Writing With Music: Yay Or Nay?

Today it’s time for me to address the age-old question: should you play music while writing or not?

First off, there is no should. Some people thrive on silence while they write, some require background noise, some want sensory overload while they attempt to churn out words. Personally, I fall into the latter category. If I don’t have a playlist with several songs that fit the mood and the theme of the story I’m writing, I feel lost and can’t add the required depth to the story.

However, when I have a really specific plot, it can be hard to find songs that work for me. I’ve only found one song that fits a certain plot of mine. The weirdest, and greatest, thing is when you’re just minding your own business, listening to some music, and suddenly THIS SONG FITS MY WIP PERFECTLY OH MY GOD.

One band is my go-to source for WIP-related songs. It’s the British band Ten, fairly unknown outside of a small circle of devoted fans (I have an eccentric taste in music). Ten is perfect for me since I love well crafted lyrics that avoid clichés, incredible melodies and hooks, heavy guitars and sexy voices. Once I had outlined an entire seven novel fantasy series (it’s about halfway done, before y’all ask). I had always skipped this one song on one of Ten’s albums and for some reason it came up and, for once, I didn’t skip. And no lie, that song fit the series to a tee. I mean, from the lyrics via the mood to the voice and instruments. It was as if it was specifically written for that series.

When things like that happen, it can give your motivation and inspiration a huge boost. Even now, when I hear that particular song, I immediately want to work on that particular WIP. It’s a strange sensation. And that makes me wonder how people write without music.

So, do you guys write without music? What is your reason?

And I leave you with one of my favorite songs from my favorite band:

It Ends This Day – Ten

Whoa, dude.

So, I just realized it’s been over a year since I posted my last blog post.

A lot of things happened in the past year, most of them fairly to very shitty. It’s been bad, ‘s what I’m trying to say, to the point where I’m just hanging on from day to day hoping a ray of light will break through.

Uh. Yes. Also, I get a little bit carried away being gloomy sometimes.

Meanwhile, I finally finished the EvilPants edits and am working on a query. I just need to find time to streamline it. Work is not helping.

I also started a new WIP since my last blog post (WHERE DOES THE TIME GO). In fact, that one’s at 89K and I’m aiming for 100. I’ll toss up a discussion of that one later.

So, for those brave troopers who are still reading this, I AM STILL ALIVE. HI.

Blog Hop #2!

I have been tagged, I’m it. This is a fun game for authors because we rock. Being “IT” means that you share information about your “work in progress” also known as “WIP” The Rules 1.) Give credit (including a link) to the Author who tagged you. 2.)Play by the rules, therefore you most post the rules! 3.)You MUST answer all 10 questions (below) some are quite hard but do your best. 4.)List five other Authors with links at the end that you have “tagged” so that the game can continue.
The Link Back
I was tagged by  PJ Perryman who is the fantastic author of Drench the Wench and Kiss of the Marquis. She also has the fortune of being boss and member of Blushing Mischief, the author group responsible for A Spank in Time.
Q1.) What is the title or working title of your WIP?
When In Rome. I always like puns or ‘jokes’ for titles.
Q2.) What genres does your novel fall under?
Historical erotica, or as I like to call it: Roman Poarn.
Q3.) What actors (Dream Cast) would you choose to play the characters in a film version?
Good question. I hadn’t thought about that yet. I usually only cast my longer WIPs in my mind.
For Melis, I like a host of brunette starlets, of which I like Vanessa Hudgens the best, because she has an innate likability, has amazing hair and she looks like she has spirit:
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For Marcus, I like Ed Quinn, because I like Ed Quinn, he looks good nekkid and he can play arrogant like nobody’s business:
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Ed, if you’re googling yourself: 1) stop doing that. 2) yes, I am a perv, but mostly harmless. 3) call me. call me hard.
Q4.) What is the main outline for your book?
It’s a short. I’m not OCD enough to need an outline for a short. But the basic premise is (Ed, close your eyes and stop reading now, unless you want your innocence to be corrupted): A slave girl in ancient Rome barters for her freedom with her master.
Q5.) Will your book be Indie published/self published, or represented by an agency and sold to a traditional publisher?
A Spank In Time 2: The Spanks You Missed will be published by Blushing Books, publisher of much naughty merriment and of two of my other shorts, Corporal Punishment and One Bite Of Passion. Coming to an internet near you soon. You will know when.
Q6.) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 
It’s just a short, a little over 6K, but… About three months. Because work decided to be insaaaane. And also, my body decided to be sick. And also, sexy shorts usually take a long time for me, because I want to get the mood right and every word counts.
Q7.) What other books in this genre would you compare your book to?
Uh, none. Or maybe the previous two collections by our author collective Blushing Mischief, A Spank In Time and Thrill Of The Hunt.
Q8.) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I love drifting off to ancient times and I find Roman society immensely intriguing because of its savagery and its advanced politics. Plus, thanks to HBO and Starz’s Spartacus: The Boning, we all know Romans loved to hump everything with a heartbeat, so combining the two seemed natural.
Q9.) What else about the book might pique readers’ attention?
The rest of the stories, amazing and diverse contributions by the our wonderful Blushing Mischief members.
Q10.) Five other Indie Authors you have tagged
I’m linking the rest of the BM gang, who have done this same blog hop:

Do’s and Mostly Don’ts of Writing Erotica, a.k.a. Don’t Do These Things If You Want Me To Like Your Smutty Story

I have been silent so long. But no more. This was the last time I spend three bucks on bad pr0n. The. Last. Motherfucking. Time. No more will I be cowed by the masses exclaiming that it’s just pr0n. Because the fact is: it isn’t. It’s pure escapism. It has its rightful place in fiction, just like your more highbrow genres.

So. This past week I’ve read way too much erotica, something that I didn’t think was possible. The following is a list of things that in my opinion cheapen the genre. I write this post with tongue firmly in cheek and don’t mean to cause offense. Although that would be acceptable, since it’ll bring more traffic to my blog. Everybody is of course entitled to their own opinion. And that includes me.

Warning for possible profanity. But seriously, if you are upset by profanity, whyyyyyy are you reading my fucking post on shitty erotica? (Heh. I couldn’t resist.)

But come on, read this. It can’t hurt, can it?

1) Don’t use the male POV to tell us how awesome, smart, funny, brave, whatever, your female MC is. This doesn’t count as showing. This is a thinly disguised telling, and a transparent ploy to avoid having to put actual effort into creating your FMC’s character through her words and actions.

2) If you can’t find a plausible motive for your MC to go along with whatever kinky shenans are proposed, THINK HARDER. Don’t make your MC stupid for the sake of pr0n, for fuck’s sake.

3) Go easy on the male compliments during and before sex. Of course you can use compliments, but having the male MC laud everything about the female MC in ridiculous superlatives removes every bit of tension from the scene, and I dare say from your story. Also, for reality’s sake: the only thing on a man’s mind when he’s close to receiving nookie is “BOOBIES OMG!”

4) Related to number 3: Avoid Irresistibility Syndrome, in which all of the male characters want to fuck and/or be in a relationship with your FMC. In all fairness, many stories suffer from this, not just erotica. But jesusfuck, people, we are supposed to identify with your MC. No one is irresistible. No one.

5) Another one related to 3 and 4: Don’t make your FMC unbelievably beautiful unless there’s a good reason for her to be. Maybe she’s a beauty queen, maybe she’s a model or an actress. Again, we are supposed to identify with her. Good luck getting me to identify with someone whose beauty is described as “exquisite” or similar words. Sure, your MCs can be pretty, they can be beautiful. We’ve all felt beautiful at some point, so we all know that feeling. But “exquisite beauty”? Gimme a break. You’re not empowering this woman. You are degrading her. She’s a human being with real thoughts and emotions, not an object. In addition to this, increasing the beauty of your FMC to preposterous levels will not make your story sexier. Instead, it will make it less accessible.

6) If you insist on an exquisitely beautiful FMC, for the love of unicycles, don’t make her unaware of how stunningly gorgeous she is. Unless she has obvious mental issues that prevent her awareness, it doesn’t make her likeable. It makes her come across as disingenuous, dumb as a post and just plain unbelievable.

7) Dirty talk is fine. Just make it flow organically. If you don’t know how, try to read your dialogue out loud at the appropriate times when you next have sex. Does it roll easily off the tongue in the heat of the moment? Keep it. The rest: BURN IT WITH FIRE.

8) Last, but perhaps most importantly: remember that while your story may be erotica, it is still a story. It still needs well-rounded, consistent, likeable characters, a fleshed-out plot, believable interactions and for the love of fuck, decent editing.

Bottom line is: like I said above, pr0n is escapism. If a story set in the real world doesn’t feel real, sorry, but I’m not going to get caught up in it. I (and many others) like flawed characters, characters that can pull us in. Flawed women, real women, that despite their flaws get to have hot sex with equally hot (but flawed!) dudes. Now if everybody would just listen to me, that would be peachy.

With that said: bone, bonk and shag away, people!

Today is Release Day for A Spank In Time!

Here, have a moment with one of its characters!

In honor of Blushing Mischief’s ‘A Spank In Time’s’ release day, we thought we would give you a little look into just who you’ll find within its pages of delight.

Meet Lord Alexander Townshend, Marquis of Winchester, a true nobleman with a kinky bent to his character. I’ve sacrificed an afternoon of my life to step into a time machine back to the early 1600s to chat with Alex. The things I do for my readers. You’re welcome.

Lord Winchester’s manservant, a waifish young man named Mark, guides me to the Marquis’s chambers. I am intimidated by the vastness of the castle, and even more so by the towering man standing up from his ornate chair when I enter. When nervous, I default to cheerful, and when cheerful, I blurt stuff out.

  • Hi, Alexander! Nice pad. May I call you Alex?

Pad? He shakes his head. A corner of his mouth quirks up when he takes me in. Good afternoon, fair lady. You may call me Milord.

  • What or who is the greatest love of your life… milord?

That position is still vacant. As a single nobleman, I’d have to say my castle and lands occupy a great deal of acreage in my heart. I’m also exceedingly fond of my collection of crops and whips. Most useful, they are.

  • What is your most marked characteristic?

Without wishing to sound conceited, my appearance is pleasing to the eye. My personality traits… Now that is an entirely different matter. I invite you to find out.

Lord Winchester’s gaze roams over my body and he smirks. I shift and eye the half-open chest that houses his aforementioned collection of crops and whips. Is it hot in here? 

  • What is your greatest regret?

I have none.

  • Which talent would you most like to have?

I am not lacking in any area, Miss Quinn. Again, I invite you to find out for yourself.

  • What is the quality you most like in a man?

Courage.

  • What is the quality you most like in a woman?

He tilts his head and smiles a little, as if losing himself in thought. I tap with my pen on my notepad to draw his attention.

Curves. A round bottom and small waist. I have a peculiar preference for the female backside.

  • What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Perhaps my lack of inhibition, though I feel it has brought me many good things in the past.

  • What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Chastity. And you, Miss Quinn?

  • That is… I don’t want to say irrelevant, because I’m hoping this afternoon will take a turn for the sexy. But let’s focus on my… kinda boring questions first. On what occasions do you lie?

A man in my position doesn’t have to lie, Miss Quinn.

He pauses, reconsiders. 

Recently, I’ve set up quite an expedient situation for myself. A lie or two by omission was required. I’m not proud of it, but the fruits of my labors are sweet.

  •  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Perhaps it would be convenient to have less specific predilections.

He smiles again, wide and charming, and stands up, extending his hand.

But that would make life dreadfully boring, wouldn’t it? Would you join me for a… walk around the premises?

I swallow hard. My pen feels awkward in my fingers, so I stuff it in my purse. I have time. Nobody is expecting me back. Reaching a decision, I stand up and take his hand, much larger than mine. 

I’ll be back. At some point.

To find out more about the stories in this hot and gorgeous anthology, follow the links below for more interviews from my fellow Blushing Mischief authors:

P.J. Perryman     A.C. Masterson     Jill Glass

Sadie Dane     Sara Peal

And without further ado, published by Blushing Books and written by Blushing Mischief’s group of talented authors, we present to you, A Spank In Time.

Now available at Blushing Books! Click the cover for poarn!

Hoo boy. It’s …

Hoo boy. It’s been a while since I last updated. Stuff that happened:

I finished the Saga of EvilPants EFF YEAH!

Well, the first draft. It needs an added scene and I need to elaborate on one, uh, thing. Am halfway through the scene that needs adding. Right now, on schedule to finish revising by my b-day (end of October). 

Other writey things: I’m writing two shorts for an anthology I’m doing with friends. Am intimidated by the level of awesome they have created.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have words to word or whatever. (TM Ali.)

The Hypothetical Adventures of Hot Optician and Near-Sighted Girl.

As you may have guessed from this blog post title, somewhere, out there, a hypothetical optician exists. This hypothetical man is hypothetically super hot. He is also, hypothetically, my optician.

(I keep saying that word. I don’t think it means what I think it means.)

The hotness of said optician is unmistakable. But it’s not his major selling point. In fact, it may not even be in the top ten. Hypothetically, I managed to find a hypothetical man that:

1) Loves dogs. A lot, like myself.
2) Likes comics and impressed upon me the importance of purchasing his favorite comic.
3) Likes mythology and fantasy.
4) Is completely intrigued by my job and my wordsmithery and enjoys smithing words himself.
5) Is kind and thoughtful.
5) Is hilarious.
6) Is intelligent.
7) Is playful.
8) Is, for some reason, totally single.
9) Tells me he loves my style and that I have a classic Chanel look.
10) Miraculously isn’t gay.
11) Is SUPER hot.

Hypothetically, I should pursue the hypothetical crap out of this man. Things that inhibit me:

A) The epic case of shitty love karma I’ve been having ever since I was of dating age. Coming up on twenty dateless years now, peeperoonies. Twenty years without positive feedback from the Other Gender.

–wallowing in self-pity–

Okay, I’m back. Where was I?

B) The epic case of negative self-esteem that I built up thanks to said shitty love karma.

–wallowing in self-pity–

Okay, I’m back. Where was I?

C) The fact that hypothetically, this hypothetical man cannot in good conscience use his hypothetical client database without getting super fired if I decided to complain. Which I wouldn’t, but he doesn’t know that.
D) The fact that I have not yet planted money trees in my backyard, so I cannot keep going back for contacts and glasses and sunglasses and whatnot.
E) Have I mentioned my shitty karma yet? This causes a rejection to occur every time I take any kind of initiative toward dating and/or chatting with a nice dude.

Sadly, I am nothing if not perpetually positive.

Wait, is that hysterical laughter I hear?

So, I devised Plans. Hypothetical, but awesome Plans. These will take into account our shared interests, but hypothetically also have the backdoor I can slip through while crying out, “You’re a bit full of yourself, aren’t you?! You will never get to tap this! Tap YOURSELF! No, not right now! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU, YOU PIG!” in case Hypothetical Hot Optician hypothetically feels he should nip my hypothetical budding feelings in the, well, bud.

I am also running out of numbering options. Sorry, Awesome Plans.

– Suggest a dog walk with his and my dogs, since one of my dogs is sick and the other is not getting enough exercise.
– Loan him some of my favorite comics and attach my card to one of the comic books. Presto! Phone number-o!
– Invite him to my hypothetical brother’s CD release party. Hypothetically, he knows my brother personally and is interested in his music.

Edited to add Extra Plan:

– Buy cool movies before dropping by the store and steer the conversation in the direction of watching them.

Unfortunately, only one of these can be applied during visits, to avoid being a creepy fangirl stalker. And that is why I turn to you, hypothetical internet. Help a near-sighted sister out.