Attack of the Plot Bunnies with Guest Author Taylor Lunsford

Today I have a special treat for y'all. I can't remember how long ago I met Taylor Lunsford, but I can tell you that it's been a long time and she has often helped me by listening to me vent about a book I'm having trouble writing. I've also watched her work her butt off to write her own books and to get published, so I'm beyond thrilled to introduce her and her brand new book, Fair Game! It has a nerdy hero, y'all. I loves me a nerdy hero. <3

Today she's telling us where she got the idea and how long it took to bake in the mental oven before it became a story. Welcome, Taylor!

Attack of the Plot Bunnies with Taylor Lunsford

All writers get attacked by plot bunnies. They come from the strangest places. Some come from a line of dialog in a movie or a TV show. Others come from a song. And then there are some that are small and insidious, that take root when you least expect it. They slowly grow and multiply until all you can do is write that book, no matter what.

Fair Game was one of those. The seed was planted back in 2012, when Roni was first starting to work on her fifth Loving on the Edge book, Kelsey and Wyatt’s book, Caught Up In You. She and I had been friends for a year or two at that point, and she was telling me about some plotting issues she was having with the book.

I remember it really vividly. I was at the Dallas Arboretum with my dad and little brother at the Chagall exhibit (which I’d already seen) so my brother could take pictures. I, of course, was on my phone. As Roni and I talked about some of the changes she was making to her original idea for the book, a little voice in the back of my head started whispering to me. What if you had a kickass alpha female heroine who fell head-over-heels for the geeky beta hero?

For those of you who don’t know, beta heroes, as defined by the always brilliant Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan are: “He’s a dude. A nice dude….” They go on to say: “what makes the beta hero so great: an unshakable core of pure and stalwart good, so constant and abiding it’s damn near alpha in its strength.” That is what I latched onto with Liam. He was clear in my mind almost from the start. He was Clark Kent without the whole alien-from-another-planet thing. And he had to look like Henry Cavill (because I’ve been in love with him since I was 15).

I didn’t immediately work on this plot bunny I was busy with other things at the time. But it kept whispering seductively until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had to sit down and write this story. Vivien (named for the erstwhile Vivien Leigh), took a bit more time to come to me, but once she did, she stormed down the doors and made her presence known.

Now, five years after they first started whispering to me, Vivien and Liam are out in the world for everyone to love. Keep listening to the plot bunnies, friends. You never know when that rabbit trail is going to lead to something great!


About the book:

In her designer shoes and power suits, Vivien Monroe couldn’t be more out of place in the video game company she inherited from her eccentric father. Not only does she have to sort out her father’s last request and deal with a younger sister she barely knows, she has to go toe-to-toe with her father’s protégé—a man who makes her think about the last thing she should be thinking about right now.

With his thick-framed glasses and graphic tees, Liam Hale is the exact opposite of what she needs right now. His relaxed, out-of-the-box attitude reminds her too much of her father’s more exasperating quirks, but his dedication and quiet stubbornness begin to drive her crazy in a completely different way.

All Vivien wants is to get back to her life in New York, but someone is stealing the company’s best game ideas, and an FBI agent is sniffing around. She’ll save her father’s legacy for her sister and then she’s out of there—if she can leave Liam behind.

Buy the book:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo


EXCERPT:

“You look beautiful tonight, by the way.” He pitched his voice low enough that they wouldn’t be overheard, but just loud enough to be heard over the music, enjoying the tickle of her hair. “I meant to say that earlier, but I, uh, got a little tongue tied.”

“You don’t clean up so bad yourself,” she said, leaning back to look up into his face. There was subtle shift in her expression. She almost looked…not happy, that wasn’t the word. Maybe content fit best. “I must say, I half-expected you to show up wearing sneakers with your suit.”

He laughed at that. “Even I know how to dress up when I have to. Couldn’t be seen with such a pretty woman looking like a slob. I knew you would pull out all the stops for this, but you… You look like you stepped out of one of those old Hollywood film reels of premieres or something.”

“Well, you’re not exactly Clark Gable. Jimmy Stewart, maybe.” The teasing note in her voice sent a little glow of warmth straight to the center of his chest and hardened his cock even further. “But you’ll do. I’m surprised Agent Calhoun isn’t here with you.”

“Sophia?” Liam frowned, trying to understand where that had come from. Then he got. “We’re not together.”

Vivien raised an eyebrow. “Really? You seemed awfully cozy the other day.”

“We’re friends.” Liam looked her straight in the eyes so there would be no confusion. “We were together in college, but she unceremoniously dumped me to run off to join the FBI. But we’re evolved adults who are still cordial to each other when we have to be.”

In a practiced move, he sent her spinning out of his arms, only to bring her back, dipping her a little before bringing her upright. “Any other questions?”

“Are you trying to sweep me off my feet, Mr. Hale?”

“I don’t know, Ms. Monroe.” He settled her closer to him, the heat of her body radiating against his. “Would you let me if I was?”

Vivien didn’t say anything, the music drifting over them like a warm spring rain. She looked away the ghost of the earlier darkness in her eyes, but she let her head rest lightly against his shoulder. The gesture might seem small, but it spoke volumes to him. On some level, she trusted him. She wouldn’t let her guard down like this if she didn’t. He didn’t need an answer, not now, and she didn’t seem prepared to give him one. Liam knew what he wanted—time. Time with her, time to figure out what was going on between them. Time to hold her for longer than a song.


About Taylor:

Taylor-101.jpg

From the time she figured out how to turn the Disney Read-Along cassette tape over in the dark, Taylor’s been addicted to reading—both authorized and unauthorized. By the time she was thirteen, she’d started writing Newsies fan fiction and reading romance novels late into the night. A champion multi-tasker, she’s been known to read, write, and watch TV all at the same time, especially if there’s a HEA ending involved. In addition to being a frequent stress baker, she’s spent the majority of her free time becoming fluent in most dialects of nerdiness, starting with musicals, and is mildly obsessed with all things British (especially the Royal Family and tennis champ Andy Murray). Growing up with a village of strong women as an example, she doesn’t miss an opportunity to weave in community engagement and feminism into each of her books in one way or another—her heroines are always sassy and smart and her heroes wouldn’t have them any other way.

Visit Taylor’s website | Sign Up for Taylor’s Newsletter |Follow Taylor on Twitter | Like Taylor’s Facebook Page | Follow Taylor on Instagram |Amazon Author Page 

 

Thanks for stopping by, Taylor!

    

 

Mechanical Keyboards and the Wonderful Sound of Clickety Keys

So on Monday I mentioned that I had driven myself slightly crazy researching mechanical keyboards online before I decided on one to buy. Well, today the one I chose came in and I think I'm in love.

It's deliciously clicky. Want to hear?

My husband and the neighbors will probably disown me, but I am writer, here me click! :) So, I thought I'd do a brief post on what a mechanical keyboard is in case I'm not the only nerd who gets way to excited by the sound of a keyboard.

First, why do people spend the money on a mechanical keyboard?

1. Did I mention it's clicky? (That seems to be a love or hate thing. There are models that are quieter if you're in the hate camp.)

2. It's supposed to be easier on your hands for fatigue and such because you can hear yourself hitting the key and that feedback gets to your brain quickly and makes you not have to hit so hard.

3. There's no "ghosting" so you can type more accurately and faster. - Modern keyboards can only handle one keystroke at a time, which means that if you're a fast typist, it can often skip letters even though you hit the key. Mechanical keyboards can handle more than one key at a time so it can keep up with you if you're a speed demon. 

4. They're supposed to be more durable. We'll see.

5. You sound like you're getting shit done on these things. That's way important. ;)

Okay, so how to choose?

There are a lot of technical aspects you can research (cherry blue switches/keys vs. brown vs. green vs. red vs. the apple alps style). And if you're using it for gaming vs. straight up typing, there are other things to consider. You can find some technical details in this post Dear Author did on mechanical keyboards a while back--which is what started me on this journey.

The big contender and the one I saw mentioned most is the DAS keyboard. This one comes with blue switches or brown switches. Blue are very clicky, brown are softer and more tactile. You can hear the difference here.

I was originally going to go for the DAS because I love the way it sounds and it has great reviews. But it only comes in black and is BIG. (There is a smaller tenkey-less version but not with Mac specific keys). I really, really didn't want black since I have a pretty new office and a sleek Mac computer. And I didn't really want a full keyboard with 10-key because I only need the 10 key like twice a year. I'd rather have the extra space on my desk and not have the mouse/trackpad too far away.

The DAS:


I also needed one that was compatible with a Mac. And though most are "compatible" (meaning they'll work if you remap some of the keys) not all have the Mac specific keys like Option, Command, Fn, etc. So I ended up choosing the Matias Tactile Pro Mini for a number of reasons. It's not that much bigger than my tiny Mac keyboard. Here's a size comparison:

Plus, it's white, which matches my decor better. And it's supposed to mimic the feel and sound of the old Apple Extended Keyboard. (The DAS, on the other hand, is going to sound like the IBM Model M keyboard. See how much I learned in all my research, lol.)

Obviously, I've just gotten it, so I haven't logged many miles yet. But I think I'm going to love it. I've typed this post using it. It's not too bulky on my desk. It's very loud and clicky (which is what I wanted), and it feels nice beneath my fingers. In addition, it was beyond easy to set up. Literally, plug it into the USB port and start typing. That's it.

It does have a wire (most of them do) which will take some getting used to since I've had wireless for so long, but it's not bad. And if you work in an office with someone else, this would be a no go. Office rage would ensue.


I'll report in after a few months to let you know how it goes. But for now, you can find me clicking away. :)

So how do you feel about the sound of old school keyboards? Comforting? Grates on your nerves? Did you ever have a favorite keyboard or am I the only nerd here? ;)


*Post does contain affiliate links to Amazon but no company has asked me to feature the product and I paid for it with my own money.

Reader Quirks: Are You a Rereader?

Reading

"Reading" by Pedro Ribeiro Simoes (flickr cc)

I haven't been blogging much because I'm in the throes of book deadline hell, but I thought I'd start doing a few micro-posts about our quirks as readers. I know everyone has their different style and preferences, and that always fascinates me.

So I'd love to hear how you approach these different topics. First up, rereading.

I absolutely love when people tell me they've read my series multiple times. Or that they're going to go back to reread all the books in preparation for the next one. That is so flattering and always puts a smile on my face.

But I also have trouble relating because I am SO not a rereader. I honestly can't think of any book that I've read more than once. I've gone back and read passages from some favorite books--usually to remind myself about something or to study something about the writing. But even my favorite favorites don't get reread. And I'm not sure why. I'm sure I would enjoy rereading them. I can think of ones I'd like to reread. And I'm definitely one to rewatch favorite movies/TV shows (over and over and over).

But I think what might stop me from rereading books is that I always have a towering TBR pile. It's hard to justify reading something I've already read instead of tackling ALL THE NEW SHINY STORIES. 

On my Push Your Boundaries Reading Challenge that I'm doing this year, I did include a "reread from childhood" on the list, so I guess I will tackle a reread soon. Haven't decided which one yet though.

So, you tell me, are you a rereader? If so, what makes you read a book again? What's your record for how many times you've read a particular book? If you're not a rereader, why do you think that is? 

I'm really interested in what you have to say, so don't be shy, comment! : )

 

**And just a reminder, FOREVER STARTS TONIGHT (the Jace, Evan, Andre novella) is out in one week! Pre-order now for $2.99 and get it on your e-reader the moment it releases! Nook | Kindle | Kobo | Apple/iTunes | Google Play

 

Happily Drowning in Words

 

Sculpture: Overflow by Jaime Plensa -- Photo by Roni Loren

This is a sculpture I saw at the New Orleans Museum of Art's Sculpture Garden. And it totally represents how I feel right now while I'm writing Pike's book and working on edits for THREE other books. Oh, and getting ready for RWA Nationals next week. Words, words, everywhere. 

How is your week looking?

 

Must Read Monday: Finally, a Writing Book for Pantsers!

 

*I put a sticky tab on any page with a point I wanted to type into my notes. Look at that rainbow, people.

I know I usually tackle fiction when doing a Must Read Monday, but I read a writing craft book this weekend that was just so fabulous that I wanted to pass it along to those of you who are writers.

As most of you know, I'm a bit addicted to reading books about the craft of writing. (Yes, I'm an unrepentant nerd.) But most of the time, those books are all about different ways to plot your book. And I like learning those techniques because I'm a pantser with plotter envy. Writing without an outline can be an anxiety-ridden process, writer's block can pop up often, and the unknown is freaking scary (especially when you're writing under a deadline.) But no matter how hard I've tried to alter my process, I can't seem to get away from my pantsing (writing by the seat of my pants) ways.

And a little part of me has always been afraid that if I was successful at plotting ahead and outlining that I would lose some of the "magic" of my writing process. Like two weeks ago, this happened when I was happily writing a story. I had a general direction in mind and then got hit with a big twist that I had never ever considered or planned. It changes what the rest of the book will look like, but I think it's the correct (and much more interesting) way to go. If I had been writing to an outline, would that had ever come to me? And if it had, would I have been willing to ditch the whole second half of the outline to go in this new direction?

That kind of "a-ha" discovery happens with every book. The big twist in Crash Into You that most people have told me they never saw coming? That was because *I* didn't know it was coming until I was 70% of the way through writing the book. The big thing that happens in Kade's backstory in Need You Tonight that explains so much about who he is now? I didn't know about it until I was halfway through the book and it hit me--wait, THAT'S what happened!

So let me tell you, it was hella refreshing to finally come across a book that doesn't just tolerate pantsing as a way for people to write but actually recommends it. AND gives tips on how to overcome some of the struggles, anxieties and pitfalls of writing without an outline. Because, Lord, I would love to be less neurotic during my writing process.

So here's the book and my review from Goodreads. Pantsers, go forth and enjoy!

Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James

 

My Review from Goodreads:

Finally, a book for pantsers! And not just one that mentions pantsing but validates the process as a legitimate (he even ventures to say superior) process of writing. I have long been a pantser with plotter envy because it seems like every book on writing I read talks about "organic" writing as the immature/impatient process and plotting as the panacea, the "professional" way. Of course, that always makes plotting sound like this lovely method that is going to take away the constant anxiety of working in the unknown and the pitfalls that come along with that (writer's block, chasing bunny trails, rereading your previous pages constantly to get back into the mindset, etc.). But after reading this, I feel like I can take a deep breath and find a place of acceptance with my pantsing ways. Yes, my method causes me anxiety, but it's also been a successful one for me, so why am I always trying to change it?

And with this book, there are methods that may even help with the anxiety involved in "flying into the mist" when writing. There are questions to ask when you get stuck or come across a plot problem. There are guidelines on what needs to be clear in each scene and how to keep the tension up. There are pointers on how to include twists. And some of the character stuff--questions to ask about their secrets, shame, fears, etc--was brilliant.

I have five pages of notes from the book and put sticky flags on way too many pages because there was too much great stuff to hold in my head all at once. I'm kind of a junkie when it comes to book on writing and can be hard to please, but I have no qualms giving this one five stars. I know I'll be referencing it often.


*I was not asked to give this review. I bought this book on my own.