(Don’t) Say that again – Dealing with overused words

I’m on the hunt.

My manuscript was overrun with the nasty little boogers and it’s taking precious writing time to stop and cull them from the herd. You know what I’m talking about, though they go by many different names: crutch words, filter words, overused words, tired words, lazy words, needless words, filler words, repetitive words – and don’t get me started on adverbs! I’m tempted to use a different term altogether, but it wouldn’t be acceptable in polite company.

I prefer the term “crutch words”, but what are they?

“They are words or expressions that an author’s brain defers to like a default setting (and therefore, they become overused). These repeated words/phrases should not be obliterated from your writing, but rather, their frequency and usage need to be reduced.” Sam Giacomo

I found at least three things worth mentioning in Sam’s simple definition.

Default setting – every writer tends to overuse certain words and phrases, but it’s part of your unique writing voice. They spring from your upbringing, education, region of the world, and personality. Relax. You come by it naturally, you can use them, and you’re in good company.

Not be obliterated – When I was first confronted with my own repeats, it surprised me! (Had, that, but, was, & would are some of my worst.) Removal of every single crutch word is neither required nor desired, but you will have to cull them. The effort is more than worthwhile, as it will improve sentence structure and the overall quality of your writing.

Reduced – Here’s the hard part, and none of my research revealed how many occurrences of a word or phrase is acceptable or excessive. Shouldn’t the magic formula look something like this? [20 uses of “X” per 1000 words = disaster] I wish it were that easy! I use MS Word for my writing, so I take advantage of the “Find” feature. If I see a whole bunch of repeats clustered together, I go hunting. If the overall number is large, I look at each one and winnow it down.

For example, while working on story number three of my current MS, I punched in the word “was”. Whoa! Two hundred forty four occurrences in a document of just under twenty thousand words. It took hours of eliminating, replacing, and re-writing to get the number down to one hundred three. The process is subjective, but once you know what your crutch words are it’s easier to find an acceptable balance.

Beware – the little stinkers are tricky! The list of offenders never goes away as old ones are replaced with new ones. Always ask your beta readers to watch for them, as they are more likely to catch them than you are.

Happy hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

Self Pub Book Covers – A Review

Every book needs a great cover. It’s one of the most important decisions you will make, and indie authors have a fair number of options available. The process for my current book, Rise of the Draman, took an unexpected turn and I ended up using a pre-made cover from SelfPubBookCovers. Let me tell you how I got there and offer a review of their services.

The covers for all seven of my previous books have been designed by the same graphic artist. I assumed she would also take care of number eight and began the process. It became clear after a little back and forth that we were not on the same page! The problem this time was the nature of my book – a medieval-ish fantasy tale requiring a dragon on the cover. This was not her forte, as she mostly deals with modifying photographs or pre-existing artwork. She gave it the old college try, but in the end I had to admit defeat and look elsewhere.

I searched through a passel of websites offering both pre-made and custom covers. Some were very limited in scope (romance books only, for example), others lacked quality, and prices were all over the map. After a while I narrowed my search to those specializing in fantasy, and while this helped, most of them were too expensive or I didn’t care for their blood-thirsty, demon-eyed, dragon-on-the-rampage images.

The first one I contacted offered both pre-made and custom covers at a somewhat reasonable starting price, so I made an initial inquiry. While it wasn’t quite bait and switch, they quickly discouraged a pre-made and pushed for a custom job beginning at $900.00. Sorry, this indie author doesn’t have that kind of money!

In the past, I had looked at SelfPubBookCovers.com, and decided to give them another try. They claim to be the “world’s leading marketplace for high-quality, affordably priced, pre-made book covers”, with 30,000 to choose from. Once you create a user name and password, you can save your favorites as you search – essential, given the number of covers available. After much debate, I made my selection and then the fun began. The one I wanted required a modification. Here is their process:

  1. Please send us the file name of the cover you are interested in, along with a sentence explaining the modification you are looking for.2. We will contact the artist to see if it can be done for our minimum fee of $50 (which is in addition to the cover purchase price).

    3. We will get back to you with a confirmation. At that time we will ask you to purchase the cover and for you to take care of the modification fee.

    4. You will see the modification, and will have 2 rounds of comments/adjustments. If additional changes (more than 2) are requested, there is a $25 per round fee.

    If this is acceptable, please send us the book cover file name and how you would like it modified.

    NOTE: Please DO NOT buy the cover you are interested in having modified until we confirm that the modification can be made.

Seem clunky to you? It did to me, as I was used to dealing directly with the artist myself via email. I also did not like having to pay before seeing the end result, but I understand why it’s necessary. In the end it worked out fine, and the next time it won’t seem quite as daunting. The modification I needed was very simple – exchange the silhouette of a little girl to a boy. After one more minor adjustment, their work was done, AND they kept their promise of a 5-day turnaround (including Christmas day) – impressive!

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Afterwards, you are free to log in and use their software to add the book title, author name, tag line, etc. This can be done any time following delivery of the finished file, though you are limited as to color, font, and placement. Remember – once you make the purchase, that cover will never be sold to anyone else in the future – it’s YOURS.

So what about the cost? Was it truly affordable? Yes. Most of the covers run around a hundred dollars without modifications. Mine was priced at $78.00 + the $50.00 modification fee, for a total of $128.00. For an indie author on a tight budget, this was a terrific bargain.

Will I use their service again? Yes, I expect to at some point. Would I recommend it to anyone else? Again, yes. Even if you are not concerned about cost, they have some wonderful covers available. Give SelfPubBookCovers a try!

Note – if you have found a pre-made cover shop you like, let me know in the comments!

W.I.P. = Weary, Impossible, Provoked

It’s no surprise I am still working on Rise of the Draman, though I REALLY want to get it finished! Why does every project take longer than I estimate?? Can’t I just write and ignore everything else? It’s not all doom and gloom, as I am making significant progress – even squeezing in the holidays and tax preparation. Speaking of taxes, my book income went way down this year and I overspent on promotions. I’ll have to be even more careful – it’s going to be tough.

Anyway, back to my WIP. I completed story five in late November, so what have I been doing for the last eleven weeks? When I started the project, it was supposed to be a series of short stories, released one at a time over several months. Those goals were jettisoned when I realized:

  1. I’m no good at writing short stories. I do just fine with flash fiction or novels, but short story writing is a special ability I don’t seem to have! A bit discouraging, but a good learning experience.
  2. Publishing and promoting five separate titles is WAY more than I can afford at the present time.

By the time I got to the last one (Dragon Rescue), the decision was made to combine the stories into one volume. By doing so, it freed me from word count restrictions – and set me up for a lot more work!

Dragon Child went from 11,172 words to 19,803 – a 43.5% increase.

Dragon Valley went from 14,214 words to 22,634 – a 37% increase.

Dragon Bonds went from 11,722 words to 16781 (so far – not finished yet).

At 13,000 words, Dragon Quest will most likely get a hefty increase.

At 30,00+ words, Dragon Rescue shouldn’t need anything.

Adding new material isn’t the only reason I’m behind,  of course, as there are now internal consistency issues to address and small but important changes which affect all the stories. Oh, and don’t forget a thorough round of editing and another beta read for each one. At some point I also have to create character lists, maps, a terrific blurb, and apply for the copyright. The joys of self-publishing are on full display here, and I haven’t even reached the promotions stage! Whoopee!

Yes, I’m very eager to get the book finished and launched, but I won’t cut corners – even though it’s taking MUCH longer than I thought it would. I’m tired and want to reach the finish line right now, but the race isn’t over. Giving up isn’t an option, no, no, no. I’m going to birth this baby if it kills me, and then promptly forget about the pain as I start on the next one. Yep, writers are weird.

Every Author Needs A Sounding Board

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A great story begins with a fertile imagination, but developing that terrific idea into an equally terrific book involves a whole lot more. Perhaps your story lacks a whiz-bang ending or there’s an embarrassing hole in the plot. Maybe you’ve plotted yourself into a corner and can’t see a way out. Possibly, you wonder if anyone else will find the basic idea as interesting as you do.

The solution is easy – get yourself a sounding board. Several, if you can. Something magical happens when discussing ideas with another person. They see it with fresh eyes and their own unique mix of personality and experience. I’m not talking about a “professional”, simply someone who is well-read, trusted, and has a good imagination.

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Just the other day I presented a seed idea to one of my sounding boards (who happens to be a co-worker). Not only did she improve on the basic idea, she helped me nail down the major plot points, improve the ending, and gave me a lead-in to a follow up story in the series! I literally could not have done it without her help, and the story went from “cool” to “WOW” in three short conversations.

Everything I have published or am currently writing has been improved by my sounding boards. I don’t always take their advice or run with their ideas, but the simple act of discussing it opens up new paths to wander and concepts to explore. We communicate in person, on the phone, or via email and I love the way our interaction jump starts my creative juices! Since these are people I respect and trust, I feel safe sharing my struggles and new ideas. At the same time, they are happy to support my quest to improve and grow as a writer. Double win!

Don’t have any sounding boards? Ideally, you will want readers (not fellow writers) who are well-read in multiple genre’s, are supportive rather than pushy, and can be trusted to keep your wonderful ideas to themselves. They’ll save you time, improve your work, and stimulate your own creativity – so start looking!

Weekly Roundup – CELEBRATING INDIE AUTHORS!

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

pile of books

Sunday, October 13 is Indie Author Day – something well worth celebrating! While I have a great deal of respect for authors who choose the traditional publishing route, it requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and tenacity to land a book deal. Frankly, I can’t imagine ever joining their ranks, so indie author it is! Here’s what it means to me:

Exposure – I have the ability to actually publish my work right now, instead of sometime, maybe, in the future. Am I where I want to or need to be yet? No, but I have the freedom to grow and improve as a writer while putting my stuff out there. Traditional publishers aren’t going to allow that!

Control – This is important and I’m not willing to give it up. The work is mine and I choose what to write, when to write and publish, how to market it, and at what pace I can produce new work. With traditional publishing, the author has to relinquish an enormous amount of control to conform to someone else’s ideals, timetable, and goals.

Responsibility – Going it alone carries a heavy weight of responsibility. I consider it the price I pay for being an indie author, and yes, sometimes I wish I had the money to hire out some of the more onerous tasks. But you know what? The joy of publishing my work and receiving feedback from readers makes it all worthwhile.

I have a simple theory regarding who I am as an author and what kind of books I currently produce. There are three categories: Walmart, Target, Macy’s. Right now, I’m a Walmart author, but getting better with each book. Within a couple years I expect to graduate to Target, and if I keep at it long enough, I may reach the Macy’s level and we can talk about a traditional publishing deal. Meanwhile, I’m happy with who I am and what I’m learning. The most important thing is that I have a creative outlet for my stories and readers who enjoy my work. Being an indie author makes it possible, and I’m more than OK with that.

Want to join in the celebration? Here are a few ideas:

  • Buy an indie book. You’ll encourage the author and perhaps find a new favorite.
  • Leave a review. If you normally skip ’em, make an exception for indies.
  • Send an email. You have no idea how much it means to hear from readers.
  • Spread the word about your favorite indie via social media, bog posts, book share sites, or word of mouth. 

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What I’m working on:

  1. Dragon Rescue (book 5 in the series). Yep, I’m still trying to finish up the manuscript. It’s turned out to be much longer than anticipated, and may end up as a novella. The difficulty is my writing time has been severely curtailed by long work hours and exhaustion. Plus, I’m gearing up for another move in early November. As with the first four books, Dragon Rescue will appear in serialized format on my blog as soon as I can manage it.

 

  1. I have a great idea for a gay romance series involving senior characters! Everybody celebrates youth, vigor, and hot action between the sheets, but the reality is there are many older gay men looking for love. They still have a lot to offer the right person, and I want to address that need with a series of humorous stories with HEA’s. I think they would be well received.

 

  1. The collection and refinement of ideas for a new fantasy series is an ongoing process. While each installment will be novelette length, I intend to publish them as collections. I can’t tell you much more without revealing secrets, but this project will probably follow the publication of  Rise of the Draman.

 

  1. Somewhere in the murky future I want to release my books as print on demand through Draft2Digital. I can still do that and remain in Amazon’s Kindle Select program for eBooks. Do I expect to make a lot of money? No, but giving readers a paper option is important to me and broadens the reach of my books a little more. I don’t have the time to deal with it right now, but I’ll get there.

My Publishing Anniversary

On August 14th, 2017 I launched my first five books. Green, uncertain, excited, and overconfident, I made myself the promise to give this writing thing two years. Time’s up!

The desire to throw in the towel is strong, and I came very close to quitting. Being an indie author takes more time, money, and skill than most people realize. The never-ending list of things I still need to learn remains ever out of reach and I am tired of the fight. Amazon has a death grip on indie authors, and I resent having to play their games. It is very difficult to remain motivated and productive without getting something in return – yes, I’m needy! I could go on and on, but you don’t want to hear it and it’s discouraging to lay it all out here.

While I am very tempted to chuck the whole dream, I’m not going to – yet. Honestly, I wish I could pull the plug for a couple years, write like crazy without the distraction of publishing and promoting, and come back with a vengeance! If I did that, I’m afraid of losing what little knowledge and skill I have, and starting over from scratch is not an appealing option.

The biggest reason to keep going is because I enjoy writing so much. I may be a failure on the business side of things, but I’m a good story-teller with tons of great ideas. I still have an awful lot to learn about the craft, but the readers I have are asking for more despite my shortcomings. How can I possibly disappoint them?

So, what’s next?

The money crunch means I will be doing more writing than publishing for the next year or so, but there’s no way around it. I intend to focus on shorter works rather than novels, and will probably set aside romances for more sci-fi and fantasy. In addition to improving my writing skills, I want to set up my backlist for print-on-demand and build my blog readership. I’m also considering a withdrawal from KDP Select and returning to D2D as a distributor. Once I have enough new material written, I need to work on building a newsletter email list and possibly open a Patreon account.

The short-term goal is to make enough from my books to keep writing and publishing. Long-term, I hope to generate a modest income to support me in my retirement years. If it all falls apart, you will be the first (and last) to know, but it won’t be because I haven’t tried. If it were possible, I would write myself a HEA and call it good! Too bad the real world doesn’t work that way.

Weekly Roundup: Remembering 2018

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

While it’s certainly true I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to in 2018, it was still a good year! Below are some of the highlights, both personally and as an author.

Author Stuff:

  • In April I published my first paranormal, wolf-shifter novel Expectant Moon. Reviews have been very positive! Book two, Traitor’s Moon, is nearly finished.
  • Instead of scrambling to post something new all the time, I began the Weekly Roundup to keep my readers informed.
  • My writing has improved due to some great and timely advice from a number of sources and I continue to grow and learn.
  • Some fabulous story ideas are now waiting for me to find the time to write them!
  • While it was a difficult decision, my books have been enrolled in KDP Select for most of 2018. Along with other marketing changes, I’ve been able to earn a fairly stable (but meager) income from my writing.
  • My most popular post, the Odious Apostrophe appeared on April 16th.

While I have some goals in mind for the new year, I’m not going put pressure on myself by creating a list of resolutions. Aside from publishing Traitor’s Moon, I hope to write at least two novels and perhaps some short stories. If time permits, I may look into joining a local writers group. Much will depend on my work schedule and finances, so we’ll see.

Personal Stuff:

  • I completed a major move across country to live closer to my kids.
  • My oldest son welcomed a third child, my first Grandson, this year!
  • My younger son got married and they are now expecting their first baby in August!
  • I am blessed with a decent job, lovely apartment, good health, some caring friends, and my extended family. God has been very good to me, as always.

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Current Manuscript – Traitor’s Moon hit a couple of bumps at the end of the year, and I’ve missed my goal of finishing by December 31st by just a few days. One problem was the need for an additional chapter, which is now nearly finished. The other issue involved not being able to get a full night’s sleep for many days in a row. The old brain simply shut down, and I needed all my resources just to get through the work day. I think I’m back on track now! Word count stands at almost 117,000.

Even though I’m still writing book 2 in the Gladstone Shifters series, I’ve been busy jotting down more ideas for book 3. Some pieces of the puzzle are finally falling into place, which makes it easier for me to finish the current manuscript, since it will include hints for the next book. I don’t want to commit myself to any major plot lines unless I’m certain I’ll use them, hence the need to plan ahead and consider the shape of the story carefully.

I don’t like cliffhangers, but I do enjoy giving readers a few hints about what may be coming in the next book – call them teasers if you will. Building in a little bit of anticipation creates interest and hopefully brings readers back for the next installment.

My posts for the next few weeks will be mostly about the shifter world I’ve created for my current series. In conjunction with the release of Traitor’s Moon, I want to share where it all came from and answer some reader’s questions. So get your wolf on, baby, and let’s get furry together!

Weekly Roundup 12-26-18 Having Fun With Obsolete Words

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

The English language has a boatload of obsolete words we rarely or never use, and I find it interesting to get reacquainted with some every now and then. Writers, take note of these gems and look for ways to put them back in circulation. I have added helpful explanatory notes for each.

Farctate – completely satiated or full to the point of bursting. (Usually followed by flatulate. I’m sure the words are related somehow.)

Philodox – a dogmatic person who is especially fond of his/her own opinions. (This term is especially useful when describing elected politicians.)

Gramercy – an exclamation of pleased surprise. (See also “Lordhavemercy” for unpleasant surprises.)

Cavil – to raise trivial and oftentimes irritating objections or to find fault unnecessarily. (Marriage counselors use this one a lot.)

Churlish – a rude, boorish, or miserly person. (Normally, we simply say “stop being an ass”, but that requires four words.)

Frisson – a sudden, passing shudder of emotion or excitement. (I believe romance writers could get some mileage out of this one!)

Gargalesthesia – a term given to the sensation caused by being tickled. (Hmmm…I was sure this meant a fear of gargling.)

Beldam – a term for “grandmother”. (Related to Ohdam which means “mother-in-law” and Hotdam which refers to one’s wife.)

Defalcation – the act of misusing funds or embezzling. (Similar to defecation or “Oh Shit”, the expression used when one is caught defalcating.)

Vulpine – crafty and cunning. (This is less confusing than saying “foxy”, which may be confused with “Hotdam” above.)

Buccula – the fold of fatty tissue under the jaw, commonly called a “double chin”. (Related to Buttula, Guttula, or any other sagging body part.)

Brontide – a rumbling sound like distant thunder. (Do not confuse with “farctate”, above.)

Morosoph – a learned fool, or one who puts up the pretense of knowledge or wisdom. (Most of us either live next to, or work with a Morosoph. See also gasbag, jackass, moron.)

Hypermnesia – having an exceptional memory. (A little less clumsy than “memory like an elephant” and the opposite of amnesia or “can’t remember a damn thing”.)

Factotum – a person having many diverse traits and different responsibilities or serving in a wide range of capacities. (Replaced in modern English with “Mom”.)

Virago – a large, strong, or domineering woman. (See note on “Ohdam” above.)

Lalochezia – the emotional relief gained by emitting vulgar or indecent words. (Huh! And all this time I just thought it was someone who lacked self control, manners, or a proper upbringing.)

And there you have it! English is fascinating, and it’s too bad we restrict our word usage to the tried and true. So, good luck preventing your churlish beldam from farctating in public. Gramercy!!   (click HERE for the source article)

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Traitor’s Moon – Chapter thirteen is now complete! Word count = 109,800.

Somehow, this book turned out to have fewer chapters, but each of them is longer. I don’t like interrupting the flow of the story in odd places with chapter breaks. The problem is that readers have been trained to expect not only shorter chapters, but shorter books overall (eBooks, that is). Another way to address this is to make two books out of one with a cliffhanger, but again, I don’t like that approach. Sure, it’s possible I could make more money, but it’s not my impression that readers like to be taken advantage of this way. I know I wouldn’t.

Unfortunately, chapter thirteen didn’t turn out to be the last chapter as I predicted earlier! I’m not surprised really, as this seems to happen at the end of very book I’ve written. Too much information I still need to include, necessitating an additional chapter to fit it all in. I’ve always maintained the book isn’t finished until the story is complete, and I refuse to cheat my readers or characters by leaving things out. There are a lot of plot threads in a novel this size, and I simply can’t leave them dangling with no resolution.

So, what does this mean? It means I may not meet my goal of completing the manuscript by December 31st. It also means the book will end up being a bit longer than I anticipated. I don’t think it will cause a significant delay in the release date of the book, but that depends heavily on when my beta readers finish doing their thing.

Anyway, I had fun wrapping up one of the main story arcs and fixing the little red wagon of a certain odious character. What’s left is the above mentioned threads, as I carefully tie them off with some sort of resolution or satisfactory follow up. I don’t want my readers to start saying, “Wait! What happened to so and so?” I spent an awful lot of time and effort developing those lovely sub-plots, and I want to see them through to the end. Honestly, without them the book would be flat and rather uninteresting, so I don’t begrudge the time it takes to do it right.

Weekly Roundup 12-19-18 Becoming a Full Time Author

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

Some months ago I saved a post entitled “What It Takes To Go Full-Time As An Indie Author”. Unfortunately, the post is now “marked private by the owner” so I can’t tell you who wrote it. The writer claims to be making four figures per month through hard work (not luck), and following this must-do list:

  • Study your market. No that isn’t selling out, it’s making sure you understand what your readers want.
  • Get top quality, genre-appropriate covers. They should look like the bestsellers in your genre.
  • Learn how to write a really hooky blurb. Copy writing is a completely different beast to fiction writing.
  • Write books that people want to read. Yes you can write for yourself, but that’s going to make going full-time, far, far, more difficult.
  • Learn how to market. I don’t mean that stuff about getting a big Twitter following, I mean CPC ads and newsletter marketing. There are plenty of books and resources out there to teach you the ropes for both of those.
  • Target your readers and only your readers. Some people go for the spaghetti approach, but that has been shown to drastically screw things up. You need tight also-boughts that are relevant to your book. Don’t waste money marketing your dark UF to humorous UF readers.
  • Publish regularly. You don’t have to publish every month, but 4 books a year is the ideal minimum. You’ll need to run ads between launches to keep eyes on your books though.

Wow! While this formula apparently worked for the author, I will never be able to afford the time or expense to make it happen. Even if I could quit my job today and do nothing but write, I would need professional help with all the aspects of marketing, which involves four of the seven suggestions in the list above. I would guess most indie authors share this same struggle and despair of ever reaching full-time author status.

One additional objection is the whole “write what people want to read” mantra. While I understand the concept, and agree in principle, I dare say most authors want to write what appeals to them, not simply what will sell. Cranking out garbage simply because people will buy it gives all authors a bad name. On the other hand, churning out book after book with no personal appeal seems like a soul-sucking waste of time. Much of my joy and satisfaction as an author comes from writing about what speaks to me, interests me, or what stirs my passion. All of that is very personal and cannot be reduced to “write what people want to read”.

So, am I ever going to go full-time as an author? I’m sure you’ve already guessed the answer. Unless lightning strikes or I can retire with lots of extra cash, I don’t see it happening. Discouraging? Yes. Will it stop me? No. I write because I enjoy it! I have things to say and stories to tell, and readers like my stuff. In the meantime, if anything changes, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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Update on Traitor’s Moon – I’m about two-thirds of the way through the last chapter! Next comes the Epilogue where I tie up loose threads and drop some hints for the next book in the series, but the end is near (in a good way)! I’m still on target for finishing by the end of the year, with a tentative launch in late January. Word count stands at 104,000+.

The final chapter deals mostly with the primary antagonist receiving his comeuppance, and I’ve been editing and re-editing the manuscript to get it just right. This person has been a thorn in everyone’s side since the middle of the first book, and now the time has come to give him what he deserves. I must say, it’s been most satisfying, and I hope my readers will be pleased!

Weekly Roundup 12-5-18 Reference Material for Romance Writers

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

I prefer to get my news online and like to save articles which might help my writing, be it general information or new story ideas. Back in June I was intrigued by this one: “Sixteen Hot Spots on a Man’s Body You Should Know About” by Carina Hsieh. Naturally, as an M/M romance writer, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. It never hurts to introduce some new ideas into a hot bedroom scene, and I certainly can’t claim to know it all.

While the list contained the usual suspects (lips, penis, nipples, perineum), there were a few odd places mentioned:

  • Adam’s Apple
  • Lower back
  • The dip under the ankle

I am uncertain how much serious research is represented, but the author claims the advice comes from “experts”. I can think of at least two hot spots which were left off the list, though most gay men are not shy about taking advantage of them. You’ll have to read the article for yourself and decide if the information is helpful!

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Traitor’s Moon – I’ve made some great progress this week and am deep into chapter twelve! Word count stands at 96,300+. This part of the book is both winding down towards the end and building up to the final conflict. During a short break in the action, I’m having fun with one of the sub-plots, fleshing out a newer character. Too many new people tend to distract from the primary pair in each story, so I have to be careful. It remains to be seen if he will be featured, or only mentioned, in future books.

Since I’m near the end, I occasionally have trouble remembering details from the early chapters. Research is often required to make certain I am being consistent with important details (thank goodness for the “search” feature in MS Word!). I suppose it could be said that many readers would not notice minor errors, since they have most probably forgotten the details by the end of the book anyway. Perhaps, but I simply can’t let things like that slide. As an author, I feel obligated to give readers my very best, and I hope it shows.

My goal is to complete Traitor’s Moon by the end of the calendar year and publish it early next year. Stay tuned for the cover reveal!