Sep 20 2008

Awesome Review at Coffeetime Romance!

Published by under Random Musings

Danielle over at Coffetime Romance has reviewed Taint of Shadow, and given it five cups! It’s a terrific review, and I’m really quite proud of it. Have a little taste:

Ms. Moore has written a fantastic journey through love and treachery. This racy novel will have any reader on the edge of her seat, waiting impatiently for the ending. When I read this book I found myself enthralled with the emotional roller coaster of the two main characters. The struggle that Kayla must face with her betrayers, and the revenge she seeks was so potent I could almost touch it.

I’m glad they enjoyed it. I’m sure you will, too. If you haven’t read it yet, you can buy it here!

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Sep 16 2008

Love and Loathing

Published by under Publishing,Random Musings

This week, I finished edits on my Christmas story, Hunk of Coal. I also finished revisions on a story I wrote the last word on a month ago, and I submitted it (and thanks to Layla Aaron for the title help!). All this while I put the last touches on the first burst of world building for a new series and pondered the best way to get it outlined and ready to write.

I have to wonder if some writers love what they do by the end of the story. I sure as hell don’t. At the start, I’m so excited about the premise, the characters, the whole kit and kaboodle. It’s fresh! It’s new! It’s jam packed with potential and creative goodness! If you could bottle the stuff, you’d be rich.

By the end, I hate every single bloody word I’ve written.

Yep, even the.

The more I write, the more I notice patterns in how I do things and how I feel about things. Initial excitement. Panic as I have to transform ideas into words. Love as the story begins. Loathing as it ends. Doubt, depression as hours become days become weeks become months waiting for a response. Grim acceptance when the rejection comes, or elation when the acceptance does.

It’s a roller coaster I ride every time I stare at a blank Microsoft Word document. Every time I comb through pages of scribbled notes and doodles, trying to make sense of what I horked into the notebook. Every time I wonder if I couldn’t just type “And they freaking lived happily ever after! I am so done!” and send the damn thing out.

Libba Bray did a wonderful post on just this very topic. This is exactly how it works. And it’s kind of nice to know that I’m not the only one who hates what I write by the end of the thing.

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Sep 08 2008

Vampire Oracle: Sunlight

Published by under On Other Authors

Moira Reid’s not only a good friend of mine, but happens to be a crack writer, too. The woman can tell a story that’ll make you sweat, and always has a good tale behind all that hot stuff. Her contribution to the Vampire Oracle series came out Friday, and you’ve just got to check it out!

Have a gander, then go buy it:

Johnathan loves his neighbor, Lenora, but he’s a vampire who looks 23 and she’s a human of 43. When he reveals his hunger for her, she tells him to find someone his own age. Johnathan smells and tastes her arousal and knows she wants him, and his life of hunting drug dealers is nothing compared to the life he imagines with her in his arms.

The evening Lenora receives a Sunlight tarot card in the mail, Johnathan listens to her read it aloud: “Painful memories and the future must collide and find resolution.” Jonathon’s resolution: she will be his, forever.

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Sep 05 2008

When I’m Not Writing…

Published by under Writing Things

…I’m going insane.

I don’t usually work actively on more than one story. It’s easy to get your voices fouled up, your characters crossed and bleeding into each other, and your plots muddled. It does happen sometimes, when the characters are very distinct, but I tend to start one thing and stick with it (no matter how tempting it is to work just a little on that other thing…and I do occasionally fold).

Writers need to write. If they go too long without doing it, they start to unravel. The words build up like magma under the ground, rumbling and rolling and picking up a head of steam. There’s a kind of mental, creative pressure that starts to push at the sides of your skull. Sometimes you don’t realize it’s happening. You might note that you’re a little restless, or that something is just off, but you don’t know what.

Even if you’re writing world notes, scribbling constantly, organizing information into coherent bits, it’s not the same. There’s writing, and then there’s writing. And that pressure just keeps on building.

Until you finally start writing again. At last, all the notes are in place, your outline is done, you’ve got the trip planned enough to get on the road. The first couple paragraphs might be a little rough, or they might just flow, but either way, you hit a point where you are typing, and the words are erupting, and the pressure drains away.

And you realize, “Oh. That’s what the problem was. I wasn’t writing.”

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Sep 04 2008

Win Taint of Shadow!

Published by under Random Musings

My newest release, Taint of Shadow, is up for today’s Book-A-Day Giveaway over at The Romance Studio. Go over there for your chance to win!

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Sep 03 2008

Taint of Shadow’s First Review

Published by under Reviews

My latest publication, Taint of Shadow, just received its first review, and it’s a good one! Thanks to Melissa Conatser from ParaNormalRomance Reviews for her opinion:

This is my first Cassandra Moore book and I have to say that I will be looking for more from her. Moore delivered great characters, plenty of action and a very well thought out story. I can’t wait to read the next in this series so I can find out what happens to Kayla and Noah and their pack.

Thanks again, Melissa and ParaNormalRomance! The full review is here if you want to check it out.

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Sep 02 2008

God Took Seven Days

Published by under Writing Things

Me? I take a little longer.

Building a world can be a real beast. There’s a lot that goes into creating a full, believable setting, even for short stories. Your readers know when you’ve fudged, I guarantee it. Even if they never see a spot that you didn’t bother to define, they know when you don’t know.

I usually start with my infamous notebook. I always have a notebook. I have, in fact, two notebooks. One stays on my desk, the other stays by my bed. I should buy a smaller, leatherbound notebook to keep in my purse. When the first ideas for a new world show their faces, they go right into whatever notebook is handy so that I don’t forget them.

And like weeds, those notes grow. I scribble while I sit in front of the school in my car, waiting for my kids at the end of their day. I scribble during the day. One idea becomes several. One question leads to fifteen other questions. Everything gets an answer.

Diagrams. Doodles. Those are in there, too. Character essays, snippets of writing, failed attempts at first paragraphs. Ideas for first lines and opening hooks. More character work. More world notes. Plot notes. Plot threads. Redone plot threads. Plot threads with arrows pointing every which way, rearranging sequence. Entire pages crossed out.

At least two dead pens. If I haven’t killed two pens, I know I’m not done yet.

Once the notes reach critical mass, I have to do something about them. I know I’ve hit this point when I’ve started answering questions twice (because I’ve lost track of everything in there). Plots have started to come together, but I’m not getting all the points in there that I want because again, I’m losing information. I have to get organized.

This, by the way, is where the first bout of doubts gets staged. Do I have too much information? Not enough? Is it all stupid? I’ve started to see the story; what if I can’t tell it right? How am I ever going to turn two dozen handwritten pages of notes, which are in no particular order, into something coherent?

A wiki, of course. I start up a wiki on the series, or the story. I go through and make notes on my notes, distilling the ideas into the main categories, and I get those categories put up. Then I turn to the first page of my notes and start to fill in pages. As I get to a category, I go to that wiki page and put in the information.

Before I know it, the information has organized itself. I can find everything I need. I’m usually amazed that I’ve got so much, and that hey, look, I did account for that thing, and oh look, I’d forgotten I had this idea, it’s pretty neat.

And suddenly…there’s a world there. It has some people who probably still need names. (Her ex, that cop, the chief, that bad dude…they don’t cut it. Readers demand names, for some reason.) The story may or may not still need a title. The plot threads need clarifying, the series arc probably needs work, and I need to find the fuzzy places where the details are thin. But there’s a planet spinning out there in fiction space.

And Cass looks down upon it, and sees that it is good. But it took somewhere between two weeks and a month. And by now, Cass has started to go insane because she hasn’t written any stories, just notes, and the words are starting to build up inside…

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Aug 29 2008

Five Things a Writer Should Never Do

Published by under Random Musings

Writing’s not really an exact science. Everyone does it differently. There’s not really a one, right way to accomplish a good, finished book, and that’s not only for different authors, but for the same author in different stories.

Still, there are things that no writer should ever do, at least, in my opinion.

1. Say, “Oh, what a great idea! I’ll make sure to remember that!” – No, you won’t. You’ll forget it. No matter how stupendous or Earth-shattering the idea is, it’ll be gone sometime in the next fifteen minutes. Trust me.

Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed. Keep a little notepad and pen in your purse. And in your car. Write that amazing idea down rightnowthisminute. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

2. Be satisfied with your good idea’s first iteration. – Yeah, it’s a great idea. It’s an amazing idea. Push it further.

Make notes on it. Clarify it. Mull it over. Ask, “And then what?” or “And what else?” See if you can’t take it to the next level. No idea should ever get to rest on its laurels.

3. Get so attached to an idea that you can’t scrap it. – Ideas have to be reworked. So do stories. So does prose. Never etch these things into cement.

Plots, characters, and ideas, these things are your clay. They need to stay malleable until you can be satisfied with the final work. And sometimes, that means having the whole piece done, seeing that it’s not what it should be, and mashing it right back down into a lump so that you can build it up again. Edits happen. So do complete reworks of first drafts.

Never set yourself up for heartbreak. Love your ideas. Cherish them. Nurture them. Hold them in your heart. But remember that they’re going to take a beating before they’re ready to go.

4. Settle for less than the best you can do. – Yes, it may be good enough for your friends. Might be good enough for your agent, or your publisher. Is it good enough for you?

I think every writer’s come to a point with a manuscript where they were totally disgusted with it. Or where they had to make a hard decision: cut the plot a little short and get it out the door, or go through another 100 pages of torture? It happens.

The written word is a legacy, even if you aren’t Hemingway. And if you make a sacrifice you are not comfortable with, you’ll be mad at yourself for it. When that thing releases, you’ll want to crawl under your desk. Everyone in the world may love it to death, but you don’t, and you’ve got to stand behind it. So make sure you’re comfortable with what you’ve done.

5. Lose your wonder for storytelling. – Writing’s work. It’s a business. It’s filled with paperwork, unpleasant edits, waiting, anxiety, pain, torment, people who don’t perform to your expectations, and fickle trends. And it’s easy to get mired in that.

Never, ever lose your sense of wonder in the art of storytelling. Never forget that with your words, you’re taking your readers to a new and amazing place. Someone may read that thing next to a loved one’s hospital bed, looking for the comfort of an escape at a bad time. Someone may sit on their porch with a glass of iced tea and make an already good day better.

Words and stories are power. They are magic that only a wordsmith can make. Never forget that.

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Aug 27 2008

Be Vewy Quiet – I’m Hunting Agents

Published by under Random Musings,Writing Things

So, I’m at that point. Time to put an eye toward the future. Time to think about finding an agent.

I haven’t actually looked at agents. I think I’m an odd bird in this regard. I mean, by now, haven’t most authors made up a list, scoured all over for their favorite authors’ representation, swooned and said, “Yes, this one! This is my dream agent!”

It’s like a sports fan’s dream team, maybe. “If I could play football worth a lick, I’d so totally sign with the Raiders.” Or maybe a music fan. “If I could carry a tune in a bushel basket, I’d so totally sing with The Cruxshadows.” Most people dream about being onstage with that favorite band, or on the field with that team, or maybe at the top of that Fortune 500 company. Writers dream about agents and publishing houses.

Except me. I couldn’t give you the name of Neil Gaiman’s agent. Or Jim Butcher’s. Or Patricia Briggs’. Or Sherrilyn Kenyon. My dream agent is one that says, “Yes, I’d love to represent you!” and saves me a bunch of money in Valium by doing so. Sad, isn’t it?

But I’m starting to pay attention.

This is a piece of the writing world that most people don’t think about. I think every job has particulars that the world at large doesn’t think about. It’s one of those things that makes writing work, which I’ve talked about in the past. Rock stars must do this, too. Practice. Promotion. Booking. Dealing with agents and whatnot.

I came across a blog post from Caitlin Kittredge today about agents. This has some great information. If you’re interested in learning more about the process, you might take a look.

And don’t forget my new release! If you don’t want to read about agents, how about werewolves?

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Aug 22 2008

Release Day – Taint of Shadow!

Today’s the release day for Taint of Shadow! Everyone run, don’t walk, over to Cobblestone for your copy of my exciting werewolf epic!

Want to help spread the word? Just copy and paste the code down in the box onto your blog!

On the night of the blue moon, werewolves Kayla and Noah will find their lives changed forever.

Kayla is captured on the way to her wedding, the final piece of a ritual meant to create twisted werewolves loyal to a rogue vampiric coterie. A year later, she wants revenge, and she won’t let anyone get in her way. Not even her mate.

Noah’s search for Kayla has nearly destroyed the truce that keeps war from erupting between the vampires and werewolves. Can he confront the taint of shadow in his lover, and save both their love and the supernatural community?

Read an Excerpt Online for Free

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