Friday, January 30, 2009

The Writing Program Matters

When I first started writing (a billion years ago,) I wrote on paper. I wrote an entire full length novel on notebook paper, and let me tell you, there wasn't a whole lot of editing going on because of it. In fact, I remember being very, very careful about every word I put down, because going back to erase and rewrite was a pain. And now that I think about it, this may be why, once I started writing "for real," on a computer, my first drafts were very polished.

I was a VERY slow writer. I contemplated every word very carefully, reworked every sentence before moving on.

So anyway, after that first hand-written novel, I learned to type. Again, rewriting was a pain, so even though I could write with fewer callouses, I still wrote very slowly and carefully.

Then came along the computer and Microsoft Word. Wow. Okay, I still wrote slow, but at least editing was much, much easier.

So I wrote lots and lots of stories using Word. Published some stories and books that were written in Word. My Secrets stories, Snowbound, Pleasure Unbound, Riding The Storm, Unleashing The Storm, Hot Nights, Dark Desires, and part of Seduced By The Storm were written using Word.

And then I discovered WriteWayPro. At the risk of this sounding like an infomercial, well, my writing life was forever changed. Suddenly, I didn't have to write on one long, scrolling document. I didn't lose data when Word froze up. I could see every scene, named, to the left of my screen in one place. Rearranging scenes became a matter of drag and drop. Then there was the deadline computer/word count tracking graph.

Holy crap, my production soared. I wrote three more books using it, and even made the collaboration on the Croft books easier.

Then I bought a Mac, and suddenly, I couldn't use WriteWayPro anymore. This writing program changed my life, and if I couldn't find something similar, then that was a dealbreaker for keeping the Mac.

Someone told me to try Scrivener, so I did.'s nice. I have to say, it's very similar to WriteWayPro, with a lot of extra pros...and some cons. So for those of you considering a switch from PC to Mac and you've been using WWP (or vice versa,) here are a few points. And if you've never used either, you're missing out! *g* Seriously, I highly recommend either of these.


Color coding the scenes in the outline on the left is a WONDERFUL feature. At a glance, you can see how many scenes in each POV there are. Or you can use the color coding for plot elements. So you could look at the outline and see that you have three scenes in a row that focus on the suspense plot, and then only one that focuses on romance, and then five that focus on the hero's external plot. Love that feature.

The text edit features are easier to use -- highlighting, underline, bolding, etc., is a click right up front. In WWP you kind of have to dig for some of that.

You can have multiple documents open at once, making it easy to switch between projects and cut and paste, move scenes.

Autosave feature is fabulous. Saves every two seconds so you don't have to.

More visually appealing.

You can export to several formats, including Word, in order to email your manuscript to your editor. WWP lets you export only to RTF...which isn't a big deal because it's easily saved as a Word doc. without losing formatting. But Scrivener saves you a step.

Allows for multiple windows open in one document -- so you can see your research while still writing.

Very nice web integration -- you can double-click on a word in your doc and go straight to Google to search dictionaries, research, or thesauruses about the word/phrase.


I really, really miss WriteWayPro's deadline tracker and word count graph that tracks your progress through the months/weeks/days. Scrivener keeps track of word count, but not like that.

Instructions can be confusing. Definitely not as straightforward as WWP, and a bigger learning curve.

Cutting and pasting from Word can result in a loss of formatting that can be a pain to re-format. It can be done, but may take time.

"Saving as" different versions isn't as easy. Maybe I'm missing something, but WWP is far easier in this.

Concentrates more on the writing part of the writing than plotting -- no pre-prepared sections for character profiles, scene goals, plot goals, etc. I didn't use much of that in WWP, but I had just started enjoying the character profiles feature, so I miss that. But admittedly, I haven't played much with all of the capabilities, so I'm sure that the abilities to do all that is there -- just not all pre-prepared.


So anyway, that has been the evolution of my writing. From pencil and paper, to typewriter, to Word on a computer, to two writing programs developed specifically for novelists (though Scrivener does have templates for other forms of writing, like scripts.)

As my writing programs have changed, so have I. I've gotten faster, more efficient, and, well, spoiled. :) I'll never go back to Word. Oh, I use it for short projects, like writing blog posts or articles or letters, but for a story? Never, ever.

What about you? Has your writing methods/programs/habits changed over the years? Did you start out a pencil and paper person, or were you lucky enough to start out on a computer? Do you still write longhand and then transfer to the computer?

And speaking of writing, I'm off to do some. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vacation from Vacation...

Ever feel like when you get home from vacation that you need a vacation from the vacation? I returned home from a 4 day whirlwind vacation in Las Vegas earlier in the week and have been going non stop since trying to catch up. And as much fun as we had I can't help but think I need a quiet day or two alone to recover. LOL

A lot has happened this month so far including two new releases that I am so excited to tell you about. On January 15th my new Black Cougar series debuted at Linden Bay Romance with the release of Lucas. Here's a little info on that one.

Kira MacDonald is in trouble. Plagued by false visions and erotic dreams of a man she’s never met, she fears losing both her psychic powers and her sanity. The cure? Finding and bonding with her mate. The stubborn red-haired warrior might not want one, but fate has other plans, plans that include her rescuing Lucas Gunn.

As the Guardian of his shape-shifting clan, Lucas Gunn lived a quiet, solitary life. Until he was kidnapped, examined, and tortured. Now imprisoned, his only tie to the outside world is the memory of his dreams and the passionate woman who appears in them. He thought she was nothing more than a vision. Then she came for him.

An uneasy alliance, a mating call that won’t be denied, rituals that must be honored, and unrelenting enemies who will stop at nothing to get what they want. It all comes together in the first of Eliza Gayle’s sensational Black Cougar Series. Passion and pride. Duty and danger. In the end, there’s really only one choice…for Lucas.

This one is available for purchase in ebook now at and will be out in print in the next couple of weeks.

I have to admit that writing this first trilogy has been so much fun i'm tempted to continue. I guess it will all depend on how you the reader like them.

Also new from me this month is my contribution to the Love's Immortal: Pantheon anthology from Tease Publishing titled Dark Bond. I could resist the lure of a Goddess and especially when it gave me another chance to write a hot vampire menage.

When tragedy strikes and Darken is faced with the death of his lover, Ezra, he does the one thing he swore he never would to save him.

Summon the Goddess of Night to turn him...

But her service always comes with a price. A bargain that is set on her terms...her desires.

How far will Darken go to save the one he loves now from the one he loved then?

Dark Bond is available now in eBook at with the print anthology coming soon.

I'd also like to invite you to visit my myspace blog this month and next to check out the latest contests. I am converting my entire To Be Read library from paper to electronic so I am giving away dozens of books on the blog.

Have a great month and a Happy Valentine's and I will see you next month!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Change In The Air

What a wonderful day! I don’t intend to get into politics (although I’m a political junkie) but there is something so uplifting about the swearing in of a new president. Beyond the usual feelings of American pride and the awe at the realization that few governments are able to pass power from one leader to another in peace, there is a sense of renewal. Granted, this sense of elation might be of short duration, but I love the sense of turning the page. Every once in awhile I think it’s great for all of us to take stock of our lives, where we are, where we’ve been, and where we want to go and make that decision to turn the page. A new job, volunteering at the local school, a hobby we’ve been longing to give a try, losing that ten pounds J I have decided to turn a page of my own. My life has been so crazy busy that I’ve discovered myself becoming more and more impatient. Not only with my poor family, but with those I encounter everyday (at the store, the gas station…) I’m making a commitment to take a few deep breaths and focus on being a lot more patient and kind to those who cross my path. I know it’s not life altering and it won’t change the world, but I think sometimes a person having a tough day needs a smile from a complete stranger.
So…I would like to know if you could turn the page, what would you do? I’ll draw a random number from those who respond and send a bookmark J
Oh, and before I forget, I have a tease for Darkness Unleashed (Jagr’s story) on my web site:
Peace and goodwill to all,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy New Year!

The New Year is off to a busy start. I'm doing edits and proofing a galley while trying to polish my next novel for submission to my editor at Samhain. I've also got some manuscripts under consideration elsewhere, so wish me luck with that, okay? ;-)

But the year started slow and has been steadily getting busier and busier. Just the way I like it! I planned to spend the whole month on my blog talking about resolutions and goals. A few of us - readers, writers and other people - have gotten together on my blog to encourage each other and I've got a few guest bloggers every week, to help keep us entertained. Drop by if you have a chance and say hello!

Other than that, I'm gearing up for my next paranormal novella release on February 6th, Rare Vintage. The story has been expanded greatly from what it once was. In April, the last of my vampire novella re-releases will be out - Phantom Desires - and sometime later this year all three of the novellas will be gathered together into one print book under the "Brotherhood of Blood" banner.

I'm looking forward to having all three stories out again, and in much expanded form. They are now the way I wanted to write them so long ago. To give you some idea, the first of the trilogy - One & Only - started life as a 3,500 word short story. It's now somewhere around 25,000 words. My characters get to have last names now! LOL.

I also love the covers for all three ebooks and can't wait to see what the artist, Angela Waters, comes up with for the combined print cover. I expect it will be something in the same vein, but she always manages to surprise me a bit, so we'll see what she comes up with when the time comes. I'm sure it'll be just as lovely as the three she's already done.

So that's it for me. I'm writing, editing, proofing and all that other fun stuff. I'm busier than I've been in a while and I enjoy it, but it leaves precious little time for anything else. I think things will settle down a bit in a week or two, but until then, wish me luck! :)


Saturday, January 10, 2009

New year and New releases! WOOO!

Hey everyone!

2009 had already gotten wild for me and Audra. We have so much on our plates that I'm praying we get it all done before the end of Feb. Why the end? Well her hubby is working away from home for 2 months and will only be home on the weekends, So we are set to get at least 3 books finished, though Im counting on 4. lets hope it happens.

So we are almost done with the Revisions on the Satyrs to send back in for consideration, I hope they like the changes we made. We are also getting into the third Snake novella, which we are calling A Gift of Daybreak. I like the characters we have chosen, and I think they are going to be favorites, Like Chrissy and Remy were and Reece and Carmen.

Ooh and we FINALLY have the most recent book in our Duvall Inc. Series out this month! London for the Holidays is available and Is our only VAMPIRE romance. It also happens to be a menage (M/F/M).I urge you to go and pick it up and fall in love with our smarmy Vampire Malcolm Frost, and his lovely ice demon Thisbe Winters. You KNOW you want to.

And I'm trying hard to get our stuff ready for RT. Oh what a Pain that's becoming But I have two of my costumes, a butt load of my promo ordered and coming, but I still have more to go. Ugh its craziness. But seeing as I'm going to have some new stuff at RT, including my first ever short story in the Pantheon Anthology (which BTW is up for Preorder at ARe) and a free book of the Festivals from Tease. Lots of good stuff.

And I found out that Tease is closing its doors to all subs in 2009 from outside authors. The owners are set to really work on the careers of the authors they have, as well as focus on their distribution and general face to the reading public. And at RT this year, they are giving away 50 copies of the Festivals print anthology, and lots of awesome goodies. If your going to RT this year, you should stop by the tease table at the Wed. Expo.

OOh so my winner of the Sanser & Piggle piece and a free ebook of choice is MYA. So if your reading this, Email me at and you can have choice of our e book, and a choice of a ring, bobbi pins or a pendant from Sanser & Piggle (my choice, but tell me what kind of goodie you want.)

So this month, I'm giving away a copy of my release as Dagmar Avery. Yes, I'm writing alone, but nothing long, i don't have the stamina for that. My book, Becoming Persephone, is part of the gods anthology with Tease Publishing, and I'm so excited to me among all the awesome authors that are part of it. Expect the print by the 15th of Feb.

So you wanna win a copy of this? Well I would like you to comment here, about what you are looking forward to in the industry this year? New authors? Better work coming from publishers? More signings, more events, more appearances? Certain books and series? Winner will be chosen at random and will win a copy of Becoming Persephone (or if you buy it already, then a copy of London for the Holidays) on January 18th. Good Luck and I'll see you on the 18th.

Back to writing for me. I got lots to do and less time to do it in.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Well, the day has come. Surgery (for those not in the know, I am having Gastric Bypass Surgery) looms tomorrow morning at 11 am. I can tell you one thing, I am more nervous and excited than I have been about anything since Christmas morning when I was a kidlet. Time has started to crawl, so I figure that's the excitement. If it was nerves it would start flying by...or at least that's how I see it. I'll be in the hospital for two days, if all goes well, and my assistant Ryanne and my good friend Susan will be with me. I don't exactly have the kind of family where you'd expect them to show up and all that, though to be fair my sister is in Connecticut and she would be there if she could. I will try to log on as soon as I get home and will let you all know how things went.

I haven't heard anything about how Ecsatsy is doing out there in the wide world. Not that I am paying much attention. I have other things on my mind as you see. I have gotten some feedback from some of you all and I want you to know how much I truly appreciate that. After all, you are the ones that matter and you are the ones I want to hear from. So maybe you'll be kind to me and leave me some comments about Ecstasy. I only got 4 stars from Romantic Times Magazine this time. I guess that is still good, but I want to know what cost me that half a star. Am I just being too hard on myself? Maybe that's the nerves. Who knows! Anyway, I'll give away a signed copy of Ecsatsy to one lucky person who comments on this blog in any way about anything. I could use the entertaqinment while time tick tocks away. only took me five minutes to write this. Now what will I do??

Hugs and kitties,