Friday, June 29, 2012

Not Everybody's Flavor

Drum Roll please!
As promised, I have the very lovely Tart Hart Johnson as my guest today.
Take it away, Hart!

Not Everybody's Flavor

First I want to thank Lady Gwen for having me!  I really appreciate the chance to get around to other blogs and I've so recently discovered Gwen's ability to channel Tart, if you will! So before I get started, I want to ask ALL of you to do a little rain dance for Gwen and our friends in Colorado. And YES, a proper rain dance MUST be done naked—if you want something from nature, you have to request it au natural, ne? Otherwise it's only so much wiggling. That, though, illustrates my point a little...

I knew it was coming. It HAD to come.

See, I try to be NICE almost all the time, but I really make no apologies for not being a person who can behave. In fact I admit I am annoyed when people claim they WANT to be someone who behaves. (Proper behavior? Who needs it?!) So I shouldn't have even been a little surprised when my first negative review this week was about my slutty, swearing characters *cough* (never mind that NOTHING is on the page—the sexual references are ALL allusion (and unsubstantiated at that)... when Annie swears, it SAYS “Annie swore.”  The word 'freaking' is used a time or two... (I so thought that wasn't really swearing!  I swear!--DOH!  There, I did it again!)

And I (meaning my book, not me personally) have a whole lot more sexual frustration than shutting the door and letting the imagination run wild... as for the actual on-the-page sex?  A few attempts (with clothes on) to cop a feel... But okay... too much... I hear you (or rather her).

So yes. I confess to not living up to rated G standards... wait... I've seen rated G movies where the adults shut the door... and where there is a stand in for swearing that isn't really swearing... but whatever. I get that the SPIRIT of my characters really WANTS to be PG13 and I have to use some tricks to keep them in the Cozy Mystery PG parameters... And that an intelligent person may well spot them as tricks... allusion, innuendo, naughtiness... Guilty. On all counts.

I guess what I REALLY am reminded is... not everybody likes the same thing. Being who I am, I seem to draw friends who would be far MORE annoyed with a 30-something sleuth who was 'saving herself' (I threw up a little just writing that, to be honest—I don't believe in that—use it or lose it, Amiga—not that I can't respect that decision if made with sincerely rather than because of expectations, but I will certainly have to bite my tongue to not say 'oh, for pete's sake, that is such a bad idea!') And those friends (the ones who are used to me being naughty and just a little outrageous) are all cheering on any of those little hints at shenanigans.

But I GET that the other sort are out there... that want to believe that at least in fiction, storks bring babies and holding hands is high romance.  I respect the taste differences, particularly as my own taste runs in the middle. I ALSO have erotica friends who keep asking when the hanky-panky is going to get spicy, only they don't use the word hanky-panky... (erm... sorry friends, wrong genre).

And I could have encountered a bad review related to the WRITING instead of personal preference as to how people ought to be—THAT would have caused some self-doubt. THIS... this is just a nice reminder that we all want slightly different things. Heck, there are even people who don't like chocolate. INSANE people, to be sure, but they exist. I don't pretend to be chocolate. I am more like dried ginger... sweet and sticky at first taste, but with a bit of a kick and a fair amount of 'well I've never had THAT before'. Some people love me right away, for some I'm an acquired taste, and for some I am just not a flavor they will ever acquire. I'm okay with that.

I guess the message is we need to stick to who we are. We will never ever please everyone.  People will run into us who DON'T like us, but they will bounce off. The people who DO like us will keep coming back. So chin-up, friends!  We can DO this thing!

The Azalea Assault

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).


The Azalea Assault is available at:
Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook
Amazon Paperback or Kindle

(pretty much any book store and some big boxes)

And Alyse/Hart/The Tart can be found at:


Thank you so much for being my guest today, Hart! And for the very much needed RAIN DANCE!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Friday Funnies on Wednesday

This weeks Friday Funnies will be today (Wednesday) because on Friday, I have a special treat for you. Hart Johnson, from Confessions of a Watery Tart, will be my special guest to discuss something pretty exciting.

Intrigued yet? Then please come back on Friday!


Friday Funnies
(on Wednesday)

Have you ever been zooming along on your WIP, only to come back and find you've skipped a letter in a word and realized you've come up with something like this?...............



Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Funnies

Friday Funnies!

 I found this funny on Rachelle Gardner's blog.

Too cute not to post.

I think I may have found my new Friday posting theme, cuz who can't use a laugh on Friday to start off the weekend right?!

Have A Great Weekend!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Setting Goals

I've never really been a goal setter when it comes to writing. Until I began BuNoWriMo, I didn't realize how important it could be. My goal, in line with BuNoWriMo, is writing 50,000 words in 30 days. 

When I think about my first novel being 68,000 words, and it took me two years to write, it's crazy to think I'll be close to finishing my second book in about five or six weeks! Sure, it will be a first draft and I'll have a lot of editing to do, but that's the point. I'll have a novel to edit in about an eighth  of the time it took me to write my first novel.

I was raised with a good work ethic and have always taken any job I had very seriously. I show up, on time, get the job done and do it well.  I've always been reliable.

I don't know why I've never applied this work ethic to my writing.

I'm sure most of you know Angela Brown. She is an awesome writer with an awesome blog. She routinely sets monthly goals and posts it on her blog. I've always admired that. It's about holding yourself accountable to yourself.

So thank you Angela Brown and BuNoWriMo for inspiring me to set goals!

My goals for the month of June:

  • Write 50,000 words toward my next novel in the Indigo Eady Mystery series, A Guilty Ghost Surprised.
  • Read four books.
  • Post 2-3 blog posts per week.
  • Visit 25 awesome blogs per week.
I will set/post new goals for July and let you know how I did in June.

Do you set goals? How strict are you about them? How do you stay on track? What are your goals for the month of June?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Such A Plotter


I am such an plotter! I try to be a panster, I really do. It just doesn't work for me.

While writing my first book, Givin' Up The Ghost (which took me two years to name, by the way), I sped along, and I mean fast...for the first three chapters. Then I hit a wall - a really hard wall. I didn't know where I was going.

I was forced to plot and write an outline. I didn't like stopping the writing process to write an outline, but hey, I was stopped anyway, so why not?

I faced the same thing in BuNoWriMo with my second book, A Guilty Ghost Surprised. Three chapters into my 50,000 words, I hit another hard wall. Again, I didn't know where I was going.

Perhaps it's the mystery book thing - you have to give clues and red herrings and frame decide the character whodunnit. I simply don't know how anyone could write a mystery without plotting and outlining. Perhaps it's the investigative brain it takes to write mysteries?

So I took three days out of BuNoWriMo to write an outline, and now I'm sailing along again because I know where I'm going. And the outline was fun to create and gave me a feeling of great satisfaction and even relieved my stress over not knowing where I was going. Pathetic, I know.

Here's what I did:

  1. Research (yes I had to research online for cases similar to mine - except the real life version didn't have ghosts, as far as I know.)
  2. Every scene is numbered and double-spaced, so notes could be added easily as I go along.
  3. I began with a list of victims, suspects, witnesses, clues, theme, summary and twist.
  4. I wrote a list of necessary scenes, clues and red herrings.
  5. I put in days and dates (my first book became very confusing because I didn't pay attention to timing).
  6. I color-coded. I highlighted dates in yellow, clues and suspects in red, paranormal/ghostly activity in green, love scenes in blue and mishaps in pink so I could locate and reference information easily.
  7. I circle the numbered scenes as they're completed.
The outline is fourteen, double-spaced pages with nearly 4000 words. Of course I'm adding scenes and other episodes as I think of them, but I have all of the necessary information required to set up and solve the mystery. With paranormal and romance elements added, of course.

How do you work? Plotting Outliner or Panster? How do you design your outline?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lucky Me!

I know it seems like I'm napping,
but really, I'm working hard!
First, thank you for re-following me here at my new blog!

Second, I'm sorry I'm not visiting much this month because I am swamped doing BuNoWriMo (Burrow Novel Writing Month). The goal is 50,000 words for the month of June. I barely have time to write this post!

Third, I like to follow up with something positive after my Insecure Writer's Support Group whiny post.

The truth is, I've been very blessed. Some of it's luck and some is talent, but I wanted to share:

  • May 24 - Won an autographed copy of Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade.
  • May 31 - Awarded the Napping Blogger Award from Tara Tyler.
  • May 31 - Won runner-up in the Wilde's Fire Query Contestwith this entry.
  • May 31 - Awarded the Versatile Blogger award from Tuere Morton.
  • June 6 -  Won the Cozy Mystery Blogfest with this entry and the new releases from Hart Johnson (Alyse Carlson) and Elizabeth Craig.
  • June 8 -  Awarded the 7X7 Award from C.M. Brown.
  • June 11 - Won a T-Shirt from the new Sketcher Girls Studios.
Not to mention the free downloads I'm getting from some of my favorite bloggers:

And June isn't even over yet!

I'm sorry if I missed anyone - if I have, please let me know and I'll give you a shout out. So busy this month with BuNoWriMo!

I'll be passing the blog awards along to other awesome bloggers next month, when I'm done with BuNoWriMo. I didn't want you to think I forgot!

THANK YOU EVERYONE! I am truly blessed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

BuNoWriMo June 2012

I'm participating in BuNoWriMo (Burrow Novel Writing Month), a month-long writing marathon during the month of June.

Head to the Burrow! You can find us on Facebook under BuNoWriMo.

The task is to *gulp* write 50,000! That's 1666.66 words per day, IF you write every single day, including weekends.

I'm already crazy behind. After three chapters I didn't know where I was going so I had to stop and write an outline that took three days!!! But now it's plotted, complete with whodunnit and how and when. Needless to say, I am not a panster.

The best part about BuNoWriMo is that it forces me to get a start on my second book in the Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery Series, A Guilty Ghost Surprised. When you consider the first novel is 68,000 words, that's a pretty good start.

Keep an eye on my badge in the sidebar because as my word count increases, more of the badge is revealed. How cool is that?!

What are you doing during the month of June? Writing? Editing? Are you making progress? Taking the summer off?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Rejection

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly insecure writer's anonymous group (not so anonymous, though, cuz we're really putting ourselves out there) that meets (posts) on the first Wednesday of every month. Thanks goes to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting!

If you were by here last Friday, you will have read my post, I'm A Real Writer Now. It was all about getting my first rejection letter from a publisher. Some of you (most? all?) probably already joined the club a long time ago, but for me, it was my first experience with a publisher submission.

I took part in an editor-judged query contest. The good news is that I was a runner-up! I was seriously thrilled. She requested my first three chapters.

The bad news is after reading my first three chapters, she declined to request the full manuscript. The rejection was very kind, with the editor saying my work was really close but not quite there yet and she'd like to see other work from me.

Well, you know how it is. I started over-thinking it, and wondering things like, "what exactly is wrong with it?" and "what do you mean it's close?" Because seriously, just tell me and I'll try to fix it. And then you wonder if she "got it." Because my work is slated as a YA Paranormal Mystery Series, but the way I look at it, it's more of a YA Paranormal "Cozy" Mystery Series with a lot of mishaps, sort of like Scooby Doo Meets Nancy Drew.

And then I think, "well if she didn't 'get it', it's my fault for not getting 'it' across in my writing."

You all know how the evil mastermind Lord Mind-Chatter works!

Alas, I got it off my chest.

And I'm moving forward.

Thanks for listening!

How did your month go? Are you making progress?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Crazy Cozy Blogfest

I'm participating in the Crazy Cozy Mystery blogfest over at Confessions of a Watery Tart.  It's a combined effort between Hart Johnson, writing as Alyse Carlson (The Azalea Assault) and Elizabeth Craig from Mystery Writing is Murder (Quilt Or Innocence) in honor of their new cozy mystery releases on June 5, 2012.

To read the full rules, or a summary of what a Cozy Mystery is, or to find the list of participants, go HERE.

In short, here are the rules:  

Crazy Cozy Blogfest

The idea is to think of the craziest, zaniest set-up for a cozy mystery you can—this is strictly for entertainment value—we don't plan to take these ideas and actually write series (though if you think YOU want to, go for it!). But we are asking you to come up with a wacky theme, a zany sleuth, a crazy setting for your OWN Crazy Cozy Mystery idea.


1) Sleuth (age, occupation, maybe a little family info)

2) Sidekick (either friend or foil, but someone who always seems to be around)

3) Setting (town, city, or other sort of place)

4) Theme (go nuts)

5) Twist (be as creative as you like)

Write it up in 150-250 words (so short)--for the blogfest portion anyway—we want people to be able to read a bunch of these without too much burden. Keep the traditions in mind, but we are judging on entertainment value--which we enjoy most, not how realistic it is to make a best seller. We want people to laugh. WE want to laugh. (so consider those rules more like guidelines, really).

HERE IS THE "craziest, zaniest set-up for a cozy mystery" I COULD COME UP WITH:

Best Laid Plans

Madam Penelope Pope runs the family brothel passed down from her grandmother, Prudence Pope. But she’s no Buxom beauty like grandma and business is slow. To encourage more business activity, Penny decides to put on a contest for the local businessmen of sleepy little Buxom Bosom, with full approval from the BBB (Businessmen for Buxom Bosom). The grand prize is the coveted Golden Globes – a life size bust of grandma’s bust, made of solid gold.

The contest is going well until...

The president of the BBB is caught dead with his pants down, and Penny’s best girl, Handy Mandy, is caught red-handed with her hands on the prize.

Penny knew Handy Mandy was "innocent," so the two set out to restore the hard-earned reputation as the best brothel in Buxom Bosom by conducting their own investigation to find the killer.

Will Penny blow the job? Or will she take matters in hand like a pro?


Okay, enough of the silliness! Check out these real cozy mystery blurbs from the real professionals:

by Alysa Carlson
nee Hart Johnson
As the newest member of the Village Quilters Guild, Beatrice has a lot of gossip to catch up on—especially with the Patchwork Cottage quilt shop about to close. It seems that Judith, the landlord everyone loves to hate, wants to raise the rent, despite being a quilter herself… But when Judith is found dead, the harmless gossip becomes an intricate patchwork of mischievous motives. And it’s up to Beatrice’s expert eye to decipher the pattern and catch the killer, before her life gets sewn up for good.

Quilt or Innocence
by Elizabeth Craig

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm A Real Writer Now!

My first rejection letter, center-left

I've been indocrinated into the wonderful world of writing euphoria and rejection.

I was so excited to make it as a runner-up in the Wilde's Fire Query Contest. It was a lot of firsts for me. First query letter, first 500 words to an actual editor/publisher. Runner-up and a three-chapter request!

That was the euphoria part.

And then my first rejection letter. You can read more about this next Wednesday when I write my post for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

That was the rejection part.

I printed the letter and hung it on my corkboard, like those people who display the first dollar they ever made. A milestone of sorts. I considered writing "rejected" in red marker across it, but I don't want to look at that every day.

Seriously, though. It was a great experience and wonderful opportunity. The participants and hostesses, Sharon Bayliss and Krystal Wade were so helpful and kind.

Even my rejection was kind!

And yes, I did pin the letter to my corkboard, because now that I've been rejected, I'm a real writer. I put myself out there, experienced the glow of approval and the despair of rejection. Yep! Real Writer!

So my first rejection letter is proudly displayed.


Victoria Smith
Ryan Hancock
Larissa Hardesty
AK Fotinos-Hoyer
Jade Hart
Juliana Haygart

PK Hrezo
Kelly Gerschke
Jamie Ayers
Tuere Morton
Jessa Russo
Hope Roberson
Gwen Gardner
Deana Barnhart

Thank you everyone!

When did you become a real writer?