Monday, April 7, 2014

The Faster I go, the Be-hinder I get.

Have you ever felt like your running , but getting no where? That's my life, in general.
I am in the process of working my way through a re-write, and not because I was told that it needed to be done.

I fell victim to a virus and it decided to take away half of my second book in my Guardian's of Hope Series, Last Chance to Run.
This is very frustrating, but what makes it worse is that I pitched this story and have three publishers that requested a full read.

See my dilemma?

I am now in re-write hell but with my busy life throwing that into the pile just makes me feel like one of those mice on the endless wheel in the cage.

When I decided to write my first story I never realized everything that actually went into the process, or all the problems that could arise. 

But I love writing, and my life was a hectic mess before I took on this wonderful, mind blowing distraction.

You see I have five children, four grandchildren and a husband that insists on eating every night and wearing clean clothes. Now put a farm filled with animals and a sister with MS that lives with me and depends on me for her daily care. Oh, I also forgot to tell you that I have a full time job that keeps me out of the house, and away from the computer for 9 hours a day. 

Wow, I'm tired just reading it, but I don't know what I would do without every little distraction and road block that I stumble over every day.

I use my writing as my mental escape. My mental yoga. It keeps me sane. Well on a good day. But I love seeing my stories come to life so I will continue writing because it keeps me grounded.

I will just need to drink more coffee, and eat more chocolate. Sounds like a great idea right now so I'm off to fill my cup, grab a dark chocolate power bar and dive into my story.  
Thanks for listening to my mini melt down.

Hope you have a great week, and I'll see you next time.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Diving Deep into Obsession

I'm locked in rewriting hell. Those of you who have written novels or other long works know exactly what I'm talking about. I look at the thick stack of pages in need of revision, and my pride in having written so many words quickly gives way to the depressing thought of "Now what?"

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. That's probably because I've been working for at least sixteen consecutive days now, which for me is some sort of non-NANO record. I mean really working, and I don't like it. Not one little bit.

I am harboring the hope I'm writing my break-through book. Go ahead and chuckle if you've been there. You know what I'm talking about. The opus that will result in an auction. Perhaps even the multiple book deal. Along with reviews attesting to my brilliance. My wit. My oh so unique way of turning a phrase.

It's all I can do not to throttle my computer. Still, I press onward. Listening to my protag's playlist, a collection of songs I'm beginning to loathe. Watching and re-watching and re-watching a film set in my novel's locale, so many times I'm beginning to wonder if I know it better than the director. Fantasizing about killing characters ... even though I'm not writing a crime story.

My only source of solace has been homemade fajita bowls and Klondike bars made with Mrs. Fields' cookies. Did you know they make Klondike bars with Mrs. Fields' cookies? And did you know that adding a bit of salsa to your mashed avodados is the secret to a really divine guacamole?

So come on, please help me ... what are YOUR favorite ways to keep up your energy and your spirits as you dive deep into your obsession?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Do you like Dragons?

“Dragon’s Bond”: Blurb
Mallory is fascinated by three life-size stone dragon statues. Then one night they come to life and she learns they’re shape-shifters. One of the museum’s directors, Teivel, plans to use the shape-shifting dragons as art thieves by placing them in exhibitions in other museums, and Mallory, Angus, William, and Mark now have to find out which statues are shape-shifters and how they can prevent Teivel from implementing his plan. That makes their days very busy, but the nights are for their own pleasure.
Can they outwit Teivel? What will happen if Mallory loses her job or the statues have to leave their home in the museum? And can a relationship built on a crisis and unbridled lust develop into lasting love and enduring passion?

Buy Link:

“Dragons Redeemed”: Blurb
Trudy is a locksmith and security expert who Mallory asked to quote to improve the security at The Magic Dragon Museum. When Trudy arrives at the museum, it’s full of naked people, and four of the men say she belongs to them! The dragons need to reclaim their human lives while stopping Teivel’s plan to steal the artworks—if they can get out of bed long enough to concentrate.
Meanwhile Trudy has a job to do and a business to run. Crevan, Daegan, Graegor, and Penllyn are determined to protect her while watching Teivel. The dragon shape-shifters have their hands full with an independent, determined woman and a bad guy planning to cause trouble. Plus Mallory wants to come back to the museum, and her men are set on protecting her from Teivel, too.
Between lust and danger, sparks are flying everywhere.

Buy link:

Or, together as one print book:

Trudy had not enjoyed a sheltered childhood. She’d pretty much brought herself up while her mother worked eighteen or more hours a day, seven days a week, in a sweatshop, sewing clothes for two dollars an hour. She’d seen life on the streets in all its sordid detail and come to the conclusion that it wasn’t for her. She’d also decided by the age of twelve that sewing, prostitution, and crime weren’t careers she’d follow. At fifteen, she’d apprenticed herself to Larry, an elderly locksmith. The day she’d turned eighteen, he’d handed the business over to her and caught a plane to Florida where he planned to sit on the beach for the rest of his life.
But when she’d decided to hand-deliver her quotation for upgrading security at The Magic Dragon Museum, she’d thought she’d be speaking to Mallory, the manager/curator there, and possibly her boyfriend, Angus, who seemed a possessive kind of man. Trudy entered Mallory’s apartment via the roof garden to prove how useless the current security was. The last thing she expected to see was four completely naked men, three other men wearing only jeans, and a woman dressed in nothing but a baggy T-shirt, as well as Mallory and Angus.
Life on the streets had been eye-opening, and as a locksmith she’d had to rescue the occasional naked person who’d locked themselves out of their apartment, but nothing had prepared her for this.
“What the fuck is going on here? And why are so many of you naked?”
“They’re all dragon shape-shifters. This museum is their home,” said Mallory.
Trudy couldn’t see any evidence they’d been drinking, or doing drugs, but that sure didn’t sound logical to her. “Right. Okay. This is my quotation for the security. I’ll just leave it here and be on my way then.”
“Oh no you won’t. What if she’s working for Teivel?” One of the naked men, a very good-looking one with brown hair and eyes and a really long cock, grabbed her arm and pulled her against his chest.
An upbringing like hers had taught Trudy many skills other women didn’t have. She slid under his arm, twisted sideways, and rammed her knee into his balls, then stepped smartly out of his reach. “I own my own business and don’t work for anyone but myself, you pervert.”
The man was bent forward, holding his family jewels. Trudy was actually rather surprised he wasn’t curled up on the floor crying. He must be pretty tough. Or else she didn’t hit him hard enough.
Most of the people in the apartment were now talking at once. From what Trudy could understand, some of them didn’t want to tell her anything, and Mallory and the other woman were arguing she should be told the truth. Yeah, the truth would be great, but she could live without it. Right now it was time to go.
Trudy backed silently toward the door she’d entered by, but another one of the naked men, a redhead, was watching her. “Don’t sneak off. We won’t hurt you. If you come in and sit down, we’ll tell you why Mallory asked you to improve the locks here.”
“Why don’t you tell me why you’re naked? If this is supposed to be an orgy, where are all the other women?”
One of the men wearing only jeans and the woman who wasn’t Mallory were locked in a passionate embrace. Maybe it was an orgy.

Berengaria Brown

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Expectations- how do we live up to them?

The other day, I saw something in a review that REALLY bugged me.

Let me back up a bit.  I just released a new book, the first in a trilogy. The genre is contemporary romantic suspense. To me, that signifies that it's more of a contemporary romance, that the suspense elements are secondary. I also say that it's contemporary romance with suspense elements. Either way, both should be an indication of what kind of story it is. Maybe I'm wrong?

Anyway, I've been sending out review requests. And in those intro letters, I state that in the genre. Contemporary with suspense elements.

Okay. So I get a few takers, and then a few days later, come across a review from someone that states in her review she marked me down because overall she's not much of a contemporary reader. My book didn't meet her expectations because it's too much romance and not enough suspense.


I was flabbergasted. I don't even care about the rating as a whole. I know I won't appeal to everyone. But for someone to pick up the book when i have said everywhere exactly what the genre is only to get marked for it being exactly what it is...umm...Really I have no words.

And this isn't the first time it's happened, Nor will it be the last. I'm not the only one that gets this. Some get worse marks and nasty comments because of it. Yes, I know we put ourselves out there and these things will happen. I accept that. I understand that. But I'm a writer, and my way of expressing how I feel is to write, and this is something that's bothered me a long time now.

I'm first and foremost a reader. I can finish multiple books in a week. I run my own book blog. I'm fairly eclectic, and ever since reviewing have become more so. Are there genres I don't particularly care for? Yes. And for the fact that I could not give a fair review to a book in those genres I don't read much of, I don't select those for review. I admit, I'm not huge on hisotical. I'm not slamming them, I'm not judging them....I just realized they don't work for me. My own personal taste.  That's why I don't pick them up for review, because I couldn't be neutral enough in my review.

As for expectations. I've tried something. I go into a book feeling neutral. I don't do the "Expectations" thing, and going into a book with that, I find that I can enjoy a story more without thinking "I expected this, I didn't expect this"

An example...I've kind of burnt out of the vampires in paranormal romance. In many cases, they are all kind of the same. One might "Expect" the same of a genre/theme they're burnt out on. I've read two authors in the past few years that took a completely new spin on vampires. I read those books NOT giving an expectation of "This is going to be like all the others."  I went in to the reads with a clear mind.

Is this the way for everyone? Maybe not. I think real life has swayed me from having expectations, so  I approach many things with a laid back attitude. That's just because of things that I've encountered in my life, and I just use that same laid back approach in my reading.

I guess I just don't understand why someone would pick up a book in a genre they pretty much dislike and then 'expect" it to be what they want it to be.

But then again, no matter what, no matter how much we clearly state something, we aren't going to please everybody. It's how it is. I just felt like I needed to get out how I felt about it today.

Thanks for visiting and reading my rambles!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kaye's update from January 30th - writing, arthritis, and new computer mouse

A little recap…

My last post was January 30th, and it was the first of a two-part blog on arthritis, writing, and my new computer mouse called the "Handshoe Mouse". This is the website for more information on the mouse:

I’d been struggling with arthritis-like pain in both my hands, so I decided to try an ergonomically designed mouse with hope that it would relieve the swelling at the base of my thumb, which is right in the joint. I’m ambidextrous, but I prefer a lefty mouse, so that’s the one I replaced with the Handshoe.

Here’s the update regarding my arthritis and how the different mouse is working out…
Well, I have mostly good news. After having a series of blood tests and hand x-rays, I found out I don’t have arthritis. Apparently, the stiffness, swelling, and aching was caused by extreme overuse/stress from last August and September when I was involved in massive amounts of furniture moving, packing boxes, carrying boxes, etc. for three households. Obviously, I jumped the gun when I self-diagnosed the arthritis. A combination of rest and a regimen of NSAIDs has made a significant improvement in the pain and swelling over the last 60 days. Whew!

Now about the mouse—

The following is a quote is about the Handshoe mouse from my January 30th post:

“…the new mouse cost $99.00 (via, and it is made specifically for the left hand. I'd have to purchase another one for my right hand if I want to give my left hand a rest. That’s a lot of money for a couple of pieces of molded plastic screwed together to hold in the electronic parts that I’m betting aren’t all that expensive.”

The Handshoe mouse is probably a fine mouse, and maybe it’ll eventually be worth the $99, but my left thumb is still giving me trouble, and when I use a lefty mouse of any type, my thumb still swells and aches. So I’ve had to switch to a right-handed to allow my left hand to continue resting. Hopefully, in a few months, I’ll be able to try the Handshoe again.

Until next time,


Fall in love...faster, harder, deeper with Kaye Spencer romances
Twitter - @kayespencer

Friday, March 28, 2014

Shapeshifting rules

There are different ways to handle the laws of shapeshifting. I’ve read books where clothes can magically appear when shifting from animal to human. And that’s okay for some writers. I prefer to have my characters naked when changing back from an animal shape because this creates some added embarrassment, amusement or uncomfortable moments for my characters.

I posted a short excerpt from one of my books—a scene where being naked can add something to the story.

Excerpt from Winter’s Requiem:

The intention sparking in his eyes looked dangerous as he sprang first. He moved with surprising catlike speed to grab her in a most delicate position. She pushed her mind, trying to bring on the change so she could fly away from this strange, threatening man, feeling the prickly sensation of her body twisting into the shape of a raven. She was able to fly a short distance before weakness overwhelmed her and she crashed to the ground as a woman. Frightened and searching for an escape, she realized she could still use her legs to run away.

Springing up with the swiftness of a frightened hare, she pumped her legs, forcing her body to run fast. Panic filled her. Brigit’s shorter legs and shapely body lacked the taut leanness and height that would have allowed Cailleach to run fast. She sensed the young warrior closing in on her, his heavy footfalls putting dread into her gut. Cailleach wondered how he could run so fast with the heavy sword belt and she forced her tired body to keep moving. Her legs trembled with weakness, threatening to give out, her pace slowing. Ragged, painful breaths pressed against her chest and spread to the rest of her body. She cursed her weakness, refusing to give up. The jangle of his sword belt grew louder; his large shadow loomed over her.

Strong arms encircled her in a tight hold. She stumbled and they fell to the ground in a twisted heap. Only then did she become aware of her nakedness and his closeness. She never thought about the laws of shapeshifting—only when shapeshifting into another human shape would her clothes remain and could be changed to other clothing, but shapeshifting into an animal required nakedness—until now with this strange, handsome man pressed against her naked body.


Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author



Three different women, one ancient curse…

An ancient curse is revealed, leading Domelch, Brigit and Cailleach into certain danger amid a web of deceit. Can they break the curse and put the shattered pieces of their lives back together?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Romance Anthologies as Opportunites

What I love about anthologies is that a quick shorter story often allows readers to have a taste for a writer's style and voice. I've discovered some great authors by reading anthology books. The majority of anthology books are put out with certain themes in the stories.
            Themes can be anything from military, to creatures, or perhaps even seasons. These themed anthologies present a great opportunity for writers to reach more readers through shorter works. Shorter stories are definitely easier for me to write, so I'm always on the lookout for interesting anthologies where I might submit and allow readers to have a taste of my writing style.
            Most e-publishers will put out anthology collections and do have submissions for these on a frequent basis. The most popular anthologies are often holiday themed, so if you have a Christmas or Valentines story that is ready for publication, consider an anthology.
            The pay for contributing to an anthology is typically much smaller, but the upside is that it will often give your backlist a bump. Also, you never know what larger and more widely read authors you might be sharing the anthology with which can increase sales.
            Should you contribute to an anthology if there is 'no pay' involved? My answer would be no, simply because I believe an author's time and work are of value. There are plenty of romance publishers who will pay a small percentage and are more worthy of your good story. Don't sell yourself short.

I hope this has given you budding authors something to consider on your path to publication. Good luck to you all!

Mary Corrales

Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's Complicated - Relationships in Real Life and in Fiction

Okay.  So sue me.  I’m hung up on complicated relationships, and as a writer that is not necessarily a bad thing.   On the HBO show Newsroom – The Glory of Revenge –  I’ll admit I was foaming a bit at the mouth over one of the episodes--at Sloan’s sheer audacity and courage to do what I totally consider the right thing to do in such a totally wrong situation–punch out an ex-boyfriend who posted nude photos of her online for revenge after they broke up. 
That revelling in the TV series brought me and my sisters to a fond memory of another movie we’d seen years ago — well, not that far back — It’s Complicated, a title which, excuse the cliche’, hit the nail on the head. 
Meryl Streep is a divorced woman who has just, after ten years, come to terms with her status as a now single woman when her cheating ex-husband, played by Alex Baldwin, re-enters her life and wants to have an affair with her.  It seems his life with his new younger wife is not working out as planned, and he longs for his old life.  Meryl, in this film, is a gourmet chef.  She lives in a beautiful house–peaceful, I think, is the key word, which is in stark contrast to Alex’s life with his rambunctious and out of control new five year old son.  Plus, his new wife wants yet another baby.
In a night of unexplained and drunken revelry, Meryl succumbs to Alex’s charms, and Alex reads that as a signal that he might have a chance to win his ex-wife back.  Meryl is tempted, but hasn’t she grown beyond this relationship.  All her girlfriends are charmed and appalled at the same time.  Of course, to complicate the situation, because in this story–which mirrors real life so brilliantly, life is complicated–three almost totally grown up into adult children want to see their parents re-united and apply the appropriate pressure AND a new man enters Meryl Streep’s life played by the ever so charming Steve Martin.
170px-Steve_Martin_2011Martin is uneasily divorced, too, and after five years, still listens to tapes in his car on how best to deal with the situation.  He is afraid of being hurt again.  He is winsomingly shy and very much taken by Meryl.  They’re thrown together–he’s her architect and for the past few months has been fielding her obsessive emails regarding designs for her new dream kitchen.  That alone has won him brownie points in her eyes.  When she meets him, it is instant attraction, except, of course, for her ex-husband who keeps popping up at odd times.
I love this movie, the characters, the complications because we are rarely defined by the single role we play in other people’s eyes.  We all have secrets we dare not reveal to even our best friends.  Secret passions, secret meetings, secret thoughts, secret regrets.  None of us are only the mother of or the wife of or the daughter of — we are the sum total of all of it.
It’s Complicated captures the nuances of being human and when we are thrown together, we carve out complicated relationships! Yeah.
And this is the lesson we must remember as writers when we are writing OUR stories.  Relationships are complicated because people are complicated. That's what makes books such wonderful things to read. People want to read stories that are juicy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why How You Style Your Hair Matters ....

I've just finished a draft of a YA I think is the best thing I've ever written. By far.  I'm in that honeymoon phase, or the first day post-partum, when my new baby is nothing but perfect. Unfortunately, not in the eyes of my first reader, a.k.a. my daughter, who as a member of my target audience and songwriter, ought to know.

The initial source of the trouble is my first line. Which I thought was wonderful. I think you know exactly what I mean. Alas, why must we always be called upon to kill our baby darlings? I was pondering this question as I styled my hair this morning.

I'm not one of those people who normally "styles" their hair. But I've grudgingly noticed that I need to join their brigades. That, since I'm not one of those wearing a head full of curls with waves that never  crash on the shore on a humid day, I need to make some effort.

My usual attempt at hair styling falls flat (pun intended) because I am far too often far too lazy to take the extra five minutes to actually dry my hair. I just can't be bothered. Which has me wondering: is this how I write as well? Foregoing the extra effort needed to polish my prose and poetry until it shines like a silver spoon a jewelry store display case?

I'm afraid it's true. I am always in search of that magical mousse or gel that will allow me to surrender making any effort. How many of us secretly harbor this fantasy about our work, believing that our first drafts should be our last?

I hope March brings you golden drafts of a different sort. Happy St. Patrick's Day, and best of luck welcoming spring 2014. If you're interested in a paranormal romance about what happens when the vernal equinox goes awry, please consider "Matching Wits With Venus". Happy Writing!