Friday, September 24, 2010

Six Levels of Introversion

I'm delighted to welcome Harlequin American author Barbara White Daille to the blog!

Here's Barbara: I’d like to thank Rebecca for inviting me to stop by today!

Chances are, there are a lot of us introverted folks here. It’s not an easy thing to admit, is it?

Rebecca had asked me to touch on how it is for me, as a shy person, to interact with an editor. Fortunately, my editor is fabulous, and we have no trouble communicating, whether we’re talking on the phone, via e-mail, or face-to-face.

I should be so lucky in all areas of my life.

In my writer and non-writer roles, there are times when I need to attend business meetings, workshops, and conferences. There’s no getting around it—all those events can be nerve-wracking, especially for a diehard introvert!

Do you agree?

Just in case you’re not sure, here’s a brief quiz to determine your level of Introvert-ness.

(Extroverts need not apply—but please feel free to leave comments that may help the rest of us. )

IT'S QUIZ TIME!

Six Levels of Introversion



Choose which statement below best describes you:

6. I’d prefer to sit in a packed meeting hall than to give a speech to everyone there.

5. I’d rather spend time in a crowded bar than sit in a packed meeting hall.

4. I’d choose eating lunch with a group of people I don’t know well over spending time in a crowded bar.

3. I’d rather go to tea with a perfect stranger than eat lunch with a group of people I don’t know well.

2. I’d buy a bottle of water and a bag of pretzels from the vending machine rather than go to tea with a perfect stranger.

1. I wish I lived on a deserted island so I could avoid having to make conversation with anyone!

Okay, confession time. Where do you fall on this list?

Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the dry heat and have taken up square dancing. From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called "books." Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.Barbara hopes you will enjoy reading her stories and will find your own storytelling magic in them!

Readers can find Barbara at the following locations:
http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com
http://www.facebook.com/barbarawhitedaille
https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille

Her October, 2010 book, FAMILY MATTERS, is currently available from bookstores and through eHarlequin.com: http://bit.ly/FAMILYMATTERS

Barbara works a day job but will be back here later today and over the weekend. She’s eager to read your responses to the quiz. Also, shy or not, she loves to chat with readers online, so please feel free to leave comments or questions.

Monday, September 20, 2010

TAKING HISTORY TO HEART

Please help me welcome multi-published and award-winning romance author Beth Trissel to the blog.

Years ago, I was riveted on the travels of Lewis and Clark in the Ken Burns documentary: Lewis and Clark, the Journey of the Corps of Discovery.


Brief description: ‘Sent by President Jefferson to find the fabled Northwest Passage, Lewis and Clark led the most courageous and important expedition in American history. It was the United States' first exploration of the West and one of the nation's most enduring adventures. Journey with them across a breath-taking landscape for an experience that explores the history--and the promise--of America.’

Fascinating. I was so invested in these men, particularly Lewis and Clark, and of course, their Godsend guide and interpreter Sacajawea. After the expedition concluded and Lewis and Clark parted, Lewis struggled to find his way. Seems he suffered from black depressions and was bi-polar, had been dependent on the support of his good friend William Clark for stability. Then it happened. Lewis was dead. I didn’t realize he shot himself in 1809—or was possibly murdered—and I lost it, sat in front of the TV sobbing, much to the disgust of my then teenage daughter Alison.

A friend of hers walked in the room, took one look at me and asked, “Sad movie?”

Alison rolled her eyes. “It’s a documentary!”

But it happened, and still felt very raw to me.

Similarly, back when I was doing research for Red Bird’s Song and read A Sorrow In My Heart, the Life of Tecumseh, about the great Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, I was devastated to read he was killed in battle in 1813 at age 45. Tecumseh was so awesome and vital to his people. I rushed out into the garden, wiping at tears, and railing against the injustice of life while aimlessly weeding. I should have seen that one coming, but there are tons of notes at the end of the book and I thought he had pages left to live.

So, what do these and my numerous other grapplings with history have to do with Red Bird’s Song? Simple, it’s historical, a poignant romance, and written more deeply from my heart then any of my other books. Many of the events depicted in the story and the inspiration behind it are true. Red Red Bird’s Song is based on events that happened to my early American Scots-Irish ancestors in the Virginia colonial frontier and further west. And it’s the first novel I ever wrote and rewrote and learned how to write in the process. The novel began as carefully researched historical fiction with a strong romantic element but evolved into a historical romance, still painstakingly researched and pulsing with emotion. The romance between Wicomechee and Charity throbs with tension & tenderness, passion & angst.

*A bonus for readers, at the end of the book is the account of this Shawnee warrior I discovered in distant branches of the family tree. Yes, Wicomechee really lived and he comes vividly to life along with the others characters in this adventurous romance with a strong The Last of the Mohicans flavor.

The romance between Charity and Wicomechee is also inspired by an account I read of a Scots-Irish captive who fell in love with and wed the son of a chief and was later forced back to her white family. Her warrior husband did the unthinkable and left his people to go and live in the English world, but before he could reach his true love, her brothers intercepted and killed him. Heartbroken, she grieved herself to death shortly after giving birth to their daughter, who survived and has descendents to this day, I might add. So affected was I by this heartrending account that it also played out as a profound influence in my historical fantasy Daughter of the Wind.

Obviously when writing a romance, the death of the hero and or heroine does not qualify as a HEA ending, unless you’re Nicolas Sparks. (And don’t tell me he’s not writing romance). More research, dreams, and visions helped me contrive a far more satisfying ending for Red Bird’s Song. Also for Daughter of the Wind, I assure you. After two novels, I hope I’ve worked through the affect that tragic account had on me.

Who cares that it happened over 200 hundred years ago? IT WAS REAL. I suspect I’m what some might refer to as sensitive and deeply attuned to those who have gone before us. My parting advice is to draw from the events and people who touch your heart, either from the present or the past, and interweave this poignant wealth into your writing.

Red Bird’s Song is out in print and digital download at the Wild Rose Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and will travel on to other booksellers.

For more on my work please visit my website at www.bethtrissel.com
My blog is the happening place at: https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

By the way, I’m giving away a digital download to some lucky visitor who leaves a comment!
Beth Trissel is a historical & light paranormal romance author with the Wild Rose Press, avid gardener, passionate about the past. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of VA, Daughter of the Stars, with her husband and the wolf pack, as they affectionately call their dogs. *Also love cats. The valley and mountains are her inspiration. Contact: bctrissel@yahoo.com

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Shy Exhibitionist

Please help me welcome dark fantasy erotica author Tyree Kimber to the blog.


The late Johnny Carson was a notoriously shy public figure. In a profile I once watched on television, an acquaintance of his (whose name now escapes me,) said that Johnny Carson was comfortable in front of twenty million people, but never in front of twenty people. While I know I'll never have the kind of fame or audience that Mr. Carson had, I totally understand what they were saying.

I am a performer. I always have been. I'm what you might call a shy exhibitionist. Growing up an only child who was something of an outsider, my imagination ran at full tilt to keep me company and keep me entertained. In high school, having no interest in sports but hungry for the kind of busy life my peers enjoyed I turned to acting, art, music, and whatever else I could find that would give me the attention I craved and in return could bring happiness and excitement to others around me. But I was still shy: I could perform Shakespeare in front of people I barely knew in a heartbeat, but walking up to them and starting a normal conversation with them was ground for an anxiety attack.

As I got older my desire to entertain crystallized around writing and storytelling. It's amazing how different we are in the world that we, as writers, build in our minds. Shyness is never an issue for us there. We have nothing to fear from anyone there because we know exactly what they will say; we know their every secret. In the world around us we never know how anyone will react and it's that uncertainty that can be brutal. When you're onstage the audience will either applaud or they won't. Either way you'll know exactly where you stand. But regular interactions are so much more challenging. There's no script and our audience is so much harder to read.

I'm proud of what I write, but when I first began to experiment with dark fantasy erotica I found my shy tendencies really kicking in. Right or wrong, there's a stigma attached to the erotic genre: it's not socially acceptable. I've never been hesitant to say that I'm a writer, but suddenly the follow-up question of "what do you write?" had a whole new dimension to it! After all, there's no tactful way to say you write tales of angelic orgies and women who couple with demons, is there?

We're never shy in the fictional world in our minds. But self-confidence can still be our enemy there. In my case I'd grown to think of it too much as my private world rather than something I was eventually going to share with the rest of the world and have to answer questions about. If there's advice I can give to a shy writer, it's this: never lose sight of the fact that you're creating for that world you're so wary of. And when you describe it to the friend, family member, or co-worker who asks you are opening an exciting show for a new audience. Take all that fear of the many possible reactions away and you're back to where you are with any audience: either they'll applaud or they won't. Maybe what you write about isn't socially acceptable to some. But if they see your confidence and your pride in what you're creating, maybe they'll start to wonder if perhaps it should be.

BIO: A lifelong resident of the Midwest, Tyree Kimber hung up his electric guitar and poet shirt to become a novelist; although the guitar and poofy shirt still call to him from time to time. His short stories have been released through Dark Roast Press along with the novel Apocalypse Woman, a dark erotic fantasy tale. With Phil Jones and Dave McNeal he is the author Systematic, a post-modern noir comic book series available at IndyPlanet.com

Monday, September 13, 2010

CONFERENCE JITTERS

Please help me welcome multi-published paranormal and erotic romance author Suzanne Rock to the blog.

Here's Suzanne: Hi! Thanks so much for having me here today. To start, I'd like to share a little secet with all of you.

I'm shy. Painfully shy.

I think most writers are. It takes a lot for me to come out from behind a computer and talk to people face to face. I'm not quite sure why that is. It isn't like one time I said 'hello' to someone and they bit me. It's just a part of who I am. I'm introverted. Some would say I'm introverted to a fault.

So, you can imagine what was going through my mind when I went to my regional RWA conference this past March. The thought of talking with other writers both excited and terrified me. Last year I went to the same conference and pretty much kept to myself. With my head down and pen in hand, I attended all of the workshops, guest lectures and agent/editor panels, eager for knowledge. I came home with a ton of things I could apply to my own writing. All in all, I considered it a success. But this year, I knew I wanted to do something different. I had done the lecture thing. This year, I wanted to network. That meant had to talk to real living and breathing people.

Yikes.

Workshops are important, but so is networking. Writing is such a solitary endeavor. For hours we sit in front of a computer screen, typing away the book of our heart. We may have the support of our friends and family, but do they really 'get it?' Do they understand the longing, the frustration, the cry of victory when, after months of agony, we finally filled that gaping plot hole?

This year I did something radical: I stepped out of my comfort zone. In the entire 2-day conference, I only attended one workshop. The rest of the time, I spoke with other writers, all at different stages of their writing career. I had cocktails with an unpublished author just starting to submit her fourth manuscript to agents. Then I had dinner with a self-published author, and then dessert with a 20-year veteran. Coffee with a multi-published ebook author, breakfast with a NY times best-selling writer, snacks with someone who just published their first ebook, lunch with an unpublished Harlequin hopeful, and finally, chocolate peanut butter cups with category romance writer who just made her first sale.

Yes, all of these encounters involved food, but that isn't my point, lol.
What this gave me was perspective. While everyone was at different stages of their writing career, we all shared a common bond: we loved to write. There is something about putting a pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) that gives all of us shivers of excitement. We have stories to tell, and emotions to share. We may look different, or act different, but in our hearts, we all share the same dream: to share our sto
ries with the world.

When I went to this conference I was feeling a little down and somewhat inadequate as a writer. I left feeling inspired and energized. I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and approached other writers. I know that my life, and my writing, will be better for it.

So how about you, have you ever had to step out of your comfort zone? What was the result? Tell me about it!

While you think about your answer, check out my newest release from Red Sage, called Dark Deception.

Book Trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRw_BspWIXg

About Suzanne: After over a decade in the scientific world, Suzanne needed a creative outlet. She tried scrap booking, cooking, crocheting, painting, and piano, none of which held her interest for very long. Then one of her friends suggested writing. Thrilled with the idea of creating her own worlds, she opened up her laptop and never looked back. When Suzanne’s not writing, she can be found playing with her two daughters, testing her husband’s latest kitchen creations, or curled up with her favorite romance novel in her central Massachusetts home.

Backlist:
Spyder's Web, Loose Id
Up on the Housetop (Book 1 of the Kyron Pack), Loose Id
Cria, Loose Id
Down on the Boardwalk (Book 2 of the Kyron Pack), Loose Id

Dark Deception (Book 1 of the Immortal Realm), Red Sage

You can learn more about Suzanne here:
Website:
www.SuzanneRock.com
Embrace the Shadows Blog: http://embracetheshadows.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2982868.Suzanne_Rock
Youtube Channel (so you can see my other book trailers)

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Shy Extrovert

Please help me welcome debut paranormal romance author Renee Rearden to the blog. Renee's first book, Moonlight Bleu, is available now.

Shy extrovert. Sounds like a contradiction of terms, doesn’t it? I used to think so. Until I stopped and considered my chosen careers: official court reporter by day and paranormal romance author by night.

Though both careers require contact with others, for the most part I am my own boss. And therein lays the rub. I work around people instead of for people. Is there a difference?

Absolutely.

Whether you are a secretary in a business office, a sales clerk in a retail store, a food server or even a local bus or taxi driver, a certain level of interaction with people is required. Mastering the skill of social interaction that allows for successful business relationships is necessary. (We won’t even factor in personal relationships—there’s limited word space here!) And though a large percentage of individuals have a “boss,” most job descriptions include an aspect of working for the public: the consumer, the customer, the right there in-your-face live (and usually quite vocal) person.

“Where is this going?” you ask.

Let me explain.

My job as a court reporter is really a step removed from dealing with the public. I sit in a courtroom, stenographically writing down every word said. I rarely speak in court. (My friends would say I never stop talking—but that’s the extrovert element, and we’re not there yet!) For the most part, at my job I’m a piece of educated furniture. Outside of court proceedings, I mostly deal with people by email and telephone. I also prepare transcripts of court proceedings and timely file them. All of this is done utilizing my professional, written verbiage skills.

I work around people.

Writing my first paranormal romance landed me in my home office. Alone. With the door closed. Not even on the “social skills required” playing field. Wasn’t a problem during the creation stage of the novel. Happily, I lived in my head, transferring characters and story onto paper. With the help of an amazing critique partner, and after rewrites, edits, more rewrites and more edits (and close to 100 rejections), I landed a publisher.

Thought I’d done the hard work getting to that point. WRONG!

Promoting a novel is where the hard work really begins because that requires mad social skills. Talking about yourself and your book must become second nature. For an extrovert, that probably isn’t a daunting challenge. For an introvert—well, let’s just say a root canal would probably be less painful. For a shy extrovert, I’m somewhere in between.

Remember I mentioned my friends say I talk—a lot? I do. Just not about myself. I love talking about my friends and their accomplishments, the newest paranormal television series, and, of course, the latest book I’ve read. Unfortunately, none of that helps me get over my discomfort in talking about myself or my novel.

I love being around people. I’m not so thrilled at being the center of attention. And now that I have to promote my work, being the center of attention is not something I can avoid.

So, how do I deal with being a shy extrovert?

Humor. And lots of it. I’ve learned to break the ice with some snippet of amusing conversation—usually an ungraceful moment of my own. People relate, and then offer up some of their own embarrassing moments. ViolĂ ! Instant rapport, and everyone else does most of the talking. And during the ensuing conversation, openings present themselves to talk about my book, characters, or even myself.
Stepping beyond my comfort zone hasn’t been comfortable, but I’ve done it. And I’ll keep doing it because not only do I love to write, the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard have been downright interesting. Every time I walk into a light pole while looking the other direction or roll my ankle like a drunk wearing a new pair of heels, I remind myself, “That’s going to make somebody laugh!”

Renee Rearden works full time as an Official Court Reporter, sharpening her skills on the written word. Often described as a free spirit, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. In addition to her day job, being a wife, mother of four daughters, and grandmother to the most amazing little guy on the face of the planet keeps her plenty busy…most of the time.
As a Gemini, her creative side fills the rest of her spare time, keeping her mind immersed in imaginative escapism. Writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels offers an outlet for her to share the intriguing stories she creates. Each of them is filled with non-stop action, nail-biting conflict, and scintillating attraction between the people that live in her head.


2007 Golden Rose winner in the paranormal category (MOONLIGHT BLEU)
2007 Stella Cameron Scarlet Boa winner (MOONLIGHT BLEU)


You can learn more about Renee on her website, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.