Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fleeing Beauty review

I don't know whether I have a twisted form of ESP or some kind of psychic connection. Maybe it's just that impish muse that occasionally perches on my shoulder and she's flicking her nails against my ear lobe. Or maybe it's indigestion. Who knows?  But when it happens, I have to pay attention.

Yesterday was a perfect example. I'm not one to check on my books daily. Once in a great while, I'll check out Amazon or Barnes & Noble to see if there are any reviews or comments left from a reader. With a free moment, I stopped by Amazon and was pleasantly surprised to see a 4 star rating on "Fleeing Beauty" with the following comment:

This book is full of twists and turns! Jamie has Malone look for some pieces her father hid before his death. Sparks end up flying between them and it is hot! Mystery, suspense, sex....what more could you ask for in a book? 

That kind of feedback is what every author strives for. While I know it's impossible and unrealistic to try and please everyone, it's encouraging to get this kind of response.   Occasionally I'll post an excerpt from the story. This seems like the perfect time to do so.  The passage below packs a little heat, so be advised. I hope you enjoy it.

With one arm around my waist, he held me close. I felt his other hand cup the back of my head as he held me still, driving me crazy with a long, slow, wet kiss. I was squirming on his lap with excitement now. And he knew exactly what he was doing to me.
       He released me head, drawing his hand slowly down to my breast. I tipped my head back. He was licking and kissing my throat. Electricity was running wild through my core. And then just as suddenly, Malone was standing, holding me in his arms. This was no easy trick, getting out of the clutches of the aunt. Without a word, he eased me down until my feet touched the hard wood floor.
       “Hush, Jamie. I want you to do exactly what I say.”
       He stepped over and switched off the light. For an instant I was nervous, until I saw the mischievous sparkle in his eyes. Now he turned me around so that I was facing one arm of the sofa. Malone guided me back to the cushions, only now I was kneeling with my back to him.  I could feel the stubble of his beard lightly scratching my shoulders. He turned his head enough to inhale the perfume I’d splashed on when changing. It wasn’t strong, but it lingered. I felt a tingling sensation race down my arms as Malone’s hot breath warmed my shoulder blades. He tugged the tank top. Now his lips were slowly moving down the ladder of my spine.  I couldn’t move. Even if I wanted to.
       A solitary fingertip lightly slid down the back of my arm. He was barely touching me, but oh, baby, where he was touching and how he was touching was setting me on fire. He shifted lower. I felt the bottom of the tank top move up, exposing my stomach, the small of my back and my ribs. I cried out in surprise when Malone nipped me with his teeth, lightly grazing the spot on my back where my kidneys were. The fingertip continued to graze my arm.
       I felt his lips move back to my spine. Now his tongue flicked out and danced the rest of the way down, pausing at the waistband of my shorts. His fingertip was gone now, darting quickly in front to undo my shorts. Somehow he shoved my shorts down until they were bunched up by my knees. Then his fingernails were lightly scratching my legs from the hips to the thighs while he continued to kiss the bottom of my spine. I was shaking. Again I felt a fingertip glide across the back of my knee.
       “Take me, Malone. I can’t stand it.”
       “Soon, Jamie. Soon.”
       “Now, Malone, please!”
       I felt his palm squeeze my left calf. My orgasm was building so intensely, I was afraid I was going to implode. His lips danced across the cheeks of my ass. He nipped me again.
       “Malone! You’re killing me!”
       He pulled back for a heartbeat. Somehow he managed to free himself from his jeans. I felt him press against me. I was so wet, so aroused, I screamed when he entered me. My body was quivering, delightful spasms causing my whole being to quake. Never before had I experienced something so intense, so overpowering. And still he held me, driving me forward, urging me on for more. I screamed again as he exploded inside me.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Follow along

This last week I had the opportunity to speak at a club luncheon about my efforts as a writer. About thirty people gathered around for a mediocre meal. After taking care of business, they invited me up to talk about what it's like being a novelist.  I described the challenges of a writer, shaping a good story, creating memorable characters, the importance of character names, conflicts, dialog and the use of humor.  Then I took a few questions.

One asked me how detailed my outlines were. They were stunned when I admitted to never using an outline.

One lady was almost indignant. "But that's crazy! How else can you write a novel?"

I described my process. Usually I begin with one or two key characters and a vague idea of some type of mystery or crime. I make sure I know my characters well, how they will react to situations, what makes them tick, and then I put them in motion and kind of follow along. While I may have a glimmer of an idea about what's going to happen, the story usually takes a number of twists and turns along the way.

Now I'm not saying this is the only way to write a story. Many great authors use outlines or draft each scene's activity before they ever get to the keyboard. Others will use a whiteboard and spin what looks like a flow chart, where one scene leads to another. But that's the beauty of creative writing. We all find the approach that works best for us. I tried to write using an outline before and it was a painful process. The resulting story was dull and dry and boring. So I chucked it.

Many years ago I had the great good fortune to meet Elmore Leonard. 

We chatted for a few minutes at a book signing he was doing. I asked if he still wrote using a legal pad. Leonard admitted that he would spend an entire day working on one scene, scratching it out with pen and paper before he was satisfied. Then he would sit down at the typewriter and write the finished product.  The system worked for him and he had more bestsellers than I can ever dream of.

So I just follow along. I give the characters a nudge, point them in the general direction of mayhem and run beside them, jotting it down. It may be crazy but it works for me.

On another note, I learned this morning that my paperbacks are now available on a site called Books a Million.  The link below should take you there.  Turns out I'm not the only Mark Love who is a writer. Imagine that. I wonder if the other ones use outlines.