Lisa Emme. The Yacht Club.

Thank you, Rosanna, for giving me this opportunity to stop by and introduce my latest release, The Yacht Club. Originally published in digital format exclusively for Amazon, I’m very excited to be able to share these three novellas for the first time under one cover and with a much wider distribution. Set in the beautiful, posh suburbs of Vancouver, Canada, each story delivers a HEA featuring a strong, confident woman who isn’t afraid of her own sexuality.  The Yacht Club guaranteed to spice up your spring.

Available for pre-order now at your favourite online retailer including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks. Release date April 25.

 

The Yacht Club
Welcome to the Yacht Club – Vancouver’s exclusive BDSM club and best-kept secret – where few are asked to play, fewer still invited to stay.  Each sexy story brings a bit of ink, a lot of kink, topped with a hint of magic.

Daisy

Daisy Andrews has been burned by love before. Now she prefers to play it safe and keep things casual. So how then, does a woman that prefers her sex with a little kink, satisfy her need to be owned?

Kimi

With a vicious killer loose Kimi Jones is on the hunt, and she’ll stop at nothing to get her man. But when she meets a sexy stranger on the beach and a one-night stand turns into more than she bargained for, will Kimi be able to keep her own secrets?

Pax

Pax Lightfoot struggles to make it day-to-day without losing her mind, until a chance encounter brings her the peace she’s been yearning for. It doesn’t hurt that it comes in a ruggedly handsome package. But can Pax win the heart of a man that craves more than just vanilla?

Excerpt from The Yacht Club: Kimi – Two for One

She stood in the dark – at least it was dark with the blindfold on – unmoving except for the thumping of her heart.  The air in the room was on the cool side and she felt her skin pebble with goosebumps.  The anticipation of what would happen next was killing her.  She flinched at a sudden scraping sound off to the left and she cocked her head towards it.  It was silent for a moment and then she heard the murmuring of the two men speaking, followed by the chiming sound of metal on metal.  She frowned to herself.  Were they trying to put her on edge?  If they were, it was working.

 

 

Ryan Lanz. The Dos and Don’ts to Dialogue Tags.

I’m pleased to welcome author/blogger Ryan Lanz today. I hope you enjoy this post on one of my favorite writing topics, dialogue tags.

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Writers use dialogue tags constantly. In fact, we use them so often that readers all but gloss over them. They should be invisible. However, there are ways to misuse them and make them stand out.

In an effort to avoid that, let’s take a closer look at dialogue tags. Toward the end of “Tag travesties” is something I sorely wish someone had told me before I started writing.

Why do we use dialogue tags?
The simple answer is that we use them to indicate who’s speaking. In visual media, such as movies or television, the viewer can easily tell who’s talking by lip movement and camera angles. When reading a book, obviously that’s not an option.

Tag travesties
There are certainly ways to misuse dialogue tags. When I was a new writer, I felt compelled to overwrite. I ‘m sure every new writer goes through a version of this. I observed how successful writers used simple tags like “said/asked” and thought to myself, that’s boring. I’m going to be an awesome writer by making them more interesting. You don’t have to admit it aloud, writers, but we all know that most of us have. Let’s look at an example of this:

  • “We can’t cross this river,” Alanna exclaimed repugnantly.
  • John crossed the room and shouted disgustedly, “I’ll never take you with me.”
  • “This has been the worst day ever,” Susie cried angrily.

For those of you who still aren’t convinced, let’s up the dosage with a paragraph:

Hank crossed the room and sat down. “We should have never waited this long for a table,” he seethed, leaning over to glare at her. 
“If you wanted a better spot, you should have called ahead for a reservation,” Trudy returned pointedly.
“Well, perhaps if you didn’t take so long to get ready, I could have,” he countered dryly.

Can you imagine reading an entire book like that? *shiver*

So why do new writers feel the urge to be that . . . creative with their dialogue tags? Back in the beginning, I thought the typical tags of “said/asked” were too boring and dull. It didn’t take me long to realize that dull (in this context) is the point.

Image your words as a window pane of glass, and the story is behind it. Your words are merely the lens that your story is seen through. The thicker the words, the cloudier the glass gets. If you use huge words, purple prose, or crazy dialogue tags, then all you’re doing is fogging up the glass through which your reader is trying to view your story. The goal is to draw as little attention to your actual words as possible; therefore, you keep the glass as clear as possible, so that the reader focuses on the story. Using tags like “said/asked” are so clear, they’re virtually invisible.

Now, does that mean that you can’t use anything else? Of course not. Let’s look further.

 

Alternate dialogue tags
Some authors say to never use anything other than “said/asked,” while others say to heck with the rules and use whatever you want. Some genres (such as romance) are more forgiving about using alternate dialogue tags. I take a more pragmatic approach to it. I sometimes use lines like:

“I’m glad we got out of there,” she breathed.

The very important question is how often. I compare adverbs and alternate dialogue tags to a strong spice. Some is nice, but too much will spoil the batch. Imagine a cake mix with a liter of vanilla flavoring, rather than the normal tablespoon. The more often you use anything other than “said/asked,” the stronger the flavor. If it’s too powerful, it’ll tug the reader away from the story and spotlights those words. In a full length book of around 85,000 words, I personally use alternate dialogue tags only around a few dozen times total.

By saving them, the pleasant side effect is that when I do use them, they pack more of an emotional punch.

 


Related: How to Write Natural Dialogue


 

Action beats
I have a love affair with action beats. Used effectively, they can be another great way to announce who’s talking, yet at the same time add some movement or blocking to a scene. For example:

Looking down, Katie ran a finger around the edge of the mug. “We need to talk.”

That added some nice flavor to the scene, and you know who spoke. The only caveat is to be careful of not using too many action beats, as it does slow down the pacing a tiny bit. If you’re writing a bantering sequence, for example, you wouldn’t want to use a lot of action beats so as to keep the pacing quick.

 

Dos and don’ts
Sometimes, action beats and dialogue tags have misused punctuation. I’ll give some examples.

  • “Please don’t touch that.” She said, blocking the display. (Incorrect)
  • “Let’s head to the beach,” he said as he grabbed a towel. (Correct)
  • Sam motioned for everyone to come closer, “Take a look at this.” (Incorrect)
  • Debbie handed over the magnifying glass. “Do you see the mossy film on the top?” (Correct)

 

Conclusion
Like many things in a story/novel, it’s all about balance. Try alternating actions beats, dialogue tags, and even no tags at all when it’s clear who’s speaking. By changing it up, it’ll make it so that no one method is obvious.

 

Ryan Lanz is an avid blogger and author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. You can also find him on TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr

Image courtesy of Onnola via Flickr, Creative Commons.

The cost of being an author.

When I started writing with the aim of being published, I read every article and writing book I could get my hands on. I asked the experts. I took courses. I listened to others. In other words, I did my homework.

I don’t recall any of those experts ever mentioning the cost of being an author. I am talking about finances, by the way. The emotional cost is a whole other post.

No matter how big your publisher is, no matter how many resources they throw at you, at some point, you will be forced to crack open your own wallet and pay for things in support of your writing. I know I underestimated how much it would cost me to promote my books and quite frankly, I’m not sure I could ever have predicted an accurate amount. And it’s okay. You spend money to make money, right? At some point, it begins to pay off.

But here’s the thing. If you’re anything like me, and you have a family or responsibilities of some sort, you will often get stressed about money. It doesn’t even matter if you’re financially comfortable. Money is a huge source of stress. And if you have a bad royalty quarter…or even a few…that stress is compounded. Doing the math isn’t always fun for a writer.

I remember the marriage course my husband and I had to take years ago through our church. The minister told us, for most couples, money is the number one source of stress  in a marriage. If you don’t have any money, and don’t have a plan to make some, everything else goes down hill.

Writing is sort of the same. You need a plan and it can’t just be about what your book cover will look like. It has to account for finances.

Here’s another big thing. Your significant other must be on the same plan. You must both drink the Kool-Aid. In other words, it’s really nice when your spouse believes in you and is willing to support you. There will be times when that support involves your finances.

 

I’m a lucky woman. I have support from my incredible husband. Not every writer has that.

So when you embark on this magical journey of publishing, be realistic with yourself and with your family. As much as writing can seem a lonely pursuit at times, in this sense, it’s very much a group effort.  Talking about the costs ahead of time will alleviate much of the stress. If you go in with eyes wide open, it won’t be as much of a shock later.

Only then will cracking open the wallet be exciting, rather than stressful.

The quest for something different.

This past week has been frustrating for me, at least in terms of writing.

I’m sort of between projects right now and, of course, that means I’m already dreaming up the next project. It has not proven easy this time around.

I’m obsessed with the idea of creating a new paranormal series. Sounds easy enough, right? I’ve done it before. Several times, in fact. However, that little voice in the back of my head keeps saying, “It has to be different from anything else out there.” After all, how on earth will it stand apart from all the other paranormal romances?

Part of me wants to rely on the tried and true characters, the vampires and werewolves and demons. People still love them but will they snare the attention of agents and editors? Probably not. They all want to see something new, something different. And yet, if readers are to be believed, they want more of the same. They love vampires and werewolves and demons, thank you very much.

So then I put my writing cap on and think, “Write about the characters you love. Just put a fresh spin on them.” Fresh spin. Easier said than done. I have to be honest, folks. I’m not feeling so fresh these days.  For some reason, creating “something different” also creates a lot of stress. And to me, a lot of the fresh spins I see out there are really just more of the same. Same vampire, new city. I want to give my readers a dynamic new reading experience.

I recently finished a horror story, a novella I submitted for a Halloween anthology. That was fun and I’m not opposed to writing more in that genre. However, romance is my passion and I don’t want to alienate my readers. They came to me for HEAs. I love HEAs (that means ‘happily ever after’).  I take happy endings very seriously. The world is miserable enough. I want to provide happiness, even if I can only do it in book form.

I suppose this is just one of the struggles we writers encounter. It’s our jobs to come up with compelling stories, ones that resonate with as many readers as possible … even if they do contain the odd vampire. We have to carve out our own little niches in an oversaturated market. We create and we strive to create something different.

I guess that’s why they pay us the big bucks.

Oh, wait. I was thinking of my kid’s orthodontist just then.  He gets paid the big bucks.

I wonder if, when sticking braces on a teenager’s teeth, the orthodontist ever gets obsessed with the idea of creating something different.

No. That would result in a lot of complaint calls.

It must only apply to writers.

Spring Into Romance Hop!

It’s time for the Spring into Romance Hop!

Spring is here! What better time to share our favorite reads for the season? Join in and tell everyone about what new reads you’re excited about!

In order to follow along, please visit Anna at The Herd Presents at http://theherdpresents.blogspot.com/2017/04/spring-into-romance-giveaway-hop.html or you can check out the Linky at bottom.

As for me, I’ve been enjoying a paranormal romance kick lately. I tend to mix things up by genre every so often and I’ve happily been reading about sexy vampires lately. Sylvain Reynard’s William York is my latest obsession.

Who is yours?

Tell me what you are excited to read this spring for a chance to win one of my latest releases, Selkie’s Lure, Orkney Selkies 3. Comment below and one winner will be chosen at the end of the hop.

Blurb:

Amy Woods, one of TV’s famed Beast Seekers, has come to Orkney, Scotland, to hunt sirens. One of them killed her sister and she has sworn revenge. Most people think she’s crazy for believing in monsters. She knows the truth. But while patrolling one of Orkney’s cold beaches, she runs into a naked selkie man rather than a siren, and he proves to be an alluring distraction.

Edan Kirk is a selkie, one of an ancient race of seal shape shifters. When he hears of Amy’s intention to hunt sirens, tragic memories overwhelm him. He knows he must get rid of the pesky human. As much as he tries to convince her she’s on a fool’s errand, he can’t resist trying to protect her. After all, he has heard the enticing song of the sirens and he knows its deadly power.

As Amy and Edan engage in a battle of wits and wills, other emotions rush to the fore. Their connection is intense, the sort to come along only once in a lifetime. Edan recognizes her as his mate. However, another woman has set her sights on him as well, one whose powers of seduction are legendary. One whose voice has driven men to madness and devastation.

Can Amy accept Edan as her mate, making her home in the world of the supernatural? And can they save each other from a beast that cannot be destroyed?

Excerpt:

After patrolling the shore for the better part of an hour, Edan began to feel the call of his bed. He might possess more stamina than a human man but it had been a long day. Resolved to catch a couple hours of sleep before morning, he swam toward the shore. Relinquishing his pelt, letting it slide from his body, he stood up straight.

A man appeared before him.

No. A woman.

Because she wore fatigues, he was momentarily confused, but there was no mistaking her buxom figure. She was certainly doing her best to look like an army man, right down to her combat boots.

The lass smiled and aimed a camera phone at him. “Hello, sailor. Did you fall off your boat?”

Fuck. What sort of woman walked on the beach at four in the morning? “Something like that.”

Despite the obvious threat posed by her camera, he couldn’t help noticing she was a beauty. Perhaps not in the Hollywood starlet sense, but her imperfections intrigued him. She’d pulled her chestnut hair back into a tight ponytail. There was an asymmetry to her face that gave an edge to delicate features. Her nose was slightly crooked near the tip and one eyebrow arched higher than the other. Her generous mouth was compressed but it looked capable of wide smiles.

And her scent. It hit him hard and made him see stars, like that time his younger brother Calan lobbed a dictionary at his head. She smelled like strawberries, juicy and ripe from the bush. Interesting, considering she was dressed like Rambo.

His gut turned, as if skewered on a rotisserie. As his innards roiled, he couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to wind her ponytail around his fingers, draw her close and…

“Well?” Her eyebrow quirked even higher.

How much had she seen?

He stepped toward her but when she snapped several photos in quick succession, he stopped moving. “It’s not polite to take photos of a man in his birthday suit.”

“Yes, but you’re not quite a man, are you?”

She’d seen everything, then. He’d simply have to persuade her not to trust her senses. He’d talked himself out of worse scrapes. Edan waved his hand in the direction of his crotch. “I’m all man, lass, as you can see.”

She indulged in a quick glance. Her eyes widened in clear wonder, as if she’d never seen anything quite like him before. “Something more, then.” She nodded toward his pelt. “I’ll take that, please.”

“I don’t think so.” He hedged his bets he could convince her to give up whatever mischief she’d planned. How had he missed her on the beach? Too distracted by the thought of Breena, perhaps. “You’ve seen enough to understand I’m a selkie. If you know that, you know I need this pelt. If you’re looking for a lover, you need to be wily and steal the skin. I won’t just hand it over, unless of course you can prove to me you’d be worth a tussle.”

“I’m not looking for a lover and I don’t want to tussle with you.”

“I’d say that was a shame, you know, if you didn’t look as if you were out to blackmail me.”

Two men, also dressed in camouflage, emerged from behind a sand dune. One of them looked as if his sole hobby was frequenting the gym. Although the other man was smaller in stature, he presented more of a threat and it had everything to do with his professional-looking video camera.

“I’d give her the pelt if I were you,” the bigger man said.

“Who the hell are you people?” Edan demanded as he slowly handed the skin over to the woman.

She took it but didn’t lower her phone. “We’re the Beast Seekers. You’re our first selkie. Smile for the cameras.”

Buy links:   Kobo   iTunes   B&N   Google Play   Liquid Silver Publishing   Amazon

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Darker, dear author. Darker still.

This week, I’ve done something I haven’t done since I was first published. I’ve begun writing a scary story.

I hadn’t planned to. In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar. However, after reading about a submission call from one of my publishers, my curiosity was piqued.

I’ve built my writing reputation on providing “happily ever after” moments. Could I actually write something that might end in gruesome fashion? Would I even enjoy it?

Here’s the thing. I am having fun. Oh, God, I am having fun! Who knew?

I suppose I should have known. You see, scary stories were my reason for living when I was a kid. From the age of 12, all I read was tales of ghosts, vampires and royal beheadings. Weird kid, huh? I know. It explains a lot.

Even if you look at my romance, my love of the unusual is evident. After all, I think Greek gods might walk among us, I love men who turn into animals and I think seal people are hot. I believe in ghosts and freely admit it. I’ve never seen one (that I know of) but I’m convinced there are levels of consciousness we haven’t yet attained. In other words, I think it’s pretty cool that something else might be “out there.”

I’m not going to spill the beans on this story yet. Knowing me, it’ll probably change five times before I settle on the details.

Does this mean I’m giving up romance and men with abs? No, but I hope this exercise will provide some new insight into writing and light up some new pathways. Hopefully you’ll be seeing this short story in an anthology soon.

And I hope I scare the pants off you.

 

Photo via Visual Hunt

A new lease on life for one of my books.

They say cats have nine lives. Books don’t always have the same luck.

This week, one of my books got a second life.

I am so pleased to announce Limitless Publishing has offered me a contract for Vice, my contemporary romance previously published with Samhain Publishing. Having a book in limbo is tough, especially when you know that book has been loved and appreciated by others. I was excited to see so many people respond to this romance and my heroine’s struggles with the world of compulsive gambling. When Vice disappeared from vendor sites, I was heartbroken. There’s really no other way to put it. However, I knew going into this business this outcome was always a possibility. Publishers close. It’s a fact of life now.

I began scoping out other options immediately. I spoke to other authors about their experiences. I submitted, knowing the submission process could continue for months before I got a bite.

I’m thrilled Limitless Publishing has recognized this story and so happy I can once again present it to my readers. The cover will change. Other aspects may change. Right now, even I can’t tell you what comes next. However, I can tell you I’m excited to be on this ride and I know the team at Limitless will provide us with a wonderful package.

This writer feels very lucky right now. I’m not sure I can express how grateful I am to everyone who has supported this romance.

Look for Vice in ebook and print format soon!