Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Guest Post: Melissa Frost

Good morning! I'm so happy to have Evernight Teen author Melissa Frost visiting today!  Let's talk about her newest release, The Dating Tutor: Alec's Story!

Drawing the Line…

The Dating Tutor series is my first attempt at the young adult genre. When I decided to tackle something for a younger audience, I realized I had to censor myself for the first time. With my other works, I don’t cut violence or sexual content. Real life isn’t censored; I’m not going to do so with my writing. I want it to be gritty and real.

With the young adult, I wanted the same, but I had to delicately balance what I felt was acceptable content in a teenager’s life. I had to draw the line on what was okay and what wasn’t. As a result, I discovered something about writing for young adults, not only is it fun, but it forced me to be more creative. Young adult has a more romantic element to it because there is a lack of the frank language used in adult novels. I was inspired to be more imaginative in my description, more romantic in the characters’ actions. With an adult novel, we know where things are headed – sex. With young adult, that isn’t always so. Things can progress differently and at a slower pace. It was very refreshing. It was a nice break from what I usually write.

I will enjoy returning to my uncensored self, but I have definitely found a love for writing in the young adult genre. I look forward to doing so again.

Here is a sexy excerpt from The Dating Tutor: Alec’s Story –

“Can you help me learn how to kiss?”

He jumped back as if he’d been burnt. “What?” His voice was an octave higher than usual, causing him to cringe with embarrassment. Her request was just so sudden and unexpected. He’d been trying to ease back into normal territory, and she’d blindsided him with this.

“I don’t really know what I’m doing…and you seem to be the expert. I just thought…” She shrugged, her eyes lowering shyly to her hands. “I thought maybe you’d practice with me…or teach me. Whatever.”

“When?” he asked, voice sounding pained. He felt like a deer, trapped in the headlights of an oncoming car. He saw the danger as it raced toward him, but he was unable to get out of its path.

She shrugged again before motioning to the television. “It’s almost intermission…”

Intermission. She wanted to do this now. Panic welled within him. He knew he should tell her no. He knew he should stop things from getting any more abnormal between them, but the thought of kissing her was too enticing to let pass.

He swallowed thickly before bobbing his head in agreement. Ignoring the rest of the period, he shifted closer to her on the couch and curved his arm around her waist, drawing her gently toward him. “Come here.”

He leaned in, bringing his mouth closer and closer to hers. She wiggled in his arms and released a nervous breath against his lips that sent a tingle down his spine. “Close your eyes,” he instructed with a shaky laugh.

She complied, fluttering her eyelashes closed as she tilted her chin up ever so slightly in invitation.

With a little smile, he closed the remaining distance and brushed his lips lightly against hers. Just that simple contact sent the blood pumping in his veins; it sent his heart roaring with want.

Ellie gave a soft, eager whimper. She became lax in his arms and melted against him, curving her body along his.

“Don’t do that,” he growled into her mouth as he lifted both hands to brush her hair back from her face. He continued to kiss her ever so gently, his fingertips stroking along her jawline as he shifted her hair.

“Don’t do what?” She whispered her reply between soft, slow kisses.

“Don’t whimper like that.” He ran his thumb along her bottom lip. “Only make that sound if you’re looking for a full on make-out session. No guy can control himself after a sound like that.” He moved his thumb away from her lips before lowering his mouth to hers again.

Ellie leaned into his kiss. Giving another soft whimper, she lifted a hand to the back of his neck to deepen it.

She was toying with him. Alec knew without a doubt that Ellie had whimpered again on purpose. It was like she wanted him to lose control. Well, she was about to get her wish, because that sound had driven him over the edge. He gave a growl of arousal and slid his hands down her hips, so he could pull her closer. Her body was pressed tightly against his, and he could feel her breasts through her sweater. He teasingly bit at her lower lip before nudging her mouth open with his own. “Mmm, Ellie…”


The sound of his name moaned from between her lips was almost as sensual as the feel of her nails grazing the back of his neck. He could not get enough of her. As his tongue dipped into her mouth to brush against hers, he debated slipping a hand underneath her sweater.

“I swear this laundry multiplies in the basket!”

At the sound of Mrs. Harper’s declaration as she trudged down the steps lugging a large laundry basket, Ellie and Alec simultaneously broke away from one another. Ellie brushed her fingers frantically through her disheveled hair while Alec rubbed at the lip gloss he could feel resting accusingly against his lips. They’d barely made themselves presentable by the time her mother descended into view.

Buy link:

*Also, don't miss The Dating Tutor by Melissa Frost! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In Memoriam: Trunking a Novel

I finished my edits for Double Back! Yea! And guess what? It's a trunk novel.

What is a trunk novel? It's a novel that should never see the light of day, a novel that will hide in your trunk or under your bed instead of gracing the shelves of a bookstore or Amazon list.

This has been a really hard decision. There are things about Double Back that I really like. It was a fun idea when I started it I-don't-know-how-long-ago. But the truth is, it's just not something I want to put out there.

Why? The writer in me thinks it's silly to trunk a completed, revised, fairly polished manuscript, but the other part, the author part of me, knows it's the right thing to do. I started this novel years and years ago. I have changed so much as a writer since I wrote the first chapters of Double Back. Big chunks of the novel just don't resonate with me now. I started the book before I really found my voice and so parts of it read like someone else's work. Also, I'm leaning toward other things these days. Double Back is a YA time travel story. The young adult industry has moved on and so have I.

I don't regret the time I've spent on Double Back. I'm glad I revised it. I'm glad I took the time to really look at the story.

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this story. It is the first novel I completed. It is the first novel I fell in love with. But I've moved on....and this knowledge makes it bearable to part with my beloved Double Back.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goals During the Revision Process?

I go to work every day, alone. If I don't show up, nobody knows. Nobody will know if I write ten words today, or ten thousand.

So setting goals really helps me to stay on task and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Having goals while writing a first draft is easy. You shoot for a particular word count, write your 3000 words and get on with the rest of your day.

Revision is a whole other animal. When I do the first revision, I usually shoot for a minimum of 25 pages a day. That gets me through the first draft in a week or two. Check. But when I'm working on the second or third pass, having goals becomes impossible. Well, it becomes impossibly frustrating. Getting down to the nitty gritty of the story, finalizing events and character motivations, tying up loose threads - these things can take time. I have four items on my final edits list for my current WIP, Double Back. On Monday, I set a goal to have the manuscript ready for submission by Friday. With my self-imposed deadline looming, I have once again underestimated the amount of time it's going to take me to finish.

I suppose the only way to go at this point is to set a daily goal. What's my goal for today? I want to say that I'll read through my entire manuscript today. Or that I'll finish the four items on my to-do list. But how long will it take me to read through it? How long will it take me to do just one item on that list? I have no idea. Because they're complicated changes. One change might take five minutes - or five days.

I suppose the only thing to do is dive in and hope for the best. I'll let you know how it goes!

Anyone else out there feeling frustrated about revision?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Perks of Being a Slow Writer

My friend Dick Hannah recently blogged about Russell Blake and his ability to write and publish fast. The man released 25 books in 30 months!

I am a slow writer.

There are lots of reasons for this. I'm a Mom. I'm a reader. I'm determined to stay in relatively good shape, so I can only sit for so many hours a day. Most of all, I'm a perfectionist. I'm trying to overcome this crippling condition - yes, it's crippling when you're trying to be creative - and I have made great progress in the last year!

But even if I could write 25 books in 30 months,would I want to?  I'm not sure. I enjoy living in my made-up worlds. I enjoy getting to know my characters before I let them make decisions.

What's more, many of my favorite books took many years to write. J.K. Rowling finished the first Harry Potter book, The Philospher's Stone, in five years. Stephen King took thirteen years to finish The Stand. Both authors had life intervene and took some time with their stories. I'm not saying you have to take your time to create a quality story. I haven't read Russell Blake's books but a quick look on Amazon tells me they aren't bad. But maybe the type of stories I want to write require a little more 'marinating'.

Some of you know that I've been working on a YA time travel story for years. Yes, years. Today I had a breakthrough! Many people have told me, "Just publish it already!", including my son who I wrote the story for. But there were things that didn't quite work, things that didn't make sense. Today I found a wormhole and viola! The world I created makes sense to me. No, I didn't write this book in 30 days, but I love it and I have loved watching it grow. Is it as good as Harry Potter or The Stand? No, probably not. But I think that when I do publish it, I will be proud of it. Maybe when the kids go off to college, I'll be writing a-book-a-month, but until then I'll be content to 'give it my all' on one or two books a year.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Places I've Been: Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni: A Little Walled City

Monteriggioni is my favorite place in Italy! Okay, so I've only been to Italy once, but until I get the chance to go back and do some more exploring, this is my favorite. It's a little walled city located outside of Siena.
One of the best things about Monteriggioni is the Armaments Museum. This is the only museum I've ever been to where they let you wear the exhibits and it was so much fun! 
Walking around the little walled city at the top of the hill feels like stepping back into the Medieval Ages. The wall is approximately 570 meters in circumference and has 14 towers! 
Of course, a day in Italy is not complete without pasta! Monteriggioni also had the best wine I've ever had in my life. Hm, maybe that's why it was my favorite?!

Hope you have a happy Friday! I'll be dreaming if Tuscany tonight.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Happy New Year of Writing

The kids are back in school today and it’s officially the New Year for me! Happy New Year. Like most people, I’m taking stock of my life, my goals and my nascent writing career. (Yep, using obscure words today)

Here are my current Works in Progress:

The Monster at Water Castle:    25,174 words
Double Back:                            58,087 words
Cloudburst:                               80,889 words

My goals for 2014? To publish two more novels before the end of the year. Valkyrie’s Kiss is coming out soon, so that will give me three released novels.

Other goals? Nothing special really. Watch less television, read more, try to stop and smell the hibiscus once in a while! (Though I’ll have to nurse my poor hibiscus back to health after two days of freezing weather)

 And be a better blogger. 

So in the spirit of being a better blogger, I’m going to make myself a little schedule. Here’s what I have so far:

Mondays            News & goals for the week
Wednesdays       The writing life, guest posts
Fridays               Places I’ve Been – just for fun, because I love to travel and talk about traveling!

I hope you’re having a fantastic new year, despite the freezing temperatures!