I’ve tried for the most part to write what I know. I don’t know any vampires or werewolves, but hey, imagination is a good thing, right?
One of the things I’d like to think I know a lot about is home life. Being a parent, dog parent and such. I’m not saying I’m the best. Far from it. I’m pretty sure the cats believe the house is theirs and I’m simply the housekeeper/food dispenser.
But being a parent has bled into my work. My tot runs cross country, so of course, that’s shown up in my work. The cats think they should watch…everything. Yeah, it’s played into the books. My lousy attempts at cooking? You guessed it. Art teachers and teachers in general…yep. Same thing.
So as I’m writing this post, I’m doing my best pet parenting. See, the dog had glaucoma that got out of control. I had no idea this sort of thing happened. Anyway, because the glaucoma couldn’t be controlled, she had to have her eye removed. Now with people, you can tell them, don’t scratch that. The stitches won’t heal if you pick at them. Dogs don’t understand that. They need those horrible cones to keep them from digging into their various issues. My dog HATES that cone. I hate putting it on her. She’s only got one eye and now I’m putting this huge thing that bonks into everything on her head. Seems unfair. So instead of keeping the cone on her, I’ve been spending my time next to her. If I have an eye on her, she’s not picking at the stitches. It’s a pretty good plan.
And I think this event will end up in a book. I know I’m not the only pet parent who’s had a dog with an eye removed. It’s a trial and tough, but we’re getting through it. I can see a character having the same issues–except maybe with a new relationship, too. Yeah, and the town of Cedarwood seems like the best place to set this story. What do you think? Read any of my Cedarwood, single gay father, books? Then chime in. If you haven’t read them, then why not? Grin.
Each November, I get a crazy burr in my bonnet and decide to take part in NaNo. You might wonder what NaNo is. It’s National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short. You can find out more here: https://nanowrimo.org 30 days of writing your heart out to get to fifty thousand words and hopefully a finished novel. The idea is to just write. Get the words down. Don’t worry about editing it–that’s for December and beyond. If you reach 50k, then you’re a winner. You have to validate the word count, but yay! If not, then ya know…it happens.
I try NaNo every year. I think it’s my sick fascination with trying to get those words down. Plus, I’m crazy and need that deadline.
But there are struggles with this goal. There is the constant struggle of getting the words down. I’ve had outlines and things written out, but can’t always find the time to get the words into the computer. I get down on myself because I know what I have to do and how to do it, but the words may or may not come.
Then there’s the pressure of seeing your friends winning at the goal. The whole idea is to win. Duh. But sometimes I get down on myself because I see others finishing ahead of me and I feel like I’m not doing well enough because I can’t keep up. That’s silly because if the words are there, it shouldn’t matter how fast I get them down. Truthfully, the hardest part is just surviving. #IwillsurviveNaNo
Then there’s the cheating. I don’t mean cheating by using old words to win. Nope. I mean cheating by not writing the whole 50k for ONE book. I’m guilty of that. I’ll use the goal for 50k to finish one or two shorter books I need to complete. Am I bad? Probably. I don’t mind. I know I’ll get those books done. I’ve done full-length 50k stories during NaNo, but I’m bad and don’t do it that way every year.
What about you? Do you NaNo? Do you do something else? Want to be friends on the NaNo site? Find me and friend me 🙂 https://nanowrimo.org/participants/wendi-zwaduk
Now a little bit about the story I wrote last year for NaNo:
Wild Card by Megan Slayer
A What’s His Passion Novel
From Pride Publishing
M/M, Anal Sex, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Contemporary Erotic Gay Romance
Following his heart and passion will be his biggest role of all.
Kris Hunter wants out. He’s done pornographic films for the last six years. The pay’s been good, but his creativity is nearly dead. His passion is to act and to be a star on the big screen in mainstream films. When he auditions for famed casting director, Zayn Mason, he’s convinced he’s on the right path. He doesn’t want to take the casting couch route to success, but he certainly wants Zayn in his bed. Can he follow his dreams and the man he desires or will forces beyond his control derail his progress?
Zayn Mason sees the potential in Kris. As a casting director, he looks for the right actor to fill the roles in movies. He’s seen plenty of talent come and go, but no one stirs his soul both creatively and physically like Kris. But Zayn knows the pitfalls of the movie industry. Crossing over from porn isn’t easy and Hollywood isn’t always forgiving. Besides, he’s got demons of his own. Can these men get beyond their pasts and find a future together under the bright lights of the silver screen?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of voyeurism and intimacy with multiple partners.
Available From Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/wild-card
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzp86n
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CGCVVL6/
Amazon JP: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B01CGCVVL6/
Amazon FR: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B01CGCVVL6/
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Angela Knight
Genres/Themes: Paranormal, Suspense, Interracial, Men in Uniform, Gay
With a rogue shifter on the loose leaving a trail of bodies, it isn’t the best time for bear shifter, Roarke Hilliard to have his heat cycle. Especially since he’s the lead Special Agent on the case. But nature must take its course. When his partner, agent Spencer Malloy, places himself in Roarke’s path during his greatest time of need, the bear is worried he might break the human. But Spencer wants Roarke badly… bad enough to call in a paranormal escort.
Grigore Gabor may be a male escort, but he’s never slept with any of his clients… until now. The moment the wolf shifter gets a whiff of the bear who hired him, and his human companion, he knows he’s found his mates. But getting the surly ursa to agree is another matter.
With a killer on the loose, now isn’t the time for finding true love. With Roarke handicapped by his heat cycle, there’s only so much the agents can do against the rogue shifter. They can only hope to bring the man to justice before another body is found.
Available 9/15 at Changeling Press
Special Agent Roarke Hilliard, Bureau of Paranormal Affairs, scented the air as he scanned the crime scene for clues. Darkness filled him, narrowing his world to this one moment. Blood soaked through his pants and coated his hands as he knelt beside the too still, mangled body. The copper tang of the teen’s blood teased his nostrils. His nose flared as he searched for other scents. Gunpowder residue and the stale smell of sweat hung heavy in the air.
A gun was clutched in the young man’s hand, his fingers gripping it even in death, and yet the weapon hadn’t been able to save him. Slashed across his sternum, the killer’s claws had dug deep, all the way to the bone. His clothes were torn in other areas. His belt had been partially torn from him. The clues were adding up to a terrifying, grisly picture.
This wasn’t the first victim, and if Roarke couldn’t catch the bastard responsible, it wouldn’t be the last. Up to this point, the killer had targeted male prostitutes. But this one was different. There were no indications of drug use, no condoms in the victim’s wallet. Was the killer branching out? Or were his tastes changing?
“This is definitely our guy,” Agent Spencer Malloy said as he surveyed the scene. “If we don’t catch him soon, we’ll be on every channel in the country. You know how much the Bureau hates bad publicity.”
Roarke stood. “There has to be a pattern. The first known victim was in Chicago. The second was in South Bend, Indiana. But now, victim number five is in Atlanta. Where is he going?”
“I still say they aren’t planned. I think our guy is picking up young men, then he gets frustrated when they won’t give him what he wants and he kills them.”
“They’re prostitutes living on the streets. There isn’t much they won’t do for the right amount,” Roarke reasoned.
“What’s that super sniffer of yours telling you?”
“I don’t smell semen. I don’t think he got very far before he killed this one. Maybe that was his motivation. Either he couldn’t get it up, or the victim resisted.” Although he could be wrong. Roarke wasn’t about to admit it to anyone, but during his heat cycle his nose was not the most reliable. It took every effort not to turn bear the closer the time got.
Spencer ran a hand through his short, blond hair. “I don’t like this. Rogue shifters are one thing, but one bent on murder?”
“The lab ran the sample three times,” Roarke reminded him. “No match was found in the system, but the DNA suggested a hybrid.”
“Which explains the instability,” Spencer muttered. “He obviously has impulse control issues. My gut says there are more murders. Unless some switch flipped in this guy’s head, there’s no way his first murder was last month. Not unless he was just turned, and what’s the likelihood of a just-turned hybrid?”
Roarke sighed. “I’m afraid I have to agree with you. We need to have records run a search on all unsolved shifter related homicides nationwide for the past five years, see if anything pops up that matches our guy’s MO.”
“I’ll call it in while you check out the rest of the scene. Maybe we missed something on the first walk through. Then you’re going to the hotel for a shower and a change of clothes.”
Roarke nodded and looked around again. He began a slow circuit of the space, sniffing for something he might have missed as his gaze touched on every square inch of the room. He knew from experience they wouldn’t find anything new. Fingerprints and DNA did them no good when the killer wasn’t in the system. According to the shifter laws of 2023, formed when shifters came out of hiding, all shapeshifters were required to have DNA and fingerprints on file with the government. Those who didn’t comply were termed “rogue” and would be put to death if they were found to have committed a heinous crime. If you weren’t registered, you didn’t have rights.
Spencer motioned to him from the doorway and Roarke stepped out into the sunshine. With the smell of death and decay surrounding him, he’d forgotten how beautiful it was outside. Spring was in the air, which spelled trouble for a bear on a never-ending job. The urge to mate would hit him hard and Roarke would be powerless to stop it. Last mating season, he’d damn near lost his job when he’d holed up in a motel room for three days with a willing male from a shifter run escort service… he might do well to keep their number handy.
“I passed on our thoughts about there being more murders and Rawlins said he would put a team on it.” Spencer began walking toward their SUV. “He asked why the hell we couldn’t have thought of that weeks ago. I told him we were too busy chasing a trail of mangled bodies. Pompous ass.”
“I say we go get you cleaned up and grab a bite to eat. We missed lunch and I know that beast inside of you has to be starving.” Spencer held out his hand. “Keys.”
Roarke pulled them from his pocket and handed them over. He climbed into the passenger’s seat and patiently waited for Spencer to get in and start the vehicle.
“Speaking of my beast, there’s something you should know,” Roarke said as they pulled out of the parking lot. “My mating heat is going to hit soon. Since I don’t have a mate, my bear is going to seek the first willing male available. It’s going to possibly put me out of commission for a few days.”
“So we take a break.”
Roarke shook his head. “The mating fever is going to hit our killer grizzly too. It means more murders if he can’t find someone willing and able to handle the frenzy. Think double or even triple the body count we have now.”
“Fuck. We have to catch this guy!” Spencer slammed his hand against the steering wheel.
With an overactive imagination and a penchant for making up stories, was it any wonder Dulce Dennison decided to be an author? From cowboys to shapeshifters, she has a story for them all, but her passion lies in writing m/m romances. Dulce believes in love in all shapes and sizes, and that everyone deserves a happily-ever-after.
Married since 2000 to a man she isn’t sure is quite human, her husband and children (which she fondly calls the demon spawn) keep her busy, but never too busy to write. Is there such a thing as too busy to write? Most mornings you can find Dulce set up with her laptop, a cat curled up next to her, and a steaming cup of coffee just an arm’s reach away.
When I sit down to write, I have a general plan for the story. General. I won’t say it’s ever a very well fleshed out outline. I’m not that organized. I have the idea and I’ll start plotting, but usually the characters start talking and I end up with chunks of dialogue within the outline. Now, I know there’s not a singular way to do an outline. It’s a matter of preference. But it can be kind of confusing to anyone reading my notes. Outline, outline, outline…DIALOGUE! Heh heh.
So I was asked to take part in an anthology. Sure. I had been debating doing this sub call anyhow and now that I was encouraged to take part, I set out to do it. I had this great idea. Planned the thing out. Like the whole thing. I even had chunks of dialogue. Like big chunks. I was jazzed. So jazzed…I might have written 2/3 of the story before I knew if it would fly for the call. I was excited. The story was flowing.
Then I heard from the powers that be. They didn’t want it. What? How…
Instead of getting upset or knocked down and not getting up again, I dusted myself off. Now if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll see this isn’t the first time recently that I’ve been knocked down so to speak. It’s been kind of a rough couple of months.
I could’ve hidden for a while and said to hell with what I was doing. I could’ve gotten angry and lashed out. But what would getting mad do? Up my blood pressure and give me a headache. Hiding isn’t a bad idea, but I’m not the type to hide. The characters are there and when I can’t write, I’m not happy. I write because the characters demand to speak.
So, I dusted myself off and dove into a new outline. I saw a photo that inspired me and the topic happened to gel with the sub call. I wrote the plot and waited. It fit the call! Needless to say, plugging along and keeping going worked for me. I started over and I’m back to my happy place.
Has this ever happened to you? A thing you thought wouldn’t knock you down did, but you kept going? I’d love to hear about it. 🙂
Chasing Sparks by Megan Slayer
A FREE Read Available from Loose Id
Part of the Battle Scarred Series
M/M, Paranormal, Contemporary, Vampires
Two vampires have the chance to step into the sunshine without being charred. Most creatures of the night wouldn’t chance losing their undead life for good. But Anders and Galen have heightened abilities. They won’t char. What are they going to do? Celebrate summer, being together, and sunshine. Mix in hot sex under the veil of stars and fireworks…who wouldn’t want to take a step and chase sparks?