stop clumping authors in one big group. We write different things. Unless you’re telling me I write like Jane Austen, I really don’t want to hear the comparisons.

Any-who, I’m pretty excited about the untitled work that has been consuming my mind, so if I seem scatterbrained, you can blame Untitled. This book is unlike any other I’ve written, and I attribute part of that to my need to expand my stories beyond what I write now. It’s a bit scary to try new things, but hey, you have to grow right? It seems I run into more writer’s block while writing this style because I’m not completely sure how it comes across. I don’t typically read first person stories because the few that I read were poorly written, so big turn off there. I don’t want that to happen with this story. I want my readers to be immensely turned on by the characters and by the story. I’ve let a few people read snidbits of scenes to get their point of view and so far so good. Of course those were men and the scenes were of the more, shall we say, interesting parts of the book. Either way, it is terrifying to write something in first person because people automatically think, “OMG, this is totally about her!” No, just no. It’s not, but there could be some parts that are true. I understand now why J.K. tossed that name aside to write other stories under a different pen name. Food for thought, that one.

Side note, have you ever been so involved in your writing that you accidentally answer someone in the same tone your character would? Yep, happened to me at work (shh, don’t tell). I was re-running some character plots in my mind and my boss asked me a question. Instinctively, I answered in a British accent and I didn’t even realize it. He gave me an odd look then asked if I just used an accent. Yeah, definitely didn’t realize I did that. Do I do that often? Probably. I talk to myself, as most writers do, and I find I will read and speak in an accent. Wishful thinking, but at the same time, it shows how incredible the brain is. There’s your odd factoid for the day.

Back on track….sort of. 2016 is an unwritten book. One that I want to fill to the brim full of stories and leaps and bounds. Goals? At least two books published and more marketing/sales. Resolutions? Please. I don’t do those. So, here’s to more fans, more books, and more romance to make the world go round.

Don’t forget to subscribe, so you get a notification when new posts are uploaded!

~Skye~

What’s Sexy?

What is sexy to you when you’re reading a book? Ok, I don’t mean lingerie or whips and handcuffs. I’m not against those in the least, but I’m asking about qualities in/of a character. Though, we can discuss the other meanings of sexy later 😉 I tend to prefer the written word (obviously) over my mouth, because once it starts going you really can’t shut me up if I’m nervous and somewhat comfortable around you. I just keep going and going and….you get the picture.

Ok, if we’re going to skim the surface of sexy, I have to name drop a little here, so bear with me. Adam Levin, Sam Hunt, Chris Hemsworth, Luke Bryan, and Stephen Amell. Mic drop. Yeah, those guys up there……super hot. They’re ‘lock me in a soundproof closet with them and throw away the key’ hot. And I know nothing about them, which is probably why I am attracted to them. They’re eye candy.  Guys, I won’t leave you out to dry: Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis, January Jones, and Megan Fox. You’re welcome.

So all of these people are sexy, let’s admit that right now (except Megan Fox’s thumb. Look it up). We strive to be like these people, to read about these characters in books. What it boils down to is that eventually the sexiness of our outward appearance disappears and we’re left with our shining personality. That’s why it’s imperative to create characters that have both looks and smarts.

The following thought has kept me up the last two nights, “The brain is the sexiest body part.” Yes, I may have heard it on the Big Bang Theory, where Penny then says something about how her brain never got her free drinks. The brain should be the sexiest thing about a character. I’m not attracted to someone solely because of their looks, so why should the story revolve around that alone? I admit, I’ve been attracted to a guy just for their looks, and it went no where. (Ok, fine, it went somewhere, but nowhere that I would mention on a blog. A book perhaps…..)

When I create characters, I have to be attracted to them both physically and emotionally. The goal is to connect the reader to the character so that they hate when the book ends because there goes their fictional boyfriend/girlfriend. I can’t make them too sexy, though, because that’s not realistic. They have to have  flaws, because we all have those even if we’re named the sexiest person alive. So, does my personal preference come into play when I form these characters? Hell, yes! I’m not saying all of the characteristics are ones I find attractive, but at least a few of them.

That big, beautiful brain of a person is where it all happens. Where the character grips you and never lets you go. It could be by their sarcastic wit or their ability to make you shudder in desire merely looking at them. My personal favorite is a sense of humor. When the writer makes a character humorous, I feel like I know them and can relate to them. They would be someone I hang out with.

Laughter is sexy as hell. The brain is sexy. I would much rather have a man, who on a scale of 1 to 10, is a solid 6 if he stimulates me both physically and mentally. Beauty fades, personality is there to stay. Thus, my characters need to have a sense of humor plus a body that isn’t shy of fantastic attributes. Come, on now, you like it when the guy has washboard abs, don’t try to deny it.

The desire to have my characters develop into your new fictional crush is important to me. I want you to fawn over the green-eyed hunky attorney with fireman tattoos and a body so delicious that you just want to lick whipped cream off it. I also want you to fall in love with the slightly nerdy, computer guru, college professor with glasses, a f**k me smile, captivating sky blue eyes, and a body that is ideal by anyone’s standards. You don’t have to choose. I write both men, so you can switch back and forth as needed 😛

~Skye~

Writer’s Block

Ok, so I haven’t written blog entries since I used Xanga soooooooo many years ago, but I think it will help me work through some writer’s block and connect to my readers.  Fair warning: I’m naturally sarcastic, sassy, and a bit vulgar, and I won’t apologize for any of it.

Writer’s block. It’s a real thing and we all deal with it. Sometimes, when the story is getting good, I find a roadblock. It’s usually in the worst possible place too. Such as when the main female character is stepping into a steamy shower while her lover is hidden in the bathroom closet. Yeah, you really can’t get any worse than that when it comes to writer’s block. Oh wait, you can. Since I was stalled in that story, I decided to go back to one of my previously finished stories to do some editing. About 70ish pages in, it happens again. This time with the main male character grasping the shirtless main female character. So, right now I’m torn between skipping that scene for now and carrying on with the rest of the edit or struggling through it. I think I’ll go with the skip and come back to it later. I know where the stories are going, and I know what the end result is, but getting there is easier said than done.

Normally, I watch a cheesy Hallmark movie or distract myself to help with the writer’s block. As it’s a Thursday and I’m at work, that probably won’t happen until tomorrow right. In the alternative, I tossed my problem to one of my friends to see if they can be of any help. Sometimes, talking (typing) through the scene issue with a close friend works for me. I think it has to do with getting another person’s perspective instead of constantly hashing it out to myself. As much as I love talking to myself, I find discussing it with another person helps a little more.

This block usually happens when it comes to the more romantic of scenes. Not always, but it’s a fair amount of the time. I’m not sure why, but I have a few guesses. When I write, I try to plot out the story, but at times that only hinders me since I deviate from the stories 90% of the time. Also, it could be that it happens when I’m typing the story. My first draft is ALWAYS done with pen and notepad. I’ve attempted the computer route, but just cannot get anywhere. There is some connection I feel with the pen and paper that supersedes the typing. I guess I’m a little old-fashioned when it comes to that. So, you will never find me at Starbucks unless I’m picking up my favorite seasonal drink. We’ll discuss coffee at another time. (Yes, I am an addict.)

Back on track, I think I waver in the risque scenes due to my more conservative upbringing. I was raised in a very religious family that sheltered me from everything the world offers. Movies? Sure, but my magical Disney movies were taken away when I was five. Not exactly sure why, but I think the ‘magic’ is a big part. And yes, I get the jokes about being sheltered (blah blah blah) all the time from friends and co-workers. My first serious boyfriend was when I was on the cusp of 18 if  that gives you any indication. Obviously, my stories entertain some scenes that are definitely not suited for under 18, but that is what naturally flows…until it doesn’t. I’ve written over 10 novels and I would say 9 out of the 10 are rated R to X for content. And the other one was recently re-written to include more of a romantic vibe if you get what I mean. I write these not because I think it’s what readers want to read, but because it’s what the characters want and where the story goes. To connect with my characters, I channel my inner actress (yep, we’ll get to that later) and become those characters. I want to feel what they feel and move the story along in a way the imagination only can. Sometimes, that means writing things that makes me blush when I re-read them. Other times, I’m stuck between wanting to move the story along and wanting to relish the scene.

All in all, I don’t know of any writer who has never come across the dreaded writer’s block. If they say differently, they’re either a unicorn or lying.

So, then my loyal fans, how does one move through sexy scenes without stumbling through them? It will come to me eventually and when it does, I’ll blush like a virgin. Until then, I’ll quote Dr. Derek Shepherd because I can….”It’s a great day to save lives.” And by ‘lives’ I mean my scenes 😉

~Skye~

 

Marie Lavender’s Books

Interview with Marie Lavender’s Books

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/2015/10/spotlight-skye-mcneil-visits-to-talk-romance-donuts-diamonds-assorted-details.html

Spotlight: Skye McNeil Visits to Talk About Romantic Mystery/Suspense, DONUTS, DIAMONDS & ASSORTED DETAILS!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. Fellow author Skye McNeil is stopping by to talk about her new book!

 

Hello, Skye! It’s great that you’re visiting MLB.  🙂 We also saw you on the I Love Romance Blog a few days ago.

 

 

Hi! Thank you for having me here.

 

 

My pleasure, of course! So, let me ask a few questions since you’re here…

 

All right.

Can you tell us a little about your book? When did it come out and where can we get it?

I started writing Donuts, Diamonds and Assorted Details in March 2015 after I had a dream about powdered donuts. Weird, I know, but it immediately set my pen to paper. Once you read the book, you will understand what I mean. The book focuses on a strong, independent woman, Gwendolyn Smidt, who happens to fall into a gray area when it comes to her love life. The many adventures of this book include murder, kidnapping, sex and even a few things that you simply have to discover on your own.

 

That’s great!

So, how did you get into writing romantic suspense?

Saying I love to write is a vast understatement. I have to write. When I woke up after having the dream about this story line, I started writing and couldn’t stop until it was done. As my day job, I work for criminal law attorneys, so that experience gives me plenty of inspiration. I have been writing mystery romance since I was seventeen. I am an avid reader, and I wanted to write something that I would enjoy as well. As the mystery romance genre is the most interesting to me, I like to write something that keeps the reader guessing and on the edge of their seat.

Sounds good to me!

What, do you feel, sets your book apart from other books in the genre?

I believe Donuts, Diamonds and Assorted Details is a book that you don’t expect to see on the market. Each one of my stories is infused with a dash of fact from personal life experiences. Since I work in the legal field and deal with many of the same situations that are in this book, I believe readers will enjoy the uniqueness. I feel this sets my book apart from all others in mystery romance because some of the characters or situations have happened in real life and not just in my imagination.

Interesting!

 

So, give us a teaser or two of the book if you can.

 

She felt his eyes scan her from head to toe more than once before he closed the distance between them and trapped her between the wall and his arms resting on either side of her shoulders. She couldn’t move if she wanted to; not with her heart pounding furiously to make her stay and kiss him until he stopped his shenanigans. “I’ve got all I want right here,” he whispered against her neck.

Gwen’s stomach flipped and her throat immediately dried. Those words sounded like honey on her tortured soul, but she couldn’t accept them. “You’re drunk,” she shot back, equally hushed. She moved to escape his clutch, but he pressed her against the wall with his body.

“Maybe a little, but maybe I’m just drunk enough to demand you stop teasing me,” he replied, moving her hair behind her shoulder and toying with the dress strap. He rolled it between his fingers and lowered his eyes to her dress. “You come to a party you’re not invited to wearing a dress that makes every male head turn.” He slipped her strap down and gently caressed her bare shoulder. Chills spread over her skin the more he touched her. “And then you want to leave right after I see you?” he finished, pushing the opposite dress strap off. “That’s not very fair,” he complained, leaning down and catching the tip of her ear between his teeth.

If it weren’t for the other party-goers, Gwen was certain Jeremy would take her in that very hallway. She saw the longing in his brown depths and knew hers mirrored the exact same. “You know we can’t,” she murmured against his lips.

Jeremy cradled her face in his hands and nuzzled her nose with his before tilting her head up. “Then why does it feel so right when we do?” he argued as he lightly nibbled on her lower lip. His reasoning made sense to her hazed thoughts. The way he coerced her lips with his only intensified her resolve to not let anything or anyone get between them.

Deciding one kiss wouldn’t hurt anything, Gwen met Jeremy’s lips with exuberance.

His reaction took her breath away when he eagerly slipped his tongue into her mouth to tangle with hers. He tasted like beer laced with vodka and a hint of peppermint, but to her, he still tasted like perfection. The beat of the rock song playing over the amplifier only deepened the pressure in Gwen’s body. Thankful for the crowd-reducing noise, Gwen pulled Jeremy closer yet, until he was skin to skin with her.

So exciting! I definitely want to know what happens next.

So, I’m sure readers are curious about your next writing project. Can you tell us what you’ve got cooking up now or is that a secret?

I have a few projects I am working on right now. I am working on a trilogy right now and I think my readers would enjoy the plot. I don’t want to give away too many details, but my readers can be assured that I definitely have more books in the works. I have an entire notebook full of ideas that are just waiting to be made into reality. I would love to release another novel in the next six months.

Great! We certainly look forward to it! 🙂

Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us about Donuts, Diamons & Assorted Details, Skye! 

My pleasure!


Readers, you’ll just have to pick up a copy of this romantic mystery/suspense! 😉

 

Weet Weet’s Bookshelf and Author Service

Interview with Weet Weet.

https://weetweetsbookshelfblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/spotlight-and-interview-donuts-diamonds-assorted-details-by-skye-mcneil/

Interview

~What are you currently working on?

Right now, I am working on two books. One is a historical, suspense romance trilogy. The second book is a contemporary romance.

~What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t give up. I know it’s easy to say it, but it is what I learned from my professors, teachers and life. Out of the 50+ rejection emails from publishers, I made myself keep going. Another tidbit of advice is to keep writing no matter what.

~Are you an organized author or scattered?

At the beginning, I am somewhat organized. Throughout the process of writing, I am scattered at times. It really depends on my writing location and distractions.

~Do you plot out your story or write as it goes?

When I have a story idea, I write down as much as I can right then. I try to plot stories like my English teachers taught me, but I find it sometimes hinders my creative flow.

~Do you have any strange writing habits?

I read scenes out loud. I always have music on in the background too. It sometimes distracts me and I end up singing along, but it helps me write.

~Do you have writers block and how do you work around it?

Sadly, yes I have been the victim of writers block. One of the ways I get through it is by watching a cheesy romance movie. It doesn’t cure the block right away, but it definitely helps to get away from my story for a while and focus on something else.

~Do you work on 1 story at a time or multiples?

I try to stick with working one story at a time. Right now, I’m editing two of my books, so that is the only time I overlap.

~What is your favorite genre to read?

The majority of what I read is romance. Historical, mystery, suspense and contemporary are my favorite subgenres.

~What is the most wacky/crazy weird thing you received from a fan?

I don’t think I’ve received any wacky or crazy things from fans. Not yet at least. What are your favorite hobbies? Writing, obviously. I also love photography, reading and playing volleyball.

~If you had a warning label what would it say?

Caution: Sassy

~Favorite quote?

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” –Benjamin Franklin