Monday, September 30, 2013

Why You Need Scrivener to Plot Your Next Book

12:00 AM 0 Comments
image from literatureandlatte.com

Why You Need Scrivener to Plot Your Next Book

I’m the first to admit how easy it is to stick with old standbys when it comes to writing tools: spiral notebooks for sudden inspiration, 3x5 index cards for planning/shuffling scenes, and Microsoft Word for manuscript writing. While these tried-and-trues have earned their place in the muse’s hall of fame, there are some programs on the scene that are more than worth a look. One such piece of genius: Scrivener.

Selected by PC World as one of 2012’s top 100 products, Scrivener is a novel planning revelation I’m not sure how I lived without. This software, which is available for both Mac and PC, not only offers a powerful novel writing tool, but has multiple features to keep character profiles, settings, timelines, research, and more organized and at your fingertips. 

While I could dither on at length about the many virtues of Scrivener, the one feature that prompted this post is the cork board. If you use nothing else in Scrivener, the cork board alone is worth getting this program. 

Why You Need Scrivener's Cork Board

Scrivener’s cork board feature allows you to quickly and easily pin virtual index cards to the screen. The cards can contain text, images, or both, making them perfect for timelines, scene plotting, or character profiles. There are other programs that let you add text/images to a blank page, but Scrivener’s super streamlined index card look is unique. The cards are easy to add and edit. They snap into a perfect line for viewing, and in short creates the perfect drop-and-go experience. 

The corkboard has become my primary tool for organizing character files as well as plotting out my scenes.  I love being able to see my characters side by side like this:
My characters side by side on the cork board
Scrivener’s corkboard view is profoundly satisfying, not to mention helpful, when you want a “big picture” of the cast. If characters look too much alike, for instance, it’s easy to spot at a glance. Yet you can still click on profiles to pull up a larger, individual bios/photos as needed.

Planning chapters with Scrivener is as easy as creating a new folder for each chapter, switching to cork board view and adding a new index card. On the card, type a brief snippet of what needs to happen next in the scene. (I call these "hit points", or a storyboard of sorts.) Then move onto the next card. Add as many or as few cards as necessary to give you a complete scene. 

By splitting the chapter into quick snippets, you’ll find outlining a breeze. You can give each card a title heading, and I find this helpful in identifying each part of the action at a glance. When there are additional notes or comments that need to be made that won’t fit on the actual index card, click it open and add as much pictures or text as you like to flesh out the contents of the card.
A chapter outline from my next book
Using these notecards has allowed me to fashion fairly comprehensive outlines of multiple chapters in a single hour. The order of cards are a breeze to shuffle, and new cards can be inserted/omitted as needed. And with the color-coding feature, I can identify cards that have added images/notes attached by including a colored notch in the upper corner. (An example of this is shown in the above image.)

Scrivener is available as a download with a free one-month trial here: https://www.literatureandlatte.com/index.php. And for a couple easy tutorials on how to use the cork board for outline and character worksheets, check out the YouTube videos below. Happy plotting!

~~~~
On Mondays, I gab about pretty much whatever, but I like to focus on tips for writers. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Jumping From a Moving Car -Snippet Sunday

12:00 AM 9 Comments
~~It's Snippet Sunday!~~

On Sundays, I share tidbits of my works in progress as part of Weekend Warrior’s 8-Sentence Sunday. This week's snippet is from my work in progress DISORDERLY COWBOYS, book 6 of my LONE WOLVES OF SHAY FALLS cowboy/werewolf/menage series.


This is probably my last snippet from this title, since I've finished the draft and have moved on to another work in progress. I'm jumping well ahead of the rooftop scene I'd been posting snippets from the past several weeks.

Lana coaxed as much speed as she dared from her engine without risking her worn out brakes on the mountain’s hairpin curves. She and Jayson pulled up at the market in minutes.
She was cruising the lot for parking when Jayson let out a growl.
“Stay in the car,” he said, and without warning, he popped open his door.
“What are you doing?” she asked in alarm, but he hit the ground at a brisk jog before she could even stomp on the brake pedal.

She gaped after him, her eyes searching ahead of his path until she spotted Zane standing stiffly near the cart return. His fists were clenched and his eyes were blazing a too bright yellow for a public venue. And he wasn’t alone.


Trailer for my LONE WOLVES series:

Find these books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or at Bookstrand here:

~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ *~ * ~ *~ *

For more awesome snippets, check out 

~~~~


I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mahi Mahi-Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing and Candied Cashews

12:00 AM 0 Comments
It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!

I recently had a dish similar to this while dining out at Islamorada Fish Company. I was so intrigued I wanted to experiment with some variations (a different blend of greens, dressing, and fruit). Since the dressing and toppings are all cooked as well as the fish, this involves a little more doing than your average salad. But boy, are the results worth it!

Mahi Mahi-Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing and Candied Cashews

For the salad:
1 package (or 2 bunches, washed) organic baby spinach leaves
1 handful crumbled feta cheese (strict Paleo foodies may omit this, or opt for a raw, grass-fed, organic variety of crumbly cheese where available)
½ cup dried cranberries (or grapes cut in half for those avoiding dried fruits)

For the dressing:
4 slices bacon, chopped fine (I like uncured/nitrite-free cherry wood bacon)
1Tbsp reserved bacon fat
½ red onion, sliced thin
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1Tbsp raw wild honey
1Tbsp citrus juice (lemon, lime, or orange)

For the nut salad topping:
½ cup cashews, chopped fine (a quick pulse in the grinder or processor helps)
½ Tbsp coconut oil (or your preferred oil)
1 Tbsp raw honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup

For the mahi mahi:
2 mahi-mahi fillets
A squeeze or two of fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice (whatever you use for the dressing)
Salt/pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
½ tsp smoked paprika (or regular if that’s all you have)
1Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Directions
Put spinach leaves in a large bowl. Top with feta, if using, and cranberries or grapes. Start preparing the dressing: Cook bacon over medium heat until fairly crisp. While that is cooking, heat coconut oil in small skillet and add cashews. Cook over medium to medium-high heat 1 minute, stirring to coat with oil. Drizzle/sprinkle evenly with honey, sugar, or syrup and continue to cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, when bacon is done cooking, remove with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour all but 1Tbsp fat/drippings from skillet. Sautee onions in reserved fat until softening, 2-3 minutes. Add vinegar, honey, and citrus juice and stir well, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Let reduce for a minute or two and then remove from heat. Pour over salad. Top with nuts.

For mahi mahi, squeeze small amount of citrus juice over each fillet. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste; evenly sprinkle with paprika. Cook in hot oil in skillet or on indoor grill pan 5-10 minutes per side until fish flakes with a fork. Serve alongside or on top of salad.


Serves 2

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Challenge Your Way to Better Writing

10:00 AM 0 Comments
Writing a book or story is a challenge relatively few people decide to undertake in their lives, but those of us who do know both the challenges and the satisfaction of typing The End on a finished piece.

Much as writing can challenge us, it’s also important that we challenge our writing once in a while. Write to a prompt. Race your writing peers. Aim to achieve a word count goal. Why? These inject a fresh approach to our work and push us to new levels of what we can accomplish as writers. Word counts can really begin soaring. New and unexpectedly satisfying stories can come about that you never would have thought of without that prompt. And once we know what we are capable of achieving, we will hold ourselves to that standard in future writing. And, ideally, we’ll reach even higher with the next challenge.

What’s more, writing challenges can be fun! They’re also a neat way to promote ourselves as authors from a different angle. Rather than the typical “Here’s my book—read it” approach, generate buzz and interest from readers and fellow writers alike by promoting challenges.

What writing challenges should you do? Any that sound intriguing. If you wish you could write faster, word sprints and word count goals are your ticket. If you’d like to hone your craft by broadening your range, do word or story prompts. My first and favorite challenge was November’s National Novel Writing Month challenge (NaNoWriMo). I also like story prompts. Learning to write readily to a prompt has allowed me to submit work based on special calls from publishers.

At the bottom of this post, I list a number of different challenges. If you know of any others, feel free to add them to the comments!

How often should you do challenges? I dare say I believe in too much of a good thing, and challenges are no exception. If you become too preoccupied with the challenges themselves, the writing you produce may suffer. You may get burned out. Take breaks between challenges or when you start feeling like too much is on your plate.

Just a few challenges to try:

Word Count:
Write or Die (a tool more than a challenge, but one many swear by)

Story/Word Prompt:

Random Genre Month (Edit-not currently active but worth a look see)
30 Characters Challenge (30 in 30 days) (Edit:done in 2012, but worth looking at)
The Trifecta Writing Challenge  (Edit: Challenge Ended, but site is still up)


~~~~
On Mondays, I gab about whatever's going on. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Jayson's Payback -Snippet Sunday

12:00 AM 7 Comments
~~Warning: Adult Content~~

On Sundays, I share tidbits of my works in progress as part of Weekend Warrior’s 8-Sentence Sunday. This week's snippet is from my work in progress DISORDERLY COWBOYS, book 6 of my LONE WOLVES OF SHAY FALLS cowboy/werewolf/menage series.


For the past few weeks, I've been posting from a scene where Lana strands herself on a rooftop in hopes that the mate who'd been ignoring her would sense her distress and show up to save her. Some of you predicted Jayson might have some payback in store, so let's skip ahead to find out, shall we? Oh, and as the warning above states, this snippet contains adult content...

Taking her by the waist, Jayson spun Lana around and bent her over the kitchen table.
“I don’t recall wolf mating involved bending over furniture,” she said, gripping the table with sweaty palms.
“Just look at that ripe, luscious ass,” he said, and to her shock, a firm slap came down.
She jumped at the sting. “What was that for?”
“You really need to ask, after how naughty you’ve been?” Another slap followed, harder this time. “No more climbin’ on the roof, you hear me?”


Trailer for my LONE WOLVES series:

Find these books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or at Bookstrand here:

~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ *~ * ~ *~ *

For more awesome snippets, check out 

~~~~


I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The BEST Spiced Roasted Carrots

12:00 AM 3 Comments
It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!

When I was first investigating Paleo/Caveman food principles, I sought out lots of recipes for easy, yet tasty veggies. This was one I altered from a blog recipe, and it's become a favorite! Simple to make using a plastic baggie to mix everything--quick cleanup!

The BEST Spiced Roasted Carrots

Ingredients
Roughly 1 tsp each of the following:
Sea or kosher salt (fine ground works best, or whir coarse ground briefly in a spice/coffee grinder)
Garlic powder
Cinnamon
Paprika (if you have smoked paprika, it works great)
Cinnamon
Cayenne pepper (or chili powder). Use a little less if you don't like the heat.
1 Tbsp olive oil or your favorite oil
1 tsp coconut oil, melted (gives a great flavor and good for you!) OR sesame oil
1 tsp -1 Tbsp real maple syrup, optional
6 carrots, peeled and sliced evenly into coins or diagonally

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add all spice ingredients to a medium or large plastic baggie, shaking well to combine. Pour in the oils and if desired, the 1 tsp maple syrup (OR omit the 1 tsp syrup in this step and drizzle 1 Tbsp over the finished dish after baking). Squish the baggie to mix ingredients. Add in carrot coins and shake/squish well so all pieces are coated. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until edges are brown and carrots are cooked.

I've served these with roast beef and chicken, but also because you can quickly eyeball the spice measurements, I've done these as a by-itself snack. They smell wonderful! And the combination of salty/spicy/sweet is divine.

2-4 servings (they go quick and it's hard not to want seconds!)

~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, September 16, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Should You Plot it or Pants it?

12:00 AM 0 Comments
Every year since my first NaNoWriMo (November’s National Novel Writing Month), I go through a decision-making process. What should my book be about? Who are the characters? Do I need to plan the story first, or should I just jump in and write the darn thing? In this post I’ll be talking about the latter issue.

Whether to plot or pants a NaNo novel is a question I see posed about as often as I hear “Paper or plastic?” at the grocery store. My reply has varied over the years, and I can now answer with absolute, unwavering conviction: It depends.

There are two main factors that determine whether you’re better off pantsing or plotting a story:

         1. Where you currently are as a writer
         2.   The book itself

Either of these can help determine the best approach, and as both vary from year to year, so may the decision on whether to plot out your project.


The Case for Pantsing a NaNo Novel

What's so great about pantsing? For one, there's a surprise factor in it that makes the book as much of a revelation to the writer as it is for the reader. It's refreshing, illuminating, and a pure rush! It also saves days or weeks (months?!) of work and nail-biting while plotting. Some of my favorite lines/scenes came about because of pantsing. 

One of the factors I mentioned as to whether to pants or plot is where you currently are as a writer. You might assume I’m talking about how experienced you are with penning novels. In fact, I’m actually referring to your overall life, flow, and mental energy in the weeks just prior to NaNo. This can vary greatly from year to year, and it can definitely affect whether or not you can write off the cuff.

About my second or third NaNo year, I found myself bursting with creative energy. I wanted a challenge greater than the 50k/30 days goal, so I decided to try writing a book with no plot. It was so much fun that I did the same thing for the next few years. (Not forever, which I’ll get to in a moment.)

Now, onto the book itself. What type of book is best suited for pantsing? Some tales practically write themselves, an amazingly giddy feeling I highly recommend to all writers. While these tales can go hand in hand with times your mental energy is flowing best, it’s not always a given. You’ll recognize these types of stories by the way they keep jumping into your head unbidden. Characters relentlessly whisper to you. Plot points harass you in line at the market. Scenes play out in your dreams. Snippets of overheard conversation wind up fitting the plot perfectly. Etc. etc. When you find this sort of inspiration happening pre-NaNo, you may well have found yourself a concept that’s perfect for pantsing.

Incidentally, some think that writers who are obsessive about scheduling their day or who color-code their socks aren’t good candidates for pantsing. I say poppycock. My husband laughs at me because I have my calendar scheduled down to where I plan spontaneous fun, but I can derive great satisfaction from pantsing a book. Depending on the project, it can work great!

The Case for Plotting a NaNo Novel

No matter how fabulous a concept or how many years you’ve earned the pantsing badge of honor, there are definitely times when plotting your novel is the way to go.

Case in point, let’s go back to my several-year run of NaNo pantsing. That was all well and good until the summer my writing came screeching to a halt. My mental energy had been heavily invested in family needs, and by the time NaNo approached, I hadn’t been able to write a thing for months. I panicked about Nano, fearing I either wouldn’t be able to begin or that if I did, I surely wouldn’t finish. I was simply too out of the mode. So I made myself a deal. Rather than waiting to see if lightning struck on November 1, I spent October outlining one main character per week for three weeks and the fourth week detailing an overall plot arc. Dove in and crossed the 50k mark yet again.

Since then, I’ve learned to start contemplating where I’m at mentally sometime during September. If I’m feeling Green-Light-Go, I’ll pick a concept/title from my random ideas file and run with it come November 1. If, however, I’ve been having issues with flow or have a lot of “life” things going on in general, I’ll give myself a hand by coming into NaNo with a plan.

As for what kind of book is best planned in advance, well, the rub is you often won’t know for sure until you’ve tried to write it. I CAN say the best time to expect a tough challenge is soon after the above-mentioned fun of having a story write itself. This experience has the unfortunate side effect of making the writer feel invincible, that they’ve found their ideal rhythm so that every book from there on will unfold like a rose blooming via time-lapse photography. To correct this misconception, the next book will often drag like a skirt through mud. So if you’ve been riding high on the wings of success lately, you may be able to soar right on through NaNo—or you could be preparing to crash. Plotting is a good way to ensure the latter doesn’t happen.

Some red flags to watch for that indicate a NaNo book may be better plotted include: coming up blank when you try to picture most things about the story, being quickly and consistently distracted when plot or character points try to spring up, and/or rejecting numerous inspirations that try to assert themselves. One CAN overcome all of these and successfully pants a tale, but chances will be better if you give your book a plotting boost.

There’s one other argument for plotting a novel, and that’s the possibility that you might plot out a novel that is sort of meh and wind up pantsing something completely different. I’ve seen this kind of inspiration strike just before NaNo as well as midway through the challenge. If it happens, go with it! The original plot will still be waiting when you’re done.


Which way do you think you’re headed this coming NaNo: plotting or pantsing?

~~~~

I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people! And if you enjoyed this post, consider sharing with friends and subscribing for updates.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Don't Make Up On The Roof -Snippet Sunday

12:00 AM 8 Comments
~~It's Snippet Sunday~~

On Sundays, I share tidbits of my works in progress as part of Weekend Warrior’s 8-Sentence Sunday. This week's snippet is from my work in progress DISORDERLY COWBOYS, book 6 of my LONE WOLVES OF SHAY FALLS cowboy/werewolf/menage series.


Last week, Jayson  saved Lana from a rooftop, only to learn she'd stranded herself as a test to see whether he'd show up. Skipping ahead a little ways to where they've just finished arguing over why she'd pulled that little stunt...

“You didn’t mean it when you said you wished I hadn’t ever touched you,” Jayson murmured against her mouth.
“No,” Lana admitted.
“And you know I ain’t like those other wolves,” he continued.
“I know.”
He picked her up in his arms.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“Inside, unless you’d rather finish making up back on the roof.”
“Definitely not.”


Trailer for my LONE WOLVES series:

Find these books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or at Bookstrand here:

~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ *~ * ~ *~ *

For more awesome snippets, check out 

~~~~


I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Celebrate Fall" Apple Dumplin's

12:00 AM 0 Comments
It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!

Every September makes me think of apples, since it's the official start of apple season in picturesque Oak Glen, CA. Our local apple growers are busy making mile-high pies and letting visitors pick fruit and press cider. So I wanted to share an apple recipe with you that's both super easy and good.  The house will smell lovely and so fall-ish while this is simmering on your stove!

Celebrate Fall Apple Dumplin's

Ingredients
2 to 2 1/2 lb. apples. (tart pie-style apples like Granny Smith work best for this), peeled/cored and thinly sliced
3/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 c. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. Bisquick or other brand biscuit mix
1/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Directions
Combine apples, 3/4 cup sugar, ginger, water, and lemon juice in a large, deep skillet (or bowl first while mixing), stirring well to combine. Heat mixture to boiling. While heating, combine Bisquick and milk in a small bowl just until moistened (don't overbeat). Drop this dumpling mixture by spoon onto the apples into roughly 6-8 "dollops". Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Mix remaining 1 Tbsp sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Cover and simmer until apples are fork tender and dumplings cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.

Serve this by itself as a dessert, as a side with a salty pork dish, or over vanilla ice cream--yum!

Serves 4


~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bacon Cupcakes and Zombie Flamingos: A Week in Review

12:00 AM 0 Comments

I haven’t done a general update post for a while, so I thought I’d tell you how my version of The Writing Schedule You Need RIGHT NOW is going and some of the weird things I did last week.

Cupcakes at Sweet Treats by MP Couture...YUM!
Those of you following my posts know I’d gotten very little writing done since moving to the new place. No Bueno. Writing isn’t just something I do as a fun way to make a buck, it’s a necessary creative flow that keeps my outlook on life fresh. When I don’t write, I get antsy. Then I get worried. THEN I get downright crabby and no fun to be around. In short, not writing=not good.

I’m happy to say that since revamping my schedule, writing is back in a flow. I’ve almost completed DISORDERLY COWBOYS—just one chapter left! And in the meantime the house stayed clean, laundry and shopping got done. And I had a good time researching ideas for my “fun” free time slots on the calendar. I’ve already gone to the movies, the natural history museum, caught up on some reading, and got hooked on a new (to me) TV show--Merlin. That last one was courtesy of my oldest daughter…thanks Lisa!

Zombie flamingo--what's not to love?
Mike’s birthday was Sunday, so all weekend we let him pick whatever random things he wanted to do. Among our many stops was a gourmet cupcake run through torrential rain and flash flooding. It was totally worth it! The pancakes-and-bacon and PB&J cupcakes were out of this world. (Very not on my paleo diet, but hey, it was a birthday!). We also hit up the Halloween store, and I am SO getting this zombie flamingo to put out on our front walk next month! And Sunday, we drove out to old town Monrovia to take pictures in front of the house used in filming the 1980’s horror flick House. The Victorian home is considered a historic landmark and has been kept the same as it looked in the movie, which was cool.
1986 horror flick "House" was filmed here

I’m pretty pleased as punch that I’ve gotten back on track with the flow of things, especially with making time for fun. Mike totally laughs at me that I have to “schedule” time for fun, but hey, I’m a wife, mother, AND a writer. I’d put my own fun off indefinitely if not for planned spontaneity!


This week I’m hoping to finish DISORDERLY COWBOYS and give it a good polish before sending it off to the publisher. As for fun, I have a video game day slated, and I want to hopefully catch a showing of Elysium. A library trip will be a must as well. Ooh, and I’m going to start prepping a blog post (potentially a series, we’ll see) on how to adapt my personal organizing strategy as a NaNoWriMo survival schedule. Stay tuned, and have a great week!

~~~~
On Mondays, I gab about whatever's going on. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Goodreads. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

You Were Testing Me -Snippet Sunday

12:00 AM 8 Comments
~~Adult language warning~~

On Sundays, I share tidbits of my works in progress as part of Weekend Warrior’s 8-Sentence Sunday. This week's snippet is from my work in progress DISORDERLY COWBOYS, book 6 of my LONE WOLVES OF SHAY FALLS cowboy/werewolf/menage series.


Normally I skip around to different passages from week to week, but lately I've been posting from the scene where my character gets trapped on a roof. I didn't think it was fair to leave her hanging! Last Sunday, hunky cowboy Jayson saved Lana from the roof. Now he persists in wanting an answer for why she'd been up there...


Lana turned from Jayson and began pacing back and forth. “I could sense you after you'd gone, and I figured that meant you could sense me too.” She stopped and folded her arms. “I just wasn’t sure you'd bother showing up if you felt I was in danger.”
The confusion in his eyes morphed into understanding. “You were testin’ me.”
“But I hadn't planned on knocking the ladder over and really stranding myself on the roof.”
He shook his head and took his phone out of his pocket. “To quote my sister, what the fuck, Lana?”


Trailer for my LONE WOLVES series:

Find these books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or at Bookstrand here:

~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ *~ *~ * ~ *~ *

For more awesome snippets, check out 

~~~~


I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fallin' Off the Bone Crockpot Spareribs

12:00 AM 0 Comments
It's Too Yummy Tuesday!

On select Tuesdays I share delicious recipes either inspired by my books or that are just plain delicious!

My husband's birthday is coming up, and he usually requests that I make ribs for his birthday meal. This week has been unbelievably hot and humid, with awesome thunderstorms and temperatures too high for me to even think about turning on the oven. So I decided to toss the ribs into the crockpot with a few staples I had on hand. Oh, my! Very tender and delish. 

Fallin-Off-The-Bone Crockpot Spareribs

Ingredients
1 onion, sliced
1 rack (3-4lbs) pork spareribs
Garlic Powder
Salt
2 Tbsp oil (I used olive oil, but any will do)
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp paprika
1/2 bottle teriyaki sauce
2 cups water or beef broth

Directions
Arrange onion slices in bottom of crockpot. Cut rib rack into two sections (or more) so it will fit in your crockpot. Rub ribs with garlic powder and salt to taste on both sides. Whisk together oil, honey, and paprika in a small bowl. Brush or rub over ribs to coat; stack in crockpot. Pour teriyaki sauce and broth/water over top of ribs. Ribs do not need to be submerged in liquid, but the level should come up about halfway. Add more water/broth if needed.
 
Set crockpot on low and cook for 6-8 hours or overnight. Serve over a bowl of your favorite rice and include some of the juice! I like jasmine rice for this.

Serves 4 (unless my husband happens to be at your house for dinner, ha ha!)


~~~

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Goodreads. She loves talking to people!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Writing Muse

12:00 AM 0 Comments
You may have seen my recent blog series on setting up a unique writing schedule. Those posts were as much for my own benefit as they were for other writers. I was sort of “talking out loud” to myself about getting back on track with writing.

Fickle creatures, muses. They require proper care and feeding in order to function. If you’re like me, you may find that you’ve been neglectful of your muse from time to time—typically when you’ve got a lot of other things going on. Sometimes, a sharp mental kick is enough to get back in line. Other times, one must go into serious fix-it mode. (That’s where I’ve been at the past couple of weeks.)

One thing’s for sure, muses will never be career soldiers. Oh, they prove themselves capable of battling through the toughest plot twists and continuity issues. But at the first sign of stress or trouble in your personal life, they’re off like a prom dress and nowhere to be found. I swear, muses take more days off than a government office.

Here’s how to coax those muses off the beach in Cabo and back into the salt mines where they belong. Start with the first and make your way down the list. Your muse might appear after only doing the first, but if they’re quite stubborn, keep pressing on. They’ll be around before long.

Clean the House /Writing Area

Despite the fact that my muse leaves his workout towel lying around and has never heard of putting down a toilet seat, he cannot perform in a messy space. (Yes, my muse is a guy—and a real hunk at that.) This is true of many muses. When you can’t seem to get into the writing zone, look around your, well, writing zone. Dust, clutter, unpaid bills, and workout towels strewn about in view of your writing chair does not a bestselling novel make. Set a timer for a reasonable time (ten to thirty minutes is all I’m asking here) and give the place a spit-shine. Then vow to spend ten minutes (max) on upkeep every morning. See this post for an easy writer’s guide to cleaning that talks about how to do that.

Revise That Pesky Writing Schedule

If you find yourself spinning your wheels with no time for writing, it’s possible your schedule no longer fits your life. Evaluate your current plan objectively and decide what’s not working. Is an obligation clashing with your writing time? Did you not schedule enough writing time? Too much?

Go To the Library
Stephen King talks about how if one wants to be a writer, one must also be a reader. Muses need regular infusions of literature to keep their creativity jumping. Yet it’s all too easy to shove aside reading for pleasure when we’re busy conjuring the next book.

I say go to the library because it’s free and it gets you out of the house, two things that writers often need in combination. You can also stop by your favorite coffee-and-books store or sit at the park with your reading device. The point is to stop the world and make deliberate time for reading. It’ll help refill your literary cup.

Go To the Movies

Movies are books come to life, and I find this approach to storytelling of particular use in inspiring my muse. Don’t go with any ulterior motives, like seeking out book ideas. Just go for the simple enjoyment of a story.

When I’m in need of a quick jump start, Netflix or my DVD collection can help me out. However, when my muse is really digging in his heels, it’s time to head out to the Cineplex to really immerse myself in another world for a while.

I can’t stress enough the value of Getting Out Of The House when your muse is missing in action. Lure them back by playing hard to get! It’s a bizarre yin and yang thing—if you’re just sitting around at home waiting for inspiration, your muse may blow you a strawberry and skip off on an adventure. But leave the house yourself and your muse may well pop back in to find out what the heck you’re doing. I’ve come home to find my muse sitting alone in my writing chair, tapping his foot with that impatient “Where have you been?” look on his face. Mission accomplished.

Eat Your Favorite Food

When I’ve been in full writing mania for a while, I can get burned out. Part of this is just too much work and not enough play, but I also find I don’t eat properly when I’m acting like a crazed writer. I talk to enough fellow writers to know I’m hardly alone in this. But if we aren’t feeding our brains well, we can’t expect them to spit out endless streams of brilliance.

What’s your favorite food? Tiramasu? Prime rib? Homemade mac-n-cheese? Get a hold of some and devour without guilt. (Bonus points if it has chocolate.) After that treat, make a concerted effort to eat regular and reasonably decent meals. No living off Top Ramen and Starbucks for weeks on end. I find keeping a food diary extremely helpful—if I have to hold myself accountable by writing down what I’ve eaten, I tend to think more carefully about what I’ll have to write.

At some point while applying these care-and-feeding tips, most muses will show up with souvenirs, suntans, and ready-to-go attitudes. (Some are more stubborn, and there are other tips out there for how to lure them out of hiding). I’m happy to say mine showed up right around library time, although I persisted with a movie day and am planning a favorite food day soon.


What are your favorite tricks for getting your muse back to work?

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