Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finding Inspiration in Your Own Back Yard

Monday I left work early for a doctor’s appointment, traveling on the Little Easy bus to my second bus near Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. I lifted my eyes off the page of the book I was reading and peered out of the window. Café Dumond in the French Quarters was crowded, horses and buggies lined up for blocks outside of the Saint Louis Cathedral waiting to take people on tours, the sidewalk merchants were out and busy, and there were people everywhere. The sun shone bright in the sky and it was a beautiful autumn day. But the first thought was why are all these people out having fun were and why aren’t they at work? My second thought was why in the heck aren’t you writing this down and using it as a scene in your story? I quickly took out my pen and pad and tried to write down everything I saw.

I have been living in this city all my life but I very seldom get out and visit all the great tourist attractions New Orleans is famous for. I ate my first muffalata in Houston, Texas during the Hurricane Katrina evacuation and it wasn’t until I returned that I learned that it was created in New Orleans. A couple of years ago I visited Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Florida, and had to be told by one of the clerks that we also had a Ripley’s in New Orleans. I’ve been to Café Dumond once even though I pass it everyday going to and from work. I’ve never been to the Aquarium, IMAX or the Bug Museum. In the beginning I did write about New Orleans but it wasn’t easy writing about vampires in my home town when Anne Rice had done it so well.

When I was first began practicing my craft almost every how-to book warned not to go outside of your own back yard to find settings. I couldn’t drive; I didn’t like to travel, so that part was easy enough. But over the last couple of years I have been traveling. I like to ride the train or the Greyhound Bus. While riding I’m looking out of the windows trying to find that perfect scene or inspiration. When I visit some place interesting I like to incorporate it into my stories. I have written about New York, Egypt and hell, and I’ve never been to these places and probably never will, but I’ve done my research and try to capture a little aspects of the city to make the story believable.

The moral behind this story is take your head out of the book some times and see what’s going on around you. You’ll be surprised to find what you might be missing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Promoting Your Work

I spent all day yesterday on-line promoting my recent 3 book releases at the Yahoo groups I’m affiliated with, on my blogs, and MySpace pages. Monday is a big promotion day at these places. It was 3pm when I finally finished. Today I promoted at the sites that allow promotions only on Tuesday and posted a few excerpts.

While I’m writing this I have my MySpace page open. I’m joining new friends and reading bulletins. (Too bad the Internet just went down.) That’s why I try to do two things at one time in case something like this happens.

The big question today, is this type of promoting necessary?

Of course it is. Not only is it a great way to generate sales but it’s also a great way to find out what other books are available for me to purchase.

Let’s face it, if you don’t promote no one is going to know that you’ve written a book. The best incentive…most of the time it’s free.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Setting the Mood

Setting the Mood for Romance

The lights are dimmed, the kids are napping, and it’s raining outside. What a perfect way to set the mood for writing.

So how do you set the mood for romance in your story? It all has to do with the five senses. Use them when you’re about to develop a love scene. As a romance writer we have to come up with different and unique places for romance to take place. Tried and true, the bedroom, the shower and in an airplane restroom has been done to death. Usually before the story is even told I try to come up with the when and where I want to sex to begin. Things to take into consideration:

The characters – what makes them unique? She’s a librarian and he likes to read. Love among the shelves in a place where silence is golden. Make it romantic and try to keep them quiet.
Character’s job – Is he a manager of a high-rise apartment building? Rooftop love? Don’t knock it until you tired it. Is she an actress or a ballerina? Why not be adventurous and steal a kiss behind the curtain.
Character’s hobbies – Is he into martial arts – On the floor of the dojo might be a perfect spot for a rendezvous. Does she like to sail? On the deck of a charter boat on the crystal clear ocean can set the mood for some interesting fun.
Think about your own experiences. Have you ever found yourself in a unique situation that you never dreamed you’d find yourself in a million years? Like in the backseat of a car or on a Ferris wheel with the man or woman you adore?

In Oasis, my characters are riding on a camel in the desert in Africa. One thing leads to another and the desert floor becomes the perfect make out spot.

The possibilities are endless. The bed is nice, but less face it, beds are for sleeping.

I also like to use sound to set the mood. The sound of rain makes me feel relaxed, so I try to put my characters in a relaxed state of mind when they’re dealing with each other. And depends on who I’m with, rain makes me very amorous. (Wink, wink, get the picture?)

Music – There’s not a better prop to use than music – Put in a CD or turn on the radio. Let the type of music you’re listening to set the mood of the story. If I’m listening to the Beatles while I’m writing, I’m in a lively mood and it reflects in the words I chose. If I’m listening to Michael Jackson, I’m in a youthful mood and my words tend to get a little giddy and joyous. If I’m listening to Tina Turner, I’m feeling empowered and my female characters are bound to be a little over the top. And when I’m listening to Barry White, it’s no hold’s bar. Clothes are flying off all over the place and my characters are getting down and dirty.

In this case music does not soothe the savage beast. It brings it to the surface.

Food – Oh my gosh. Food can really set the mood. Whipped cream, cherries, and chocolate syrup. (Yummy). Fried oysters and champagne (ooh), macaroni and cheese (?) Hey, young mothers need love too.

What goes through your head when you kiss someone who just drinks your favorite wine? Do you find icing on a spoon sexy when you see her eating it? Does a beer gut turn you on? Have you ever watched your best girl eat a banana split? The possibilities are endless.

Touch and Props – The single sexiest feeling in the world is having someone touch you. What do you like? Having your head, feet or back massaged. Getting your hair combed or styled by the opposite sex. What do you do with someone gently runs a feather up your spine or kiss your fingers or the back of your legs. It can be as simple as the heroine reaching up to remove his glass and innocently touches his eyebrow.

Like I said earlier, the possibilities are endless. So when you hit that roadblock, just think about what turns your own. Remember your characters are an extension of you. If you like it, I’m sure they will too.

Imari Jade

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Release - Must Love Cats

Just in Time for Halloween

Must Love Cats

A Girl’s Best Friend, Imari Jade
Sportscaster Vince Carson found Veterinarian Aubrey Whelan beautiful, but could he build a relationship with a woman whose cat hated him and he was allergic to it?

Strange Critters, Mae Powers
Kara wasn’t quite prepared for what her spaced-out feline brought into her life; a strangely attractive alien who’d been inhabiting her cat’s body silently for years.

Purr, Ruth J. Hartman
Max’s son must work at Roxy’s cat shelter to complete his community service. Can they help Derek overcome his fear of cats and explore their growing feelings for each other?

The Cat in the (Wizard’s) Hat, Carla Cripps
As wizards go, Ash is the cat’s whiskers? Handsome, independently wealthy, he’s only got one challenge: convincing lovely Merriwen he’s the love of her life.