Draw from Real Life

Originally posted on Paranormal Romantics Apr 2018.

***

I am what I call a visual writer. I see the book unfold in my mind like watching a movie. This is particularly true when it comes to write the action scenes. Not being a fighter myself, I find with those, it helps to actually see videos. Watching the action in progress helps me describe it on the page.

This is fairly easy if I’m writing a scene where the characters are human. Whether they are fighting using a type of martial art, or using weapons, YouTube becomes my best friend, because it has videos of all that. But what does a writer like me do when the scene is more fantastical. For example, my current WIP involves dragon shifters. The fight scenes in these books is dragon on dragon fighting, mostly in the air, but also partly on the ground.

What’s a girl to do when she needs some visuals to inspire her?

I started with movies. Believe it or not, there are only a handful of movies or shows with more than one dragon. And even fewer where the dragons are fighting each other. (And I don’t have time to wait for Game of Thrones to get to that point.) The best I found was Eragon which is technically dragon (with rider) vs. shadow dragon (with rider), but it helped.

However, one short scene only helps so much (I’m writing 8 books here), and when I watch these videos I don’t write everything I’m seeing because those scenes are specific to those stories. Instead, I pick out individual moves or maneuvers that fit my characters, the terrain, the situation, etc., and piece together my own unique fight scene.

So if the obvious isn’t the answer, move on to the not as obvious (but sometimes cooler)…

In this case, I decided to draw from real life. What fights in the air in real life? Birds. So, I started looking up nature videos where birds are fighting midair or attacking something on the ground. With that small change in focus, I found was exactly what I needed.  Lots of it, in fact!

Example:

I still have to pull out bits and pieces from each video to put together an entire fight scene. Maybe the spiraling tug-of-war from the video above. Maybe the way an eagle turns his head before flipping over to face an oncoming falcon. Maybe what a massive golden eagle does when attacking a mountain goat. But the point is, I now have a lot more fodder for my visual brain to engage with.

I write paranormal to escape, to not be confined by the bounds of this world and be able to let my imagination run free. The irony is not lost on me that this world is still informing my fantasy world at very in depth levels. It makes me stop and appreciate the beauty and majesty we can find right here. No imagination needed.

Hey writers… What do you use to help you write scenes with no basis in this world? What else would you think of as a real-life example for dragons fighting each other?

When You Don’t Have Anything to Say (Or Can’t)

I am well aware how much I’ve slowed down on this blog. Pitiful really. But there is a reason… With my contracts, I now have to consider my publisher’s preferred timing to market upcoming books which is usually 1-3 months before and 1-3 months after (or more).

In the past, I’ve blogged about whatever it is I’m working on at that exact moment, while the experience is fresh and topics are top of mind. But I’m finding that I can’t do that now that I’m waiting to market the books until closer to release. Keep in mind, some of these books I’m finishing 1 and even 2 years before they release. So that means whatever I was focused on while writing them has definitely left my head.

This is a good problem to have, so believe me, I’m grateful. 🙂

The question is, how do I address the issue. I’ve tried keeping lists of topics I *would* have written about at the time. But when I go back to them, the content is no longer fresh for me. So that’s not working. I’ve tried just posting about what I’m able to post about when it’s fresh, but that’s resulting in fewer posts, so that’s not working either.

So…here’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m going to write the blog posts at the time that they are fresh in my head, but leave them in drafts to publish when I’m allowed. That way, they’re already done and relevant, and I don’t forget stuff. Eventually, that should give me content to be posting regularly (I hope). It probably means that, for the next month or so (or until July when my next book releases as Kadie Scott), my posts will still be pretty sparse. But, I figure the problem gets solved eventually, so that’s okay.

Hey authors in the same predicament…what do you do?

Skiing @ Winter Park

Spring Break was here again   and we spent all last week in Winter Park, Colorado, skiing with family. I hadn’t been to Winter Park in a good 15 years or so, and still love that mountain (despite it being where I messed up my knee in high school in my first sad attempt at the sport).

Our vacation started off a bit rough. The night before we left I was rushing a sick dog to throw up in our bathroom and forgot about packed suitcases, messing up my poor pinkie toe. Luckily, other than getting it in/out of my ski boots, it didn’t bug me too much.

This year, we totally splurged and rented a condo at the ski resort. First time doing ski-in/ski-out and it was worth every darn penny. Especially with kids involved, and 9 of us total. We probably about broke even not having to pay for the expensive lunches on the mountain or going out to eat (we at in most nights).

 

I am soooo proud of my kiddos who made it onto black ski runs for the first time. Total confession…I am terrified of heights and a very cautious skier, so blues are my top speed. Lol. I am also definitely a spring skier, preferring the warmer weather, which we got for all 4 days there (mostly). The last day on the slopes it started to snow. A foot of the stuff later and we had slow going to get back down the mountain.

Weather was definitely interesting on the way home. On top of the snow, we passed closed to a large wildfire in southern Colorado, and a major thunderstorm in Texas. But we’re home safe, and, after a nice lazy Sunday, are back to school and work today. We had a fantastic vacation. Skiing is back on for this time next year!

$0.99 SALE – The Wrong Kind of Compatible

Hey y’all. I know this is an announcement for my contemporary personal, Kadie Scott, but it’s a great deal!

TWKoC-VDaySale-3

amazon barnes_and_noble ibooks kobo googleplay

For a limited time only (Feb 12-16), you can get started on my Love Undercover romantic comedy series with The Wrong Kind of Compatible for only $0.99!!!

✭✭✭✭✭ “Amazingly hot, funny and intense, with unforgettable, geeky characters. Two thumbs up!!” ~The Romance Reviews (Top Pick)

Data analyst Cassie Howard may be brilliant (and, okay, a little awkward), but she’s worked hard to get where she is. She definitely doesn’t need some sexy new analyst coming in and taking credit for her work. Or the inappropriate thoughts that keep popping out of her mouth she’d rather he not hear.

For undercover FBI agent Drew Kerrigan, computers have always made more sense than people, but he’d better develop some slick social skills in a hurry if he’s going to win over the too-tantalizing-for-his-sanity Cassie.

Hacking their systems was easy. Now he’s just got to hack the one person in the company most likely to see through his ruse…

GET YOUR COPY FOR ONLY $0.99 NOW!

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INTERNATIONAL
CA: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
UK: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
AU: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
*Kobo AU is still pending the price drop, but should be coming.


ValentinePromo_500
Other Fabulous Entangled Books On Sale!

Want some other great romance reads for Valentine’s Day (all on sale as well)?
  • Duchess by Day, Mistress by Night by Stacy Reid
  • His Best Mistake by Diane Alberts
  • Hold Me Until Midnight by Christina Alberts
  • Pretend It’s Love by Stephanie London
  • Seducing Charlotte by Diana Qunicy
  • Her Summer with the Marine by Susan Meier
  • Falling for Her Soldier by Ophelia London
  • Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise
  • The Heartbreak Hypothesis by Lindsey Frydman

Check them out here!

Nook Readers – CLICK HERE


While you’re at it…
Don’t miss out on book 2 in the Love Undercover Series for only $2.99!

     

 

New Release – White Knight

White Knight from Crimson Romance is finally here!!!

READ NOW!

    


Co-written with USA Today Bestselling author Nicole Flockton!

Modern-day King Arthur meets Snow White for a surprising happily ever after in this magical mash-up of legends and fairy tales.

The victim of an ancient curse, Sasha White has wandered the world alone for centuries. The only way out of this endless, lonely cycle is to break the fabled Immortality Stone, which she’s finally located. Infiltrating Chevalier Jewels as an expert diamond cutter, she’s determined to steal the stone from her employers—the same seven men her wizard father was once sworn to shield.

Security expert Derek Arthur has gone undercover in order to catch a jewel thief for his latest, and greatest, client. But all his military training didn’t prepare him to deal with Sasha, the woman Chevalier Jewels assigned as his boss to complete the disguise. The need she ignites within him catches him off guard. Meanwhile, his own powerful secrets are attracting mysterious visions and dangers at every turn.

Can an immortal jewel thief and the man hunting her down find a way to trust? Or will the evil that separated them long ago continue to deny them their true destiny?

READ NOW!

    


GIVEAWAY

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 


EXCERPT

A brief knock, and she stepped through the massive wood door only to stop short as she caught sight of who sat with Lance at the round glass topped table in the middle of the room.

Derek Arthur.

What. The. Bloody. Hell?

Shock ping ponged around her mind, competing with a heat that coursed through her veins. That damn kiss. Derek sent her a lazy stare with a barely there quirk to his lips, which tightened her nipples in response. He, apparently, wasn’t surprised to see her at all.

Which meant what?

His last name hadn’t been lost on her when they first met. If anything, the association to the man who she admired from afar, had caused her to be particularly snarky with him at the pub that night.

It wasn’t like she could plant a compulsion in him to leave the room. Not that it would work anyway.  When she’d tried to send him on his way in the pub, the thought had bounced back to her. Her gift to encourage people to do the opposite of what they wanted over her long lifetime, had helped her out of many a tight situation. Never had she run across an individual she hadn’t been able to compel.

Besides, he’d obviously been invited to this meeting, so it would be weird if he walked out.

She deliberately adjusted her focus away from Derek to the head of Chevalier.  Lance waved toward the man beside him, who also stood. “I’d like to introduce you to Derek Arthur.”

Shit. What did she do now? She never had a guy she kissed turn up in her workplace three days later.

Time to suck it up.

She pasted a smile on her face and addressed Lance. “We’ve met.”

Lance raised his eyebrows, glancing between them. “You have?”

“We happened to end up at the same pub after work last Friday,” Derek explained. He held out his hand. “Nice to meet you again, Sasha.”

To give the man credit, he wore a suit well, filling out the tailored jacket with his broad shoulders. Well-polished shoes peeked out from beneath the hem of navy, pin-striped slacks. She’d bet a six-pack lurked under the finely tailored white shirt. In an era when most men wore cargo pants and t-shirts, she had to admit to being a sentimental sucker for a guy in a suit.

Reluctantly, she shook his hand. Her skin tingled at the contact as his large hand engulfed hers. He had nice hands. What would his tanned skin look like against her paler flesh? Heat zinged to her cheeks while at the same time pooling low in her belly, and she quickly extricated herself from his grasp.

What was wrong with her?

 

“Derek is in security,” Lance said.

“Oh?” Sasha was proud of how her voice didn’t waver over the word even as she swore in her head. Forewarned was forearmed. “I hope you aren’t having trouble with stones going missing with the gem cutters?” she asked her boss.

Lance’s blue eyes intensified, the color darkening as he leaned forward, elbows propped on the modern glass tabletop, fingers laced. “What I’m about to tell you is confidential.”

“Of course.”

“We have a burglar who has been casing the upper floors.”

Deliberately, she widened her eyes. “The vaults? What was taken?”

“And our offices.” He sat back. “Nothing. Yet.”

“Then how do you know—?”

“We didn’t at first, but things would be moved around. Nothing big. A picture was angled differently on my desk, for instance. And a box in the vault had been tampered with, though not opened, as far as we can tell. Nothing was missing. Given the value of the jewels held at this location, we brought in Derek as both investigator and a secondary security expert. He installed a new set of cameras, catching the intruder on video.”

Everything inside her went cold. Video.

“But the thief didn’t take anything?” Sasha glanced at Derek. His calm demeanor gave nothing away.

“No.”

She slid her finger over her bottom lip, a nervous gesture from childhood that she immediately stopped, tucking her hands onto her lap. “I’m still not sure why I need to be involved.”

“Derek has determined the intruder is casing the place. They are planning the theft still.”

“Okaaaaay.” Get to the frickin’ point already.

“He is going to implement additional security, of course. In addition, Derek will be posing as one of the employees.”

The threads of dread tightened to a knot in her stomach.

“We’d like him to pose as your apprentice.”

Some wizard with a twisted sense of humor had to be screwing with her. No way could fate be this cruel. Again, the kiss they shared flashed through her mind. In technicolor detail.

New Release – Saving the Sheriff

My alter ego, Kadie Scott, had a book birthday yesterday! If you’re into sweet & spicy cowboy contemporary romance, check out SAVING THE SHERIFF, book 1 in The Hills of Texas series!


There’s a storm brewin’…

The day his wife died, Sheriff Cash Hill discovered she was leaving him for another man, one she’d loved since before their marriage. How could the single dad ever trust another woman again? But when Georgia’s best friend, Holly, comes back to town, something about Holly’s sweet, sassy vulnerability has his protective instincts kicking in hard.

Holly Jensen left La Colina, Texas with regrets. She’s returned home to work as the new large animal vet and to watch over her best friend’s daughter. But Holly’s knowledge of Georgia’s past could rip a family apart. And she’s reluctant to go to the sexy…and single…sheriff, as he’s made it clear he wants nothing to do with her.

Both are faced with a choice…stay locked in the past or allow their reservations to be silenced by a passion hotter than Texas summer nights. Can they learn to trust their own hearts and each other?

BUY & READ NOW!

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GIVEAWAY

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

KindleFireTablet7Help me spread the word about my new release and get in on a fantastic giveaway! Up for grabs:

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 


 

EXCERPT

“I—” He ran his hands through his already spiky hair again. “I’d better go.”

Holly dropped her gaze and willed her sinking heart to get over it fast. She had no idea what was driving this reaction. Better to just let him go. “Of course. It’s late.”

She walked to the door, and he followed, silent and brooding.

He opened the door and she followed him outside, where he turned abruptly to face her. “I’m so—”

She stopped him by going up on her tiptoes and placing her lips softly over his. Shock at her own behavior zipped through her, even as her lips tingled from the touch. She’d meant for the gesture to be comforting. Perhaps part of her realized that after she talked to him about Marcus tomorrow, she might not get another chance. Besides, it was a good way to shut him up. She didn’t want his apologies.

She savored the sensation of his warm lips under hers. Let her own linger against his for a long moment before she pulled back. “Don’t apologize. Please. I really do understand.”

Then, before he could say or do anything else, she went inside without a backward glance, locking the door behind her.

SavingTheSheriff-Teaser4

Sometimes It’s All About Scheduling

Between deadlines, releases, running AOAD, my gig as a VPA, and momming, I’ve had several author friends ask how I do it. How do I keep on top of everything?

First of all…I don’t. I am not superwoman or a magician. Things fall through the cracks on a regular basis. Plans don’t work out the way I set them. I get tired and cranky and have even been known to skip a day of doing just to give myself a break. And yes, I have a tendency to say YES to too many things. I get it done, but sometimes with a cost.

Part of what helps is that I’m blessed with an odd combination of stamina and ADD. Yeah. I said it. The ADD bit means that, to help me focus, I need tons to keep me busy. Sounds strange, but it’s true. I don’t sit and do one thing well, so it helps to have lots of things to do. The stamina helps because I can go non-stop from the second I get up until the second I go to bed, and not really stress about it. Helps that almost all of what I do during that time is stuff I love. If I was in a job I hated, that would be a different story. which means I need.

But here’s my real secret…I schedule. Everything.

Like everyone else, I schedule my life, my appointments, my kids’ activities, and so forth. But I also schedule reminders for monthly/quarterly/yearly tasks. I schedule my social media calendar and posts. And…I schedule my writing.

MAKING THE SCHEDULE

I have figured out how many words a day I can get in without feeling like I’m overloaded (for me this is 2-2.5k/day), and still get in my VPAing, my AOADing, my kids (of course!), and everything else. I take a deadline and everything I need to get done to hit it and back it up from there–at a weekly level. I include:

  • Writing the first draft
  • Writing/editing subsequent drafts
  • Beta readers to read
  • Me to apply beta readers’ comments
  • Deadline

Post-deadline I include a guess at:

  • 2 rounds of editing (1-2 weeks each)
  • Copy-editing – a few days
  • Galley reads – a few days

THE RULES

In my schedule, if I have books that aren’t contracted yet, but I have high hopes for, I’ll still include those books as placeholders. I also apply some extra rules. For example…

  • I don’t schedule anything else (other than beta readers reading, which doesn’t require me to do anything) during the 1st two weeks and last week of a 1st draft.
  • I block off holidays (Christmas, Spring Break, etc.)
  • Anywhere that doesn’t have those blocked off I put a Secondary First Draft as optional.
    • After I hit 2k words for the day for my main WIP, I give myself the option of getting in 500 words on a WIP scheduled later down the road.
    • This allows me to get ahead, but with no pressure.
  • I TRY (but usually doesn’t happen) to have the 2 weeks after finishing a first draft blocked off so I don’t start any new first drafts – giving my brain a break and letting me focus on 2nd/3rd drafts of that completed work.

ADJUSTING

My schedules are never set in stone (except contracted deadlines of course). I use them to both keep me on task (in order to hit those deadlines), but also to help determine where/when I can do more. That way, if new contracts come in, I can be honest and fairly accurate with what/when I can produce.

I will also adjust my schedule any time something major changes–I get way behind, any given step takes longer (or shorter) than anticipated, etc. Adjust the schedule. I live and breathe off this thing daily.

 

So that’s me. Like I said, I’m not perfect and I do miss things, mess things up, and collapse sometimes. But I will say that since implementing this calendar, I hit my deadlines with a lot less angst (and a lot less of a pile up of work at the end). Authors, what about you? How do you handle your deadlines and writing schedule?

Announcing a Paranormal Romance Book Club!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

I am starting an online paranormal romance book club! This is an online group of fabulous readers who love paranormal romance and who want to share that love by reading books and discussing together.

If you’re interested in joining, the following information will bring you up to speed…

Book Club Meetings:
We have a meeting once a month (utilizing a private Facebook group) in which we feature either one of my paranormal romance books (new releases) or a favorite paranormal romance of mine from another author (some new releases, some not since we’ll try to go with series 1st books). We’ll announce the next book one month ahead of time to give everyone a chance to read. Then either I will do a Live Feed, or, sometimes one of the guest authors will, so that we will get to discuss the book with its creator.

1st Meeting:
Date: February 3rd, 2018
Time: 8-9PM CST (CENTRAL TIME!!!)
Place: The Private FB Group, click link below to join.
February’s Book Club Book:
We will be reading one of the books that got me hooked on adult paranormal romance…
The Heat by Heather Killough-Walden

One of my all time favs and I can’t wait to read it again. If you love wolf shifters, this is the first book in her Big Bad Wolves series. It’s a great book to get started on her as an author as well as on several her series. Read and come ready to discuss in February!

Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1511813377
Digital: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HMGY0G

*This book is only available in digital as part of the series set (which is awesome and a great price of $4.99 for all 4 books).

2018 Schedule:
Below is the current schedule for 2018 (subject to change). We are discussing the books on the dates listed, so start reading the book the month before!

  • February 3rd – The Heat by Heather Killough-Walden
  • March 3rd – Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler
  • April 7th – White Knight by Abigail Owen & Nicole Flockton
  • May 5th – Fated by Rebecca Zanetti
  • June 2nd – January In Atlantis by Alyssa Day
  • July 7th – Feral Sins by Susanne Wright
  • August 4th – 2017 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Winner for ? Category (we’ll vote) (or 1st book in that series)
  • September 1st – 2018 RITA Award Winner for Paranormal Romance (or 1st book in that series)
  • October 6th – 2018 PRISM Award Winner for ? Category (we’ll vote) (or 1st book in that series)
  • November 3rd – Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley
  • December 1st – The Boss by Abigail Owen

In Between Meetings:
This is meant to be a fun group who share a common love/interest in paranormal romance. So between meetings, we’ll have some regular posts to keep the conversation going and provide some fun.

Rules:
We don’t have many rules for the group. Posts don’t have to be book related. We’d love to hear what’s going on with you. The only “please don’t post this” would be anything that attacks someone else, anything political, anything that asks for votes or likes and anything that’s trying to sell something. You can post about other books–but it needs to be about books you’ve read and enjoyed. Authors, this is not a group to be posting all your promos/new releases/or other announcements. We reserve the right to moderate comments and remove people from the book club as we see fit.

Book Recommendations:
If you have a book you want to recommend for the group to read, feel free to email directly at abigail.owen.books @ gmail.com (without the spaces). We do not guarantee we’ll read it or select it (because sadly life keeps us from doing it ALL), but we’re always looking for good paranormal romance, so send it on over.

Notification Settings:
On Facebook, on the bottom right of the banner photo, you’ll see the buttons, “Joined,” “Share,” and “Notifications.” You can click your preference there. To designate what you would like to see from the group, you can choose all posts, only highlights, friends’ posts. Please select all posts if you don’t want to miss anything that is happening in the group. Highlights would be the next best choice and will show you the popular things that are happening in the group.

Follow Abigail Owen:
It is absolutely NOT a requirement that you follow Abigail to be part of this book club. If you enjoy Abigail’s books, or love one that we read one month, we recommend you follow her. The BEST way is through her regular VIP Club Newsletter through which she offers exclusive content, giveaways, and other fun. Sign up here (http://eepurl.com/Lw2XH) and receive 2 FREE stories from Abigail.

 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

Teaser Tuesday: White Knight

Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Immortality sounded fantastic until the first time you realized everyone you loved would die and you’d be left alone. Over and over and over. After the first couple hundred years, she’d learned meaningful friendships and relationships were not worth the inevitable pain of loss. After more than fifteen hundred years of achingly lonely existence, she was done.

Exhausted.

Over it.

Finished.

If she could find the damn Immortality Stone, she could put an end to everything. Death seemed a lovely respite from the grind of living this long.

PREORDER NOW!

#WhiteKnight #PreOrder #Romance #TeaserTuesday